Virginia Realtor Fined $450 by NAR for Website that Violates Standards for Advertising
By Maggie Wilson @ Real Estate Daily
December 27, 2017

The National Association of Realtors has some oddly specific standards of practice for their agents’ advertising. A Virginia Realtor was just fined $450 for failing to disclose his brokerage association in the correct spot on his Facebook page.

Key Takeaways

  • NAR requires agents to clearly disclose brokerage association in all advertising and licensure information on their web pages
  • Virginia-based realtor Abraham Walker was fined for not displaying his brokerage association and wife’s licensure information clearly enough
  • Walker received no warning or order of compliance before the $450 fine

Brief

If you are a member of NAR, you may need to update your online webpage or marketing platforms to avoid a $450 fine. According to standards of practice 12-5 and 12-9 in NAR’s Code of Ethics, agents must clearly disclose brokerage affiliation and licensure information on all web pages and advertisements.

Virginia-based realtor Abraham Walker just received the full $450 fine because of an anonymous tip on his Facebook page and webpage. Walker violated the standards of practice by not listing his brokerage affiliation in the name of his Facebook page, although it was always made clear on his webpage and in the about section of his Facebook.

“I don’t think I knew where to put it at,” Walker said. “They sent me a screenshot of a specific place, so that’s when I changed my business name to have my broker’s name included in it, which it still isn’t clear if that’s what I needed to do.”

In accordance with the fine, Walker said he renamed his Facebook page to “Ask A Walker powered by Keller Williams Realty Kingstowne” and added his wife’s licensure information to the footer of their webpage.

Walker also said that he is not upset about the fine, but wanted to share his story because the rules were not clear. “If you’re a Realtor, you could get hit with the same ethics violation in your market. Be sure to have the proper disclosures on your website and Facebook business page,” Walker said. “Learn from my mistake.”

“Let us not waste energy focusing on the individual who followed the rules by anonymously reporting an obvious error. Instead, use this opportunity to review your advertisements for compliance issues,” Walker concluded.