Promoting Professional and Ethical Standards in Real Estate
By Pam Krieter
Chief Executive Officer
Mainstreet Organization of Realtors
Those of us active in the real estate world are proud of the services we provide and the guidance we offer our customers while adhering to strict professional and ethical standards. However, in the unfortunate instance that a real estate professional does not behave in the most ethical manner, it is necessary for consumers and colleagues to be able to file a complaint against that agent to ensure the industry remains trusted and respected.
Recently, the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORe), an association of Realtors, affiliates and licensed appraisers in South and West suburban Chicagoland, introduced to its members, and consumers, an online ethics and mediation process where members and consumers may file a formal complaint against a member.
The Simple Online Standards (S.O.S) program is a formal complaint process that allows MORe members to hold one another to the highest professional and ethical standards in the real estate industry. The S.O.S system is in place to protect each member, while also holding each member equally accountable to this high standard.
MORe, like other local associations, has long followed the National Association of Realtors (NAR) ethical grievance process, but this online application was developed in order to make filing a formal complaint easier, faster and more convenient.
There are various ways for formal complaints to be filed. Members and consumers can download a PDF form from MORe’s Web site, www.succeedwithmore.com, and then mail the completed form to the association. Another option is to request the PDF be e-mailed or mailed. However, one of the advantages of using S.O.S is that those who file a complaint can rest assured that the process to review their claim is immediately underway. Additionally, complaints may be filed 24 hours a day, allowing members and consumers to complete the online paperwork at a time that is most convenient for them.
Similar to filing a complaint via mail, both mediation and arbitration claims may be filed through S.O.S. In the mediation process, both parties come to the table, present their cases with a professional mediator and determine a best-case outcome for all involved. In arbitration, a hearing panel, comprised of MORe’s Professional Standards Committee, serves as a judge and jury, and one member is declared the prevailing party.
Through the S.O.S. program, MORe ensures its member-Realtors adhere to the highest ethical standards in the industry. This protects MORe members’ individual reputations and our collective image as Realtors. Also, by insisting on the highest professional standards, this program also protects consumers.
An ethics complaint can lead to a member found to be in violation of the NAR Code of Ethics, and punishments range from a formal letter of warning to more serious sanctions regarding Realtor membership.
FOR NEARLY A CENTURY, MORE HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO ANTICIPATING AND SERVING THE NEEDS OF MORE THAN 14,000 REALTORS, AFFILIATES AND LICENSED APPRAISERS IN SOUTH AND WEST SUBURBAN CHICAGOLAND. MORE IS THE SECOND LARGEST REALTOR MEMBER ORGANIZATION IN ILLINOIS, AND THE SEVENTH LARGEST IN THE NATION.