In light of community concerns over Sheppard Pratt Health System's purchase of a home in Ruxton for use as a rehabilitation facility for patients recovering from a mental illness ("Ruxton ready to fight over rehab home," April 22), we are writing on behalf of the 3,200 members of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors to dispel some of the misperceptions that some community residents may have about the role of real estate professionals in the transaction.

Real estate agents are legally bound by Maryland law to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. They are also required to adhere to all laws governing the transaction, including the federal, state and local fair housing laws, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, disability and other factors. They are further bound by a strict professional code of ethics that places additional duties and obligations upon them.

These ethical and legal requirements protect all buyers and all sellers by ensuring that it is these same buyers and sellers who have the ultimate decision making authority in a transaction. Realtors must vigorously represent their client's interests, to be the faithful keepers of the confidential information imparted to them by their clients and to treat the other parties in the transaction with honesty and respect.

As the oldest board of realtors the nation, GBBR fully supports the actions of its members when these actions demonstrate strict compliance with the law and the faithful execution of the code of ethics.

Bob Kimball and Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III

The writers are president and executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.