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Can I use the word realty in my business name if I am not a

licensed real estate agent? JA: Where...
Can I use the word realty in my business name if I am not a licensed real estate agent?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: I'm in California. I don't have a property yet. But I am starting a business and I want to advertise on Facebook.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No. I'm in a class. I can't talk on the phone right now.
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Answered in 37 minutes by:
10/15/2016
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,370
Experience: Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
Verified

Hello,

I am a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside Counties), and the California and National Associations of Realtors. Please permit me to assist.

There is no specific law that prohibits a business from using the term, "realty" in their name. However, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Section 10130(a) provides: "It is unlawful for any person to engage in the business of, act in the capacity of, advertise as, or assume to act as a real estate broker or a real estate salesperson within this state without first obtaining a real estate license...." [emphasis added]

Similarly, Cal. Civil Code Section 1770 prohibits various types of false advertising. Here again, however, the use of the term, "realty" by itself, doesn't necessarily rise to the level of false advertising. But, what you actually do in your business, combined with the use of the "realty" term, could be construed as falsely advertising that you are a real estate professional.

It could be argued by the government that by using the term, "realty" in your business name, that you are advertising as and assuming to act as a real estate broker or salesperson. Whether or not this is a valid legal argument would be up to a court. I think it's a risky bet for you, but I cannot say that it's absolutely illegal.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks. Your advice was helpful.

You're welcome and thanks for using Justanswer!

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,370
Experience: Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
Verified
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socrateaser
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,370
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Experience: Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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