Q: My name is John Johnson but everyone calls me Johnny. May I use Johnny in my advertising? How about my business cards and sign?
A: Business cards and signs are considered advertising. The recommended way to use a nickname in advertising is to include it in quotation marks after your first name or first initial. For example: John “Johnny” Johnson or J. “Johnny” Johnson. And any time you use your first name or nickname in any advertising, you must also use your last name as it is registered with the Florida Real Estate Commission.
Q: Must I display my brokerage company’s information on my website?
A: The advertising rules of Section 61J2-10.025(3)(a), Florida Administrative Code, require that Internet ads display the brokerage company’s licensed name above, below or adjacent to the brokerage or individual licensee’s point of contact information. The Code further defines point of contact information as mailing and/or physical addresses, email addresses, and telephone or fax numbers.
Q: I’m placing an advertisement in the newspaper; do I have to include my telephone number in the ad?
A: No. Rule 61J2-10.025, Florida Administrative Code (FAC), does not require that a telephone number appear in the advertisement.
Q: I'm a broker, ordering business cards for my sales associates. What is required to be on licensees' business cards?
A: The business card is a form of advertising. Thus, the information on the business cards must comply with 61J2-10.025(1) and (2), Florida Administrative Code. The business card must include the licensed name of the brokerage firm, and if the licensee’s personal name is used, at the very least that person’s last name must appear as it is registered with the Florida Real Estate Commission. The card may not include any fraudulent, false, deceptive or misleading information, and it must make clear to reasonable persons that they are dealing with a real estate licensee.
Q: I’m a sales associate. To save money on postage, I’d like to personally deliver my fliers to homeowners’ mailboxes. Is this permitted?
A: No. Postal regulations state that "no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle."
Q: What size must the letters be on my office sign?
A: There is no requirement that the letters be any particular size. Florida Administrative Code Rule 61J2-10.024 included letter size requirements, but the rule was repealed several years ago.
Q: I am a broker who specializes in the sale of gas stations. I want to call gas stations in my area to see if the owners are interested in selling. Do the Do-Not-Call rules apply to businesses?
A: No. The Do-Not-Call rules do not apply to business-to-business calls.
Q: I recently opened my own brokerage. In an effort to attract new business, I’d like to place an advertisement offering buyers and sellers who use my services a $200 rebate. Is this legal?
A: Yes. The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) Rule 61J2-10.028(2) provides that a licensee may share brokerage compensation with a party to a transaction as long as full disclosure is given to all interested parties. Furthermore, since you’ll be advertising this rebate, you also need to comply with FREC Rule 61J2-10.025, which provides, in part, that real estate advertisements must not be false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading. The ad should clarify any conditions or limitations that apply.
Q: My real estate license reflects my full legal name, Jane Doe-Smith. However, I’m most commonly known as Jane Doe within the real estate community, and I only recently hyphenated my name legally and changed it on my real estate license. May I continue to use the name Jane Doe in my advertisement?
A: No. Rule 61J2-10.025(2), Florida Administrative Code (FAC), provides that when you use your personal name in an advertisement, at the very least, the last name must be used in the manner in which it is registered with the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC).
Q: I’m having small signs printed to direct prospects to my listings. My brokerage’s name is too long to fit on the signs, and larger signs cost a lot more. May I shorten the brokerage’s name to fit?
A: No. Rule 61J2-10.025(1), Florida Administrative Code, “all real estate advertisements must include the licensed name of the brokerage firm.” Abbreviations aren’t allowed.
Q: I’m planning to send a mass mailing to all the homes in the subdivision I farm. Is there a legal requirement that says I must include a disclaimer informing recipients who have already listed their property to ignore the advertisement?
A: No. There is no legal requirement to include any such disclaimer in the advertisement.
Q: I’m placing an advertisement for one of my listings in the local newspaper. The cost is based on the number of lines the advertisement occupies. I’m including my first name in the advertisement but would like to omit my last name because it’s very long. May I omit my last name in the advertisement?
A: No. Rule 61J2-10.025(2), Florida Administrative Code, provides: “When the licensee’s personal name appears in the advertisement, at the very least the licensee’s last name must be used in the manner in which it is registered with the [Florida Real Estate] Commission.”
Q: I’m a broker setting up a Web site for the brokerage firm. Our office address and phone number will be located on the left-hand corner of the site. Where must I place the licensed name of the brokerage firm?
A: Rule 61J2-10.025(3)(a), Florida Administrative Code, provides that if a brokerage firm is advertising on the Internet, the licensed name of the firm “shall be placed adjacent to or immediately above or below the point of contact information.”
The rule states: “Point of contact information” refers to any means by which to contact the brokerage firm or individual licensee including mailing addresses(es), physical street address(es), e-mail address(es), telephone number(s) or facsimile telephone number(s).