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Ask any REALTOR® about what makes him or her a "REALTOR®" and you will probably get an answer like "I'm a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association and am bound by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics", or "As a member of the British Columbia Real Estate Association I'm licensed to practice in the province of BC and to adhere to the Ethics and Standards of Business Practice as set out in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics."

The CREA Code of Ethics does make a REALTOR® special.

A code of ethics sets a standard for behaviour which is above the ordinary, behaviour which doesn't look for the line defining legal and illegal or right or wrong but instead requires what is morally correct or "honourable", as the Concise Oxford Dictionary says.

The Canadian Real Estate Association adopted their Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice in 1959 and has revised it eight times since to ensure that it remains relevant to the real estate business and real estate practitioners. And, since 1959, Members of the association have been conducting their business in accordance with the Code of Ethics.

The CREA Code of Ethics is made up of a series of statements about appropriate conduct for a REALTOR® in all aspects of a real estate transaction.

Here's what the Code of Ethics has to say:

"Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depends on the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.

"Through the Member, the land resource of the nation reaches its highest use and private land ownership its widest distribution. The Member is instrumental in molding the form of his or her community and the living and working conditions of its people.

"Such functions impose grave social responsibilities which the Member can meet only by diligent preparation, and considering it a civic duty to dedicate himself or herself to the fulfillment of the Member's obligations to society. More on page 2 "The Member therefore must be zealous to maintain, and continually strive to improve, the professional standards of his or her calling:

"By keeping informed as to developments and trends in real estate,

"By endeavoring to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practice in connection with real estate transactions,

"By rendering his or her services and opinions based only on the Member's knowledge, training, qualifications and experience in real estate,

"By seeking no unfair advantage over, nor injuring directly or indirectly the reputation of, nor publicly disparaging the business practice of other Members, and

"By being loyal to the Member's Real Estate Board and Provincial Association and active in their work.

"In the interpretation of his or her obligations, the Member can take no safer guide than that which has been embodied in the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

"No inducement of profit and no instructions from clients or customers can ever justify departure from the ideals of fair dealing and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty standard of moral conduct in business relations.

"Accepting this standard as the Member's own, every Member pledges to observe the spirit of the Code in all dealings and to conduct business in accordance with the Standards of Business Practice as adopted by The Canadian Real Estate Association."

The twenty-eight articles of the Standards of Business Practice which follow the Code of Ethics are divided into four sections: Duties to Clients, Duties to Clients and Customers, Duties to the Public and Duties to REALTOR®S. The Standards of Business Practice is even more specific than the Code of Ethics about how REALTOR®S should conduct their business.

With these kinds of standards, doesn't it make sense to use a REALTOR®?

Multiple Listing Service, MLS®, REALTOR® and REALTORS® are registered trademarks of the Canadian Real Estate Association. REALTOR® identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.