This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
The most effective real estate team names can bolster your position in the marketplace. Incorporating such strategies as alliteration, slant rhymes, and creating positive emotions creates a memorable brand that resonates with potential clients. When it comes time to select an agency, we’ll show you how to be the one they remember.
Why Some Real Estate Team Names Work
When building your real estate team and associated name, there are a few linguistic elements that many wildly successful brand names have in common but are rarely discussed. We’ll show you how to capitalize on the strategies of alliteration and slant rhymes, and how to use the power of positive emotion to elevate your real estate team name to the top.
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.
Create a Positive Emotional Response
While using alliteration and slant rhymes can make real estate team names more memorable, it won’t do any good if the sound of your name reminds people of something negative. If you’re using your personal name, be objective and be sure it doesn’t turn people off. If you decide to select words other than names in your brand, just be sure to only choose words that have a positive connotation. For example, words that remind people of success.
Use Common Names or Words
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! 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.
How to Choose Real Estate Team Names & Examples
If you have a solid business plan and teammates with a track record of success, your team is set up to deliver solid results. While your real estate team may not last your entire career, you should select a name as if it will. Your real estate team name is your public-facing brand.
Here are some strategies to formulate your real estate team name and examples of their use:
1. Team Leader’s First + Last Name + Team/Group
As long as your team leader has a first and last name that works as 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, then this is a no-brainer.
2. 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 member names in your brand. You can also tag words onto 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.
3. 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.
4. 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!
5. 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 Realtor,” while almost no one will be searching for your name.
6. Get Creative
Although the vast majority of team names stick to the tried-and-true team leader’s first and last name plus 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.
How to Test Your New Real Estate Team Name
Real estate team names have to work in the real world. Your team name should be easy to say and easy to spell. Before you finalize anything on your new real estate team name and run out to register domain names or social profiles, be sure to run it through some quick tests of sound and spelling.
Here are some easy strategies to be sure your new real estate team name works in the wild:
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.
Use 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.
Inspiration for Real Estate Team Names
As you can see above, there are so many fantastic real estate team names out there that can serve as wonderful examples. We also examined real estate company name ideas that might give you further inspiration in the style, impact, and elements to consider.
Legal & Ethical Considerations When Naming Your Team
Real estate team names are with you for the long haul, so be sure to keep legal and ethical considerations in mind. Protect your team by considering legal implications up front. Making sure your name is not trademarked, that it’s available online, and that it complies with NAR rules is essential when making your decision.
Here are ways to be sure your real estate team name is in compliance:
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.
Check Local State Law & 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.
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 an NAR member, you’re still only allowed to use the Realtor name in 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 “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. Remember, however, that if you want to name a team of agents, you’ll have to be a broker to manage those agents. Learn how to become a real estate broker for more information.