By Brian Martindale

You have just received your real estate license, and you are ready to join the real estate sales business…or are you ready? Really ready?

You have been advised by well-meaning real estate school instructors, brokers, sales managers and other industry leaders that you should be prepared for (and be financially able to withstand) experiencing six to nine months (maybe more?) with no income, all the while spending your likely scarce resources advertising on a weekly basis. You start off with gusto; you will not be one of those slow starters that you have heard so much about.

You will cultivate this positively reinforced thought pattern, but only if you are initially supremely confident within yourself. You may or not be an extrovert. You may or may not have the gift of the gab (no Irish blood like me?). You may believe that you know more about real estate than the average bear out there due to your real estate school test results, and besides, that is what your new sales manager has told you to believe. If not, “Fake it ‘til you make it”, you will be told.

“Turn me loose!” you cheer to yourself.

Fast forward six months.

You have worked diligently on your plan of attack. You have spent thousands of dollars on advertising your brokerage’s name (your name is somewhere near the bottom of all the ads in much smaller font). You have secured two listings and they both are still on the market. You are running out of money, but the bills are not running away.

This is not what you had envisioned and your nerves are starting to act up. You no longer sleep well. You are beginning to question your decision to get into what now looks like a rat race and not a gold rush. Maybe you should read some articles in REM that are designed to help folks like you who are having a tough time of it. But no, you don’t have time for that kind of stuff; you must run even faster now and for more hours per day…now seven days a week. You think of that old Beatles song, Eight Days A Week. You are becoming a slave to your dream job chasing after that elusive much-needed commission. You are serving your apprenticeship, which is not an apprenticeship, because apprentices actually get paid on a weekly basis. Who has time to sit down for a half hour every day and waste valuable time (time is money!) reading stuff? Maybe you will have time to read REM later when you are making it and you can afford to slack off a bit.

Fast forward another 18 months.

You have finally closed a couple of deals (maybe a couple more). You are worn out (possibly burned out) physically and mentally. You have much less money in the bank than you had two years ago. You have been working for less money per hour than you have worked for previously for any other job you have ever had when you factor in the last two years’ worth of expenses and time invested in the yoke. The glamour factor has evaporated. Your lease payment on your fancy car is becoming onerous. It is not a joy to drive any more. “Damn it, why didn’t I keep my old, paid-for car?” you lament.

You don’t know if you will ever be able to change your now self-realized naïve attitude toward the business to do what is necessary to compete on an even footing with those toughened pros who always seem to know what to say to prospects, when to say it, what not to say and when not to say it. You realize that many pros are often automatons with their words of advice for their prospects. You realize that you are honest, but that your naivety will not allow you to make it in this cut-throat business…unless… you change your game. But now it is too late to read self-help articles in REM, let alone throw in the odd comment or two here and there, because you do not feel that you are part of the culture; you do not feel competent enough to comment because you do not feel that you are a legitimate member of the culture. You are on your way out; you intuitively know it, even if you do not externally acknowledge it.

This is the unfortunate newbie scenario that plays out all too often within the real estate sales game. And we wonder why (at least I wonder why) few Realtors of the 100,000 plus dispersed across Canada read REM, and why even fewer (a paltry dozen or so) even bother to sporadically comment here. Budding failure amongst the newbie population combined with a no-time-to-read-anything attitude rampant amongst struggling survivors (most Realtors on any given day) combined with a somewhat arrogant attitude amongst some high flyers might be the compiled reasons why apathy reigns supreme regarding why pro-active reading and learning is regarded as a time waster by too many Realtors. This is a pernicious reality. It is an insidious reality and it continues unabated.

Newbie alert! Take the time (just a half-hour per day, same time, every day, without fail) to pull up REMonline, starting right now. You will find that after three weeks it will become a looked-forward-to habit. Habituation is the key. You can’t help but help yourself by pro-actively educating yourself daily. You will begin to feel that you are part of the equation. Professionalism and financial success do not magically appear with the ownership of a sales license. They must be cultivated and nurtured; professionalism first, financial success thereafter. Don’t waste a free-for-the-reading vehicle (REM). Intelligent people read all the time. Become an intelligent Realtor. Prospects will recognize you for your newly acquired and ongoing intelligence. Avoid the trap of Realtor apathy. Read REM diligently. Contribute to the commentary, pro or con. It will get you into the swing of things. You will feel like you belong.

Note: This is not a paid advertisement for REM. I wrote and submitted this piece because I simply cannot believe the depth of Realtor apathy that exists within the real estate sales culture.

I expect this article to die a quick death on the vine without much commentary, pro or con.

Realtors: Prove me wrong.

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