RISMEDIA, March 18, 2008-To ensure the success and protect the reputation of your company, you must understand and minimize the risk of legal liability. “You can’t eliminate risk entirely, but you can manage it,” says Michael Thiel, associate counsel, Legal Affairs for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). “NAR’s Risk Management Committee helps brokers do this by providing tools they can use to help keep agents up-to-date.”
Risk Management Resources
Proper education is vital to risk management. Real Estate Brokerage Essentials: Managing Legal and Business Issues is a comprehensive tool for recognizing and addressing situations that most frequently result in litigation. Produced by NAR, this publication is a “must-have” for every office.
NAR also offers two videos on key risk-management topics: The “Fair Housing Video” and the “Antitrust and Real Estate Video.” Pocket guides on fair housing and antitrust are also available (www.REALTOR.org/store).
On its Law and Policy webpage (www.REALTOR.org/law_and_policy), NAR offers policy news and updates, along with brochures on mortgage fraud and property insurance, which are available for free download. You can also subscribe to The Letter of the Law list serve, NAR’s online legal newsletter; a Legal Affairs podcast; and law and policy headlines delivered automatically to your Real Simple Syndication (RSS) reader installed on your computer.
The Legal Scan, a biennial research project undertaken by NAR Legal Affairs, not only tracks where real estate professionals are currently being held liable, but identifies emerging trends so you can identify training needs for your agents.
You can also track important government affairs issues, such as agency, license reciprocity and seller disclosure requirements, using NAR’s State Issues Tracker. Every year at its Conference & Expo and Midyear Legislative Meetings & Expo, NAR conducts a Risk Management & License Law Forum on a hot topic. This year’s Midyear Forum will take place on Wednesday, May 14, from 8-9:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C.
Code of Ethics
NAR also publishes a Code of Ethics, which describes the professional duties that distinguish Realtors® from licensed real estate practitioners. “I believe NAR does a better job of assisting our members in achieving strong levels of professionalism than almost any other service profession,” says Bill Lublin, 2008 Chair of the NAR Professional Standards Committee.
Adopted in 1913, the Code is a criterion for excellence and a realistic standard for performance that provides a practical guide for measuring professional conduct, while representing the furthest reach of professional aspirations.
It is important for your agents to understand their obligations under the Code. To help you, NAR has developed the new “NAR Code of Ethics Video Series.” Fifteen short video segments are available, which can be viewed at www.REALTOR.org/Codevideos or downloaded free for presenting at weekly office meetings or training sessions.
NAR also offers an online New Member Code of Ethics Orientation Course and Quadrennial Realtor Ethics Training, which meet the ethics-training requirements for new members. Both courses can be completed in one two-and-a-half-hour session or in parts. All NAR members must complete their Quadrennial Realtor Ethics Training by December 31, 2008. Visit www.REALTOR.org/Ethics for more information.
Intensive two-and-a-half-day Mediator/Mediation training is available in April and December. Realtors who complete the training are able to use mediation as an effective tool in resolving disputes. To learn more, visit http://REALTOR.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/mediationtraining.
For more information, visit www.Realtor.org.