By Laurel Price

Yes, there are some dishonest real estate salespeople out there, just as there are terrible people in every profession. These sales reps have hurt the public financially and broken the public’s trust. They should be fined heavily and banned from real estate.

But there are also many real estate salespeople who are trustworthy and work hard every day. They demonstrate their integrity even when it costs them a paycheque. They will tell you the truth even when it’s something you don’t want to hear. That’s how important it is to them to be upfront and honest.

To every one of you who have been hurt by a dishonest sales rep, we grieve with you and offer our humblest apologies that you’ve been through that. It makes us sick too and angry that our reputations are lumped in with the bad guys.

We work hard to make ourselves available to you…evenings, weekends, holidays and late at night. That means we give up family time to make sure you are getting what you need as our valued buyers/sellers. But there are times we need time away with our families, so we pay another trusted salesperson to look after you while we are unavailable. Then we stay in close touch with them to make sure everything goes well.

Clients who worry about wasting our time are never the ones who do. Please don’t call the listing agent to see their listing because you don’t want to bother us. It puts the listing agent in a conflict of interest working for their seller, but not knowing they are being expected to look after our buyer. Call us and we will make sure you can see the listing as soon as possible.

And the reverse is true. If we are the listing agent, please be honest when we ask if you are working with a Realtor. We don’t want to interfere with an existing relationship…and we don’t want to waste our time when you are working with someone else.

We value our relationship with you and your family. Buying/selling a home is often a strangely emotional and intimate experience…we spend a lot of time with you and usually get to know you well. We grow to love your kids because we see them so often (and face it, they are great kids, right?). That’s why we treasure your referrals to family, friends and coworkers…it means you treasure our relationship too.

We are only human, and there are times when we fail, but we do our best to do our best for you and your family. If there is a problem, please talk to us first and give us a chance to solve the problem. Expectations are a funny thing…it’s impossible to meet them if we don’t know what they are. And remember, we have expectations of you too, so let’s be upfront about how to work best together.

Although we can pick out problems with a property just because of our experience, we aren’t roofers, plumbers, electricians or foundation experts. That’s why we ask you to get a home inspection done. Home inspectors don’t pay us to refer you to them…we just think it’s wise to have an independent set of eyes looking at this huge purchase you are making. And yes, home inspectors miss stuff all the time, but they do their best too.

Being a Realtor is an expensive business to be in. Unless you are self-employed, it’s often hard to understand the risks we face financially every day and the expenses we cover just to be in business. Sometimes we go months between pay cheques, then get several in one month…so we must manage our money well to make sure we can be responsible financially. We pay for everything ourselves, from our liability insurance to advertising, car expenses to staffing, professional dues and fees to continuing education (which are required to keep our licensing). We must work for a brokerage, and they get a substantial portion of every dollar we make. So that great big pay cheque you think we get is a whole lot smaller than you imagine. Most of us do this job because we love it, and the people we get to meet and work with.

We do a lot of work we don’t get paid for behind the scenes…from advice given to research done, then miss the paycheque because the seller sells their home privately using the information we gave them. Or the buyer we showed a gazillion homes to goes and buys privately. And yes, we can go after them for commission, but that doesn’t build good customer relationships in the end. We usually just sigh and move onto the next client.

We value you. You’re important to us and we respect how difficult buying or selling a home can be. Please be patient with us as we work hard on your behalf!

Laurel Price is broker of record at Price and Associates Realty in Sarnia, Ont. “We believe in a non-traditional approach to our business of supporting buyers and sellers through the exciting and stressful process of buying or selling a takes more time, but we want our clients to understand and enjoy the process,” she says. “Referrals are always welcome, but we would also be happy to share our experience in a non-traditional real estate practice. Call 519-383-5050.


  1. Rem Coaching topic. . . Carolyne in Csnada

    Voice: timbre – tone, timing, projection

    As important as what you say, is how you say it. Seconded only by body-language.

    There are courses that suggest you test-record your presentation and listen to how your voice projects, or not. Would you be attracted to what you hear, in a manner to hire the person presenting?

    Many messages are lost in the hearing, in person or in videos due to the speed at which the speaker talks, or the “squeak-level” (pitch) projected; the tonal quality. Enunciation and syllabication count and adjust the final score. You get hired, or not.

    Delivery is so important. Perhaps even more so for women. Not to call out names to embarrass but the names of three well-known public speakers come to mind. Why do they have to “yell” their message, causing a would-be listener to tune out completely (you can’t hear the message due to the “voice-overload.” Their voices often are like grating fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Now we have female real estate coaches who might perhaps learn better message delivery by recording first and listening to their own presentation. The topic of coaching is a sensitive one to begin with, and is often expensive, and the message can be missed if the speaker doesn’t present in a digestible manner. An analogy might be trying to teach someone how to engage in a good handshake, when their own is limp, flaccid, or even over-gripping.

    Learned breathing is very useful, as is dropping the voice an octave, and maybe most important: slow down. Where’s the fire? If one has to replay the video to “get the message,” not just to reinforce it, perhaps some video-making lessons could help.

    Speak slowly and distinctly. Stand up straighter than perhaps in ordinary body language to allow the lungs to operate well. With purpose. Perhaps practise voice improvement implementation by standing when speaking on the telephone

    Coaching them, and consulting with clients, is even more important than doing so with colleagues.

    I believe the moniker “salesperson” should be dropped from the real estate related vocabulary entirely. Consultant:coach is a far better identification term, yet forbidden to be used when dealing in a professional routine with the public.

    I’ve said countless numbers of times: in nearly four decades, I never ever sold anything to anyone; merely the purveyor of information, as in consulting. Coaching, likewise, is not selling either, merely suggesting pros and cons. The magic of being successful in real estate especially comes from listening. And providing appropriate advice based on the back and forth discussions: the hearing.

    But first comes “rapport-building.” If your conversation method is rapid-fire, as though you need to get to your next prey as soon as possible that alone could cost you the getting of a new “client.”

    Discussions and rapport-building takes time. And you dare allow yourself the pleasure of lack of patience: do not get frustrated in the process.

    But be careful not to overstay your welcome. Simply ask if the listener has time for you right now or would a secondary specific meeting work better for them.

    Two particular transactions come to mind: one I worked patiently with for a whole year while he travelled stateside often away on business. Then he tried to connect with me on my own moving day. After all that patience, I nearly lost that one.

    Another I worked with (coached and consulted with and advised) as a buyer (subsequently as a seller) for three whole years. They were intensely loyal but wanted the impossible. Eventually the impossible got accomplished.

    And then there was a first time young buyer couple for whom I turned down the opportunity to show them a hundred properties they had chosen. They sent me new MLS numbers and ad-copies nearly every day. Truly. Only the wife was available to meet up. Nope! Not going to happen on my watch.

    But for a full year we were in consultation mode, communicating once a week and more about specific properties other than their lists (that I knew absolutely for certain were of no real interest to them). Thousand emails; at an hourly rate I would have earned a fortune. But after a full year of “communicating,” we navigated the rough transaction that got them their dream home.

    Carolyne L 🍁

  2. perhaps the ‘common misconception’ about Realtors is because we are not seen as true professionals. That is why lawyers, doctors, architects, specialists in other fields don’t have to justify their existence. When we spend much of our time justifying our existence and our fees, the public starts to get suspicious. Maybe we spend too much time and effort telling the public how ‘professional’ we are and not enough time and effort in actually acting like professionals. As a very long time Realtor, I can honestly say, the first few years I was in the business, I never had a client question my commission or my qualifications. Our clients simply looked to us as the ‘experts’ when it came to Real Estate. Most addressed me as ‘Mr”…not unlike calling your medical caretaker: ‘Dr.” ….

  3. This is a good article which highlights how good, publicly-spirited Realtors are negatively impacted within the public mindset by not-so-good Realtor behaviours (when and ‘if’ the miscreants are ever caught at it). It is beyond time for ORE to willingly work hand-in-hand with government types to eliminate the riff-raff from Realtor ranks (both current and wannabe riff-raffters). It is about time for Realtors in-the-field to stop protesting what is inevitable…government intervention. Cooperation with the government by ORE may over time diminish ongoing interventions.
    The only thing that I would have changed within this piece is the title; I would have entitled it “What I, As Your Trusted Realtor, Would Like You To Know”. It is not wise to speak for anyone else, especially on a topic like this one.

  4. Great Article Laurel, I would send this to any potential buyer, it would avoid many common misconceptions. Jozien Vet, Sutton Expert Montreal

  5. Love this. I say much of this to clients on a daily basis. With all that is happening in BC right now, it rings very true.

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