Friday, December 12, 2008

Why the Code of Ethics Class Matters ...

Bangor Board PRESIDENT'S LETTER by Board President Mary Kuykendall:

I've been surprised by a couple of occurrences recently. The first one was when I checked on our website and discovered that there are [still] members of the Bangor Board of REALTORS® who are within two months of having their membership privileges suspended in the National Association of REALTORS® because they haven't been able to fit in a 3-hour Ethics class at sometime during the last four years.

The second incident involved a conversation I had with a client during which I expressed concern about whether some information should be disclosed or not, and, that if it were not disclosed, it would, in my opinion, be a breach of ethics. My client was quite amazed, but impressed to discover that REALTORS® not only have adopted, but abide by, a Code of Ethics.

He actually asked me questions about the Code of Ethics and listened thoughtfully to my answers. "Wow!" he said. "I had no idea."

Now, suddenly, I began to see how sad a situation both of these discoveries were. Most of us would certainly consider ourselves to be ethical people. And, for the most part, I've no doubt that we are. But in your daily routine in which you are looking out for the best interests of your clients, is it possible that there might be some instance where you may not be totally sure of your actions?Are you willing to risk your reputation and pay a fine, or worse, for taking that chance? You could commit a breach of ethics without even being aware of it.

These classes remind you of those nuances which can so easily trip you up. They also help you brush up on the hazards of short cuts and of assuming things. And they'll help you be a bit less casual about thinking, "Oh, it'll be okay to do that." Or not do that.

I take the Ethics class once a year. It isn't that the Code doesn't stick with me, but, rather that I like to be reminded, and am reminded, quite often, that I am not infallible, that I can't remember every twist and turn, and that I must be on top of things in order to serve my clients, my company, my boss, and, above all, myself, to the best of my ability. I don't know about you, but I like to sleep at night and having taken the class as frequently as I can makes that a little more likely. Don't wait until you have to be bullied into taking it. And don't be afraid to tell people about our Code of Ethics. It would be very nice if future clients were not surprised to know that we have one. Take the class!