The following checklist of questions can help. While this list may not be comprehensive, it sets out many compliance issues.
- Does the ad contain any misleading statements, or does it tend to create a misleading impression in any manner? It is prudent for someone who did not design the ad to scrutinize it for any potentially misleading statements. Keep in mind that the standard is not whether a statement is true, but whether the advertisement “tends to create a misleading impression.”
- Does the ad contain the name of the real estate firm or broker? It should.
- Does the ad identify the professional or license status of people in the ad? It might be prudent to identify the license status of all individuals and firms named in the ad, either specifically or globally. Use of the term REALTOR® is acceptable to identify this status.
- Does the person causing the ad to be published have proper authority to publish or submit the advertisement?
- Is the price quoted the price agreed upon by the owner?
- If any service is offered “free of charge,” make sure that the service is not tied to or contingent upon any service for which the REALTOR® is to be compensated.
- If any inducements are offered, does the ad fully describe the conditions for inducements?
- Is any ownership interest in the property held by the REALTOR® disclosed?
- If any loan information is advertised, does the ad comply with requirements of Regulation Z?
- Does the ad inadvertently imply a limitation or preference to a protected class that could potentially violate fair housing laws?
- Is the specific information related in the advertisement accurate?