One of my relatives texted me the other day to ask if he had to put his broker’s license number on his business cards. The short answer to this question is “no,” but I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone what you need to include in advertising and on signs. There are a few questions about advertising on the state exam.
For the sign at the office entrance, you need the broker’s name, the trade name of the company (if there is one), and the words, “Licensed Real Estate Broker.” This is the only time you have to use the name of the broker (the actual person’s name). It’s also the only time where you need the exact phrase, “Licensed Real Estate Broker.” There are no specific requirements related to the exact size or placement of the sign, but it must be visible as you are walking in the door.
Now let’s talk about advertising, which is what my relative was asking me about. Advertising includes business signs, yard signs, newspaper ads, internet ads, t-shirts, pencils, TV ads, billboards, and so much more. Basically, advertising is anything you are using to promote your business. There are specific rules for team advertising that I am not going to get into. Team advertising is not in the FREC Course 1 syllabus, which means it’s not on the sales associate state exam. However, if you are on a team and are looking for real life information, it can be found in Chapter 61J2-10.026 F.A.C.
Back to individual (not team) advertising … all advertising must include the name of the real estate brokerage (the company name, not the person’s name). That’s the only thing that has to be there. Now, I would assume you want to put your own name in the ad. (It’s not required by FREC, but highly recommended if you want to be successful.) If you do put your name, you have to put your full name as registered with the DBPR. I remember someone who was disciplined by FREC because her ads said to “Call Shavonne ‘Rental Queen’.” Well, obviously that is not her real name. She could have said, “Call Shavonne ‘Rental Queen’ Edgecomb.” Or she could have said, “Call Shavonne Edgecomb the Rental Queen.” In either case, it’s clear what her legal name is. Don’t forget, though, she also has to have the name of the brokerage firm on there as well. By the way, this mistake cost the rental queen a $250 fine, six month probation, three hours of class, and the investigative costs of $108.90.
A few other things about advertising … there are no requirements to put a specific phone number, address, email or anything else on the advertisement. In fact, I’d recommend that you put your personal cell phone and personal email, not the office phone. There are no requirements to label anything. For example, you do not need to indicate that the only number I listed is my cell phone number.
For website, everywhere there is a point of contact, you have to include the name of the brokerage firm. A point of contact is any way you can contact the person. For example, a phone number, an address, an email address, etc. Anywhere you have one of those, you have to have the name of the individual agent or the name of the brokerage firm.
Lastly, all of the above information applies no matter who is paying for the advertising. So if you are paying for your own business cards, you still have to put the name of the company.
If you have any questions about advertising, especially as it relates to the state exam, feel free to call me at 407-493-3974.