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Some may no longer use “real estate” or “realty” in their team name

Recently we discussed Washington becoming a Broker Only State starting on July 1st and for the most part, this is a good thing and I welcome the ‘heightened degree of supervision’ promised by this move.

However, as with most government agencies, the Department of Licensing for our fair state has elected to once again put their proverbial hair in the soup with this little change.

Due to some loophole somewhere, the Department of Licensing has decided that a real estate team may not use an assumed name that has the word real estate, realty, realtor or firm in its name.

Furthermore, the terms LLC, LLP or Corp. may no longer be used either. Putting this into context, you may no longer market or advertise yourself as a real estate team that gives the public reason to think you run your own agency.

Although there is an option to apply for an assumed name license with the state and pay the $200 processing fee, your Brokerage may retains the rights to your name…even if you leave that agency! Does the public really need to be protected this much from us mean and scary real estate agents Brokers? And, do we in the industry really need this much supervision?

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Are the Rules, Codes and Laws in your State like this? What makes you crazy about your states licensing laws. Lets hear from you!

Written By

Patrick Flynn is a 13 year Veteran of this Real Estate fray and a blogger on mySeattleblogs and is active in various social networks. Like many writers at Agent Genius, Patrick wears a few hats other than a Broker's lid- he is also a Certified Real Estate Instructor for the State of Washington and has enjoyed delivering 1,000+ hours of clock hour and non-clock hour approved courses in his career. Patrick has also been a Designated Broker since 2003 and revels in being able to coach and mentor fellow real estate professionals.



  1. Marty Martin

    June 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    That is truly a bizarre move. I could understand more requiring them to add their broker’s name in the fine print of advertising. Adding these seems a bit over the top.

  2. Patrick Flynn

    June 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Hey Marty-Nuts, right? Makes you wonder what’s next!
    Thanks for your comment

  3. Miami Condo Shop

    June 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    This is absolutely fascinating. It’s like martial law has been declared there. Great thing we don’t have such licensing laws in Florida. To me the move is a bit of a stretch, an overkill in fact. Good luck to you guys…

  4. Justin Boland

    June 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Is there any movement in state legislature to fix this? It seems like it was an obvious mistake that would need to be dealt with ASAP.

    Why complicate people’s business further in this economy? Baffling.

  5. James Malanowski

    June 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Makes total sense. If you are a broker working under a broker you are still an agent of your broker. If you want to form your own brokerage than go for it. If you don’t, then don’t pretend you don’t work for a brokerage. All or nothing, folks.

    If you want to be free to run your business as you want hang your own shingle … Otherwise, realize you work for someone else’s company and act as such.

    • Jim Gatos

      June 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      I totally disagree and think your argument is a bit on the nasty side. Some of the best, most productive teams I know work under a brokerage and enjoy the advantages of such; they also are in a structure that allows them to maximize business. I suspect the real reason you are against teams is you’re probably feeling threatened in some ways by a team. I left a VERY “Team-Unfriendly” office to go to Keller Williams, which advocates teams in the spirit of the MREA (Millionaire Real Estate Agent)… concepts.

      It’s simple; “Agent Centric” companies welcome productive teams.

      • James Malanowski

        July 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        On the contrary, I am very team-friendly. I do not believe in those teams acting like they are their own brokerage when they are not.

        I guess it’s not that simple because I am building a company-centric company that welcomes teams.

  6. Susie Blackmon

    June 30, 2010 at 5:43 am

    While I think there are more important things to worry about, I can appreciate your post and the licensing issues. Maybe ‘they’ should worry more about licensing requirements. Considering real estate is not a very respected ‘profession,’ there could be definite advantages to not publicizing the fact that you are a realtor! (And yes, I am one.)

  7. Patrick Flynn

    June 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thank you Miami Condo Shop, Justin, James and Susie for your comments. James-I like your response very much! As a Designated Broker, one of the bigger challenges is to ‘rein-in’ some of those ‘independant contractors’ who think they run the show! And Susie, there are tons more important things to worry about, I agree! Like whether or not your fellow real estate agent in the next cubical over is a Russian Spy! lol

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    June 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    OK, this doesn’t impact me directly at all. I guess I’m thinking about what could be misleading and what definitely isn’t.

    For example – I can see “firm” and “realty” being a bit suspect. It implies ownership of your own brokerage – which a team or associate broker decidedly is not. But using the term “real estate” and “Realtor®” – I start to wonder. If you have a team that is selling real estate – they may really need to use some semblance of language that describes what they do. Dancing around the issue appears to be a needless exercise in mental gymnastics. At the end of the day they have to find words to describe what they do.

  9. Patrick Flynn

    July 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thanks Ruthmarie for your comment. This issue is far from over from what I hear. There are some in the Real Estate Commission for our State who are very unhappy with this as well. I will keep my ear to the ground and follow up with any new information.
    Also, thanks Jim for your comment. I’m not sure if you’re talking to me in your comment about (your) argument is a bit on the nasty side? I’m a huge fan of the team concept…I’m also a Keller Williams Broker as well as a Certified Instructor who actually has a clock hour course I teach agents on the “Red Book” (Millionaire Real Estate Agent). I made the comment that this new law will clarify the Designated Brokers authority but by no means did I imply they are going to get in the way of the production or creation of a Real Estate Team. GO TEAM!!!

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