Our Code of Ethics had a few changes for 2012. In the past it was a violation of the Code of Ethics for a Realtor to make false or misleading statements against a competitor. The word competitor was changed to real estate professional in the Code of Ethics.
Here are a couple of questions that come to mind.
1) Who are considered real estate professionals?
2) Shouldn’t we use that standard for everyone?
The first question is a good one. Are the real estate professionals only those with a license? Home inspectors in Hawaii for examples do not have licenses. Are they real estate professionals? The tongue in cheek question would be are those who are acting unprofessional included?
The bigger question is shouldn’t we use that standard for everyone? Making a false or misleading statement about anyone is wrong whether our Code of Ethics says so or not. In Hawaii we have a phrase, “No Talk Stink.”
The other day, I caught myself blurting out a negative comment about a lender, when I heard someone mention their name. I recently had two extremely bad transactions with that lender and a few others in the past. I kind of snapped when I heard their name. Not a good thing, it was not one of my prouder moments. What I said was not a violation of the Code, because nothing that came out of my mouth was false or misleading. I regretted saying it and apologized. I was not as we say in Hawaii “pono.”
Even though our Code of Ethics only speaks to how we talk about other real estate professionals, I believe we should never say anything false or misleading about anyone. Do you think politicians and their campaigns should also be held to that standard?
My final thought is that the Code of Ethics is a set of minimum standards. A professional never strives for the minimum.