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What The New TREC Advertising Rules Mean For Your Ads

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Updates to the Texas Real Estate Commission’s advertising rules go into effect May 15th and have been made in an attempt to reduce misleading advertisements and ensure consumers know with whom they are working.

Advertisements are any type of communication that will be used to attract people to your services. This includes radio or television broadcasting, pamphlets, business cards and stationery, e-mails, websites, and even social media, or text messages. 

Unchanged is the rule that requires all advertisements provide the name of the license holder or team name in a readily noticeable location in the advertisement. A new change requires the advertisement to include the broker’s name in a font size that is at least half of the size of the largest contact information for any sales agent, associated broker, or team name found in the ad. Because social media and text messages may limit the amount of content, the new rules allow for this information to be shared on a separate page or account, as long as the information is accessible by a link and the names of the agent, or team, and broker are readily noticeable.   

The new TREC rules allow for the use of different types of names; however, they must be registered with the Commission before they can be used in any advertisement. This is a change from the older rules that allowed agents to use names as long as they gave notice within 30 days of use. The rules define the different types of names that can be used, which include: alternative names, associated brokers, assumed business names, and team names. Significant changes were made to the rules regarding team names. To comply with the new rules, team names must not imply the team is offering brokerage services independent of its sponsoring broker. A non-exhaustive list of terms that you should avoid include: “brokerage”, “company”, or “associates.” Additionally, all team names must now end with the word “team” or “group.”  If your existing team name does not comply with the new rules, you must update and register a new name before it can be used in any advertisements.  

Similar to the old rules, the new rules state that license holders must not create advertisements that mislead or are likely to deceive the general public. The new rules list 20 examples of how a license holder’s advertisement may be misleading and provide concrete examples that may help you when creating your next advertisement. A few examples of misleading advertisements include:

1.A sales agent uses the title “broker,” “president,” “owner,” “CEO,” “COO,” or any other title that may imply they are responsible for the operation of a brokerage. 

2.It implies the person making the advertisement was involved in a transaction regarding a property when the person had no such role.

3.It contains the name of an agent that is not the name shown on the sales agent’s license or registered with the Commission.

4.It ranks the agent or service provider against others, unless the ranking is based on objective criteria that is also disclosed in the ad.

Before you create your next ad, be sure to read through all of the new rules and examples to ensure you are in compliance and follow the best practices. For more information and links to the new rules, visit SABOR.com.  

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