Local Real Estate Sign Laws

Flyer Ad / Guidelines

As a REALTOR®, you represent the face of the real estate industry by conducting yourself in an ethical and professional manner. However, there are serious, yet common reoccurring issues pertaining to advertising. The issue stems from REALTORS® not presenting a “true picture” in their representation to the public. Article 12 addresses truthfulness in statements and advertising. Article 12 states, “REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public. REALTORS® shall also ensure that their professional status (e.g., broker, appraiser, property manager, etc.) or status as REALTORS® is clearly identifiable in any such advertising.” (Amended 1/93) For more information on Article 12, please visit the legal section of CAR’s website.


The applicable standards of practice are:

  • Standard of Practice 12-4 REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/landlord. (Amended 1/93)


  • Standard of Practice 12-7 Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

Where do I need to display my license number?

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued revised draft regulations clarifying SB 1461, the State law that requires real estate licensees to include their license numbers on all “first point of contact” materials. View this chart for more information or call the DRE’s Enforcement section at (877) 373-4542 if you have questions.

Local Real Estate Sign Laws

Please view this table for local jurisdictions’ sign laws.


Top 5 Advertising Questions

Courtesy of California Association of REALTORS® – Sign in required to view answers.

• Must a salesperson also use the broker’s name in an advertisement when using the salesperson’s name and/or telephone number?
May a real estate licensee use a nickname in advertising?
Can you summarize the changes in advertising rules effective 2018?
Are there any specific advertising guidelines that REALTORS® should be aware of regarding discrimination?
May a real estate licensee who is soliciting potential buyers advertise a property that he/she does not have listed? 

Open House signs for sale at MCAR - Call today! (831) 393-8660

What information must be included on signs?

A real estate licensee has two options: 

Option 1:

Generic information + Brokerage name

A. Requirements. A licensee may use a for sale, open house, rental, or directional sign that identifies only the supervising brokerage but not the individual licensee. Such a sign must:

          • Exclude any mention of the individual licensee (e.g. exclude “Anne Shirley”)
          • Include the name of the brokerage (e.g. include “Green Gables Realty”)
            Note: Inclusion of the brokerage’s DRE number is optional.

B. Examples. The first two examples are acceptable, but the third example is not.


Generic information + Brokerage name + Individual licensee’s information

A. Requirements. A licensee may include his or her name on a for sale, open house, rental, or directional sign that contains each of the following four elements:

          •    Name of supervising broker/brokerage (e.g. Green Gables Realty)
          •    Name of individual licensee (e.g. Anne Shirley)
          •    DRE license number of individual licensee (e.g. Anne’s DRE number is “01112223”)
          •    Status of individual licensee1 (e.g. agent, broker-associate, broker or REALTOR®)

B. Examples. The first two examples are acceptable, but the third example is not.

Information courtesy of California Association of REALTORS®

1 NAR Code of Ethics Article 12 requires REALTORS® to “ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.” A licensee may accomplish this using a designation e.g. agent, broker-associate, or REALTOR®.