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Nickname Registration

By Peg Ritenour, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Legal Services

Do you use Mike, Liz or J.R. to identify yourself in your advertising? If so, you are now required to register that name with the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.

As was reported earlier this year, the Ohio Real Estate Commission adopted amendments to several administrative rules that became effective on Feb. 10. Among these was a rule that addresses the name licensees can use in advertising or any form of marketing, including social media.

Under existing Ohio law, licensees are required to advertise in their name as it appears on their real estate license. This will generally be the licensee’s legal name. Previously, a Commission rule allowed licensees to use common nicknames, a middle name, or initials in their advertising. However, this rule has been amended to now only allow this if the licensee registers that nickname, middle name, etc., with the Division as a “preferred name."

This requirement to register a preferred name will include even common nicknames or derivatives such as Dave, Jim, Patty, Chris, Debbie, etc. It will also allow licensees to register initials (J.D., P.J.) or more unusual nicknames such as Buzz, Skip, Buffy, etc. In addition, a licensee who wishes to advertise in a maiden name can also register that name.

The form to register such names -- Application for Preferred Name Registration -- is now available. A $10 application fee is required. The Division has indicated that licensees will be given ample time to comply with this new registration process.

It should be noted that many years ago the Division did issue some licenses in a person’s nickname. If you are one of those licensees, it is not necessary for you to register that nickname because it is already your licensed name.

The bottom line is, if you want to use a name that is different than what is on your license, you have to register it. CLICK HERE to access the form.

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