Naming your real estate investment group is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll ever make. But there’s more to it than just pulling a name out of thin air and registering it with the state. For one thing, you need to be sure the name you want hasn’t been trademarked by someone else. For another, you’ll need to find out if the matching domain name is available. Too many businesses end up with nonsensical web addresses because they didn’t do their homework. Don’t be them. A little time spent researching real estate investment company names will pay off in the long run.
Choosing real estate investment company names in 3 steps
If you haven’t registered a name for your real estate investment group yet, there’s still time to do it right. Keep these tips in mind as you make your choice.
Check for trademarks.
Find a matching domain name.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.
1. Brainstorm options
The first step is to ask yourself, “What’s the core benefit we offer?” Go beyond the surface answers of “wealth” to what investors are really looking for when they join an investment group.
Sure, “make your money work for you” is something a lot of investors are hoping for, but why should they join a group rather than going solo? Perhaps they’re looking to minimize their risk by spreading it across a number of investors. Or maybe they see value in investing with a team whose members have varied areas of expertise (“smarter together”).
What other words or phrases can you think of? Open a blank document or note and start a list. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Your name + city + properties
- Nature word (elm, fern, desert, etc.) + investments
- Local or regional term (Lone State, Windy City, etc.) + partners
Feeling creative? Try coining a term by combining two words or altering a single word. Take the Honda Acura, for example. It got its name from NameLab, the Chicago-based consultancy that specializes in creating business names. As reported by Entrepreneur:
“NameLab’s team created the name Acura from ‘Acu,’ a word segment that means ‘precise’ in many languages. By working with meaningful word segments (what linguists call morphemes) like ‘Acu,’ the company produces new words that are both meaningful and unique.”
A couple of don’ts when choosing real estate investment company names:
- Don’t use your first, last or family name.
- Don’t use “Realty,” as it could be misleading.
- Don’t base your name on a fad that might be old in 10 years.
- Don’t use a pun that no one but you understands.
- Don’t use “Inc.” unless your business is legally incorporated.
You want your name to be able to grow with your company, so stick to something that rings true for your business and will stand the test of time.
2. Check for trademarks
Once you’ve come up with a short-ish list of promising names, the next step is to check to see if they’re trademarked. If you’re an American firm, you can do this by searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database. Find one or two not currently trademarked? Success!
3. Find a matching domain name
Now go to a domain registrar and see if you can find an available domain name with some variation of your business name. Just type the name you want into the search box and our smart algorithm will show you what’s available.
It used to be that .com was the only real option in web addresses. While it’s still the most popular choice, so many of the best domains have already been taken. This has lead to all sorts of high jinks, including dropping vowels (Flickr), adding letters (Dribbble) and the universally frowned-upon practice of registering domain names with numbers or dashes in them (Merriam-Webster.com).
The problem with these options is two-fold:
- Users who are good spellers will type in the correct spelling for Flicker. Unless you also own Flicker.com, prospective investors and partners might not reach your website.
- No one can remember where in the sequence the dash or number goes. More opportunities lost.
The good news is, there are plenty of new options for real estate investment company names. Be sure to consider one of the many alternatives to .com springing up online:
The benefit to anyone looking for real estate investment company names is that these new domain extensions are descriptive. Anyone who sees your .investments or .properties web address will know instantly what your business is about.
You could even end up with a shorter web address (a big plus) by putting part of your business name — investments, for example — after the dot. Don’t forget, these domains are still quite new. There are a lot of great domain names that have yet to be claimed.
What to do if you truly must have a name that’s already registered.
Really, really want that particular name? You could try finding out who owns it by searching the WHOIS database, which lists the registrant for every domain name there is. Fair warning though — the owner isn’t obligated to sell it to you, and if he/she does, it could be costly. Plus, they could have purchased domain privacy, which would obscure their information in the WHOIS database, making it difficult to contact them.
If you still want to know what it would cost to get that name, you could try a service like GoDaddy’s Domain Buy Service. They’ll contact the owner on your behalf and negotiate a sale if at all possible.
Real estate investment company names demystified
Got big plans for your real estate investment group? What you name it matters. The right name can inspire trust in potential investors while a weak one might cause them to pass on by. Use these best practices to make sure you land on a strong name that will stand your business in good stead for years to come.
Read our post on how to start a real estate investment company for details on choosing a business structure, funding and more.
Also published on Medium.