A Guide To NAR Compliance (And 3 Tips For Your Realty Team)

Posted 7.03.22 by:

NAR compliance is critical for realtors operating in the United States. Obtaining or maintaining your NAR membership of the National Association of REALTORS Ⓡ is vital for you and your realty team. It takes more than just completing your required training. It requires that your team follow a set of rules to maintain the highest standards held by the NAR. 

This guide will help walk you through the NAR guidelines for new and existing members. We’ll shed some light on some commonly asked questions. Additionally, we’re going to share three tips you can take back to your team to help your agency stay compliant and increase efficiency. 

What Is The NAR Ethics Requirement?

In the NAR, there are two primary requirement groups: entry requirements and existing membership renewal requirements. Following is a table that shows the requirements for each.

NAR New MembersNAR Existing Members
2.5 hours minimum Code of Ethics instructional time.Must be completed to gain National Association of REALTORS Ⓡ membership.Can be completed in-class, home study, correspondence, or internet-based learning.2.5 hours minimum Code of Ethics instructional time.Must be completed once every three years.Can be completed in-class, home study, correspondence, or internet-based learning.

What Are The 3 Major Sections Of The Code Of Ethics?

Guide To NAR Compliance ethics outlined by 1streporting.com
Ethics are an essential part of establishing fair practices in any industry.

The revised 2022 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice became effective on January 1st, 2022. The revised standards haven’t changed much, but the new edition does outline the change in existing member ethics re-training frequency, as noted earlier.

The code has three primary sections, which we explain in greater detail below.

Duties To Clients

Real estate professional ethics are the duty of Realtors.
Real estate professionals must uphold high standards because of the nature of the transactions they work with.

The code is quite clear about its primary intentions: to maintain the utmost honesty of members when dealing with clients and customers. To summarize, the regulation states that members should strictly adhere to the standards set forth. These standards include things like:

  • REALTORS Ⓡ must maintain their obligation to serve in the best interests of their clients at all times
  • No misleading or dishonest communications of any kind
  • You will objectively handle all offers/counters
  • REALTORS Ⓡ won’t hamper or withhold offers from clients and maintain complete transparency
  • You must retain client information security following termination of the relationship

The code goes on to mention many specific scenarios throughout its multiple acts. Still, the basic premise is quite simple: work fairly and honestly and look out for your client’s best interests.

You can read more about the nine article standards regarding the agent/client relationship on the NAR website.

Duties To The Public

Similar to the duties to clients, the responsibilities to the public within the code are rooted in fairness and common sense. For example, some of the items within this section of the code include:

  • REALTORS Ⓡ won’t discriminate any sex, group, race, creed, gender identity, or other means that would alienate a person.
  • Similarly, the code states agents must not volunteer certain discriminatory information about a neighborhood. This information might include ethnic composition, religious tendencies, or other information that would otherwise sway a client due to biased associations.
  • Professional REALTORS Ⓡ shall not advertise information that includes limitations to ownership or rent, such as discriminating by sex, age, handicap, national origin, or other discriminatory means.
  • REALTORS Ⓡ mustn’t offer their services as free if they receive payment in some form for their services.

Again many other items get much more specific. Still, the tone is the same: The code does not prohibit dishonest behavior. You can read all the particulars about duties to the public here on the NAR website.


Real Estate Professional duties
Real estate professionals have a duty to the public, to other real estate professionals, and to their clients.

When it comes to the code, the duties to REALTORS Ⓡ section of the code standards has a singular focus: fair play. The entire code section focuses heavily on maintaining order between agents in the industry. It speaks of not talking badly of one another. It also speaks about not making false accusations or complaints against, perhaps, rival real estate professionals. The section spells out what we consider to be some pretty apparent common sense scenarios, but if you want to read the exact particulars, see the NAR Articles 15 through 17. Contractual disputes are also covered in this section of the code.

How Often Should Ethics Training Be Revisited?

Existing members must complete 2.5 hours of ethics training within a three-year cycle. However, many agencies insist on annual training for a smaller hourly period to complete the training over the course of 2.5 years instead of all at once. This method is accepted by the NAR.

Why Was The Realtor Code Of Ethics Established?

The code of ethics of the NAR was initially adopted in 1913. In fact, the adoption of the code was one of the first such cases by any business group in the United States. The code has been standing for over 100 years and is essential to keep a level playing field in the industry.

The code does a few things very well:

  • Stabilizes competition within the real estate industry by providing a level playing field of rules for those in the game.
  • It allows property buyers, sellers, renters, and all others involved to feel peace of mind. Why? It lets them know that the real estate professional is sworn to uphold honest business practices.
  • Allows for inter-industry cooperation based on mutual understanding and respect of ethical limitations outlined in the code.

Without regulation without a code of ethical standards, property sales would be an absolute nightmare as bribes and corruption would run rampant. Property sales are not so chaotic due to the industry-wide acceptance of the NAR code of ethics for real estate professionals.

Are All Real Estate Professionals Bound By The Code Of Ethics NAR?

Are All Real Estate Professionals Bound By The Code Of Ethics NAR?
Real estate professionals who wish to maintain their membership to the NAR are bound by the NAR code of ethics.

Real estate regulations are different from state to state. The code of ethics set forth by the National Association of REALTORS Ⓡ is not law. The code of ethics is a membership requirement. Real estate professionals could technically work in their industry without following the code. Still, the laws are not far behind the code in most states.

To establish a baseline, given that the code of ethics deals primarily with the honesty and integrity of real estate professionals, one might go as far as assuming those professionals who are not members might not be as honest as you would like. We will, however, reserve judgment. However, buyers beware, as the saying goes.

However, it doesn’t mean that a participating member of the NAR operates honestly, just because they are a member. On the contrary, anyone can act in a misleading, un-honest, or unfairly. The consideration is that those who go to the effort to maintain their membership within the NAR are deemed to make an effort to run an honest business.

3 Tips For Realty Professionals For NAR Compliance

There are a few simple tips to ensure your real estate agency maintains NAR compliance. 

  1. Read and follow the code. This tip may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many real estate professionals have not taken the time to read the code. It isn’t that long, nor is it as dry as one would expect in a standards document. Reading the code itself is a great way to help commit it to memory.
  2. Work honestly. Maintaining a policy of open transparency begins in the office and should not stop – ever. The best way to steer clear of a NAR complaint is by keeping your forthcomingness in everyday work and prioritizing it. Dishonestly selling a property is never worth the risk, no matter the commission.
  3. Use technology to your advantage. Many real estate professionals are still running around with papers flying all over. There is a more straightforward and more modern approach to document management. It is beneficial for new agents and completing off-site tasks or when an agent has done a preliminary site or property assessment.

Disclaimer: This article is not affiliated with or endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS®. Although we have done our best to provide the most accurate information, please consult with your local real estate association for further requirements or details pertaining to NAR compliance.

How Technology Helps Real Estate Professionals

Technology Helps Real Estate Professionals
Technology and software can be the secret weapon to help your operation succeed.

You’ve got to check three new properties, and you forgot the paperwork at the office. Or you’ve got a car full of papers, but there isn’t a pen to be found. Sound familiar? It’s time to leave the old, archaic paper world behind you.

Imagine a world where you merely pull up your phone, take a little video or maybe some photos, and quickly compile your report – right there on your phone or tablet. Well, those days are here, my friend! With mobile form automation tools like the 1st Reporting app at your disposal, you can customize any checklist or form and use it with nearly any mobile device!

You can even set up forms or checklists to use for property audits. Another great use is for procedures for new agents or staff to complete so they don’t forget vital steps in a process, and so much more. When you can customize the solution, the possibilities are endless. But it doesn’t stop there!

With a mobile form automation solution, you also have access to a standard business template library. So, all of your safety forms are likely covered, from incident reports to property or facility inspections. And all of these reports are shareable with those you’ve invited to your 1st account.

Speaking of other members, it’s exciting to see when your team has completed reports in the field. Custom notifications mean that the moment your team member completes a report, you can customize the platform to send you or someone else a notification in real-time. That way, you know when your team members finish their form-based procedures.

Available on both Google Play and The Apple App Store, 1st Reporting is your smart choice for an innovative mobile reporting platform to take with you in the field. When you’re moving properties, you don’t have time for paperwork to slow you down. Why not try the 1st Reporting app and find out how to automate procedures, customize solutions and find your tools for more effective and efficient information sharing within your team.

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