Bad Realtor®? You Can File A Complaint, Let Me Explain.
I had a referral recently who told me a horror story about their prior experience working with a Realtor® from a competing brokerage here in Nashville. After two hours of listening to their litany of complaints, I asked them why they didn’t allege a Code of Ethics violation and file a complaint. With confused looks on their face, they replied with exasperation stating that they had no idea they could.
I explained to them that the agent they were working with was a Realtor® and as such, was held to a higher standard. I told them that based on their complaints, I felt like the Realtor could be in violation of at least 2 Articles of the Code. The husband explained that he thought being a Realtor® just meant that the person he was working with could list his home, he had no idea about the Code of Ethics or even that it was something he could use to file a complaint against this Realtor®.
I explained to Mr. and Mrs. Smith that the Code of Ethics has 17 Articles and that if a Realtor® is found to be in violation of those Articles that they can be penalized with fines, mandatory training and potentially suspension or expulsion from the National Association of Realtors. I explained that NAR (National Association of Realtors) had a reasonably good system in place for due diligence and that anyone can file a complaint, free of charge.
As a member of my local association’s Grievance and Professionals Standards Committee, the committee who hears these complaints, I had access to NAR’s “Before You File A Complaint” brochure which you can find by following this link: https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-of-ethics/brochure-before-you-file-an-ethics-complaint. I printed out a copy for them to take while in my office and answered their questions about the process and how it works. At the end of the day, they decided to work out a resolution with the Realtor’s® Broker so, they didn’t file a complaint but, was glad to know they had options.
The lesson here is, as a consumer, you have options when working with a Realtor®. Of course, I would hope you could resolve any issues you have with the Realtor® themselves but, if you can’t, always ask to speak with the Broker in charge. If after that, you still can’t get satisfaction, contact the local Realtor® Association and ask to file a complaint. It’s free of charge and they will even help you file the complaint. You don’t have to be locked in working with a Realtor® you don’t feel is representing your best interest and if something does go askew, you can get satisfaction from the Association if nowhere else.