Open House Flyers – 4 compliance considerations
When it comes to creating an open house flyer, lenders need to take extra precautions when creating their own or downloading free templates from the internet. Not only are these templates generally not validated by compliance, you run the risk of compliance issues if you don’t use the proper language and disclosures.
With open house flyers, everyday violations of advertising and solicitation rules occur all the time but some are worse than others. Free open house flyers are more susceptible to compliance violations– even among seasoned and established lenders. As mortgage and real estate professionals, it may not always be clear or easy to be up to speed on all the compliance rules and regulations. With that in mind, we put together a quick compliance checklist to assist you with some frequently asked questions about open house flyers. Bear in mind, we are not lawyers, so you should definitely review this checklist with your own compliance people before creating flyers. Additional information about RatePlug’s 100% RESPA compliant open house flyer platform is available here.
Okay, here goes…
- Brokerage / Firm Name. Your Brokerage or Firm name must be readily apparent on your advertising. If applicable, any other business names (or DBAs) of the Brokerage or Firm must be filed with the applicable County and the BRE prior to use.
- REALTOR®. It is only REALTOR® or REALTORS®, in all uppercase, with the federal registration symbol “®” at the end. Uniformity is the purpose of a trademark and key to brand recognition. Realtor or realtor do not suffice and could be a violation of the trademark. Likewise, “your local REALTOR®,” “number one REALTOR®” or other modification or misuses of the trademark are explicitly prohibited.
- Make sure you include your TEAM name in addition to your firm name/brokerage. Teams are a target of the BRE. A team is different than a Brokerage or Firm, which must be included independently. You may include a team name as well, provided the team name has a properly filed Fictitious Business Name Statement with both the applicable County and the BRE prior to use.
- Make sure you convert materials using “Department of Real Estate” or “DRE” to “Bureau of Real Estate” or “BRE,” which is now the standard.
Of course, these points are guidelines and there are certainly other things to look for that are not mentioned in this article. Before doing anything with open house flyers, always consult your compliance officer.
All of these rules are fixed and apply to any first point of contact—that is, anything that you expect the public to see first. If more than one REALTOR® is on the advertisement, these rules apply to each.
By adhering to all practices above, you’ll be better positioned to support public confidence and professional identification while avoiding fines or worse. While the above provides helpful tips in this manner, it’s important that all associates should cross check and review all rules carefully with their Brokers and fellow teammates.