Do you have a question or topic related to REALTOR® ethics that you would like addressed in a future issue of Ethics Exchange? Click here to e-mail Scott Bush at the GMAR.
GMAR Board of Directors Approves Citations for Advertising Violations
Beginning February 1, 2021, failure to include a firm name in a readily apparent matter will result in a $100 fine. Fines will increase to $500 for repeat offenses along with the violator’s name being published. Failure to disclose firm names has been most problematic in social media advertising. 
 
To comply with the Code of Ethics, advertisements must include:
  • Your firm’s name, in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (SOP 12-5). 
  • Your status as a real estate professional.
  • On websites, the state where you hold a real estate license in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (SOP 12-9). 
  • On websites, these disclosures may be made available via a link to a website that displays the required information. (SOP 12-5). 
 
Adhere to Scheduled Showings
The GMAR has received several complaints about agents who are not sticking to their scheduled showing times. For example, some agents are entering properties with their buyers early, while another private showing is still underway. This disrupts the showing by the agent who is currently there and creates a COVID-19 safety risk for all agents and buyers. In addition, entering the home at a time that is different from the time you've scheduled may be contrary to the sellers’ and listing broker’s showing instructions. The same risks exist for agents who go over their scheduled showing appointment times. If the scheduled showing time has ended and your buyers still need more time to tour the home, set up a follow up appointment. 

Remember that once an agent books that private window of time, that should be protected. Firms should not overlap previously booked private showings with open houses or last-minute showings. When a buyer requests a private showing, it should be private. 

Our industry was deemed an “essential business” during the pandemic. Careless practice could invite more restrictions.  
Oops! Wrong House!
Several incidents of agents going to the wrong house have been reported to the GMAR. This usually occurs when there are multiple listings on the same street that are accessed through SentriLock boxes. Sellers have been home during these mistaken entries and were understandably upset. On other occasions, alarms have been set off, and dogs were agitated and could very well have bitten someone. 

These incidents could be catastrophic because many people have firearms in their homes and could mistake the agent and buyers as intruders.
 
As per the SentriLock user agreement and the GMAR’s citation policy, a fine in the amount of $5,000 could be levied for these actions. Agents need to pay special attention and exercise a three-point process: 

  1. Verify the address of the home
  2. Verify the photo of the home
  3. Verify the sign in front of the home

We hope you enjoyed Issue #17 of Ethics Exchange 2020 brought to you by the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR). The GMAR created this newsletter, each issue dedicated to a unique issue, because the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, on which our industry is built, is the foundation of what it means to be a REALTOR®.
Your proactive support of the Code of Ethics will assure your fellow REALTORS®, as well as members of the public, that every member of GMAR operates under the highest ethical standards.
Questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue can be directed to
Scott Bush at the GMAR Office (414-778-4929 or scott@gmar.ws).