“The properties are selling themselves, so after five, six, seven days properties are being sold on offer dates and agents don’t need to do any work,” says John Whyte, a sales rep in Toronto. “It’s scary because everything can sell just by putting it on the market.”
The concern is the promise of a quick sale – especially of single-detached homes – is compelling agents to list a house as soon as possible, often before garnering adequate information. Buyer agents are then left to advise their clients with what few details are available on the MLS.
“There are simple questions that every agent should know – the roof age, the age of the doors and windows – but (some agents don’t),” Whyte says. “How can we as agents advise our clients if we don’t have answers? It’s so easy to sell a property. They know if they just put it up they’ll have five offers competing on it.”
That lack of guidance impacts the already-precarious reputation of the entire industry. Some players suggest that could even push more potential buyers and sellers to for-sale-by-owner companies, leaving agents to fight for an even smaller pool of clients.
“A lot of the agents are underqualified or not working as hard as they should be,” Whyte says. “At the end of the day, that’s going to affect all agents. When they find problems that arise because something was negligent on the agent’s part, that will look (bad) on the profession as a whole.”
Listing agents working in some of Canada’s hottest cities are neglecting key due diligence issues, effectively creating a market where sales reps are ill-prepared to advise prospective buyers.