For most Realtors, being successful enough to start a team is one of the most exciting milestones in their careers. As exciting as it may be, there is also a lot of uncertainty and stress. After all, you know how to generate leads and close deals, but designing great logos or real estate team names is not a skill most Realtors have.
Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, you’ll learn:
- Why Some Team Names Just Work (& Others Don’t)
- 6 Ways to Choose The Right Real Estate Team Name with Real World Examples
- How to Test Your New Real Estate Team Name
- Legal and Ethical Considerations When Naming Your Team
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Why Some Team Names Just Work (& Others Don’t)
While the science behind why people love some brand names and hate others is still far from settled, there are a few elements that a huge number of wildly successful brand names have in common. If you’ve hit a wall while trying to decide between a few different names, understanding a bit about why some names work and others don’t will help you narrow down your choices.
Alliteration, the repetition of a letter or sound in a word or group of words, is very common in poetry and music. While there is no settled science (hah!) on why people tend to like alliterative words and phrases, many successful brands use it in their names. Examples include Corcoran, Google, Dunkin Donuts, Paypal, Constant Contact, Blackberry, Coca Cola, American Airlines, Best Buy, and Krispy Kreme.
While this may seem a bit far fetched, researchers have shown that alliteration, even when read on a page and not spoken out loud, improves the recall of words and phrases.
Slant rhymes, sometimes called half rhymes, are two or more words that end with similar letters or sounds. While a full rhyme gives poetry and song lyrics a sense of rhythm, a slant rhyme can achieve the same effect without sounding cute or silly as many rhyming names do. For example, business names like Fitbit and Stubhub are great, but sound a little bit cutesy. Meanwhile, real estate team Bello Dimora achieves a similar effect, but sounds far less playful.
Use Words or Sounds That Create a Positive Emotional Response
While using alliteration and slant rhymes can make your team name more memorable, it won’t do you any good if the sound of your name reminds people of something negative. To avoid this, you should spend time testing your new name to make sure it doesn’t make people think of something rude. If you’re using your own name or a team members name for your brand, then this should be fairly straightforward. If you had a rude nickname in elementary school, you might consider choosing something else.
If you’re using words other than names in your brand, then only use words that create a positive emotional response. Incorporate terms like sunshine, bright, clearwater, ocean, shore, serenity, growth, change, pinnacle, success, results, etc.
Name Letter Branding: Common Names or Words Work Best
Did you know that men named Dennis are overrepresented in the dentistry field? Or that people named Louise are disproportionately likely to move to Louisiana? Or that a huge number of motel owners in America share the last name Patel?
While this may sound like an urban legend, it’s backed up by science. Dubbed the name letter effect, researchers have found that people tend to prefer brand names that are similar to their own. Amazingly, the research was done by professors Gordon Hodson and Michael Olson! The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that people tend to actually assign more value and significance to brand names that are similar to their own.
In practical terms, this means that a team name like The Jim Allen Group (18th most successful team in the country according to Real Trends) might resonate with more people than a team name with less common sounding names or words.
6 Ways to Choose The Right Real Estate Team Name with Real World Examples
While your real estate team may not last for your entire career, you should still take the time and effort to come up with a name as if it will. There are two very good reasons for this. First of all, if you have a solid business plan and teammates with a track record of success, your team will more than likely be your primary source of income for the next few years at least. Second, a marketing challenge like coming up with a catchy team name is great mental exercise and will help hone your creativity. A sharp creative mind is always an asset in real estate.
1. Use the Team Leader’s First + Last Name + Team/Group
As long as your team leader has a first and last name that works for a business name, then for many teams, using a simple formula like this will work fine. If you’re starting on your own and planning on hiring junior agents instead of taking on partners, than this is a no brainer.
Example that works: The Mark Spain Team
Why it works: Excluding “the”, Mark Spain Team has three short, punchy syllables which makes it very easy to say, and very easy to remember as well. Ending with a slant rhyme, (Spain Team) also helps with memorability and catchiness.
While chalking it all up to the team’s name would be silly, the Mark Spain Team has been extremely successful. According to Real Trends, in 2015 they were the 27th most successful team in the country by transaction volume. Mark’s team was so successful, he opened his own brokerage, Mark Spain Real Estate in early 2016.
2. Use Up to Three Team Members Last Names + Team/Group or Real Estate Term
If you’re starting a team with two or three equal agents or associate brokers, you might see some pushback if you tried to name it after yourself. Instead, you can try combining up to three team members names in your brand. You can also tag on words to the end like the Smith-McCall Team or Smith-McCall Real Estate. Just remember that your teammates may or may not stay with you for the long haul.
Example that works: Mason-McDuffie
Why it works: Alliteration makes a team name like Mason-McDuffie catchy and memorable.
3. Us an Abbreviation of Team Members First or Last Names + Team/Group or Real Estate Term
If you have team members with long, hard to pronounce names but still want to use their names in your team name, then using an abbreviation can be a huge help. Just be careful to avoid using abbreviations with negative connotations like IRS, DEA, and MRSA.
Example that works: RSR Real Estate
Why it works: Alliteration and a hard rhyme, but to my ears this works perfectly for abbreviations.
4. Use a Nature Term + Team/Group or Real Estate Term
Since almost everyone has a positive reaction to nature terms, they can work very well for real estate team names. Just stick to mountains, rivers, lakes, and sunshine, and avoid bears and snakes!
Example that works: The Waterfront Team at Sotheby’s
Why it works: Since they focus almost exclusively on luxury waterfront estates in Miami, this name works perfectly. As an added bonus they have a decent chance of showing up in Google search results for terms like “waterfront estate in Miami.”
5. Use Farm Area + Team/Group or Real Estate Term
Another great team name idea is to use your farm area, or a local landmark. Besides showing you’re a local market expert, you will also have a much greater chance of showing up in local Google search results. After all, thousands of people search for a term like “Bay Area Real Realtor” while almost no one will be searching for your name.
Example that works: The Bay Area Team
Why it works: Simple, direct, and straightforward. What’s not to love? The Bay Area team was also lucky enough to snag thebayareateam.com which is undoubtedly hot online real estate.
6. Get Creative
Although the vast majority of team names stick to the tried and true Team leader’s first and last name + team/group or realty term, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Just remember to keep it positive, memorable and real estate focused. Using alliteration, slant rhyming, and short easy words will also help here.
Example that works: Home Discovery Team
Why it works: While it may not be the catchiest name, it’s short, easy to remember, and the word ‘discovery’ has very positive connotations for almost everyone. While we can’t pin all their success on a great team name, Home Discovery Team was the 45th most successful real estate team in the country for 2015.
How to Test Your New Real Estate Team Name
Sound it Out
Even though the words “Häagen-Dazs” look kind of funny, the pronunciation is obvious. Make sure your name is easy to pronounce too.
Write down your business name and ask a few friends (or better yet, strangers) to pronounce it. If most people have trouble pronouncing the name, you might want to rethink it.
Next, ask them what first comes to mind when they hear it. If you’re a luxury brokerage in LA and they say ‘luxury LA real estate” then you’re on the right path. If they say marine biology, start over.
Does it Pass the Spell Test?
I used to work for a company called aptsandlofts.com. Whenever someone asked what our website was (which as a real estate agent was almost every day), I always had to spell out the name for them. Luckily, we were big enough in our market to come up in Google searches even if they typed it in wrong. As a startup, you may not be so lucky. To see if your name’s spelling is obvious (it should be), tell a few people your name and ask them to spell it.
Legal & Ethical Considerations When Naming Your Team
Your Real Estate Team Name is going to be with you for the long haul, so make sure you keep the following legal and ethical considerations in mind when choosing your name.
Make Sure the Name isn’t Trademarked
If you don’t want to end up in court, you should do a quick trademark search for the name you’re considering. Trademarkia.com is an easy (and free) way to search for trademarks.
If your name is trademarked and used in a similar industry, you probably won’t be able to use the name. If it’s used in a different industry, then you probably will be able to use the name. When in doubt, consult a trademark lawyer.
Make Sure the Name is Available Online
Since having a strong online presence is a requirement for real estate professionals today, you want to choose a name that has an available dot com URL and social media accounts.
If you’re ready to start checking for available URLs for your team, use this handy and free check from Bluehost. Once you’ve found one that works, they offer domain name registration, quality hosting, and a WordPress website all for $2.95 a month.
Real Estate Team Names are Often Regulated Under State Law and NAR Rules
Many states have strict laws to regulate real estate team names.
If you live in one of the states in the table below, you need to be very careful you have a thorough understanding of the law before taking the time and energy needed to come up with a catchy real estate team name. If you don’t, you may fly under the radar for a year or two, but you can get hit with fines of up to $10,000, not to mention that you will need to come up with a new name.
In addition to state laws and regulations, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also has regulations regarding real estate team names. Since the term Realtor is a nationally recognized trademark of NAR, there are strict rules regarding how a real estate professional can apply the trademark. First and foremost, only NAR members are allowed to use the Realtor name. Full stop. If you are not a member, you cannot use the Realtor name for your business.
Even if you are a NAR member, you’re still only allowed to use the Realtor name is association with your personal name. In other words, it’s perfectly fine to call yourself “Kelly Smith, Realtor,” but against NAR trademark rules to call your team “The Kelly Smith Realtor team.”
Here are the real estate team name rules and regulations in Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington, as well as national NAR regulations. While these eight states are currently the only states that have regulations for real estate team names, laws in other states can be amended very quickly. Before sitting down to come up with a great name, make sure you understand the law in your state.
Real Estate Team Name Laws by State 2017
|State||Real Estate Team Name Laws 2017|
|Colorado||Team names may not include the terms: Realty, Real Estate, Realtors, Company, Corporation, Corp, Inc, LLC, LLP, or any other term which may imply they are a separate entity from the brokerage they are licensed under. Click here for more info.|
|Louisiana||Team names may not include the terms: realty, real estate brokerage, company, or any other term that may lead the public to believe the team is providing service independent of the brokerage. Click here for more info.|
|Maryland||Team names may not include the terms: realty, real estate brokerage, company, or any other term that may lead the public to believe the team is providing service independent of the brokerage. Click here for more info.|
|New York||Team names may use the term “team.” The use of any other terms besides “team,” such as “associate,” “realty” or “group” is prohibited. The use of the name of a non-licensed individual in a team name is prohibited. Team names shall either: include the full licensed name of the real estate brokers, associate brokers or real estate salespersons who are part of said team, or if the names are not included, the team name must be immediately followed by “at/of [full name of the broker/brokerage].” Click here for more info.|
|Ohio||Team names may not include the words LLC,Corp, Inc, LLP, realty, real estate, and must include the word “team” or a “similar word”. Brokerage name must be conspicuous in advertisements. Click here for more info.|
|Oklahoma||Brokerage reference must be prominent and conspicuous and which “cannot be construed as that of a company name.” Click here for more info.|
|South Carolina||Team names many not include the words realty, real estate, Realtors or “any other terms suggesting a brokerage.” Click here for more info.|
|Washington||Team names may not include the words real estate, realty, Realtors, firm, or any other term that is “commonly understood to represent an entire firm or office.” Click here for more info.|
|NAR regulations: |
|Under Realtor trademark rules, teams may not use the word Realtor or Realtors in their names. The use of the term Realtor is limited to your personal name or legal business name. Click here for more info.|
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right real estate team name can have a huge impact on your bottom line. When coming up with a name, think about using alliteration, slant rhymes, short common names and words, and positive imagery. Just make sure to follow your state laws and national NAR trademark rules. Finally, remember to test your name and make sure it’s available online.