A topic that continues to rear its ugly head is advertising and Broker Reciprocity. There seems to be MAJOR confusion about what you can and cannot do as far as advertising is concerned.
From experience, I’ve learned that people will (unfortunately) try to bend and stretch the rules as they can to work in their favor. But in this case, rules and laws are very clear and do not allow bending. Regardless, some REALTORS® think that if they subscribe to “Broker Reciprocity” through MRED, they can then take any listing available through that feed and advertise it anywhere as one of their own.
For example, placing another broker’s exclusive listing on Craigslist. Have you seen this? Has it happened to you? If I had a dollar for every time I heard “but I subscribe to Broker Reciprocity” when I call a member regarding a listing they have posted for which they do not have exclusivity....
While the laws, rules, and regulations are extensive and fall under the jurisdiction of MRED, C.A.R. and IDFPR, I have picked each apart to provide a snippet of knowledge on how to properly advertise -- and what Broker Reciprocity really means. Read on!
MRED RULES AND REGULATIONS
SECTION 32: BROKER RECIPROCITY DEFINED - “Broker Reciprocity” is a means by which each Participant subscribing to the program permits the display of its active listings appearing in connectMLS on each other’s BRS Internet web site.
Internet Data Exchange Rules (Sections 32.1 through 32.7)
32.1 Participants must notify the Service of their intention to establish an IDX site and make their IDX site directly accessible to the Service for purposes of monitoring/ensuring compliance with applicable rules and policies.
32.2 Participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than display on their websites. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines.
32.3 Listings or property addresses of sellers who have directed their listing brokers to withhold their listing or property address from display on the Internet (including, but not limited to, publicly-accessible Web sites or VOWs) shall not be accessible via IDX sites. Notwithstanding this prohibition, listing brokers may display on their IDX sites or their other Web site(s) the listing or property address of consenting sellers.
32.4 Participants may exclude listings from display on their IDX sites based only on objective criteria including, but not limited to, factors such as geography, list price, type of property, or cooperative compensation offered by listing brokers.
32.5 Participants must refresh all Service downloads and refresh all Service data at least once every seven (7) days.
32.6 Except as provided elsewhere in this policy or elsewhere in the MRED’s Rules and Regulations, an IDX site or Participant operating an IDX site may not distribute, provide, or make any portion of the Service database available to any person or entity.
32.7 When displaying listing content, a Participant’s or User’s IDX site must clearly identify the name of the brokerage firm under which they operate in a readily visible color and typeface, as per Illinois Real Estate License Act, Section 1450.145 - Internet Advertising.
SECTION 35.2: ICON AND ATTRIBUTION - The MRED approved icon and an explanation that those properties marked with the icon are provided courtesy of Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC. Broker Reciprocity Database must appear on the first page where any listing data is displayed.
REALTOR® CODE OF ETHICS
Realtors® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. Realtors® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08)
• Standard of Practice 12-10: Realtors®’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits Realtors® from:
1) Engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
2) Manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
3) Deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/ methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
4) Presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or
5) To otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/13)
IDFPR: LICENSE ACT
Section 1450.715 Advertising
a) Deceptive and misleading advertising includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1) advertising a property that is subject to an exclusive listing agreement with a sponsoring broker other than the licensee's own without the permission of and identifying that listing broker;
2) failing to remove advertising of a listed property within a reasonable time, given the nature of the advertising, the licensee's control over the removal or stopping of the advertising, the ease of removing or stopping the advertising, knowledge that the advertising was continuing and any other pertinent criteria after the earlier of the closing of a sale on the listed property or the expiration or termination of the listing agreement;
3) Advertising a property at auction as an absolute auction or auction without reserve, when there is a minimum bid or opening bid required;
4) Advertising a property in a manner that creates a reasonable likelihood of confusion regarding the permitted use of the property. Examples of such advertising would be advertising a property zoned single family as appropriate for multi-dwelling use by using words or phrases such as "apartment", "two units", or "separate living arrangement,” unless that use is permitted by the zoning ordinance, a variance from the zoning ordinance, a conditional permitted use or an existing legal non-conforming use; and
5) Use of URL, domain name, metatag, keyword or other device or method intended to deceptively direct, drive or divert internet traffic or mislead consumers.
I hope that this clears things up. It is important to follow these laws, rules and regulations or you could find yourself subject to disciplinary action before IDFPR, MRED, and C.A.R. Contact me at email@example.com with any Professional Standards-related matters.
C.A.R. Senior Director of Member Care and Professional Standards