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Consumer Guide to Advertising
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This FAQ explains the obligations of all agents when it comes to creating and publishing advertisements for the purposes of attracting new clients as well as in marketing properties on behalf of their clients.
TV, radio, and print advertising are just three ways real estate professionals market their services to the public, and market properties they have listed for sale. There are rules that real estate professionals must follow when creating an advertisement to ensure that the public can easily identify who they are and understand what services or product they are offering.
What is considered an advertisement?
An advertisement offering real estate services or properties for sale can take many forms. Below are a just a few of the most common types of marketing used by real estate professionals.
- live ads such as television and radio;
- digital ads such as websites and social media;
- print media ads including newspaper, magazine and billboards; and
- print marketing ads such as flyers, admail, brochures etc.
Can a real estate professional make any claim about their services?
In short, the answer is no. Licensed real estate professionals may not create any advertising that is false or misleading. False advertising contains statements or claims that are factually untrue. Misleading advertising is a statement that may lead a prudent person to believe something that is not accurate.
The basis of a claim to have won an award or compare success (for example, claiming they are #1), must be included to avoid misleading the audience. This information should include the source of the information and qualifying statements when necessary.
As with all advertising, if you are unsure what is meant by a statement in an ad, ask. The real estate professional should be able to clarify what was intended or supply additional context and information to support the statement.
How do I know what brokerage (commonly referred to as an agency) a real estate professional works for?
In BC, all licensed real estate professionals must be licensed with a brokerage and are only permitted to provide services through that brokerage. When you hire a real estate professional, your contract is between you and their brokerage.
Every ad offering real estate services from a real estate professional must include the name of the brokerage they are licensed to. The brokerage name must be clear and easily readable. If a real estate professional wants to include their name on an ad, it must be the name they have registered with the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC).
What does it mean if I’m working with a team at a brokerage?
Some real estate advertisements have a brokerage name but also have a team or group name. Teams are created when more than one person at the same brokerage work together. Information within a team is shared and therefore it is as if they are acting as a single entity. All team names are registered with RECBC and include a list of the members of the team. Once a team of agents have registered their team name with the RECBC, they are permitted to use that team name on all advertising.
When you enter into a relationship with a team of agents, they will identify all the agents who make up that team, so it is clear who you are working with.
Are there rules for advertising my listing?
When you list a property, all advertising of your property must follow the same advertising rules. The advertisement must be truthful and can not be misleading.
Some forms of false or misleading advertising include digitally altered or enhanced photos and untrue claims about the property such as its size or its contents. When creating marketing materials for your home, work with your real estate professional to ensure that the information is clear and accurate.
What other legislation should I know about?
When it comes to marketing your home, your real estate professional may also advise you of federal and provincial spam and competition legislation. All licensed real estate agents must comply with these laws. You and your real estate professional will work together to ensure that your marketing campaign is compliant.
The inventory of a business is often sold as a separate transaction from the business itself. The method for valuing the inventory should be referred to an independent advisor of your choice and a valuation date agreed upon by everyone prior to entering into the contract of purchase and sale. The contract must state clearly whether or not the price includes inventory.
This content was developed with financial support from the Real Estate Foundation of BC.