Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The New FREC 61-J2 Rule on Team or Group Advertising

Does Your Team or Group Name have an illegal or forbidden term?

What it really means

The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) is discussing what is probably the last draft on new 61J2 – 10.026 team or group advertising rule. My estimate is that this new rule will be voted on and passed in next month's (September's) meeting.

This has been in work for a long time. I myself heard the commission discussing this issue in a commission meeting almost 2 years ago. 

 The reason for this rule change is because the commission had felt that many sales associates and broker associate were stepping way over the line for too long of a time with regards to the way they present themselves to the general public. 

Only a broker is allowed to name themselves, and market themselves to the public as a real estate business. Sales associate and broker associate may only do business under their own name. And it needs to be the name that they have registered with the DBPR

 The Florida Real Estate Commission believed that many team names were actually the name of a real estate business (which is not allowed). They had been receiving numerous complaints from consumers who did not know who they were working with or what brokerage. 

Some of the complaints were that they did not know with who on what team they were working with and they had no idea who showed up to the appointment. 

 And I want to remind you that the only thing that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the Division of Real Estate (DRE), and the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) care about is the general public. They do not care about real estate licensees. 

When the general public starts complaining about licensees too much, the commission is going to do something about it. 

 So here are the new rules on Team or Group Advertising: 

1. Team or Group Advertising shall mean a collective name or logo used by one or more real estate licensees who represent themselves to the public as part of one brokerage that performs real estate license activities under the supervision of the same broker. 

As a reminder, every single sales associate and broker associate works for their employing broker. They are not independent business entities. 

2. Each team or group shall file with the broker an appointed team leader to represent the team or group. This team leader shall be responsible for ensuring that the advertising is in compliance with Chapter 475 Florida Statutes and 61J2 Florida Administrative Code. 

3. The registered broker must maintain a current written record of each team’s or group’s members. 

4. Team or group names. Real estate team or group names must always include the word “team” or “group” as part of the name. 

Real estate team or group name shall not include the following words: 

a. Associates
b. Brokerage
c. Brokers
d. Company
e. Corporation
f. Corp.
g. Inc.
h. LLC
i. LP or LLP
j. Real Estate
k. Realty
l. or similar words suggesting the team or group is a separate real estate brokerage or company 

All of these indicate a real estate brokerage business. It had become too deceptive to the general public. Only a broker can own and operate and register a real estate brokerage business, not sales associates or broker associates.

5. Unless otherwise provided, this rule applies to all mediums of advertising including print, radio or television, and Internet. It includes but is not limited to such type of advertising as signs, billboards, email, business stationery, business cards, business documents, signs, logos, newsletters, or electronic equivalents, or anything of a similar kind of use for a similar purpose as any of the items set forth above. 

6. Advertisements containing the team or group name, team or group member, or individual licensee shall not appear in larger print or be more prominently displayed than the name of the registered brokerage’s logo. 

Many of the teams were further trying to skirt the issue by putting the required brokerage information in teeny tiny print somewhere near the bottom of the ad. It is another rule that all advertising must contain the name of the brokerage. 

The commission considered this as another way for teams to break the rule. So now, there’s a new rule. Nothing can be larger than the print that contains the name of the real estate brokerage. 

 7. All signage, including yards and billboards, must comply with these requirements no later than 12 months following effective date of this rule. 

8. Excluding the items listed above, all other relevant advertising must comply with these requirements no later than six months following the effective date of this rule. 

By the way, everything is advertising. While the discussion of this was going on for a couple of years I always let my classes know about it. On many occasions I had students call me and asked me about a team name that contained one of the now forbidden, illegal terms. 

I told them all, don’t do it. I told them they would be wasting their time and money. They were going to spend money with a URL, a webpage, SEO and SEM to brand them, business cards, car placard, and so on and so on. 

I told them they were going to be wasting your time and money and they were going have to be changing it all soon. 

They responded, “but my broker said it was okay.” I asked them, then why did you call me and ask me? Then I would tell them you get to do whatever you want.  

And now and everyone is going to be changing their team names or group names that contain one of the forbidden terms. 

 But you are all sales people. So use it as an opportunity to communicate with your entire customer database. At the very least, turn it into a positive!

The Climer School Of Real Estate is The Best Real Estate School in Florida. If you want to have the best chance of Passing your Florida Real Estate Exam on your first try, then you need to attend your real estate classes at The Climer School. Call us at 407-822-3926 (EXAM), or stop by our website at . Ask for any of our instructors. The Climer School of Real Estate has the Best Real Estate Instructors in Florida

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