How do you keep your office running smoothly? These days it's essential for companies to have written documentation about office policies and procedures. An easy-to-understand guidebook for salespeople to refer to in their daily business can help solve and prevent disputes, and helps ensure the success and reputation of your company.
NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.
What a Policy Manual Should Do
- Provide a clear understanding of the relationship between broker and sales associates, management and employees, and administrative functions and sales functions.
- Permit the anticipation of and resolution of controversies before they arise.
- Stabilize both management and sales by building confidence that both management and sales associates know the rules by which the game is to be played.
- Forbid favoritism, since all must operate within the framework of the manual's predetermined rules and guidelines.
- Provide stability of organization and permit the staff to function effectively in the absence of management
Source: Portions adapted from Real Estate Office Management, 4th Ed. (Chicago, IL: Real Estate Education Co. 2004)
Real Estate Office Policies
Ownership Advantage: Six Ideas for Your ESOP’s Social Media Policy (ESOP Report, Jan. 2019) E
Why Your Office Needs a Safety Policy (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 17, 2018)
Should Employers Establish a Policy on Romantic Relationships in the Office? (HR Magazine, Feb. 1, 2018) E
Workplace Drug Policy Updates: Just Say Yes (HR Magazine, May 1, 2018) E
Upgrade Your Anti-Harassment Policy (HR Magazine, Mar. 1, 2018) E
Trust the Process (HR Magazine, 2017) E
Going to the Dogs (HR Magazine, 2017) E
Modern Family Leave (HR Magazine, 2017) E
BYOD Policies: Striking the Right Balance (HR Magazine, Feb. 2016) [bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies] E
Protect Your Business With a Social Media Policy (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2015)
How to Set Your Office’s Dress Code (Entrepreneur, Mar. 4, 2014)
Navigating the ‘choppy waters’ of religious accommodation (Portland Business Journal, Nov. 7, 2008)
Office Politics (Dallas Business Journal, Aug. 29, 2008)
Drafting a Policy Manual
Employee Handbooks (Small Business Administration, 2019) A guide to help you write your own employee handbook.
Your employee handbook vs. the 'biggest idiot' theory (HR Specialist, 2017) E
A Helping Hand(book): How an employee handbook can make your life easier and improve productivity (Landscape Management, 2017) E
Adapt Policies for a Smooth-running Office (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2010) Turn your office into a model of efficiency and profitability with some well-planned policies.
How to Write a Social Media Policy (Inc. May, 27, 2010) Whether your company is active on social media, your employees probably are. Here are some things to consider when creating a social media policy.
A Lighter Touch for Handbooks (HR Magazine, May 2009) Employee handbooks should reflect your culture, not just the law. E
Employee Relations: Developing a Policy Manual (National Association of REALTORS® Human Resources Toolkit) Be sure to check out the 'related documents' in the box on the right side of the page for sample drug and harassment policy suggestions.
Creating an Office Policy for Do Not Call Rules (National Association of REALTORS®)
Sample Policy Manuals & Manual Templates
Several state associations have developed sample policy manuals for their members, not all of which are available on the open web. Members are encouraged to contact their state association to see if a template is available.
Sample Employee Manual for Association Executives (National Association of REALTORS®, 2018) This sample customizable employee manual geared toward local REALTOR® Associations is available to you in downloadable MS Word format. Manual includes topics on technology, time off, compensation, disciplinary policies, and more. [for purchase]
Note: Many of these samples were developed by state or local associations based on local laws and regulations that may be different from those of your state. As with any legal document, you are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel to make sure your version is compliant with the law after you modify it for your business. Again, these samples are meant to be used as guides for members. The information should not be construed as a recommendation by NAR for any course of action regarding financial, legal or accounting matters. It is not meant as a substitute for professional advice from a qualified legal, accounting or financial professional.
Sample Policies (Society of Human Resource Management, 2019) Benefits, diversity, safety, technology and other.
A Broker’s Guide to Creating a Policy and Procedure Manual (ARELLO, 2012) [links to PDF document] Prepared by real estate regulators to assist a broker who is considering owning and/or operating a real estate brokerage, as this endeavor comes with much responsibility and liability.
Use of Social Media in the Real Estate Business (National Association of REALTORS®) From NAR's Legal Affairs division, this members-only document provides brokers with a template that may be used when developing a social media policy for the broker's own firm.
eBooks & Other Resources
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
Broker Office Policies Model Manual (Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Department of Real Estate—Broker Office Policies Model Manual Committee, c2002) HF 5438 Es4 [link to PDF version in library catalog listing]
Office Policy Manual (Madison, WI: Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, 2007) HF 5438 W75
Office Policy Manual (Novato, CA: Professional Publishers, Inc. 2000) HF 5438 M19o
Policies and procedures manual: a guide for success in real estate (Tallahassee, FL: The Real Estate School, 1998) HF 5438 P75p
Real Estate Brokerage Essentials®, Managing Legal and Business Issues, 3rd Ed. (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2006) HD 1386 N21. Also available in the nar.realtor Store for sale.
Real Estate Office Management (Chicago, IL: Dearborn Real Estate Education, 2004) HF 5438 R22r Ed. 4
Workplace Law and Office Policies (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2001) HF 5549 N16wl
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