Kleenex, Q-Tip, Band-Aid… Realtor

Public Service Announcement for people employed the real estate field:

Whether you like it or not, the general public uses the term “Realtor” in much the same way that we use the terms Kleenex, Q-Tip, Band-Aid, Jell-O, Styrofoam, and many others. Despite the fact that “Realtor” is a registered trademark that refers to a specific product, in practice the majority of people use the term “realtor” to refer to anyone that sells real estate.

I know this really bothers some of you, Realtors or not, but it’s just a fact of life, and not likely to change any time soon. Also, you should know that it really gets old when you constantly correct people on the use of the term. Imagine how annoying it would be if every time you asked someone for a kleenex you were told “Kleenex is a registered trademark of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and I don’t have any. However, I do have two-ply facial tissue; would you like one of those?” It gets old really quickly.

I just wanted to throw this one out there, because I have occasionally seen it become a point of contention on this and other real estate blogs in discussions between real estate “professionals” and the public. I am but a messenger. This is just the way things are. Get used to it.

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.


  1. 1
    Alan says:

    My Zune is not an iPod.


    You can google it on Live Search.

  2. 2
    christiangustafson says:

    On HousingPanic we prefer the term “real-estate clerk” over the archaic REALTOR®.

    Prepare to be disintermediated!

  3. 3
    witzend says:

    Yeah, Realtor = clerk (with an agenda).

    Why hasn’t this occupation been rendered obsolete by the internet -as car dealers should have been by now?

    Just have no respect for someone who suceeds in their career to the extent they take advantage of their clients/customers.

  4. 4
    B says:


  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    Wow, Jon. Thank you for enlightening us all about how worthless I am and how great and wonderful you are.

    I would applaud you, but your self esteem clearly does not need my help.

  6. 6
    Jon says:

    The Tim,

    Hardly! I respect what you write, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I hate when I argue a point and it’s discredited without further thought… it’s not your fault… it’s the mentality of some of the bloggers… which I respect… sometimes.


  7. 7
    witzend says:

    Hey, Jon:

    The “100 hour weeks”, does that include “sleeping on it” or what?

    “$100K over asking” – might have happened, bet it won’t in the future. Hell, In that case, I’d be glad I didn’t have an agent!

    You might well be an upright, do-right kind of guy, but until many of the flakes that have entered your profession as of late are finally flushed-out, I feel justified.

  8. 8
    The Muser says:

    Wow, Jon, it’s guys like you that make me want to employ someone of your profession when buying a house. Seriously… send me your business card, so I can put it where it belongs.

    It’s no wonder homebuyers don’t often like their real estate professionals/realtors/brokers/whatever moniker people want to use to refer to people who help people buy homes. If anyone knows any of these folks in Seattle WITHOUT an attitude, please let me know.

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