AE Use of R Marks

A question posed by AEs from time to time is whether and how the REALTOR® marks may be used to identify AEs and other association staff.

The National Association’s constitution identifies eight classes of membership in the association, but only two of these classes—member boards and board members—are authorized to use the REALTOR® marks. Moreover, among board members, only REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®s (not Institute Affiliate members) are authorized to use the REALTOR® marks to identify their membership in the association, for example on their business cards, advertising, and so on. “Member boards” refers to local and state associations that are also authorized to use the REALTOR® marks, subject to certain requirements. 

AEs should not describe themselves as REALTORS®

The NAR constitution recognizes that association executives are eligible for a category of membership identified as Individual Membership (AEs have to apply for this membership; it’s not granted automatically).

Although individual members who are engaged in the real estate business as defined in the NAR constitution can use the REALTOR® marks, neither the association itself nor its association executive are a part of the real estate business as defined in the constitution. As a result, the constitution makes the point expressly that association executives, even if they attain individual membership, are not authorized to call themselves REALTORS® or use the REALTOR® marks in a way that identifies them as REALTORS®.

The right of associations to use the REALTOR® marks differs from the rights granted to REALTORS® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATES®. Associations can allow staff members to use the marks when done so in connection with their employment, so long as the use is in reference to the association and not the staff member as an individual. For example, association staff can use the association name and the REALTOR® marks on their business cards, but they should not identify or refer to themselves as REALTORS®.  

Another issue is the use of the REALTOR® marks on association executives’ lapel pins. Just as members are authorized to wear REALTOR® lapel pins to indicate their membership in the association, so are association executives authorized to wear an association executive pin to identify themselves as being affiliated as an executive with the association.

For more on use of the REALTOR® marks, visit

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