Teams and groups continue to be a popular way for brokers to run their businesses. By working together, brokers can pool their resources to expand their collaborative practice instead of each broker operating individually. That is, one broker might focus on buyers and another on sellers. The team can also hire unlicensed assistants to perform tasks that don’t require licensure, such as paperwork, scheduling, and transaction monitoring and follow-up.
However, Oregon has specific rules for real estate team advertising. These rules are found in Oregon Administrative Rule OAR 863-015-0125 (7).
In Oregon, a licensee may use the term “team” or “group” to advertise if:
- the use of the term does not constitute the unlawful use of a trade name and is not deceptively similar to a name under which any other person is lawfully doing business;
- the team or group includes at least one active real estate licensee;
- the licensee members of the team or group are associated with the same principal broker;
- the licensee member uses the licensee’s licensed name, a common derivative of the licensee’s first name and the licensee’s licensed last name, or an alternative name registered with the Oregon Real Estate Agency and includes the licensee’s license number;
- the advertising clearly states which individuals are licensees and which are not when non-licensed individuals are named in the advertising; and
- the advertising complies with all other applicable provisions of ORS Chapter 696 and its implementing rules.
The law requires a real estate team or group to be agents or personnel associated with the same office. At least one individual in the team or group must be licensed. If unlicensed members of the team or group are named in the advertising, the ad must clearly state who is licensed and who is not licensed.
“Advertising” and “advertisement” include all forms of real estate-related communication by a licensee that is designed to attract the public to the use of services related to professional real estate activity.
Types of Advertising
The Oregon Real Estate Agency includes these things as “advertising.”
- Print, including, but not limited to mail, publications, brochures, postcards, business cards, and stationery;
- Signs, including but not limited to lawn signs, displays, and billboards;
- Phone, including but not limited to cell phones, text messaging, cold calling, and outgoing voicemail messaging;
- Broadcast media, including but not limited to radio, television, podcasts, and video; and
- Electronic media, including but not limited to multiple listing services, websites, email, social media, mobile apps, and other online marketing.
Advertising Points to Remember
- Identify yourself as a real estate license;
- Be truthful and don’t design ads to be misleading or deceitful;
- Advertise property only with the written permission of the property owner or their authorized agent;
- Don’t state or imply that you are a principal broker or responsible for operating the registered business if you are a real estate broker ;
- Don’t state or imply that you are responsible for operating the registered business if you are a principal broker but not the authorized licensee for the registered business name;
- Don’t state or imply a qualification or level of expertise other than you currently maintain;
- Use your licensed name, a common derivative of your first name (such as Jeff instead of Jeffrey) and your licensed last name, or an alternative name registered with the Agency and your real estate license number;
- Include the registered business name of your company, so it is easily noticeable; and
- Comply with all fair housing laws.
Oregon’s rule requiring the principal broker to approve all advertising was in many ways not workable and is no longer applicable. As a result, brokers are now responsible for making sure their advertising complies with the rules. However, brokerages can set company policies for advertising to help their licensees stay out of trouble.
It is important to remember that anytime you promote yourself as a real estate professional, mention a listing, or even congratulate a new homeowner on social media, you are engaged in some form of advertising, and the rules must be followed.
Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, an online real estate, mortgage broker, and vocational school founded in 1997, where he also serves as Chief Executive Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational and post-secondary school instructor licenses in several states and has authored numerous real estate continuing education and pre-licensing courses and has been awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center’s CDEi Designation for distance education. Memberships include ARELLO (Association of Real Estate License Law Officials), the National Association of REALTORS®, Oregon Association of REALTORS®, and Portland Metro Association of REALTORS®. Awards and service include REALTOR® Emeritus in the National Association, Life Member award in Portland Metro Association and Chairperson of the Oregon Real Estate Forms Committee.
OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.