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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Re-Blogged 13 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joanne Gillet &The Edge Of The Beach Team ---- Pawleys Island, SC 06/20/2010 11:42 AM
  2. Michael Ford 06/20/2010 02:31 PM
  3. D B 06/20/2010 02:31 PM
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  11. Jason Allen Gardner 06/21/2010 07:56 AM
  12. Marge Draper 07/27/2010 10:33 AM
  13. Randy Poll 10/04/2010 07:50 AM
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Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

That's news to me. I didn't know as well. Looking at the number of responses there's lots of us in the same boat.

Jun 22, 2010 11:09 AM #254
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Thanks Jim and all the helpful posts. I'm sure I can get into trouble but I tell people you can call me anything you want, as long as you call me!


Jun 22, 2010 01:18 PM #255
Gina Harmon Brown
Carle Properties - Little Rock, AR

Thanks for staying on top of things Jim, I've been told this before but it's been a while.  Thanks for the reminder and I'll have to watch what I do since sadly it's not something I really think about anymore.  Articles like this keep us from becoming complacent!  Gina

Jun 22, 2010 03:44 PM #256
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940


If NAR really wants to police this issue...they need to change realtor.com to REALTOR®.com and the same with the .org site.

I am not a real-tor right now...was for many years...15 to be exact...haven't been for 3.  I make sure I correct anyone who calls me a real-tor these days...not because I am worried or scared of NAR...or any of the 90+% of real-tors on this site or any other site. It is because I do not need to be associated with the organization at this point in my life. 

I believe the MLS is a great tool but choose not to pay the high fees at this time. Unfortunately, the MLS is held hostage to NAR as a package deal (for now).

I have passed the CRS although I do not pay their dues so I do not use their acronym. Ditto with ABR.  yeah you can check if you want.  I am a GRI and can use that name but choose not to. 

I am a professional real estate broker.  I am as smart and as talented as anyone on this site and have had more training than most. I agree with the comments of some here that more training is needed and definitely more training in the real world of real estate...but I digress.

My clients never...never...let me repeat...never have specifically asked me if I am a real-tor or a CRS or ABR or GRI. Even when I was one and used the designations they did not ask what they were.  They don't care what company I am with or not with...they simply care if I can help them. I know that seems foreign to most of you...it was to me for 15 years! It is beat into our heads that you need all of this to succeed and without it you will fail.  BULL!

Whether someone chooses to work for a national company or become a member of some trade organization that copyrights their name does not make them better or smarter...it means they have paid for the privilige to use those tools offered by those organizations for a fee or part of the commission.

The author of this thread is obviously proud to be a Realtor. He also is proud to be a REALTOR®. 

I am equally proud to not be one at this time.  Doesn't make either of us better than the other although some may think that...as I foolishly did for many years.

One of the faults of any national organization is they tend to not think rationally on a local level because of the enormous task before them. Almost always the people working in those positions have not been in the day to day trenches of that industry they represent.

 As I stated at the start of my comments... If NAR really wants to police this issue...they need to change realtor.com to REALTOR®.com and the same with the .org site.

But then again, with most large organizations, it is do as I say...not as I do. You face a tall task to change that organization so either roll with it with smile or choose to not participate. Your choice.

Mike McCann...your Nebraska statewide real estate expert!!



Jun 22, 2010 04:55 PM #257
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

The 174 and 0174 doesn't always work.  NAR recognizes that and it is permitted to write using Realtor within text. 


Jun 22, 2010 11:29 PM #258
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 #259
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 #260
Eva Aliaga
Keller Williams Realty Boca Raton IdealFloridaLiving.com - Delray Beach, 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 #261
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: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1302395/spicing-up-your-blog-and-comments-with-special-characters-part-2.

Jun 24, 2010 02:05 PM #262
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 #263

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 #264
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 #265
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 #266
Matthew Bartlett
Century 21 Masters/Lic. #01353034 - Glendora, CA

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

Jul 23, 2010 05:58 PM #267
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 #268
Carlos Cardo
RE/MAX Central Realty - 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 REALTOR.com® 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 move.com 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 #269
    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 #270
    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 #271
    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 Realtor.com 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 Realtor.com site, who do you think your leads go to. LOL.

    Aug 16, 2013 11:46 AM #272
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    May 06, 2015 03:35 AM #273
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