By Stan Albert


“It is possible to fail in many ways, while to succeed is possible only in one way.” – Aristotle


Why do real estate agents rank so low on the Ipsos Reid Canada Speaks Survey,When It Comes To Professions, Whom Do We Trust?


We’ve moved up significantly since last year, mind you.  Yeah, sure, from 28th to 20th over all, and we’ve distanced ourselves from used car salespeople (who are 30th overall).  I just don’t get it.


I realize that there are thousands of agents who are part-time and don’t give us a good image by their poor performance and poor professionalism, but there are thousands more who devote themselves full-time to this profession, with a passion.  Not just a passion to bring buyers and sellers together, but to serve their community with pride.


Many of the brokerages that I’ve come into contact with contribute to their communities – not just monetarily, but they unselfishly give of their time to raise money for worthwhile charities and causes.


So, what gives?  Are we not using the media to inform them of our feats and contributions?  Maybe we do, but maybe we don’t. If we did, would the public think more highly of us as trustworthy citizens?


One of the common complaints I hear is that the agents are just in the business for the money.  Well, the money is important, that is true.  But the public doesn’t see what we brokers/managers see and hear on a daily basis. Such as agents who clean up properties or pay for a cleaner to come in, so that the property shows well. I’ve heard of agents helping move clients in and out of properties by assisting them physically and financially. The public doesn’t recognize how, in rain and/or snow (like the mail person), the agent delivers an amendment or keys, or notices.  The reason that the media is not interested in what is mundane to them is that it doesn’t sell papers. The public is naïve to believe that we just sit around and get fat on big commissions.  We work hard at our craft and it is high time that we bragged about how we “go the extra mile.”


On being an ambassador: In November and December, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by taking a 20-day fly/cruise to Europe, which included Spain, France, Corsica and Italy.  We had many tours booked, but since we’d already toured Italy less than two years ago, we opted out of a tour of Rome.


So, what would an ambassador of real estate do?  Well, after some emailing back and forth to the Re/Max franchise in Italy, they asked me if I would do a seminar for them.  I consulted with Barry Lebow’s company, RETI, and we put together an “Italianized course” based on RETI’s Limiting Using the Appraisal Method. A limo was sent to pick me up at Civiitaveccia at 7:30 am and it whisked me off to the sales meeting, at which I was the keynote speaker delivering the course with the aid of two interpreters. 


About 20 per cent of the agents had a good understanding of English, but they all grasped the information delivered that day. And yes, they have the same problems we do with sellers and buyers. And oh my gosh! The prices of property there would simply blow your mind. If you dream of moving to Tuscany or other great Italian areas, keep dreaming! Or win the lottery.

With the great camaraderie and superb lunch, it was an event that I will not forget. Being an ambassador for real estate can be fun and rewarding as well. And they actually paid me for the day! Bonus!


Quote of the Month: “Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.” – Laurence J. Peter (1919-1988), The Peter Principle (1969).


Stan Albert is celebrating his 36th year in active real estate. He serves on the Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Committee at RECO, and on two committees at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at [email protected].



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