Commonly-asked questions and answers about REALTOR® logo/trademark usage for both members and non-members alike.
For complete information, see NAR's Membership Marks Manual.
1. What are the REALTOR® marks?
The REALTOR® marks include the terms REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, as well as the REALTOR® block "R" logo. These marks are all federally registered collective membership marks owned by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Collective membership marks are a type of trademark which, rather than indicating the source of a product or service, identify the user of the membership mark as a member of a particular group, in this case NAR. The REALTOR® marks are also used to identify products and services for Members created by NAR and the Board.
2. I am a member; don’t I pay to use the term REALTOR®?
Members are authorized to use the REALTOR® marks; however there are still certain limitations established by the Board of Directors to preserve the value and meaning of the REALTOR® marks for all Members. Each member of the National Association of REALTORS® agrees, as a part of their local Association's Bylaws, to abide by the rules governing the use of the REALTOR® marks. Only by knowing and abiding by the rules adopted by the Board of Directors can we be sure the Marks will retain their meaning and value for future generations of REALTORS®.
3. Isn’t the definition of REALTOR® anyone who has a real estate license?
No. The definition of a REALTOR® is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. The marks should not be used inadvertently and improperly to denote a vocation or business. A good rule to follow is if the term “Member” cannot logically be substituted for the term REALTOR®, then the term should not be used. Appropriate substitutions might include the phrases “real estate broker,” “real estate agent,” “real estate salesperson,” “property manager,” etc.
4. Can I use the REALTOR® marks in the name of a firm?
No, the REALTOR® marks cannot be included in the legal or DBA name of any firm. Members are authorized to use the REALTOR® marks in conjunction with the legal name of their real estate business (i.e., real estate brokerage) in advertising, signage, etc.
5. Can I use the term REALTOR® in the name of a firm if I add punctuation so REALTOR® is separated from the rest of the name by punctuation?
No, the rule based on Article V, Section 4 of NAR’s Bylaws requires both the REALTOR® marks not be used as a part of a firm name AND that the marks be set off from the legal firm name by appropriate punctuation. Doing one or the other does not satisfy the requirements.
6. Can I use a geographic location with the REALTOR® marks (e.g. Montana REALTORS®, Boston’s Best REALTOR®)?
Based on Article V, Section 7 of NAR’s Bylaws, descriptive words or phrases are never to be used with the REALTOR® marks. This includes the use of the REALTOR® marks in connection to geographically descriptive terms like the names of cities, states, and places.
7. Why are local and state associations allowed to use geographic locations with the REALTOR® marks?
The Board of Directors has granted local and state associations the right to use geographic locations with the REALTOR® marks in certain specified ways, for example in domain names or the name of official publication.
8. How can I tell buyers that my team members and I are REALTORS®?
Each REALTOR® is authorized to use the REALTOR® marks with their name and Members may do so when identifying their relationship to a team. A Member may not use the REALTOR® marks with the name of his or her team. Although the Bylaws allow REALTOR® principals to use the REALTOR® marks with the name of their business, this is limited to their real estate brokerage and would not apply to teams within a brokerage.
9. Do I need to add the trademark registration symbol?
The preferred form of the REALTOR® marks is in all capital letters and with the federal registration symbol ‘®.’ If using the registration symbol is not possible, then the next preferred form is in all capital letters.
10. Is spelling realtor in lower case still using the trademark?
If the REALTOR® marks are in lower case, you are still using the membership marks. The registered mark is REALTOR® in any and all of its forms. To encourage others to recognize its status, NAR has adopted certain standards for its appearance. Please note that the preferred format is in all caps with the registration symbol.
11. Do I need to use the REALTOR® marks in advertising and on my business cards?
No, use of the Marks is a privilege of membership, not an obligation. If you are a member, you are authorized to indicate you are a member of NAR and a real estate professional by using the REALTOR® marks in advertising, business cards, etc.
12. Can I use the block ‘R’ logo in advertising? Is there some special location I need to add this in?
Members can use the block ‘R’ logo in advertising so long as it can be understood by those receiving the advertising that the logo refers to the member or the member’s real estate business. It would be improper if the REALTOR marks were understood to refer to a non-member. The logo should be large enough so that the registration symbol is easily identifiable.
13. Can I change the color of the block ‘R’ on my business cards?
Members may use the ‘official’ colors (Blue and Gold) for the logo. If these colors are not used, then any single color which sharply contrasts with the color of the substrate on which the logo is being produced may be used for the logo. Black or blue ink is strongly encouraged but is not required.
14. On business cards can I list REALTOR®/Broker?
Yes. However, please note that the REALTOR® marks should not be used in conjunction with a description of any other occupation or vocation of the Member, even if the other occupation or vocation is part of or related to the Member’s real estate business.
15. On business cards, do affiliations and designations (including the REALTOR® marks) need to be in any special order?
There is no rule specifying the order to be used. Members use many different ways then indicating affiliations and designations including alphabetically, chronologically, and order of significant to the member.
1. Can I use the REALTOR® marks with my domain name, email address, or username?
The same rules governing the use of the REALTOR® marks apply on the internet. In domain names, email addresses, and usernames, members are authorized to use the REALTOR® marks only to indicate membership to NAR by using the marks with a member’s name or with the name of the member’s real estate business.
2. In a domain name, email address, or username, do I need to use punctuation to separate the REALTOR® marks from my name?
The REALTOR® marks do not need to be separated from a member’s name or real estate business name with punctuation in a domain name, email address, or username.
3. In a domain name, email address, or username, do I still need to capitalize the REALTOR® marks or use the trademark registration symbol?
The requirements to use capitalization and the registration symbol with the REALTOR® marks are relaxed since such formalities either cannot or are not normally observed on the Internet.
4. I am not using the term REALTOR®; I am using _______realtor (e.g., hotshotrealtor.com or floridarealtor.com). Isn’t this a new word?
It is not a new word; it is simply including the term REALTOR® in a phrase. Descriptive words or phrases are never to be used to modify the REALTOR® marks. This includes the use of the REALTOR® marks in connection to products, services, or geographically descriptive terms like the names of cities, states, or places.
1. I am not a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, can I use the REALTOR® marks?
No, non-members are never authorized to use the REALTOR® marks or logo in connection with their real estate business. Because the use has not been authorized by NAR it may also be viewed as an infringement of NAR's legal rights in its membership marks under the federal Lanham Act and other state and federal laws.
2. May a company that sells real estate related services use the term REALTOR® in the name of its product or service if the company only wants its business to serve REALTORS®?
No. NAR does not license third parties to use its marks in connection with the names of the products and services of those third parties.
3. If a non-member salesperson is included in an advertisement for a REALTORS® firm, can the REALTOR® marks be used in connection with the firm’s name or with the names of others who are members?
Yes, but the Marks must be placed in the ad so that they are used in connection with the firm name or the names of the people who are members and not in connection with the non-member. In addition, a non-member salesperson in this situation cannot use business cards on which the REALTOR® logo has been used even if it is in reference to the member broker or firm.