Brokers OK to drop “licensed” from official titles

DOS clarifies rule amid wider advertising changes

From left: NYSAR's Margaret Hartman and Alfred Fazio
From left: NYSAR's Margaret Hartman and Alfred Fazio

State regulators have been revising the rules on how brokers identify themselves in advertising, outlawing fanciful titles and cracking down on team-related phrasing. But when it comes to whether brokers must describe themselves as “licensed,” as in licensed real estate broker, it’s up to the individual to make the call.

In an attempt to clear up apparent industry confusion about whether it’s necessary for licensed real estate brokers, salespeople and associates to identify themselves as such, attorney Alfred Fazio of Capuder Fazio Giacoia, on behalf of the New York State Association of Realtors, asked the New York State Department of State to clarify the issue.

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The DOS verdict? Since the state issues licenses to real estate professionals, brokers and agents are officially licensed to transact business in that capacity throughout the state, Fazio said in a statement. It is not improper to use the label, just unnecessary, he said.

“It seemed particularly redundant to require agents to use ‘licensed’ before real estate salesperson, real estate associate broker or real estate broker,” Fazio added. “In a similar example, it would be as if requiring attorneys to advertise themselves as ‘licensed.'”

The NYSAR is expecting a formal written opinion from the DOS, but for now has received verbal confirmation that the question of noting licensure need not be an area of concern to licensees. — Julie Strickland