By Jeff Stern
We just don’t know how lucky we are in Winnipeg.
In Winnipeg, we have 1,800 or so registered Realtors, members of WinnipegRealtors, none of whom are allowed to have an occupation outside of real estate. They, as well as all Manitoba registrants, also must attend mandatory continuing education every single year to keep on top of legal and regulatory changes that ultimately can impact home buyers and sellers.
Sounds good, right? Like the province is making sure you’re getting trained, dedicated professionals? That’s not how it is in the rest of the country though!
Throughout Canada, people can be real estate agents part-time and serve coffee at a local Starbucks or drive a cab on the side. There, it’s possible to be treated as just another job. How they juggle their professional responsibilities and get all the paperwork done is beyond me. At their convenience between jobs, perhaps? I don’t know. They may be good at what they do, but are they a dedicated professional someone can rely on? In Manitoba at WinnipegRealtors, being a Realtor is a profession we take seriously.
“Why is that lucky for us?” someone asked me.
I answered by telling them about the time I was shopping for a fridge. I went to a big multi-product place and spoke with the overbearing saleswoman there. I made it clear that I had the exact measurements of the space it needed to fit into and of the space it needed to get through to make it to its spot in the kitchen.
“It’ll fit,” she said, showing me the “one for me”.
I looked at the towering double-wide monster and knew at first glance there was no bloody way it would get in.
“I’m telling you, it’ll fit.” She was adamant.
I told her the measurements again. Frustrated with my unwillingness to go along to get along, she grabbed a measuring tape and held it out to me.
My arm was in a sling from having just broken my shoulder. I was still in a lot of pain. I wondered if she was crazy or just blind, if she was expecting me to do all the bending and measuring, which really is her job to begin with. She was a pushy thing though, and before I knew it I was holding one end of the tape while she held the other.
After confirming its measurements, she insisted, “See? It will fit!”
I still didn’t think it would but was argument weary and decided to trust her. Besides, she should know what she’s talking about, right? She was the sales manager, after all.
Later that day, the delivery guy arrived. Before unloading, he came in to size up the delivery path.
He walked in, barely glimpsed the waiting space, and simply said, “Won’t fit.”
“She said it would,” I said.
“I don’t care what the…”
Well, he used some expletives to describe his feelings about the sales manager, and his desire to not discuss that or anything else with her.
The fact is, she sold rugs, furniture, lamps and appliances, specializing in none of them. Clearly she didn’t know what the heck she was doing.
There is an element of convenience, I suppose, in big-box service centres that let you buy socks and underwear while getting a root canal, but dedicated specialists get it done with precision and professional quality.
That’s what the Realtor structure in Manitoba offers homeowners and home buyers that the rest of Canada isn’t guaranteed – dedicated professionals who make real estate their single focus and career. The most knowledgeable service you’ll ever get is from someone who specializes in what they’re doing.
Update, August 8, 2018: This story was updated from the original version, which stated the part-time rule applied to all Manitoba Realtors. In fact it only applies to WinnipegRealtors members.