From the Canadian Real Estate Association's Code of Ethics,
we learn that, “The Realtor is instrumental in moulding the form of his or
her community and the living and working conditions of its people. Such
functions impose grave social responsibilities which the Realtor can meet only
by diligent preparation, and considering it a civic duty to dedicate themselves
to the fulfillment of the Realtor's obligations to society”.
From REM Opinion (February, 2001) by David Fountain, we are
told that it is a myth that “you must have a store‑front office location
to operate a real estate office”.
I have approximately 15 of years experience in the real
estate profession. I currently own and operate the office Mr. Fountain began
his career in, and am often quick to talk of Dave's acute business sense and
his wise business decisions. However, I do need to qualify this comment with
“Is it all about money?”
I have a vivid memory of the first time I read our Code of
Ethics, those many years ago. And I still refer to it now and again; like when
I feel I want to take a shortcut to make
a deal a little easier, or sometime during a slow month when making a sale
becomes bigger than listening to a client. It bestows on us an awesome
responsibility. And I, for one, am proud to assume that responsibility.
My office is located at the main intersection of downtown
Burns Lake, B.C. It is a two‑storey white building. You can't miss it. There is
a 50-foot flagpole out in front with a 15-foot Canadian flag flying in the
wind. We're in the Heart of the Lakes District of B.C., and proud of it!
We believe you absolutely must have a storefront location to
operate a real estate office.
We're not just in the business of making money. Read the code. We're here to help “mould the form of
We're the face of the town to the tourist who walks in our
door and asks where the best fishing is. We're happy to talk, knowing full-well
there is little chance they will buy anything. But we will give them a map, a
listing catalogue, and directions if they need them.
Around this time every year, we're here for the many people
who stop by looking for direction on how to proceed with their assessment
appeals. I couldn't begin to count the number of off‑the‑cuff conversations
around: “What should I do to my house in case I ever decide to sell
I look forward to the year‑after‑year 17 charities we're
happy to donate to, not counting the numerous “once in a while”
groups and individuals needing assistance with travel, trophies, money.
None of this can be done from a one-man electronic office 10
miles out of town such as Mr. Fountain suggests. You can make money…but you
can't fulfill the obligation we all share.
We're here to help build our town, promote our area, and
“consider it a civic duty to dedicate ourselves to the fulfillment of our
obligations to society.”
Mr. Fountain claims to spend a “huge amount of money on
advertising”. Well, the wonder of our MLS system provides us with readily
accessible listing information. But it falls on the storefront office to
provide that catalogue of information to the general public. I dare say that we
spend a huge amount of money providing Mr. Fountain's listing information to
potential buyers. They won't drive 10 miles out of town to get a catalogue.
A very astute business move, locating out of the way of
traffic. It saves a tremendous amount of money. But it doesn't do the job. It
doesn't fulfill our responsibility. I find it very telling that you can't get a
hint of where Mr. Fountain's office is located from reading his article. The
focus is not on our town, our area; the focus is directed within. It's a shame.
There is much, much more to this real estate profession than
simply making money.
Burns Lake, B.C.