Real estate regulators crack down on individual agent, team branding

California Real Estate Commission warns agents pretending to be brokers
  • State agency cautions agents not to represent themselves as "independent" and reminds brokers to supervise agent advertising.

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California's real estate regulator appears to be getting fed up with agents who mislead consumers into believing they are brokers -- and with the brokers that support the practice -- and it's not alone. What constitutes misleading consumers? It could be as simple as an agent using a fictitious business name ending in "Real Estate" or an agent branding him- or herself as an "independent" real estate professional. In March, the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) issued a licensee alert warning that agents who violate these laws -- and brokers who let their agents engage in such activities -- risk significant fines, license revocations and even criminal prosecution. Other states are also contending with the gray area of agent branding, and this latest advisory indicates that the issue will continue to be a regulatory focus in the Golden State and beyond. This year, a South Carolina bill banning the use of “real estate,” “realty” and related terms in agent ...