How Do You Advertise Yourself Legally?

by | Nov 16, 2018 | Legal Tips

By now, most agents understand that when you advertise or market real estate owned by another person you are required by SC Code §40-57-135(E)(1) to identify the full name of the real estate brokerage firm with which you are associated. Moreover, when advertising on the Internet or in other electronic media, this requirement may be met by including a link from the advertisement to the homepage of the brokerage firm.

What you may not know, however, is that the statute only applies when the agent is advertising property owned by another.  So if the agent is simply advertising themselves they are presumably not required to include the brokerage firm information in the advertisement. For example, the agent could have a billboard that contains their name and picture but not include the brokerage firm with which the agent is associated. Strangely, the statute does not require the inclusion of the brokerage firm information in this situation. I think that this was a tremendous oversight in the new statute.

Moreover, despite what many believe, the statute does not require the address or telephone number of the agent’s office. That also seems at odds with the intent of the statute considering that if the agent works for a national brand with multiple offices in town it would make it difficult for the consumer or commission to determine which office the agent is associated with. Nevertheless, the requirement is absent in the new statute.

Of course, none of these rules apply to real estate teams.  Section 40-57-360 requires “team advertising to contain the team name and the full name of the real estate brokerage firm displayed in a conspicuous way.  No team may imply that the team is a separate entity from the brokerage firm of its employment. Team names may not include the terms “realty”, “real estate”, “realtors”, or similar terms suggesting a brokerage.” Most importantly, “the team, and any and all team members, must display and promote that they are directly connected to the brokerage firm under which the team works. The brokerage firm name under which the team works is to be displayed prominently and visibly in a meaningful and conspicuous way on all methods of advertising.”

So a quirk in the statute allows a non-team member agent to market themselves without any mention of the brokerage but a team member must always include the team name and the brokerage firm, even when the agent is marketing themselves and not the team.

Our simple advice is to always include your brokerage name regardless of whether or not you are a team member. Doing so would stop any Commission inquiries and arguments about what the intent of the statute.

DID YOU KNOW THAT American Pickers is coming to South Carolina? The hugely popular History Channel Show is looking for unique collections and collectors to include on an upcoming episode.  Many agents I am sure have a house or person in mind that is full of unique “collections.”


Photo by IW4

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