You worked hard to get your real estate license and your REALTOR® membership.

You provide a valuable service to consumers.

You work hard to maintain your real estate license and your REALTOR® membership.

So be confident in explaining your services and your compensation.

NAR Code of Ethics
Article 12

REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08)

• Standard of Practice 12-1 REALTORS® must not represent that their brokerage services to a client or customer are free or available at no cost to their clients, unless the REALTOR® will receive no financial compensation from any source for those services. (Amended 1/22)


Misconduct and Redress

SECTION 40-57-710. Grounds for denial of issuance of license or for disciplinary action against licensee.

(A) In addition to Section 40-1-110, the commission may deny issuance of a license to an applicant or may take disciplinary action against a licensee who:

(1) makes a substantial misrepresentation on an application for a real estate license;

(2) makes a substantial misrepresentation involving a real estate transaction;

(3) makes false promises likely to influence, persuade, or induce;

(4) pursues a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or makes false and misleading promises through any medium of advertising or otherwise;

(5) in the practice of real estate, demonstrates bad faith, dishonesty, untrustworthiness, or incompetency in a manner as to endanger the interest of the public;

(6) represents a real estate broker other than the broker-in-charge or property manager-in-charge with whom they are licensed;

(7) guarantees or authorizes and permits an associated licensee to guarantee future profits from the resale of real estate;

(8) makes a dual set of contracts, written or otherwise, by stating a sales price other than the actual sales price;

(9) is convicted of violating the federal and state fair housing laws, forgery, embezzlement, breach of trust, larceny, obtaining money or property under false pretense, extortion, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, or has been convicted of a felony sex-related, felony drug-related, felony real estate-related, felony financial, or felony violent offense, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to such an offense in a court of competent jurisdiction of this State, another state, or a federal court;

(10) fails to report to the commission in writing by certified mail, within ten days, notice of conviction of a crime provided in item (9);

(11) fails, within a reasonable time, to account for or to remit trust funds coming into his possession which belong to others;

(12) pays a commission or compensation to an unlicensed individual for activities requiring a license under this chapter. Notwithstanding this section, a licensee may not pay or offer to pay a referral fee or finder’s fee to an unlicensed individual who is not a party in the real estate sales or rental transaction;

(13) violates a provision of law relating to the freedom of a buyer or seller to choose an attorney, insurance agent, title insurance agent, or another service provider to facilitate the real estate transaction;

(14) fails to disclose in accordance with Section 40-57-370 the party or parties for whom the licensee will be acting as an agent in a real estate transaction, if any;

(15) receives compensation in a real estate transaction or directly resulting from a real estate transaction from more than one party except with the full knowledge and written disclosure to all parties;

(16) represents more than one party in a real estate transaction without the full written knowledge and consent of all parties;

(17) acts as an undisclosed principal in a real estate transaction;

(18) accepts deposit money which is to be delivered to the licensee’s principal in a real estate transaction without informing the payor and having the payor acknowledge in writing who will hold the money received by the licensee;

(19) issues a check in connection with his real estate business which is returned for insufficient funds or closed account;

(20) fails to disclose in accordance with Section 40-57-350 a known material fact concerning a real estate transaction;

(21) violates a provision of this chapter or a regulation promulgated under this chapter;

(22) violates a rule or order of the commission;

(23) knowingly gives false information to an investigator or inspector;

(24) engages in a practice or takes action inconsistent with the agency relationship that other real estate licensees have established with their clients;

(25) fails to make all records required to be maintained under this chapter available to the commission for inspection and copying by the commission upon request of an investigator of the commission, fails to appear for an interview with an investigator of the commission without due cause, or provides false information upon direct inquiry by the investigator or inspector;

(26) fails to promptly submit all offers and counteroffers in a real estate sales transaction;

(27) fails to provide current contact information to the commission; or

(28) allows or creates an unreasonable delay in the closing of a transaction or act in a manner which causes failure or termination of a transaction due solely to a dispute among participating licensees concerning the division of a commission.

Case # 12-7 : REALTOR® Advertising Free Market Analysis

(Reaffirmed Case #19-9 May, 1988. Transferred to Article 12 November, 1994. Revised November, 2001 and May, 2017.)

REALTOR® A advertised on his website as follows: “Free Market Analysis With No Obligation.”

A property owner complained about REALTOR® A’s attempts to solicit the listing, and the complaint was referred for a hearing before a Hearing Panel of the Professional Standards Committee.

At the hearing the property owner testified he had called REALTOR® A to have him prepare a market analysis of his residential property, “. . . with no obligation. . .” as claimed in REALTOR® A’s ads. However, the property owner said that when he and REALTOR® A spoke, he explained that he would be glad to provide the market analysis, but said, “I presume you understand that when we provide this service, we also expect that if you list your property, you will permit us to serve you.” The property owner testified that REALTOR® A did not press the matter at the time and did provide a market analysis. The property owner told the panel that for the next three weeks REALTOR® A or one of his representatives called “practically every single day” soliciting the listing of his home. The property owner testified that on several occasions, someone from REALTOR® A’s office reminded him that REALTOR® A had provided a “valuable free service and we feel that you owe us the listing of the property.”

REALTOR® A responded that he had provided the “free market analysis” as represented in his advertising, and had provided it “. . . with no obligation.” He stated that he had neither asked for nor received a fee for the market analysis. He could not understand why he was required to appear before a Hearing Panel in connection with allegations of a violation of Article 12 of the Code of Ethics.

The Hearing Panel noted that offering premiums or prizes as inducements, or the advertising of anything described as “free” is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics.

While REALTOR® A was free to advertise “free market analysis with no obligation,” such a representation was not a “true picture” if the terms and conditions of the offer were not clearly disclosed in the ad or representation. The Hearing Panel noted that the statement by REALTOR® A when he provided the “free market analysis” that it was “presumed” the property owner would list with REALTOR® A if the property was offered for sale, and the subsequent “reminders” by sales representatives of REALTOR® A about the “expectation” made the representation less than a “true picture.” The panel noted that the property owner did not have a clear, thorough, advance understanding of what would occur at the time the offer was made. The panel concluded that REALTOR® A was in violation of Article 12.

Case #12-10: REALTOR® Advertising Free Market Analysis

(Originally Case #9-21. Revised and transferred to Article 19 as Case #19-13 May, 1988. Transferred to Article 12 November, 1994. Revised November, 2001 and May, 2017.)

REALTOR® A advertised on his website as follows: “Free Market Analysis With No Obligation.” REALTOR® B presented a written complaint to the Professional Standards Administrator of the Association filing a charge against REALTOR® A of an alleged violation of Article 12 of the Code of Ethics.

The matter was referred to the Grievance Committee which concluded the matter should be considered by a panel of the Professional Standards Committee. A hearing was convened with both REALTOR® A and REALTOR® B present.

REALTOR® A advised the Hearing Panel that he had placed the advertisement on his website and in good faith. He stated he felt his ad did present a “true picture,” and was not unethical. When the panel asked if his offering of a “free market analysis” was contingent upon his obtaining a listing or commission, REALTOR® A answered in the negative. He pointed out that he charged no fee for the service and provided it as represented on his website.

In the absence of any evidence indicating that the advertising by REALTOR® A was misleading, the Hearing Panel concluded that such advertising by REALTOR® A is not prohibited by the Code of Ethics nor can such advertising be prohibited by an Association of REALTORS® unless it presents less than a “true picture.” However, if a charge is filed against a REALTOR® alleging violation of Article 12 and there is a hearing before the Professional Standards Committee, determination may properly be made of the truth of any representations made.

The Hearing Panel concluded that REALTOR® A had demonstrated that his ads presented a “true picture” and that he was not in violation of Article 12.


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Don’t lose your newest member benefit! Stay in compliance.
SCR would like to remind members that the new FOREWARN member benefit comes with compliance and terms of use that you agree upon when you download the app. By not staying in compliance, FOREWARN reserves the right to terminate your use. Please review these terms below and be sure to only use your FOREWARN searches for professional use.

As a professionally licensed agent, you can use FOREWARN to verify the identity and potential risks associated with your business prospects. Please note that you must limit your FOREWARN searches to professional use only.

FOREWARN is only to be used for verifying inbound prospects that have initiated the interaction, such as when a potential buyer or seller have contacted you or initiated a request for information. The FOREWARN service is not to be used for marketing (e.g. prospecting for potential leads/clients) or to determine anyone’s eligibility for credit, insurance, or employment, or for any other purpose regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Search activity is actively monitored (search terms and volume) to ensure proper use by our Subscribers as outlined in the Subscriber Agreement and the FOREWARN Terms and Conditions. Any use that is outside of the outlined proper usage that you agree to upon activating your account is prohibited and can result in your service being terminated. The specific compliance and use terms can be viewed here (, however below are a few examples of ways you should NOT use FOREWARN:

  • DO NOT use FOREWARN to search for anyone who is not engaging in business with you (including, but not limited to celebrities, public figures, friends, family).
  • DO NOT share information from FOREWARN, or your FOREWARN access credentials, with any third-party and DO NOT publicly post such information.
  • DO NOT tell a prospect that they are not permitted, or unqualified, to purchase or sell a property because of information you obtain from FOREWARN.
  • DO NOT use information from FOREWARN to harass or intimidate anyone, or to otherwise violate applicable laws.

The above examples are NOT meant to be all-encompassing, and you should refer to the Subscriber Agreement and the FOREWARN Terms and Conditions for additional information. FOREWARN is a powerful tool intended for the increased safety and efficiency of your business. Proper use of the service by real estate professionals ensures that we can continue to provide this valuable tool to the industry.

SCR recommends properly using FOREWARN as one part of your overall multiple part safety/risk management procedures. SCR recommends properly using FOREWARN uniformly with all consumers as one part of your overall multiple part fair housing/risk management procedures.

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If you have any specific questions regarding the forms changes, please reach out to the SCR Legal Hotline at 803-772-5206.

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James Island woman says rental scam cost her $2,600 “The most alarming call that I received one day- there was a ‘for sale’ sign on our lot, on our land,” said one woman who did not want to be identified. She said the sign was on her father’s 6.5 acres in Awendaw. “I was kind of caught off guard and I thought, well, I knew, we weren’t selling any property,” she said.

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Thank you to these inspiring past presidents:

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Register now for SCR’s Virtual Fair Housing Mini Conference!

The Code of Ethics is what separates REALTORS® from agents, and ensures fair housing for all. So this April 19th we’re celebrating Fair Housing Month with an informative and important virtual discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion! Featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Lee Davenport. Register now for SCR’s Virtual Fair Housing Mini Conference!

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Hilton Head Area Realtors held its annual REALTOR® Wide Food Drive. The generosity of members was amazing. A 1000 sq ft room at The Hilton Head Area REALTORS® was filled to the brim with food and toiletries. Members gathered food items four food pantries in the area including, Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, Deep Well Project, Bluffton Self Help and Agape Family Life Center. Great job, Hilton Head Area REALTORS

Do you have a story to share about REALTORS® who give back? Email sharon.

In a legal bind? Call the SCR Legal Hotline. SCR’s team of lawyers including Byron King, Austin Smallwood, and Tiara Pitts are here to help answer your real estate related legal questions.

Just call 803-772-5206 or chat today!

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3/15/23 – FOREWARN Training Webinar Wednesday, 3/15/23 @ 10am

3/16/23 – REAL Women’s Conference • Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

3/22/23 – FOREWARN Training Webinar Wednesday, 3/22/23 @ 2pm

3/30/23 – FOREWARN Training Webinar Thursday, 3/30/23 @ 2pm

3/20/23 – New/updated legal forms take effect

4/19/23 – Fair Housing Virtual Mini Conference

5/15/23 –

Posted by: Byron King on 03/17/23 (This information is only accurate as of 03/17/23. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 03/17/23 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at or email byron at

This information is not legal advice. This information is intended only to provide general information and may not be relied upon as specific legal guidance. Legal counsel should always be consulted before acting in reliance on this information.