Many agents have been busy changing their team names and advertising to remove newly prohibited words such as “realtor, realty and real estate.” Starting January 1, the new real estate law codified in SC Code §40-57-360 holds that team names may not contain these prohibited words or similar terms that “implies the team is a separate entity from the brokerage firm of its employment.” While it is clear team names may not contain these prohibited words many agents are unsure if their URLs (World Wide Web address) and/or slogans may contain the prohibited words.
First, an individual is not prohibited from using these terms in any form. So an individual can continue to use the slogan and URLs without concern.
Secondly, our contacts at the Real Estate Commission inform us that team URLs and slogans may contain the terms “real estate, realty and realtor” except if the terms are used as part of the team name. For example, a team may use the slogan “Premier Real Estate” without issue as long as that slogan is not part of the team name. However, if the team name is similar to Gary’s “Premier Real Estate” Team then the slogan would be prohibited as it is part of the team name and “real estate” is a prohibited term.
Additionally, an individual or team may use a URL such as www.premierealestate.com because only team names are prohibited from using the terms. A team should be very careful using any URL that could be confused with the team name. A team should not use a URL such as www.garyrealtyteam.com if the team name is Gary Team. The URL could imply to the public that the team name is “Gary Realty Team” which contains the prohibited term.
Even though the Commission seems poised to allow the use of some URLs and slogans, teams should be very cautious in using any of the prohibited words after January 1 in any form. We have been informed that some in the industry are searching for violators to grieve.
Meet the People of Blair Cato: Stephanie Rogan is a post-closer with the firm. She is originally from Long Island, New York. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Stephanie has been working in real estate for 8 years. At home she enjoys gardening, reading and spending time with her five nieces and nephews and two dogs.
Photo by Cubosh