By David Fleming

How many transactions did the average Toronto Realtor do in 2017?

Search Google all you want – I assure you that you will never find the answer to that question.

So many people ask me questions on this subject all the time.  And even agents themselves want to know!



I don’t know what conclusions you can draw from the data, but I do know that the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) doesn’t make this available.

So I will. What the hell…

I’m scratching my head, trying to think of how the public might react to this data, both optimistically and pessimistically. The average person might want to know, “How many licensed Realtors complete zero transactions per year?”  It’s a great question.  Would TREB provide an answer, if asked?  What is the upside?  What is the downside?  How can you create an argument either way?

If 10 per cent of Realtors perform zero transactions, is that better than if it were five per cent or worse?  What kind of argument are we making? So I’m going to provide you with all the data today and answers to just about all the questions you can ask.

First, the disclaimers:

  1. This data is not coming from TREB.  It’s coming from a third-party company that tracks the data.
  2. The third-party only tracks agents who have performed a transaction (sales, not leases) in the past 12 months. It does not include commercial, farm or exclusive sales.
  3. There were 50,010 Realtors licensed through TREB at the end of December 2017.
  4. This data is for the entirety of 2017.
  5. These statistics are not 100 per cent accurate. I have looked at transactions they have listed for me personally, and I find it to be 100 per cent accurate. But this data has to be taken with a rounding error.

Sound good?

There are so many questions to ask here, I’m like a kid at Christmas; I almost don’t know where to begin.

So we know that there are 50,000 licensed Realtors at TREB. I guess the first question that I would want to know is, “How many licensed agents performed zero transactions in 2017?”

Call me a sadist, but I just really want to know.

Any guesses, folks? Any ideas on the number, or percentages? Wanna throw out a number before you scroll down?

Here, I’ll help you avoid the temptation to move along without guessing.  Just try – out of 50,000, how many did zero transactions in 2017?

How about 17,313 agents?  Out of 50,000.

Does that sound high or low?

That’s 34.6 per cent of all Realtors licensed through TREB, who did zero transactions in 2017.

If I were on the outside looking in, I’d think that number is high.

That’s almost a third!  And while we know that not everybody who has a real estate licence is active, surely you’d assume that your friend Wally, who is a full-time bartender but has his real estate licence just in case any of you want to buy a condo, represents a lot lower percentage of the gang!

Okay, so how many agents did one transaction in 2017?

8,344.

Which means that 51.3 per cent of licensed Realtors did one or fewer transactions in 2017.

Is that shocking, or what?

HALF of all the licensed agents in TREB are doing one or fewer transactions.  It just boggles the mind.

Now I could go on to two, then three, then four, and so on, but I think you get the idea at the lower end.

How about the idea of, say, “enough money to make a living?”

I suppose we need to define “a living,” but since we know the $15/hour minimum wage will bring the minimum salary up to $30,000 per year ($15 x 40 hours, x 50 weeks, or more if you’re paid for vacation), then clearly we can’t look at $30,000, or anything close to it.

I’m looking for at least a “decent” living.

Let’s look at the number of licensed Realtors that perform four or more transactions per year.  Why four?  Well, I have a theory that four transactions is the magic number to make “a decent living” in real estate.

So first, let me test that theory.

I want to know the “dollar volume of sales” for your average agent doing four transactions in 2017.

What does that mean?  If you did sales of $1,100,000, $425,000, $725,000 and $1,981,000, your dollar volume of sales would be $4,231,000.

There were 2,738 agents who did four sales in 2017, so I’ve taken a random sample of 500 of those agents, looking for the average dollar volume of sales.

From my random sample, the average is $2,985,716.

Let’s assume a 2.5 per cent commission on these sales.

That would mean the average agent who does four transactions per year is making a gross commission of $74,642.90.

That’s not chump change, am I right?  It’s far more than the average Torontonian makes in a year.

But consider that this is the gross commission, and the agent still needs to split with their brokerage. Brokerage splits vary across the city and across different business models.

When I started with Bosley Real Estate in 2004, I was on a 60/40 commission split, which very few, if any (including Bosley) brokerages still have today.

On the other hand, there are many “virtual brokerages” that offer a 100/0 split, with a per-transaction fee, desk fee and/or other fees.

So, while most agents at full-service brokerages, who gross $74,642.90 per year, would find themselves on a 70/30 split, let’s factor in the virtual models, and call this an 80/20 split.

With that average agent paying a 20-per-cent split to their brokerage, the $74,642.90 ends up putting $59,714.32 into their pocket.

Still a fantastic living, right?

But there are fees!  Lots of fees!  TREB, CREA, the Real Estate Council of Ontario and so forth.  Call it perhaps $4,000.

Now the agent is down to $55,714.32, but still a great living.

What about all the courses?  There are several courses you need to take to get licensed, then some more “articling” courses in the two years after you obtain your licence, then these cash-grab courses they call “continuing education.”  While most of the money is paid up front, I’d say if you average out the first five years, you’re $1,500 per year.

Now we’re down to $54,214.32

What about expenses?

Maybe these agents doing four transactions per year aren’t buying billboards, but they sure are spending!

You pay for everything in real estate, no matter the brokerage.  At $1.50 per feature sheet, that adds up over the course of a year.

Even agents doing four transactions per year have to be spending at least $10,000 per year.  Many agents spend that per week, but let’s be conservative here.

So now the $74,642.90 is down to $44,214.32.

And I’m going ignore things like car leases and insurance, because while those are legitimate write-offs in the business, if this person wasn’t in real estate, they’d probably still have a car and car insurance.  Same goes for a host of other items that I could claim to bring that $44K number lower, but for now, let’s say we’re done.

So $44,000.

That’s a lot more than a LOT of people make!

But it doesn’t make you rich and it’s nowhere close to the $77,642.90 gross amount that agents doing four transactions per year say they do.

So now the big reveal: how many agents are doing MORE than four transactions per year?

It’s 24.8 per cent. One in four agents licensed by the Toronto Real Estate Board is netting more than $44,000 per year.

Or if you’re an aspiring Realtor, you can say, “I have a one-in-four chance of making more than $44,000 per year; do I like those odds?”

I had a lot of fun with these numbers, folks.

How many agents do you think do 10 or more transactions in a year? Ten per cent.

So perhaps now it’s time for me to provide the bigger reveal, and show you the breakdown:

I showed this to a few folks at my office and two of them said, “You’re looking at greater than or equal to” five or more transactions.  I was told I should look at less than, since it might be more interesting to those who choose to see the cup half empty.

And you know?  I thought this was a neat way of looking at things too. So here’s the data in a different light:

“Less than one” is a nice way of saying, “Zero.”

For those curious about the numbers closer to the top, I can’t reveal names.

But if you want to know which “agent” did the most deals apparently, one guy did 603 sales. Really. But at the same time, not really.

A lot of agents have a “team” working for them, and even though a team-member completes a transaction, the sale is still reported under that one agent’s name.

It is physically impossible for one agent to complete 100 deals or more without any help.  So, the 603 deals at the top is silly.

Next five down the list?

  • 435
  • 292
  • 235
  • 213
  • 211

Again, those are teams masquerading as agents.

Thirty-nine agents are credited with having completed 100+ transactions.  The reason I didn’t have a line for “100+” on my chart above is because, as I mentioned, these numbers aren’t truly indicative of how many deals these agents are doing.  But nevertheless, that’s impressive!

So just as we read Choose Your Own Adventure books as kids, you can feel free to draw your own conclusions on the data above.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Great article! I am always interested in the stats and we seem to get far too few when it comes to this. In Calgary I would say it is similar.

  2. I enjoyed reading your article, David. It was well presented and obviously well researched. I realize that conclusions can be skewed due to inaccuracies and incompleteness of statistics. However, they certainly can indicate general trends.

    Having been in the business for almost 44 years, involved in sales, management, ownership, recruiting, training and mentoring, your conclusions do not surprise me. As a matter of fact, they support my beliefs. From research I undertook during my career. I was able to learn that 4 out of 5 agents once failed within their first 5 years. And it seems those stats have not changed very much.

    Your conclusions beg the question about how well consumers are being served. If half of the TREB membership are creating one of zero transactions, how much experience are they achieving? In my book, experience is by far the best teacher.

    Thanks for the update.

  3. Good day David.. did you happen to see my earlier comment. Are you able to shed any light on this: “It would be interesting to know how many of the agents that performed 0 transactions in the year actually listed under a primary agent.. Therefore are the stats correct when we states that 50% of agents approximately sold 1 or fewer homes.. It would be nice to know what percentage of agents actually work under a primary agent..”

  4. And some within this industry wonder why we have such a horrible reputation as salesmen.

    The general public rarely seems to double-check calculations or look for at least a second source to a claim. Sadly, that holds true in here as well with registrants.

    Just as this author, I’m all for exposing the ugly truths within any industry, including ORE which is also my industry. And just as I’m doing below, I certainly have no issue calling out any type of nonsense that serves to blemish the industry regardless of whether it’s an outside or inside source. But I am opposed to exposing them with misinformation, whether intended or not. to do otherwise is to allow the untruths cast by this author which attacks the entire industry, to go unchallenged.

    He states: “I had a lot of fun with these numbers, folks.”

    Considering how math challenged they are, I had a lot of fun with them too, and direct my questions to the author for his clarifications.

    Your advertisement is scattered with a few pertinent disclaimers:”It does not include commercial, farm or exclusive sales” , “A lot of agents have a “team” working for them, and even though a team-member completes a transaction, the sale is still reported under that one agent’s name.”

    **Why did you neglect to mention those who: concentrate on the leasing side, practice in rural areas, are non-selling broker/owners/administration/support staff, cater to builders, self-dealers only, retired, the close to 8,000 new registrants? That last number alone is significant in that 8,000 new registrants emerging at various times during the year can hardly be expected to put out significant numbers.

    **Even though you admit your stats are not 100% accurate, why did you chose to align all residential sales on the MLS as the total output of all of TREB’s members and malign every single TREB member who fits within these disclaimers?

    **As a transaction that is shown with 2 team members, is miscounted since it cannot be fractioned off nor counted more than once. Where has this been considered in your breakdown?

    It’s important to note I said TREB’s members which is not representative of all of the other board members who belong to TREB simply to cross-advertise some of their listings.

    **Accordingly, where in your chart has it accounted for those Realtors who mostly do business on their boards but are incidental listers on TREB and where have you made adjustments for the co-op brokerage stated as “non-TREB member”?

    Fully ignoring your own disclaimers your chart is aimed at the full 50,010 complement. Yet, every person registered to trade in real estate should be adept at math and is required to be judicious and meticulous considering that mathematics is one of the premier knowledge requirements of a Realtor.

    By your own admission that the 50,000 includes exclusions, your first claim that 34.6% (“almost” a third?) of those only did one transaction is patently false. As is the second, third, fourth and every single one of the next 15 and the next 15 while your first chart is frankly, a hot mess.

    **Firstly, if 138 salesperson is .03% of the force then you represent the total force as 46,000, the 238/.5% as 47,600, the 734/1.5% as 48,933 and so forth. This is sloppy! Did you not double check your Excel formula or are do you not know the formula?

    **Had you opted for any semblance of a fair and reasoned representation of sales allocations, you would have used the 32,697 as the base in an effort to align with your disclaimers. Was your purpose to skew the results in favour of your argument or do you not fully understand how to properly parse and apply the data?

    Since it is obvious that the second chart was derived from the first, it would be as inaccurate.

    You are successful, very successful, having for the most part built your success on the backs of blogs that are as factually incorrect as this while claiming to be the most brutally honest Realtor. I understand, the public understands that taking aim at your competition is valid when fact based and that the more information there is out there the public can make a better informed decision.

    Even puffery is allowed. But what should not be allowed is for someone to claim such someone who has advised their readers that: if a buyer doesn’t put up the deposit the deal is cancelled or that it is false advertising to relist at an asking price higher than was received in an offer and then these fact and math challenged advertorial because the reader is likely to take it for granted that it is true, to wit some of the commentary.

    A particularly well known Realtor who by your statistics would rank in the top 5 of the 138, regularly claims to sell over 500 properties per year. His current team consists of more than 45 registrants not including those who left during the course of year. if we assume then that 50 people equally brought in the 500 transactions, including this team leader, he and another 49 would rank in the <10 percentile. Such teams are essentially mini brokerages within a brokerage where, as a brokerage, they have been discounted in your calculations. But because no such statistic is available except at the brokerage level, the entire 49 others are being maligned by your chart.

    Were you ever a rookie David, with zero sales under your belt? How do you suppose this type of information reflects on those rookies who already have an uphill battle to fight to land a client when they're met with a the potential client who, because they have your erroneous chart, thinks they're armed to the teeth with unassailable facts because someone of your stature published it?

    Essentially, then, your charts by not properly representing the facts and providing a balanced report do the entire TREB membership and TREB itself, an injustice.

    Not being able to represent any of the individuals not credited because their team owner gets the billing is akin to the broker owners of Bosley being personally credited for every one of yours and your team's sales and not you personally, as can all broker/owners.

    When these types of advertisements take such liberties, are laced with errors and filled with disclaimers, they are intended to promote the authors by discrediting their peers. This advertorial is an egregious display of misinformation and ought to have been vetted by your brokerage because, given the internet these erroneous stats are bound to be circulated unvetted and unchallenged.

    I'm certain that upon reading my response the author and any who opt to believe the report will ironically not appreciate my criticism.

    But there's a difference, mine however is not error riddled and is blatantly honest!

    • With all due respect PED. Although accurate numbers would be further enlightening, I would not be surprised these numbers are not far off from reality. Also have to ask why CRE ORE TREB do not publish accurate numbers? After all, they have the ability/resources to do so in a responsible and accurate manner. Would it not serve new agents and agents coming into the business well to have an accurate picture before embarking on this new career?

      I agree with you in that as a member of both TREB and OMDREB (ORTIS) some of my deals would not show up, so I personally statistically skew the chart.

      You are correct, if possible team members stats should be broken down and would have to be included. I know it would not be an equal division amongst members. How to obtain this masked information would be a challenge.

      Overall however the sheer numbers are not what should interest us as much as raising the bar overall.

      The writing is on the wall, public eyes are upon us. As we have seen with other industries we are one invention from relevancy eroding. Yet resistance to growth remains.

      I hate to use Uber as an example, however the Taxi industry’s unwillingness to change ,ushered in rapid change. (refusal to heed warnings that the service was too expensive for what was being received; their token gestures, unclean old vehicles, unfriendly, having personal phone conversations while driving, etc., etc.).

      The Taxi industry tried to sway the public by telling us their drivers are trained professionals and therefore safer, properly insured, and operated under the laws. (sound familiar).

      i know few agents who have been successful in this business who would not agree that there are too many agents being ushered in. It is the elephant in the room. I do not believe in putting up barriers, although a moratorium would do us good. I think raising the level of education at the onset would make a better solution overall.

      … but i digress

      Overall I woud rather have slightly skewed numbers with disclaimers than nothing at all. Which is what we are getting from those who actually have the info! From these stats someone could dig further, and draw their own conclusions.

      Thank you for your alternative view, I myself was thinking the same.

      • I agree David Smeriglio. The issue that stands out to me whenever I see others within the industry slamming the industry for the number of registrants is that their primary interest is to reduce competition and to promote themself to the detriment of the entire industry likely without even realizing that their representation of their statistics is factually incorrect.

        For years I’ve been an internal critic within ORE for making the course entry requirements harder and continuing education as well, so that we can raise the bar in this industry to at least an acceptable level in the eyes of consumers. Knowledge is what it takes to raise the bar, not fewer registrants, for the bar sure as heck won’t be raised if there were only half the registrants yet only 10% of those were proficient in simple mathematics.

        There’s no good reason that any within the industry have to want to limit the number of registrants except to reduce competition especially since the busier one is the more assistance they will need. Anyone comfortable in their ability and sales skill shouldn’t need to worry about losing a prospect to someone they look upon as unworthy. Consumers have spoken, they want different options so some registrants need to get over the fact that if a customer doesn’t want their business model, they’re not a serious contender for the job.

        When all is said and done a new registrant or low producer competing against this author for a client can actually haul out incorrect calculations and use them against him more effectively than his claim against them.

        What we need is to engage the consumer with cogent articles about raising the bar through education, and less of this type of deflection for personal gain.

        • Although I take PED’s position of quality over quantity in respect of registration priority, it’s fair to postulate the following :

          the greater the number of agents, the greater the occurence of industry bashing from within.

          Mr Flemming’s personal weblog demonstrates.
          Industry bashing seems to be a common thread within many of his posts. It’s as though most articles lead up to an inevitable wait-for-it moment in which he takes a dig at one of upcoming agents, part time agents, franchise agents, 905 agents or just about anyone outside the frame of his mirror. Often, it’s delivered in a wanbabee witty Seinfeldesque type of muse and self absorption, sans royalties.

          It’s unbecoming of “professionals” to blatantly bring disrepute towards their own. Other professions are strict in their codes of conducts on this matter. Real Estate, not so much.

  5. Very enlightening to see this. Thanks for sharing. I do wonder how many sales TREB agents do outside of their board. I know personally that last year, many of my listing in KWAR (Kitchener-Waterloo) were sold by a TREB agent. Would they have been reported to TREB as well? – I don’t believe so. Is the same true for the neighbouring boards? Of course, even if these sales are not reported, it won’t move the dial a whole lot but it would have an impact on the actual numbers.

  6. I have done similar studies of my board numbers and these percentiles appear to be inline with what I have found in prior years.. You bring up a great point: that the agents at the top are actually several agents masquerading as one agent because they are a team. It would be interesting to know how many of the agents that performed 0 transactions in the year actually listed under a primary agent.. Therefore are the stats correct when we states that 50% of agents approximately sold 1 or fewer homes.. It would be nice to know what percentage of agents actually work under a primary agent.. we could then adjust our numbers accordingly so that we can come up with a more accurate idea as to how many real estate agents do in general. Generally speaking though we mess up our own industry by acting like we are loaded with our flashy cars, watches, etc… Just like actors and actresses people like to pretend to be something they are not and then everyone else wants to join the game, further complicating things as there is only so much work and money that can go around.

  7. Agreed about the verbiage – an expanded Excel Spreadsheet says it all in fewer words (but more columns). Nice dig about 10% not doing the research! Haha.

  8. A lot of people think that real estate is easy, however being above average still leaves you broke in our industry. You have to consider yourself part of the 5% that is going to do the 95%, otherwise you will be part of the 95% that is fighting over the 5% that is left. As for consumers, regardless of the fees, how can you put your biggest financial investment in the hands of a person who only does a few transactions a year or is doing it part-time just to subsidize their real job.

  9. Why? I have all the business sense and experience and don’t have that 2 yr course. I was 3/4 way to a degree and quit. I have been a controller for a real estate investment company. Why do you feel it’s your right to dictate to others?
    And I’ve been doing this going on 20 yrs. If I decide to scale back to 2 transactions a year and keep my license, that’s my business, not yours.
    Or maybe those part time people are on a family leave, or do building contracting on the side.
    Expenses and stresses in this job warrant a better income, as do the hours and being on call. No job pays more than someone is worth. If it was easy, everyone would do it. There’s a high drop out rate, and many don’t cut it in getting their license to begin with.

    • I disagree Jenny.

      What is wrong with leveling the playing field overall? Each of us has a story and life, and acumen which we can use to say why we ‘shouldn’t.’

      What that overlooks is the industry as a whole. Advocating for higher standards is legitimate. If you have the business sense and acumen then it should be a no brainer to carry that forward and bring the whole industry up with you.

      I have scaled back at times. I still advocate for higher standards. I would do so to push this ‘profession’ that have loved being in for 20 years to higher place for my next 20 years.

      I would take on the burden so that the legitimacy of who and what we are is raised across the board.

      Not advocating for higher standards en mass because it imposes on individual me is ludicrous. There is a lot of room for growth.

      Once the bar is raised then it is up to the individual as to how much volume they want to put out. However at least the bar is raised to begin with. There is a big difference in floating through the basic ed exams we have now then not applying it, versus taking a 2 year course with many levels of expertise and then not applying it. It would make people think twice would it not?

      Would the public/ the consumer not value us more? I certainly would if the shoe was on the other side.

      Times are changing. Resting on our laurels because of inconvenience is surely not the answer.

    • Jenny: You are likely one of the very few who had what it takes right from the get-go. You are speaking for yourself only. Don’t take what is being suggested herein personally. Look at it all from the perspective of the consumer population that does not fully realize the enormity of the numbers of amateurs flailing about on a daily basis from which they have to pick their representatives. It’s a crap shoot, and crap shoots belong in the gambling business. Getting one’s license is no proof of anything other than the student can memorize enough stuff on a short-term basis to answer some questions correctly. What is missing most of the time is their ability to apply said stuff to reality in pressure-cooker situations in a positive manner—-for their clients’ benefits. Their focus is usually on their potential commissions, I would submit, largely because most cannot afford to stay in the game for long without said commissions being regularly generated. So they fold their hands in record numbers as stats reveal. This is the true nature of real estate sales in Canada.
      You have simply bucked the trend because you are one of the very few who was equipped to deal with the vagaries of the business; you had self-confidence. Somebody has to dictate to others, ‘else the carnage goes on, and the public continues to be poorly served by a pseudo-profession that employs relatively few professional here-and-there simply because they (the professionals) are/were products of a professional nature from the get-go usually in possession of some sort of background experience/educational discipline that served them well in this business. 3/4 of the way to a degree is not chopped liver. It is much more than most wannabes ever achieve. Being a controller for a real estate investment company is another bonus that most do not possess. You obviously had a feel for this business when you started. Maybe that is why you are a success.

      • Advocating for higher standards is good. What I am against is too much regulation by people who have already made it and forget what it’s like for those starting out. Maybe there’s a different way instead of a two year course. If I’d had to do a two year course, I wouldn’t have gotten my license. I’ve gone to school at night a good portion of my life. It’s tough when trying to maintain a job and a life. And not everyone has the luxury of doing it at 18 or 20.
        I just prefer people be given a chance to improve their situation in life and not be trapped poor, without necessarily making it too difficult that they can’t try. I can’t even imagine doing it if I’d had kids on top of it all.
        I’m pro choice in life, and don’t want to be told what to do, nor have others dictate what I do.
        Find a different way to insure quality of performance, but don’t take away someone’s chance to succeed or even to try. I guess I read the article differently than you did. Just because an agent is doing few transactions doesn’t mean they’re failing. It could be by choice. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, nor are they always reported accurately, and often are reported in a way to prove the writers opinion and intent, which is self serving.

        • Hi Jenny:
          We both agree that advocating for higher standards is a good thing. By “higher standards” I mean entry standards. I am assuming that you mean the same thing. Therefore, possessing something more than a high school diploma would be optimal, in my opinion. If doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects, auto mechanics, licensed tradesmen (like myself)/tradeswomen etc. did not aspire to possess additional educational achievements, they too would not sign up for their chosen vocations. Thus, some sort of additional industry-specific educational requirement—that stretches at minimum at least two years (full time) beyond a high school diploma—is demanded before these aforementioned pre-professionals can proceed with their career plans.
          Becoming a professional Realtor ought to be a profession that high school graduates deem worthy of pursuing. Sadly, that is definitely not the case at present, nor has it ever been the case. Therein lies the problem. Anything gained easily has no intrinsic value in the eyes/minds of the public, and gaining a real estate sales licenses is absolutely gained very easily and quickly—only post grade twelve—by too many on an ongoing basis. Easy access to easy money is at the heart of this system, not for the wannabes, but for the bureaucrats at the top of the money pyramid. The bureaucrats do not want there to be much tougher admittance requirements, at least not tough enough to discourage the vast majority of wannabes from giving it a try. If they did so, and acted upon those thoughts, as the result their money tree would die of starvation, and ‘they’ would be out of a job. Perhaps then some of ‘them’ would have to give real estate (in the real world) a try, and likely most of ‘them’ would fail.
          For the record, I have been able to acquire much in the way of additional varied education/work experience over my working years since I dropped out of high school one third of the way through grade eleven in pursuit of becoming a licensed tradesman (steamfitter). (Grade ten was all that was required to enter an apprenticeship back then. Now grade twelve is rightfully required) This includes: mutual funds license; life insurance license, steamfitter license; real estate appraisal AIC courses (I quit the business three months shy of attaining my CRA—too much corruption within that bunch for me); university degree: major politics, minor psychology; and of course, the almighty real estate salesperson license. My point is this: If someone really wants to attain something that is viewed as valuable, then that someone will do what it takes to achieve that goal, come hell of high water. Too many who acquire the possession of a real estate salesperson license would not, as you have stated, garner same if it was significantly more difficult to achieve than at present. Yes, some—a very few in my opinion—for whom the vocation might have been their calling (whatever that means) might indeed be weeded out prematurely. But more important, far more for whom the vocation is ‘not’ their calling would also be weeded out, in the public interest, not to mention their own pre-failure interest. The interest of the many outweighs the interest of the very few. That is the concept of observable pragmatism at work.
          You are right when you say that “Just because an agent is doing few transactions doesn’t mean they’re failing.”. However, if an agent/registrant is doing few, if any, transactions on a yearly basis, it ‘does’ mean that he/she is not gaining much, if anything, in the way of hands-on experience—and—to boot—whatever educational specs. still remain within the grey matter is quickly dying off. “Use it, or lose it” and “The more you do it, the better you get”, rings true, wouldn’t you agree?
          You say that you “…don’t want to be told what to do, nor have others dictate what I do.” You do not sound like a flaming anarchist to me. Therefore, methinks that you simply are rebelling against an extra burden of significance being placed upon being allowed to pursue what should be the highly regarded professional designation of Canadian Professional Realtor.

  10. Ottawa allows us to access the data, this is great for agents to get this information without going through the major hassels David had to go through. Agent performance should public, agents need to know who the real top performers are and should be able to look it up. They can shadow and ask them questions, it will benefit the whole market as a whole to have better transparency among realtors.

  11. Thanks David – fascinating numbers. I feel that if you only do a few transactions a year you are likely not very good at representing a client in a complicated real estate transaction. What do you feel the impact of 75% of licensed REALTORS® representing clients poorly has on our industry?

    I’ve always felt that agents who do a medium to high volume of real estate transactions consistently have the expertise, commitment, experience and ethics to be the go to agents if you want to have a great experience and a great result. Keep up the awesome work.

    • While his writing style is catchy, his stats are stupid. And the disclaimers come too late. Really misinformation masquerading as fact. A vanity piece. Should never have been republished. -that is my BC opinion. We have lots of teams, and I participated in 2 exclusive sales in 2017.

      • How can statistics be stupid? People can be stupid, but the TREB statistics are simply factual numbers. Numbers are neither smart nor stupid. You may quibble with David’s interpretation of the statistics, but you cannot deny the veracity of the actual statistics—unless the statistics are incorrect. How incorrect do you think the statistics are…10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100% incorrect? Let’s assume that the statistics are off by 50%. In which direction do you think that they would be off? Do you think that they would be off by plus 50% or by minus 50%? Not likely either way. Do you think that they might be off by 10% one way or the other? If so, what do you think that would suggest?
        Why do you think that Jim the Editor guy should not have published David’s article? Who is “We”? To what degree did you participate in two exclusive sales in 2017? What does that have to do with anything?

        David took the time to research something of value, organize it and offer it up herein for consideration— under his own name—whilst you took about one minute to take pot-shots from the safety of anonymity. The handle “agentblair” does not evoke images of an FBI investigative professional, just in case that was what you wanted to have us think, unless it stands for Fan Belt Installer, in which case that would be more plausible.
        BTW, how many teams are “lots” of teams? How many members are on those teams? How many fingers do you have? Don’t you have statistics for that kind of stuff out there?
        I would not opine for B.C. folks if I were you; just speak for yourself. Do you really think that all of the B.C. folks will know who you are by your image? Take a deep breath, rev ‘er up, and try again to make your point…which is…????

  12. Wow, great information. To make matters worse, with commission cutting, very few agents are getting 2.5% commission these days. Making a living in real estate can be a tough go. The 99% is in full swing here, but I know a lot of the teams doing 50+ transactions have huge expenses that go along with it too. Parking your license, doing referrals and saving the fees has never looked better.

  13. I did the stats a little different again, back in 2016 I took all of the sales and divided by the population. it came out to less than 2% of the people are moving at any one time through the year. So 50,000 agents are playing in a tiny sandbox. I wonder what that stat would look like in 2017.

  14. And what they don’t tell prospective students is that only 10% of all newly licensed Realtors will succeed in this business. When I look at the stats in the Burlington/Hamilton area our numbers mirror the same as TREB in the 1 or less deals per year. However, the “average” # of transactions is slightly higher in RAHB ~ possibly due to the lower average price?!?

  15. Great article David.
    You have exposed what CREA et all do not want exposed; why most newbies—and not-so-new Realtors—fail, when CREA et al suck them in by the truckload (to keep their coffers full) with visions of sugar plums in their star-struck eyes. Most amateur Realtors simply cannot survive for long due to the high numbers of other amateurs skimming off a deal or two here-and- there with just enough lack-of-suction to keep the commission pond slightly wet, all the while hoping against all odds for a freak-of-nature downpour (easy business/big commissions). Like seagulls fighting over leftovers at the dump, they (the flock of hungry Realtors) screech and squawk and try to scrounge something of value to tide them over until the next garbage truck arrives. It is truly a wonder that anyone ever becomes a true professional under these circumstances. Apparently—and obviously—only a very few have what it takes from the get-go to become real pros, and ORE knows this. But what the hell, the OREcrats don’t care; the dues money-ball just keeps on getting bigger and bigger, and the associations feeding off of the here-today-gone-tomorrow tax-payers continue to reap the rewards of their peons’ failures; the peons never last long enough to get sick of paying their dues.
    There is a never-ending stream of sheep at the Realtor-game gates, money at the ready, eager (or desperate) to get in on the game, gambling that they won’t be the ones to get fleeced. What a strange system of professional-development strategies we have ongoing here. It’s like a perpetual motion failure-to-launch machine with money to burn. I can think of no other profession that develops professional talent like the real estate sales industry. It’s like throwing a willing bull-fighter newbie into the ring (with naught but a promise of a big pay day—if he survives—and an already-blood-spattered red handkerchief) without ever having seen an angry ungelded bull in his life. If he survives he gets to fight another bull, and another, and another—until he gets gored. Meanwhile, the promoters collect the performers’ and crowds’ admission fees over and over whilst the failures-in-waiting go down on a predictable basis. The only difference between my analogy and the Roman lions-Christians-slaves games is the willingness-factor of the throw-away participants.

    • I agree Brian. Not sure what it is going to take for us to collective stand up against an obvious pyramid scheme.

      Today is the last day to pay Orea/Crea dues here in Ontario. $474 total. Does not seem like a lot on the surface, but multiply that by 60,000 + agents and – yowsers!

      Those at the very top are too busy thriving within this flawed system to use their stature to evoke a shift, and those at the bottom either do not care, or are too busy scraping out a living to care.

      What utter nonsense to hear ‘top producers’, coaches, gurus, say things like “quit complaining and become that top 1%”. What reckless drivel with zero concern for the our industry or the public we serve.

      I am quite happy with my top 4-5%, (*according to this article ). My goal is not market domination. My goal, my want, to is to be part of a, legitimate, knowledgeable, accountable, and respected organization, which balances consumer protection with the drive for profits.

      How will we truly be a legitimate ‘profession’ when thousands of new agents pour into the industry yearly, and only 30% of our agents participate in more than 4 transaction yearly?

      I have a genuine concern for my Industry and those colleagues who truly are the cream of the crop, the highly knowledgeable engaged full time salespeople, as we have to watch our leadership (CREA) heed no concern for quality over quantity.

      I have a concern when the policing of how we identify ourselves is of greater concern over literally thousands of us running around participating in major transactions, purporting to have boundless knowledge and wisdom, whilst truly having little or no experience at all!

      As you intimate Brian, why should our leadership care when the new agent dues keep rolling in? Why should they care when increasing the bar to becoming a realtor also amounts to increasing barriers, and thus threatens their profits?

      Why should the brokerages – the next line of defense care, when the model is equipped for them to also increase profits regardless of how active/knowledgeable their agents are? Again numbers/ quality over quality dictates.

      With more and more pressure from our public to justify our commissions, I hope we can start to have the discussion of what better serves the public. How we can truly move towards legitimizing the term ‘professional’ as it pertains to Realtors.

      Thousands of new agents pouring in yearly under the current system/model is the slow road to decay for Realtors. A new model with an emphasis on knowledge and quality seems logical, albeit idealistic.

      I do not have answers to how we spark a shift. I think discussion is key. I think articles like this are amazing and I cannot wait to share this with my clients. We all should share this!

      At the very least I for one can start this discussion in my own circles and stand up for myself while having to work within this archaic model, which by its very nature, puts profits first the public second.

      The organization(s)with the infrastructure – CREA/OREA are who need to take the bull horns. Sadly they are also the profiteers of the current system and I suspect laugh off notions pushing for change.

      • To blame CREA for all the newbies getting “sucked-in” only to fail in this business is a stretch. I completed a 3 week course back in 1987 to get my RE licence. While the system is still not perfect, it’s my opinion that the education requirements (initially and ongoing) are in place to hold Realtors to a higher standard. I also believe there IS a concentrated effort to evolve and improve as an industry. I happen to work with top producers and, frankly, we ARE “part of a, legitimate, knowledgeable, accountable, and respected organization, which balances consumer protection with the drive for profits.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best at what you do. If you ask yourself honestly why you got into this business, and everyone has their own reasons, the prospect of making a good living, which happens in direct relation to the effort you put in, would be a popular one. Of course we, as agents, know that it is not the easiest career to be in. And come Feb 1st, I know that the number of registered Realtors will fall off for that very reason. Better to have tried and failed than not tried at all. Let’s pull up our big boy pants and stop blaming Crea or Orea or whoever for the current state of the real estate industry. They are doing the best that they can and are committed to making our industry and how “to best serve the public”. Over time, with experience, knowledge and integrity, your clients know that you care about what is in their best interest. And my clients know that my profession is an honourable ne and that it is how I take care of my family.

        • Keep the “…better to have tried and failed…” thought in mind when you go to your doctor, surgeon, dentist, lawyer, architect, auto mechanic etc. and hope that they are not on the ‘tryout phase’ after having completed three weeks of training (what training?)/schooling when you show up…which of course would never be the case. Only in real estate sales can wet-behind-the-ears tryout artists compete equally (by spending hoards of advertising dollars claiming—fraudulently in most cases—self-serving pro status, aka “marketing”) with actual seasoned pros for consumers’ business. You, like others herein, are speaking strictly for yourself when you highlight ‘your’ performances. I, and others herein, are not talking about your good performances; we are talking about the masses of amateurs who infect the system and come and go like bad colds on a regular basis.

        • When you talk about education and training, may be 20 years ago it was even less than it’s now. I just did my RECO “re-certification” on line. What a joke. $ 44.00 and skimming through some website and bingo, a couple of hours and few hundred dollars later, you are good for another 2 years. I think the general public would shudder if they knew how little it takes. Especially with realtors always touting about all the additional training, courses and continuous education.

      • Hi David:
        I think I have the answer to “thousands of new agents pouring into the industry yearly”. We need a big, beautiful wall. That’s right, we need a border wall against ill-prepared and ill-suited immigrants from other vocations—or lack of same—in order to better protect consumer citizens from these pretenders to the profession who slip past the “gatekeepers”, I mean, “ticket-taking money-grabbers” (OREcrats) who need the grease, I mean, fuel, to keep their pyramid scheme going. The wall would be in the form of restrictive barriers called “prerequisites” for admission to real estate university. If 80% of all wannabes were to be weeded out prior to spending their money thus, then maybe a professional cadre of Realtors ‘would’ be created across the board. But then, dues would have to be greatly increased to sustain the OREcrat pyramid. But then again, maybe the pyramid would be turned on its head because there would not be nearly the current need for them to endlessly proclaim to the public how professional their peons are in the face of reality that speaks to the contrary. Put simply, the pyramid-keepers would not be needed so much. The truth would be out there. Where are Muller and Scully when we need them?
        All kidding aside, the fault lies with CREA on down for the ongoing gambling-casino mentality that pervades the real estate sales industry. The majority of Realtors already know this as was witnessed by a poll I conducted herein a few years ago whereby 63% of Realtor respondents voted to get rid of CREA. The only way to bring them to their knees is to do to them what they allow their peons to experience before they go out the door…dry up their fuel. Keep your dues in your pockets in organized huge numbers. CREA will not choose to throw everybody out; they will leave that to the market to do, as they always have done…after they have taken their victims’ dollars. So the relief is simple; take ‘their’ money instead of letting them take ‘yours’. Kick them to the curb and start over. Realtors will survive without them, but ‘they’ will not survive without Realtors. Who are more important, a few bureaucrats who do nothing for the public but spin, spit out statistics and suck in more and more incompetents, or in-the-field professional Realtors who actually do something of value for their clients on a one-to-one personal basis? To quote a famous TV advertisement line: “What’s in your wallet?” Answer: Your money, not CREA’s.
        Get rid of the dictators. Dry up their funds.

Leave a Reply