real estate advertising laws

When realtors are struggling to try to stick to the laws and code of ethics around listing real estate properties, there are a lot of ways to slip up.

The complexity of real estate advertising laws actually leaves a lot of people in the industry in the dark, confused about whether they’re following rules or not. If you’re one of these realtors, you might be violating always with your next ad out of nowhere.

Here are five things to know about laws and how to follow them along with the code of ethics.

1. Learn The Code Of Ethics From NAR

When you’re looking into what your ethics should be as a realtor, you’ll be pleased to find out that they’re already outlined for you.

The National Association of Realtors has a code of ethics that lets you know what the best practices are in the industry. You’ll be able to follow standards that stick to the law while also staying respectful of your clients and your fellow realtors.

When you follow the standards of practice while you’re dealing in a real estate transaction, you’ll stay out of trouble. This helps to build a strong reputation and ensure that when people mention your name, they have only good things to say.

The Code of ethics requires you to be honest and truthful in your marketing and ads.

When you fail to give a true picture of what you’re trying to sell or rent, you’re being deceptive and ruining the ethics of the industry for everyone. Running accurate and honest ads ensures that you’re building a trustworthy name for your self and the industry as a whole.

When you advertise in any medium, the code of ethics requires that you name your firm.

You can’t make claims that you’re the “number one agent” in town unless you’ve actually got hard proof to back it up. When you operate ethically in every way, you’ll enjoy repeat customers and have a better relationship with your community.

2. Watch For Consumer Protection Laws

Every state has laws to protect consumers from unlawful or inaccurate advertising. When advertising real estate, there is usually a specific section of laws dictating what’s done by brokers and agents.

These laws vary from state to state but generally, false, dishonest, or misleading ads of any kind are fully illegal. Federal and state laws make misleading or deceitful ads illegal. 

Check out the federal consumer protection laws to find out more about what the FTC dictates are legal. They will go so far as to investigate fraud or even just unfair business practices as claimed by consumers.

Don’t violate these laws if you don’t want the FTC going through all of your files and looking at every piece of communication you’ve ever hit “send” on.

3. Follow the Rules for Website Ads

NAR has a series of guidelines for advertising online.

They require realtors to provide a lot of information so that their ads have accountability and responsibility attached to them. These rules apply to individual realtors, companies that market properties, or any kind of real estate brokerage services.

On these sites, you’re required to list the name of the realtor attached to the property. You also have to list the name of the brokerage that the realtor is connected to so that the legally registered name is connected.

This accountability ensures total transparency.

Make sure to list the area where the office is located, even just by the city or town where your office.

On top of that, there’s a regulatory jurisdiction where realtors hold their license. Whether you’ve got a brokerage or a sales license, you need to list that jurisdiction on your ads so that people know where you’re located and licensed to work.

4. Make Sure You Have Authority

If you advertise property without the authority to do so, you’ll be considered unethical. You need to be a properly licensed listing agent in order to suit the bill for that. There’s a standard of practice in the handbook claiming that you should never list a property without authority.

They define authority as someone who is considered the listing agent and who had received the listing agreement from a seller in writing. If you don’t have this document in your hands, you’re probably in violation.

Violating these rules could end up leading to being disciplined by the local board of realtors. In addition to fines and fees, you’ll have to face ejection from the board if you violate the rules severely enough.

Whether you’re a realtor or not, the people who’ve been impacted by your violation could sue you or your firm.

The cost of a lawsuit isn’t worthwhile, so it’s not really worth your while if you can keep yourself from violating these terms.

5. Be Careful With Your Language

When you acquire a listing agreement with a seller, don’t go crazy with your newfound power. If you misuse language while writing your listing, you’ll end up violating these terms accidentally.

While you might want to excite your audience about what’s great about the property you’re listing, you need to stay mindful of the truth at all times. If you exaggerate in your excitement, you’ll end up misrepresenting the property.

You can’t say it’s the best house in the market unless there’s clearly defined proof, which is obviously silly to try to find.

Stay honest and careful with your listings and you won’t have to worry about violating advertising laws.

Real Estate Advertising Laws Require Honesty

When you’re trying to follow real estate advertising laws, you don’t need to spend years studying the laws to keep from breaking them.

So long as you’re honest about who you are, what you’re advertising, and what your authority is, you’ll be able to maintain your status and trustworthiness.

If you have a property that’s not selling, check out our guide before you embellish your next ad.