I was studying the MLS this week to prepare for a listing appointment, and I noticed property remarks that labeled the master bedroom as the primary bedroom. At a guided showing with a buyer a few weeks ago, the listing agent called the master bedroom the main room. I searched online and I found that there appears to be an ongoing global movement among real estate agents, associations, and some companies to eliminate the word “master” bedroom because it offends some as being racist or sexist. There’s going to be a shift calling the master bedroom the primary bedroom or the main room. Personally, I don’t understand it. If one earns a master’s degree, that means the person mastered the subject matter, and there are no roots in slavery or racism or sexism. The word master doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation. If I had to pick the main room in the house it would hands down be the kitchen (because I’m a foodie) or maybe the living room (because it’s often the prettiest room); why would any bedroom be the main room? Everyone already understands that the master bedroom doesn’t mean that the person who sleeps in that room is a master much the same way every bathroom doesn’t necessarily have a bath; do we really need a movement dedicated to changing the label?
We recently sold a property that two close sisters purchased together around 60 years ago. Their kids, the close cousins, took over managing the property when their moms no longer could. The original deed between the sisters allows each cousin to sell their 50% interest without the consent of the other 50% owner. One cousin decided that life is too short and precious to spend it being 50% owners with cousins who didn’t work well as partners, and so she sold her interest. When searching for a buyer for this unique transaction, we reached out first to our long time client who we know from so many dealings as honest, respectful, reliable, and incredible in life and in business, and he bought the property in a seamless transaction with absolutely no drama that was a pleasure for the seller who was searching for peace.
If we’re talking about reform in the world in general, and in real estate in particular, I don’t see the priority in focusing on changing historical labels for possible connotations that are such a reach it’s almost hard to fathom the applicability. I vote for reform in behavior and in action before reform in labels that are abstract vs specific, theoretical vs practical. I vote for outlawing bad behavior vs outlawing what most of us see as a neutral word used to describe a room in a house.
If we, as a real estate community, are going to put priority on shifting to call the master bedroom the primary or main room, then let’s be equally sensitive and also put priority on shifting to respect all the terms we put in our contracts and in our listings. Let’s be truthful and sensitive in all our dealings. I think sometimes it’s easier to deal with the abstract, the historical, and the almost irrelevant, and it’s a lot harder to own up and to be responsible for the people and the deals that are before us in the moment. Let’s level up and choose to address the hard along with the easy so that there’s real lasting change that actually makes a difference.
Wishing all a beautiful weekend!