Steps to Increased Website Accessibility

REALTORS® throughout Arizona are working to make their websites more accessible to those with disabilities. In some instances, this step is taken in response to threats of litigation alleging that the real estate professional’s website violates the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. But more commonly, REALTORS® are taking this step because they deem it morally proper.

Additionally, web accessibility increases the available audience and, in turn, a REALTOR’s® potential customer base.

The lack of federal regulations governing website accessibility has made it difficult for REALTORS® to ascertain precisely what an accessible website should look like. But that should not stop REALTORS® from helping those with disabilities perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the web. With that in mind, there are a number of steps REALTORS® can take to increase website accessibility.

Many people with disabilities use assistive technology to help them navigate the web. This includes the use of screen readers, text enlargement software, and refreshable Braille displays that translate the text on the web page into Braille symbols (small plastic or metal pins that move up and down to display the Braille character). To optimize your site for these adaptive tools, below are some key principals of accessible design that can be implemented relatively easily and without impacting the overall “look and feel” of your website.

Text Equivalents
Because assistive technologies cannot interpret photographs, charts or other graphic information, adding a line of H.T.M.L. code to provide text for each image will enable a sight disabled user to understand the content being displayed. Such descriptions, called “ALT” text, should provide a text equivalent of the visual, thereby enabling screen readers to interpret the images for those with disabilities.

Subtitles and Audio Descriptions
If your web content includes videos, consider the use of subtitles or captions to assist those users with hearing disabilities. Popular video hosting sites such as YouTube offer tools that allow users to add subtitles to their clips. Similarly, audio descriptions of images can help make videos accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Text-Based Documents
P.D.F. documents and related image based formats are often inaccessible to disabled users as they typically integrate poorly with screen readers and text enlargement programs. In addition to PDFs, documents should therefore be provided in alternative H.T.M.L. web pages. If this is not possible, provide a series of tags to accompany the P.D.F., which provide a hidden structured, textual representation of the P.D.F. content that is presented to screen readers.

Color and Font Control
Often times, disabled users need to manipulate color and font settings in order to make pages readable. As far as possible, do not “hard code” colors and ensure that the site can be viewed with the color and font sizes set in a user’s web browsers and operating systems. If the site is designed to prohibit changing the color and font settings, users with low vision may struggle to absorb the content. It is also advisable to use highly contrasting colors for text and background. Certain color combinations are extremely difficult to distinguish for people with poor eyesight. Generally speaking, black or dark colored text on a white background is the best practice because it is readable for most audiences.

Skip to Main Content Link
A typical website includes a variety of navigational links on each page. In fact, the main content is not usually the first thing on a web page. Unfortunately, this means that keyboard and screen reader users must navigate a long list of navigation links, sub-lists of links, icons, site searches and other elements before they are able to access the main content. Without a mechanism for bypassing these links, disabled users are unable to navigate the site in an efficient manner. By placing a “skip to main content link” at the top of each page, this problem can be avoided.

Periods in Abbreviations
Screen readers attempt to phonetically pronounce acronyms if the letters are not separated by periods. For example, the acronym “URL” will be read by a screen reader as “earl” if not written as “U.R.L.” Sites should therefore distinguish acronyms by the use of periods.

Descriptive Links
Some screen readers allow users to read only the links on a webpage. Therefore, every link should make sense in the abstract, meaning even if the link text is read by itself, the user will understand the content. Link phrases like “click here,” when read independent of context, will prove meaningless to a user relying on a screen reader. When embedding a link in a post, it is therefore far more useful to describe the link.

For example, “check out Arizona REALTORS® Bylaws” is better than writing “to check out Arizona REALTORS® Bylaws click here.”

This list is certainly not exhaustive and REALTORS® should consult with web developers to better understand Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, which is a series of guidelines created by the World Wide Web Consortium for improving web accessibility. However, by addressing these basic principles, REALTORS® can increase accessibility to their website and avoid excluding a segment of the population that may want to retain their services.

Scott M. Drucker, Esq., a licensed Arizona attorney, is General Counsel for the Arizona Association of REALTORS® serving as the primary legal advisor to the association. This article is of a general nature and reflects only the opinion of the author at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.

ADRE on Advertising, Ltd Service Listings & Unlicensed Assistants

To view the contents of this post, you must be authenticated and have the required access level.

Photographs and Copyright Infringement In Real Estate Marketing

To view the contents of this post, you must be authenticated and have the required access level.

City Codes Regulate Placement of Signs

To view the contents of this post, you must be authenticated and have the required access level.


To view the contents of this page, you must be authenticated and have the required access level.

Watch That Age Limit in Ads

Reviewed May 2016

Have you checked your MLS listings lately for fair housing problems? Do you have statements in your listings that say something like, “55 & over to own” or “18 & over to occupy”? You say, “What’s wrong with these if they are true?”

Here’s what’s wrong. Standard of Practice 10-1 states, “. . .

REALTORS® shall not print, display, or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to the selling or renting of a property that indicates a preference, limitations, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

That sentence is very close to statements in both federal and Arizona fair housing rules regarding advertising. And, in case you didn’t know or you forgot, MLS listings are a form of advertising.

’55 & over to own’

The exemption in the law which allows qualified communities to discriminate against families with children allows them to prohibit only occupancy, not ownership. Read on for more information about the exemptions.

’18 & over to occupy’

In order to legally discriminate against families with children in Arizona, a community must have either 100 percent occupancy over 62 years of age or
– must have at least one person over 55 in 80 percent of the homes, and
– must hold themselves out as a 55-or-over community in their CC&Rs and public statements.

Meaning of ‘senior adult’

Even if the community meets those requirements, the phrase “18 & over to occupy” indicates that the community is not holding itself out as a “senior adult community” in its public statements. And if the community allows occupancy between 18 and 55 years of age, which they can do for 20 percent of the occupants, they must still “hold themselves out” as being housing for older persons, which is 55 and over, not 18, nor 35, nor 40.

Many senior adult communities require 100 percent 55-and-over occupancy, which helps clear up any confusion. But, for those who don’t, such representations in your listing could jeopardize their exemption, if they have one, or could lead to a violation of the law for you and the community.


– There are communities in Arizona which discriminate against families with children on a regular basis yet do not meet these requirements. REALTORS® put themselves in serious jeopardy by allowing, and sometimes assisting, these communities to illegally discriminate. And REALTORS® should ask owners questions about whether their community qualifies for the exemption before they tell others otherwise.
– Don’t ever get caught in attempting to prevent someone under 55 to purchase a home in a qualified senior adult community. Make sure they know about the legal prohibitions for occupancy, but don’t prevent them from seeing or purchasing such property if they do so knowingly.
– Know what the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and the law say about fair housing ads and learn about the properties you list before you write things that could get you in trouble.

See additional articles on the familial status exemption to the fair housing laws so you’ll be following the law, giving yourself more opportunities to sell, and not limiting families with children from buying the home of their choice.

Revised 8/03

Truth in Lending Act ~ Disclosures When Credit Advertised

Reviewed May 2016

The Federal Trade Commission has provided guidelines for advertisers who are subject to the federal Truth in Lending Act. Any person who advertises consumer credit transactions, including real estate agents, can be considered an advertiser under the act, even if not actually extending credit himself.


  • An “advertisement” is any commercial message that promotes consumer credit. This may include flyers, catalogs, direct mail literature, radio or TV ads, window displays, or point-of-sale literature.
  • “Consumer credit” includes credit extended for primarily personal, family or household purposes, but not commercial, business or agricultural loans.
  • “Credit,” as defined in the act, refers only to loans extended by a creditor.
  • A “creditor” is a person who regularly extends consumer credit for which a finance charge is required or that is payable in more than four installments even without a finance charge, and to whom the obligation is initially payable.
  • “Regularly” means more than five times a year, for transactions secured by a dwelling.

‘Triggers’ require disclosure

First and foremost, you can advertise only terms which are available to the consumer. Next, you must consider whether the ad you design has used any “triggered terms,” because if it does, certain required disclosures must be included. Triggers for closed-end credit (including a home loan) include:

  • Amount of down payment: “10% down”; “$1000 down”; “90% financing”; “Move in for $1000.”
  • Amount of any payment: “Monthly payments under $800 on all our loan plans”; “$697 per month.”
  • Number of payments or period of repayment: “Up to 20 years to pay”; “30-year mortgages available.”
  • Amount of any finance charge: Note that the annual percentage rate, or “APR,” is not a triggered term. If the APR is disclosed, a simple interest rate may also be included, so long as it is not more conspicuous than the APR. Some general statements are not triggers. These include:
    • No down payment;
    • Low down payment accepted;
    • Terms to fit your budget;
    • Financing available;
    • Easy monthly payments;
    • No closing costs;
    • Take years to pay.

Include this information

Once you determine that your ad includes one or more triggering terms, you must be sure to include all of the following information:

  • Amount or percentage of down payment;
  • Terms of repayment;
  • The APR and disclosure of whether the APR will increase after closing. The APR must be calculated to include all components of the finance charge, such as points and mortgage insurance premiums paid by the buyer.
  • If the deal involves a buydown of the interest rate, you must disclose how long the lower rate will be in effect, the simple interest rate for the remainder of the loan, and the APR. The actual APR will depend on whether the buydown is stated as part of the credit contract;
  • Ads for variable rates must state that the rate may increase. There is a special method for calculating the APR for variable rate loans. Note that buydowns, graduated rates, and step-rates are not variable, because they are known in advance. Discounted variable rates (special first-year introductory rates) must be disclosed.

‘Typical credit terms’

You may meet the law’s requirements by advertising “typical credit terms” where that is appropriate, such as in the ads for a home builder who wants to advertise credit terms for several houses, each with a different price. Such an ad must be clearly labeled and include all the required terms.

This brief summary only touches the highlights of the Truth in Lending Act requirements for advertising. For more information, send for the booklet “How to Advertise Consumer Credit” from the Federal Trade Commission, call (877) FTC-HELP, or visit their web site at You may want to consult an attorney familiar with federal truth-in-lending law and Arizona laws and regulations governing advertisement of credit.

Reprinted from the RAMN Roadrunner with permission from REALTORS® Association of New Mexico
Revised by AAR’s Counsel 8/99

Real Estate Advertising Complaints on the Increase

To view the contents of this post, you must be authenticated and have the required access level.

Using the REALTOR® Trademark

Reviewed May 2016

The term REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark owned exclusively by the National Association of REALTORS® (“NAR”). The REALTOR® membership mark serves the singular function of identifying and distinguishing members of NAR. The mark is licensed for exclusive use by members as a means of indicating their membership status. Members are licensed to use the term REALTOR® only in forms that are likely to highlight the registered status, significance and special meaning of those MARKS in the eyes of the public and distinguish them from words of ordinary use and other marks or symbols.

The REALTOR® membership mark is entitled to the protection provided to trademarks under federal law. The use of the REALTOR® mark is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the NAR Constitution and Bylaws and in accordance with other policies and guidelines adopted by NAR. The NAR Membership Marks Manual, which contains these guidelines, may be viewed on the NAR website at

The use of REALTOR® as part of a corporate or business name is prohibited

Pursuant to IV (A) of the NAR Membership Marks Manual, the use of the term REALTOR® as part of the corporate name or business name of any Member is prohibited.

Other prohibited uses of the term REALTOR®

Never use descriptive words or phrases to modify the marks. This is explicitly prohibited by Article V, Section 7 of the Bylaws of the National Association. Adjectives may suggest an improper vocational meaning and also tend to distort the consistent understanding and image of these terms, thereby undermining their identifying function:

  • Main Street’s most qualified REALTOR®
  • Consult a professional REALTOR®
  • Doe County’s leading REALTOR®
  • The concerned REALTOR®
  • Your local REALTOR®
  • Your international REALTOR®
  • Commercial REALTORS®

Never use the MARKS to differentiate among members or in a manner that creates or permits the impression that a firm is an association or subpart of the local Board of REALTOR®, or in a way that suggest all REALTORS® in a geographic area are part of a single firm:

  • The REALTOR® with integrity
  • NEW YORK, REALTORS® (as a firm name)
  • Suburban, REALTORS® (as a firm name)
  • Independent, REALTOR®

Never use REALTOR® as part of a firm name or without using punctuation to separate the individual or firm’s name from the terms, even when the terms appear on a separate line:

  • Blackacre REALTORS® , Inc
  • John Jones REALTOR®
  • Sally Brown and Company REALTOR®
  • Green, Inc. REALTORS®

Proper use of the term REALTOR® on the Internet

When surfing the Web for real estate homepages, it’s quite common to come across sites belonging to REALTOR®. If you are looking to add your own electronic presence on the Internet, it is easy to get caught up in designing your own web page and choosing a domain name which will capture the attention of surfers and make you easily identifiable. REALTORS® often want to use the REALTOR® marks as part of their domain name or address to distinguish themselves, but they must keep in mind that there are rules governing proper use of the REALTOR® marks that must be adhered to at all times regardless of the media used. These rules are found in the National Association’s Membership Marks Manual. Here is a brief list of the principal rules affecting use of the REALTOR® marks in domain names:

  1. The term REALTOR® , whether used as part of a domain name or in some other fashion, must refer to a member or a member’s firm.
  2. The term REALTOR® may not be used with descriptive words or phrases. For example,,, or are all incorrect.
  3. For use as a domain name or email address on the Internet, the term REALTOR® does not need to be separated from the member’s name or firm name with punctuation. For example, both and would be correct uses of the term as a part of domain names and jdoe*realtors@webnetservices and are both correct uses of the term as part of an email address.
  4. The REALTOR® block R logo should not be used as hypertext links at a website, as such uses can suggest an endorsement or recommendation of the linked sited by your association. The only exception would be to establish a link to the National Association’s website,

The public has adopted the use of all lower case letters when writing domain names, even those containing trademarks. Therefore, for purposes of domain names and Internet addresses only, there is an exception to the rule on capitalization of the term REALTOR® and it may appear in lower case letters.

Whether you use traditional print media or the Internet, it is essential to use the REALTOR® marks in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the National Association. The REALTOR® marks should only be used to denote membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR®.

Visit NAR’s Graphic Standards and Style Guidelines for additional information.