Do We Know Who We Are?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

I am a real estate broker in Florida. In my day-to-day work I deal with agents and brokers. I have no idea whether they are REALTORS or not, nor do I care. Realtors to me are not a protected class to whom ethical behavior is due, while all others are game.

Our license to work and our laws do not come from NAR. They come from our respective States. States license us. So, whether I deal with a person, who pays dues or does not pay dues, does not matter much to me. I deal with a broker or an agent.

I am not against the term Realtor, but it is trademarked, and there is a set of rules how and when you can and can’t use it. Of course, general public does not have to know or follow these rules, and can call us realtors instead of agents or brokers, but we should not do it if we consider ourselves professionals.

But we freaking do...

Just read blogs on AR and you will see the term Realtor used instead of agent or broker all over AR universe, and in many featured blogs. It is mindboggling. It is done by the same agents/brokers, who are so particular about educating general public. Shouldn’t we start by educating ourselves first?

We may not like NAR usurping the commonly used term, but it is what it is, so, let’s stop pretending that we do not understand it.

Who Are We?

When you read blogs on AR, see how many times in just one day you run into “If you have a Realtor… You need a Realtor…Ask your REALTOR” etc.

Yes, public can say that you are their realtor, but you shouldn’t. If you are honest and professional, then don’t.

If we say that public is confused, aren’t we the ones who willingly add to this confusion?

Let us set it straight: To buy real estate you do not need a REALTOR, you need an agent, or the broker (if you insist on “Talk to your REALTOR”, it is, probably, about the amount of dues :)

if you are in real estate business and you do not know who you are, then you might be in the wrong business.

Because words mean something…

At least they should…

P.S. I forgot to mention that I am a REALTOR, but it does not really matter.

P.P.S. The only time you deviate, is in setting keywords, as you set them according to what the public is typing in their requests.

Image by Tsahi Levent-Levi via


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ReadySetLoan Condo Approval Team
ReadySetLoan Condo Team LLC - South Windsor, CT
The FHA/VA Condo Project Approval Specialists

It is surprising to me how many agents/brokers do not know the difference.  I used to be a broker and a Realtor but now I am just joe public

Feb 26, 2014 07:27 PM #31
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

In my area, you cannot use your real estate salesperson license unless you become a REALTOR(R).  So here, all agents are REALTORS.  You're not allowed to do business otherwise.  

(Update:  on further thought, maybe it's my company that requires that we are REALTORS although I thought it was the entire area.)

Feb 26, 2014 08:13 PM #32
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I try to always refer to real estate professionals by agent rather than the trademarked classification. Excellent reminder to us all.

Feb 26, 2014 09:04 PM #33
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I'm not really understanding the point of this.  I'd rather spend my energy on something else, like growing my business.  

Feb 26, 2014 09:22 PM #34
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I have never called myself a Realtor and wont start now. Why promote something else

Feb 26, 2014 09:50 PM #35
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Jon, not all agents are REALTORS®, but all REALTORS® are agents. The NAR is a trade association with members who abide by a written code of ethics. Anyone who belongs to the NAR has the right to use the term REALTOR®. We and the NAR have done such a good job over the years promoting REALTORS®, that the general public just assumes all agents are REALTORS®. If you believe the only reason to be a member of the NAR is to have MLS access, then I think you've missed the boat and the meaning of belonging to the Association.

Feb 26, 2014 09:51 PM #36
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX



There was a time when RELTOR® meant some thing! Then in the mid-70's the NAR sold out to the FTC and lowered their standards, accepting any one the individual states licensed. This disgrace was justified by their refusal to let non-REALTORS® have access to the MLS.


Well it’s now nearly impossible to distinguish REALTORS® from licensees evem their members use "Realtor" as a generic form of real estate licensee.


For the record it is REALTOR® not "Realtor" despite what our spell-checkers say and the AP Style Book!


Today it’s more important than ever to a licensee by the content of his character not the color of his pin!

I use "agent" out of respect for what the NAR's members once were and could be again!




Proud to have been a REALTOR® for many years and to have worked with so many Great REALTORS® before and after.


Feb 26, 2014 11:02 PM #37
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Michael - no, no, no. the general public does not imply that all agents are REALTORS, they simply use the term realtor to denote any real estate professional (and this is why I did not capitalize it). It is very different.

Anyone, who belongs to NAR (pays dues) can use the term REALTOR, how the point of the blog is that so many are using it INCORRECTLY. They are using it as a synonym to agnet or broker and, according to NAR, it is wrong.

And yes, for me the only reason I am a member, is because otherwise I can't have access to MLS without paying exorbitant fees for being Thompson Broker.

Also, I somehow do not understand that the main point of the post has been missed by many.

Every industry has its own termionology. Public may or may not know it. Industry professionals know it or they are not really professionals. I truly believe, that one can't excel in the trade, if definitions are a problem.

But this is happening in Real Estate. This discussion shows it.

Feb 26, 2014 11:02 PM #38
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Hello Jon. Well said.

Feb 27, 2014 12:10 AM #39
Tina Parker
Keller Williams Select Realty - Bedford, NS
CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax

I agree but I was also told by a lawyer, that "agent" is the term to imply Broker in the eyes of the law.  This is his pet peeve. Real Estate Salesperson is the proper term. Well, in Canada anyway.

Feb 27, 2014 01:10 AM #40
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Realtor dot com uses the term REALTOR® in their articles when referring to agents who are NAR members. 

Feb 27, 2014 01:56 AM #41
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

I can't stand it when other Realtors say it wrong.  It isn't real a tor. So many people add that "a" .

Feb 27, 2014 02:09 AM #42
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I tend to prefer real estate agent because it's more straight forward. I even use the term to describe myself when I am a broker. But nobody knows really what a real estate broker is, and they tend to think it's somebody who owns a company, so I just stick with tried-and-true "agent." If you EVER see me use the term REALTOR®, it is probably for SEO and no other reason.

Feb 27, 2014 02:27 AM #43
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

You touched a nerve on this topic Jon!  And I just read someone's branding, which is a trademark violation, they are branding their advertising with: Got REALTOR®

Feb 27, 2014 04:10 AM #44
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
Shady Canyon Specialist

I generally use Real Estate Agent, because it applies to all of us.  Last month I changed my status to Realtor.  For almost 10 years I've been a Real Estate Agent, but needed to become a Realtor, to get IDX enabled on my website.  It's not as bad as I initially thought though, being a Realtor.  I've attended several of the local training sessions, and receive lots of educational information via emails.  But I still refer to myself as a Real Estate Agent, not a Realtor.

Feb 27, 2014 05:28 AM #45
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

And if you're going to use the name, try to pronounce it correctly. It's not real-a-ter!!

Feb 27, 2014 05:58 AM #46
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

I like to call myself a professional just like any business has professionals, but being a member of the NAR I do also market the Realtor term.

Feb 27, 2014 06:22 AM #47
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Thank you, guys, for the comments. I upset some, however it was about the right usage of terminology and not the difference between agents, who are REALTORS and agents, who are not.

And, to tell you the truth, it is not even a point for discussion. REALTOR is trademarked and there are explicit rules how and when we can use it. And when we use it in the wrong way and in the wrong instances, there is nothing to justiufy.

Wrong is wrong and right is right. And as professionals we need to know when and how we use it.

Thank you

Feb 27, 2014 09:58 PM #48
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I appreciate your caveat of using the word Realtor as a keyword because it's what the public is typing into a computer search or at any other time it would be suitable to use consumer lingo.

Mar 17, 2014 06:37 AM #49
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Stopping by from your daughter blog to wish you speedy recovery and send warm regards your way from sunny California.

Apr 03, 2014 04:47 PM #50
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