Would you register your agent website domain name as a business name?

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Fairmount Realtors

I am a REALTOR and if I have an agent website then I am "doing business as  " _______.com"  a chosen name.

Traditionally if you operated under any name other than your own you were considered to be running a business as a sole proprietor and need to register the trade name at the county level. Of course we are all independent agents and in business for ourselves, we are paid as 1099 status and not employees of the broker. When does it matter to register the domain name as a business?

Comments (5)

Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor

Mercure,

I am not an attorney, but it doesn't seem that your ".com" is a business because it does not have a physical or mailing address (other than yours), and it receives no income. No check is ever made out to it. Therefore it fails the test of being a business.

Steve

Jul 16, 2008 01:10 PM
Cameron Novak
The Homefinding Center - Corona, CA
Featured Corona Real Estate Agent Team

Not really necessary unless you intend to do business under the name you have as a domain.

If you're using the name openly, and someone else decides to use the name as a business name, I seriously doubt (I just say that because I don't want to appear to be giving legal advice... and I'm not) any court would force you to stop using the name when you started using it first.

Cameron Novak, Real Estate Broker
The Homefinding Center
Real Estate Agent In Corona, California


Chat about real estate with me live!

Jul 16, 2008 01:15 PM
Ken Cash
CB Select Real Estate at Lake Tahoe - 775.691.3855 - - Incline Village, NV
Lake Tahoe Lake Front Homes, Luxury Homes, Condomi

I would think it partly depends on the state you are licensed in.  In Nevada we have very focused statutes specifically addressing this issue.  Here you would be in violation of Nevada Revised Statutes I believe.

But equally, as a broker and owner, your mind set doesn't work for me.  You may be an independant contractor.  You may be operating your business under my company.  And you may be in business for yourself, or so you think.  However, I am your partner, I have all the legal responsibilities to answer for if you make a mistake and you are working under my company name, telephone number, address etc.

So I am afraid that you will find yourself accountable to me so when I call and ask you to come to my office, it is not optional.  When I ask for something to be done, it is not optional.  When I give you instructions regarding your professional behavior, or advertising, or marketing or the public complains concerning the good the bad or the ugle you did, I'll be there and so will you.

So it is fantastic to be a entrepreneur, but just remember that your broker is ultimately responsible for you.  So include them in all your decisions.  Especially the one you mention in your blog.  You could be in violation of your states laws.  

Jul 16, 2008 01:25 PM
Mercure Volt
Fairmount Realtors - Montclair, NJ
Montclair School of Real Estate

Thanks Steve, Cameron and Ken! These are exactly the issues that I believe having an agent website opens up.

It seems like I see more agent websites all the time, and I believe it is a great way to meet buyers and sellers. But after the introduction, it should be clear that you are working with and in partnership, as Ken said, with the broker and owner. 

I have been wondering if there are agents in violation of their state laws and REALTOR ethics.

Jul 16, 2008 02:08 PM
Ken Cash
CB Select Real Estate at Lake Tahoe - 775.691.3855 - - Incline Village, NV
Lake Tahoe Lake Front Homes, Luxury Homes, Condomi

Ahhhhh...    You  tricked me...   good job...   You are not actually asking the question from being naive, rather smartly bring the question forward for others to think about and be aware of.

I stand on my thoughts.  Ken

Jul 17, 2008 02:55 PM