Professional Standards

REALTOR® Code of Ethics

 

If you feel a member of our association has violated the REALTOR® Code of Ethics you might consider utilizing our services such as the ombudsman program, mediation or filing a complaint. Learn more below.

The Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS uses the New Mexico Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Administrator to handle our Professional Standards.

Please e-mail ombuds@nmrealtor.com or call 505-724-3466.

If you believe the individual with whom you are working has violated the License Law, contact the New Mexico Real Estate Commission.  Learn more.

REALTORS® Professional Standards

 

Boards and associations of REALTORS® are responsible for enforcing the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics imposes duties above and in addition to those imposed by law or regulation which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become REALTORS®.

Though not a governmental or licensing agency, upon receiving a formal "Ethics Complaint" the Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS® through the New Mexico Association of REALTORS Grievance and Professional Standards Committees, will conduct investigations and hearings involving members to enforce those professional standards. 

Our Association also offers ombudsman services to members, clients, and consumers. An ombudsman is an individual appointed to receive and resolve disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding.

 

Another type of investigation is called a "Request for Arbitration."  An arbitration hearing, or the alternative service of mediation, will determine disputes over real estate commissions that arise between REALTORS® and other REALTORS®, or between REALTORS® and their customers or clients.

 

Any professional standards complaint received, as well as any material related to a complaint received, is considered to be strictly confidential in nature.  Both the Grievance and Professional Standards Committees are responsible for ensuring due process is afforded to all parties, whether it be in the conduct of a hearing to enforce the  Code of Ethics or in the arbitration of commission disputes arising out of the real estate business. 

Many difficulties between real estate professionals (whether REALTORS® or not) result from misunderstanding, miscommunication, or lack of adequate communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, you may want to speak with them, or with a principal broker in the firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action.

 

If, after discussing matters with your real estate professional, or a principal broker in that firm, you are still not satisfied, you may want to contact the local board or association of REALTORS®. Many boards and associations have informal dispute resolving processes available to consumers (e.g. ombudsmen, mediation, etc.).

If, after taking these steps, you still feel you have a grievance, you many want to consider filing an ethics complaint. You will want to keep in mind that . . .

  • Only REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s are subject to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®.

  • If the real estate professional (or their broker) you are dealing with is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be the state real state licensing authority or the courts.

  • Boards and associations of REALTORS® determine whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, not whether the law or real estate regulations have been broken. Those decisions can only be made by the licensing authorities or the courts.

  • Boards of REALTORS® can discipline REALTORS® for violating the Code of Ethics. Typical forms of discipline include attendance at courses and seminars designed to increase REALTORS®' understanding of the ethical duties or other responsibilities of real estate professionals. REALTORS® may also be reprimanded, fined, or their membership can be suspended or terminated for serious or repeated violations. Boards and associations of REALTORS® cannot require REALTORS® to pay money to parties filing ethics complaints; cannot award "punitive damages" for violations of the Code of Ethics; and cannot suspend or revoke a real estate professional's license.

  • The primary emphasis of discipline for ethical lapses is educational, to create a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the duties the Code imposes. At the same time, more severe forms of discipline, including fines and suspension and termination of membership may be imposed for serious or repeated violations.

Definition. Ethical or legal duty of a professional to exercise the level of care, diligence, and skill prescribed in the code of practice of his or her profession, or as other professionals in the same discipline would in the same or similar circumstances.

Real Estate Professionals
 

Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Program is the first step in conflict resolution. It is an informal, neutral, independent, and highly confidential way for NMAR members as well as their clients and customers to express their concerns and explore options to help resolve those concerns. An ombudsman is an individual appointed to assist parties in the resolution of disputes through constructive communication and advocating for consensus and understanding.

Download an Overview of NMAR’s Ombuds Services (Pamphlet-Jan 2021)

Mediation

Mediation is offered to REALTORS® and to members of the public to facilitate the resolution of disputes related to real estate transactions and to interactions between parties and/or REALTOR® members in the course of their real estate relationship. A neutral and impartial third person assists the parties in discussing and clarifying the issues, and in considering alternatives to a possible resolution. Parties maintain the option to pursue other more formal processes if mediation does not result in a mutually satisfactory resolution agreement. In mandatory arbitration matters, NMAR requires REALTOR® Principals, their firms, and other parties to the arbitration to mediate the dispute prior to an arbitration hearing.

NAR: Appendix VI to Part Ten — Mediation as a Service of Member Boards
NMAR Mediation Instructions (pdf, 2020)
NMAR Request for Mediation (pdf, 2020)
NMAR Agreement to Mediate (pdf, 2020)

Arbitration

In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS® and between REALTORS® and their clients and customers, REALTORS® shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies of the Association rather than to litigate the matter. Please see the 2020 NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual: Part Ten, Arbitration of Disputes, Section 44.

To initiate an arbitration request, please review the instructions sheet and complete the appropriate arbitration form below:

Ethics

The duties of REALTOR® membership require members to abide by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS® and by the bylaws and policies of the Association. Anyone who alleges a violation of the Code of Ethics by a REALTOR® member may submit an Ethics Complaint to the Association. There is no fee to filing an Ethics Complaint. To submit a complaint, an Ethics Complaint form must be completed, citing the articles within the Code of Ethics that may have been violated and attaching a narrative description of the circumstances of the alleged violation.

 
REALTOR® Code of Ethics Training

Mandatory ethics training requirements for new and continuing REALTOR® members was established by the National Association’s Board of Directors at the 1999 Annual Convention to heighten member awareness of the key tenets of the Code of Ethics; to create an awareness of and appreciation for the role the Code can and should play in their professional lives; to enhance professionalism and competency; and to encourage REALTORS® to view their Code of Ethics as a living, viable guide in their daily dealings with clients, customers, and the public.

 

To access NAR’s “Questions and Answers on the New and Continuing Member Ethics Training Requirements” click here. Be prepared to login to the “Members Only” section.

New Member Code of Ethics Orientation – Online Course
This course meets all learning objectives and criteria for the New Member Code of Ethics Orientation Policy (Policy Statement 47, NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual). Please note that a NRDS ID is required to register for this course. Your NRDS education record will be updated automatically upon successful completion of the course.

REALTORS® Code of Ethics Training – Online Course
This course meets all learning objectives and criteria for the REALTOR® Ethics Training Policy (Policy Statement 47, NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual).