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Professional Standards Forum
February 3 - Register Today!
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Date: February 3, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Location: Zoom Webinar (see below for registration information)
Topic: GMAR Professional Standards Forum

Learning objective: Learn and understand the GMAR’s Professional Standards process, as well as the ethical issues currently impacting the real estate industry.

Tracy Rucka, Attorney, Wisconsin REALTORS Association (WRA)
Jeff Joseph, Chairman, GMAR Professional Standards Committee
Cindy Fleming, GMAR Professional Standards Committee
Scott Bush, GMAR Vice President of Operations 

9:00 AM         Introductions and Overview of Forum—Scott Bush
9:15 AM         Abbreviated Overview of the Professional Standards Process—Scott
9:30 AM         Legal Hotline / Hot Topics: New Standard of Practice 10-5 / Advertising
Other Brokers’ Listings—Tracy Rucka
10:00 AM       Break
10:15 AM       Professional Courtesies—Cindy Fleming
10:45 AM       Most Common Ethics Violations / Citation Policies for Advertising and Unauthorized Access to Property—Scott Bush/Jeff Joseph 
11:00 AM       Procuring Cause Review—Jeff Joseph
11:30 AM       Question and Answer 
12:00 NOON  Adjournment

Register in advance for this Zoom webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar. 
Declaring a Neighborhood Safe
Can a real estate agent make a declaration about the safety of neighborhoods within which a home is bought or sold? The answer is NO. An agent cannot make a determination about what makes a homebuyer feel safe or unsafe and should never advertise an area as a safe neighborhood. Representations such as these may invite liability, along with an examination of such practice, under fair housing laws.

How should an agent respond if the client asks, "Is this a safe neighborhood?"? If a buyer would like to know more about a particular neighborhood’s crime rate, the agent should direct them to the appropriate municipal police department or its website. Many agents have these tools in their toolboxes already and are able to provide these resources. Agents should not disclose crime statistics or state that a neighborhood is a safe or unsafe place to live, even if that agent believes it to be true. Instead, agents might recommend that the potential buyer spends some time in the neighborhood in order to come to their own conclusions.
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). 
We hope you enjoyed Issue #2 of Ethics Exchange 2021 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 [email protected]).