This is a great time to remind everyone about the importance of professional courtesy, with an easy checklist called the Pathways to Professionalism, shown below. These professional courtesies are intended to be used by REALTORS® on a voluntary basis, and go above and beyond the code of ethics. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make you stand out.
Respect for the Public
- Follow the “Golden Rule”: Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.
- Respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information. (This has been a hot topic lately. Please return emails and phone calls, in a respectful and courteous manner.)
- Schedule appointments and showings as far in advance as possible. (Another one that we are hearing a lot … buyer’s agents making appointments and not attending showings with their clients because they are too busy but also not advising the seller’s agent…who also is too busy and no REALTOR shows up to conduct the showing! – Communication folks, it’s the answer to all your woes!!)
- Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing.
- If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the occupant.
- Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion. Going to be late? Let everyone know!
- When entering a property ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately.
- Never criticize property in the presence of the occupant.
- Inform occupants that you are leaving after showings.
- When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock—and announce yourself loudly before entering. Knock and announce yourself loudly before entering any closed room.
- Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and drive a clean car.
- If occupants are home during showings, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom.
- Encourage the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or representative.
- Communicate clearly; don’t use jargon or slang that may not be readily understood.
- Be aware of and respect cultural differences.
- Show courtesy and respect to everyone.
- Be aware of—and meet—all deadlines.
- Promise only what you can deliver—and keep your promises.
- Identify your REALTOR® and your professional status in contacts with the public.
- Do not tell people what you think—tell them what you know.
Respect for Property
- Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property.
- Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied.
- When showing property, keep all members of the group together.
- Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission.
- Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination.
- When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc.) If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism), contact the listing broker immediately.
- Be considerate of the seller’s property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you found it unless instructed otherwise.
- Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.
- Respect sellers’ instructions about photographing or videographing their properties’ interiors or exteriors.
Respect for Peers
- Identify your REALTOR® and professional status in all contacts with other REALTORS®.
- Respond to other agents’ calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously.
- Be aware that large electronic files with attachments or lengthy faxes may be a burden on recipients.
- Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing.
- Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets, security systems, and whether sellers will be present during the showing.
- Show courtesy, trust, and respect to other real estate professionals.
- Avoid the inappropriate use of endearments or other denigrating language.
- Do not prospect at other REALTORS®’ open houses or similar events.
- Return keys promptly.
- Carefully replace keys in the lockbox after showings.
- To be successful in the business, mutual respect is essential.
- Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may affect your reputation—and business—for years to come.