“The reality is that you have to do more [for clients],” Francis Chiu, an agent in Toronto, tells REP. “You might have to offer free services like staging or a home inspection or even renovations in order to compete against these other new agents.”
Complacent listings are a thing of the past, Chui says, pointing to many new agents who believe a for-sale sign and an MLS listing are enough to sell a property. While that may have been the case in some of the country’s more in-demand neighbourhoods, Canada’s rapidly cooling market means not every agent will be able to sell a property in less than a week for an extra $100,000.
Now, however, many sales reps are resorting to lowering commissions – and the services they offer – in order to win new clients.
“There are a lot of agents and I don’t think they’re educated enough to make this profession as professional as it can be,” Chiu says. “They have newly licensed agents – thousands of them – and 80 per cent have changed the way commission is earned.”
Chiu says agents need to take a more vested interest in their clients’ success, and use their own personal skill set to help clients in any way they can. Chiu, for example, has personally flipped seven houses, and offers his clients a personal assessment of the property.
“I would look at a house and basically offer my evaluation on whether they’d need a new roof and I’d pitch in for that,” Chiu says. “That’s my business.”
In the face of increased competition, successful agents will look no further than the services they offer their clients, says one industry player, arguing more is certainly more when vying for clients alongside commission cutters and FSBOs.