I got called out for improperly using "Realtor"

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Realty West CalBRE #01458572

Contact Jim Frimmer for all your San Diego real estate needs!I recently got called out for improper use of the word Realtor.

I wasn't sure what I was doing wrong because I always capitalize it, although that is the third preferred use.

The preferred use is REALTOR®.

The second preferred use is Realtor®.

However, the National Association of Realtors, recognizing that putting registered symbols or all-caps REALTORs throughout text can easily dilute the message of the text for the general public, allows the third preferred use of Realtor, with just an initial capital letter.

RealtorIn all instances, though, realtor with all lower case is not proper.

Also note that Realtor© or any other form with the copyright symbol is incorrect. Realtor is not copyrighted. It is registered (®).

Note that Realtor™ or any other form with the trademark symbol is also incorrect.

If you like the registered symbol, ®, you can easily make it on any keyboard by holding the ALT key down and then typing 174 on your keypad, the numbers at the right of your keyboard. Don't use the numbers at the top; those won't work. If 174 doesn't work in your software or browser, simply use 0174. Apple folks, you're on your own since I use PCs here.

What I did not know is that only people can be Realtors. Well, I knew that but had forgotten my grammar rules. So when I said, "Jim Frimmer, your Mission Valley Realtor," I was using Realtor improperly. Mission Valley cannot be a Realtor. Nor can California, as in "your San Diego, California, Realtor."

However, Realtor can be used by itself, as in "your Realtor in Mission Valley."

I've noticed that I'm not the only one here at ActiveRain using Realtor improperly. In fact, after being called out for improper use, I've been noticing that many other people are using it improperly. In fact, some of them are people who have been real estate agents (although perhaps not Realtors) for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years longer than me.

I'm wondering if the rules have changed recently, which simply means that one should do an annual check on one's business to make sure that it still meets all the rules and regulations under which we operate.

If you need more information on how to properly use Realtor and its various forms, see the National Association of Realtors web site.


If you're looking for a great Realtor in San Diego, well,
let me Google one for you.

I'm available 24/7, so feel free to contact me by phone or email.

Jim Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award Mission Valley
California DRE License #01458572
Mission Valley Condos Information


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Nichole Tigges & Monique Riddle
Century 21 Mike Myers Realty, Inc. - Norwalk, OH

Hmmm... I've been doing it wrong all long, thanks for the heads up:)

Jun 23, 2010 05:37 AM
Eva Aliaga
Partnership Realty Inc - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton & Delray Beach: SE Florida Real Estate

Hi Jim, read your blog the other day, so thanks for the warning. Now I have to check around how I'm using Realtor®. I just copy and past the symbol.

Jun 23, 2010 03:38 PM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

Lenn - Alt + 174 or Alt +0174 will always work in the PC world as long as you use the numeric keypad to the right of your keyboard and not the row of numbers at the top, and you also have to have the "Num Lock" key on; if it's off, then the numeric keypad are directional keys. If you have a PC laptop, you have to know how to use your numeric keypad since it's in a different place; see my link to Russel's laptop numeric keypad tutorial here:

Jun 24, 2010 02:05 PM
Renato Lunnon
Signature Realty, Inc. - Morrison, CO
Denver Real Estate - 303-506-0281

If you're a Mac user, the 'alt/option' button creates the different special characters.  For example, hold 'alt/option' and press 'r' to get ®.  Hold 'alt/option' and press 'g' to get ©.  You learn something new everyday!

Jun 25, 2010 06:49 AM

For Windows users, use the Character Map program located in the "System Tools" folder to get the Registered Trademark symbol - ® as such:

All Programs --- Accessories --- System Tools --- Character Map

Find the symbol you want, click Select then click Copy

Then Paste on your document or browser window

And to Mike #259 - Designations are about training and REALTOR®.com will never be becuase you don't get the use specials characters!

Jun 26, 2010 06:34 AM
Dan Pinson
International Realty Partners - Phoenix, AZ

OOPS forgot to login - my post is #266....and it's "because"

Jun 26, 2010 06:38 AM
Dan Pinson
International Realty Partners - Phoenix, AZ

I forgot to mention you're actually breaking Federal law by the incorrect use....

Jun 26, 2010 06:40 AM
Matthew Bartlett
Corcoran Global Living - Hill Top Team DRE Lic. #01353034 - Glendora, CA

Thanks Jim for the clarification! It's always good to be given a reminder.

Jul 23, 2010 05:58 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Good post. I also think you have some very good comments.

Aug 19, 2010 04:43 PM
Carlos Cardo
RE/MAX ULTRA - Virginia Beach, VA
Providing Professional Service on a Personal Level

In response to #249... REALTORS® are held to the Code of Ethics whereas others can't and aren't. So if they write the word without caps or a variation of it, it wouldn't be handled as good and there are hundreds of sites that do not use trademarks or copyrights correctly! I have personally called them when the word was used not as an error, but to take an unfair advantage (best REALTOR®, number one REALTOR®, etc...). There is only so much time in a day and they have told me that they do not check all the numerous websites especially the metatags (unless someone specifically calls or emails it).

What have we learned?.... I guess that we should try to use the terms correctly and to correct them if they aren't, but also, that errors are sometimes made and it should not be a kiss of death!

For example on the® website on page:

  • How a REALTOR Can Help - ***There is no trademark symbol - easily added but wasn't
  • on another page from their site:

    If you're going to work with a Realtor or...  ***Could be all caps with the trademark symbol but wasn't

    on another page from their site"

    Get Informed: Real Time Home Selling Tips from Realtors  ***Could be all caps with the trademark symbol but wasn't


    Intent to me is an important part (whether it is being used badly for monetary purposes). Accidents happen.....

    It was a snowy day and bad traffic so I had time to write this response!

    Dec 16, 2010 03:03 PM
    Marge Draper
    Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto - Menlo Park, CA
    REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty, Menlo Park CA

    Jim!  Six months after learning (it gets harder every year) about the circle with the R in it, I have had to look up your blog again.  Num lock!

    Mar 01, 2011 11:44 AM
    Rosario Rodriguez
    Aliso Viejo specialist - Aliso Viejo, CA
    J.D. - South Orange County Realtor

    Wow, Jim, I can see why you have so many comments on this post.  I have been looking for a way to get the ® into my posts and didn't know about all of the grammatical rules for Realtor®.  Thanks!

    Mar 01, 2011 11:53 AM
    Charles Stallions Property Manager
    Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
    Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

    Some of you do know that NAR does not own anymore and gave up control I think 10 years are so. The company that does the website for C21, ERA and Coldwell Banker does the site, who do you think your leads go to. LOL.

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