Tag Archives: advertising

Building a Web Presence and Oregon’s Rules for Internet Advertising for Real Estate Brokers and Property Managers

 Oregon requires marketing via electronic media, such as Internet, web pages, email, blogs, and bulletin boards, to include specific content not required for other types of advertising

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto11747877internet advertising(December 17, 2015) –  The Oregon Real Estate Agency requires marketing via electronic media (e.g. Internet, web pages, email, blogs, etc.) to include specific content not required for other types of advertising. This requirement applies to Facebook, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Twitter, and electronic bulletin boards and social networking sites used to advertise professional real estate activity.

The Internet is broadly used to communicate with others through email, to do research, for entertainment, and as a method to buy and sell goods. In today’s competitive real estate brokerage industry, a good web presence facilitates accomplishing the following strategic objectives:

  • Creating and maintaining a competitive edge
  • Improving client satisfaction and service
  • Keeping pace with the competition
  • Reducing operating costs
  • Making the time spent by a licensee to develop their business more effective
  • Improving agent/client communication

The following are some brief suggestions as to how this can be accomplished:

  • Establish a web presence through a site geared for that purpose:
    • Use an existing website that lists multiple real estate websites such as www.realtor.com
    • Establish one’s own web presence using the name of the principal broker or the broker’s company’s name. This usually requires the licensee to obtain a domain name to which Internet traffic would be directed.
  • Use email as an effective communication tool with the client.
  • Maintain a visitor’s database.
  • Find free websites and subscribe to them to promote yourself and your web page.
  • Learn how to increase your ranking in search engines.

When a licensee is engaged in the ongoing electronic exchange of information with a client or customer, the following information must be included in the first exchange (a link to the licensee’s home page containing the following information is sufficient):

  • That the individual sending the information is a real estate licensee.
  • The first and last name of the licensee.
  • The telephone numbers or other contact information of the licensee.
  • The name of the principal broker and/or brokerage.
  • The franchise name of the brokerage in which the licensee is licensed.

An advertisement on the Internet should be considered continuous and ongoing, unlike a one-time published ad in print media. Because the REA requires all advertising to be current, licensees must continuously review the advertising and marketing information on the web to ensure that it is current and not misleading.

Advertising, whatever its form, cannot be misleading. This means that software programs that alter or enhance photographs should be used sparingly. Any enhancement should be limited to enhancing clarity of photographs, but should never be enhanced to the point the enhanced image could be considered a misleading representation of the property. A misleading enhancement is one that materially changes the appearance of the property or changes or deletes a significant feature of the property or the surrounding area.

A photograph of a house located next to a large apartment building that is altered to remove the apartment building would be considered a misleading enhancement. To change the sky from Oregon gray to California blue would probably not be deemed a misleading enhancement of the photograph, but rather an alteration that is designed to enhance the clarity or appeal of the property. Any enhancements to photography should be discussed with the principal broker, since the principal broker needs to approve all advertising.

The Internet provides a licensee with the ability to transmit, display, and distribute information about properties listed by other licensees through the licensee’s website or other electronic means. This transmission of information is permitted under the following circumstances and conditions:

  • The licensee must have authorization from the listing principal broker. This authorization may be express written permission or automatically authorized under the rules of an MLS reciprocity agreement.
  • The licensee must not alter any informational part of the listing of the listing licensee.
  • The licensee must disclose the name and telephone number of the listing principal broker or brokerage and the name and telephone number of the listing broker, along with a statement that the information is available from the website of the listing broker.
  • The licensee may not use any meta tags or other coding or programming means to misdirect Internet traffic from another licensee’s site to their own.

Advances in technology have made it possible to provide virtual tours over the Internet. A virtual tour features the inside and the outside of a listed house. This technology, on the positive side, has provided buyers with the ability to view a property over the Internet to determine whether the property should be physically toured. However, this technology has also created the potential for abuses relating to client privacy and security. As a result, any display of a property by means of a virtual tour must have the written permission of the owner, and the virtual tour should be designed to protect the privacy of the client.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

 All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

Mortgage Lender to Pay $250,000 for Deceptive Advertising

penaltyThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced a consent order against RMK Financial Corporation, ordering it to pay a penalty of $250,000 for deceptive advertising. RMK is a  California-based mortgage lender doing business under the name Majestic Home Loans.

According to the CFPB press release, RMK mailed print advertisements to more than 100,000 consumers in several states, using the names and logos of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in a way that falsely implied that the advertisements were sent by the VA or FHA, or that the company or the advertised mortgage products were endorsed or sponsored by the VA or FHA. RMK sent its advertisements to tens of thousands of U.S. military servicemembers and veterans, and other holders of VA-guaranteed mortgages.

“Deceptive advertising has no place in the mortgage marketplace, and the Consumer Bureau will continue to take action against companies that mislead consumers with false claims of government affiliation,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s action sends a clear message that misleading consumers is illegal, unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.”

The CFPB reported that their investigation found RMK’s practices violated the Truth in Lending Act, the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule, and other federal consumer laws. The 2011 Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule prohibits misleading claims in mortgage advertising, including implying a government affiliation.

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 For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

  This article was published on March 30, 2015. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

Important Advertising Points for Oregon Real Estate Licensees

Oregon’s definition of advertising by real estate licensees includes all forms of representation, promotion, and solicitation

[This article was last updated on July 5, 2019]

(Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd) – Oregon’s definition of advertising by real estate licensees includes all forms of representation, promotion and solicitation disseminated in any manner and by any means for any purpose related to professional real estate activity, including advertising by mail; telephone, cellular telephone, and telephonic advertising; the Internet, E-mail, electronic bulletin board and other similar electronic systems; and business cards, signs, lawn signs, and billboards. Here are some important points to remember when advertising:

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  • The licensee cannot lead the public to believe they have a level of expertise greater than they have.
  • The licensee cannot claim or imply a license status other than the one they hold.
  • All advertising must be truthful and cannot be deceptive or designed to mislead.
  • The written permission of the property owner is required to advertise the owner’s property.
  • Advertising property must be identified as the advertising of a real estate licensee.
  • When the licensee’s name is used in advertising the licensed name or registered business name of the principal real estate broker or property manager must be prominently displayed, immediately noticeable and conspicuous.
  • The licensee must submit all proposed advertising to the principal broker for review and approval before publicly releasing the advertising.
  • The licensee is required to keep a record of principal broker approval of advertising and to make it available to the REA upon request. The burden of maintaining advertising records and proving compliance is with the licensee.
  • The licensee does not have to obtain principal broker prior approval to advertise a personal property for sale, if the property is not listed with the principal broker. Personal real estate advertised for sale must disclose that the property owner is a real estate licensee.
  • The principal broker is responsible for all advertising that arises from his/her brokerage. The principal broker must review and approve all advertising or delegate direct supervisory authority and responsibility for advertising originating in a branch office to the principal broker who manages that office.
  • Advertising includes electronic media or communication such as e-mail, Web pages, bulletin board, e-mail discussion groups, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Craigslist, and any other social networking site. Also, the first page of the electronic communication must contain the licensee’s licensed name, the principal broker’s licensed or registered name, and a statement that the licensee is a licensee in the State of Oregon. Sponsored links on a search engine are exempt from this rule because the search link is outside of the control of the licensee. As long as the first e-mail communication contains the necessary disclosure relating to license status and identification of the principal broker, subsequent email communications are exempt from this rule.
  • No advertising may guarantee future profits.
  • Team advertising is permitted as long as the “team name” used does not constitute an unlawful use of a trade name or is similar to another name under which another person is legally authorized to do business. The team or group must include at least one licensee, and all licensee members of the team must be associated with the same principal broker.

NOTE: Sponsored links on a search engine are not considered advertising and are exempt from these rules because the search link is outside of the control of the licensee.

NOTE: Some real estate firms have entered into agreements with each other to interchangeably advertise properties. Many of these authorizations permit a broker to display or advertise the listings of other brokers over the Internet according to the rules of the member’s MLS system. This is commonly referred to as IDX or Internet Data Exchange. The licensee should check with their principal broker to make sure an agreement exists before advertising properties not listed by that licensee or licensee’s firm.

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