open house signOur focus this month is on legal updates, so I want to take the time to focus on a law that does not take effect until January 1, 2018, but should impact your spending immediately. It will impact your spending because the new law affects all aspects of advertising and much of what you spend on advertising items now will still be around, but possibly unusable, at the end of this year.
This new law, by the reports made on The Ledger Law Firm website, defines advertising materials as stationary, business cards, for sale and similar signs, directional signs, advertising flyers, and print and electronic media. It requires that the advertisers name and BRE number appear on all of these items of advertising with a few limited exceptions to be discussed later. The BRE number must be in a font no smaller than fonts used elsewhere on the material.
The responsible broker’s name must also be on the material. The broker’s BRE number is optional, although some broker’s may require their associates to include the broker’s number. The name of the broker must be the name under which the broker generally does business or is a substantial part of their business. A team name registered by the broker will likely not comply.
There are two exceptions to the above rules:
  1. Signs which contain only the designation of the responsible broker. But if a rider is added with the associate’s name, then full compliance with the law by also showing the associates BRE number would be required.
  2. There is no licensee designation at all. For example, a sign merely stating “open house” with a directional arrow would be in compliance. But as soon as an associate’s name is added, full compliance with the associate’s BRE number and responsible broker designation would be required unless covered by exception 1 above.

So why all the new rules? To provide an effective way of tracking down the wrong doers. My name, Dave Tanner, is not particularly common, but there are eight of us licensed in the state and three of us belong to MetroList®. If I do something that is viewed as wrong by someone wanting to file a complaint and I am in compliance with the new law, they know which broker to call. Or, if they want to file a complaint with BRE, they know my license number. If I do nothing wrong I really have nothing to worry about.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics has required REALTORS® to feature their broker’s name on the material for many years. This requires non-REALTORS® to meet the same standard.
The addition of the BRE number on all advertising materials also allows a consumer to check the BRE website and see if the licensee has a history of prior disciplinary action before entering into a relationship with the licensee. I think all of us can support the appropriateness of that consumer protection.
In summary, if you are anticipating investing in any advertising materials, it would be wise to insure not only that your materials are compliant under existing law, but also that they will still be compliant next January.
Reference: – Affordable Prices.
– SAR CEO Dave Tanner