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How to Navigate Advertising, Compliance, & Law Online

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Real estate advertisements are an important way to market your business. However, one wrong choice of words can greatly impact you and possibly put you in court. Learn how you can advertise your business legally.  

Who is Responsible for an Advertisement? 

Whether you are a real estate agent or broker, you share the responsibility for your advertisements. If you are a principal broker who owns a real estate business, you also share some responsibility for the ads your agents put out, since they will be under your company name. 

Where Can You Advertise In Massachusetts and New Hampshire?

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Advertising placement is legal in the following mediums in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

  • Print Advertising
  • Real Estate Newspapers
  • Handout Material 
  • Business Cards
  • Flyers 
  • Direct Mail 
  • Social Media
  • Email 
  • Chat
  • Community Groups 
  • Third-Party Syndication 
  • Multi Listing Service
  • Company Agent Website
  • Billboards

As you can see, there are not many places where advertisement for your real estate business is restricted. On the contrary, your focus then needs to be on the content you’re putting out.  

Blind Advertising is Illegal

In both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, blind advertising is illegal. You might see or hear ads every day that give a general or more detailed view of what companies provide. There is a responsibility that when you do advertise, you are truthful in your services. While it is illegal to work as a real estate broker/agent before you earn your license, that means you are prohibited from advertising as one too. 

Massachusetts and New Hampshire laws prohibit brokers and agents from false and misleading advertising. Brokers must clearly state they are a broker in any ad they create. Whichever medium these ads are located in, they must include the name of the real estate broker, post office box number, telephone, facsimile, electronic mail number, and street address. Agents, on the other hand, cannot advertise their services or property under their name. They must put their ads under the company or broker they work for; agents need to get permission from the broker to advertise. 

In regards to advertising apartment rentals, open house disclosures, or inducements must always include the broker/brokerage/company. Open-house ads need to disclose the agency’s relationship with the seller. 

Violations of Fair Housing 

While false advertising is important compliance to take note of, it’s also important that after your advertisements, you are not making future violations. Massachusetts provides strict laws regarding fair housing. Real estate brokers and agents can violate these compliances through the following actions:

  • Refusing to rent or charging higher rent 
  • Refusing to rent because of public assistance
  • Failing to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities 
  • Harassing individuals based on gender, disability, or physical modifications 
  • Refusing to give a mortgage
  • Threatening to report individuals to immigration authorities
  • Refusing to rent to a pregnant woman or family with young children 
  • Retaliating if an individual reports discrimination   

Join Greenwood Real Estate on April 2, 2024 from 12 pm to 2 pm via Zoom for a class on “Real Estate Advertising, Compliance, and Law Online.” Here, you’ll learn more details about advertising and compliance online in real estate. Different topics will include social media advertising vs. print and other media, promotional sales and out-of-state properties, inducements, reviewing sample ads, and more. 

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