Almost everyone has heard of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
The Golden Rule is the basis for CREA’s and RECO’s Code of Ethics and for what we refer to as “common courtesy”. However, complaints coming in to RAHB indicate that courtesy is becoming less common among members, and the Golden Rule is looking a little tarnished.
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
You call to book an appointment to show a property only to be told the seller requires “24 hours notice”, although it was not indicated on the listing?
Someone scheduled a showing of your listing but didn’t leave a business card to let the seller know they were there? Or worse, they didn’t show up at all?
Apparently the Golden Rule is getting a little tarnished in many places. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) provided the following guidelines for its members in the US to remind them of the importance of common courtesy – or, as they’ve termed it, showing respect – for the public, for property and for peers.
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start for making courtesy a little more common again.
Respect for the Public
- Follow the “Golden Rule” – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information.
- Schedule appointments and showings as far in advance as possible.
- Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing.
- If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the occupant.
- Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion.
- When entering a property, ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately.
- Leave your business card if not prohibited by local rules.
- Never criticize a property in the presence of the occupant.
- Inform occupants that you are leaving after showings.
- When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock – and announce yourself loudly – before entering. Knock and announce yourself loudly before entering any closed room.
- Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and drive a clean car.
- If occupants are home during showings, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom.
- Encourage the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or representative.
- Communicate clearly; don’t use jargon or slang that may not be readily understood.
- Be aware of and respect cultural differences.
- Show courtesy and respect to everyone.
- Be aware of – and meet – all deadlines.
- Promise only what you can deliver – and keep your promises.
- Identify yourself as a REALTOR® in your contacts with the public.
- Do not tell people what you think – tell them what you know.
Respect for Property
- Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property.
- Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied.
- When showing property, keep all members of the group together.
- Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission.
- Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination.
- When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc). If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism) contact the listing broker immediately.
- Be considerate of the seller’s property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you found it unless instructed otherwise.
- Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
Respect for Peers
- Identify your REALTOR® and professional status in all contacts with other REALTORS®.
- Respond to other agents’ calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously.
- Be aware that large electronic files with attachments or lengthy faxes may be a burden on recipients.
- Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing.
- Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets, security systems, and whether sellers will be present during the showing.
- Show courtesy, trust and respect to other real estate professionals.
- Avoid the inappropriate use of endearments or other denigrating language.
- Do not prospect at other REALTORS® open houses or similar events.
- Return keys promptly.
- Carefully replace keys in the lockbox after showings.
To be successful in the business, mutual respect is essential. Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may affect your reputation – and business – for years to come.
© NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission