Tag: real estate

Handle Your Inbound Leads Properly (Podcast)

Posted on October 6th, 2020

The number one thing we hear from new salespeople is ‘where do I get my leads?’ While that’s a valid question, it isn’t the most important one.

Sourcing leads is valuable, having a long list of names to call is great…but a lead is useless if you don’t know what to do with them. In this episode, we’re focusing specifically on the inbound leads you’ll get through your online sources. Often you’ll get an email address and nothing more, but we dive into how you should work with whatever information you have.

Not every lead will amount to business, but every lead only can become business if you approach them the right way.

It’s time to level up how you deal with your inbound leads.

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If you haven’t yet joined the OTB 100, there’s still time to catch up. Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/otb100 to get the last 100 days 2020 focused on an organized approach to a HUGE 2021 with tangible and system driven tools (don’t worry, it’s all free).

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Level Up Your Sales Output (Podcast)

Posted on September 12th, 2020

It all started when she wanted to buy a horse.  Sometimes the drive to your ‘why am I doing this?’ can lead to amazing things. For Sara Kalke, it has meant she has propelled to being the number two salesperson in one of the biggest cities in the country, averaging over 100 transactions each year for the last four years, and…oh yeah…now she has FIVE horses.

Learn from the best in this episode as we talk about Sara’s road to success, get some useful tips on building your own business to epic levels, and get to know this amazing woman even better.

It’s time to level up your sales output. Enjoy!

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Level Up Your Routine (Podcast)

Posted on August 21st, 2020

24 hours in the day – how are you using yours?

In this episode, we discuss our routines and how we plan to make our days as productive as possible. There is the stuff you have to do, the stuff you want to do, and the things you never planned on doing, but do anyway…focus on planning, prioritizing, and getting it done so you can look back at the end of the day and feel good about it.

As you better yourself, your routine evolves with you – and as your routine evolves, you better yourself.

It’s time to level up your routine.

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Cold Call Like A Ninja (Podcast)

Posted on August 7th, 2020

We’ve got a treat this episode.

This week, we’re joined by the ‘Prospecting Ninja’ Mike Samrah, who has made a spectator sport out of cold calling. We talk to him about his process, the systems he uses, and really ‘dial in’ to what makes it all work for him.

It’s time to get off the fence and dive into picking up the phone. It’s time to level up your prospecting.

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Real Estate Auctions (Podcast)

Posted on July 30th, 2020

It has become commonplace to see blind bidding wars in real estate when the market is hot (and sometimes when it isn’t). The concept of open real estate auctions is quite popular in countries around the world, but is only starting to show up in listings in Canada. As the owners of the brokerage that brought the concept to residential resale in Ontario, Daniel and Katie discuss how they built the auction approach, why it is a useful alternative for buyers and sellers, and how the whole process works.

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OREA’s New Forms, Clauses & Updates – Your 2020 Coles Notes Review

Posted on December 19th, 2019

It’s that time of year! New OREA forms and form updates for the real estate industry (cue the happy dance)!

While many of the changes this year are minor in nature, being aware of the updates as a consumer as well as a real estate salesperson/broker is important.  These changes take effect as of January 1, 2020 so get well-versed in what’s new so you are prepared and ready to go.  The links to each form will lead real estate agents to the appropriate forms on the OREA website.  The forms are also at the bottom of this blog post for consumers to review directly.

 

 

New Forms

1. Form 170: Consent To Advertise: you normally see it hidden in a brokerage’s standard Schedule B giving listing and co-operating real estate agents consent to advertise the sale price or other information pertaining to the sale of the listing.  This misguided consent to advertising clause hidden in a schedule to an agreement does a decent job of ensuring that real estate salespeople/brokers cover their butts when it comes to RECO’s Code of Ethics regarding consent to advertise, which says:

(7) A registrant shall not include anything in an advertisement that could reasonably be used to identify a party to the acquisition or disposition of an interest in real estate unless the party has consented in writing.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 36 (7).

(8) A registrant shall not include anything in an advertisement that could reasonably be used to identify specific real estate unless the owner of the real estate has consented in writing.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 36 (8).

(9) A registrant shall not include anything in an advertisement that could reasonably be used to determine any of the contents of an agreement that deals with the conveyance of an interest in real estate, including any provision of the agreement relating to the price, unless the parties to the agreement have consented in writing.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 36 (9).

However, it doesn’t look very professional as this consent shouldn’t be tied into the other offer details.  This should be a separate discussion from the offer and now it is.  Form 170 covers this consent as it relates to sale price, anything that could identify any part to the sale, identification of the property and other terms related to the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  The form must be initialled by both parties and there is no expiry date unless specifically noted in the form.  In addition, this form notes that advertising can only take effect once all conditions (if any) are fulfilled and the sale has become firm.

What does this mean for consumers? You may have seen this clause noted in an agreement of purchase and sale in the past.  You should now be asked to sign a separate form relating to advertising and it shouldn’t form part of the deal.  It is your choice whether or not you want to consent to allow your real estate agent and the other side’s real estate agent to be able to advertise details of the sale.  If you are a private person, having the sale details advertised may make you uncomfortable and you shouldn’t be obligated to sign the form.  However, if you are comfortable with allowing the sale of the home to be advertised, this gives your real estate agent a great opportunity to spread the word about his/her services, which helps their business.

What does this mean for REALTORS®? Get this new form signed and you will have the ability to advertise the sale.  Review the pros and cons with your client and ask your colleague to do the same with their client so you show that you are obtaining consent in a more professional and straightforward way.  If your broker of record or manager hasn’t done so already, ask that they remove the consent to advertise from the brokerage’s standard schedule B so that you can take care of this consent separately when the deal is firm.

2. Form 653: Co-Brokerage Agreement Between Buyer Brokerages: at times, real estate agents may be asked to work with a past client or be referred business in a trading area that may not be their forte.  Instead of referring it out, real estate agents now have the ability to collaborate!  This form allows real estate agents and brokers to work with colleagues from other brokerages to represent a buyer client as best as possible.  I can see this working with agents that might not be strong in a certain area but they are eager to learn from an experienced agent in that particular trading area.  Whether it’s for a commercial transaction, a rural property or a certain geographic area, this form can work well when two agents want to work together from different brokerages.

What does this mean for consumers? If your go-to real estate agent is not familiar with the type of home or area you are looking to purchase, it still gives you the option to work with him/her along with another agent who is well versed in the type of search you are conducting.  Sometimes, your real estate agent may opt to refer you directly to someone else, in which case a separate referral agreement (Form 641) can be signed and a referral fee is paid from the agent that has been referred the business to your own real estate agent for referring the business (usually around 25% of the commission earned).  However, if your real estate agent prefers to remain more active and can collaborate with another agent from another brokerage, they can sign this agreement to work together.

What does this mean for REALTORS®?  You now have a new way of operating your business – in a more collaborative way with other brokerages.  Don’t be afraid to seek out help from your colleagues.  A lot of us are eager to work together and learn from each other.  You never know – maybe the person you are seeking guidance from will do the same for you in the future.  It can be a win-win scenario and it helps to sharpen your business skills for future clients.

3. Form 304: Suspension of Buyer Representation Agreement: need a break?  Going out of town?  Want an alternative to cancelling a buyer representation agreement?  This gives a buyer client and their agent the opportunity to suspend the agreement temporarily for a certain period of time.  From the looks of things, this doesn’t extend the length of time of the original representation agreement in effect – it’s just a pause.

What does this mean for consumers? If you want to pause your real estate search, this gives you the ability to do so without a full-out cancellation.

What does this mean for REALTORS®? Buyer clients now have more options – just as seller clients do with Form 241 – Suspension of Listing Agreement.  It’s an option and should be offered as such if the right situation arises.

Changes to Forms:

1. Form 242: Cancellation of Listing Agreement and Form 301: Cancellation of Buyer Representation Agreement: a new section has been added to give the reason why the cancellation is happening.  This allows the cancellation to be better understood by all parties and leaves any misunderstandings behind.

What does this mean form consumers? It’s never fun to part ways with someone but sometimes it happens and when both parties have the opportunity to share why the cancellation is happening, it helps to put an end to that real estate chapter in a clear and concise way.  Having a better understanding why the cancellation occurred allows you the ability to find a more suitable real estate agent moving forward and ensures the same mistake is not made again.

What does this mean for REALTORS®? This is great for brokers of record and managers to track how their agents are doing with their clients.  Maybe there is an area of customer service that a particular agent needs some support with.  Maybe, some additional courses or mentoring is required.  As a real estate agent, reviewing this information with your manager or broker of record is a great idea.  Nobody is perfect and sometimes you don’t see eye to eye with your client on a particular search or sale.  Understanding what happened and making changes for the future will have a positive impact on your business moving forward.

2. Form 240: Amendment to Listing Agreement: slight change of wording from “Former Listing Price/Former Expiry Date” to “Current Listing Price/Current Expiry Date” to clear up any confusion relating to multiple price changes or expiry dates.  Similar changes were made to the following Form #205, #207, #212, #247, #305, #315, #348, #356, #521, #527, #534, $538, #541, #548, #552, and #556.

What does this mean form consumers? Not much – this is just a detail that has led to some confusion for real estate agents in the past.  It’s the same form with the same terms.

What does this mean for REALTORS®?  Not much – this just helps you to eliminate any confusion relating to the listing price and expiry date.

3. Other: many forms that had a “Witness” signature line have deleted the witness and replaced it with the name of the actual signer.

What does this mean form consumers? Again, not much.  You will just be asked to write your name on some forms beside your signature moving forward vs. searching for a witness.

What does this mean for REALTORS®? Minor change – no biggie.  If you are using an electronic signature program, there is an option to add a Name Block when your client is signing to automatically fill out your client’s name when they are signing.  You now have more use for this option!

Changes to Standard Clauses: none for this year – woohoo!

For a full list of all the changes, real estate agents can refer to OREA’s summary: https://www.orea.com/~/media/Files/Members/OREA-Standard-Forms/Change-Summaries/OREA-Standard-Forms-2020-Summary-of-Revisions.pdf.  In addition, OREA is planning a webinar on January 29th, 2020 to address real estate agent questions relating to these changes.  This post provides a summary of the most important aspects in our personal opinion.  Please take the time to review all of the changes.

REALTORS® – Did you know? 

There are 205 OREA standard forms and 300 OREA standard clauses.

According to OREA, the average Realtor uses approximately 15 – 20 standard forms each year. 

Reviewing the other forms and clauses you don’t use may assist you in better representing your clients over this next year.  Each of these forms were made for our profession so why not educate yourself on the best way to make use of them?  OREA makes changes and creates new forms based on the feedback from its members.  Make sure you are taking the time to provide this vital feedback so our industry can stay on top of the changing landscape of our real estate businesses.


For last year’s updates and changes, please refer to our blog post: OREA’s New Forms, Clauses & Updates – Your 2019 Coles Notes Review.


FOR CONSUMERS: ALL THE FORMS

 

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All About Live-Work Properties

Posted on October 23rd, 2019

Homeownership can be a challenge in the GTA.  Home prices coupled with the desire to grow your business with a commercial space can add to that financial stress.  While some people can find solutions with co-working and shared space opportunities, others want to offer their customers a dedicated space.  Purchasing a live-work property gives entrepreneurs and small business owners the flexibility of having both a residential and commercial space in one.  While this option can be appealing, there are some things to keep in mind prior to starting your search:

1) Availability: there are limited options in the GTA for live-work units.  Working with a Realtor who can source different options can make your search easier.  However, you may have to sacrifice your ideal location in order to get into the right space.  Pre-construction condo projects are a good place to start as some developers offer live-work units on the ground level of their buildings.  Tip for Realtors: when looking for these types of spaces for your clients, a keyword search for “live work” in the Client Remarks or Brokerage Remarks of MLS will help find a list of opportunities.
2) Financing: not all lenders will finance mix-use properties. “Major banks won’t fund these properties under their residential financing policies.” says John Sinnott, mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres.  “For a property to be financed residentially, it cannot have more than 20% space allocated commercially. If it does, they consider it a commercial deal with different rates and policies.” continues Mr. Sinnott.  CMHC and comparable insurers will only insure spaces with less than 25% commercial space. Lucy Gagliardi, a mortgage broker with OZ Capital suggests: “have your income, down payment and current mortgage statement and property tax bill ready to give to your mortgage broker so that they can determine accurate figures for you before you go out looking.”  We agree – there’s no sense starting a search if you don’t have a sufficient down payment or you are unable to comfortably afford a property like this.
 
3) Property Taxes: the property taxes on live-work properties are higher, however they are assessed depending on the ratio of the space.  Therefore,  you would only pay the commercial tax rate for your commercial square footage. Also, all of the utilities are charged at a commercial rate and are not flexible depending on residential space.
4) Rules and Regulations: many live-work properties are condominium units.  Each condominium corporation has a set of rules regarding the use of all of the units within the building – including the live-work units.  Restrictions regarding the type of business, hours of operation, ability to make aesthetic changes to the unit (inside or out) or add signage could all impact your ability to run your business.  Hiring a real estate lawyer to review these rules along with the entire status certificate for the condominium, will ensure the property you are considering makes sense for you and your business.
5) Zoning: all commercial units are zoned for certain uses.  Together with your Realtor, ensuring that the permitted use of the commercial space will work for your business is essential.
6) Legal: Samuel Kazen, real estate lawyer with Hamburg Olson Kazen Law Professional Corporation, offers the following advice: “You don’t want to be subsidizing any purely residential units in the same building. If the property is in a building that has purely residential units, it would be wise to compare the common expenses you would be paying for a live-work unit to one of the residential units of comparable size. If you would be paying a lot more (as is often the case), then you might want to look elsewhere.”  Further, he suggests to “make sure whatever entity you are using to purchase the property is an HST registrant. Otherwise, the vendor would be required to remit HST and would seek to collect HST from you.”  Finally, “if the vendor wishes to structure the sale as a sale of shares to his/her corporation, make sure you obtain a full indemnity against any liability that may be associated with that corporation.”
7) Investment Opportunity: since these types of properties are few and far between, purchasing one as an investment could be a good way to get into the real estate investment world.  Your Realtor can guide you in terms of the rental opportunity available and can better direct you towards the properties that will yield you a good return.  Location (as with any property) is key and ensuring you are aware of the rules associated with leasing these units is important as well.
To get you started, here is a list of live-work opportunities throughout the GTA:
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Buying A Home With Kids

Posted on October 10th, 2019

Finding a new home when you have kids can be a challenge.  There’s so much more to consider beyond the home itself.  Schools, community centres, programs, and safety are all important factors that need to be investigated to avoid any regret down the road.  You want to make sure that the transition is as painless as possible for your little ones and that normally takes some extra due diligence on your part and your Realtor’s part.  So what should you consider?  Here is a list of our top kid friendly home inspection items:

 1) Neighbour check: kids like to play outside – front yard, back yard, side yard – which means you’ll likely be seeing your neighbours a lot more than if you didn’t have kids. Introducing yourself and your family to your potential neighbours can help.  Does your neighbour hate kids?  Does he own a crazy aggressive dog? While you may not be able to give your potential neighbour a full blown interrogation with a full set of fingerprints and a DNA test, a simple introduction will give you a better idea of who you could be living beside for the next one, two, five, ten or more years.  Your potential neighbours are also the best source to get all of the details about the area from – pros and cons.
 
2) Visit the neighbourhood more than once.  if you’re seeing the home on Monday at 7pm, go visit on Saturday at 11am.  If you’re there for the weekend open house, go visit on a Thursday at 8pm.  This way, you get a more complete picture of the neighbourhood.  
 
3) Visit the parks: if living in a community with other young families is important to you, visit the local parks.  If the parks are filled with teenagers smoking pot or more dogs than kids, the neighbourhood might not be the right one for you.  
 
4) Visit the local schools: your kids will be spending the majority of their days at school.  You want to make sure the school they will be attending is welcoming, engaging, well respected, and whatever other qualities are important to you as a family.  
 
5) Consider commute times: make sure that the commute to and from your place of employment won’t leave you stressed out and scrambling to pick up the kids from school each day.  With that said, confirming the start and end times for school and availability for before and after school programs might have an impact on your home buying decision.  For example, my kids start school at 8am and end at 2:30pm.  This makes a typical 9 to 5 schedule at work very hard to adhere to if there is no after school program available.
 
6) Extra-curricular programming: does your child love swimming?  Soccer?  Hockey? Depending on how important these extra-curricular programs are to you and your family, you may want to visit the community centres and sports clubs in the neighbourhood to find out the options and availability of programs.  
 
7) Daycares: if your kids aren’t in school yet, then the hunt for the right daycare can be a challenge.  Some daycares don’t offer half day or part time programs while others cost more than you expect.  A family will want to make sure they have enough options to consider when it comes to finding a new daycare for their little one.
 
8) Street traffic: is the street you are considering purchasing a home on a short cut for impatient rush hour drivers?  Do you back onto a street with a loud bus route that runs around the clock? Listening and watching for local traffic at different times of the day and on different days will help you better understand how safe and peaceful your potential new neighbourhood really is.
 
9) Pollution and safety hazards: if you see a home at 8pm on a Monday, you may not notice the cell phone tower nearby or the factory down the street.  Again, check things out during the day and do a Google satellite map search to see what you might be missing.
 
10) Get the kids involved.  Depending on your child, including their age and personality, the idea of moving can range from pure excitement to pure anger.  Involving your kids in the decision making as much as possible – choosing what homes to see, determining what characteristics make a good home, scoping out the neighbourhood with you (maybe take them out of school for an afternoon to explore!) – will help them to be more engaged in the process and become a bit more positive about a potential move.
 
We hope that these tips help to make the process of finding a new home for your family easier.  It may seem like a lot of extra work but you do not want to regret a home purchase decision.  Having a trusted Realtor by your side will help make that process smoother by providing knowledge and expertise about the neighbourhood and the home you are interested in purchasing.  
 
 
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The Biggest Misconception In Real Estate

Posted on July 18th, 2017

There is a big misconception in the real estate industry that when you are searching for a home, working with a real estate agent is free of charge.  While there are many benefits to working with a Realtor during your home search, these professionals are getting paid and although this payment flows through the proceeds of the home’s sale, this payment ultimately comes out of the buyer’s pocket.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that you are paying for a service that you’ve requested.  In fact, it’s common sense that you would pay for this service, right?  In fact, in other markets such as Australia, there two different types of brokerages – those that sell homes and those that assist buyers in purchasing homes.  This eliminates the risk of double ending (when the same agent represents both buyer and seller) and is a concept that might be worth further exploration in our own market.

In Ontario, the commission system is set up as follows: a seller hires a real estate agent to assist in selling their home.  A commission is negotiated between the seller and real estate agent, which traditionally amounts to 5% plus HST.  This amount is split between the selling agent (2.5%) and the agent who represents the buyer (2.5%).  The seller may negotiate the selling agent’s portion of the commission to be lower, however the buyer’s commission is rarely (if ever) touched. Many selling agents will offer a lower rate from the get go in order to their foot in your door.

Technically, if a buyer has a Buyer Representation Agreement signed with his or her real estate agent, a commission rate is agreed upon (typically 2.5%) and should a seller not offer a commission to a buying agent, this amount would need to be paid by the buyer directly.  While it is uncommon to see a listing offering less than the standard 2.5% commission to the buying agent, the industry has started to see some buyers negotiating this standardized amount with their agent and it’s something that should be explored further based on the services provided by that particular agent.

If a buyer chooses to work without a Realtor, they should expect a discount on the selling price as the seller only needs to pay his or her Realtor their side of the commission.  A buyer has the choice to hire a real estate agent.  Educating buyers on how the system works is a great first step as many buyers enter the home search process unaware of how the industry is set up.  If you are getting into the market soon, consider the following:

  • Speak to friends and colleague about their experiences in purchasing a home and ask if they would recommend a real estate agent to assist you with the process. Don’t go with the first real estate agent you meet at an open house.  You need to interview many people to ensure you will be on the same page throughout the home buying journey.
  • A Realtor can be a valuable part of the home search process and their services, understandably, come at a cost. Ensure you review the Buyer Representation Agreement that you sign with your Realtor in detail and understand the commission rate they will be earning.
  • While you may not pay commission to your agent directly, this commission is paid by you in the form of a higher selling price that you end up paying for a home
  • If you are working without a real estate agent, ensure you understand how the commission is structured with any home on which you are making an offer. Make it known to the selling agent that you do not need any sort of representation and you plan to work everything out on your own with the assistance of a lawyer.

Although the real estate industry seems to have a set of conventions that are ‘the way it is’, it doesn’t mean that is the way it needs to be. As a consumer, you have a choice, and it is important that you understand the options available to you, even if one of those options is to buy on your own. Once people are aware of the true cost of representation, and Realtors are transparent enough to ensure that buyers understand it as well, the buying process will be considerably more comfortable.

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How To Revamp the Real Estate Profession in Ontario

Posted on June 26th, 2017

Consider these numbers:

  • 4,600 – the number of veterinarians licensed to work in Ontario according to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario
  • 14,690 – the number of family doctors working licensed in Ontario according to the Canadian Medical Association
  • 40,000 – the approximate number of licensed lawyers in Ontario according to the Law Society of Upper Canada
  • 124,000 – the approximate number of full time teaching staff in all of Ontario according to the Ministry of Education

Now consider this – there are over 70,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons working in Ontario with over 48,000 of these professionals working within the Toronto Real Estate Board alone. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) covers the GTA and surrounding townships, including Ajax, Aurora, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Halton Hills, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Oshawa, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Vaughan and Whitby. 

Let’s look further into these numbers:

  • The population of the Greater Toronto Area as of 2016 was approximately 6.418 million so for every 134 of these people, there is one real estate professional
  • In 2016, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported 113,133 residential property sales, which equates to 2.4 homes sold per agent if all of these property sales were evenly distributed amongst the massive list of TREB members

Mark McLean from Bosley Real Estate posted an interesting chart in his real estate blog (Realty Lab) a few years ago, showing some interesting statistics:

At the time of this post, almost 19% of TREB members did not have one single transaction within the year. More than half of TREB members did less than two or less transactions in the year. 

What do we conclude from all of these numbers? It is too easy to become a real estate professional in Ontario and many of those working as a real estate professional are not taking their career seriously. While many people living in the GTA struggle to find a family doctor, the real estate profession in this city is overflowing with agents just itching to sell your home or help buy you a new one.

In order to start practicing in real estate, an individual must complete what OREA terms the “Pre-Registration Segment”. This segment must be completed in 18 months and consists of five courses (or six as two are combined with one exam) adding up to 255 hours worth of studies at a cost of $2,850 in course fees. Most of these courses can either be taken in-class or online. If you go the in-class route, your attendance is not mandatory.

The courses that need to be completed during the Pre-Registration Segment include:

  • Real Estate as a Professional Career – a very general and not so accurate depiction of what you can expect if you become a real estate agent
  • Land, Structures and Real Estate Trading – looking at how land and property are registered an owned in Ontario, which is a good subject to touch on in a chapter but not the focus of an entire course
  • The Real Estate Transaction – goes through the forms and clauses used in the real estate transaction
  • Commercial Real Estate – a basic rundown of what to expect on the commercial side of real estate, which apparently makes you qualified to transact in commercial real estate if you want to give it a try
  • Real Property Law – looks at legal issues concerning property ownership

After this segment, you have 12 months to obtain employment and be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) as a real estate salesperson. This is your opportunity to interview with several real estate brokerages and start selling. This process is not your typical job interview. Since you are considered a real estate brokerage’s bread and butter, the ‘interview’ consists of the brokerage selling YOU on their office, brand and company vs. you selling them on how well you will represent their company. 

During the next two years, you have progressed into the “Articling Segment” where you need to complete a whopping one elective course and can choose from the following topics:

  • Principles of Appraisal – a fairly useful course when you are looking at comparable data to price homes or assist a buyer in making an offer on a home
  • Principles of Mortgage Financing – useful as a chapter but not an entire course, unless you’re looking to moonlight as a mortgage broker
  • Principles of Property Management – useful as a one page memo but definitely not an entire course
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis –useful course that is very heavy on numbers, calculations and formulas. Definitely one to consider if you are looking to become a commercial real estate agent.

Finally, once you have completed the challenging “Articling Segment”, you must adhere to RECO’s continuing education requirement every two years by taking a mandatory Residential or Commercial update course as well as two electives by simply clicking through the slides on your computer until you are finished.

The Ontario Real Estate Association needs to consider the following in order to improve the education process and help to elevate the industry’s poor reputation:

  • Make exams harder – these multiple-choice questions are making the process too easy. Why not consider some short answer questions or even some oral questions that truly test a prospective agent’s ability to act professionally in any situation? Yes, these questions take more time and resources to mark vs. a simple scantron sheet but surely the $2,850 that each prospective real estate agent pays to take these courses would help pay for these added costs.
  • Place more emphasis on the characteristics that a successful real estate should demonstrate with his or her clients such as patience, empathy and dedication.
  • Give a more accurate depiction of the hours, work, competition and stress involved as a real estate professional.
  • Incorporate some basics about psychology to study the thoughts and feelings that a buyer and seller will show throughout the transaction and how a real estate agent can support these emotions.
  • Add another course or two that better delves into the commercial component of real estate for those agents who wish to trade in commercial transactions.
  • Job shadowing with an experienced real estate agent should be mandatory for all new agents so that they can see first hand what to expect in the real world.
  • Keep topics practical – negotiating, bidding wars, price reductions, multiple representation (if it doesn’t become illegal soon), etc.

While some of these topics are covered by brokerages within their training program for new agents, this training is not consistent across all companies and puts some agents at a considerable disadvantage and at a higher risk of making mistakes. 

The real estate education process needs to evolve and improve in order to support its members and give a much-needed boost to the industry’s reputation. There are many good real estate professionals working in the GTA but the hard work and dedication of these individuals is consistently overshadowed by those not-so-great agents who obviously require more training, who aren’t in the business for the right reasons and who aren’t willing to take the time to make improvements to their approach on their own.

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