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#462591 - 10/09/18 09:24 PM Business naming
Bill Ryder Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Tampa, soon Philadelphia burbs...
Hi,

I'm very new to the site and an aspiring Realtor. I expect I may be here A LOT over time! Thanks for the resource!

My first question ever is: are there any regulations that would prevent me from using a business name such as "X Y Z Properties", in particular the use of the word "Properties" at the end, for my business as a Realtor and in wanting to create my own brand? Any other considerations / opinions about this kind of name?

I did search on "business naming" but saw nothing like this addressed in the first page or so of results.

Thanks so much!

-Bill Ryder

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#462593 - 10/09/18 09:59 PM Re: Business naming [Re: Bill Ryder]
Bill Ryder Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Tampa, soon Philadelphia burbs...
Actually while I'm waiting, how about the word "Realty"? Does one need to be a broker, officially a licensed agent, or any other restriction before that word may be in a business name?

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#462595 - 10/09/18 10:50 PM Re: Business naming [Re: Bill Ryder]
Vermont Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 7948
Loc: Vermont's North-East Kingdom
If you're going to be doing business in Pennsylvania, then I'd check with the Secretary of State in your Commonwealth, or its Division of Corporations and TradeNames and make sure that the names you may want to use for your business are still available are not already being used by someone else.

I don't know Pennsylvania Real Estate Rules and Regulations; but generally, you have to be a Broker to form your own Firm to represent Buyers and Sellers. Just obtaining an artificial "name" (DBA or LLC) doesn't legalize you to perform Real Estate transactions; and I wouldn't firm up a "name" with Pennsylvania until I verified that a similar domain was also available with ICANN or Network Solutions. This discussion is probably all premature until you get yourself Licensed in Pennsylvania (unless you were previously Licensed in Florida).

Some states don't require a License to do Rentals, or to hold yourself out as a Real Estate Consultant; you'd have to check with your Real Estate Commission, and they can also update you on what Pennsylvania requires for you to prepare for Licensing Examinations; making it a good starting point.

Regarding the word "Properties", that's what I chose to use. Many other people elsewhere in this Country have the same name as I . . . . but not here in Vermont. And no one else has a WebSite or URL using my name. Don't invest in a domain name until you've secured the "name" in Pennsylvania.

Try to say Golden Rule Realty real fast and you'll immediately know why I chose to go with "properties".

I registered my Trade Name with the Vermont Secretary of State (and paid the Fee) several years before I actually came to use it for a Brokerage; but that was over 30 years ago.
_________________________
Dale C. Hittle of GOLDEN RULE PROPERTIES in Glover, Vermont
Where We're Always Striving To Put Together "THE FAIR DEAL"

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#462601 - 10/10/18 11:13 PM Re: Business naming [Re: Bill Ryder]
Bill Ryder Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Tampa, soon Philadelphia burbs...
Thanks!

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#462623 - 10/13/18 07:37 PM Re: Business naming [Re: Bill Ryder]
Bill Ryder Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Tampa, soon Philadelphia burbs...
For the record, I sincerely appreciate Vermont's reply. What I found in further research is that there is an ongoing debate in state legislatures with regard to misrepresentations that can arise due to the naming of sales "teams." Long story short, many agents are going to really generic naming to stay safe.

More details:

Note I am not a lawyer and do not represent that anything I'm about to say is 100% correct. I am a newbie layman, and so use this commentary for what it's worth based on your own research. That said...

There seems to be little problem or hub-bub about forming a business entity to operate as a "team" under a broker. I read one place that this is especially true because the broker really holds listings and is ultimately responsible for the execution of transactions. The agent typically works as an independent contractor in any case, so whether the "agent" is an individual person or one of a team of people (even without a "named" team, consider how often agents hire assistants) seems not to be the major point of concern.

Concerns arise when a business entity forms as a team working under a broker, but uses a name with words that could imply that the team itself can act as a broker. So, teams were using a name like XYZ Real Estate. That's really ambiguous as to what that entity really does and to some, they could assume a brokership.

So, state legislatures are in the midst nationally of making new law preventing the use of certain words in a business name for other then RE "brokers." Each state is currently different on this but it's evolving and the direction is to be more restrictive. Even the use of "properties" could be prevented by some.

So what I read some are doing, and this is what I've done at this point, is use a really generic name with something like "group" or "solutions" or "partners" to shield themselves from trouble if any of these other names get restricted.

I myself have formed "Blue Maple Group LLC" in PA. So that's who I am now, in the RE game. smile I plan to use this for investment activities, and I'll carry it from broker to broker with myself as an agent so I can maintain my own brand indefinitely. The main thing there is that in all advertising I will need to be very clear and sure that my broker is as prominent in any spot where I present my own team name.

Here's an article specifically on team naming:
https://national.wfgnationaltitle.com/in...-team-branding/

Here's an article on RE teams in general that mentions team naming in passing, but this is a good read too:
https://www.nar.realtor/being-a-realtor/partnerships-teams/legal-issues-for-teams


Edited by Bill Ryder (10/13/18 07:43 PM)

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#462625 - 10/14/18 11:46 AM Re: Business naming [Re: Bill Ryder]
Vermont Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 7948
Loc: Vermont's North-East Kingdom
The important thing to remember here is that the General Public needs to know "who" they can sue and the State needs to know "who" the Process Agent is in that jurisdiction.

Brokers are still going to be vicariously responsible for the actions of every member of all teams within their Brokerage and anyone working for them, regardless of how blurred the linkages have become.

I'm not a fan of the Team concept.
_________________________
Dale C. Hittle of GOLDEN RULE PROPERTIES in Glover, Vermont
Where We're Always Striving To Put Together "THE FAIR DEAL"

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