About those stupid Realtor tricks…

At the behest of Mary Newill, a trademark administrator in the Legal Affairs Division of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, I’m going to clarify a point about our occasional “Stupid Realtor Tricks” posts (including the one we posted yesterday, about the REALTOR® who keeps trimming the price of a Graceland West / Southwest Ravenswood / Lake View Victorian by $1,000).

Mary reminded us this morning that:

…the term REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which is used to identify real estate professionals who are Members of the National Association and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.

Since the subject term is a registered mark and serves this special identifying function, it should never be used interchangeably with the terms “Real estate broker,” “broker” or “Real estate agent” or in any other context which suggests that a person who deals in real estate is a REALTOR® without regard to his or her membership in the National Association. In other words, just like not all tissues are KLEENEX®, not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®. Because your blog’s subject matter relates to real estate and not membership, I hope you can appreciate my concern regarding the incorrect contextual use of the membership mark REALTOR®.

…The Association would be very appreciative if you would discontinue the use of the term REALTOR in the title of your blog column and only use this term when referring to a Member of the National Association.

It’s a good thing for us that the agent in question (who we kindly didn’t name — if you really care, you can always follow the links in the post) had listed the home through Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, which manages the multiple listing service for northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. To participate in MRED’s MLS, you have to be a registered REALTOR®. So we most certainly were talking about a specific Member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, and therefore completely within our rights to refer to her as such.

I assured Mary that we never publish any “Stupid Realtor Tricks” posts that involve people who are not registered REALTORS® — naturally, we’d find some equally sophomoric title for posts about brokers and agents who weren’t members.

Now, if Mary would prefer we adjust these post titles to acknowledge NAR’s trademarks, I’d be open to retitling them “Stupid REALTOR® Tricks,” just as soon as I can memorize the alt-code for that silly circle-R.

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