REALTOR®? Or REALTOR_? What about Realtor®? Or Realtor? Or Real Estate Agent? Or Real Estate Sales Associate? Or Real Estate Broker?
And some people even say it “Real-A-tor”, so how are they going to type it?
This is something I constantly struggle with when creating web content.
See, the Google Machine reads all of those differently, and no one except a real geek like me knows how to make the Registered “®” mark (that’s “Alt+ 0174” – you’re welcome).
They usually don’t know that it’s supposed to be included, and they certainly won’t do it in a search. People Google realtor in florida, not REALTOR® in Florida.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot thing, and the real estate world is competitive.
I don’t want to violate the policy set out by NAR, but I also don’t want to be on Page 312 of Google’s search results.
So, let’s go backwards on this, and (strangely) it will make the most sense.
Real Estate Broker
This is the highest level of real estate professional licensing that one can achieve.
They must have an active license for at least 2 years and successfully complete more (and tougher) educational requirements.
They may open their own offices, and have the highest level of responsibility.
If they choose to work for another Broker, they are known as Broker Associates.
Real Estate Sales Associate
This is the lower rung on the ladder, theoretically at least.
While entry-level newly-licensed people are Sales Associates, some Sales Associates have 30 years experience but simply never wanted to get their Broker license.
Real Estate Agent, or simply Agent
A more generic, easily used term.
Without going all “legalease”, it is a correct usage for any real estate professional.
Fair warning: some Brokers will get their feathers ruffled if you call them “Agent”, as it doesn’t hold nearly the same weight as “Broker”.
Now to the biggie –
I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, but I will sum up.
REALTOR® is not (supposed to be) a blanket term for Real Estate Professionals. Like “Kleenex” has become synonymous with “facial tissue”.
Policy says use it correctly. Google searches, well, therein lies the rub…
This is directly from the National Association of REALTORS®.
REALTOR® trademarks and how to use them correctly
Here are five key facts.
1. REALTOR® = Member of NAR
A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® should never be used as a substitute for “real estate agent.”
The REALTOR® trademarks include:
- the REALTOR® block “R” logo
The REALTOR® marks let people know that you are more than just a real estate practitioner: you adhere to a strict Code of Ethics that protects clients, the public, and other real estate agents.
The term REALTOR® is not only a trademark owned by NAR and protected by federal law, it’s a valuable membership benefit that distinguishes members from other real estate licensees.
2. Members can use the REALTOR® trademarks, with limitations
Members may use the REALTOR® marks only in the context of identifying themselves as members of NAR. To maintain the value of the marks, it’s important that they be recognized by the public as identifiers of NAR members, and never used generically to denote a vocation or a business.
Members are licensed to use the marks only in connection with their real estate business and in connection with the place of business with which their membership is associated.
3. Non-members may not use the REALTOR® marks
Non-members are never allowed to use the REALTOR® trademarks in reference to or in connection with their businesses or themselves.
Certain nominal uses of the marks are permissible. For example, newspapers, magazines, or radio or television programs may use the marks to accurately identify an individual as a member of NAR or in reference to a Member Board.
4. Design standards for REALTOR® marks must be followed
The preferred form of the term is REALTOR®—in all caps, and using the registered trademark symbol. If using the symbol isn’t possible, then the next best form is in all caps: REALTOR.
The REALTOR® block ‘R’ logo consists of a letter R set in Futura Typeface on a sharply contrasting rectangular background to form a block “R” with the term REALTOR® centered underneath. The rectangular block and the term REALTOR® centered under that block must be the same contrasting color.View additional design standards here.
5. The REALTOR® marks can be used on the internet and in marketing
In usernames, members are allowed to use the REALTOR® marks only to indicate membership in NAR by using the marks with a member’s name or with the legal name of a member broker’s real estate business.
In usernames, email addresses, and domain names, the REALTOR® marks do not need to be separated from a member’s name or real estate business name with punctuation, as they do elsewhere.
The marks may be used on merchandise such as T-shirts and ball caps, as long as the item includes the member’s name or firm name. However, the marks may not be used institutional advertising by franchisors.
So, while I try to comply with NAR Policy, I’m also trying to get my information out on the internet.
It’s a fine balance, and I have a tendency to mingle in variations of all words relating to the real estate industry.
Yes, I’m a REALTOR®, but it’s better to cast a wide net.