Happy New Year!

Imagine you’re a civilian. You are meeting a real estate licensee for the first time, considering whether or not to list your home and then perhaps buy another. Because you owe all of them money, you can’t ask friends or family for a recommendation so you simply call a local brokerage – you’d seen a couple of signs – and ask to speak to an agent. You have a brief chat, exchange names and arrange an appointment. You Google the agent, find a couple of generic references and then connect to their website for a quick review.

During the interview, because this isn’t your first rodeo, you ask, “Are you a full-time agent?” They answer, “Well no, I have a part-time job as a Walmart greeter. I find the high traffic count beneficial to my real estate clients.”

What do you do?



Let’s back up and have another run at the same scenario only this time it is your first rodeo and you don’t ask the question about full-time employment. A few days after the sign goes up and the agents’ tour and open house have circled the drain, you have a 7 pm reservation at a new restaurant across town and the hostess looks familiar. It’s your agent in another “high-traffic” scenario. To make matters worse, they don’t recognize you, you get a lousy table after a half-hour wait and the food doesn’t merit the delay. The good news: attached to the cheque is your agent’s card – apparently her idea of networking. The bad news: the fortune cookie message reads, “That wasn’t chicken!”

What do you do?

All this rhetoric is prompted by last month’s REM column by Michel Friedman, Give a person a fish, in which he suggested part-time agents must disclose to their buyers and sellers their employment status. All hell broke loose in the readers’ comments section but I leave that for your entertainment.

Michel’s suggestion that part-time agents should disclose made me think about my office. I have one agent who has another job, several on pensions, two volunteer firefighters and one who gets a small stipend to rescue idiots on the water. Those are the agents with other “jobs” known to me and all participate in the day-to-day business of real estate as though they were full-time. In fact only one would meet the test of “part time” as is generally accepted.

And that is the problem. If we want them to disclose, we have to define.

Let’s stop there for a second. Do we want them to disclose? Must they disclose? Agency requires that we disclose anything that might influence a client’s decision and you could argue that the seller’s listing decision could be influenced by the agent’s day job. The Code of Ethics to which we subscribe says in Article 2 that a Realtor “shall fully disclose . . . . the role and nature of the service the Realtor will be providing.”

That seems clear to me but probably debatable to others. Article 12 requires us to “render a skilled and conscientious service.” Well, I’m sure you know full-time agents who can’t jump that bar so there’s little help from Article 12 until after the fact when we are pursuing discipline.

What do the regulators say? They agree that definition is troublesome. Two sales per year in commercial sales can be a full-time job. Realtors who are married to a high-income spouse can withdraw for extended vacations or market fluctuations. Those who are stepping towards retirement may reduce their involvement to old clients or friends and family.

With part-time real estate agents, if “part time” means another source of income, then pensioners (private, public or CPP) would be included. That clearly would impact many licensees who have joined the industry following a long career in a pensionable job. And what about alimony?

A non-starter definition.

Okay, so what about a job that pays an income and takes time away from real estate? Closer, but still we have politicians, writers, artists and entertainers who are licensees. In the past I have had licensees who were municipal counsellors and reserve military personnel. None of them set the world on fire but more importantly, they didn’t set my hair on fire! But did they disclose to clients?

Probably not.

Seven hundred words later I’m of the opinion that part-time agents are a red herring. They are no different than the agent who spends eight or more hours a day in our business doing the crossword puzzle, waiting for the phone to ring or napping at an open house. They may accidentally get a deal or two a year but they are likely getting them from family or other part-time agents. Brokerages will be known by the people they keep.

Part-time agents, by any definition, are easy to outperform. “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.” – Shahir Zag

By the way – CREA’s Code of Ethics says thou shalt not disparage the sheep. To my mind, suggesting another Realtor is part time might attract unwanted attention. A clever riposte, “I didn’t know they were out of jail!” or “Good for them, that methadone treatment is rough!” is always funnier in rehearsal than at the hearing.

Hope to see you at the Banff Western Connection, Jan. 29 – 31, the best little real estate conference in North America. There’s still time to register at www.banffwesternconnection.com. See you there!

 

Marty Douglas, irregular REM columnist, is a past chair of the Real Estate Council of B.C. He currently sits as a director of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, serves as an advisor to the Real Estate Council of B.C. and is on CREA’s Realtor Code Task Force. He is an associate broker with Re/Max Mid-Island Realty on Vancouver Island, B.C.

43 COMMENTS

  1. In the interest of full disclosure: should part-time agents have a special specific designation, identified on their business cards or some such. That would explain perhaps why agents cannot be reached sometimes for hours (or days) on end in the middle of offers with tight irrevocable, and or to confirm showing appointments and such?

    Although this is an archived article, it is not so old and there are likely more current ones, but it presents an overview for would-be part time agents to consider. There is one local Toronto agent instance where the long term employee was told by her official job at the bank that she had to give up being a real estate agent or she would lose her job. Last I saw her she was still working at the bank but was then located at a different branch. She said she had put her licence on hold.

    I was searching for something totally unrelated and this Star article appeared. Google searches can produce uncanny results.

    If you are a part time agent did you notify your full time job people, before you wasted your hard-earned money taking courses in preparation for becoming an agent, that you were undertaking an adjunct career?

    The question is: you are a full-time agent but want to take on a part time job in another field. No one questions the reverse procedure, oddly enough. There are no real estate rules that say you are not permitted to represent your clients on a part time basis. But should your part time representation be a required obligation to acknowledge to your clients.

    https://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2012/02/02/scotiabank_employee_fired_over_parttime_job.html

    Carolyne L 🍁

  2. In recent years I observed someone take a full position at the company I was working at while she was hanging her license full time at REMAX (which always had the perception of professionalism). I would observe her at her desk doing real estate work while collecting a paycheck from the company we worked at. I sure would not want to be paying her a full real estate commission knowing I was only getting a sliver of her attention. That said, I think the fact she had to take a job speaks for how good of a realtor she must be but the unsuspecting public would not know this. It used to be that, in BC, a realtor could not have another job perhaps that is the way it should be once again. Pensions are fine but if someone is engaged in other work that does not allow them to be focused on marketing my property (or finding me a home) I think they should move over and let committed full time realtors do the job.

  3. I agree with Sabine, this conversation is like nerds arguing over who’s force is greater, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader!. In fact if you go by the numbers, over 80% of the industry would be considered part time.

  4. Frankly, these endless discussions about part timers are rather pointless. There is not one kind of part timer. I am a “part time” agent but do not have another job. My clients know that I do not work 60-80 hours a week – by choice. I am knowledgeable, dedicated to my clients and always go the extra mile (s). I have one of the highest commission averages in my office and deserve every penny I make. And I don’t hide behind “fake” names, because I have nothing to hide . A great day to all !

    • Hi Sabine:
      I do not believe these discussions about part-timers to be pointless at all because they draw out arguments pro and con that might otherwise go unheeded. I believe that readers need to understand the ramifications of the responsibilities that fall upon the shoulders of real estate salespeople. Full-time responsibilities and full-time adherence to the concept of professionalism cannot, in my opinion, be met by the vast majority of part-timers’ efforts. Yes, there are self-described part-timers, such as yourself, who are more efficient with their time than most full-timers, who mostly choose who they work with and who are able to accomplish in twenty hours of real time service interspersed throughout a typical work week v. what others might take forty hours to accomplish. Thus, I would not rank you as a part-timer at all, but more accurately I would rank you as a full-timer whose only job (real estate transactions) is carried out as a methodically acting Realtor who efficiently controls her hours of operation and thus allows for more leisure time (likely thinking about her future real estate strategies during some of that leisure time) unfettered with opposing responsibilities elsewhere in the workforce.
      My beef is with the part-timer who turns his/her real estate responsibility clock on and off on a regular pre-determined basis in order to pay premium attention to his/her guaranteed income job, even if it is a minimum wage job. You clearly do not fall into that category. The part-timers that I have a beef with are the cherry-pickers, trying for big commission scores here-and-there on a hit-and-miss basis at the expense of misguided clients who think that they are paying full-time commissions to ‘professional’ operatives who likely have, by way of omission of the facts, misled their clients into believing that they have hired the best Realtors out there. Does anyone really believe that consumers regularly willingly hire less that what they believe to be the best? Of course not, and if they do then those consumers place very little value in Realtors in the first place, which we all very well know that many (most?) consumers do just that. Why?…because many (most?) consumers know that many Realtors are part-timers, thus…are you ready for it?…personable script-spewing amateurs.
      The problem with ORE is not people like you Sabine. You are very likely a member of a small minority of operatives within the real estate transaction industry, be they self-described as part-timers or full-timers, who actually cares about what you do for a living v. those caring only about how much they can easily milk the easily accessed commission-extracting-system for on the side. The foundational problem lies within the decades-old mindset pervading the industry that ‘anyone’ can become a professional Realtor when the reality of decades of public mistrust of the industry says otherwise. The truth of the matter is that very few out there are fit to become ‘professional’ operatives deserving of the label “REALTOR”. Thus the never-ending waves of part-timers continue to crash upon the beaches of rocky outcrops (where warm, smooth sandy beaches were held up by recruiters as being their rewards for taking the plunge, part-time or otherwise), only to become quickly spent and washed back out to sea from whence they came. No problem, except, in the interim many innocent, trusting but misguided clients, knowingly or unknowingly, suffered and continue to suffer the repercussions of these failures-in-waiting due to their representatives’ part-time experience, part-time knowledge, part-time attitude and overall part-time incompetent attention to what should have been their full-time responsibilities. ORE needs to be governed in such a way that the interests of the public (which pays the bills on a full-time basis) is served not by endless minor-league try-outs in the majors, but by major leaguers who have taken the time and put in the effort to become major league-ready BEFORE setting foot on the field. Once that standard has been reached, of course one is able to control his/her hours of operation, provided that one is not responsible to another employer first and foremost.
      You sound like you work like I worked…smart…not stupid. But first you have to ‘be’ smart. You know what they say…”Ya can’t fix stupid!”.
      There are too many stupido short-cut artists being allowed into ORE. Time to raise the entry bar from the basement floor to the second storey. Doing so would dissuade most gamblers who muse “Hey, let’s give flogging real estate a whirl!” from spending the time, money, and most important, sustained effort re proper education requirements (real estate university status, if wannabe’s have proper pre-existing pre-qualifying credentials in their possession) just to be part-timers on-the-side who will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public by commission-hungry sales recruiters
      I know one thing for sure though; the fat cat ORE bureaucrats who live off of the never-ending stream of fees paid by the amateur try-out artists will not agree with the truth of the matter, because they only look out for themselves, no matter what their latest pronouncements to the contrary might suggest. Money, as always, talks. It will take the actions of outsiders who do not benefit from the old set-up to derail the comfy gravy train.
      I hope you did not find my words pointless Sabine. I don’t care if real part-timers and other incompetents do.

      • Brian,

        On the subject of ORE and the motivation of fees. I believe that there are 9500 individuals who are licensed to practice dentistry in Ontario. What are the odds that more people need help with a real estate transaction than they do with their teeth, to the point where it would even begin to justify the number of individuals whom are licensed real estate practitioners, in Ontario. Your point on this subject should be well taken.

      • If you put it “this way”, Brian…… Your response is not pointless at all, it is very eloquent. Few people see the difference between “part timer” and “part timer”…hence I always get a little annoyed if they are all treated the same !

  5. Firefighters, Police and Emergency medical personal all have one key thing in common, they must be prepared to respond to an emergency or urgent situation. The public hires all of these individuals indirectly and we pay them with our tax dollars. However, when we need them we have no expectation, nor do we have any entitlement to expect that any particular individual will show up or be there when we need to avail ourselves of their services – notwithstanding, a few exceptions.
    For a full-time real estate practitioner a basic regular work-week is: Sunday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and perhaps even longer – at least, from an availability perspective. Similar to those professionals I referred to in my first paragraph, a real estate practitioner must recognize that as integral to what we do, we must be ready to respond to our urgent situations. When an offer must be written, or presented, or a home needs to be shown so that a buyer client doesn’t miss out – these events occur much like an emergency where the timing isn’t usually predictable. However, unlike those professionals whom I mentioned in my first paragraph, when a real estate consumer hires a real estate practitioner, they do have an entitlement to expect that the person whom they hired will be available to render the key service they were hired for, personally.
    When a gambler plays the Roulette Wheel the odds of winning depend on how many of the numbers the player covers off when the bet. There are thirty-eight numbered slots in total. If the player bets on numbers 1 to 18, the odds of wining are: 47.37%, if the player covers numbers 13 to 24 the odds of wining drop down to: 31.58%. When a player only bets on one spot the odds of wining are: 2.63%! While the number of slots on the Roulette Wheel exceed the number of days in a month, the hours in each day also need to be factored into the Real Estate Roulette Wheel. Being a part-time real estate practitioner is like only being able to cover off certain numbers on a Roulette Wheel, but unlike the Roulette Wheel we don’t know when the ball (offer) is going to be thrown onto the table. If only one offer needs to dealt with or one home needs to be shown over the course of a month – what are the odds that a part-time REALTOR will be available to render their key service? I can’t answer that question, but perhaps a professional gambler could!

  6. I don’t think disclosure is needed. If it is then it should be disclose if you have 4 kids. That’s a full time job. What about playing the stock market or money trading market 6 hours a day. It is a red herring. A part time realtor will/ can only take on as much work as they can handle and then they will have to quit the part time job. Some realtors may have other businesses that they run. May be in construction for example. fields than enhance their ability and knowledge in regards to real estate.

    Then other are full time and utterly incompetent. I am an associate broker and took the extra time to learn a little more an what bothers me the most is that every second offer that comes in says CO/LS as vendor which is not legal and will not stand up in court. These realtors should disclose their incompetence if part time realtors should disclose there status.

    In my opinion the market will weed out those that cant sell. Better to let sleeping dogs lie.

    • The realtor owes it to the client that is hiring a professional realtor to be there for the client, and not run off to a second job the minute the listing is signed. Your comments above are lame.

      • Lame comments are exactly what I would expect from a guy who thinks he’s bright enough to grasp elements of Constitutional Law, but yet can’t grasp the difference in the meanings of the words: competence verses availability.

    • Chucky B
      Let’s face it my friend; part-time Realtors are interested in only one thing; they want full-time commissions, not full-time work. That is why they get drawn into the business in the first place. Where else can someone who is working at unskilled things like serving tables, washing dishes, driving a delivery truck, working at an auto assembly plant or other factory, telemarketing at some boring office or who is otherwise working at any minimum wage job due to a lack of education and/or meaningful real-life experience etc., get to go to real estate classes (hoping that a few months thereafter to be guiding uneducated consumers through the most expensive and most important financial transactions of their lives in trade for big fat commissions) often with a minimalist education (maybe just scraped by at that after multiple attempts to pass grade ten or eleven) and expect to instantly be labelled a professional operative upon passing the real estate courses’ exams via penning memorized responses to forewarned-about-exam-questions by instructors who need to display a suitable passing percentage of students to keep their part-time teaching jobs? The money sucking politics of this scam are outrageous to anyone in possession of a circumspect mind, sadly of which said mindset does not exist within the ranks of most part-timers or their bosses (and some real estate school teachers) who rely upon the monthly incomes that endlessly emanate from the unprepared incompetent but good-at-memorized-script-spewing failures-in-waiting.
      The only part-timers who are potentially generally competent are former displayed competent full-timers who choose to slowly wind down their businesses in preparation for retirement, or, who absolutely don’t need the money and operate their businesses solely for the pleasure of serving chosen clients well, no matter how much money they might earn. I would argue that this latter group may constitute the best amongst the current breed of licensee.
      When I was in the business during the eighties and thence from 2008 to 2012, how much money I would earn was not an issue with me as long as I earned enough to keep things flowing along as before. I did absolutely no marketing. I spent many hours manning a kiosk in a mall though, and that is where I met most of my future clients. I did not have to light the world on fire, but I did resolve to always do what was right for those who chose me as their representative, or in my mind, who chose me to work as their advocate. My reward was happy, well-served clients first, income second. We do not need “hungry” commissioned sales types, especially hungry part-time learning-to-be-gushy salespeople types in this business.
      I would argue that a hungry part-timer is more prone to saying and/or doing whatever it takes, legal or otherwise, immoral or otherwise, unethical or otherwise, in order to close deals, simply because he/she has less exposure to and time to devote to other as- yet uncharted, unlined-up, unsecured clients if a one-and-only current client waves bye-bye, thereby taking his/her potential commission with him/her. Many part-timers therefore can be generally categorized as being potentially more desperate than established, competent full-timers in their quest to bolster their already insufficient incomes. Incompetent full-timers are another issue altogether.
      By the way, it is “…those ‘who’ can’t sell”, not those ‘that’ can’t sell. And simply ‘selling’ is not what this business should be about. The world is full of sales hacks selling carpet, cars, stoves, jeans, weight-loss pills, mutual funds, snake oil remedies etc. Their collective mantra is “SELL, SELL, SELL” to whomever walks through their doors, whether the donkeys need their goods or not, whether they can afford their goods or not. Part-time sales people are not what professional Realtors should be.
      Full-time-only Realtors should be licensed as:
      “REAL ESTATE ADVOCATE LICENSED Professionals…”REAL” Professionals.
      What happened to Albert Einstein? He is much smarter than Alfred E. Newman.

      • I don’t usually provide an opinion in these matters, but this time, especially after reading this garbage, I feel the need to.

        I work full-time in, believe it or not, NOT a minimum wage job. I have an incredible career with a university education, and I have provided for myself and two daughters, who are currently educated, independent women who are quite capable of taking care of themselves. My background is legal and communications. I have always had a keen interest in real estate, and three years ago, studied to become a real estate professional (and received my license after my first exam, I might add, with a very respectable grade). I have worked for the past two years as a part-time realtor, and I have watched, with disgust, the actions of some ‘full-time’ agents. I have been fortunate enough to work for a company that recognizes my worth in the industry. And here are some things about me, yes, a part-time agent: I am intelligent, hardworking, extremely sensitive to the needs of individuals; I am an extremely good people-reader, I am competent, confident, and my clients trust me explicitly. I have never had an issue because of the fact that I work full-time in another industry. I disclose the fact, and ensure my clients that their needs will be met. And they always are. Period. I have a very good working relationship with my manager in my full-time position, who accommodates my needs in the real estate industry. It’s all about give and take. I probably work harder at my real estate business any given day than a lot of ‘full-time’ agents. And here is what I have encountered with many full-time agents: a sense of pushiness, desperation (I’m not desperate, thank you, I have a very comfortable income); practically begging; it’s quite sickening; a lot of time wasted ‘showing off’, trying to prove that they have made a lot of money – I’ll continue to drive my Malibu, thank you, and will not lose sleep at night because of my financial situation….); I’ve witnessed lying, ‘stretching the truth’….anything that needs to be done in order for them to get that deal….

        So before you decide that part-time agents are not what professional Realtors should be, I would suggest many full-time agents (who tried everything possible to make a living right down to the used car salesman…and just couldn’t ‘make it’) could learn something from an agent who works with morals.

        • JP:
          Thank you for your input.
          You have partially proved some of my points.
          You are not desperate for money. You have a University education, which suggests you have discipline. You come to the table with a good moral compass. You have a legal background. How many part-timers do you think possess the background that you possess? I would peg it at less than five percent.
          Of course you have the makings of a good Realtor, part-time or full-time, because being a good Realtor is important to you above and beyond how much money you earn. But I dare say that you would be an even better Realtor if you devoted ‘all’ of your available working time to real estate by virtue of the simple reality that you would amass related in-the-field experience very much faster. You simply have not been exposed to many glitches yet due to your short time in the business. Kudos to you though for your displayed attitude regarding desiring to be a professional operative first and foremost whilst on the job, and for recognizing and expressing your disgust with the less than desirable attitudes of many full-timers. As I said before the problem with the vast number of incompetent full-timers is quite another issue altogether. You are obviously one of the rare part-timers with the right stuff who I alluded to as being those who possess what the industry needs within its ranks. I don’t blame you for getting your knickers in a knot because you obviously do not see yourself as fitting into the category of part-timers that I described herein. Now you know how it feels for the rest of the good guys and gals when the entire industry gets slagged by folks like me due to the behaviours of the amateurs and otherwise incompetents looking out for only two things, themselves and their bank accounts.

        • Who is saying that part time realtors are incompetent? Why is this coming from many of you that are writing on this forum? The point here is simple – competent or not, the public that is hiring a realtor should know if that realtor is not going to be available in some situations, and should then be able to make up their mind whether to go with someone that is available part time for them, or someone that is available full time for them. I don’t know about you, but if I hired you to be my realtor, and then found out that the house I wanted to put an offer in on was getting two other offers that were to be presented on a Tuesday afternoon at 3:00pm, but you were in the middle of a 4 on- 4 off, as a police officer, A – I don’t think your police boss would be too happy if you ran off to deal with an offer when there was a medical emergency to attend, and B. I don’t think your buyer that was hoping to buy this home would be too happy to learn that they lost out on this home because you were at a police emergency, and not attending to their needs as promised when you started working with them. Sure, you might be able to have someone else cover for you, but again, that is fine if you have disclosed to the client that you have a second job, and this may happen at times while working for them. This has nothing to do with being competent or not, but all to do with not misleading the public, and letting the public make a choice by knowing all of the facts. And sure, the arguers will say, hey, the realtor might have to pick up their child from school, or the realtor might have to attend a function, or something. Well, that is part of the job, and the full time realtor sometimes has to make those sacrifices with the job that are not always the best for the family. However, the part time realtor that has another job has no choice in this matter. They cannot leave their other job to attend to urgent real estate matters. Hopefully this explains things a bit better. Simply put – the point is to disclose to the clients that hire us, that we are working only in Real Estate, or that we have another person paying us wages in another working capacity. I am not sure why this is such a hard idea to grasp. I am now done reacting to any comments on this site, as I have way too many other busy full time realtor chores to attend to. Also, I am not one to reply to forums in the first place, so this is a first for me, and I have taken up way too much time with an argument that is a no brainer to most logical people.

          • Dale:
            Would you agree that being a part-timer who does not disclose his/her status to a potential client is acting in an incompetent manner, thus rendering said registrant as incompetent?
            “Incompetent”: Without adequate knowledge, ability, ‘fitness’ etc. (Websters)
            A part-timer who does not disclose his/her status is misleading a consumer, thus he/she is not ‘fit’ to be a professional Realtor. Thus he/she is incompetent. This is simple straight forward linear reasoning for which there is no defense.
            How many part-timers do you think disclose their status to potential clients knowing full well that said disclosures will seriously jeopardize their chances at securing listings or purchasers? I would bet the majority. Do you think that ORE (read RECO) should be dealing with the realities of the majority or the small minority, and for whose benefits…part-time registrants’ or consumers’. If you answered the former then I would say that you have an incompetent attitude and spin on the subject matter. But I don’t think that based upon your words herein you would lean toward to the former.
            The vast majority of part-timers may thus be labelled as incompetent in the minds of consumers once they (consumers) find out the truth (if they ever do find out) about their real estate ‘professional’ representatives’ part-time work habits/status. Competence begins and ends with up-front honesty my friend, something that I believe to be sadly lacking with most part-timers in search of easy full-time commissions.
            Put your indignant persona away and jump back into the discussion.

          • Brian,

            The part-time practitioner isn’t incompetent just because he/she doesn’t disclose; they’re incompetent if they’re too stupid to grasp the ethical argument.

          • Or too slippery to acknowledge awareness of the ethical argument.
            (I can’t believe I responded in ten words or less.)

          • Exactly. But lets not lose site of the fact that the primary responsibility to decide what is acceptable verses unacceptable within the brokerage, falls squarely on the shoulders of the managing broker – pursuant to his obligations to supervise his salespeople. And when you’ve deemed something to be a total non-issue you’ve nullified even the perception of supervision – contrary to what is required within our regulated industry!

      • Brian,

        Chucky B., is even an Associate Broker, so he says. Our Chucky apparently sees a connection between having an appointment with a medical professional, wherein the service may be fulfilled at said first appointment, and if not, at a second scheduled appointment, as being fundamentally similar to a first appointment with a real estate professional where services are discussed or contracted for but seldom rendered. And you wonder why some people want to sell privately.

      • Einstein was ( relatively) offensive to one person who wrote a long winded inflammatory response which was removed by moderator – and to which I therefore could not repy – so Newman was the appropriate response. I am sure the fellow kept reading.

        I would like to ad that all work is honorable so I would not speak ill of all the hard working folks out there who provide our commissions.

        Personally – I do work as an internet tech occasionally . It’s a job I can any time anywhere there is a computer. It does not require me to be anywhere but online and is perfect for minutes that are unaccounted for.

        I am working on some online marketing ideas which I wont get into here ( who needs the competition) that can provide an income stream without overhead.

        The fact is that some forms of dual employment are mutually inclusive – like my example of the doctor/ dentist a few lines below. If you are able to go so show a home or get a listing instantly then your second form of employment does not interfere. So if you second job is internet marketing and you can put it aside at your leisure or if you are a realtor in construction for example – no sweat.

        I must ad also that in my experience those that object the most are those who just don’t have the skills or ability to do anything else. In otherwords anger and jelousy. These folks will refuse the acknowledge the concept of mutual inclusivity of certain complimentary forms of financial endeavor/employment. . I have run in to these people and they cant upload a picture to interface by themselves and struggle with using an email account.

        The fact is that for me doing stuff online that can make money is not work. It is my pleasure. I don’t have a boat of a cabin for the weekend – I have my computer. And the online world is full of opportunity to sell products with no overhead. Real estate is not the only marketable product.

        One thing is for sure. If the perfect ap one day enters the market that seriously changes the real estate industry – like voice over ip has changed the telephone industry – it wont be invented by a “full time realtor”
        it will come from the efforts of someone who has knowledge in multiple fields.

        • Chucky B:
          My initial response to your piece was removed by Jim the Editor guy due to my last sentence only, which was used to take a personal shot at you. I have been known to do that from time to time. I just can’t help it sometimes. Everything above that was kosher my friend. It’s your fault for being so slow on the draw that you could not get your rebuttal posted.
          Your ignorance of the reality about what is required to actually carry out the functions of a competent Realtor is exposed by your idea that all that Realtors do are get listings and show houses. Then you seem to think that commissions miraculously appear, like icons on your computer. Why don’t you get a real estate licence and give it a whirl. You should be able to rake in a fortune between episodes hawking other stuff on your computer.
          As for your “anger and jealousy’ theory, my background includes:
          New home builder in my father’s construction business.
          Licensed tradesman (after serving a five year apprenticeship, unlike the measly three two week in-class courses required prior to writing the final real estate exam).
          Real Estate Appraiser (affiliated with the Appraisal Institute of Canada).
          Professional Conciliator, TARION Corp.
          Realtor.
          University degree: Major, Political Science.
          I did as well as I wanted to do whilst a Realtor.
          Your idea of selling real estate on-line without any overhead every once-in-awhile like selling widgets is delusional my friend. I think Alfred E. Neuman is indeed an appropriate image to associate your comments herein with.
          Please provide us with your knowledge in multiple fields.

  7. I usually agree with you Marty, but not this time. Regardless of whatever other job the realtor is doing on the side, it is not in the best interest of the client for a realtor to not let the client know that they will be tied up with other obligations for a significant amount of time during a week, and where they will have other duties that will not allow them to full fill their obligations as a realtor, and where they will also be financially compensated. This is not in the best interest of the client – period, and I don’t know how anyone ever thought that it was. Also, what does the realtors other employer think when they get a call in the middle of their other shift to present an offer, or to discuss the listing of a property? Therefore, because the rules are such that a realtor can do other jobs and work part time as a realtor, this should most definitely be disclosed to the client. What is the fear from the part time realtor? That the client may say no, I want a full time realtor? And because the realtor does not have to disclose, then the realtor does not have to bring this up to the client, so they are able to hide behind the fact that they didn’t have to mention it, so they can feel good about themselves for not having to lie? As you can tell, I am not good with this one at all. I feel strongly that it is only fair for all involved, including other realtors, that the part time realtor to have to disclose any job to the client which they are getting paid for as a second job. Plain and simple. That should be the simple question. Are you getting paid by any party other than the Real Estate Commission that you earn? Yes or no. Then the client can make the decision about going with that realtor with all of the cards on the table.

  8. I think that a part-timer should be honest about that fact when interviewing potential sellers whilst hoping to persuade said sellers to list with them for full-time service. Then I think that a part-timer should agree to reduce his/her commission to a percentage below that of what a full-timer would charge.
    Part-time lack-of-devotion time-wise to one’s job should equate to a part-time income. I don’t see how a part-timer can expect a seller to agree to pay a part-timer a full-time commission when said seller can hire a full-timer and expect to pay the same commission as he/she would pay other full-timers…unless…the part-timer in search of full-time commissions (for that is really what he/she is seeking, not full-time work) does ‘not’ disclose his/her part-time status. A part-timer can only be acting in a professional manner ‘if’ he/she offers full disclosure re his/her time-availability status.
    Want a full-time commission? Work full-time and disclose ‘that’ fact as well.
    Be proud of your position within the industry. Either one is a professionally behaving Realtor, or one is not.
    Pulling the wool over potential clients’ eyes by way of omission re voluntarily ‘not’ revealing one’s true status (full-time devotion to one’s responsibilities as expected of them by one’s patrons in the work place, or not, as the case may be) begets distrust amongst said sellers and the public in general once the part-time game has been revealed to the misguided. The public and affected sellers do not see part-timers in the same light that part-time Realtors see themselves. Self-delusion is an easily spread and easily caught virus when there is so much of it permeating the real estate sales industry.
    This from a former full-time Realtor and now part-time commentator.

  9. I have been teaching real estate agents how to list homes and sell them faster and for above average prices for 40 years, and it seems to me that it’s not about the number of hours you put in but what you put in the hours you do spend.

    Tom memorized the language I taught and quickly became and stayed the number one listing agent in a company of 67 agents. Tom was a full time school teacher who came to work at his real estate office each day at 3:30. Here’s his secret: Each night before he left, he made a list of ten homes to call for appointments. When he walked in the office door, he waved and said “Hi everybody” and immediately sat down and began calling the list. Nothing came before making those ten calls, not even messages from clients or even leads. He told me that if he didn’t make his ten calls first, he never got to them later.

    Rosanna has youngsters and must be home by three every day. By learning and using our Aim Above Average listing strategy, she got a listing and, because it was priced right, offered an incentive commission and was staged right, sold it in two days at $20,600 over asking and over the highest recent sale. Yes, it appraised.

    Recently she reported another listing: ” SOLD in just one week at full price. Listed at 6% (1% extra over average local competition); listed on Wed, first showing on Sunday, sold on Tuesday. Slab no garage; seller got same price as similar house w/garage.”
    My conclusion: It’s not about the hours you put in, its about giving clients the best chance for above average results.

    • Jerry,

      Regarding Rosanna’s listing that sold for $20,600 over list price. Since this was a new listing that was priced right and apparently showed well, how would you separately evaluate the benefit of the “commission incentive”? I’m assuming there were competing offers?

      • Alan,
        I have at least a dozen recent reports of faster sales and higher selling prices due to agents suggesting the logic of an above average (bonus / incentive) commission, and the seller agreeing with the logic and offering 1% more. In those dozen cases there was comments from buyers reps that the extra commission caused them to show the home.
        In Rosanna’s case she had 50 showings and 6 offers in two days but I don’t think she asked any of the buyers agents if the extra commission was a factor. Logic tells me it was.
        Norm had a listing that backed up to a prison. The previous listing expired due to lack of showings. Norm suggested the logic of an incentive and the seller offered an extra 1%. When Norm asked the buyers agent how important the extra commission was the agent responded, “That’s the only reason I showed the property.”
        It’s a simple matter of human nature at work. If you are showing me two almost identical homes which both fit my needs and one offers an extra $1,000 commission to you, you will just naturally be more excited about me buying the house that pays you more.

  10. I’ve been a realtor for 25 years and have devoted myself to the industry full time. The industry being the catch fraise. I have a mortgage brokerage license and I am licensed in Hong Kong. I assist most of my clients with good mortgage advice and do refinances for them in future years. Would this make me part time? I hope not. My clients benefit greatly from my knowledge and the exposure I can give as a result. I also handle most of my own marketing, would this make me part time? Maybe we need to classify industry related fields and disclose the percentage (not the dollar amount) of income that comes from the industry. 100% of my income comes from the real estate industry.

  11. Simple scenario, I have an offer come in on a listing, I am dealing with the written offer and my clients wish to counter the offer which we attempt to do so. I try to make contact with the buyers agent several times through out the morning and afternoon with out a response and after my last attempt they answer the call and what I got was shocking! I was told to stop calling as they were at work and they would call me back when they were off!!! Wow, not only was this a major dis service to their clients and a breach of their feduceriay duties, but what about my clients and myself…. A step further, how about the appearance to the public that this has? Alan P ranted on about several things in my opinion like a disgruntled ex employee, the reality is, is that this was not a one off scenario and these things happen regularly so if we as a group are trying to promote our proffession in a positive fashion we need to start dealing with things in a more professional manor. If you wish to work in an industry that you believe is all about “waiting for the phone to ring while doing crosswords” that is your choice but do not expect to make a living. If you just want to work a few hours part time, fine but it should need to be disclosed to all parties so everyone is aware and so it’s fair to the clients awaiting a response to their questions or an answer on an offer as well as the full time REALTOR that is putting in their 50-60 hrs a week and haven’t seen much of their family because of their feduceriay duties to their clients! It’s only fair that everyone is aware that as a part time REALTOR you can not fulfill all of your duties in a timely manor and if a client decides that this works for them, that’s fine, but my client who chose to work with me and myself, along with my family should not have to suffer because of it. It’s just a thought when looking at an angle to look at all angles as sometimes seeing the whole picture is rather informative.

    • I don’t know who Alan P is, but for those who were able to get the gist of what I was saying was, this: that Marty Douglas with all his experience knows very well what can happen in this industry – positive and negative. Yet, you still needed to take it upon yourself here, to lay out your “Simple scenario” and state the obvious, because Marty Douglas decided to avoid such technical points and dance his dance, instead. As it relates to your “simple scenario” I agree with your point – who wouldn’t.

  12. Dictionary meaning of Part-Time:
    for only part of the usual working day or week
    My business model does not include part-time.
    My work week has always included, prospecting for leads, networking, reading articles on OREA, RECO, CREA sites, studying new listings, solds, and market trends for the area I prospect, keeping up to date on mortgage trends, legal issues effecting our industry. In addition to servicing my listings, buyers through showings, open housing, promotion of their homes…..
    That is how I have worked in this industry for the past 20 years.
    Sincerely,
    Rita Giglione, Broker
    Royal LePage Exceptional Real Estate Services
    http://www.ritagiglione.com

  13. .. So why should a part-timer be penalized for having a second job?: which is exactly what I think manditory disclosures would do…

    . I felt a part-timer as I was really a full time mother raising my children alone. I was totally dependent on my job as a Realtor to accomplish doing my real job of “Mother’…I am happy to report that all my Children are well-grounded in their life and raising wonderful future adults of their own…..

    So even though I gave my clients 100% efforts. I still did not lose sight of the fact that it was probably a part-time job. I definitely was not an “A” type person.

    I had no problem disclosing to prospects that I was a lone parent and that as such, I would not always be physically available…On the other hand, my children understood that I probably would be not available to them 100% especially on weekends and they pitched in by doing their share…

    Thankfully, The age of technology has made us accessible like never before and all demands of our industry should be doable, with or without a second job…… The key is responsibility…..If you are that, everything falls into place for clients.

    I am happy to report that I never lost a client over the disclosure of my real job….to raise responsible children’ They all knew because I told them that as a single parent, there would be times that I would not be not physically available to them.

    I taught my agents to plan their time for all the aspects of being responsible to clients while maintaining a life for themselves. The ones who did so were my best and happiest agents and had more referrals. It’s getting all the jobs done that counts.

    I think the real question should be: what are we as realtors willing to do to educate the public that we are not nor will we ever be 100% theirs….but….. We will give them 100% of our expertise.
    There is no other profession, that I can think of, where the public does not understand that a legal agreement to give them service means we have to forgo everything etc to be at their beck and call. Only a conversation up front about your availability, will set them straight. That should be enough……………

    Happy sales everyone! After 27 years as a realtor, which I loved, Retirement is great!

    SRM retired Broker/Owner

  14. Really?…I feel you have to be a FULL TIME professional on any field you work in…would you go to a “part time” doctor for surgery?…If you want a career, be the BEST in that choice…Part time agents have no clue what is happening in the market place. Top producers work hard for their status…respect it! I am sure you would love to be called a TOP producer!

    • As a direct logical counter argument – I did see a part-time doctor about an issue in regards to surgery. I have seen a surgeon who was a part time dentist – an oral surgeon schooled in both fields. In other words – a doctor and a dentist. Rather like a realtor who is also in construction. Not only did I not hold it against him – He was actually in a position to charge more because he was part time in each field ( or one could argue “full time in both fields”). It just goes to show you that to invoke some kind of rule about this issue may actually be very counter productive. He was under no obligation to disclose being in both vocations. I found this out from another doctor who referred me to him because of his unique abilities in both fields.

      • Out of curiosity, why would you use the services of a doctor who is also a dentist, that to me sounds frightful.
        When dealing with a health issue ( which requires a doctor with high degree of competence and up to date knowledge) one would think a person would seek out the best in that field.
        Similarly when a person is looking to buy or sell property, which is probably the largest transaction most people make, why would they go to a part-timer ( keeping in mind the definition of part-time).
        Sincerely,
        Rita Giglione, Broker
        Royal LePage Real Estate Services
        http://www.ritagiglione.com

        • There are issues such as TMJ that defy treatment by doctors or dentists. There fore a dental surgeon is consulted. And As a surgeon who operate around teeth – a license in both fields is desirable and commands a lot of extra $$$. Regular Surgeons dont like to operate around teeth.

      • I don’t think it should be an issue as long as they disclose
        that fact and allow the client to make an informed decision. It sounds like your doctor/dentist made you aware of this fact.

  15. I’d rather have a ‘part-time’ agent who focuses on his clients, then a ‘top-producer’
    you’ll only meet once because they spend all their time on their marketing and give the real work to their assistants.

    There are bad agents all over the industry, both full and part time, but no unifying trait to identify them, and certainly not because they’re ‘part-time’, so it’s a ridiculous discussion to have, and it’s unenforceable on any level.

    • Said like a true part-timer. As a broker, I had a position on this from my own point of view… “Be where you’re at”… if that is steering a bus through downtown traffic… don’t be thinking about where your next listing appointment or showing is going to come from.

      The rules between Alberta and B. C. was that you couldn’t be P/T in Real Estate in B. C. but you could in the insurance business and vice versa (go figure!).

      I would interview by asking if the gained their full income from Real Estate and if they said no they didn’t… I would ask why they wouldn’t put their full attention to one thing or the other… be where you are at!

      I am not talking about a person blowing a listing appointment with their part-time job (although that would be a pain) because they could blow a listing appointment with illness, family issues or (God forbid) a car accident.

      I found there were companies around that would hire part-timers because their association fees were so low they needed all the “paying bodies” they could get, so, I would suggest they go to one of those companies and I’d give them names… I was never disappointed by this decision.

      If you are in Real Estate to “pick up a few extra bucks”… you are going to lose. Period.

  16. When I first got into this business, I did a fair amount of door-knocking. One of the seller’s whom I met during those days was attempting to sell privately (FSBO) when I met him. The gentleman was a friendly guy and invited me in to show me his home. During the course of our meeting I would learn that his home had recently been listed with a real estate brokerage and the contract had just expired. As a matter of fact he had been working with one of the most recognized names in our local industry – one of the upper most “top producers”. The gentleman had a number of complaints about his listing experience which he explained to me, and another I would find out about later. I felt the home was marketable and asked this seller if he would like me to complete my own: comparative market analysis on his home, and he encouraged me to proceed. Once back at my office, I researched our industry information regarding this expired listing. I also had taken a listing information sheet away from this seller’s home that was leftover from when it had been listed with the brokerage. When I compared the listing price for this property, as indicated on our industry database (expired listing) against what this seller believed was his List Price, I noticed a $20,000.00 (twenty-thousand dollar) discrepancy. Consequently, I called this seller (FSBO) and asked him when the price on his home had been reduced by the $20K. Upon asking this question to this seller, I couldn’t hear anything – I thought the phone had gone dead. I waited a little and then asked him if he was still there and he said he was. I asked him if he had heard my question, and he confirmed that he had. He was so angry at finding out that the previous listing agent had unilaterally reduced the LIST Price on his home (no consent) that he was speechless. He was still polite to me, however he expressed his disgust at the previous listing agents character and expressed his belief that this particular “top producer” must feel that they’re entitled to do whatever they want. I was new to the business and I was just as surprised as he was.

    When Marty Douglas talks about: “but more importantly, they didn’t set my hair on fire!” and what his idea is of a “red herring”, we need some proper context. Marty Douglas has been in this business long enough to know that the vast majority of consumers who deal with us just simply are not inclined to register a complaint because they just don’t want the hassle or to spend time on something that they’re skeptical will be worth their time. In the anecdote that I’ve cited above and even while the gentleman was livid, he also said that he couldn’t be bothered complaining. Marty Douglas also knows that because many practitioners work around their social circles or sphere of influence, that is just one more reason why a real estate consumer would be disinclined to make a formal complaint. In some jurisdictions the local Real Estate Association may even require that a REALTOR complaint against another REALTOR can only proceed with the support of the complainants managing broker and if the managing broker doesn’t want to be bothered, it dies where it is.

    Speaking of “red herrings”, what does the following quote have to do with this discussion: “Part-time agents, by any definition, are easy to outperform. “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.” – Shahir Zag” I’ll answer my own question by saying: absolutely nothing! The fact that Marty Douglas would include this quote only confirms his fundamental inability to deal with the question at hand. Perhaps trying to make this discussion about defining “part-timers” per se’ – instead of the requirement of: “Article 12 requires us to render a skilled and conscientious service” – is the biggest “red herring” of all. The real estate consumer can’t be expected to know what is involved with complying with a “skilled and conscientious service” and in many cases the individual practitioner might not know either.

    The bottom line is that Marty Douglas is the one who should be best positioned to know, whether there is a reasonable probability that a salesperson – whom he is responsible to supervise – can realistically meet what is required of “Article 12”. While one respondent seemed to enjoy Marty’s dance around the main point, I think Marty Douglas has simply shown us here, a prime example of how some brokerages have managed their sales people in the “old school” environment. I don’t feel that Marty’s attitude can be relevant to where our industry needs to go!

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