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FNAR Board of Directors voted on several key policy changes in November that will greatly impact the role of the REALTOR® when it comes to professionalism.

The board approved four separate recommendations, all geared toward heightening professionalism across the board; The approved recommendations are: the implementation of a Code of Excellence (not to be confused with the already standing Code of Ethics); biennial education and testing on the Code of Ethics and the proposed Code of Excellence; improved efforts to provide agents with broader data so that all agents may become data content experts; and the development of an industry standard model to fairly and more accurately rate REALTOR®.

“These policy changes will raise the whole bar professionally,” says Chris Polychron, NAR’s 2015 presidential elect. With an already standing Code of Ethics in place, the soon-to-be developed Code of Excellence will work to increase professional training and the awareness of both professional behavior and consumer satisfaction.

“The REALTOR® is not just there to conduct an ethical transaction,” says NAR President Steve Brown. While the code of ethics lays out what agents should not do, the Code of Excellence will lay out what agents should be doing, and how. The Code will look at things like continuing education, advocacy for property rights, community relationship building, accurate dissemination of data and a proficiency in business and technology, all of which will help the real estate professional better serve their client.

Brown notes that NAR is hoping to have the proposed code developed and submitted for review by May of 2015. Also in the works is the development of an industry standard model to rate REALTORS®.

“We as REALTORS® aren’t going to rate ourselves, so we would like to develop a standard that is fair to everyone,” says Polychron.

“An industry standard will give a true picture of the real estate professional,” notes Brown. “If a consumer review just focuses on how many units are sold, they’re painting an incomplete picture of the REALTOR®. We want to get the consumer a very accurate picture of who they are hiring,” says Brown, who has held various NAR leadership positions since 2005, and will be passing on the presidential torch to Polychron this coming January. In addition to focusing on heightened professionalism, NAR has two other important areas of interest on the docket for 2015, the first of which is REALTOR safety.

“We’re going to try and make the REALTOR® and the consumer safer,” says Polychron, who notes that he hopes 2013’s safety-related real estate tragedy in Arkansas will be the last of its kind.

Big data is another industry challenge that NAR will be further addressing in 2015.

“A major industry issue is the presence of big data and what that means to our industry,” says Brown. “NAR wants to help our members understand the assets and knowledge available in true big data and help them better counsel and advice their clients.”

“We don’t ever want the REALTOR to be replaced by Internet, so we want to improve their knowledge of big data and help them be as knowledgeable as they can,” concludes Polychron.

For more information on NAR’s recent policy changes, visit www.realtor.org.

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