“A lot of people get into the business like it’s a piece of cake, they spend all this money on the courses, which take a number of months,” Denis Pellerin, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Kitchener, Ont., tells REP. “Then the really good ones will hit the ground running, but the large majority, over 65 or 70 per cent, will take six months or more before they can really get anything done, then they get desperate.
“And then a desperate person who’s hungry makes desperate decisions.”
Like a large number of his colleagues, Pellerin believes change to the licensing process is necessary, not only to improve the professionalism of the agents already on the ground, but to better educate and prepare those considering a career in real estate.
“I think [change] has to come from the top down,” he says. “If you look at the agents, they’re really professional but they’re slugs.”
But licencing bodies like RECO in Ontario say limiting the number of licenses it hands out is not an option.
“It would be seen as an anti-competitive move and contrary to the public interest,” says RECO registrar Joseph Richer. “Through pre-registration education and mandatory continuing education, we reinforce those standards, stressing honesty, integrity and professionalism.
RECO’s activities are guided by its mandate of consumer protection.”
Many agents in the REP forum have suggested making licensing programs more difficult. Pellerin, however, suggests better educating rookie sales reps. If agents seeking easy money actually knew how difficult it would be to earn a decent living, he says, they would be less likely to join the profession in the first place. Then, those who do opt for life as a real estate professional will be motivated, and that motivation will give way to professional agents.
“Generally, I think people are optimistic so they think, ‘oh yeah, I can do it,’ but they need to be exposed to the challenges,” Pellerin says. “I think better awareness of what the challenges are getting into the industry and [more education] for those who wish to come into the industry, what you need to do to get started.”
Agents across the country are fed up with the inaction by Canada’s various real estate boards, arguing rookie sales reps are often left in the dark about the challenges they’ll soon face.