Home listings in more cities will no longer use the word "master" to describe large bedrooms and bathrooms.
In June, the Houston Association of Realtors decided to instead use the word “primary” to describe the largest bedroom or bathroom in a home listing.
The association, HAR for short, updated listings on the website through mid-June. In a statement, the organization said the change has been “raised and considered for many years” and was one of nine requests submitted from HAR members for discussion at recent meetings about updating MLS listings. Other requests included things like electric vehicle charging stations and balcony details.
“The overarching message was that some members were concerned about how the terms might be perceived by some other agents and consumers. Based on the discussion that took place, more members viewed the terms as sexist than racist, although some did view them as racist,” the statement said. “The origin of the terms is debated, and we are not saying they are rooted in slavery.”
The word “master” is not banned within the organization and members, only in their online listings. Realtors may choose to use “master” on their own materials selling a home.
HAR told members the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has already advised that use of the term “master bedroom” or “master bathroom” is not discriminatory and does not violate Fair Housing laws.
Some builders have already dropped the term years ago, HAR said. According to the Houston Chronicle, at least one builder in Texas now calls a home's primary bedroom an "owner's retreat." Other builders have also made the change in the last few years, choosing different words to describe the larger rooms in the homes they design.
— Get Burbed (@GetBurbed) June 29, 2020
GetBurbed.com announced this week they will also stop using "master" to describe rooms in home listings. They list real estate in the greater Chicago area.