Realtors have a National Code of Ethics. Their professional organizations, local, state and nationally all subscribe to this Code of professional behavior.
Most Realtors follow and adhere to the Code; however, as in any profession there are the few who don’t.
It is these few that give Brokers a public trust rating just above that of used car salesmen.
So what can you, the public, do to insure that you are working with a professional real estate Broker?
Let me share with you Five Red Flags that signal “Look out, danger ahead.”
Don’t even think about working with a Broker who shows any of these five warning signals.

Five Red Flags

Most Brokers are ethical and truly provide professional service, the five red flags presented here refer to the bad apples, not the whole bushel.
These few who engage in practices which may damage the public and discredit their profession are not representative but do exist and you need to protect yourself from them.
The behaviors I’ve described in the five red flags, directly violate the Code of Ethics. These Brokers’ lack of ethical behavior does not connote competency, fairness and high integrity.
No Broker should behave in a manner contrary to their professional Code. No inducement of profit or desire to grab a commission should justify their departure from the Code. The Code of Ethics is based on the golden rule.

Red Flag One:

A Broker shall not disparage other companies. If you hear a Broker saying things like, “well nobody works with that company.” Or “No one will work the flat fee listings.” These comments not only go against the Code of Ethics, but they are also against the Federal Fair Trade and Antitrust laws. This is a violation which is so serious it can warrant loss of license and perhaps jail time.

Red Flag Two:

A Broker tells you he can sell your house for a higher price than the market shows. The Code states that Realtors shall avoid exaggeration and over inflating a sales price just to get your listing. A higher price for your house is music to your ears but do you really want to just sit on the market?
Be cautious of over inflated listing prices. Overpricing does not sell houses and the Broker violates the Code.

Red Flag Three:

A Broker solicits your listing when you are already listed with another broker. The Code specifically forbids a Broker from purposely soliciting your listing when you are listed with another company.
A Broker offers to advertise your property for you, even tho you’re not listed with them. The Code states they may not do so without authority. Authority requires a written contract. Be aware. Be alert. There is no free ride.

Red Flag Four:

A Broker tells you that real estate commissions are a percentage fixed by law. Not true. A commission is determined by what the seller is willing to pay. A Broker may refuse to work for less then six percent; that’s up to them. You are not required to pay any set percentage or fee.
Any attempt of any sort to gain unfair advantage of you or their competitors is a violation of the National code of ethics.

Red Flag Five:

A Broker pressures you to sign the contract immediately not wanting you to have time to think about it.
Brokers spend a lot or time in classes that teach them how to close, how to get your signature. There is nothing wrong with that; however, you do have the right to “sleep on” your decision.
Don’t be bullied into signing before you’re ready.


Be alert to these five red flags. If a Broker shows you any of these behaviors, run away, don’t walk, run from any Broker’s you feel are exhibiting these behaviors.
You can help clean up the real estate profession by reporting these violators to the local board of Realtors.

Copyright © Wee Dilts 2009

Author's Bio: 

Wee Dilts is the originator of Flat Fee MLS. In business since 1983. She has helped thousands of FSBOS save commission dollars. Get the information you need to effectively sell without a broker. Register in Colorado for Flat Fee MLS. Read Free articles or buy her “How to Sell Real Estate by Owner” ebook, visit: