Confused by the requirements for real estate advertising? This info-graphic shows what must be included in ads for your own listed property (not others) or your services as a professional: (click for full size image in PDF format for reprinting on legal size paper)
Here is the text of the Marketing /Advertising Disclosure Requirements and the sources of each requirement:
- Broker Disclosure: MA Real Estate License Law: (254:CMR 3:00:9(a)) Broker Identification. No broker may advertise real property to purchase, sell, rent, mortgage or exchange through classified advertisement or otherwise unless he/she affirmatively discloses that he/she is a real estate broker. No broker shall insert advertisements in any advertising publication or other means where only a post office box number, telephone, facsimile, electronic mail number or street address appears. All advertisements shall include the name of the real estate broker.
- Agent Working on Behalf of a Real Estate Broker: MA Real Estate License Law: (254:CMR 3:00:9(b)) Salespersons Prohibited From Advertising. Salespeople are prohibited from advertising the purchase, sale, rental or exchange of any real property under their own name. Code of Ethics: “REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.” Advertisements that only list a salesperson or team name without noting the name of the broker and firm is a violation of 254 CMR 3.09(a) and (b).
- Firm Name: Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 12-5: “REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.” June 19, 2019: Massachusetts Board of Registration Q&A on Advertising – Another frequent question that arises relates to the phrase “real estate broker” in the regulation. 254 CMR 3.09 provides that, “All advertisements shall include the name of the real estate broker.” In this context, can the regulation be satisfied by including the name of the real estate brokerage or the broker of record for that brokerage. If there is a corporate entity then that entity, or its properly and municipally filed d/b/a must be included somewhere conspicuously in that advertisement. If it is sole proprietorship then the actual Broker’s name (or d/b/a) must be also be conspicuously placed in the advertisement. Only using the broker of record’s name for a licensed entity runs afoul of this rule.
- State of Licensure: Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 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.”
- Fair Housing Symbol: HUD Fair Housing Advertising § 109.30 Best when symbol or statement is linked to hud.gov or statement about your compliance with fair housing. § 109.30 (a) Use of Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan. All advertising of residential real estate for sale, rent, or financing should contain an equal housing opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan as a means of educating the homeseeking public that the property is available to all persons regardless of race, color,religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The choice of logotype, statement or slogan will depend on the type of media used (visual or auditory) and, in space advertising, on the size of the advertisement.
- Truthful Ads: CMR: (9) Advertising. A broker shall not advertise in any way that is false or misleading. Code of Ethics: “REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
Exceptions for Limited Space:
- REALTOR® Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 12-5 Realtors® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that Realtor®’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures. “This Standard of Practice acknowledges that disclosing the name of the firm may not be practical in electronic displays of limited information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc.). Such displays are exempt from the disclosure requirement established in this Standard of Practice, but only when linked to a display that includes all required disclosures.” Therefore, in each social media advertisement, you must be sure to include a link to another page, most likely your firm website, which includes the name of your brokerage.
- HUD PART 109–Fair Housing Adverting: “A simple formula can guide the real estate advertiser in using the Equal Housing Opportunity logotype, statement, or slogan. In all space advertising (advertising in regularly printed media such as newspapers or magazines) the following standards should be used:Size of advertisement………… Size of logotype in inches½ page or larger………………… 2×2
1/8 page up to ½ page………… 1×1
4 column inches to 1/8 page… ½ x ½
Less than 4 column inches…… Do not use.”