Please notes that my thoughts are personal only and are not in any way those of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ltd .(who hold my license) or The Toronto Real Estate Board (I am a Director-at-Large). I love my business, am engaged in it 7 days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day and would not want to do anything else however:
There is a lot of discussion going on led by the Competition Bureau and forces that want to “open up” the MLS and the Real Estate industry. Along with that discussion comes a lot of vitriol and misinformation about what it is that REALTORS do. We seem to have become the target for some who are not being totally clear about their agenda and who jump on sound bite after sound bite. If there is to be a discussion then it should be an honest one.
The sound bites tell you that CREA has had a hand in stopping Competition. There are a variety of models out there at present, have been for many years and they offer lots of choice to the consumer. Organized Real Estate has never restricted consumer’s options to MLS as long as these use a licensed REALTOR. The reality is that some of those models were not attractive to the consumer and it is the consumer that did not adopt them. That happens in any marketplace…sometimes the best widget does not sell because the marketplace is not ready or there is no perceived need.
The sound bites tell you it is all about bringing down commission but the Competition Bureau’s findings did not touch the rules dealing with commission, they only talk about CREA rules around “representation”. In other words, the Bureau wants unrepresented listings to be able to be put on the MLS system. Listings where the Buyer will have to satisfy himself that the information is correct and not misrepresented. At present and with all the due diligence that the listing agent is to do there are still properties that slip through the cracks….wouldn’t this only make it worse. Is the lawyer led Competition Bureau really concerned about the consumer or looking to move the transaction to the Lawyer’s office rather than the Realtor’s office?
The sound bites tell you about the massive amounts of money that REALTORS make so easily. We only get paid on the closing of the transaction yet there is an outlay (for myself) of anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 of costs before the property comes to the market, and sometimes those properties do not sell because it is the Seller who pays if the offer is acceptable to them. Numerous listings come to the market overpriced, sit while agents try every option out there to market the house, get moved to another Company and finally sell or come off the market. How come we are not hearing from those sellers? How come we are not hearing from the Buyers who ask for information, have us show them multiple properties and buy from a friend with not even a thank you? How come we are not hearing from those Buyers?
We are told of Multiple Offers however in the best of markets they have been the exception and not the rule. Sellers and REALTORS not involved in multiple offers don’t have the war stories that generate the media and news hype. There are no records of Multiple Offers but I would think they have occurred in less than 20% of the transactions over the last few years.
In all sales there seems to be an 80-20 rule and there are a lot of Realtors who are not able to pay their bills because they do not make enough money. I am one of two people left from a class of over 60 that began when I did. Every year more people get licensed and every year many leave the business disheartened.
What they thought would be an easy job, turns out is not. There is no security, there is no retirement plan, there is a general rule that one third of your gross income will go to expenses, one third will go to taxes and you will have one third to live on. That is made up, not from the 5% or 6 % that is quoted all the time, but MLS is a cooperative that gives half to the cooperating agent and then splits that balance between you and your Broker. However the sound bites tell you of the agent who made $30,000 on a sale…which becomes $15,000 with the co-operating agent, which becomes $7500 with the Broker and at the end of the day becomes $2500 in the Realtors pocket (once expenses and the Government have their share). However, that does not make the same sound bite does it?
Choosing to be a REALTOR means that you will not have a 40 hour week, not have privacy in your community (people think nothing of stopping you and asking your advice with no intention of ever paying you for it), and will only be as successful as your last transaction. We live by the rule that if you do something nice for someone, chances are they will tell no one, however, should you do something they consider bad, they will tell everyone. Reputation is everything and God forbid if you become too successful at what you do…
All Realtors are mandated to have continuing Education Courses and cannot be re-licensed without 24 credits every two year period, 6 credits deal with updates from the Provincial Regulator. This is not even required of our teachers in the Province of Ontario. What will we require of education for unrepresented Sellers?
MLS has been something like a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”. It means that there has been due diligence in bringing the property into the system and that there is a third party who not only warrants the quality of the listing but if there are issues, there is a party that has errors and omissions insurance as mandated by the Provincial Regulator. What potential landmines will we face under this new direction? Will money saved inREALTORS fees be paid to Lawyers instead? Please note that Lawyers get paid whether the transaction is successful or not, unlike REALTORS.
I am someone who is all ready for a discussion and to embrace change but let’s see if we can get some honest discussion happening and deal with the real issues instead of the vitriol and hidden agendas of those saying that they are out to help the consumer.