4 advertising shortcuts that lead to consumer complaints
RECO often gets complaints from consumers about advertisements for the home they have bought or sold. Here are four advertising issues that often upset buyers and sellers. Each one could be a breach of the Code of Ethics, if you don’t take proper steps and obtain the necessary consent.
1. Their listing shows up where they didn’t expect it
When brokerages share data, listings often end up captured and advertised by another brokerage through a shared advertising agreement. This can catch consumers by surprise if this isn’t how they thought the brokerage would market their home. If the listing will appear across multiple sites, make sure the seller is aware and they’re okay with it. Fully explain the implications of advertising or promotional clauses in listing agreements, and keep in mind sections 3, 4, and 5 of the Code of Ethics.
2. Ads that include images of the home they just bought
Before the transaction is completed, you only need the seller’s written consent to advertise the property. However, after the deal has closed, the buyer’s consent in writing is also required, even if you’re only placing a simple ad that shows the property as sold. See section 36 (8) of the Code of Ethics.
3. Ads that contain info about the buyer or seller
Even if the owner of the property has consented to advertising their property, they may not want any information about themselves to be included. If you want to include any information about either party of the transaction, you must get written consent from that party. See section 36 (7) of the Code of Ethics.
4. Ads that contain info about the transaction
If your ad will include pricing information, or any other aspects of the deal, you need to obtain written consent from both parties. Even if you’re only advertising that the property sold for over asking, that’s private information that requires their permission. See section 36 (9) of the Code of Ethics.
Remember to deal with the other party via their representative
When obtaining consent from the other party, it’s important to communicate with them via their representative. For example, if you are representing the seller, you must obtain consent from the buyer via their representative, unless the buyer’s brokerage has given you written permission to talk to the buyer directly. See section 7 (1) of the Code of Ethics.