By Neil Sharma

Stan Albert
Stan Albert

There’s much to be gleaned from Stan Albert’s decorated career in real estate. Lasting over five decades, he’s seen markets rise and fall, but what sets him apart is the hawk eye he’s developed for every facet of sales – from houses and neighbourhoods to the agents themselves.

So, then, what would he tell someone contemplating a career in real estate?

“Think twice,” he says emphatically. “It is not all the glamour that novices and new people see, like new cars and the nice way people dress, and big commissions. It’s difficult to get started, especially for newcomers with the way prices are escalating. I’d say for newcomers, find a broker that is well established with many listings, and especially that has ongoing training courses every month.”

Another caveat Albert has for prospective sales agents is be prepared to go stretches without income, especially at the outset.

“Be financially prepared to be without an income for up to 60 or 90 days,” he says. “They should, after they’ve passed a couple of courses, start interviewing brokers – and not just to see what commissions are paid, but how they’re currently helping new people.”

Newcomers also have to deal with the rise of real estate teams, whose members work on reduced commissions but don’t carry the same expenses team leaders do. Making matters particularly daunting, agents who don’t earn at least $1 million annually are often precluded from joining a team.

“Somebody who is really good has five to 10 listings at a time, so they get a helper who gets another helper,” says Albert. “There are some top trainers who preach like gospel the advantage of having teams.”

Born in Belleville, Ont., Albert operated a realty brokerage there before moving to Toronto in 1981 to work with Safeguard Real Estate, which ceased operations a decade later. By 1992, he moved to Re/Max Realtron Realty for four years, then to Re/Max Professionals for 10 years. Albert has been with Re/Max Premier, who retains his now-inactive license, ever since.

Over the years, Albert has been on a number of Toronto Real Estate Board and Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) committees, including Ethics, Arbitration, MLS Rules and Regulations, Education and Complaints and Discipline – but it was here at REM that he developed a niche in the form of a popular column called From My Desk As I See It. His ruminations spanned 185 articles, the last of which appeared in July 2016.

“In my column, I vented many times about OREA, RECO, the unethical practices of a lot of agents, but I also lobbied for courses to be improved,” says Albert.

In spite of Albert’s myriad provisos – and there are more – he nevertheless remains adamant that there’s simply no other job like being a real estate agent. Provided one practices with integrity, it will be the most rewarding career you could ever embark upon, he says.

“There’s no cap on the salary you can earn; there is a bevy of reasons I think it’s a great career because you make friends with your colleagues and even other colleagues who are your competition,” says Albert. “You can always, with the advancement of education now, increase your knowledge to the point that you can become a broker. That may be in the offering with RECO’s new mandate.

“It’s a marvelous career that can lead to property management, property ownership and property development.”

What will the 80-year-old miss most?

“Every day is different and every day is a challenge. The challenge is to have a reason to get up in the morning,” he says, before quipping, “I’m retired now and I have lots to do every day.”

No interview with a 56-year real estate veteran would be complete without asking him what he thinks about the so-called real estate bubble in Toronto.

“What’s happening now is everyone is looking around, saying, ‘Our bungalow is worth a million-and-a-half? Let’s cash in and move to Orillia or Cobourg where prices are cheaper.’

“It’s sustainable as long as people have money,” he says. “Even if the province puts a 10 per cent tax on foreign investors, does the province think someone who pays a million in cash will worry about another $100,000 in taxes? It boggles my mind as a Realtor, but we’re the largest, fastest growing city in Canada. Vancouver has slowed down a bit; Toronto is the benchmark. We’re building more condos than New York City.”

While Albert maintains Toronto housing prices are still lower than other international cities such as New York, London, Tokyo and most major Chinese cities, he admits there is an affordability issue.

“In Vaughan, there are another 17 or 18 condos slated to be built, and as soon as there’s a preview, most are sold out,” he says. “One at Hwy. 7 sold out before putting a shovel in the ground.

“Kids are going to have to move in with their parents. Close friends will buy together, maybe a triplex or duplex and rent out the other part to pay off the mortgage. I’ve been in the industry a long time and saw a bad downturn in ’89 that carried on to ’92 and in ’95 it rebounded to a normal market, but this is not a normal market. Would I want to be 20 or 25 going into the market today? No, I wouldn’t.”

But Albert says immigration is also driving the market, and as long as people move to the GTA in droves, the housing market shouldn’t be imperiled.

Albert is critical of rampant unethical practices in the industry for which clients suffer the ramifications.

While technology is changing the nature of the industry, Albert venerates its human touch.

“There’s nothing like an agent holding the hand of a seller who’s selling the house they’ve lived in for 50 years – that’s something artificial intelligence can’t touch.”



  1. Stan will be missed in the industry.
    Brian’s comments appear to be those of someone who didn’t quite make it as a Real Estate salesperson therefore it was because the industry is full of scumbags.
    Don’t exaggerate Stan’s remarks,

    • Hi Dave Whoever-You-Are:
      What is your definition of “…someone who didn’t quite make it as a Real estate salesperson”? Provide your definition and I will tell you whether or not your supposition is accurate according to your definition.
      You seem to have failed to grasp the importance of your possibly wrong-headed attitude toward what makes a successful Realtor, or not, and that is: Was I, or any other Realtor, a ‘professional’, or not, regardless of how much money I or they earned?
      It seems to me, by way of your very words, that you just may be a stereotypical real estate sales person…a money monger perhaps…just like Terry Paranych appears to have been pre RECA Hearing decision. What say you?
      Please tell everyone where it is that I exaggerated Stan’s remarks.
      Stan said that he is “…critical of the rampant unethical practices within the industry for which clients suffer the consequences.” If you look up the definition of the word “rampant” in any dictionary, you will find that it means “widespread”. Where is the exaggeration?
      Are you familiar with the term “Unethical”? Are you really familiar?
      Are you by extension saying that Stan is exaggerating?
      Are you saying that I am engaging in “puffery”?
      Are you familiar with “puffery”?
      Are you saying that unethical practices that are being rampantly trotted out are somehow ‘not’ being trotted out by unethical people?
      Are you saying that unethical people are not scumbags?
      If unethical people are not scumbags, what are they then…misguided, ignorant, negligent, naïve, etc. but otherwise good honest people whom are just trying their best to make a commission?
      Why are you seemingly defending deplorable practices?
      Are you a scumbag masquerading as a professional?
      The only thing that you got right within your short, distracted missive was that Stan will be missed.
      If Stan responds and puts me in a place where you think I should be placed, based upon your allegations, I will respect that.
      P.S.: You would not have made a very good lawyer my friend. You need to know the answers to questions/the actual results of assumptions before you ask them/before you assume them, respectively, within a public venue, but of course, that does not matter to someone who unethically hides behind the veil of anonymity.
      Your lack of cogent, logical thinking is on display for the REM-world to see.
      Do you accurately comprehend what I just said?
      Good thing you didn’t reveal your identity.
      Are you “Alberta Legal” whom I trashed herein a few years ago?

        • Is that all you’ve got No-Name-Dave? Seriously; it took you all of this time to think up this lame one-line response? Caps even? You know me?
          Reveal yourself. Only cowards personally attack clearly defined individuals from the safety-net of the weeds of anonymity conveniently located under mommy’s skirt. Grow a spine, test the mettle of your balls (if you have any) and give this a try: Challenge me from a position of strength, not from a position of weakness. Risk failure…publicly…under your own name. Dare to fail, fearful Dave-the-Slave. Trust me; it is liberating.
          BTW, it appears that the word “scumbag” has hit a nerve with you.
          Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lure you into revealing yourself to REM readers for the kind of person that you are displaying yourself to be. You just might be a scumbag defending your own kind, but I am not currently saying that you absolutely are a scumbag. However, until you reveal your identity herein (I know that you never will), I think that I am justified to think that in your case I am dealing with a real live scumbag.
          Take a couple of days, again, Fearful Dave, to think up something worthy of my response, because, sincerely, I actually feel quite superior to your feeble reflection of a not-so-upright human being. Right now, I am thinking of you (just thinking!) as a no-name, over-used, un wiped asshole. That’s the smelliest kind.
          CLEAN UP ALERT! Buy a 350 PSI power-washer with a bent wand, clean yourself up shrinking-violet Dave, and give ‘er another try.
          P.S.: Those who really ‘do’ know me know that I have a lot of fun on this site with people like you.

  2. “Stan Albert is critical of the rampant unethical practices within the industry for which clients suffer the consequences.”
    The foregoing quote a damning statement from a highly regarded fifty-six-year all-encompassing industry veteran who knows the industry inside-and-out, and who also knows the culturally prevailing stereotypical “sell, sell, sell any-which-way possible” attitude of far too many registrant/agents. The key word used by Albert is “rampant”; i.e., “WIDESPREAD”.
    The question then becomes: How does ORE get rid of “rampant unethical practices”?
    First: Get rid of current rampant unethical practitioners! ORE must go on a proactive scum-bag hunt for all unethical registrants/agents currently sullying the industry’s reputation with their self-serving, deceptive, misrepresentative, sometimes illegal, behaviours. For every culprit who damages a client’s financial interests and is found to be guilty of same, there might be as many as one hundred culprits who do the same thing without their clients even knowing anything about what went down behind closed doors/closed mouths against their financial interests. This weed-killing rooting-out procedure will not be an easy thing to accomplish, but everyone in the field must be made to know that they are being watched.
    Second: ORE must sniff out any potential low-lives from even getting into real estate registration classes in the first place. Cancer is best avoided by being initially kept out of the body, thus, not being allowed to gain a foot-hold. An-depth background check will suffice to let wannabe hopefuls know that self-serving unethical practices will not be tolerated. A “One-strike-and-you’re-out” rule needs to be implemented. Who the hell needs trouble makers? Membership dues should be collected only from ethical members. Dirty money is dirty money; it cannot be cleaned up.
    Let’s face it; real estate-sales wannabes are a dime-a-dozen. Let’s make them become worth much more than that.
    RECO(Ontario)/ORE need to hire some really savvy “I-wannabe-a-Realtor” interviewers, folks with the ability to recognize slippery-personality types in an interview setting. I am available to serve. There might not be many new prospects heading for real estate university, (were I an interviewer) and that would be a good thing…for future clients and for the industry as a whole. The concern going forward needs to be focused on the public interest, and not on the wannabe interest. Fifty-percent, or less, of the current number of registrant/agents in the field (who would be ethical professionals) can service the same number of clients as the current bloated number that includes “rampant” numbers of “unethical” practitioners.

    • Wow!
      I cannot believe what is being said about my industry that I have loved and cherished since age 20. For forty two years I have developed long lasting friendships with many of my professional colleagues and know it as a fact that its a small percentage of salespeople that cross the ethical line. Proof is on the RECO PUBLIC WEB SITE, I don’t see 30,000 agents being disciplined (50%). We are an Industry in the making, it took almost 100 years to get here and I’m proud to be a “Realtor”. There are many solutions to the problem of unethical agents and I believe that RECO is addressing the Issue! We are not “Scumbags”.

        • How do you know that most would agree with Tony’s remarks? Where is your evidence? Your response has dropped from four lines to one. Are you a Realtor? Are you a proud Realtor like Tony is, or are you not proud of what you do, or who you are? At least you are not apathetic like most Realtors are across Canada who apparently do not read REM or thence comment herein even if they do read.

          • Many Realtors who, unlike you, are or were successful in our industry understand you have not accepted your lack of success because you believe it was the result of your inability to compete with “scumbags” therefore you attack. I’ve only been 35 yrs in our industry and have met many Brian Martindales who blame everyone but themselves for failing.

            PS-I can get my point over in a half dozen lines instead of 50-100 lines of senseless ranting.

          • Dave the Knave:
            As usual, because you have no real evidence to back up your claims, you continue to resort to the only thing that you think you are good at, being, perpetrating personal attacks, which makes you nothing more than an Attack Hack. That lame non-strategy in turn opens the door for me to kick your sorry ass to the curb of failed debaters. Is your goal herein to be widely known as a masterdebater? I believe that in your own mind you have visions of being a masterdebater, but during the cold, hard, lonely moments of reality, you always come up empty and short.
            Where do you get the idea that I had a lack of success? Again, define what your version of success is and I will tell you whether or not I measured up to ‘your’ standards. For the record, when I became licensed in 1980 in Peterborough, Ontario with Royal Trust, I became the second best producer within my office during my second month, and I became the top producer during my third month. I pretty much did as I liked for eighteen months until I moved on from the business to go into university full time in pursuit of a degree in political science, which I was again successful at achieving. I was lucky; I did not need the money that I was earning as a Realtor. Decades later, I reentered the business in Peterborough with Century 21 United Realty to round out my working career for my final three years or so. Without spending much in the way of advertising, except for renting space in a mall kiosk, I came in at fifteenth production-wise out of 80 or so Realtors during my first full year back in the business. Hardly failing performances my friend. I lanquidly finished out my time and retired shortly thereafter. There is my evidence. Where is yours?
            I can assure you that you definitely have not met many Brian Martindales, but I have come across many cowardly posters on this site who don’t posses the balls to be standup people and post under their real names when they launch personal attacks on posters whom they dislike due to their positions on issues at hand. You are therefore a real scumbag in my book, no matter how many deals that you may have cobbled together over the years. Did you become a Realtor because you could not get a job anywhere else Dave the Slave?
            If you want to discuss issues in a civil manner, even under an alias, I am always willing to engage, but when you stoop to the level of personal attacks (which is one thing that you are somewhat good at) you are fair game for public ridicule. No wonder you cower from behind the sidelines of anonymity conveniently located beneath mommy’s skirt. So far, you are simply a stubborn stain on the vocation.
            Identify yourself, if you can work up the nerve, and maybe we can converse in a civil manner. Until then, you are regarded as a dick head by me.
            P.S.: Your half-dozen lines are completely pointless. You come across as a “sell, sell, sell” mindless commission chaser. You sound like you are a success at that game. Why do my words herein sting you so personally?

          • Briasn,
            Another 50 or so lines of senseless ranting. Tell us about your failed political career but not with so many words. You also had a lot of choice words then for those competitors who also who gave you a drubbing and then also claimed you were not really trying.

          • Dave the Knave:
            You are really digging. I can’t believe that I am having such a profound effect on your weak little ego in-hiding. Again, you fail. Unlike you, I seek to hide nothing. I have no problem telling you or anyone else about my 2014 Ontario provincial election candidacy for the Peterborough riding. It is public knowledge. However, just for you Grave Dave, here are the facts:
            I decided to throw my name into the ring as an independent candidate. I decided that I would spend no money. Unfortunately, that did not work out; I had to open a trust account regarding the disposition of any donations received. I did not ask for and would not/did not accept any donations. The trust account cost me a whopping $1.95. I became the $2.00 candidate. I did not attend any public candidate meetings. I simply answered questions that were posed to me by the media. I advised the print media that I had no intention of going to Toronto (where I am originally from and from whence I escaped to the Peterborough area) up front. My limited candidacy was purely experimental in nature. I wanted to find out how many votes someone like me would garner by doing nothing except to state that I was not a political party person, that party candidates sought votes so that they could represent voters first and foremost, but that once elected, their allegiance switched to their parties first, thence to themselves, and thence, finally, to their voters (due to the party whip member control system). I was 67 years old at the time and I was enjoying my retirement. Go back to work? Are you kidding? I expected to get fifty votes or so; I received 398 votes! That was more votes than three or four other candidates representing various fringe parties received! I was shocked! The two-dollar fringe candidate (me) was the most efficient candidate, expense-wise, maybe ever! Whilst the main party candidates spent large sums per vote received, I came in at spending only 5/10 of a penny per vote! I had fun! By the way, feel free to ask the editors of the two Peterborough papers (Peterborough Examiner and Peterborough This Week) about my early-on statements to them that I had no intention of trying to be a legitimate contender. This was simply another thing that I always wanted to do, just for the hell of it (like pissing off guys like you herein) that I was able to strike off of my bucket list. I had a blast, and I succeeded at being the most efficient vote-getter in the race!
            Try again Dick Tracy.

      • Hi Tony:
        You obviously do not fit into the scumbag category. A scumbag would generally not have the nerve to come onto this site and defend himself/herself so assertively as you did using his/her full name. If more REALTORS read REM and were as upset as you were/are at my words herein (and came back at me as you did) then that would be a better reflection of the good character of the across-the-board membership of the vocation. But they do not and thus they apparently are not.
        You have been a REALTOR for forty-two years. You are an anomaly. Fifty percent of newbies survive less than five years. The majority of those failures-in-waiting last less than two years. Therefore, the majority of REALTORS on any given day are relative newbies; they are amateurs. Newbies are more prone to engaging in iffy behavior in my opinion, because they do not have a long-standing reputation to maintain, but they do have bills to pay. No deals; no pay; no bills get paid. The threat of no bills getting paid can lead to iffy behavior. But all iffy behaviors do not come up on the radar screen. Iffy behaviours must be revealed before they can be dealt with, and I would submit that the vast majority of iffy behaviours never see the light of day. Thus, RECO is largely kept in the dark regarding unethical behaviours.
        Your long lasting friendships with your professional colleagues do not include many newbies, if any, I must assume. Therefore, you do not swim in the same tank as the potential sharks, and that may be why you take issue with my comments.
        Stan says in his article that he “…vented many times about the unethical practices of a lot of agents.”. A “lot” means a great deal, more than just a few.
        Tony: You can’t state factually that “…it is a fact that it’s a small percentage of salespeople that cross the ethical line.” because you do not personally oversee the day-to-day activities of every last salesperson across Canada. Proof that only a “…small percentage of salespeople cross the ethical line” is ‘not’ on the RECO public web site, because only a few unethical violations are ever discovered and even fewer are thereupon reported to RECO in the first place.
        Question: What percentage of speeders do you think are caught in radar traps across Canada’s roads on a daily basis?
        Answer: Maybe about the same percentage of unethical real estate salespersons’ behaviours practiced out of sight/earshot of naïve babes-in-the-woods marks?
        Both speeders and commissioned sales scumbags do what they do when they think that they will get away with whatever they are doing (because they see that no one appears to be watching them) in pursuit of achieving their then personal interests (getting there faster or creating that commission respectively). If every single REALTOR was unknowingly being watched on a daily basis, then maybe there ‘would’ be 30,000 agents being disciplined, just as every other driver would be caught speeding. It’s human nature (giving in to surreptitiously bending/breaking the rules with fingers crossed for one’s own benefit) at work my friend. I am glad that you and your friends are not speeders.
        Let me conclude by saying that I am glad that you are proud to be a REALTOR, and I commend you for knowing yourself well enough to know and practice that which it takes to be proud of what you do for a living. However, I think that you would be well advised to say that “I am not a scumbag” vs “We are not scumbags”. Just as I can only speak for myself, and not others, regarding what I think of myself, so too, you can only speak for yourself. Personally, I don’t much care about what others might think of me, especially if they don’t know me. I do not comment herein to be popular. I comment herein to state my opinions, something that few others within the industry do, and I have been retired for over five years.
        It is too bad that other proud REALTORS (non-scumbags) do not read REM and chime in as you have. Maybe, just maybe, there are more scumbags in your midst than you think (or that you would like to think) exist. But you will not see them coming back at me on this site, especially using heir own names. They are too busy perfecting the lines and behaviours of deception. How else can they convince others that they are something (honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable, altruistic, experienced professionals) that they are not? Beware the smiling, rapport establishing actors amongst you. They have personal agendas, and they want to achieve them any which way possible as quickly as possible. They do not look forty years down the road. Forty days…maybe.
        Go get ’em RECO.

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