I have received numerous phone calls from our members over the last few weeks regarding solicitations/advertising that our member’s clients are receiving from other brokers. Please make sure you are aware of the requirements under the REALTOR® Code of Ethics before mailing, texting or emailing marketing materials to members of the public; and, the messaging is not part of a general solicitation program, similar to a mass mailing using “snail mail.”

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Article 16 of the Code of Ethics states:

“REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients.”

Standard of Practice 16-2 states:

“Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from making general announcements to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another REALTOR®. A general telephone canvass, general mailing or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given profession, business, club or organization, or other classification or group is deemed ‘general’ for purposes of this standard.”

Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types of solicitations:

  • First, telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively listed their property with another REALTOR®; and
  • Second, mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with another REALTORS® when such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified through compilations of current listings, “for sale” or “for rent” signs, or other sources of information required by Article 3 and Multiple Listing Service rules to be made available to other REALTORS® under offers of subagency or cooperation.

If the email being sent is a commercial email message, it must also comply with Federal CAN SPAM rules https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Also review the Do Not Call List rules https://www.donotcall.gov/faq/faqbusiness.aspx before sending a text message.