Using the "REALTOR®" word correctly

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Prevete Real Estate 40RI0590108

Original content by Jim Lee New Hampshire & Maine

Here's the 'quick and dirty' way to ensure you're using the word "REALTOR®" in the proper manner.

Just as all poodles are dogs but not all dogs are poodles; all REALTORS® are real estate licensees but not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®.

Being a REALTOR® simply means you or your firm are a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

If you just substitute the word "MEMBER" for REALTOR® in trying to figure out property useage, the right answer quickly become apparent.

For example; I'm Jim Lee, REALTOR® or Jim Lee member (of the NAR). So that useage would be correct.

However I can't be "Knoxville's Best REALTOR®" which would mean "Knoxville's Best Member". That's confusing and using the "R" word in an improper context.

Here's what NAR says about using the REALTOR® word on the Internet:

"Trademark/Logo Use on the Internet

When surfing the Web for real estate homepages, it's quite common to come across sites belonging to REALTORS®. 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.

Whether it is the domain name of your home page or other domain names you use to point to your home page, REALTORS® often want to use the REALTOR® marks as part of a 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, a reference manual available on-line at, explaining proper use of the REALTOR® marks including examples of correct and incorrect uses. 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. The term REALTOR® should never be used to denote an occupation or business. Do not combine words like “your,” “my,” “our” or any descriptive words or phrases between your name and the membership mark. and are all examples of improper use.
  4. For use as a domain name or e-mail 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* and are both correct uses of the term as part of an e-mail address.
  5. The REALTOR® block R logo should not be used as hypertext links at a web site as such uses can suggest an endorsement or recommendation of the linked site by your Association. The only exception would be to establish a link to the National Association's web site,, or its official property listing site,

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 REALTORS"


Jim Lee, CRS, ABR, GRI, ACRE, NAR Certified e-PRO Trainer
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Realty Executives Associates, Knoxville, Tennessee
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