Re: Planning an exit strategy (REM, July)

Just read the exit strategy for retiring from one’s brokerage business, but what about a semi-retirement strategy for senior Realtors or associate brokers?

At 70, my business has slowed down considerably during the past two years, but I can’t retire on my OAS and CPP from the government. I need to pick up a couple of deals each year from my former clients or website leads. Health, family and financial issues distracted me from my usual real estate work load and I had a run of deals that all went sour, so my commission income evaporated during the past 18 months.

When I checked the costs to stay in TREB/OREA/CREA plus RECO plus franchise royalty fees, plus business cards, plus basic website fee, it adds up to $4,864.55 per year just to be a real estate broker in the GTA. I could also “park” my license and it will cost me about $1,046.08 per year and at least have a chance at the odd referral fee.

With a note from my doctor I could also become a “Non-Active Sustaining Member of TREB” for about $763 per year, but I can’t do any business and only my $30,000 life insurance policy is sustained until I decide to become a full member again.

Perhaps my most attractive option is to register myself as a sole proprietorship brokerage with RECO for $350 for two years and function as an independent broker outside organized real estate. I just need to check the cost at the bank to open a “real estate trust account”.

I’m not sure what forms I can use for any listing or Agreement of Purchase and Sale, but I could probably make do in this area. Of course, I could refer more complicated or difficult clients to other sales reps. This option will cost under $1,000 a year to sustain and my client base could still enjoy my expertise and experience.

I checked with TREB to see how much it would cost to function as a new brokerage and they charge a one-time fee of $4,960 for a new brokerage plus around $850 for TREB fees and $475 for OREA/CREA fees, which are mandatory. After paying into TREB /OREA/CREA for 18 years, this appears excessive for someone trying to stave off impoverishment while my health holds out in my few remaining years.

I got my real estate license at 52 as this seemed to be my only viable “last career” option at the time. The industry has been good to me. I started my second family back then and my two kids have only one more year of university left. Unfortunately, the changes to our industry during this time are trending against the “final career” option.

I think our government and industry are making a huge mistake with their regulatory mania and excessive consumer protectionism. In the future, only well-capitalized corporations who are “lawyered-up” will be able to survive in this industry. We all know what happens to “customer service” when this happens.

Common sense should reveal the importance of providing final career opportunities for maturing Canadians (who have been dumped by their corporate exploiters after 45). But then common sense isn’t common is it?

Jim Reid B.A., M.B.A., Broker

Royal LePage – Your Community Realty

Richmond Hill, Ont.


  1. Wow, honestly, has no one out there ever heard of the residual income obtainable through EXIT Realty after you retire? I’m not trying to tout EXIT Realty, but honestly, it is the answer to these types of woes….you’ll find the formula on their web-site, called 10-7-5, it’s no gimmick, it works, thousands of agents are receiving it… Canada alone EXIT has paid out over 43 MILLION dollars to their agents…verify for yourself…..

  2. Jim – I retired at 70 also. I considered all the options but figured not worth the effort to do a few deals a year. Your past clients need a full service Realtor. Sure you can pass the leads to a buddy Realtor and get a referral fee, but you are doing your past clients no favour. Retire and forget real estate. I’m not a big fan of part time Realtors. Consumers need a full time professional career Realtor.

  3. From the letter: “When I checked the costs to stay in TREB/OREA/CREA plus RECO plus franchise royalty fees, plus business cards, plus basic website fee, it adds up to $4,864.55 per year just to be a real estate broker in the GTA. I could also “park” my license and it will cost me about $1,046.08 per year and at least have a chance at the odd referral fee.”

    Is this just another example of one the fundamential problems with the industry.Part-timers. Is not a cherry picker, occassional referral, sell your neighbours house, semi(?) retired Realtor a part timer then? I think so.

    Right out of the book ” How to keep the real estate industry- non professional”

  4. Jim:
    I totally agree with you. The problem is none of those guys will do anything. Any association is created to protect its members. In the case of CREA (and the rest) is the other way around. They just put their hands in our pocket almost to offer nothing (except MLS). They work AGAINST US (in spite of that WE are the ones who pay their salary) But they continue working for the public who can use our tools and information for free.
    I published a couple of letters in REM and one of them was an open letter to the president of CREA. Of course, he ignored it. It’s easier that way for them so they can continue making THEIR business.
    And, as a general note: Writing here or in any other venue, it’s only “therapeutic” because,nothing will change. In the case of someone from CREA read it, i guess they laugh at loud.

  5. Jim,
    You are like the vast majority of LTTPs in Ontario, that being unable to retire on business income earned while practicing as an LTTP. Your insight on the regulatory climate that is sure to rear it’s head as the market turns and consumers seek scape goats for the decisions they have made since 2008, is one more commonly understood by LTTPs with 30 years of experience in the profession who worked through the challenging 1990-1998 period.

    There is confusion on earning retirement income from your LTTP business when no longer being licensed because of the limited and easily misunderstood information you have been supplied for decades from your associations. In fact your options are far greater and far more empowering to both you and your past clients than you have been told. Yes, you have been “mislead”.

    Why would you pay a $5000 per year and assume the massive added liability (at this point in your life) to simply be able to accept referral fees that fall under the Trading in Real Estate definition? This makes no more sense than many of the business conditions you were forced to operate under for the last 18 years.


    Experience, Ethics and professionalism, are what VISA would call Priceless, so why are you not accepting VISA, by offering your services to all your past clients (any their friends) outside the LTTP blanket. At 70, I assume you would prefer to be able to inform your clients of the truth without the fear and threats of the CB or CREA, you have been subject to for the 18 years you were an LTTP. the ability to call a “spade a spade” without fear of repercussions is
    an empowering and life altering change.

    I will email you today about your legal options as a former experienced and ethical LTTP, who is still looking to earn income in the early years of their retirement.


      • Licensed to Trade Practitioners, it covers all provincially licensed real estate sales reps/brokers/agents, not just REALTORS who require membership in CREA to us the term.

        There are far more LTTPs than REALTORS and many already retired LTTPs are no longer REALTORS due to saving money by dropping CREA.


        • Are Boards required to post how many of their members are LTTP’s? And are there any records any place of how many there are in the industry, locally? And of course if theses so-designated agents are board members, the LTTP’s have no choice but to belong to CREA or their Board membership is cancelled. And of course without board membership in Ontario at least, agents cannot access MLS information. Am I correct ?

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