NAR Initiative to Mandate REALTORS Update Avatars

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives

(Washington DC) – In a statement released this morning, the National Association of Realtors® announced a new initiative aimed at curbing abuse in photographic representation amongst its membership in the virtual sphere.

“This initiative has been ten years in the making,” according to NAR spokesman,Trevor Null. “Ever since Realtors entered the online space en masse, we have been fielding complaints from the public about misleading avatars.”

Jane DeVannon of Surprise, AZ filed one such complaint back in 2009.

“We were nervous first time buyers,” Mrs. DeVannon explained. “Having never been through the process, we had no idea what to expect and knew that we needed to hire a Real Estate agent we could trust to guide us through the process. So we did what we always do when we have a critical decision to make. We Googled it.”

With over 87% of today’s home buyers starting their searches online, per NAR statistics, the DeVannons’ story is a common one.

“We settled on a nice looking gentleman, about forty or forty two, with two darling children in his profile picture. Imagine our surprise when an obese seventy five year old with a goiter the size of an Olsen twin showed up to our first appointment. We tried to make the best of it, but we could just never get past the initial lie,” Mrs. DeVannon related.

“We have long had a reputation problem with the general public,” Null admitted. “Grossly misrepresenting our appearances in online marketing has only served to exacerbate the institutional mistrust. I mean, when you think you’re hiring Gary Cooper, and you get Gary Coleman, it’s a problem.”

According to Initiative UB-FUGLY, all Realtors® will be required to update their avatars monthly, without benefit of Photoshop or similar photo editing software that can alter true appearance.

“And none of this downward pointing camera angle bullshit,” Null expanded. “If you have three chins, the consumer needs to see three chins.”

Penalties for failing to comply with the new requirements will be severe, including mandatory use of DMV photos for first time offenders.  Proof of ownership for any/all pets and children in a Realtor’s avatar must be furnished prior to Internet use. Nieces and nephews are off limits.

The news comes too late for the DeVannons, but they are hopeful that future buyers will be spared their painful lesson in what the NAR refers to as “photo synthesis.”

“We think he rented the kids,” Mrs. DeVannon added.


- Filed by Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News © 2011

Comments (27)

Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

big deal to me too.  who ever hires an agent because of the way they look as one of the criteria has a bigger problem.  the public is not dating their agent.  Also this initiative is 10 years in the making - good grief I wonder how much money has been spent on this that could go to the new initiative PAC funds they are requesting.

Apr 20, 2011 11:18 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

I am thinking this should have been written on April 1st.  You are kidding right?

Apr 21, 2011 12:14 AM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX


Apr 21, 2011 12:44 AM
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Post is funny, no doubt, but the responses have made it HILARIOUS! Well played Paul. 


Apr 21, 2011 02:46 AM
Carla Harbert - Avon, OH
RE/MAX Omega: Lorain-Medina County Area

First off, Bruce your photo is something else! Very comical - really helps our reputation - especially that tie. I believe in keeping photos updated, but every month? Come on - you are kidding, right? I love the responses/comments left. I needed my laugh for the day!!

Apr 21, 2011 02:51 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

I think NAR needs to make it so that people can't use black and white avatars.  I mean really, what if you have ruddy skin?  Consumers should be aware of that right away.  I bet that is why you aren't looking at the camera in your avatar. 

Apr 21, 2011 03:32 AM
Michael O'Donnell
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Arizona Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
GRI, ePRO, Accessible Homes

Methinks the writers' block has passed.  Much in the manner of a compacted stool.

Apr 21, 2011 04:06 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Paul, this ruling is unfortunate for many in our industry but the up side is the most vane may quit altogether rather than expose us to their actual likeness.

Apr 21, 2011 05:28 AM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I am very disappointed in this as I was planning on starting to use Amanda Hall's photo to see if I would be more successful as a red head.

Apr 21, 2011 08:44 AM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Featured @ Club Chaos

Apr 21, 2011 09:16 AM
Jay Thompson
Zillow - Seattle, WA

I can't decide what is funnier. This post, or the comments from people that apparently believe it!

Paul, you da man.

Apr 21, 2011 12:48 PM
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

But, Jay ... my source seemed so credible!

Apr 21, 2011 02:21 PM
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Paul, can I rent one of your kids?  Might there be a package deal for both?  I would pay extra for a color pic of one wearing clean but shabby clothing.  I have heard that the professional 'work for food' people use that ploy.

Apr 22, 2011 04:18 PM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

It's me, George Bush, I just wanted to check to see what you're up to.

Apr 23, 2011 08:29 AM
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Now I've done it. After evading the Secret Service for 4 years, I go and practically invite W to launch an investigation. Be a sport and tell Cheney I prefer my waterboarding in the midafternoon?

Apr 23, 2011 12:07 PM
Greg McCown
Century 21 1st American - Tucson, AZ

Wow, is this why the NAR is trying to raise our dues?  I'm starting to wonder if they are really trying to represent our best interest.  I guess I need to change my Avatar, although if a client actually thought I looked like my Avatar I would have to send them packing.  I've always thought of an Avatar as a way to show a little individuality.  My ugly mug is already posted in much larger size on my web site.

May 06, 2011 09:40 AM
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Paul, as always, you are ARE kidding, right? I can see us dating our "avatars" monthly.....;-)

May 11, 2011 06:57 PM
Laura Pulli
Homesmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale Homes for Sale Scottsdale

HA HA HA HA can't stop laughing - thanks for the laugh!  Had to come and see where all the rainmaker points came from and will continue to come back for more - we all need a good laugh these days...

May 16, 2011 08:22 AM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Sardi (kind of) sent me over.  This is great stuff.  You need to post more crap material like this.

Jul 25, 2012 08:30 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Lloyd, I actually think you look more like Donald Rumsfeld than George Bush. 

Oct 12, 2013 06:45 AM