Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fines And Violations!

Dear Friends,

I would like to share a recent experience with you...

I was working with a Real Estate Broker in NY who hired me as a consultant to review his offices advertising materials and policies. With his permission I am sharing the outcome with you.

After reviewing the company's and agent's flyer's, ads, literature, websites, and company handbook I found over 25 DOS violations. Along with potential IRS independent contractor status issues in his company handbook. And many potential Fair Housing issues in their advertising.

I was not shocked at all.

Experience shows that the average real estate company very rarely checks their agents marketing items, especially web sites and emails.

One of the biggest mistakes NY agents make is with the following law:

§175.25 Advertising
(a) All advertisements placed by a broker must indicate that the advertiser
is a broker or give the name of the broker and his telephone number.

This includes all advertising as well as websites and blogs.

The second mistake is with agent's business cards.

Understanding that a business card is a form of advertisement, it must conform to the general advertising standards. It must be truthful and not misleading.

To avoid consumer confusion a business card must include at least the following information:

  • The name and address of the brokerage as licensed by the Division
  • The individual’s full name, as licensed.
  • Type of license held
    The actual license title
    ie; Licensed Real Estate Broker, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, and Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker.
    NOT: Sales Associate, Broker Owner, Licenced Realtor, ect...
  • The firm’s business telephone number.
  • The inclusion of additional information is permissible, (business titles, business e-mail address, specialization, trade affiliations or accreditations), providing the information is true and not misleading.
  • A licensee may include their home e-mail address, cell and/or home telephone numbers, provided that there is a notation that such are residence numbers, and further that such use is not extended to any activity that would constitute branch office operation.
I can't count the number of incorrect business cards that I see on a daily basis.

I would like to suggest that you check your states laws or guidelines to see what you must have or can't have on your advertising or marketing items

Here are some links to help you get started.
CA http://www.dre.ca.gov/
CT http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1624&q=276076
NY http://www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/realest.html

For my friends in other states, please check with your states licencing department.

If you would like information on how you can protect yourselves and you company from these and other violations, please give me a call. When is now the best time?

Waiting to act on items like these can cost you your business.
My broker client could have had over $125,000 in violations, he is now currently in compliance.

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

One of the fastest ways to build a successful referral based business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

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