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Professional Standards

Code of Ethics

Adopted in 1913, the code of ethics was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any business group. The Code ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests.

Arbitration Request

If a monetary dispute arises from a real estate transaction, seek a resolution through your local Association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals who may be far less familiar with the practices and customs of the real estate industry.

File a Complaint

REALTORS® are different from non-member licensees in that they voluntarily subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. If you believe that a REALTOR® has violated one or more Articles of the Code of Ethics, you may file a complaint.


Mediation is a process in which a third-party neutral assists in resolving a dispute between two or more other parties. It is a non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution.

Professional Standards During COVID-19 FAQs

These FAQs will assist associations with questions about how to safely enforce the Code of Ethics, including the duty to arbitrate, during COVID-19. Click here to view FAQs

The single, most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® adopted the Code of Ethics on July 29, 1913, following the professions of medicine, law, and engineering. The Code has been revised several times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice.

REALTORS® are real estate professionals who have chosen to join the National Association and abide by its strict Code of Ethics. What does this mean to you? It means that any REALTOR® with whom you work has voluntarily agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics, based on professionalism and protection of the public. REALTORS® are subject to disciplinary action and sanctions if they violate the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics is a detailed document that spells out the professional responsibilities of every REALTOR®. Do not hesitate to ask a REALTOR® for a copy of the Code, including the Standards of Practice. The Code is your assurance of dealing with a professional who has your best interests in mind.

This area of our website contains valuable Professional Standards resources. Find out how to file an ethics complaint and/or arbitration request or read about choosing mediation as an alternative to arbitration. You will also find information on completing the mandatory Code of Ethics training.

Please note that we also have an Ombudsman program available that could possibly assist you with your ethical concerns. The Ombudsman will attempt to informally resolve your concerns through phone communication. The Ombudsman’s role is primarily one of communication and conciliation, not adjudication. Ombudsmen do not determine whether ethics violations have occurred, rather they anticipate, identify, and resolve misunderstandings and disagreements before matters ripen into disputes and possible charges of unethical conduct.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®