Code of Ethics

Professional Courtesies

The National Association of REALTORS® developed Pathways to Professionalism, a voluntary, professional courtesies checklist that REALTORS® are encouraged to put into practice. pdf Get the list... (47 KB)

Pathways to Professional Conduct Explained:

Hear from fellow REALTORS® as they share their best business practices. Remember, real estate is a reputation business—you always want to put your best foot forward! Earn and keep the respect of your peers and the public through these simple steps. 

Ethics Training

NAR Quadrennial Code of Ethics Training

All REALTORS® are required to complete a 2.5 hour course on the pdf Code of Ethics (419 KB) every four years (current cycle: January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016). New members also are required to take a 2.5 hour orientation on the Code of Ethics when they join their local Association of REALTORS®.

Members who have been granted Emeritus status with the National Association of REALTORS® (honorary membership) are exempt from the Quadrennial requirement.

Please note, while taking NAR’s online quadrennial ethics course is highly encouraged, the California Association of REALTORS® has determined that if a licensee has taken a DRE-approved ethics course for license renewal during this four-year time frame, he or she will have satisfied the quadrennial ethics requirement.  However, you must notify OCAR of this fact so we can record that you have fulfilled your membership duty.  Additionally, New Member Orientation satisfies the quadrennial requirement.

Ethics Violations

From time-to-time, REALTORS® are required to retake Code of Ethics training by OCAR’s Professional Standards Committee—as a disciplinary action for an ethics violation.  When this occurs, REALTORS® are scheduled to complete the second-half of New Member Orientation, which is held once a month at OCAR’s Laguna Hills Office (Code of Ethics Component is scheduled from 12:30 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.).

Case Studies

Each month OCAR features a new "Case Study" in the pdf REALTOR® Code of Ethics (419 KB) . These are actual cases brought before an Association of REALTORS® that provide instructive, tangible examples of the Code of Ethics "in action." 

May Focus: Article 11 of the Code of Ethics... 

Article 11

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/10)

Case #11-11: REALTOR®’s Obligation to Disclose Present or Contemplated Interest (Adopted May, 1997. Revised November, 2000.)

Owner A was considering refinancing a property. Client B, a lender, ordered an appraisal from REALTOR® C. The appraisal report was completed and later Owner A decided to sell the property instead of refinancing it. Owner A contacted REALTOR® C who listed the property. An offer was made that was accepted by Owner A.

At the loan application, the prospective purchaser told the lender, Client B, that a recent appraisal on the property had been done for Client B. When the lender became aware that the listing broker was also the appraiser, the lender filed a complaint with the Board of REALTORS® alleging that REALTOR® C had not disclosed her “present or contemplated interest” in the property as required by Article 11, as interpreted by Standard of Practice 11-1. The complaint was referred by the Grievance Committee for hearing before a panel of the Board’s Professional Standards Committee.

At the hearing, a written statement from Owner A containing all the facts above was entered into evidence. REALTOR® C stated that the appraisal had been completed in accordance with Standard of Practice 11-1 and it was only after Owner A decided to sell, rather than refinance, that there were any discussions about REALTOR® C representing the owner in the sale of the property.

REALTOR® C stated that the owner had been appreciative of the time that she had spent discussing the subject’s neighborhood and existing market conditions, and that the owner had decided that he wanted someone really knowledgeable to represent him in the sale of his property.

Because REALTOR® C’s disclosures regarding present and contemplated interests were true at the time they were made in connection with the appraisal, the Hearing Panel concluded that REALTOR® C was not in violation of Article 11.

Interpretations of the Code of Ethics excerpted from the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual © National Association of REALTORS®