Good question. We see this word used incorrectly all the time. Whether or not you can use it is pretty simple:
If you ARE NOT a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, then you don’t even need to worry about this—you are simply not authorized to use the marks or even the word “realtor.” However, you can call yourself a “real estate agent,” “real estate broker,” etc.
If you ARE a member of the NAR, the National Association of REALTORS® website has a fantastic resource regarding the use of “REALTOR®” with their registered trademark symbol (®). We highly recommend that you check it out, as there are a lot of rules.
Tip: Just remember that unless “real estate agent” is being used as a title and is followed by a person’s name, then there is no need to capitalize it.
Correct: Real Estate Agent Jane Doe is amazing!
Incorrect: I’m looking for a real estate agent.
(Disclaimer: We’re not attorneys and we don’t claim to give legal advice. We are purely concerned with correct word usage and style guides!)