Beware craigslist real estate ads

In some locales, craigslist is loaded with real estate ads, many submitted by real estate licensees. I have seen ads that carry the tagline "overpriced" and I have followed the links only to discover that the ad was published by someone other the listing broker/salesperson. In some cases the amount published in Craig's List is different from the list price and in others not. In many cases, great effort and several links need to be explored before the identity of the advertiser can be determined.

My own investigation and search of various craigslists left me aghast. Do these licensees who are advertising in craigslist have any idea that the ads may constitute ethics violations for "disparagement?" Indicating that another's listing is "overpriced" could be found by a properly convened ethics hearing panel to be just so.

Further, the fact that the broker's name and telephone number do not appear in the first page of the advertisement likely represents a violation of Pennsylvania license law that can subject an offender to a fine and a repeat offender to perhaps suspension or revocation (even a first-time offender can be suspended, though unlikely). And what about the violations of the MLS rules that are probably violated by such craigslist advertisement?

Don't think eyes are not upon you. If you advertise in craigslist and you do so improperly, the law is likely to catch up with you!

Copyright © James L. Goldsmith, Esquire, CALDWELL & KEARNS, P.C., 2012

All Rights Reserved

Jim Goldsmith is an attorney with Caldwell & Kearns and serves as general counsel to PAR. A substantial portion of his practice is dedicated to providing advice and counsel to real estate licensees. He and his firm represent and defend real estate salespersons and brokers in civil lawsuits and licensing claims across the Commonwealth. Jim also defends REALTORS® in disciplinary hearings conducted by the Real Estate Commission. He routinely counsels employers on employee relations issues and is one of the voices of the PAR Legal Hotline. He may be reached at www.realcompliance.com.