Are you thinking about using a team name? Are you already using one? Are you asking for trouble?

DRE takes the position that a team name must be registered as a fictitious name (dba) with DRE before it can be used. The problem is that only a broker can have a dba. Many of the people using a team name hold a salesperson license and therefore can not register a dba.

Can their broker register the dba? Probably, but that raises two issues. If the broker registers the dba and you want to leave, the broker still owns the dba. A broker can not register a dba which includes the name or initials of a salesperson so the broker can not register a team name which will identify the salesperson.

Broker associates come off a little better, but not much. A broker associate could have their supervising broker register the dba, but the supervising broker still owns the name. The broker associate could register their own dba. But only associates licensed to the broker associate can use the name. Salesperson associates licensed to the supervising broker can not use the team name of the broker associate because that is not the broker holding their license.

We know there are many licensees using a team name that are not in compliance with DRE requirements. DRE is not out there looking for them. But as soon as DRE becomes aware of the name, often through a consumer complaint about something totally unrelated, DRE will sent a Desist and Refrain Order prohibiting the continued use of the team name. If the licensee does not comply DRE will likely pursue enforcement action against the licensee which could result in revocation of their license.

If you are thinking about using a team name, before you spend lots of money on signs, cards and stationary, you probably ought to spend a relatively small amount of money for an informed advisor to determine if you will be operating in accordance with DRE requirements. If not, a few days after you spend all that money DRE might tell you that you can not use the name.

If you have any questions on this article or any other aspect of real estate law please contact the Hanson Law Firm at 916 447-9181 or log on to our website at


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