Share this Article

Are You A Realtor Or A Real-a-tor?

Written by on Tuesday, 30 March 2004 6:00 pm
Close More Deals - Qualify homebuyer leads fast and free

Exactly how do you pronounce the word Realtor?

Is it pronounced real-y-tar or is it real-a-tar? I've heard it pronounced both ways. Does a realytar work for a reality firm?

I have been a Realtor and around real estate agents who are Realtors since 1975, when the big push was to get the public to understand the difference in a Realtor and a real estate broker. Basically, in the mind of the public, there is no difference.

I understand why the public cannot pronounce the word correctly, but I am at a loss to explain why members of the National Association of REALTORS can't seem to pronounce their own association's servicemark correctly.

Here are some pronunciations that I have heard in the last 12 months or so.

"The first thing you must do is join our Real-i-ty Board."

"I am with the best Real-i-tor in the area."

"My Real-a-ter is always available to answer my questions."

"Let me check with my Real-i-tar."

You would think after spending no doubt multimillions of dollars establishing the Realtor brand, that members of the NAR would know how to pronounce it as it is spelled, REALTOR, with two syllables and the emphasis on the first. It is awkward to say the least to be associated with an organization that its members cannot pronounce and the public doesn't understand. What's even worse is to be in front of a very sharp agent, fully competent in every way, who is introducing herself or himself as being a REAL-A-TOR when the consumer knows the agent is mispronouncing the word, Realtor.

So, I have some suggestions for the NAR to fix this problem:

  1. Forget surveys and research. We all know that what I am saying is true.

  2. Develop a creative and humorous advertising campaign for radio, the Internet,and perhaps television based on the pronunciation of the word REALTOR. If done right, it could be the talk of the country, not to mention totally educational to Realtors and the public alike.

  3. Encourage your education committee to open every training session, no matter what the subject with an overhead of the word REALTOR in big letters across the screen and have the entire class in unison say REALTOR three times.

Like most NAR members and their affiliates, I take pride in being associated with NAR and its REALTOR members.

Rate this item
(11 votes)

  About the author, David Fletcher, NHCB


  • Comment Link dona Tuesday, 13 January 2015 5:10 pm posted by dona

    I think it's visual, a dyslexia of sorts. people somehow see the ea combo in realtor, and move the uneeded A to where they think it should be. it's also learned behavior, because most people do mispronounce it. I have well educated friends who say re la tor. they also say eK cetera, for etcetera. do you remember the phen/fen twin weight loss drugs? fenfluramine was one, phentermine was the other. however, most people mispronounced phentermine as phen TERRA mine, because a) they don't read thoroughly, and b) it's a more comfortable combo if both words have the same rhythm. not everyone is as perfect as we word snobs.

  • Comment Link Terri Tuesday, 13 January 2015 3:15 pm posted by Terri

    From a phonetics standpoint, the problem is caused because of the position of the tongue when moving from the "l" sound to the "t" sound.

  • Comment Link Bill Hansen Tuesday, 13 January 2015 2:37 pm posted by Bill Hansen

    I just call them Realatards. It fits!

  • Comment Link Pamela Wolstenholme Monday, 12 January 2015 8:14 pm posted by Pamela Wolstenholme

    I turn off home real estate shows if someone says real a tor. It is like nails on a blackboard to me. Just once I'd like someone (off camera, of course) to correct these people and their pronunciations. On one show, a Connecticut couple where the husband is a realtor, the wife continues to mispronounce the word. I guess love is deaf and well as blind.

  • Comment Link Casey Tuesday, 30 September 2014 9:23 pm posted by Casey

    Plain and simple.......Real + tor = Realtor
    Two syllables. Anyone that uses three syllables is saying wrong. End of discussion.

  • Comment Link l Monday, 21 July 2014 8:17 pm posted by l

    i say realtor like real*ter. makes me cringe when people say reelater. it sounds illiterate. the word is realtor not realator.

  • Comment Link d Thursday, 15 May 2014 3:21 pm posted by d

    if that is the case, then why don't people say doc-a-tor for doctor, or proc- a- tor for proctor,or moles a ter, for molester, protes a ter for protester,or ment a tor for mentor, protect a tor for protector, invest a tor for investor. I personally think it is habit, learned behavior and a 'dyslexic' style of transposing the a in real to the slot behind the l.

  • Comment Link Paul Thursday, 13 March 2014 8:03 pm posted by Paul

    My 2 cents...

    Neither of the examples listed at the beginning of this article is correct ("Is it pronounced real-y-tar or is it real-a-tar? ")

    Both examples contain 3 syllables. The correct pronunciation consists of only 2 syllables" "Real" and "tor", resulting in the proper pronunciation: Reel-tore.

    Human nature dictates that we take the path of least resistance and pronounce in a way that rolls off the tongue easier (real-a-tore). However, the correct pronunciation is "reel-tore". There is no sound between the "l" and the "t".

Login to post comments
Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.