Answers to the most frequently asked questions about association name changes.
Does policy require the term REALTOR® be used in a name?
How long does a name change take?
Staff has the authority to administratively approve (generally within one (1) week) name changes where:
- the only change is “Board” to “Association” or deletion of the term “Board” or “Association” of similar term; or
- where a commercial overlay board is deleting the term “Association/Board of REALTORS®” and replacing it with the term “REALTORS® Commercial Alliance.”
A name change that does not fall into the categories above will need to be noticed to all associations in the state. Notices are sent the on or around the first of the month and associations have sixty (60) days to file a written objection with the National Association. If no objections are received, the name change will be administratively approved generally within one (1) week.
If objections are received and a hearing is requested by the applicant association, resolving the name change request could take until the next regularly scheduled NAR business meeting.
How are name changes approved locally?
NAR policy requires a copy of the minutes from the General Membership meeting or Board of Directors meeting authorizing the name change in order to process a name change application.
How do we ensure we do not receive any objections to our name change?
There is no guarantee a name change will not be subject to objections. We recommend an association considering a name change discuss potential names with neighboring associations prior to submitting an application to NAR. This may alert applicant associations to potential objections and help facilitate resolution of disputes prior to filing an application.
What do I do to start the process?
The association will send the signed and completed application for change of name, a copy of the board of director minutes and a signed agreement to use the term REALTOR® to firstname.lastname@example.org. All forms and materials for a name change are available here.
How should I send the application?
A scanned copy of the materials should be sent to NARPolicyQuestions@realtors.org.
Do we send the notice of name change to all the associations in the state?
No. NAR sends the formal notice of name change to all associations in the state.
What name (our old or new name) do I put on the Agreement to Use the Term REALTOR®?
The Agreement to Use the Term REALTOR® should include the new name of the association.
How is the notice of name change distributed to all of the associations in the state?
The notice of name change is sent via email by NAR to all associations in the state.
My association wants to object to a name change, what should we put in our objection?
Your objection should contain in detail the basis for the objection and all documents or other evidence upon which the objecting association intends to rely should the dispute go to hearing. Objections must be based on the name change criteria.
If we receive objections to our name change request, what happens next?
Copies of the objections are provided to the application association, and the association has thirty (30) days to request a hearing, submit a response to the objections and submit the $500 deposit.
After the applicant association requests a hearing, the parties will have thirty (30) days to request NAR sponsored mediation. If all of the parties request mediation, mediation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the parties.
If mediation is not requested or if mediation is not successful, supplemental materials will be solicited from the parties approximately thirty (30) days prior to the hearing.
Do we have to mediate?
Yes. Mediation is mandatory.
Do we need an attorney to represent us at a hearing?
No, name change hearings are not legal proceedings though associations may have counsel present at their discretion.
Who can speak on our association’s behalf?
Speakers are limited to current members of the presenting association, association staff, and legal counsel.
Can we bring witnesses to the hearing?
Any presenters or witnesses for the association must be current members of the association, association staff and legal counsel. Typically, association leadership presents on behalf of the association.
What percentage of name change requests are approved/denied?
NAR does not track the percentage of successful/unsuccessful requests.
How much does NAR charge for an association to change its name?
There are no NAR costs for a local association to change its name. If objections are received to the name change request and the applicant association requests a hearing, a $500 deposit is required. The deposit is returned following the hearing or under the following circumstances:
a) The applicant association participates in voluntary mediation or other similar dispute resolution process.
b) The applicant association withdraws its application no later than 30 days prior to a scheduled hearing.
(Note: The filing fee will also be refunded if all parties agree to withdrawal of an application within 30 days of a scheduled hearing.)
If we are approved for a DBA, will our name change in M1?
No. DBAs are not tracked in the NAR M1 database and DBA approval will not change the name of the association in M1.