A real estate professional's membership in the Association distinguishes him or her from non-members, because Member REALTORS® voluntarily accept the obligation to meet the standards of practice and conduct set forth in THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. This Code of Ethics represents the standard of business practices and establishes a public and professional consensus upon which REALTOR® Members are judged by their peers. Adherence to this nationally recognized Code of Ethics assures the public that a REALTOR® will conduct his or her business in accordance with the Code of Ethics and will provide services that both meet a higher standard than those mandated by law and promote the best interests of the clients and the real estate profession.
Members of the Association are also obligated to conduct themselves and their businesses in accordance with the Association's rules and regulations, Constitution and Bylaws, as well as the MLS rules and the Bylaws and Constitutions of Rockford Area Association of Realtors and NAR.
The Association has the responsibility to enforce these standards of professional ethics and conduct. For monetary business disputes, this is accomplished through arbitration or mediation proceedings. For violations of the Code of Ethics, this is accomplished through disciplinary proceedings.
The Code of Ethics establishes time-honored and baseline principles that come from the collective experiences of REALTORS® since the Code of Ethics was first established in 1913. Those principles can be loosely defined as:
- Loyalty to clients;
- Fiduciary (legal) duty to clients;
- Cooperation with competitors;
- Truthfulness in statements and advertising; and non-interference in exclusive relationships that other REALTORS® have with their clients.