By Brian Martindale

Why can’t most sales reps be trusted to conduct double-enders equitably or ethically?

Here is the short answer:

It simply is not in their collective nature to do so.

Here is the long answer:

During the early 1960s, psychological studies were conducted by Stanford University psychology professor Walter Mischel regarding the self-control instincts – or lack thereof – of humans. Mischel was interested in the phenomenon of short-term gratification behaviour. But there was a twist; the experiments were conducted on preschoolers. Some of you might remember the children and the marshmallow experiments.



The children – mostly one at a time, but sometimes two at a time – were seated at a small table in a sterile room with a one-way mirror placed on a wall facing the children. An adult who was familiar to the children would place a single marshmallow on the table in front of the child and/or in front of each of the children, one for each child. They were told they could eat the marshmallow right then and there, or after the adult left the room. But before they could get to the marshmallow, they were told that if they left the marshmallow alone until the adult returned (no time limit specified), they would receive a second marshmallow as a reward. The children were told there would be no penalty if they ate the original marshmallow before the adult returned. The adult then left, and a camera recorded the children’s behaviours from behind the mirror.

About 80 per cent of the children ate the original marshmallows. Some would eat them right away, while others fought an internal battle with themselves, reaching for the marshmallows, putting them back, licking them and then putting them back, taking small bites and putting them back. Some made anguished facial expressions while fighting the urge to eat the marshmallows. About 20 per cent waited for the return of the adults. Some of this group had trouble waiting, reaching for the marshmallows and then withdrawing their hands, while others created diversionary tactics to keep their minds off the marshmallows. A few calmly sat still and waited for their rewards.

This experiment was conducted repeatedly during ensuing years with children from different racial, ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and the results were always the same. Here is the interesting part: many of the children were later contacted over the years – as many as 50 years – as they transitioned through their lives. The object of the experiments was to study the children-turned-adults regarding how well they fared throughout their lives.

Not surprisingly, the twenty per cent who displayed the ability to think and plan, to exercise self-control (the self-discipline inherently required to forestall immediate gratification) at that very young pre-school age, fared better during their lives than did the 80 per cent group, both academically and interpersonally. Their lives were less chaotic.

It seems that self-discipline and forward thinking (the ability to offset immediate gratification) are attributes that naturally reside within about 20 per cent of our psyches, right from the get-go. Eighty per cent of us do not posses this attribute…unless we ultimately recognize this fact as we mature and consciously practice methods to allow us to self-actualize and develop this attribute going forward. Otherwise, we do not change our behaviour and we go through life addicted to short-term gratification.

How does this knowledge have anything to do with dual agency?

We already know that about 80 per cent of all real estate salespeople wannabes fall by the wayside within five years of receiving their licenses. Therefore, about 80 per cent of all salespeople in the field on any given day are failures-in-waiting. To that end they are likely not doing very well up until their careers finally expire. They are likely short-term commission-chasers who do not have the inherent ability to see the results of current behaviour down the road.

It seems to follow that they will go for the quick-fix – immediate gratification, the marshmallows (read: double-enders) on the table staring them in the face due to their short-sighted personality traits that kick in when the big hit is so, so close. They simply cannot be trusted to go against their innate human nature that about 80 per cent of us share with them. They will say and do whatever is necessary to score that big financial candy right now, rather than take the chance that they will get only half of the candy/commission – or worse yet, no commission at all – if they can’t pull the deal together. Or if they advise their buyer-caller, and possibly even that same buyer-caller who has been shown through the property by the listing salesperson, to deal with another salesperson from another brokerage in the name of practicing professionalism.

This is the reverse osmosis operation of the marshmallow experiments in action, but the result is the same. The immediate gratification factor sets in for all to see, usually about 80 per cent of the time, if not more.

One of the first pieces of advice that I received from the pros after getting into this business was this: Don’t ever let the buyers and sellers talk to one another, especially when working a double-ender, until after the deal has closed. Better yet, don’t ever let them talk to one another if you can help it. I wonder why that advice was pounded into my brain? You tell me.

The reason why “most” salespeople (I never said “all”) cannot be trusted to ethically/equitably conduct double-enders is thus revealed; they simply cannot trust themselves to do the right thing for anyone other than themselves under these circumstances. The short-term goal is simply too hard to resist.

They delude themselves into thinking they can conduct dual agency and achieve that immediate gratification…. two marshmallows (read: two commissions) instead of one, without causing any consternation for the opposing parties to the transactions. They forget about what should have been said or not said during showings, negotiations, consultations (read potential manipulations) and offer/acceptance advisories leading up to successful conclusions (for the salespeople) of transactions.

Government ideally exists to look out for all its constituents and not for just some. Government cannot ignore the failures of the 80 per cent just because 20 per cent can be trusted to do the right thing, all the time, every time…and even that presumption might be a stretch.

Brian Martindale is a retired real estate salesperson. He also spent time as a real estate appraiser, a conciliator with the Ontario New Home Warranty Program and working in the insurance and financial planning industries. He may be the most frequent contributor to the comments section on REMonline.com.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Brian.
    What about the agents that do not charge double ended commission. The belief that the seller hired the agent to market and find the buyer. The listing agreement offers a co-op commission should another agent bring an offer. (Under multiple offers double ended would apply to keep the process fair). I have had many sellers ask me if I charge for double ending and they feel that they hired me to sell their home, meaning finding the buyer. So why should they pay extra for that? I understand your explanation but it’s harder to explain to a seller not in this industry. They only see money.
    Personally, if I find the buyer and I am not in any competition with another offer then I am happy to save my seller some money. I only ever expect my end of the commission, never both. Yes this may sound stupid but what about the positive spin that would ensue from such a happy client? It comes down to a marketing strategy to find seller clients.

    Thoughts?

    • Hi Sean:

      You sound like you operate the way I operated. You are in it for the long term, and thus, you are not a short-term gratification junkie. You likely do not possess a penchant for addictions of any kind. You come across as a guy who knows who he is and what his strengths and weaknesses are, unaffected by what the ‘others’ are doing. It’s a great way to be.

      Yes, most consumers do seem to stop their short-term thinking process at the dollars equation. Most humans don’t seem to like to work at thinking too deeply about much of anything, it seems to me.

      You don’t sound like you are stupid to me.

      Count yourself lucky to be who you are, and to hell with the rest of them.

      • Thank you Brian.
        My 2 main concerns are:
        1. Causing repercussions from other agents- I can deal with this one.

        Causing a “fair competition” complaint – If another agent brings and offer (no competition with me) and it is not successful due to a price discrepancy, and then I bring an offer, say a week later, with the same price and it is accepted. Am I in conflict because my commission (say 3%) caused the second offer (5%) to be accepted when the first offer was exactly the same?

        I appreciate your thoughts.
        Cheers

  2. My firm has been involved in 50,000 (give or take 10%) transactions over the past 30 plus years and there have been very very few complaints from buyers or sellers regarding double enders. There have more been somewhat more often complaints from other Realtors that properties have been sold before they were able to bring their buyers in however I’ve always believed it may not in the best interests of a seller to hold off an offer today for a buyer that may appear tomorrow.

    • Hi Dave:
      When I worked as an appraiser, I was schooled by my course instructors, as well as by my boss, ‘not’ to include within my reports sales of comparables that had been transacted quickly (after having been initially listed) for the obvious reason that they had not been exposed to the marketplace long enough to establish the concept of fair market value. In other words, a quick sale might indicate a fire sale situation, a previously agreed-upon price between a seller and buyer, an underpriced listing manipulated by a trusted but nevertheless unscrupulous Realtor in search of a quick commission, a low price designed to settle up a disposition of assets during a divorce proceeding, a sale designed to settle up a Will proceeding etc., etc. Appraisers have to use comparables that have been exposed on the market for a reasonable length of time that coincides with the average time that a comparable listing takes to sell for fair market value using then-recent sales timeline statistics accumulated over the previous twelve months or so to back the timeline used. The old line used on sellers by some Realtors that “You should accept this first offer, Mr./Mrs. seller, because it just might be the best one you will ever get.” is a manipulation of the first degree used by commission hungry Realtors, in my opinion. I have only been privy to one example whereby not accepting the first offer, which was an early offer, was a mistake for that seller. In all other cases that I dealt with, the first offer which was refused by the seller was used, by me, to negotiate the eventual purchase price upward to the satisfaction of my seller, whether I was working a double-ender in the first place or not.
      Regarding the complaint factor of parties to double-enders: Sellers and buyers will obviously have little to complain about if they are unaware of what was, or was not, said to themselves by the double-ending registrants that they would have thought should have been said, or not said, as the case may be. That old axiom, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” (the byline that I believe is too often used by double-enders) is thus the unknown factor that goes unnoticed by those on the flip side of a double-ender transaction. Most consumers involved in double-enders don’t complain because they know not what to complain about after the fact. They are ignorant to the mechanics of the process, and ignorance is bliss…for the double-ending Realtor…not always, but always, too often. Once is too often…for each victim…’if’ he/she even realizes that he/she was a victim.
      I am sure that after double-ending has been legislated out of existence in your neighbourhood, you personally will continue to be successful at doing the best for your clients on a singular-client to-the-transaction basis.

  3. A good argument and well presented. But I’m not surprised. The marshmallow study is an interesting metaphor for the double-ender issue. As I’m sure you’re aware, since you have read my book, The Happy Agent, I am firmly located in the 20% segment. Thanks, Brian, for your contribution.

    • Hi Ross:
      Your very fine book, The Happy Agent, is an excellent read and should be a must-read for all budding real estate salespeople. I believe that if that were the case, there would be more professionalism being practiced within the business going forward. And yes, I believe that you are definitely a twenty percenter for whom the current state of the real estate transaction industry matters. May the sales of your book increase exponentially.

      • Thanks Brian. I don’t recall the details, but a study was undertaken a few years ago in the USA which concluded that a exceedingly small percentage of the general population reads anything beyond restaurant menus and street signs. I believe it was something like 10 percent buy books and a small portion of those people actually finish reading them. Sadly, and perhaps ironically, those who could benefit the most from reading belong to the majority.

        When one considers that, to be judged a best seller in Canada, an author must sell a mere ten thousand copies. Now, if I could accomplish such a feat, I’d be really happy, not only for the obvious reason that I’d be emotionally and financially rewarded for my Herculean effort to write and publish my book, but also because it would indicate that people are interested in opening their minds to a possible growth opportunity. I suppose time will tell.

  4. I found this article a lot of what if and conjecture, and frankly insulting to the majority of ethical and hard working Realtors, I have 29 years experience as a Realtor and have found that when both parties to the transaction are fully informed an agreement can be reached regardless of a dual or single agent representation, this needless to say requires the skill and a commitment to help both parties come to the best possible agreement in a non adversarial way, remember the golden rule.

    • Jim:
      I actually agree with much of your position. The majority of ethical and hard working Realtors ‘should’ feel insulted that they are being tarred with the same brush used by non-ethical and less-than-hard-working licensees. You therefore should not feel insulted by my position on a personal level because you seem not to be of that ilk. The magic words “…when both parties are fully informed…” form the crux of my position, because I don’t believe that most licensees take the chance to do what you say should be done vis a vis full disclosure. You are taking the thrust of my position personally, and you can only speak for yourself, which you have done very well. You also gave away your awareness of the fact that not all licenses disclose all material facts to both parties when you say “…’when’ both parties are fully informed…”, meaning that both parties are not always fully informed by other licensees. I think you get my point.
      BTW, it is not a licensee’s fiduciary responsibility to see that “…both parties…” to a double-ender “…come to the best possible agreement in a non adversarial way…”. A licensee’s fiduciary responsibility is to see that his/her seller, and the seller only, benefits from the listing salesperson’s efforts that rightly “…requires the skill and a commitment to help…” the seller, you know, that person who contracted with the licensee to work for him/her only on a one hundred percent basis. You are a seeming willing victim of decades of in-house indoctrination by Organized Real Estate dogma that flies in the face of legal precedent. The sales culture’s long-standing ethos is in direct conflict with the legal implications of fiduciary duty on this issue, and the legal argument is the one that holds sway, every time.
      Regarding the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” I am sure that you would not appreciate having someone with whom you contracted to represent you as a buyer—for any material thing—whom also represented the seller of whatever you wanted to purchase (in an effort to get the best deal possible ‘for you and you only’) when you found out that post purchase it was somehow revealed that your representative also promised the seller that he/she would get the best deal possible for him/her. You might wonder whom that representative lied to, you or the seller, especially if your 50/50 representative worked on a commission basis.
      My point is this: Yes, there are some Realtors who can lay it all on the line with opposing parties to a potential transaction, but that they are far and few between. Government knows this, and that is why double-ending is gradually being legislated out of existence.
      To be clear, negotiating for one’s client ‘is’ an adversarial exercise. This concept is one that has been suppressed over the decades by the ORE sales culture’s indoctrination process. ORE knows that most newbies are ‘not’ experienced negotiators. A non-adversarial approach to representing one’s clients therefore is a cop-out in favour of generating commissions as one’s prime directive…for one’s self.
      Keep in mind that when you allow yourself to be insulted by my position, I am simply expressing my opinion on this subject complete with some reasons backing it up. I have no power. I come at this subject not only as a former Realtor, but as a former real estate appraiser, and also as a former conciliator who brought opposing parties together for a salary, and not for an all-or-nothing double commission. Realtors who willingly work double-enders have too much skin in the game, and that presents an ethical problem which government is working toward eliminating.
      You come across as a good Realtor with good intentions as your personal foundation. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the majority of hungry marshmallow chasers…when the available marshmallows become scarcer and scarcer and their marshmallow bank balances become emptier and emptier. You ‘should’ be insulted that you have to swim with the sharks and fly with the turkeys. You can blame that on ORE’s recruitment campaigns that hold out the pathway to riches as the lure to hungry marshmallow lovers.

  5. I did not disqualify my buyers from my listings. I showed them the properties, as often as they wanted to see them; that was my fiduciary duty to my seller clients…which I took seriously. The buyers were not my clients under these circumstances; they were simply interested buyers. I would then inform them—if they expressed an interest in offering—that they were free to hire another Realtor to represent them with any offer negotiations, because I owed my seller clients my full interest regarding their financial well-being. Some chose another Realtor; some stayed with me going forward. Those who stayed with me were told that I would not assist them with any advice re price to be offered/counter-offered/conditions etc. That would be up to them or their lawyer. Never had any problems. I likely made a little less on a year-to-year basis, but I was happy with what I was doing…and so were my clients.

  6. Brian, as you know, brainwashing comes in many categories. We have all been subjected to it in various forms at various times. Military training is perhaps one of the most appropriate examples: the breaking of the spirit, the breaking of the will; the reformation of it; the ultimate automaton. And then there’s Pavlov.

    There’s something to be said for the expression: you think you can or you think you can’t… In either case you are always right.

    There’s a whole lot to be taken into consideration in the right brain left brain analyzation; wonder how that would have fit into the marshmallow experiment.

    Whether the girl-child or the boy-child was impacted differently in the experiment, and in the later-life review if that was considered.

    When people consider a career in real estate, they do so whether knowing or not, how their existing life-history impacts not just their decision, but their success ratio.

    Their net result is ultimately tied to their expectation. And whether or not they expect marshmallows to reproduce if left to their own devices.

    The test might have had a different outcome entirely over a five decade period in the parental:educational world of Dr. Spock and the resultant lifestyle where no one must ever injure Johnny’s psyche by telling him: “No.”

    But it does make one wonder exactly what preempted the decision made by each participant at the time, and whether later in life the participant him(her)self would in fact evaluate the subsequent findings the same way as the evaluator.

    Carolyne L 🍁

    • Hi Carolyne:
      To your last statement: It seems that the children who ate the marshmallows did not think much, if at all, about the reward factor. They simply responded to the desire to have that marshmallow…now. The other children, however, ‘did’ display a thought process that overrode their initial drive toward immediate gratification, by choosing to not eat their marshmallows. They pursued a realization of positive future consequence for their immediate action strategy that indicates a more thoughtful personality type than the others possessed. I would submit, therefore, that the twenty percenters displayed a superior intellect, easily observable at even their pre-school ages. It takes brain power to override instinct. This seems to be something that cannot be taught until one becomes more mature, when one’s brain becomes more mature, if not as mature as one’s brain can ever become. One only need consider how much money is spent on advertising by companies offering up gizmos, gadgets, wonder drugs and the newest I Phones etc. to understand the power of dangling goodies in the faces of the masses; it works because psychologists tell them that it works and their bottom lines really tell them that it works.
      It seems that we are not much different than experimental lab rats running mazes and pushing buttons tracking down those niblets of rat goodies after all…except for those damned outlier types who display annoying resistance to immediate gratification and who thus think for themselves in the face of all of the group-think that pervades humanity. It also seems to me that the twenty percenters value self-control over their impulses more so than what they can ‘get’ out of life in a strictly material sense. I think that we all know that too many of us are attracted to real estate sales due to the hoped-for immediate material gains that can be achieved thereby, and thoughts of professionalism be damned. Marshmallows anyone?

  7. Well, the law in BC says (starting March 2018) that you should NOT try and go find a Buyer for your listing/Seller… sad, but accurate.

    • Carlos:
      I don’t think that the law says that you should ‘not’ try to find a buyer for your seller’s property at all. Go find that buyer! Work for your seller! The law simply says that you will not be able to legally negotiate for two masters at the same time in order to score a personal double commission. The law recognizes that you cannot serve two masters equally at the same time, especially when there is double-the-money on the line. When and if you go for a divorce from your sweety, will you use your sweety’s lawyer to look out for ‘your’ financial interests throughout the negotiation process regarding the disposition of your communal assets? I don’t believe that you would be that naïve. If you have been a Realtor for more than five years you are certainly not naïve.

        • Hi Carlos:
          I don’t quite know what to say regarding your very unique reply, except to say that those four words are quite an endorsement. Due to the fact that you gave me an uptick above, I must assume that your response is not offered with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Thank you. Your apparent change of mind indicates a thoughtful consideration of the issue prior to responding. Good on you my friend.

    • Hi Robert:
      What say you on this topic? You struck me as an intelligent guy with a lot of experience under your belt during our meeting a few years ago in Toronto. I think that we would all be interested in your opinion.

      • Dear Brian, You are to be congratulated on your ability to get articles placed in Real Estate Industry publications (this skill eludes me). I commented “vaguely” when I first scanned your “…. can’t conduct double-enders equitably or ethically” piece, because its content and tone were not in accordance with my personal view nor my recent on-the-ground experiences – but, I knew the piece offered a provocative viewpoint that was sure to stimulate discussion from Registrant readers of REM. Thanks for asking me to elaborate, and in response I’d say that since around 2009, several factors (I’ve included 7) have changed the business, changed the rules and changed the “battlefield objectives” surrounding presentation/acceptance of everyday offers/APSs. May I suggest that: a) “the MLS game” (list low, hold offers 5-15 days & scramble to get your own offer in the meantime); b) the prevalence of simultaneous presentation of 5-50 competing bids (full info on all bids only known by Seller Agent); c) the new-prominence of Teams/ mega-Teams/ office-within-an-office sub-Brokerages; d) the often “coached-from-afar” suggestions about how Registrants can maximize GCI, minimize expenses and offset competition-induced, listing-fee discounts; e) Average Prices resulting in everyday Co-op Brokerage fees of $15K, 20K and more and f) the high percentage of Registrants who have not experienced any market conditions other than “Prices perpetually Up, Seller always Wins, Buyer puts-up or Shuts-up”; g) Electronic signification – you can no longer look in the whites of your competitor’s eyes, because half of them aren’t even physically present. These few (and surely many other factors other members could suggest) have out-distanced the thinking we once had about “representation”, “getting the deal”, “getting THIS house for your clients”, “double-ending” and “not-getting 3-in-a-row in multiples”. I recommend we all participate in the re-writing of REBBA by suggesting as many integrated and comprehensive sets of alternate/improved “Operating Procedures” for realty Clients & Customers, Buyers& Sellers that reflect how things really are, rather than describing how they used-to-be.

        • As suggested in Robert’s comment to Brian, regarding the re-writing by registrants’ participation in REBBA, perhaps we all must recognize and acknowledge that REBBA is written, re-written, amended, what have you – by the Ministry. Suggestions may or may not be considered. And the danger is that partial changes create more danger than solving issues specific.

          Agreed. We cannot and do not operate in the past (where most of us were trained in sub-agency). However, such thinking is not easily un-brainwashed. And there is nothing wrong with the agency representation “root.”

          The public is either “represented” or not. In law it’s highly unlikely that the public could be forbidden to waive their legal right to (share) representation, provided proper explanations have been provided and liability has been waived.

          One thing that is often forgotten in the course of procedure(s): the seller wants to sell. And the buyer wants to buy. Period. Sounds simple enough. Not always so. There is always the opportunity for either participant to engage the opinion of a (real estate specific) lawyer at any juncture. No one should ever feel that they are signing under duress.

          Speaking to stats and failure to sell rates, one of the most important stats, and seldom noted, although quoted forever in internal educational discussions: it is purported to be that only 50% of listings ever sell; at least the first time offered for sale.

          And expiries (re-listed) tend to skew overall stats. We were taught that in prepping goals and income prognosis, that for every listing we took, we needed a second one to support it in the numbers prep. One to count as a sale, the other to weep over as an expiry. In four decades I never learned why I didn’t ever have ten expiries in each ten-year file set, noted when cleaning out files for shredding purposes.

          But I can’t help think that farming had something to do with it. Farming certainly contributed to my having a consistent 24% market share, (working alone with no team), and absolutely had something to do with my personal stats repeating year after year, validating 60% of my sales were double-ends. And I never had a double-end representation complaint. And I was more than five years in the business before I was told I should not be double-ending so many properties. The information screamed loud and clear in my charts and graphs and spoke to my (corp) “per unit” value dollar relationship.

          But I had tried to protect myself, the corp and the public by spending an inordinate amount of time explaining “representation,” and having liability waivers signed. I insisted that the sellers and the buyers “only” speak (relative to the transaction) on paper (signed, sealed, and delivered – face to face).

          Do not tell me your “best” price, whether buying or selling. Discuss with your mate, and write it down and sign it. Your best in all cases, and don’t blame me if not accepted by the other side. Has nothing to do with my negotiating skills.

          And always consideration of price isn’t always the end-game. So many other things enter into negotiating. And it ALL has to be kept confidential. Period. I read aloud each and every word, to all parties to the would-be contract and had forewarned each that they and the other had the right to seek legal advice during and at any time. Make one tiny change on any page and the APS has become null and void until accepted in writing by the other side
          (all parties).

          Of course today, in Ontario, chasing expiries, like cold-calling uninvited, is forbidden. Although on any given day, an expired seller will come home to find a dozen or more business cards tucked in his door often with a note that says the agent “has a buyer, please connect asap.”

          My question: why would the public let the government decide how homeowners can and cannot sell their own property. Surely as adults they would know they could and often should, seek legal advice before signing on the dotted line, even when time is of the essence. But do not ever put a lawyer in the position of being asked if the offer sale price is appropriate. An unfair question.

          Carolyne L 🍁

          • Brian, Marty, et al:
            This might help answer the question of the moment, discovered in an Ontario Google search… About agent survival rate in our province, as quoted by a Bosley rep:So You Want To Go Into Real Estate? – Toronto Realty Blog
            Google header: “…. Four out of every five licensed real estate agents are out of the business …”
            === detailed, he writes:

            “Four out of every five licensed real estate agents are out of the business within 18 months.
            It takes 3-5 years to “make the phone ring” and get a foothold in the industry.”

            ===

            I had been told these numbers in 1980, “after” taking all the courses, and I wondered why this topic was not a course on its own … How exactly, since we now had all the required knowledge to succeed, how to implement it. Never once during the educational process did anyone talk about farming, or about various methods of marketing that would help the seller’s listing “sell.” But often we heard: “List to last.” (Didn’t matter if the listing sold; it gave the listing company something to advertise to get more listings). And, signed listing contracts are corporate “collateral.” (Oddly enough, signed buyer contracts are mostly not categorized the same way.)

            I have a favourite expression: if you are all about collecting as many listings as possible, “nothing sells like a SOLD-SIGN.” The public has no comprehension of how the MLS (marketing) system works, and that very often the name on the sold sign didn’t sell the house at all. But that is often the person a new would-be seller calls. After nearly four decades in the business, I’m certain the same theory would present itself in a nationwide survey.

            The writer of the google-noted blog seemed to have figured it out.

            Carolyne L 🍁

          • Hi Carolyne:
            Thanks for the heads up.
            I checked out via Google different related articles and found one wherein it states “In 2014 NAR reported 87% of all new agents fail after five years in the industry and only 13% make it.” I would therefore assume that the Canadian Realtor failure rate would be at least as high as I have stated in my Op-Ed. As Ross said, “They come and they go.” Mostly they go because mostly they are very naïve and thus mostly they fall for the lure of big, easy commissions. They are mostly woefully unprepared for what awaits them in the shark tank. Turkeys ripe for the pluckin’ seem to endlessly come out of the woodwork with visions of sugar plums in their heads and stars in their eyes thanks to endless appeals for new taxpayers by the pluckers.
            Ross is right; there needs to be a cap put on the number of registrants allowed into what really should be a profession in reality, and not in name only (I acknowledge that there are some ‘real’ professionals operating as real estate sales people in Canada), but that would not bode well for the pluckers. How many pros would be left standing to pay for their ivory tower salaries if the chafe was kept out in the first place? (I seem to remember calculating that the average CREAcrat nine-to-five salary was around $75,000. a few years ago.) This business needs less autocratic desk-jockeys and more in-the-field professionals who actually produce something of real value other than endless statistics about what happened in the past or studies explaining why their cushy incomes should increase. The elephant in the room is the population of failures-in-waiting, and ORE well-paid bureaucrats et al are collectively along for the ride in the form of a very large overripe mega-pimple on the elephant’s ass.
            Sumbitch! Looks like I forgot to take my politically-correct pill today.

  8. I think Brian Martindale may be writing from his own experience, unless he’s been at ALL those double ender transactions himself!!!, I’ve been selling homes since 1989 (over 750 of them) and never encountered a problem double ending. The end result was always a happy seller and a happy buyer… I totally agree with Rick’s comment below.

    • Hi Michael:
      I never said that ‘all’ Realtors can’t be trusted to conduct double-enders properly. You might be one of those who can do so. However, you would then be a member of the minority of the Realtor population, and that is the jist of my point. Double-ending is being phased out in the USA and gradually so too here in Canada for reasons other than those that appeal to commissioned sales representatives conditioned mindsets. You come across as a scrupulous person. We need more of that in this business.

  9. Interesting commentary – but I was jarred out of the logical
    progression by the assertion 80% of new licensees exit the business within 5 years. That is not my experience in 48 years as a licensee in BC. Source or anecdotal?

    • I DON’T AGREE! Originally, back in the day, you listed a home and then went out to find a Buyer, that’s your job. The MLS system made it easy to find the Buyer. You simply dump the listing onto the system and someone else brings you your buyer. Our code of ethics says we must do our best for our Sellers. Well whether we find the Buyer from our efforts advertising, the MLS (which is advertising), door knocking etc. our job is to find the Buyer for our Seller. Your whole argument seems to concentrate solely on the money (commissions). In court they pay no attention to commissions. It doesn’t matter to a judge whether you are getting paid or not, the only thing they look at is did you do your job legally under the law. Stop that and just do your job which doing your fiduciary duty to the client and getting his home sold. There is nothing wrong with double ending as long as a registrant follows the law and if he doesn’t he will be caught and fined just as in any other case.

      • Finding a buyer for one’s listing is totally removed from negotiating the best deal for one’s seller. It’s apples and oranges time. A listing Realtor’s fiduciary duty is owed to the seller (that is what the seller bargained for when granting the listing to the Realtor of choice) and not thereafter to be split in two in partial favour toward a buyer. Simple.

    • Hi Marty:
      I am trying to find the most recent failure rate stats for Ontario (where I operated from)newbie Realtors. I believe that OREA put out something awhile back to that effect. I am of the mind (if memory serves me correctly) that 50% of newbies bit the dust within two years of being licensed, and that 50% of the remainder did so to within the next three years. That adds up to a 75% failure rate. Looks like I am on the record to be proven wrong…or right…on this particular statistical issue. I must confess that I did pen this piece from memory. We shall see.

      • That’s also my recollection, Brian. I read somewhere years ago that 4 our of 5 registrants fail within their first 5 years in Ontario. And throughout my nearly 44 years in the business, that roughly aligns with my experience. They come, and they go.

        • Ross:
          I wonder if there might be less of a rat-race mentality in the B.C. real estate salesperson community due to the (much?) lesser numbers of licensees operating therein on any given day. Maybe that is why Marty’s assertion reflects his experience. It would be interesting to know what the current average licensee population-to-listings/sales ratio is in B.C. compared with the current Ontario ratio.

          • Indeed, it would be interesting. It is my understanding that a cap exists on the number of registrants permitted in BC. I’ve been quietly lobbying throughout my career for Ontario to implement a similar policy. Perhaps I’ve been too quiet, or all appropriate ears have been deaf.

        • Hi Ross:
          I had a few minutes of spare time on my hands so I just did some digging regarding registrant failure rate stats. Here are the results of my efforts:
          I called the Ontario Real Estate Association (1 866 411 6732) today at 12:40 P.M. and spoke with Samantha. She did not know the answer to my question, so she put me on hold in order to speak with her supervisor. Samantha came back on the line and told me that OREA does not keep track of the failure rate, and that I should call RECO, because RECO has those stats. I called RECO (416 207 4800) and spoke with Elizabeth, who told me that RECO can’t give those stats out. I asked her why not. She put me through to her supervisor, Jackie. Jackie said that RECO does not give out those stats. Then when questioned why not, she said that RECO is the regulator only and that they don’t keep those stats. Jackie suggested that I call the Toronto Real Estate Board. I called TREB (416 443 8100) and was put through to Mike Murphy who told me that TREB does not keep track of the stats that I was asking about. When asked why not, Mike said that he did not know why not. He suggested that I call Mary Gallagher in the Public Relations department. When I asked Mike where I might have read up on the stats that I mentioned within my Op Ed, he suggested that maybe I found them in a National Association of Realtors publication (which of course is a U.S. organization) because maybe NAR ‘does’ keep track of those stats. I had been stonewalled it seemed.
          So here is what I was left with: Organized Real Estate claims to not know the failure rate of its tax payers, which I do not believe to be the case at all. I believe that ORE players (all players) know precisely what the failure rate is, but that they do not want that in-house knowledge to be public knowledge…for obvious reasons. I can’t prove that, but that is what I currently believe to be the case. I know what I read a few years ago, but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on where I read it.
          The result of my calls to ORE representatives seems to suggest, to me at least, that they are ambivalent to the reality of the failure rate of their tax payers; they just don’t seem to care. Bureaucrats! They were all nice to me (Jackie was a little short with me), but no one seemed to be concerned at all about the state of affairs out in the field. Now we know why government is becoming involved with the workings of commissioned real estate transactions, especially double-ender transactions. No one within the ORE spectrum seems to give a damn unless it affects them personally. The “Pass The Buck” routine seems to be alive and well.

          • I feel your frustration, Brian. And I’m not surprised that you were unable to obtain such statistics from our associations. After all, the bureaucrats don’t want any negative light to shine on the industry.

            I also read the 4 out of 5 over 5 year failure rate a few years back. But I think the report may have been provided by a private management consulting firm that specialized in supporting brokerages with their recruiting efforts. And though it was several years ago, I have no doubt that the stats have not changed much in the meantime.

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