The first documented usage of the term “Master Bedroom” was in a 1926 Sears, Roebuck and Co catalog. Since the publication of this catalog, the word “Master” has been commonly used to describe the largest bedroom and bathroom in a home.
Over the years, concerns about the use of the term “Master” have been raised due to its sexist and racist undertones. But it wasn’t until recently that we began to see broad shifts and organizations stepping up to change the vocabulary. After some of its members expressed concerns over the term, The Houston Association of Realtors was the first industry group to stop using “master bedroom”. On June 15th, 2021, Houston’s multiple listing service started using the word “primary” to describe the largest bedroom and bathroom in a listing.
The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) followed suit in July when the organization decided to replace “master” with “primary” in its Data Dictionary. The RESO Data Dictionary is the real estate industry's universal language for data – used by MLS’ and other organizations as the standard for real estate terms.
In the RESO announcement, they stated, “While use of this terminology by real estate professionals has been reviewed and cleared of discriminatory violations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, consumer and professional concerns have remained, prompting some marketplaces to use alternatives.”
The real estate industry isn’t the only place we are seeing changes. Other industries are doing away with the term "master" as well. In the tech world, we’ve seen GitHub, the world's biggest site for software developers, drop the coding term "master” in favor of “main” in their system. In academia, the process of removing the word master started years ago. In 2016, Harvard changed the term "house masters," to "faculty deans" after students protested.
So what does this mean for the building industry? We are seeing our industry shift the language we are using on our floor plans and in new home marketing to describe the largest bedroom and bathroom in the home as “Primary”. Changing this language is not the solution against sexual or racial discrimination, but it is an important step toward change.
To make this transition as easy as possible for our clients, BDX is offering a special rate of just $15 to update your digital floor plans to reflect the word “Primary” instead of “Master”. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to get started.
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