Advertising is an important component to success for any Texas realtor. An "advertisement" is any written or oral statement or communication which induces or attempts to induce a member of the public to use the services of the real estate licensee. There are a number of rules and regulations in place regarding advertising by realtors, and it is important not to run afoul of these rules. Violations of advertising rules also are among the most frequent complaints the Texas Real Estate Commission ("TREC" or the "Commission") receives.
Texas realtors must comply with the Real Estate License Act (RELA), Texas Real Estate Commission rules, the National Association of Realtor's Code of Ethics, and other applicable state and federal laws.
Overview of The Advertising Rules for Texas Realtors
The following is an overview of the advertising rules for Texas realtors; however, this list is by no means exhaustive. If you have questions about rules not covered here or need to speak with an attorney about real estate license defense, please call (512) 717-5432 or click here to contact us.
New Broker Advertising Rule
As of September 1, 2017, there is no longer a requirement that the advertiser be identified in each advertisement as a broker or agent. Under the recently enacted Texas SB 2212 the Commission is precluded from requiring license holders to include the term broker or agent, or a reference to the Commission, or the person’s license number in the person’s advertisement.
Rules on Misleading or Deceptive Advertising
Pursuant to the Texas Occupations Code, Section 1101.652, "The commission may suspend or revoke a license issued under this chapter or take other disciplinary action authorized by this chapter if the license holder, while acting as a broker or salesperson:
- (23) publishes or causes to be published an advertisement, including an advertisement by newspaper, radio, television, the Internet, or display, that misleads or is likely to deceive the public, tends to create a misleading impression, or fails to identify the person causing the advertisement to be published as a licensed broker or agent[.]" Occ. Code §1101.652 (b)(23).
TREC Rule §535.154 states: "deceptive or misleading advertising includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Advertising that is inaccurate in any material fact or in any way misrepresents any property, terms, values, services, or policies;
- Advertising a property that is subject to an exclusive listing and agreement without the permission of the listing broker and without disclosing the name of the listing broker unless the listing broker has expressly agreed to waive disclosure;
- Failing to remove an advertisement about a listed property within 10 days after closing or termination of a listing agreement, unless the status is included in the advertisement;
- An advertisement by a salesperson which identifies the salesperson as a broker; or
- Advertising a property in a manner that creates a reasonable likelihood of confusion regarding the permitted use of the property."
NAR's Code of Ethics on Advertising
Article 12 of the National Association of Realtor's Code of Ethics states that: "Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. 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."
The advertising rules for Texas realtors apply to advertisements on social media.
In the event that required information will not fit in a social media advertisement due to a character limit, then real estate licensee may include a direct hyperlink containing the words “TREC DISCLOSURE” which links to the required information. If creating a hyperlink on the words is not possible, then you may include the words "TREC DISCLOSURE" followed by a link to the required information. This work-around using a hyperlink may only be used if the required information would take up more than 10% of the available character limit.
The foregoing is a brief overview of the advertising rules for Texas realtors and is by no means exhaustive.
Real Estate License at Risk
Failure to follow the advertising rules for realtors could put your Texas Real Estate or Brokers license at risk of suspension or revocation. A careless mistake or an honest oversight could cost you your real estate license.
If you are under investigation by the Texas Real Estate Commission, we urge you to seek the advice of an experienced real estate license defense attorney.
Talk to an experienced attorney who understands all aspects of a real estate license complaint case. The lawyers at BERTOLINO LLP know how to carefully research every potential complaint. We know where to look for evidence and how to use that information to build a successful legal strategy.
If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas Real Estate Commission contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.
For more information, please review The Do's and Don'ts of Appearing Before the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and our FREE eBook When Your License is Under Attack: A Survival Guide for Texas Professionals.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.