The Balancing Act: North Carolina Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules and Cultural Norms

North Carolina has a diverse population that is inclusive of various cultural backgrounds, each with their own unique norms, values, and traditions. It is imperative that brokers follow License Law and Commission rules while also respecting the cultural differences of consumers when conducting brokerage activities.

Brokers should be sensitive to the cultural norms of consumers; however, the sensitivity brokers display should not affect their ability to adhere to:

  • License Law and Commission rules while conducting brokerage activity;
  • their fiduciary responsibilities while in an agency relationship; and/or 
  • honesty and fairness while working with a consumer in a transaction.

Balancing cultural sensitivity and compliance with Commission rules may present a challenge to some real estate brokers. However, there are some best practices that brokers may implement to be successful, such as:

  • becoming culturally competent:
    • Brokers should take workshops/trainings to gain an understanding of various traditions, norms, and practices of the communities they serve.
  • participating in open, continuous communication:
    • Brokers should establish effective communication with consumers/clients including educating them on their mandatory duties under License Law and Commission rules and their roles in the transaction. Additionally, the communication should also assist brokers with determining the specific needs and concerns of their clients and consumers.
  • seeking advice:
    • Brokers may encounter situations where cultural norms conflict with License Law and Commission rules; therefore, seeking guidance from the Commission and/or legal counsel regarding License Law and Commission rules would be in the brokers’ best interest. Despite sometimes conflicting cultural expectations, brokers must follow the law and rules.

Although brokers may encounter consumers/clients with varying cultural norms, it is possible for the broker to be sensitive to the individuals’ cultural traditions while also adhering to License Law and Commission rules. Brokers who comply with Commission rules while also respecting cultural norms can build a strong, trusting relationship with the individuals in their community.

If you have questions about License Law and Commission rules and cultural norms, please contact Regulatory Affairs at For more information, read the Case Study in this edition of the e-Bulletin.