Are your online ads following the code of ethics?

Online ads can be a bit tricky when it comes to following social media norms and NAR’s code of ethics, which wasn’t really written with Twitter’s character limits in mind. So what constitutes an ad, and how do you stay in compliance?

That can be tricky. Social media posts, whether or not they are paid may be considered advertisements if the intent is to convince people to use your services or to become interested in a property. So when possible, it’s better to be safe than sorry and include the required information.

When you’re advertising a particular property as a broker, you need to include specific information, like the city in which the property is located, the name or d/b/a of the brokerage, and where the firm is licensed, if not in the jurisdiction in which the ad appears.

We look at one instance here. If you’re advertising by showing a picture of a house on Instagram, caption the photo with the city, your brokerage name and where you do business to be on the safe side. Hashtag it, if you like. It’s just important that the information is there. For instance to be in full compliance, a post could look something like this:

“A great home for sale in #Dallas! #AwesomeRealtyGroup #LicensedinTexas #JJJonesREALTOR

Remember, if you’re advertising as a licensee, not as a broker, you’ll also need to include your name and where your license is held, if not in the jurisdiction in which the ad is placed.

If you are advertising your services as a brokerage, you should include the firm’s name or d/b/a, and the city and state in which the office is located, and where the license for the brokerage is held.

You may use the phrase, TREC DISCLOSURE and then add links to the required information (for instance, on your website) in the cases where adding all of the above information doesn’t really work within the constraints of the platform (we’re looking at you, Twitter).

Most importantly, it’s crucial to not be misleading or deceptive. You’re a REALTOR advertising a property or a service. Be specific and honest about who you are and what you are offering. Be accurate in the terms you use to describe a property and its features.

Examples of advertising ethics

Legal Disclaimer: The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the MetroTex Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the MetroTex Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here. Any legal or other information found here, should be verified before it is relied upon.