By Carol Hardy • 2018 President

Let me introduce myself….. My name is Ms. Adver Tisingrules.  Yes, I go through changes every now and again – a little nip here, tuck there, updates are needed! The main reason is so you and the general public know me completely and clearly. Yes, I’m a bit vain, but I am very important! You do not want to get on my bad side!

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), my dearest associate, and I go way back. We have collaborated with my main focus being clarity for consumers with the least restrictions on license holders. I just hate being restricted, don’t you?  It’s so uncomfortable, but sometimes necessary. My updates, revisions and interpretations balance requirements that support free commerce and business competition with those protecting the consumer from misleading advertisements. And we don’t want anyone to be misled!

I have kept the ability to use my other names such as “Broker”, “Agent”, “Licensed By The Texas Real Estate Commission” and other terms of endearment, so that’s good. There are actually chapters written about me. Check out Chapter 1101.652(b)(23); it describes how a license holder cannot be misleading or imply that they are the responsible party (wait, did someone say party? Wrong kind.) and the name of the Broker must be included. Oh, here’s another: Chapter 1101.156(b); so this one limits TREC from regulating certain forms, size or duration of me, personal appearance (which I can be pretty spectacular!) or voice or even the use of registered assumed business names. There is more on this chapter, so you’ll want to read it.

So, that’s just a little background on me! Now, my friends at TREC and I decided that more clarification was needed – back to revamping who? Me! I needed this to separate the requirements regarding names and their registration from my requirements (meaning advertising requirements).

So, to get more specific, TREC’s rule §535.154 REGISTRATION AND USE OF NAMES (the number for me), defines alternate name, associated broker, assumed business name and team name. So to use one of these in me, you have to have them registered with TREC, which hasn’t changed. But the most significant change concerns team names. Looky here: “A team name is not an assumed business name of the broker and cannot contain terms that imply that the team is offering brokerage services independent of the broker. Team names must end with the terms “team” or “group.” Don’t believe me?  This is taken straight from TREC’s site (https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/trecs-advertising-rules-what-you-need-know )

Here’s another one, TREC’s rule §535.155 ADVERTISEMENTS (That is me me me me me!)  I will also quote here: “All license holders’ advertisements must include the license holder’s name or team name. It also must include the broker’s name in at least half the size of the largest contact information for any sales agent, associated broker or team name contained in the advertisement.

Understanding that advertisements take many different forms today, the Commission revised the exception for social media to allow more flexibility. An advertisement on social media will comply with the rule as long as the license holder has linked to the required information in the account profile or the information is readily accessible by a direct link in the advertisement.” Again, straight from TREC’s site (see above).  RL