Alabama REALTORS® supports the highest levels of professionalism in the real estate industry. This can be seen in our education programs, dispute resolution offerings, and ethics adjudication. See below for the resources and tools available to members and consumers.
Alabama REALTORS®' premier education offering is the nationally recognized Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation. A GRI provides in-depth training on legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards and the sales process and lets prospective buyers and sellers know that you have a professional edge due to your expertise in these areas.
Professional Standards – Dispute Resolution and the Code of Ethics
Usually, difficulties over real estate transactions are the result of a misunderstanding, miscommunication or lack of adequate information/communication. If you have a problem with a real estate professional, consider speaking about the issue with them and/or the agent’s qualifying broker in the real estate firm. Open, constructive discussion often resolves questions or differences, eliminating the need for further action. If you have taken these steps and still feel you have a grievance, consider the following information about the REALTOR® Association and disputes with real estate professionals.
Mediation and Ombudsman Services
The Ombudsman Program in its simplest definition is informal telephone mediation. In some cases, it can address and solve minor complaints from the public. An Ombudsman can respond to general questions regarding real estate practices, transaction details, ethical practices and enforcement issues. The Ombudsmen Program is available to REALTORS®, clients of REALTORS®, and consumers.
Mediation is still informal but allows the disputing parties to meet in person with a neutral mediator. The mediator has no authority and is only there to help the parties resolve the dispute. Agreements signed during mediation are binding upon the parties similar to any contract.
Arbitration is an important tool for members, and sometimes consumers, to resolve disputes outside the courts but still in a formal setting. Arbitration is reserved for specific matters, usually related to disputes over commission.
REALTORS® agree to abide by the NAR Code of Ethics. If REALTORS® violate the Code, they may be subject to a complaint and hearings before REALTOR® peers.