When it comes to marketing, REALTORS® come up with the most creative and entertaining ways to advertise their services and listings. While advertising is fun, it’s also necessary to do. That’s why it is important that REALTORS® have an understanding on licensing laws regarding advertising. Advertising is defined by Ohio Administrative Code 1301:5-1-02(H) as any manner, method, or activity by which a licensed real estate broker or salesperson makes known to the public properties for sale or lease or any services for which a real estate license is required. Methods of advertising include, but are not limited to: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, signs, internet websites, unsolicited mail, voicemail, email, fax, social media, blogs, business cards and property listing data base service.
It is important that REALTORS® present honest and truthful communication in their methods of advertising. The Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing regulates how advertising is to be conducted while the National Association of REALTORS® reinforces this concept through Article 12 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Article 12 states:
REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08)
Most recently, the NAR Board of Directors voted to amend Standard of Practice 12-1 to clearly prohibit members from advertising their services as “free” unless the members will receive no compensation from any source for the services. This change came in conjunction with a change in MLS Policy Statement 8.4: Services advertise as “free”, which prohibits MLS participants and subscribers from representing that their brokerage services to a buyer, client, or customer are free or available at no cost to their clients, unless the participant or subscriber will receive no financial compensation from any source for those services.
Other things to mindful of when advertising:
- You must disclose your status as a real estate professional in all advertisements and communication.
- Any licensee name appearing in advertisement must consist of his or her name as it appears on their license.
- The brokerage name with whom an agent is licensed must appear in all advertisements.
- Brokerage name must be displayed in equal prominence with the name of salespersons in all advertisements.
- Approved trade names, as it appears on the license issued by the division, shall be the identifying name in all advertising.
- All internet advertising of real estate services shall disclose the name of the brokerage on every viewable web page of the website.
- When information on a website becomes outdated or expired, you shall update the information within 14 days of the information becoming outdated or expired.
- A licensee shall not advertise or alter information regarding a listing of any property that is not listed for sale, lease, or exchange with the licensee’s brokerage, unless the licensee has written permission from the owner or owners authorized agent and fully discloses in the advertisement the name of the listing brokerage, in the same or larger size type as used to describe the property
- Ultimately the broker or agent named in the advertisement are responsible for any misrepresentations or improper means of advertising, even when an unlicensed assistant prepares the advertisement.
For more information on Advertising laws refer to articles provided by Ohio Realtors®:
Ohio Administrative Code: