The CREA, or Canadian Real Estate Association, has over one hundred thousand individual members and 100 boards / associations, and works on behalf of its members as well as the Canadian public.
CREA has been tracking and measuring the level of professionalism in Canadian real estate for decades.
The ‘REALTOR® Code’offers strict standards of professional conduct for its members, protects the rights of buyers and sellers, and advocates for government legislation to benefit both.
In 1913, the Canadian Real Estate Association established their first code of ethics. The first member-approved version, voted upon by its members, came in 1959.
As with any working document, this code has been revised time and time again. Real estate, as any industry, continually has changes in its industry and the code needs to change in order to reflect that.
But what has happened outside of the industry has come to be pertinent to the code as well.
Changes in society and its values, as well as changing dynamics for property owners, property sellers and the real estate agents themselves have further influenced changes to the code.
What’s this ‘code’ all about?
Well, as with any profession, there needs to be a set of standards to which the professionals are accountable. A lot of common sense items are in here, basic professional tenants and fundamental courtesies. Such items that the code covers or requires are:
• Basic codes of ethics
• Standard for conscientious, skilled service
• Abiding by compliance (including board bylaws, statutory requirements, and co-operation)
• Keeping abreast of current essential facts
• Discovery of facts
• Respecting rules around disclosure forboth the realtor and their agency (this includes disclosure of roles and disclosure of benefits to all)
• Responsibilities and duties to clients
• Avoiding controversies, discrediting others, and discrimination issues.
The code expands beyond these fundamentals to more specific professional issues such as:
• Transaction and service agreements
• Respecting of contractual relationships
• Transactional expenses
• Parameters around outside professional advice
• Personal interest
• Rules around advertising content, accuracy, and listings
• Arbitration details
So, the code covers basic ethical and moral obligations such as integrity, competence and dedication. It then reaches beyond this to address basic legal requirements. In fact, some may say that the CREA Code sets obligations that are higher than what the law demands, although if the code and law ever went to court, the law would win every time!
Not only does this Code serve to set high standards of professional conduct for real estate agents and their agencies, but it protects everyone’s rights, and builds trust between the profession and its clients.
It is a condition of membership to CREA that all realtors agree to abide by this strict standard of conduct, this Code.