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Submit My Offer, Or Else! A Matter of Ethics…

Submit My Offer, Or Else! A Matter of Ethics…

So I get a call from a gentleman on one of my bank owned properties. Then a voicemail. Then a text. Then another call. (I’m out showing.) I nicely text him that I’ll call him back shortly, as I’m finishing up with a client. He called me 20 minutes later and says, “You didn’t call me back.” Ugh…  The conversation goes something like this:

Him: The house needs a new roof, there’s a hole.

Me: No there’s not. (It was repaired/replaced, almost seamless.)

Him: Yes there is. There’s a leak in the house.  I saw it. (mind you, he hasn’t been in the house.)

Me: No there’s not.

Him: And there was a fire in the electric.

Me: No there wasn’t.

Him: Yes there was.

Me: No there wasn’t. What makes you think there was?

Him: I saw through the window.  Burnt wires. (not a burn ANYWHERE, no wires LEFT!)

Now let me tell you, you can’t see ANYTHING through the windows of this house, the gas seals are all blown. I’m getting a bit annoyed at this point. So he asks is if I can show him the house NOW. I explain it’s getting dark and there’s no power on. He says he lives 3 blocks away. I do not. I agreed to drive to meet him. Walks in the door…

Him: There’s no heat.

Me: Nope, there’s no AC, either.

Him: The house has septic, doesn’t work, no good.

Me:Yup, but you can hook into sewer 200 feet away for a quarter of the price…

Him: There’s well water, no good.

Me: Yep but public water is right there at the curb.

Him: The roof is bad.

Me: PLEASE, let’s not start that again…

He asks how much the other offer is that’s on the table. I explain that I can’t tell him that, it’s illegal. “You can tell me!” he says. I asked him what number he’s thinking. It’s lower than the present offer that’s on the table. He then starts back at square one and starts to plead his case again, I explained that it’s not ME he has to convince, it’s the bank.

Him: But the house needs $60,000 in work.

Me: No it doesn’t, but what’s your point?

I explain the house is priced with the needed repairs already taken into account.

“I won’t pay that much,” he says. “Well, somebody else might,” I stated. “Nobody will!” he says.

Really? I explained that my other one last month went to a highest and best and sold for $13,000 over asking. I then explain that my job is to submit your offer to the bank. Again, it’s not ME that you have to convince, it’s the bank. He says, “Well, you’ll do that for me.”  I then have to explain to him that that is how the bank came up with the price in the first place, I already DID explain all of that to them. He then says, “Fine, I’ll have my home inspection, and I’ll demand a price reduction.” I then have to explain that the chances of that happening are remote. He’s buying the house as is.

He says, “I came directly to you so I can get the best price!”  I explain to him that he needs to understand that just because HE won’t pay that price doesn’t mean that somebody ELSE won’t., “I know the house is in bad shape.” I explain, “Hey, I’d love nothing more than to tell you this house. I don’t get paid if I don’t sell the house.” He gets annoyed, and says to just submit his offer. I explained that it’s less than the other offer on the table, he says, “Either you submit it or I’ll get another agent that will! You have to submit my offer!” I say okay, fine, & I did. We go to a highest and best, and what do you think happens? He loses to another person who pays more than list price.

Whose fault is it that he didn’t get the house? According to him, it’s mine. He says I didn’t explain how bad the house was to the bank. I had to explain to him that the house, like anything else, it is only worth what YOU’RE willing to pay for it. And the house was worth it to somebody else. He then yells at me that I was supposed to be representing him, & I didn’t do that because he didn’t get the house. Did I fail to mention that there were eight other offers on the table? And yes, he KNEW that. I now have to give him a lesson in ethics 101, explaining that there is no preferential treatment, and that I could lose my license if I had given it to him.  That HE was being unethical by asking me to tell him what other offers were on the table.  And that no single paycheck is worth my losing my career, my reputation.

So the next time somebody says, “Submit my offer (lowball) OR I’ll get an agent that will!” I will graciously pass them on to “someone that will…”

See below REALTOR Code of Ethics for 2016

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Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
of the National Association of REALTORS®
Effective January 1, 2016

Duties to Clients and Customers
Articles 1-9

Duties to the Public
Articles 10-14

Duties to REALTORS®
Articles 15-17

Where the word REALTORS® is used in this Code and Preamble, it shall be deemed to include REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s.

While the Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by law, in any instance where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the obligations of the law must take precedence.

Preamble
Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.

Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves. REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession. REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. (Amended 1/00)

Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services, REALTORS® urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain.

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal.

In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

Accepting this standard as their own, REALTORS® pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in accordance with the tenets set forth below. (Amended 1/07) [listen]

Duties to Clients and Customers
Article 1 (Case Interpretations for Article 1)

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01) [listen]

Standard of Practice 1-1
REALTORS®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-2
The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted in person, electronically, or through any other means.

The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.

As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer” means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information, services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller, tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)

Standard of Practice 1-3
REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

Standard of Practice 1-4
REALTORS®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might be realized through use of the REALTOR®’s services. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-5
REALTORS® may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent of both parties. (Adopted 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-6
REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 1-7
When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or lease. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 1-8
REALTORS® , acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall submit to buyers/tenants all offers and counter-offers until acceptance but have no obligation to continue to show properties to their clients after an offer has been accepted unless otherwise agreed in writing. REALTORS®, acting as agents or brokers of buyers/tenants, shall recommend that buyers/tenants obtain the advice of legal counsel if there is a question as to whether a pre-existing contract has been terminated. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 1-9
The obligation of REALTORS® to preserve confidential information (as defined by state law) provided by their clients in the course of any agency relationship or non-agency relationship recognized by law continues after termination of agency relationships or any non-agency relationships recognized by law. REALTORS® shall not knowingly, during or following the termination of professional relationships with their clients:

reveal confidential information of clients; or
use confidential information of clients to the disadvantage of clients; or
use confidential information of clients for the REALTOR®’s advantage or the advantage of third parties unless:
a) clients consent after full disclosure; or
b) REALTORS® are required by court order; or
c) it is the intention of a client to commit a crime and the information is necessary to prevent the crime; or
d) it is necessary to defend a REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s employees or associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.
Information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential information under this Code of Ethics. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/01)

Standard of Practice 1-10
REALTORS® shall, consistent with the terms and conditions of their real estate licensure and their property management agreement, competently manage the property of clients with due regard for the rights, safety and health of tenants and others lawfully on the premises. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/00)

Standard of Practice 1-11
REALTORS® who are employed to maintain or manage a client’s property shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable efforts to protect it against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses. (Adopted 1/95)

Standard of Practice 1-12
When entering into listing contracts, REALTORS® must advise sellers/landlords of:

the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation and the amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents, buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized non-agency capacities;
the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of buyers/tenants; and
any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g. buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)
Standard of Practice 1-13
When entering into buyer/tenant agreements, REALTORS® must advise potential clients of:

the REALTOR®’s company policies regarding cooperation;
the amount of compensation to be paid by the client;
the potential for additional or offsetting compensation from other brokers, from the seller or landlord, or from other parties;
any potential for the buyer/tenant representative to act as a disclosed dual agent, e.g. listing broker, subagent, landlord’s agent, etc., and
the possibility that sellers or sellers’ representatives may not treat the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential unless confidentiality is required by law, regulation, or by any confidentiality agreement between the parties. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/06)
Standard of Practice 1-14
Fees for preparing appraisals or other valuations shall not be contingent upon the amount of the appraisal or valuation. (Adopted 1/02)

Standard of Practice 1-15
REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, REALTORS® shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker. (Adopted 1/03, Amended 1/09)

Standard of Practice 1-16
REALTORS® shall not use, or permit or enable others to use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller. (Adopted 1/12)

Article 2 (Case Interpretations for Article 2)

REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or non-agency relationships as defined by state law. (Amended 1/00) [listen]

Standard of Practice 2-1
REALTORS® shall only be obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors reasonably apparent to someone with expertise in those areas required by their real estate licensing authority. Article 2 does not impose upon the REALTOR® the obligation of expertise in other professional or technical disciplines. (Amended 1/96)

Standard of Practice 2-2
(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-12 1/98)

Standard of Practice 2-3
(Renumbered as Standard of Practice 1-13 1/98)

Standard of Practice 2-4
REALTORS® shall not be parties to the naming of a false consideration in any document, unless it be the naming of an obviously nominal consideration.

Standard of Practice 2-5
Factors defined as “non-material” by law or regulation or which are expressly referenced in law or regulation as not being subject to disclosure are considered not “pertinent” for purposes of Article 2. (Adopted 1/93)

Article 3 (Case Interpretations for Article 3)

REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker. (Amended 1/95) [listen]

Standard of Practice 3-1
REALTORS®, acting as exclusive agents or brokers of sellers/ landlords, establish the terms and conditions of offers to cooperate. Unless expressly indicated in offers to cooperate, cooperating brokers may not assume that the offer of cooperation includes an offer of compensation. Terms of compensation, if any, shall be ascertained by cooperating brokers before beginning efforts to accept the offer of cooperation. (Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 3-2
Any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be communicated to the other REALTOR® prior to the time that REALTOR®
submits an offer to purchase/lease the property. After a REALTOR® has submitted an offer to purchase or lease property, the listing broker may
not attempt to unilaterally modify the offered compensation with respect to that cooperative transaction. (Amended 1/14)

Standard of Practice 3-3
Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the listing broker and cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to change cooperative compensation. (Adopted 1/94)

Standard of Practice 3-4
REALTORS®, acting as listing brokers, have an affirmative obligation to disclose the existence of dual or variable rate commission arrangements (i.e., listings where one amount of commission is payable if the listing broker’s firm is the procuring cause of sale/lease and a different amount of commission is payable if the sale/lease results through the efforts of the seller/ landlord or a cooperating broker). The listing broker shall, as soon as practical, disclose the existence of such arrangements to potential cooperating brokers and shall, in response to inquiries from cooperating brokers, disclose the differential that would result in a cooperative transaction or in a sale/lease that results through the efforts of the seller/landlord. If the cooperating broker is a buyer/tenant representative, the buyer/tenant representative must disclose such information to their client before the client makes an offer to purchase or lease. (Amended 1/02)

Standard of Practice 3-5
It is the obligation of subagents to promptly disclose all pertinent facts to the principal’s agent prior to as well as after a purchase or lease agreement is executed. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 3-6
REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 3-7
When seeking information from another REALTOR® concerning property under a management or listing agreement, REALTORS® shall disclose their REALTOR® status and whether their interest is personal or on behalf of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their relationship with the client. (Amended 1/11)

Standard of Practice 3-8
REALTORS® shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or inspect a listed property. (Amended 11/87)

Standard of Practice 3-9
REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker. (Adopted 1/10)

Standard of Practice 3-10
The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords. (Adopted 1/11)

Article 4 (Case Interpretations for Article 4)

REALTORS® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, REALTORS® shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative. (Amended 1/00) [listen]

Standard of Practice 4-1
For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4 shall be in writing and provided by REALTORS® prior to the signing of any contract. (Adopted 2/86)

Article 5 (Case Interpretations for Article 5)

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties. [listen]

Article 6 (Case Interpretations for Article 6)

REALTORS® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and consent.

When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance, etc.), REALTORS® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real estate referral fees, the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm may receive as a direct result of such recommendation. (Amended 1/99) [listen]

Standard of Practice 6-1
REALTORS® shall not recommend or suggest to a client or a customer the use of services of another organization or business entity in which they have a direct interest without disclosing such interest at the time of the recommendation or suggestion. (Amended 5/88)

Article 7 (Case Interpretations for Article 7)

In a transaction, REALTORS® shall not accept compensation from more than one party, even if permitted by law, without disclosure to all parties and the informed consent of the REALTOR®’s client or clients. (Amended 1/93) [listen]

Article 8 (Case Interpretations for Article 8)

REALTORS® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds, clients’ monies, and other like items. [listen]

Article 9 (Case Interpretations for Article 9)

REALTORS®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04) [listen]

Standard of Practice 9-1
For the protection of all parties, REALTORS® shall use reasonable care to ensure that documents pertaining to the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or amendments. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 9-2
When assisting or enabling a client or customer in establishing a contractual relationship (e.g., listing and representation agreements, purchase agreements, leases, etc.) electronically, REALTORS® shall make reasonable efforts to explain the nature and disclose the specific terms of the contractual relationship being established prior to it being agreed to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)

Duties to the Public
Article 10 (Case Interpretations for Article 10)

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]

Standard of Practice 10-1
When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/06)

Standard of Practice 10-2
When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)

Standard of Practice 10-3
REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/14)

Standard of Practice 10-4
As used in Article 10 “real estate employment practices” relates to employees and independent contractors providing real estate-related services and the administrative and clerical staff directly supporting those individuals. (Adopted 1/00, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06)

Article 11 (Case Interpretations for Article 11)

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/10) [listen]

Standard of Practice 11-1
When REALTORS® prepare opinions of real property value or price they must:

be knowledgeable about the type of property being valued,
have access to the information and resources necessary to formulate an accurate opinion, and
be familiar with the area where the subject property is located
unless lack of any of these is disclosed to the party requesting the opinion in advance.

When an opinion of value or price is prepared other than in pursuit of a listing or to assist a potential purchaser in formulating a purchase offer, the opinion shall include the following unless the party requesting the opinion requires a specific type of report or different data set:

identification of the subject property
date prepared
defined value or price
limiting conditions, including statements of purpose(s) and intended user(s)
any present or contemplated interest, including the possibility of representing the seller/landlord or buyers/tenants
basis for the opinion, including applicable market data
if the opinion is not an appraisal, a statement to that effect
disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s exterior was conducted
disclosure of whether and when a physical inspection of the property’s interior was conducted
disclosure of whether the REALTOR® has any conflicts of interest (Amended 1/14)
Standard of Practice 11-2
The obligations of the Code of Ethics in respect of real estate disciplines other than appraisal shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the standards of competence and practice which clients and the public reasonably require to protect their rights and interests considering the complexity of the transaction, the availability of expert assistance, and, where the REALTOR® is an agent or subagent, the obligations of a fiduciary. (Adopted 1/95)

Standard of Practice 11-3
When REALTORS® provide consultive services to clients which involve advice or counsel for a fee (not a commission), such advice shall be rendered in an objective manner and the fee shall not be contingent on the substance of the advice or counsel given. If brokerage or transaction services are to be provided in addition to consultive services, a separate compensation may be paid with prior agreement between the client and REALTOR®. (Adopted 1/96)

Standard of Practice 11-4
The competency required by Article 11 relates to services contracted for between REALTORS® and their clients or customers; the duties expressly imposed by the Code of Ethics; and the duties imposed by law or regulation. (Adopted 1/02)

Article 12 (Case Interpretations for Article 12)

REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08) [listen]

Standard of Practice 12-1
REALTORS® may use the term “free” and similar terms in their advertising and in other representations provided that all terms governing availability of the offered product or service are clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

Standard of Practice 12-2
REALTORS® may represent their services as “free” or without cost even if they expect to receive compensation from a source other than their client provided that the potential for the REALTOR® to obtain a benefit from a third party is clearly disclosed at the same time. (Amended 1/97)

Standard of Practice 12-3
The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR® making the offer. However, REALTORS® must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR®’s offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of Practice. (Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 12-4
REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 12-5
Realtors® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that Realtor®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/16)

Standard of Practice 12-6
REALTORS®, when advertising unlisted real property for sale/lease in which they have an ownership interest, shall disclose their status as both owners/landlords and as REALTORS® or real estate licensees. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 12-7
Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

Standard of Practice 12-8
The obligation to present a true picture in representations to the public includes information presented, provided, or displayed on REALTORS®’ websites. REALTORS® shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that information on their websites is current. When it becomes apparent that information on a REALTOR®’s website is no longer current or accurate, REALTORS® shall promptly take corrective action. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-9
REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-10
REALTORS®’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from:

engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or
to otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/13)
Standard of Practice 12-11
REALTORS® intending to share or sell consumer information gathered via the Internet shall disclose that possibility in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

Standard of Practice 12-12
REALTORS® shall not:

use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or
register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture. (Adopted 1/08)
Standard of Practice 12-13
The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

Article 13 (Case Interpretations for Article 13)

REALTORS® shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law and shall recommend that legal counsel be obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it. [listen]

Article 14 (Case Interpretations for Article 14)

If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to cooperate in any other way, in any professional standards proceeding or investigation, REALTORS® shall place all pertinent facts before the proper tribunals of the Member Board or affiliated institute, society, or council in which membership is held and shall take no action to disrupt or obstruct such processes. (Amended 1/99) [listen]

Standard of Practice 14-1
REALTORS® shall not be subject to disciplinary proceedings in more than one Board of REALTORS® or affiliated institute, society or council in which they hold membership with respect to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics relating to the same transaction or event. (Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 14-2
REALTORS® shall not make any unauthorized disclosure or dissemination of the allegations, findings, or decision developed in connection with an ethics hearing or appeal or in connection with an arbitration hearing or procedural review. (Amended 1/92)

Standard of Practice 14-3
REALTORS® shall not obstruct the Board’s investigative or professional standards proceedings by instituting or threatening to institute actions for libel, slander or defamation against any party to a professional standards proceeding or their witnesses based on the filing of an arbitration request, an ethics complaint, or testimony given before any tribunal. (Adopted 11/87, Amended 1/99)

Standard of Practice 14-4
REALTORS® shall not intentionally impede the Board’s investigative or disciplinary proceedings by filing multiple ethics complaints based on the same event or transaction. (Adopted 11/88)

Duties to REALTORS®
Article 15 (Case Interpretations for Article 15)

REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices. (Amended 1/12) [listen]

Standard of Practice 15-1
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints. (Adopted 1/00)

Standard of Practice 15-2
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses and their business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/12)

Standard of Practice 15-3
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their business practices includes the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading. (Adopted 1/10, Amended 1/12)

Article 16 (Case Interpretations for Article 16)

REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients. (Amended 1/04) [listen]

Standard of Practice 16-1
Article 16 is not intended to prohibit aggressive or innovative business practices which are otherwise ethical and does not prohibit disagreements with other REALTORS® involving commission, fees, compensation or other forms of payment or expenses. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95)

Standard of Practice 16-2
Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from making general announcements to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another REALTOR®. A general telephone canvass, general mailing or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given profession, business, club, or organization, or other classification or group is deemed “general” for purposes of this standard. (Amended 1/04)

Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types of solicitations:

First, telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively listed their property with another REALTOR®, and

Second, mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with another REALTOR® when such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified through compilations of current listings, “for sale” or “for rent” signs, or other sources of information required by Article 3 and Multiple Listing Service rules to be made available to other REALTORS® under offers of subagency or cooperation. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-3
Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for property not subject to other brokers’ exclusive agreements. However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-4
REALTORS® shall not solicit a listing which is currently listed exclusively with another broker. However, if the listing broker, when asked by the REALTOR®, refuses to disclose the expiration date and nature of such listing; i.e., an exclusive right to sell, an exclusive agency, open listing, or other form of contractual agreement between the listing broker and the client, the REALTOR® may contact the owner to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might take a future listing or, alternatively, may take a listing to become effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive listing. (Amended 1/94)

Standard of Practice 16-5
REALTORS® shall not solicit buyer/tenant agreements from buyers/ tenants who are subject to exclusive buyer/tenant agreements. However, if asked by a REALTOR®, the broker refuses to disclose the expiration date of the exclusive buyer/tenant agreement, the REALTOR® may contact the buyer/tenant to secure such information and may discuss the terms upon which the REALTOR® might enter into a future buyer/tenant agreement or, alternatively, may enter into a buyer/tenant agreement to become effective upon the expiration of any existing exclusive buyer/tenant agreement. (Adopted 1/94, Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-6
When REALTORS® are contacted by the client of another REALTOR® regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service, and REALTORS® have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-7
The fact that a prospect has retained a REALTOR® as an exclusive representative or exclusive broker in one or more past transactions does not preclude other REALTORS® from seeking such prospect’s future business. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-8
The fact that an exclusive agreement has been entered into with a REALTOR® shall not preclude or inhibit any other REALTOR® from entering into a similar agreement after the expiration of the prior agreement. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-9
REALTORS®, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-10
REALTORS®, acting as buyer or tenant representatives or brokers, shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker at first contact and shall provide written confirmation of that disclosure to the seller/landlord’s representative or broker not later than execution of a purchase agreement or lease. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-11
On unlisted property, REALTORS® acting as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers shall disclose that relationship to the seller/landlord at first contact for that buyer/tenant and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to the seller/landlord not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

REALTORS® shall make any request for anticipated compensation from the seller/ landlord at first contact. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-12
REALTORS®, acting as representatives or brokers of sellers/landlords or as subagents of listing brokers, shall disclose that relationship to buyers/tenants as soon as practicable and shall provide written confirmation of such disclosure to buyers/tenants not later than execution of any purchase or lease agreement. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-13
All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.

Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, REALTORS® shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement. REALTORS® shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-14
REALTORS® are free to enter into contractual relationships or to negotiate with sellers/ landlords, buyers/tenants or others who are not subject to an exclusive agreement but shall not knowingly obligate them to pay more than one commission except with their informed consent. (Amended 1/98)

Standard of Practice 16-15
In cooperative transactions REALTORS® shall compensate cooperating REALTORS® (principal brokers) and shall not compensate nor offer to compensate, directly or indirectly, any of the sales licensees employed by or affiliated with other REALTORS® without the prior express knowledge and consent of the cooperating broker.

Standard of Practice 16-16
REALTORS®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers nor make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-17
REALTORS®, acting as subagents or as buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not attempt to extend a listing broker’s offer of cooperation and/or compensation to other brokers without the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/04)

Standard of Practice 16-18
REALTORS® shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services or through other offers of cooperation to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers or to create buyer/tenant relationships with listing brokers’ clients, unless such use is authorized by listing brokers. (Amended 1/02)

Standard of Practice 16-19
Signs giving notice of property for sale, rent, lease, or exchange shall not be placed on property without consent of the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 16-20
REALTORS®, prior to or after their relationship with their current firm is terminated, shall not induce clients of their current firm to cancel exclusive contractual agreements between the client and that firm. This does not preclude REALTORS® (principals) from establishing agreements with their associated licensees governing assignability of exclusive agreements. (Adopted 1/98, Amended 1/10)

Article 17 (Case Interpretations for Article 17)

In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS® (principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their relationship as REALTORS®, the REALTORS® shall mediate the dispute if the Board requires its members to mediate. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, or if mediation is not required, REALTORS® shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies of their Board rather than litigate the matter.

In the event clients of REALTORS® wish to mediate or arbitrate contractual disputes arising out of real estate transactions, REALTORS® shall mediate or arbitrate those disputes in accordance with the policies of the Board, provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or award.

The obligation to participate in mediation or arbitration contemplated by this Article includes the obligation of REALTORS® (principals) to cause their firms to mediate or arbitrate and be bound by any resulting agreement or award. (Amended 1/12) [listen]

Standard of Practice 17-1
The filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw from it by REALTORS® in an arbitrable matter constitutes a refusal to arbitrate. (Adopted 2/86)

Standard of Practice 17-2
Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to mediate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to mediate through the Board’s facilities. The fact that all parties decline to participate in mediation does not relieve REALTORS® of the duty to arbitrate.

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to arbitrate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to arbitrate before the Board. (Amended 1/12)

Standard of Practice 17-3
REALTORS®, when acting solely as principals in a real estate transaction, are not obligated to arbitrate disputes with other REALTORS® absent a specific written agreement to the contrary. (Adopted 1/96)

Standard of Practice 17-4
Specific non-contractual disputes that are subject to arbitration pursuant to Article 17 are:

Where a listing broker has compensated a cooperating broker and another cooperating broker subsequently claims to be the procuring cause of the sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the listing broker and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the seller or landlord and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the buyer or tenant and, as a result, the listing broker reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97)

Where two or more listing brokers claim entitlement to compensation pursuant to open listings with a seller or landlord who agrees to participate in arbitration (or who requests arbitration) and who agrees to be bound by the decision. In cases where one of the listing brokers has been compensated by the seller or landlord, the other listing broker, as complainant, may name the first listing broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed between the brokers. (Adopted 1/97)

Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases arbitration shall be between the listing broker and the buyer or tenant representative and the amount in dispute is limited to the amount of the reduction of commission to which the listing broker agreed. (Adopted 1/05)
Standard of Practice 17-5
The obligation to arbitrate established in Article 17 includes disputes between REALTORS® (principals) in different states in instances where, absent an established inter–association arbitration agreement, the REALTOR® (principal) requesting arbitration agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of, travel to, participate in, and be bound by any resulting award rendered in arbitration conducted by the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association, in instances where the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association determines that an arbitrable issue exists. (Adopted 1/07)

Explanatory Notes
The reader should be aware of the following policies which have been approved by the Board of Directors of the National Association:

In filing a charge of an alleged violation of the Code of Ethics by a REALTOR®, the charge must read as an alleged violation of one or more Articles of the Code. Standards of Practice may be cited in support of the charge.

The Standards of Practice serve to clarify the ethical obligations imposed by the various Articles and supplement, and do not substitute for, the Case Interpretations in Interpretations of the Code of Ethics.

Modifications to existing Standards of Practice and additional new Standards of Practice are approved from time to time. Readers are cautioned to ensure that the most recent publications are utilized.

Copyright 2016, National Association of REALTORS®, All rights reserved. Form No. 166-288 (01/14 VG)

In this section
Governing Documents
NAR Constitution & Bylaws
The Code of Ethics
Governance
Policy
Related
Code of Ethics
Code of Ethics & Professional Standards
Code of Ethics Training

Most Popular
The Code of Ethics
The RSPS Certification
2016 Is the Year to Complete Code of Ethics Training
Forecast: Modest Increase in 2016 Home Sales
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Is This House HAUNTED???

Is This House HAUNTED???

About 3 years ago, I took my now best friend Loretta out to go look at a few foreclosures as we were starting to look for a home for her and her family. This particular house was quite old, nestled in a corner in a close by historic town called Egg Harbor City. 405 Atlantic Ave.. It was a run down, but still beautiful gothic white home with wrought iron fence and ivy everywhere. Once we were inside, there were some really creepy areas inside this house. Pocket doors on some of the rooms, every other room had a very weird 1920’s type of bathroom, claw foot tubs, all intact.

 

It seemed as if it had been used at some point as a boarding house. Another room that looks like half a ball room. We went upstairs and saw layers upon layers of wallpaper that had been peeled back, rooms that were severely dilapidated, but a ton of beautiful woodwork. Everything was going great, until we got to the basement. Once we got down to the basement, Loretta wasn’t looking too well. Looked literally like the color was draining from her face. I looked at her and asked her if she was okay, she just said, “We need to go.  I headed for the stairs, she stood there for a moment, staring at the door in the corner. She looked at the door as she backed up to follow me toward the stairs. Now at the time, I didn’t know Loretta very well. She later explained that she’s sensitive to certain things, and when we got to that part of the basement, she felt like somebody was sitting on her chest. She became uncomfortable to the point that she couldn’t breathe…  We had poked around a bit more, but that basement had a room with chains attached to the walls…  Ath that point, I wanted out….

I had always been intrigued by haunted homes, but never really experienced anything strange. After going home later on that day and looking up the address, came to find that the home had been in an orphanage many many years ago, and what appeared to be like an oversized workshop outside was actually their schoolhouse.  The listing read:

“Estate that was built in 1866 for the orphans of the civil war.”  Then,   “Previous uses include home for widows and orphans of the civil war, boarding home, and insurance office. Residential with commercial use. Original carriage house on site. Being sold strictly as is, needs total renovation. cash or owner will finance . Basement. fireplace.” 

Back in the Depression era, many people had live there, some had passed away there. Lots of misery.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I had to take a couple that I had not met up till that day to go look at 4 houses in a local neighborhood. The first three went well, but the houses didn’t look that great. We get to the last one, and we go to open the front door and walk in. I was the last to enter, and as I did, the door slammed shut behind me. As it did, the wife, who was ahead of me, had suddenly caught such a chill that she actually shook it off in front of me.

Now normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, except for a couple of things. One, it was about 92 degrees out, no breeze whatsoever. And 2, the house was like a sauna, there was no air conditioning on, there was no power. She started to head for the front door and said, “I’m leaving,” and she had barely walked into the home. Her husband brushed it off and said, “Oh come on.”  We did a quick walk through on the lower level, and then we went to go upstairs. As soon as we got to the top step, we heard the front door slam down stairs. The only problem with THAT? It had been closed shut when we had headed upstairs. The wife looked at the husband, and said, “I’ll be waiting outside.”  I heard her fumbling with the lock and mumbling under her breath because she couldn’t get the door to open. I walk downstairs, turn the knob and the door opened. She couldn’t have gotten out of that home fast enough!  Have you experienced anything similar?

Tomorrow, Part 2: MY Haunted House…  Stay Tuned!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/4812698/is-this-house-haunted—

Realtor Safety

Realtor Safety

Guys, we’ve all gotten that one creepy phone call from a potential client that “just doesn’t feel right…” You need to go with your gut and protect yourself. Here are just a few tips on realtor safety…

Always let someone know what homes you’re going to show.  Get the client to meet you at your office, and get a copy of photo id and driver’s license.  Get their make and model of car and license plates.   Then, get to your showing early.  Scope out all of the doors and exits in case you need to make a quick getaway.  Keep your cell phone dialed to 911, so that all you’d need to do is hit the send button for help.  Look into the new GPS tracking jewelry.  Just remember, taking these steps might just save your life!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

njrealestatemama

Quickest Ways to Make a Home Buyer Run From Your House

Quickest Ways to Make a Home Buyer Run From Your House

So you want to sell your home. It’s in pretty good shape. It’s clean. Or, at least YOU think so. The house isn’t too out of date. It should be an easy sell, right???

Well, here’s a few things you need to know BEFORE you put your house up for sale. Here are some sure-fire ways to make a potential buyer RUN from your home:

Heavy smells or odors

You home needs to smell clean, fresh, homey. Think inviting scents. Vanilla, baking smells like apple/cinnamon. Try not to cook any fried foods, or oily fish while your home is on the market. Those smells can hang in the house for DAYS. Do you have pets? Pet owners (and yes, I DO have pets) may not smell any pet odors because they’ve grown accustomed to “that smell.” To a non-pet owner, they may walk into your home and smell dog, or worse, a cat’s litterbox. If you have pets, you need to pay close attention to litter boxes, carpet odors, etc..

Dust/Dirt/Cobwebs

Most people are turned off by a dirty home. If your home looks like the cobwebs have been there for 5 years, the first thought in a home buyer’s mind will be, “What ELSE have they not maintained in the house???” Not to mention the fear of what else they mSight find in a closet or basement. Clean EVERYTHING. Steam clean carpets, vaccuum cobwebs, clean your stovetop, pay EXTRA attention to bathtubs. Dirty bathrooms are a HUGE turnoff.clutter

STUFF

Nothing makes a house look smaller than lots of clutter. Kid’s toys, clothes, extra furniture, STUFF. People need to be able to envision THEIR belongings in YOUR home. That’s very hard for them to do if they’re tripping on toys, or piles of papers. You need to get rid of every possible bit of debris that you can. Keep everything off of the floors. Box what you can. Clean out your closets, let people see how much room they have for THEIR belongings.

Paint/Wallpaper

A fresh coat of paint makes EVERYTHING look newer. Cleaner. Brighter. The cheapest, yet best investment for the sale of your home. Pick a nice, soft, neutral color, pleasing to the eye.

Wallpaper? Ugh… You may like it, or love it. But nothing screams work like wallpaper. It’s a pain in the butt to remove. And THEY know that at some point, it will discolor or peel, and it WILL have to be removed. You NEED to take it down.

Pictures, Knick knacks, Personal Items

When people walk into your home, they need to picture themselves living in it with their belongings. Your personal items may make it hard for them to do that. I have walked into homes that had no space on the wall where there WASN’T a picture of some kind. The piano was COVERED with frames. Every shelf, even the fireplace. You need to try to de-personalize your home as best you can.

Old Light Fixtures

These can make a home look REALLY out of date. Good news is, it won’t break the wallet. You can go to Lowes or Home Depot and get really nice fixtures that are inexpensive, and if they’re on clearance, bonus!

No Curb Appeal

The first time ANYone sees the exterior of your home is on the drive by or on the listing photo. First impressions are EVERYTHING. Pay attention to the yard. The fixes don’t have to break your budget. Mulch is inexpensive, but freshens up the appearance of ANY home. Trim hedges and stray branches on trees. Keep the lawn mowed. Clean your windows. Maybe a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Power wash the exterior.

Being IN the Home For a Showing

Please. PLEASE… Do whatever you can NOT to be in the home when it’s being shown. People feel pressured to leave, as if they’re spending too long in the house. They also can’t speak freely on their feelings on the home, as they may be afraid of offending the owner. It’s fine to wait outside in case they have any questions that you might be able to answer, but you need to let them walk through the home freely, for as long as they need.

By paying attention to these home buyer turn offs, you’ll be that many steps closer to the easiest possible sale of your home.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

http://www.buynjshorehome.com/general/quickest-ways-to-make-a-home-buyer-run-from-your-house-194/

BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR

BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR

Discount Brokerages: RUN!

Have you decided to sell your home?  After a long three years, interest rates are up to 4%, and housing inventory is down 5.24% for the second month in a row.  National median listing prices increased 5.27 percent. The market IS coming back, and it’s a better time to sell.

That being said, BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR.mort

When you hire a Realtor to sell your home, there is much work involved to get your home sold.  How much work we, as Realtors perform, will determine how quickly your home gets sold.  Pricing your home accurately.  Advertising your home.  Open houses.  Internet presence.  Accessibility.  CONTACT with your agent.  The list goes on…

You should interview any potential Realtor that you consider.  You will need to come to an agreement with your agent as to his or her commission for their services.  An average rate of commission is 6% of the sales price of the home. You will negotiate a commission that is agreeable to you both.  Make SURE to confirm with your agent what he/she will do for you to facilitate the sale of your home, before you hire ANYONE. Why?  Because you may experience the Discount Realtor…

The Discount Realtor will come in and tell you that they’ll take your listing for 2 or 3%.  They’ll tell you the will “get your home sold for you, just same way that a 6% Realtor will.”  But when you ask them what they will do for you, the conversation will shift…  “Well, for 2 or 3%, I can put your home in the MLS.”  They will tell you they will do it cheap to get their foot in the door.  Now, ask them these questions:

Will you advertise my home? WHERE?

Will you create a website for my home?

Can people access information about my home from their smartphone?

Can other agents schedule showings at any time, even later in the evening AFTER your office closes?

Will you do open houses at my home?

Will I get a list of the times my house has been shown?

Will you provide me feedback from each showing?

How often will I hear from you until my home is sold?

Chances are, you will get either one of two or three responses…  A befuddled look, ALOT of stammering, or a bunch of head nods, yesssing you to death.  But don’t bet on it.  Not one bit of it.  These Realtors will take your listing, put it up on the MLS and walk away.  Somebody will buy your home.  Eventually.  But don’t expect your Discount Realtor to be proactive about it…  He or she probably has 50 of 60 other listings, if not more.  How much attention do you think YOUR home will get?  ASK your agent how many listings they have.  Look online to confirm on Zillow.com, it’s easily found.

Here at BHHS Fox and Roach Northfield, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we can do ALL of the above for you.  We have systems that will create a website for your home, virtual home tour videos, smartphone apps that people can get access to info on your home while they’re parked at the curb!  Showings can be scheduled by phone by any agent until 11pm, long after the office closes.  No missing ANY potential buyers.  We can give you feedback from showings of your home when the showing agent submits it.  We can do open houses at your convenience, and give your home the attention it deserves.   Call me at (609)646-1900, and let me show you how to get YOUR home sold quickly!

-Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

http://www.buynjshorehome.com/general/beware-the-discount-realtor-168/

 

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Number 10: Dream on!

What, exactly, is your ultimate dream home? You need to figure out all of your must-haves. Do you have to have a garage? Do you have to have a basement? Do you have to have a pool? Could you settle for a home with a big yard and build the pool later? You need to have a really good grip on your must haves, because they will have a big bearing on your price.

Number 9: Money money money!

Do you have any clue how much home you really can afford ? Have you spoken with a mortgage lender yet? Do you have any money put away in the bank? Do you have a budget set, so that you know where your money is going out to every month? These are honest questions that you’re going to have to deal with to determine how much house you can afford.

Number 8: Location location location!

Okay, you know what state you’d like to live in, you may even know what city you’d like to live in. But do you know the area? Do you know how safe the area is? Do you have any idea of whether it is convenient shopping, public transportation, work, or whatever else you might need? (Aw, come on, don’t even try to tell me the convenience of fast food and restaurants isn’t even a consideration, lol! It was for me, lol!)

Number 7: See here!

So can you see yourself totally living in this place? You think you found THE ONE, but, when you stand in the home with your family, can you actually see or feel yourself living there?? Do you absolutely hate the basement? Is it something that you can easily change? Again, these are questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. If this is going to be your forever home, you need to address these thoughts now with your family.

Number 6. Size MATTERS!

Okay, now honestly, do you have enough room to move around? Do you have children? Will you be possibly having more children? You never know, you might need more bedrooms at some point. If the house is short on bedrooms, you’re gonna need more livable space that you can convert into bedrooms. You need to know if this is a home that you can grow into, or just a temporary 5 to 7 year home that you know you will have to sell to buy something bigger. That can be a headache down the road. Wouldn’t it possibly be better to make sure you have a big enough home now?

Number 5. Work work work?

Okay, how much work will the home need to bring it to where you want it to be? Let’say the entire house is carpeted. You want hardwood. Have you priced out what it will cost to replace all of the carpet? How about the kitchen? The bathrooms? Have you looked into how much it will cost to replace those? Make sure you have those numbers in place so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to buy that particular home.

Number 4. Get a Home Inspection!

You’ve gone through the house, it’s absolutely gorgeous, not a hair out of place. That’s what you can see. But what about what you can’t see? Super important that you get a home inspection. The home inspector nose to look for certain things that you would never find on your role, unless you’re well-versed in home buying. Foundation issues, roofing issues leakage issues, electrical issues, this is what your home inspector will look for. It is well worth the money for your peace of mind, and keeping your sanity. that $400 that you pay now can potentially save you thousands on issues that you can’t see that will crop up later

Number 3. Permanent Ink?

Now comes the simple question: Is this home permanent? Are you absolutely sure that you have enough space for your growing family? Does everybody have their own space to retreat to within the house? Can you see yourself living here for the rest of your life? As long as you’re sure, take the plunge!

Number 2. Flexibility!

Don’t be impossible to please! If you set the bar too high, you may be in for a disappointment. You want the acreage, the 2 car garage, the basement, the pool AND the shed? And for HOW much? Just be ready for a little compromise. Without having a new construction home built, you may not find all of that in one nice, neat little package. Can you get a pool next year? Can you buy a house with an unfinished basement, and finish it later? Then everybody’shappy!

And the Number 1 Tip… Homework homework homework!!!!!

GET EDUCATED. Learn the home buying process. Find a good Realtor. Get your credit scores up to snuff. Get a good mortgage lender. Find all of your conveniences. Drive the neighborhood at different times of day BEFORE you put in an offer.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Today we’re going to cover the most common kinds of home loans that are used today. Depending upon your financial situation, your income, your credit score, the kind of house you’re buying, how much money you need to borrow, how much down payment money you have, the price of the home and the taxes on the home will determine which mortgage would work best for you and your situation.

First, we have FHA financing. These are run by the Federal Housing Administration. There are tons of advantages of getting an FHA loan. First off, there’s a low down payment; you can go in with only a three and a half percent down payment. Then, they’re a little bit more lenient with credit scores. With other financing, you must have a 640 credit score to be able to qualify. With FHA, some companies will finance you with a 620 credit score, some 600, and now there are some that will finance you with as low as a 580 credit score you may need to shop around, but they do exist. I’ve just found one that will do a 560! You can find these. You can get FHA financing not only for home purchase, but also for home renovation, which is another bonus. They usually run 30 year fixed rate, you can also get 15 year.

Then we have conventional mortgages. Those are run by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You need to have good credit, 640 minimum, but you have more financing options available to you. There are terms for 10 to 30 years, and you can get them for home purchase and renovation and home refinancing. Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling lucky, you can also get 5, 7, 10 year adjustable rate. The only disadvantage is that with interest rates so low, your payments can only go up. It’s a scary thought, lol!

Then we have USDA Rural Housing loans. There’s a few different ways that the USDA goes when it comes to mortgages.You can get in with zero money down, because they will roll your down payment into the total mortgageprice. All you need to have is closing costs. Think about it, that’s 3.5% of the purchase price (for your down payment) that you’ll now have left in your bank account to put towards closing costs! Awesome for people looking to buy with no cash out of pocket. They have a specific criteria that you need to meet, you need a good credit score, about 620 to 640. The only disadvantage is that you’re limited to certain areas thay qualify. There’s actually a population maximim number that considers a town to be rural to qualify. You can go to the USDA website and check it out here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/hsf_sfh.html. These loans are good for single-family homes and condominiums. There are a number of loan financing programs that they have, go through their website and call the office most local to your area. You can check to see if the home you want to buy is in an eligible area, and you can also check to see if YOU meet the criteria, as a buyer, on the website.

Then, last but not least, we have VA loans. Those are run by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. These are awesome for veterans. There are 0 money down payments, you can get super low payments and there is no PMI. You can use these to buy a home or refinance a home mortgage. Some mortgages are assumable. That means that you, the home purchaser, can assume the payments that are left on the owners mortgage, as long as the lender agrees to it. That could save you a TON of money on a house! Of course, these are limited to eligible veterans.

So there you have it. Those are the most popular and common mortgage options that you will more than likely face when you go to buy your home. Check with your mortgage lender for the best possible way to go for your circumstances. So many options, and low interest rates, there’s never been a better time to buy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.
Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Real estate is a tough business.  It’s even tougher to negotiate a deal.  It’s even worse when you’re having your arm twisted by a stubborn  Realtor on the other side of the deal, lol!  You need to make sure you always hold your ground with your agent to negotiate FOR you, and if not, well, you need to get a new Realtor.

Sometimes, there is truly an art to successfully negotiating your home purchase.  Like Kenny Rogers said (insert music HERE) “You gotta know when to hold ’em… know when to fold ’em… know when to walk away, know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table; there’s time enough to count it when the dealin’s done…”

Poker Face

Depending on which side you’re on, don’t be too quick to show your cards!  Show the seller that you’re in love with their house, they’ll hold out for fulpurchase price.  Show the buyer that you’re desperate to sell, you’ll lose your pants.  They’ll lowball you and hold out till you buckle.  Negotiating a deal is all about having a poker face.  A REEEEEEALLLY GOOD ONE.

Now, notice that when I quoted the song above, I could have stopped after the word “run,” but i didn’t?   Well, for all the negotiation you’re worth, sometimes the deal dies anyway.  One poor woman at my office, one of the coolest people there, is on her third re-negotiation on the same property!  Still hasn’t closed yet!  On a short sale negotiation, even if the buyer and the seller negotiate a deal, now you gotta negotiate with the BANK.  You know the saying, it ain’t over ’til the…. ???  No truer words when it comes to a short sale…

That being said, if negotiation ISN’T one of your strong points, I strongly suggest that you find an agent that’s a trained professional at it.  You need somebody to be in your corner.  Good comparables for the deal are a must have for truly accurate argument of asking price.  And lastly, BE PREPARED.  Sometimes, it’s good, sometimes it can be bad, and it can potentially get ugly.  But you want that house, so be prepared,be patient and trust your agent.

THIS is one of my FAVORITE spoofs of the art of persuasion, I mean negotiation, lol!  Enjoy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Okay, so you want to sell your home, awesome! Whether or not you realize it, there are many factors that will determine how much your house will sell for, if it sells at all. Your home needs to fit in with the Super 6. Okay, so what the hell is the Super 6? Let’s break it down…

 

1. Location
Like it or not, your home’s location will have a huge bearing on how much it will sell for. There are a ton of things that go into this. How close is it to public transportation? How close is it to local shopping? How safe is the area? Is there pride of ownership in the surrounding blocks? Is there any blight?

 

2. Condition of the Home
Ok, come on guys, this is a common sense factor. What kind of shape is the home in? Is it well kept? Does it show pride of ownership? Are your kitchen and bathroom old or dated? Do you have wallpaper on the walls? How about your rugs? Does the carpeting have permanent stains? What about odors in your home? Do you have pets? Is there an odor alerting your visitors when they walk through the door that you own pets? What about your roof? Are there any spots on the ceilings showing that there are roof leaks or issues? What you need to keep in mind here he said anything that is visibly wrong with your home becomes bargaining leverage on the purchase price. You will need to make sure that your home needs little to no repair to keep negotiations to a minimum.

 

3. Price
Ok, this one’s a no-brainer. If you don’t price your house properly, it won’t sell. It just wont. People will not pay $10,000 more to buy your home when they can have a house in better shape and cheaper for far less. You need to sit down with your Realtor and come to a price based on comparables. You must compare the homes apples to apples. Your agent will bring you copies of active listings of homes for sale with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, etc.. They will also show you listings of homes that have sold within the last 6 months, so that you will have the most accurate idea of where you should be priced to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar.

 

4. Market Conditions
Obviously, the real estate market has been all over the place for the last couple of years. Some towns get hit harder than others depending on the circumstances. For instance, we are very close to Atlantic City, New Jersey. As you know, many casinos have closed. Thousands are out of work. Many cannot find jobs and are collecting

English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night
English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

unemployment. Will some of those people lose their homes? Maybe, maybe not. But what that does mean is that there will be more short sales. That can have a direct bearing on what you can ask as a selling price for your home.

 

5. Financing.
The same way the housing market is affected by certain conditions, so is home mortgage financing. If you remember, back in the day during the real estate boom, interest rates were at 13%. Now, you can get mortgage financing for a home at an average of 4%!

 

6. Agent Savvy
You can have all of the first five criteria, but if your agent sucks lemons, none of it matters. Your agent needs to be savvy enough to negotiate a deal for you to get sold as quickly and for as high a price as possible. You need to be sure, BEFORE you hire an agent, to find out what they are going to do for you to get your home sold. What kind of marketing do they utilize? Are they internet savvy? Will your listing be syndicated to multiple websites? How about videos? Will they make videos of your home and create a website just for your home for sale listing? I do. Until what time can showings be scheduled for my home on any given day? I use a service through my company that schedules showings with a live human being by phone until 11pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends. I can pull up outside a vacant house with a for sale sign on it at 9pm, pick up my cell phone, get a lockbox code and be showing that house 3 minutes later. Can your agent do that? Hopefully, they can and will.

 

So there you have it. That’s the Super 6. Make sure you have them all covered. Oh, and, IF your prospective agent sucks lemons, call me BEFORE you list with them. I can get your home sold! :0)

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

Oh NO, NOT another Mommy blog!

Oh NO, NOT another Mommy blog!

Hell, even I can’t take it, lol!

Listen, I PROMISE I’ll keep it interesting…  Hell, I’ll even make it entertaining!  Pinky swear.  Spit shake.  Cripes, you want BLOOD?!  Ohhhhhh, alllllriiiiiight…

Anyways, my name’s Chris.

Check me out  ====>                                                                      Christine Gerbehy

I clean up pretty good, right?    Ok, so I’m a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach here on the sunny Jersey Shore.   So, do I know Real Estate?  HELL yes!   Motherhood?  Well, kinda.  I’m learning as I go.  Soooooo, this blog will cover everything Real Estate, alot about my fun being a mom (insert a head shake and a face palm HERE) and alot of views on life.  So stick around, it’s about to get weird around here….

Chris :0)

A little more about me…

I’ve been a Realtor for 5 years, and I’ve helped many people buy their first homes, sell their homes to upscale, and buy to downsize.  I do residential real estate and Commercial real estate deals also.  I can help you with first time home buyer programs, down payment grants, closing costs, USDA Rural Loans, FHA financing, Conventional loans and VA financing deals.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause THIS Mama sells real estate!