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Don't Send Buyers to a Property
Without an Appointment
In this market, characterized by limited inventory and multiple offers on properties, some agents are employing creative, but ethically-questionable tactics.

In an effort to get potential buyers into a home that has no available showing times, some agents have instructed potential buyers to show up at the property and inquire whether they can "squeeze in" last minute despite not having an appointment.

Beyond improper business practice, behaviors such as these negatively impact the image of REALTORS®. Scenarios such as this one may put a showing agent, whose clients already have an appointment, in a difficult and frustrating position. Not only should that agent be able to focus his/her time on their own buyers, but it is unfair to expect individuals who are following safe showing practices, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to cross paths with others who are not following the same set of rules.

Finally, if the crashers (buyers) are turned away from viewing the listing, time has been wasted and multiple parties may be left frustrated. Best practice is to avoid this situation altogether. Do not set your buyers up for disappointment by sending them unaccompanied, and without a call to the listing agent for permission, to tour the home.
When Should REALTORS® Use the Equal Housing Opportunity Logo?
The Fair Housing Act itself does not require the use of Equal Housing Opportunity logo or slogan, “Equal Housing Opportunity,” in any ad. However, using the logo regularly is good evidence of a company’s commitment to fair housing compliance.

The equal housing opportunity logo (shown in this box) features the silhouette of a house with the equals sign in the center and the words “Equal Housing Opportunity” beneath it. Modified versions of the logo are not acceptable. For instance, the house cannot be used without the words “equal housing opportunity” beneath it. However, the words can be used on their own without the house.

According to HUD guidelines, all advertising of residential real estate for sale or rent should contain an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan as a means of educating the home-seeking public that the property is available to all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, and familial status. In Wisconsin, the protected classes include marital status; ancestry; source of income; sexual orientation; age; status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual abuse or stalking.

Referral Fees for Business
Can an agent advertise that they will offer a financial incentive for a referral of business?

Wis. Stat. § 452.19 prohibits real estate brokers from paying referral fees to unlicensed individuals. Under this statute, a broker cannot compensate unlicensed persons for referring others to the broker.

Wis. Stat. § 452.19 provides, “No licensed broker may pay a fee or a commission or any part thereof for performing any act specified in this chapter or as compensation for a referral or as a finder’s fee to any person who is not licensed or registered under this chapter or who is not regularly and lawfully engaged in the real estate brokerage business in another state, a territory or possession of the United States or a foreign country.”
We hope you enjoyed Issue #5 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]).