Attorney Bruce Aydt, ABR, CRB, SRS, is a national real estate educator, a Missouri real estate broker, and past chair of the NAR Professional Standards Committee.
You can send him your ethics questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I have a team, and I’d like to make my team, rather than my brokerage, the focus of my advertising and marketing. Is that okay?
A: You can make your team the focus, but you must also make the name of the brokerage you’re affiliated with readily apparent to anyone seeing your advertising or marketing. The NAR Code of Ethics is clear on that, and some states require it as well.
The Code applies to all advertising, whether it’s being done by the firm, the individual agent, or a team. State laws vary, with some states having specific rules about team advertising. The one constant is found in Article 12 of the Code, the “true picture” principle. REALTORS® “shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
Here are some tips for ethical team advertising under Article 12.
The Code doesn’t specify a size relationship between company name and team name. However, putting the company name in a very small point size in comparison to the team name is likely not in compliance. Likewise, displaying the company name in a light shade, or a color that blends with the background, might be considered a violation. Ultimately, if a dispute arises, a hearing panel will decide. You’ll never have a problem if you keep in mind the principle behind the Code: People have the right to know the true nature of the entities and REALTORS® they are dealing with.