Although it is only February 2017, it is time to start thinking about the new advertising standards taking effect January 1, 2018. AB 1650 makes significant changes to Business and Professions Code § 10140.6 expanding what must be included in advertising materials, including business cards, “for sale”, “open house”, lease, rent and directional signs, stationary, advertising flyers, and print and electronic advertising.  There is no prohibition on being ahead of the effective date, so before ordering new advertising materials, you may want to make sure that your advertising materials comply for 2018.  Here is a summary of the new requirements: 

  • When and What:  Beginning January 1, 2018, a licensee must disclose on all solicitation materials intended to be the first point of contact with consumers 
    • Name and license number (license number type-size no smaller than other smallest type in solicitation), and 
    • The responsible broker’s “identity,” meaning the name under which the broker is currently licensed by CalBRE and conducts business in general or is a substantial division of the real estate firm. The broker’s license number is optional. 
  • Where
    • Business cards
    • Stationery
    • Advertising flyers
    • Advertisements on television, in print, or electronic media 
    • “For sale,” “open house,” lease, rent or directional signs  
    • Any other material designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer
  • Limited Exception: “For sale,” rent, lease, “open house” and directional signs need not include the agent’s or associate broker’s name and license number as long as either: 
    • The responsible broker’s “identity” appears. Under this exception there can be no reference on the sign to an associate broker or licensee, or 
    • There is no licensee identification information at all. 

This exception also applies to the general rule of disclosing a licensee’s status, such as broker, agent, or REALTOR®, in all advertising. However, under the N.A.R. Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 12-5, any advertisement of real estate services or listed property in any medium must disclose the name of the firm in a reasonable and readily apparent way. So even though a licensee who is not a REALTOR® may post a completely generic “for sale” sign under the new law, REALTORS® have a higher standard.