We’re breaking down the basic rules and laws governing real estate advertising that all agents must know and follow.
Article 12 of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics calls on all REALTORS® to be honest and truthful in their real estate advertising, marketing, and other representations. Here is Part Two of our post on the 13 Standards of Practice listed in Article 12.
12-8: The obligation to present a true picture in representations to the public includes information presented, provided, or displayed on REALTORS®’ websites. REALTORS® shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that information on their websites is current.
Providing false information on your website is not only in violation of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, but it also makes you seem disingenuous, and sets potential clients up for disappointment when you are unable to follow through with what is presented on your site.
12-9: REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.
You can place this information on your About page or in the footer of your website.
12-10: REALTORS®’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from: 1) engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites; 2) manipulating listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result; 3) deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; 4) presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or 5) to otherwise mislead consumers.
Honesty in your advertising and representations will earn you respect from your clients, potential clients and fellow real estate agents.
12-11: REALTORS® intending to share or sell consumer information gathered via the Internet shall disclose that possibility in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.
You can include a disclaimer at the end of all forms that require consumers to fill in information you intend to share or sell.
12-12: REALTORS® shall not: 1) use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or 2) register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture.
To avoid this, many agents use their first and last name as their website URL.
12-13: The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled.
You can display designations, certifications and other credentials that you’ve rightfully earned on your website, business card, social pages and profiles, etc.