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
- The policy manual must set an appropriate tone and convey fundamental ideas to guide all employees.
- Use clear, concise and uncomplicated language.
- Keep all policies wide in scope and general in nature.
- Establish procedures that clarify any potential issues.
- Provide specific policies about compensation, termination, training and development, and employment rules.
- Require staff to sign a statement acknowledging they have read and understand the manual.
Source: Developing a Policy Manual (National Association of REALTORS® Human Resources Toolkit)
Real Estate Office Policies
Company Policies: How Managing Brokers Navigate New Rules and Regs (Chicago Agent, Feb. 3, 2020)
It’s Time to Review Your Employee Handbook (Society for Human Resource Management, Jan. 15, 2020)
Security Policies Every Company Should Have (The Balance, Nov. 30, 2019)
Independent Study Finds that Most Current Mobile Device Policies Fail Businesses and Their Employees (PR Newswire, Aug. 15, 2019) E
Basic Office Policies (Bizfluent, Jul. 31, 2019)
7 Essential Clauses to Include in Your Remote Work Policy (Forbes, Jul. 9, 2019)
How to Manage Workplace Relationships (Business News Daily, Mar. 12, 2019)
Create an Employee Handbook/Policies and Procedures Manual (The Balance, Feb. 7, 2019)
7 Policies to Update in Your 2019 Employee Handbook (Society for Human Resource Management, Jan. 15, 2019)
Why Your Office Needs a Safety Policy (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 17, 2018)
Drafting a Policy Manual
Why, When, and How to Develop a Company Policy (The Balance, Nov. 22, 2019)
How to Write a Social Media Policy for Your Company (Hootsuite, Jul. 29, 2019)
Put it in Writing: Your Office Policies and Procedures (American Psychological Association)
Writing and Formatting Policies and Supporting Documents (Purdue University Policy Office)
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 Policies (Society of Human Resource Management, 2019) Benefits, diversity, safety, technology and other.
Inclement Weather Policy Sample (The Balance, Oct. 24, 2019)
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 Office Policy Manual 2017 (Illinois REALTORS®, 2017)
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.Policy and Procedure Manual (Pemberton Holmes)
Employer-Employee Guidelines (National Association of REALTORS®)
Note: These Guidelines are intended to assist REALTOR® associations develop employment policies that are required to obtain coverage for certain employment-related claims under the NAR Professional Liability Insurance Program. Refer to the insurance policy documents for the amount of coverage available and the types of employment claims that are covered. It is the responsibility of each association to ensure that its employment policies are consistent with these Guidelines and applicable law.
When implementing employment policies pursuant to these Guidelines, the association should affirm the at-will status of its employees and include language to disclaim the formation of a contract with its employees. The association should also consult with legal counsel to ensure that the disclaimer and policies are consistent with applicable law.
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.
365 Answers about Human Resources for the Small Business Owner (Kindle, eBook)
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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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.