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Ethics is always front and center for members of the National Association of REALTORS®, but this year, the emphasis on ethical practices is even greater. That’s because all REALTORS® must complete ethics training by December 31, 2012 to satisfy the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Training Requirement. Otherwise, they face the possibility of having their membership suspended.

NAR requires that brokers and their agents take a refresher course in ethics within four-year cycles to help educate them about the Code and recent changes. For example, in 2012, Article 15 was revised to expand its applicability to all “real estate professionals” and not just “competitors.” Even more importantly, ongoing ethics training helps remind members of how to act ethically in any business situation.

Good Ethics Equals Good Business

Knowing and following the Code helps REALTORS® ensure good business practices. But it’s also good for business. Members know it’s a great way to set themselves apart from their competitors. Telling a prospective client that an agent has just completed ethics training builds trust and reassures consumers that the agent will recognize and work in their best interest.

A refresher in ethics also gives agents the know-how to react correctly if a complicated situation arises during a transaction. Ethics training promotes cooperation among agents and brokers because everyone is confident about the integrity of the other participants in the transaction.

In addition, brokers benefit from ethics training requirements when their agents gain a heightened awareness of ethical best practices. Agents are less likely to make mistakes or respond incorrectly if they have the Articles and Standards of Practice at their fingertips. In addition, a company with a policy of strong ethics education earns added respect in the local real estate community and is more likely to receive referrals and avoid legal conflicts.

Many Options for Ethics Education

Because of the large number of members who will take ethics training this year, NAR is supporting a variety of ways to make completing the requirement a simple and smooth process. State and Local Associations nationwide have expanded course offerings. Private brokerages can also offer an ethics course, provided their course meets minimum learning objectives and criteria. It’s a good idea to have your local association review any course you intend to present.

Another convenient option for satisfying the ethics requirement is to take NAR’s training courses online. These free courses are estimated to take just 2.5 hours to complete. Students can stop and start the sessions if they have to leave for an appointment or take a critical client call. There is even customized ethics content for residential and commercial practitioners so that examples are more like real-life situations.

With all these alternatives, REALTORS® have every reason to take their ethics training now and avoid the end-of-year rush. An added incentive: Complete the course either online or in the classroom by August 31 and you’ll be automatically entered in the “Know Your Ethics Sweepstakes” for a chance to win an Apple iPad 3.

Why Ethics Matters

Meeting the December 31 deadline for ethics training is important, but NAR’s focus on ethics doesn’t stop on January 1, 2013. Instead, NAR works every day to remind the real estate buying and selling public why hiring a REALTOR® who subscribes to the Code of Ethics benefits them. As NAR 2012 President Moe Veissi says, “REALTORS® are the heart of the deal, and the Code of Ethics embodies fairness, integrity and the high professional standards that are the backbone of how REALTORS® do business—whatever the year. That’s why ethics matter.”

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