a common question when investigating
Santa Monica Real Estate…and I’ve
been asked this many times over the
Basically all Realtors are real
estate agents, but not all real
estate agents are Realtors. Even
though people use the two terms
interchangeably, there actually is a
fundamental difference is that
although both are
licensed to sell
real estate, a Realtor is a member
of the National Association of
Realtors. And when you belong to
this association, you must subscribe
to the Realtor Code of Ethics…a set
of rules that govern real estate
business practices with the consumer
The Code is really large, but the
folks over at About.com did a nice
job of encapsulating it…here are
#1) Pledge to put the interests of
buyers and sellers ahead of their
own and to treat all parties
honestly and fairly.
#2) Shall refrain from exaggerating,
misrepresenting or concealing
material facts; and is obligated to
investigate and disclose when
situations reasonably warrant.
#3) Shall cooperate with other
brokers / agents when it is in the
best interests of the client to do
#4) Have a duty to disclose if they
represent family members who own or
are about to buy real estate, or if
they themselves are a principal in a
real estate transaction, that they
are licensed to sell real estate.
#5) Shall not provide professional
services in a transaction where the
agent has a present or contemplated
interest without disclosing that
#6) Shall not collect any
commissions without the seller's
knowledge nor accept fees from a
third-party without the seller's
#7) Shall refuse fees from more than
one party without all parties'
#8) Shall not co-mingle client funds
with their own.
#9) Shall attempt to ensure that all
written documents are easy to
understand and will give everybody a
copy of what they sign.
#10) Shall not discriminate in any
fashion for any reason on the basis
of race, color, religion, sex,
handicap, familial status, or
#11) Expects agents to be competent,
to conform to standards of practice
and to refuse to provide services
for which they are unqualified.
#12) Must engage in truth in
#13) Shall not practice law unless
they are a lawyer.
#14) Shall cooperate if charges are
brought against them and present all
#15) Agree not to bad mouth
competition and agree not to file
unfounded ethics complaints.
#16) Shall not solicit another
REALTOR'S client nor interfere in a
#17) Shall submit to arbitration to
settle matters and not seek legal
remedies in the judicial system.
Code of Ethics is strictly
enforced…Realtors who break the code
can be fined, and worse. While
there is no evidence nor guarantee
that all Realtors are morally and
ethically better than unaffiliated
Santa Monica real estate agents, it is a serious
attempt by the industry to regulate
itself and help home buyers and
since I myself am a Realtor and
uphold the code, I know from
experience that it is something I’m
always mindful of whenever I’m in
the middle of a transaction or
helping a client.
Thanks for reading and if you find
yourself needing a Santa Monica
Realtor, look no further than
happy to help.