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Advertising In Truth

Monday, January 25, 2016  
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Orlando REALTOR® | JanuaryFebruary 2016

Careful selection of words used in your advertising message will help you avoid an ethics violation

REALTOR® A (Complainant) alleged REALTOR® B (Respondant) created and disseminated advertising reflecting the following issues:

  • The letter did not provide the reflection of the agent’s status.  Respondent was only identified by the name of the brokerage and the abbreviations of a designation;
  • Enclosed with said letter was a post card again without any identification of Respondent’s licensed status;
  • The postcard stated that Respondent will provide a “Free REALTOR’S® Appraisal.”

The Complainant stated that the committee had received this same advertising before and given Respondent a courtesy call for correction. Several months later the same advertisement was received and not changed per the phone call thus this matter was brought forward. However, since the filing of this matter, Respondent evidenced the correction of the mailer to change “Free REALTOR’S® Appraisal” to “Free Property Value.”

Respondent still needs to be identified as a licensee either by stating “agent” or “REALTOR®.” A designation will not satisfy the identification of a real estate license status.

The Findings

Article 11 - No Violation
Although Respondent stated that a “Free REALTOR’S® Appraisal” would be provided, it was evidenced that a free market analysis was offered.  This terminology, although misleading, does not violate article 11 as Respondent was not providing services outside the scope of expertise.

Article 12 – Violation
Respondent’s statement that a “Free REALTOR’S® Appraisal” would be provided could be construed by the public, to whom this mailer was directed, that Respondent is in fact an appraiser and would be providing a viable appraisal. Neither is the case, therefore, this statement was determined to be misleading. As to the lack of licensee status, Respondent did not indicate professional status (e.g. broker, agent) or status as REALTOR® which must be clearly identifiable in his advertisement.

Source: San Diego Association of REALTORS®



The National Association of REALTORS® requires each member to complete REALTOR® Code of Ethics training by December 31, 2016. There’s lots of training options, and it’s possible you’ve already fulfilled the requirement:

STEP ONE: Determine if you need the training

If you have successfully completed one of the following since January 1, 2013, then you have satisfied the REALTOR® Code of Ethics (COE) training requirements:

  • Attended a live (COE) class at ORRA;
  • Attended the ORRA Professional Standards annual training course;
  • Attended the ORRA Professional Standards course in the GRI 100 Series;
  • Attended a new member orientation;
  • Completed NAR's online COE course (for new or existing members); or
  • Completed ORRA's online COE course through or

To verify that your record accurately reflects a COE course you have already taken or completed online, please go to ORRA's website at and login to your account by clicking on "Member LOGIN" and entering your NRDS ID # (also known as your ORRA Member # or MLS ID #) and ORRA password.

When your account pulls up, at the top left under your name you will see “COE Complete: Yes or No.” If your completion status is “Yes,” then you have met the requirement and do not need to take additional training.

If your completion status is “No,” refer to Step Two below to review your options or contact ORRA's Professional Development Department at 407.513.7268 or to schedule the required training.

Note: If you have fulfilled the requirement by taking an approved course and your completion status is "No", please email a copy of the Course Completion Report that includes your name, course name, course provider, and course date to

STEP TWO:: Fulfill the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Requirement

If you have determined that you need to complete the COE requirement, you can fulfill the requirement by:

  • Attending a COE class at ORRA;
  • Taking the four-hour COE online course through ORRA's continuing education online provider The CE Shop ($10 | four continuing education credits);
  • Taking the three-hour commercial ethics course online through ORRA's continuing education online provider, The CE Shop ($15 | three continuing education credits); or
  • Taking NAR's free online REALTOR® Code of Ethics course for new or existing members.

Please note: No CE credit hours are available when taking the course via NAR's online course.

Questions? Contact the ORRA Professional Development Department at

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