Is there a restriction on words that can appear in the team name? For example, “realty,” “real estate,” “associates,” or “real estate team”?
No, Virginia law does not currently restrict or prohibit words from team names; however, the name cannot be misleading or imply that the team is a brokerage. The firm and/or broker may also have additional requirements that you will need to follow.
What requirements are there for team advertising?
Ultimately, teams are subject to the same advertising and disclosure regulations as an individual licensee. The Firm name must be clearly and legibly displayed in all advertising.
Both the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and the VREB regulations also impose considerations for legal and ethical team advertising. The concern is that the name cannot mislead the public as to whether you are operating as a team, or as an independent brokerage. 18 VAC 35-20-300(9) states that knowingly making any material misrepresentation is grounds for disciplinary action, including fines, suspension, or revocation of license. The Code of Ethics, Standard of Practice 12-10 prohibits REALTORS® from misleading consumers. Firms and licensees should be cautious when choosing a team name and avoid the use of terms that could cause public confusion. Finally, the broker always has the final say as to how a team may advertise, and what is required in every advertisement. A broker can always have advertising rules that are stricter than what is currently found in the VREB regulations.
Is it true that the agent name (or team name) cannot be in larger print than the company name?
No, there is no such regulation. The bottom line is that in all advertising – including team ads – the name must be clear and unambiguous as to the identity of the firm and that the team is a team, and not a brokerage. The firm name must always be clearly and legibly displayed.