The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has been a measure of professionalism for over four decades. The original Realtor Code appeared in 1913. Then in 1953 members finally approved an ethics code specific to their industry.
This ethical Realtor Code has updated many times since then, as the Canadian Real Estate Association sought to reflect the needs of property owners, and the perceptions and values of the wider social sphere.
The Basis for the Obligations in the Realtor Code
“A realtor’s ethical obligations are based on moral integrity, competent service to clients and customers. And dedication to the interest and welfare of the public” according to the CREA. They believe their Realtor Code sets “high standards of professional conduct for realtors and helps to protect Canadians’ rights and interests. It also creates a level of trust between realtors and their clients.”
The Moral Obligations under the CREA Realtor Code
The Canadian Real Estate Association aims to set standards “which in many respects exceed basic requirements”. The following are the most important of those protecting the interests and rights of consumers of real estate services and we quote directly:
- Realtors must disclose in writing whom they are representing as an agent in the transaction, and explain to parties in a transaction the details of the agency relationship.
- Realtors can’t acquire an interest in property (either directly or indirectly) without disclosing the fact that they’re real estate professionals.
What the CREA Does in Return for Its Members
There are benefits attached to joining the Canadian Real Estate Association and being in good standing. A participant has access to multi-listing services and other pools of industry related information. For its part, the CREA researches and distributes “accurate, up-to-date information and analysis on economic issues”.
It also strives to represent the interests of its members in terms of existing, and proposed legislation. It has succeeded in improving its members’ professionalism and ethics. However not all real estate agents belong to it and this is the loophole in its Realtor Code.
The Canadian real estate industry has had its share of dodgy operators in the past, but then that is true of any profession. Therefore it is important to ask questions and shop around, when you need to find an ethical real estate adviser to guide you.