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Professional Standards

The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict REALTOR® Code of Ethics. It is this single, most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners -- the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1913, is a living document, responsive in its content to changes in the law and industry. The Code had been revised several times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice. The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, fairness and high integrity.

But even with the best of intentions, planning and preparation, occasionally disagreements arise between REALTORS® or between REALTORS® and their clients or customers. As civil litigation becomes increasingly costly, time consuming and burdensome, there has been a trend among private parties to settle disputes and conflicting claims through alternative means.

RANW offers its members and their clients and customers a vehicle to economically expedite Ethics complaints and/or Arbitration requests without going to court. If a monetary dispute arises from a real estate transaction (Arbitration) or if you believe a REALTOR® may have acted in an unethical manner (Ethics), you can seek a resolution through RANW's Professional Standards Process. Ethics complaints that are brought before the Association give those parties involved an opportunity to be educated about the Code. In addition, REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals who may be far less familiar with the practices and customs of the real estate industry.

We have included general information on the Association's Professional Standards process, including how to file a complaint and the forms necessary to file an Ethics Complaint, a Request for Arbitration and a Request for Mediation.

We need to note that the Association cannot process complaints against members for violations of the Wisconsin real estate license law or any other alleged violation of the law, nor can we suspend or terminate a person's real estate license. Our jurisdiction covers violations of membership duties only and complaints involving real estate law are beyond our enforcement capabilities. Enforcement of the state's license law is governed by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), the government agency that controls an individual's license to sell real estate or appraise real property. If you think an agent, broker, or appraiser has violated license law, you can contact the Department of Safety and Professional Services at 608.266.3736 or visit the DSPS website.