Using The Word REALTOR® Online -- Know The Rules!

By
Real Estate Services with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

I'm online a lot.

Now, I don't mean I turn on my computer and occasionally check my email or post on Facebook once a week. No...I am online ALL DAY. From the time I arrive at work until I decide it is time to leave, I am online. Roughly 10 hrs a day, give or take.

And, one thing I continually see online is real estate agents using the power of the internet to help them promote their business. All well and good, really. And, I'm happy to see it. I just wish more of them knew that using the word "REALTOR®" has rules attached to it...rules that, if you are found out by NAR, could cost you everything you have been trying to build online.

See, NAR is pretty strict about how and where you can use the word REALTOR®. Actually, very strict...(Catholic nun schoolmarm with yardstick strict.) And, a violation of the use of the word could mean that the website or social networking account in question could be shut down. (It has happened before...most recently to a Facebook page that had close to 50,000 fans associated with it.)

Officially, here is what NAR says can and can not happen with the word REALTOR® online.

To summarize:

1. Anytime you use the word REALTOR®, it must refer to a member's name or firm.

2. You can not use it with descriptive phrases or adjectives

3. You can not use it to denote an occupation or in any combination with location or adjectives describing such.

4. You can use it in email as long as the term refers to your name and/or your firm name only.

 

In other words, it must refer to a proper name of a member or a firm. Nothing else.

Seems pretty simple to me. Yet, every day I come across another www.BestReatlorInLalaland.com or any number of "LalalandRealtor"s online on one social media network or another. There is a myriad of "TomTheRealtor"s and "RealtorBoy(or Girl)"s, "MissoulaRealtor"s and "Your(insert adjective here)Realtor"s. All of which are not approved uses of the word.

I am not going to call anyone out on these misuses. Nor am I an agent or a member of NAR. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter to me in the least that this is happening.

But, if you are one of the people that are doing it, it should matter to you. You could lose everything you have built merely because you ignored (whether knowingly or not) the rule.

Ignorance of the law is not justification for not following it.

 

 

Feel free to contact Clint at any time on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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Re-Bloggged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Liz Loadholt 09/20/2010 11:03 AM
  2. Graziella Bruner 09/20/2010 04:42 PM
  3. Jean-Paul Peron 09/27/2010 11:32 AM
  4. Roy Kelley 10/12/2010 07:06 PM
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Topic:
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Rainmaker
97,332
Kathy Jackson
CDPE, Your Tri-State Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Midwest Real Estate Group

Timing is amazing-I just attended 2 law CE's this week and a large portion of the discussion was the proper use of the term! Many, many agents didn't know that they couldn't use city, state in front.  I've checked all my websites & I'm safe except for my username on Youtube.  I'll be fixing that today!  Great clarification for all of us!  I personally don't care who brings up the topic-if it needs to be discussed then let's discuss it!!

September 25, 2010 09:52 AM
Rainer
35,678
Ken Gramley

This is a very interesting post, and apparently I have violated the rule on occasion.  However, I do have a question for you.  Isn't your post itself a violation of the rules on how the word can be used?  You use the word half a dozen times or so, but never is it in reference to a firm or members name.  I think you're safe though, I doubt they'll make you delete your post.  :)

I'm just pointing this out to say that NAR's rules on this issue seem a little extreme.

Ken

PS - This comment does not violate the NAR's rules on the use of the word REALTOR®.  Wait.  Oh, dang it...

September 25, 2010 11:29 PM
Ambassador
669,484
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522

Clint, well said.  I did a similar post here in rainville last year - titled I don't want to go to Real Estate Jail.  I learned I was using the word incorrectly - and I made the changes...  But you are correct - there are a lot of others out there using it in their twitter names, blog names etc. that it will cause them pain if they asked to either remove it or change it.  All their SEO will be lost...

September 26, 2010 04:26 PM
Rainmaker
296,910
Jean-Paul Peron
Carova Beach - Living & Working in 4-Wheel Drive
The Outer Banks Real Estate Copmpany

Great Post!

I actually got notified by NAR about my misuse. and have been having quite a time trying to change everything. if you don't mind I think I'll do a re-blog to remind everyone not to make my mistake.

September 27, 2010 11:37 AM
Rainmaker
137,349
Tre Pryor
Realtor, e-PRO - Louisville
REMAX Champions

Good to be reminded of this... thanks for sharing!

December 07, 2010 11:30 AM
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Rainmaker
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Clint Miller

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