As you may have heard, it’s an exciting time in the Real Estate Industry. The Real Estate Business Brokers Act (REBBA) is being overhauled for the first time in 15 years.
Many changes are good and, in my opinion, overdue. But as a Realtor, I’ve noticed one change no one is talking about; The Onslaught of Realtors. Since 2011, the number of licensed Realtors has doubled, and the number of Ontario Realtors is now equivalent to the entire population of Northumberland County! You might be wondering; why is this an issue?

 

People think the majority of realtors are busy, active, and successful. Sadly our industry focuses too much on finely tuned image crafting through flashy cars, vacations, and social media posts. The truth is that based on the number of homes that sell annually in Ontario, the average Realtor is selling less than three properties a year. Herein lies the problem.
How is one expected to be an “expert” when they only do it three times a year? Would you trust a mechanic to fix your car if it was the third he’d ever worked on? How confident would you be walking into a courtroom when law is your Lawyer’s “side gig” that he squeezes in between teaching and driving for Uber? With so many people licensed to trade in Real Estate, it leads to a lot of inexperienced individuals, which is a concern when Realtors are entrusted with their client’s largest investment.
The second issue is regulation. Realtors are regulated by an organization called the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). If a Realtor violates a rule in the Real Estate Business Act (REBBA) a consumer or another Realtor can file a complaint against that individual. However, with the number of Realtors to regulate, educate, and enforce it’s becoming an impossible task for RECO. This means that more and more Realtors are getting away with doing wrong to consumers and no one is calling them to task.
So what’s the solution? 
Education. 
The requirements to obtain your real estate license are a joke. Now “back in the day”, we did three courses before we could start trading and then a further three within the first two years. Most could be done online and it took approximately 250 hours to complete. But by next year when the education requirements change that will drop to 120 hours. Yup, you read that right, they are LOWERING THE BAR, and it wasn’t very high to begin with. Now as a comparison if you want to become a cosmetologist in Ontario that takes about 11 months of education. You require more training and experience to do nails and makeup then you do to sell peoples’ most significant financial investment. If that doesn’t prove the system is broken, I don’t know what will.
It’s time for a revolution. As Realtors we should be contacting our MPP and supporting initiatives to raise the bar when it comes to our educational requirements. Consumers deserve better, and we deserve to be working with fellow professionals that are educated and knowledgeable. Uneducated Realtors put consumers and the industry as a whole at risk.
For more information or to join the conversation check out http://www.rebbareform.ca where the Ontario Real Estate Association is advocating on our behalf for higher standards of education.
Data and statistics as provided by the Real Estate Council of Ontario and the Canadian Association of Realtors 2017.
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