At a family gathering over the holidays, my youngest grand kid said she’s going to enroll in the OREA Real Estate Course and she’s saving up for it.  I asked her, “Why real estate?”

The answer: “Because I can make a lot of money!”

I asked if she’ll be full time and she said, “No, I’m going into it part time. I don’t want to leave my good paying job at Shoppers Drug Mart.”

I told her that a part-time gig is going to be difficult, but I wished her well and said I’d help if and when she needed it as she progressed.

I also said it’s a difficult job unless she has a data bank of potential buyers and sellers. I said I’d show her how to build that once she’s well along in her courses. It’s more than just making money, I proffered. It’s about building wealth and making relationships. It takes time and patience, despite YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which have become the shortcuts to building relationships.



I believe that most of the entrants to the course – at least 30 per cent in some areas –  are part-time real estate agents. This is a continuing problem in our industry and I am not the only one who thinks so. I’ve heard from many salespeople that this is allowing many to enter into a field that is constantly changing and evolving. Part-time real estate agents miss out on training and being involved in an office environment.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario, along with other regulatory bodies in Canada, are now ramping up the qualifications and looking into more types of education to better prepare entrants to our field. I hope that it will include writing an offer and a listing.

I’ve studied the format of the present curriculum in Ontario and although it has improved dramatically, it still leaves much to be desired by my fellow long-time colleagues.

Most people entering our industry see big money and big cars with what seems to be a very cheap way to became financially successful.  But that’s the conundrum.  It takes time, education, effort and long hours.  Can a part-time agent really succeed?  In some instances sure, but it’s rare.  Once they sell their friends and relatives, they don’t know which way to go or what to do.  I know this is a valid statement – I’ve heard it so many times from so many sources.

I’ve often said that there should be an apprenticeship program, where the student passes a first year of courses and then works six months under an experienced agent. Then the same for the second year. Once they pass this university type of regimen, then they come fully certified.  At the very least, the wannabe agents will be better prepared.


The second part of my article is devoted to agents who successfully pursue listings of all sorts – expired (yes they still do) FSBOs and farming. You can’t always rely on the MLS to sell that listing. Where do your other buyers some from?

They’ll come from an open house, mailings to the area or from contacts in their database. Months ago, I wrote about developing a VIP list of prospects for buying and selling, which would include all those firms and businesses who service our industry. Think about it.  This list can be extremely important, for example, if you are lucky enough to list a high-priced rural property that can take months to sell.

Got you thinking? Write to me for a complete format, or you can research it on this website.

All the best to you in 2015 and may you have good health. Anything else you get is a bonus.  I am recovering from some health issues, but you can reach me at 416-736-9730 or 416-418-3094 until I return to full-time duties.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I find it interesting the continued ‘bashing’ of part-timers as the source of problems for the profession.

    I’ve seen both sides, as I was a full-timer, and am now a part timer. I can say unequivocally that the ‘bad’ Realtors out there can’t be pigeonholed into either category, they are found in both, and in fact the majority I have met don’t live up to my standards. Sloppy offers, poor business practices, and greed…continually placing the needs of themselves over the needs of the clients.

    This won’t change by putting up impediments to part-timers…it will only change via a thorough overhaul of the entire system, something that RECO and the establishment have indicated isn’t going to happen. Until then, better get used to the status quo: those new agents looking for a ‘quick-buck’, the old agents who keep making the same mistakes, and everybody else in between.

    All you can do if you’re one of the few ‘good agents’ is keep doing your best, lead by example, and always watch your back.

  2. Correction:
    The story I referred to was reported by a Calgary CBC reporter, but the case evolved in Ontario.

  3. “It’s not easy for part-timers.”
    Exactly.
    It should ‘not’ be easy for part-timers; It should not be easy for full-timers. It should be impossible for part-timers, and it should be downright difficult for full-timers.
    Difficulty breeds character for those who persevere through difficulties. If something is easy, it is not worth whatever value has been subjectively applied to it, whatever ‘it’ is, in this case, becoming a Realtor and earning a good living serving the public whilst operating as a Realtor. Easy leads to lazy. This is the major problem with currently becoming a Realtor. Students routinely ask instructors about how many days they can miss regarding in-class attendance and still qualify to write the exams. I’ve heard it myself many times. The easy route is routinely sought out by gamers employing the numbers game. Due to this business really turning on working the numbers in order to generate leads in order to generate deals in order to generate commissions, from wherever and from whomever, sooner rather than later, the commission aspect of the business really appeals to professional efficiency gamers. Ideals of methodical professionalism are subverted by the quest for fast, big bucks. Clients simply become file numbers to be milked.
    There is a real schism within the ranks of the real estate business. On one side we have the dedicated-to-their-clients professionals who will not take short cuts to success, for their clients as well as for themselves, whilst, on the other side, we have the gamers who are the opposite of the ideal. Therefore, we have two distinct personality types working within the ranks of the real estate business.
    The good guys and gals are unfortunately outnumbered by the short-cut artists, be they part-time or full-time It’s time for ORE to figure out how to sift out the riff-raff right at the outset by utilizing psychological testing questionnaires prior to allowing wannabes to go to real estate school in the first place. That would be a form of discrimination, and it is about time that ORE started to discriminate in favour of the preferred end result, being a much lesser number of Realtors in the field who deserve to be there in the first place, not by some general politically correct inclusive free-for-all standard, but by a prescribed standard as put forth by the industry itself. Then the term “Realtor” will be regarded as a professional by the public as well as by the Realtors themselves. Anyone can call himself/herself a professional, but it is what the public calls you that counts.
    Far better that the public calls you names, like: professional, honest, competent, reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable etc. v. Realtors shouting out stuff like: “Number one!”…”Top seller!”…”Gets highest selling prices!”…yada, yada, yada and the public saying “Ya right!”. Professionals don’t need to do the latter. They are not trying to be Hollywood stars. Their personalities cringe at the thought of competing with the hucksters, those short-cut artists who work the numbers, who look for the easy road, who regard clients as files to be closed, quickly. ORE, you have your work cut out for you if you really want to change the culture that underpins organized real estate, because that imbedded decades-old pure sales culture is the major variable that needs to be changed.
    Professionals like lawyers, doctors, surgeons, dentists, architects, teachers, engineers etc, do not go about bragging about how great they are, although some lawyers are doing just that, and I find it to be demeaning.

    • Brian,

      What percentage of the current group of Managing Brokers do you suppose would pass your “psychological testing questionnaires”?

      • Alan:
        Managing brokers ‘should’ ideally walk the fine line between encouraging business generation whilst at the same time demanding upstanding business behaviour, “or else”, on the parts of their charges. But it is very much easier to simply ‘suggest’ practicing upstanding behaviour when times are good and sales are flourishing across the board. A high tide floats all boats, seaworthy or not. When the tide is receding, only the seaworthy stay on the surface. Brokerages then simply replace the grounded ones with new but mostly unseaworthy ones again, and the cycle repeats, endlessly.
        To your question: If the questionnaire was prepared by me, only a minority of commissioned sales people of any stripe, managing brokers or otherwise, would pass the test, because the questions would be strategically worded to sift out the personality types that turn strictly on meeting sales targets as being the norm for creating a sense of achievement. The answers to the questions would reveal to the trained psychology professionals the underlying personality traits of the test-takers. The questionnaire would therefore reveal the mercenary personalities. The questionnaire would be set up to identify and thereafter to be used to keep mercenary types out. Even if test-takers knew in advance what the purpose of the test was, they would not be able to fake it by thinking about what answers to give. That is the beauty of psychological tests (consisting of similar questions strategically worded differently placed here and there throughout the questionnaire) that are administered with very short timelines for successful completion. One has no time to pre-read the questions and look for similar questions and to think thereafter rationally. The true personality comes out because the test-taker already knows that to not finish the test on time means automatic failure. Mercenaries therefore concentrate only on getting the test (or in the real world, the job) done on time any which way necessary in order to pass (or in the real world turn a commissioned real estate deal) as the case may be. The truth always comes out under these test conditions. I have completed numerous psychological tests whilst in university, and the results were fascinating.
        My answer to your question on a purely percentage basis is this: I doubt very much that even twenty-five percent of current Managing Brokers would reveal themselves to be anything but hidden mercenary personalities. Ergo, seventy-five percent of Managing Brokers, being mercenaries, would be preaching to one hundred percent of their charges on that basis. If I am correct, why would anyone wonder why it is that the general public predominantly views the real estate sales business as one to be wary of. The sad thing about this is that the good guys and gals get tarred with the same communal brush.
        There is a story on line today (CBC) about a Calgary Realtor who allegedly duped a buyer client (whose first language is not English) whilst signing an Offer. The presiding judge in the ensuing court case said that what the Realtor did by way of omission could not be proven to be illegal (the Realtor allegedly did not explain the holdover clause), but the optics stink, if optics can said to be stinkable. Legal is not always ethical or moral, ergo, professional. We do not want Realtors to be encouraged to operate like some lawyers operate.
        Keeping mercenaries out of the real estate schools will go a long way toward developing pre-existing altruistic new registrants who will recognize mercenary Managing Brokers for what they are (during pre-hiring interviews) and who will therefore want to avoid working with them. This is the only hoped-for-developing situation whereby (to use that old real estate saying) “time is of the essence”, in my opinion.
        Thanks for the question.

        • Brian,

          Great answers.

          I believe your estimates to my question are likely very good. Not so long ago our Provincial governing authority released one of their announcements regarding the outcomes of a particular number of public complaints, against practitioners. Interestingly the majority of those who were fined were Managing Brokers – the percentage of which would support your hypothesis.

          Brian, your thoughts on CREA are well known. Why didn’t you pursue the Presidency when you were an active member?

          Regards.

          • Alan:
            Thank you for your endorsements.
            To answer your CREA/presidency question: I can only be brutally honest; I am not presidential material as that which would be applied to an organization like CREA. I am not the smartest person out there, but I am smart enough to know myself, and myself is too bluntly opinionated, too grounded in the world of common sense, too reliant upon my own experiences v. the non in-field experiences of committee-speak, too unworried about keeping my place in the mix, too unreservedly disrespectful of willful followers within organizations who say and do anything to further their own personal ladder climbing agendas, and finally, I am too determined to do what I believe to be the right thing to do, immediately, come hell or high water, regarding what an organization like CREA ought to be doing, whether the bureaucrats who currently actually run the outfit like it or not. Ergo, I am the poorest of fits for the current job description, which job description should be that of a real presidency, and not simply that of a yearly turnover faux presidency in name only. I am simply too stand-alone an animal for the likes of the politically correct crowd that constitutes the gutless tribal mindset of CREA. I don’t believe in mindlessly wasting my time, which I would have been doing had I owned a large enough ego to think that I would have had even the remotest chance of blending in with the clique and rising slowly like bread dough within the CREA in-crowd ranks. I don’t, however, believe my fifteen-minute episodes devoted to opining herein to be wasted.
            What CREA needs as its ‘real’ what should be a five-year-term president is someone from without the in-house crowd (a gunslinger from out’a town, to use a politically incorrect term) who has no in-house loyalties, who knows how to recognize and fire incompetents and thence re hire folks with gobs of real-world industry-related experience and backbone who will actually do what is required to promote the interests of professionalism and the actual professionals who ‘do’ populate the ranks of fee-paying members. The Neville Chamberlain’esque here-today-gone-tomorrow pseudo-leaders the CREAcrats regularly regurgitate and thence control like puppets nowadays are an ongoing joke.
            I know that my answers to questions and my general opinions are very long-winded herein, but I like to explain the “why’s” of what I believe to be true. It’s who I am. This was the way I practiced as a Realtor. I don’t care if I am liked or not (it’s a very refreshing way to be) which makes me a poor fit for bureaucratic politics.
            Regards

  4. “The whole process needs to be turned inside-out, and the incompetents/amateurs need to be kept out. Real estate needs to become a true profession that operates for the benefit of the public, as well as for the practicing professionals.” Brian M. is quite correct with the aforesaid quote, however, I would also add that we have an experienced group of “incompetents” who also need to be thrown out.

    When I find myself dealing with a newbie, or a “top producer”, I honestly can’t say that I have higher expectations of the latter, than I do the former. When I take over an expired listing that had previously been in the hands of a “top producer” – who even has been around longer than myself – I expect to find mistakes in the previous version of the listing, and usually do. A property that I recently took over was incorrectly mapped and also contained two significant mistakes, by way of omission.

    There are a lot of good comments here from the submitters. Much has been said elsewhere on this subject. There really can’t be an argument for not disclosing and letting a buyer or seller client know what the status is of a practitioner. But in addition, the Managing Broker is the one who is responsible to supervise his or her salespeople. Perhaps this discussion should really metamorphose into one about the extent that Managing Brokers really supervise their sales staff?

    What I took away from Marty Douglas’ previous column on this subject, was that his policy of the subject of “part-timers” was: not to have a policy. I’m not sure where Phil Kasurak obtained his “20% of a registrant’s success.” statistic, but his point is fundamentally correct. The essence of Phil Kasurak’s message is exactly why we can’t be a professional industry, in the present tense.

  5. I work Full Time in this industry, in my opinion this element is one of the FOUNDATIONS of professionalism and relevance, not only for us but for our industry as a whole…….
    I agree that the Broker/Owner has great power to ensure quality of their workforce, as Tina has commented.
    Sincerely,
    Rita Giglione, Broker
    Royal LePage Exceptional Real Estate Services
    http://www.ritagiglione.com

  6. My friends & colleagues, I hear you loud & clear. However, the reality of our business is that training & knowledge accounts for less that 20% of a registrant’s success. The big number is in relationships and networking. I know of several colleagues whom network within their other employment be it firefighters, EMS personnel, factory workers or white collar management. I’m sure that employer is getting ripped off for the time the registrant takes during their employment to deal with or talk real estate. But it’s a fact that cannot be denied. Knowledge does not always transfer to money or success. A constant flow of good quality new or referred business does. Further, this Pandora’s box, like 100% commissions, discounts & shadow listings has been open for some time & the odds of putting it back in the box are as the saying goes…slim to none & Slim has left town.

  7. The regulator can’t reasonably be expected to monitor the full or part time status of the registrant. The broker of record is entrusted with the task. As long as we have massive warehouses of registrants with unrealistic management ratios, we will continue to see this dilution of our our profession. The 100% commission structure is the short sighted gift that keeps on giving. From a brokers perspective, the 100% structure is analogous to the seller who wants you to list for 1% and advertise their property every week until it sells. Brokers need to have a reasonable budget for training and skill development and appropriate management ratios. The saturation we are seeing is a direct result of this unfortunate evolution.

    • Unfortunately Tina, under the current umbrella of Commissions R’ Us/move, move, move product, most brokerages are interested in only one thing…income…not outflow of capital. Brokerages rely on the steady stream of wishful-thinking panning-for-gold chaff-sifters who will produce the odd deal here and there on a rotating basis of here-today, gone-tomorrow participation for their incomes. It is the high turnover rate that fuels this system. The faces producing the commissions, old or new, don’t matter to many brokerages. Same thing goes for ORE’s coffers. A brokerage operating with nothing but the never ending stream of failures-in-waiting will often produce as much revenue over a year as will a brokerage that has a few veterans, the odd “top producer” etc. as well as the usual bevy of newbies. I spoke with a broker a couple of years ago who told me that even though the top producers had left his office, the number of deals transacted thereafter had remained the same…but…the big splits had not been needed to be paid out because most of the deals were done by newbies who did only a few deals each, thus they were paid on the start-up 60-40 split v. the 90-10 split that the top producers regularly earned after reaching the bar split numbers by mid year or earlier. It turned out that the subject brokerage was actually making ‘more’ money due to this situation whilst doing the same number of deals as before. Brokerages ‘love’ part-timers! The more the better!…for the brokerages bottom lines that is.
      Take away the easy access for-just-anyone to a big commission producing sales job and replace it with a difficult access to a fee/salary paying profession and watch the number of gold-diggers evaporate. Then watch the brokerages compete for the best, most professional consultants/advocates by offering them higher fee structures and/or salaries, but no commission splits, because the brokerages will be paid via up-front retainers, and thence set fees and/or hourly rates for their expertise by consumers, just as lawyers are paid. Expected sale prices will have less to do with the rates to be charged, but difficulties expected to be experienced along the way will have more to do with the time lines and rates to be charged.
      The whole process needs to be turned inside-out, and the incompetents/amateurs need to be kept out. Real estate needs to become a true profession that operates for the benefit of the public, as well as for the practicing professionals. RECO can demand that a candidate sign a document stating his/her intention to operate as a full-time professional before being granted a licence, and if said candidate is found out to have lied, or to have been otherwise led astray by a complicit brokerage, the contract will have been violated, and therefore, due to said candidate’s proven propensity to misrepresent one’s self, grounds for dismissal from the vocation will be warranted. We don’t need members of the liars’ club (brokerages or Realtors) to be kept in the position of handling the largest transactions that most people will ever make throughout their lifetimes by ORE oversight officials. That is what is happening right now, and it needs to be stopped, for who are these ORE officials really there to protect, commissioned sales people, or the general at-a-disadvantage public which pays the freight? The answer seems obvious to me.
      Note: During my first half year in real estate (1980) I had done extremely well, making twice the board average yearly income within my first three months. I asked my broker to put me on a reasonable salary instead of the then 50/50 commission split. If I did not produce up to the standard of my income he could then fire me. He refused. I mention this because many years later I became licensed as a financial planner with Investors Group in Toronto. That was a commissioned sales/advisory position. After having successfully completed a written in-house pre-licensing course consisting of fifty-questions-in-fifteen-minutes general knowledge exam, and thereafter multiple interviews by different office holders within the organization, all of which were designed to establish said general knowledge and suitability for the position, and thence months later, the licensing exam, I was hired. I was immediately put on a salary of $52,000. per year. No pressure was put upon me to sell, sell, sell. (This was during the early 1990’s) I worked hard because I felt an obligation to the manager who had put his faith in me and who had put his reputation on the line by hiring me under those conditions. I out-produced my salary for the first three months, but I then quit because I could not square telling people what I thought they should do with their money re investments for the future with the fact that I had no idea about what the future held. I am still friends with that manager.
      Real estate transactors should be held to the same standard as fee-for-advice/non-commission financial advisors and/or lawyers who advise people about their investments and/or legal situations respectively…for a salary/fee…and not for all-or-nothing commissions. There are many Realtors who currently work to that standard right now, I am sure, but most commissioned Realtors will not agree with me, because their personal agendas are what matter most to them, understandably. The general public (once educated about the realities of the current real estate commission system and the fallible tendencies of too many practitioners who tilt toward conflict-of-interest behind-the-scenes behaviour) will, I believe, agree with my position.
      The questions now become these: What is more important in the greater scheme of things; the interests of ingrained sales types, or the public at large, and, where does the real estate practitioner fit into the equation (depending upon one’s philosophy) regarding whether being a Realtor should simply be a money-making gambit or a widely respected profession?

      • Good points. We are in the age of commoditized, part time Realtors. The spits are so aggressive that for a brokerage to be sustainable, it often has to hire or acquire above it’s ability or appetite to responsibly manage. How do you have a “widely respected profession” with this current model? I agree that we should be doing things such as charging retainers as any other profession for advice and access to our expensive, intellectual property. There are all kinds of creative strategies that should be emerging. There needs to be a shift in our collective mindset. Rather than focus on work here for “$50 month, 200 a deal” mentality, we should be looking for ways to elevate our profession by expecting more from the brokerage houses and leadership by acknowledging the role that the broker should play. The brokers are reduced to being onramps for unmonitored registrants to speed head on into unsuspecting consumers and dilute the efforts of those who are the real deal. Every driver is entitled to drive but the car has to be roadworthy and that comes with a cost.

  8. Interesting that the photo accompanying Stan’s piece has sand as its center piece. The time piece is simply a formed glass vessel that is useless without the sand. Thus, it is the sand that does the work and constitutes the passage of time.
    A part-time Realtor is like the empty glass vessel. Without the sand, in this case, the foregoing industry related education and pre requisite industry-related experience, in combination with planned full-time devotion to the vocation, the hollow vessel remains simply a shell of a Realtor, looking like a Realtor on the outside, complete with licence, cards and internet presence, but containing a vacuum nevertheless.
    Here’s hoping that RECO has lots of sand bags ready to hold back the floods of wannabe ill-prepared part-timers looking for quick easy bucks on the side.

    • We all know we cannot stop someone to become a part time professional
      But at least two rules needs to make and implement
      1. Have to have disclosure sign by their client’s. If they’re doing this profession as part time.
      2. There should be rule they must have to do (for example green for vegi and red for non veg) on their for sale sign, business card’s and any other advertisement.
      So client’s knows who they dealing with either full time professional or part timer.

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