Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

By Paul Cowhig, Advisor, Professional Standards

Continuing on the topic of signage from my earlier column (Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign, January 31, 2019), the common REALTOR® signage issue is the display of the Brokerage name. It can’t simply include the company logo. It must have the name of the Brokerage you work from. So, not just RE/MAX and the balloon but RE/MAX, Sunshine Realty, for example. Make sense?

CREA’s Standards of Business Practice, Article 13, says:

All Advertising and promotion of properties shall accurately reflect property and other details and prominently display the name of the brokerage and any additional information required by provincial regulation.

And in Council’s Rules – Business Practices, Division 3 on Advertising, it says:

– Restrictions and requirements related to advertising generally 4‐6 (1)   A licensee must not publish real estate advertising unless it complies with this section. (2) In all cases, the licensee name of the brokerage must be displayed in a prominent and easily readable way.

To be honest, I feel like a nagging jerk having to remind people of this over and over. These are really simple, clear rules and they’ve been the same forever.

The Rules use words like “prominent” and “easily readable.” That means a consumer should not have to search an ad for the Brokerage name. Please, don’t ask me what ‘prominent’ means! You know. I’ll bet your name is prominent. Use that as a guide.

Also, it’s not just about the size of the font on the sign. The placement of the Brokerage name on an ad or sign plays a part in it being prominent and easily readable. When tucked away at the bottom with a bunch of other random information, it’s probably not helpful and certainly does not embrace the spirit of the Rules.

My wish is that members would purposely cultivate a mindset of wanting to comply with the Rules. That would require that you know the Rules of course but, if you really wanted to be compliant, you’d make a point of knowing and studying the Rules. There is a difference between resisting and resenting the Rules for intruding on your practice, and embracing them for giving form and structure to how you practise. It’s having a professional attitude about the business you’re in.

Brokers, please, I know you need more responsibilities and pressure like you need a canker sore, but this is supervision. You, or someone qualified that you delegate, must be overseeing advertising. You’ve got to be helping and insisting your agents know and be compliant with all the Rules.

Agents, please, thank your broker when they weigh in and give you input and set you straight. Don’t get your back up. Don’t grumble about the time and cost required to do it right. This is professionalism. This is what separates a REALTOR® apart from a licensee. It’s having a deliberate and sincere desire to aspire to a higher standard and, frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised there’s a cost and that it takes effort. Embrace it! Love it! Relish in the effort it takes to be the best. If being a professional in every way possible is what you want, there will be tremendous satisfaction in making the effort to do it right.

You will welcome instruction and correction because it will move you closer to your goals. Think of having a coach. They push you and push you to work harder, faster, smarter and you eat it up because that’s how you separate yourself from the pack, and you pay your coach to drive you like that. Because it’s you and, ultimately, your clients that win as a result. It becomes why your clients work with you and why they tell everyone they know to work with you.

If you find yourself increasingly irritated by the new Rules and the enhanced focus on rules in general, you may want to think about what that means. It may be a sign you need to adjust your thinking and your attitude. It may even mean you’re in the wrong business because the truth is, if you don’t genuinely aspire to embody in your career everything the REALTOR® Code prescribes, we’d prefer you weren’t in the business. The REALTOR® Code is a fantastic document. Read it. It’s short and it’s sweet and it covers everything.

The very last thing we want to do is to be handing out huge fines for things like this but, as you can see, if that’s what it takes, that’s what is going to happen.

Let’s help each other with this, and let’s not accept anything less than every one of us knowing and playing by the rules.