Are there too many part-timers in the real estate game?

by Ryan Smith06 Nov 2015
Everyone knows the housing boom has spawned high prices – with average home prices in Toronto and Vancouver topping $1 million – but it’s also spawned a record number of real estate agents.

According to the most recent numbers available, the number of people selling real estate in Canada has topped 108,000. To put that in perspective, labour statistics for 2013 showed 131,000 carpenters in the country. In other words, there are almost as many Canadians selling houses as there are building them.

A big part of the increase in real estate agents comes from an influx of part-timers. However, many full-time real estate agents have criticized their part-time colleagues, saying part-timers can’t offer the same service or expertise as people who make real estate their full-time career.

“Call me crazy, but my experience by and large is that part-timers are part-time for a reason,” writes REP reader Ken. “They lack the professionalism, talent, and commitment to succeed as a full-time real estate professional, and need that other job to make ends meet. I get that there are exceptions to every rule, but I don't want to be ‘that guy’ that greets my seller when they walk in the door of Home Depot on Saturday afternoon, or picks them up from a restaurant in my cab. Be a pro, be full-time, your clients deserve that.”

“In my extensive experience (licensed since 1975) I do not see the purpose of PART-TIME real estate agents,” writes Nick Slezinski, another REP reader. “This is due to the proven fact they do NOT have their full attention on market prices or conditions. If it was not for the MLS numbers, prices and other facts, these part-timers would be completely lost!”

Slezinski says he doesn’t believe part-timers should be allowed in the industry. “This is not in any manner prejudicial or unfair,” he writes. “I would not try and be a part-time pharmacist, for example!”
But part-timers maintain that they’re able to give their clients service that’s as good as – or even better than – their full-time counterparts.

“I always thought real estate was a service industry – how many hours you spend doesn’t mean anything,” writes Narender Sehgal in the REP forum. “If a person can provide service at the convenience of client, keeping in mind the needs of the client or customer and the interest of the client, then how does it make a difference if that someone is a full-time or part-time agent?

“I have met many full-time real estate agents who have no clue what are they doing,” Segal adds. “So please, let’s not get into this full-time/part-time business.”

One anonymous commenter even called those who criticized part-timers “loosers (sic) looking for scapegoats.”

What do you think? Are part-timers hurting the industry, or is that just an excuse? Let us know in the comments below.


  • by 11/6/2015 12:48:16 PM

    It is just a redecluce accusations, I am full timer but Part-timer's do provided same service as long as they are up front with thire client that they are working the industry as Part-timer's.

  • by B. Smith 11/6/2015 12:50:36 PM

    I am part time now in my latter part of working and I give my clients the same professional service I did when I was in it full time for years. Only difference now is I am away in the winter for some months but even then only a phone call away from anyone who needs me. Our market is quiet in the winter months and I always have a qualified agent ready to take care of their needs if it is something I can't resolve from where I am. With technology now many people are working from different areas and still giving their clients full time service while they are dealing with them. Many older realtors are still wanting to be in the business but only want to take care of their data base and not actively go out looking for new clients. Yet our clients keep coming back to us because they know the level of service we provide. |the old saying about walking in someone else's shoes applies here as we don't always know the reasons behind why someone else chooses to only do this part-time.

  • by Keith Braun 11/6/2015 12:51:08 PM

    I rarely participate in online discussions..... I'm far too busy tending to the needs of my clients and my Real Estate business! ! With that said, this is a post worth replying to. I've been selling Real Estate for 18 years now. Previously I was a Paramedic for 14 years and when I chose to pursue a career in Real Estate, I hung up my stethoscope understanding that this career was going to require ALL of my attention to both my clients and the steep learning curve ahead. This step of faith was difficult only in that I was leaving the security of a civic job to being self employed. It was not a difficult decision in knowing that it was absolutely required to be competent in my new career and provide the level of service that my clients would require and deserve. In the last 18 years I can honestly say that I can pick out a part-time Realtor from a mile away. They are not at all available, and when they are, they do not display the level of competence that a full time Realtor does in all aspects of their marketing and transaction management. I've said many times that "part-time Realtors are the burr in my saddle" and I wish that more people would write about this issue to better inform the public. It amazing me how many Sellers do not properly interview / employ their Realtor of choice to handle the sale of their largest asset. If they did, part-time Realtors would not even make the short-list for the initial interview. The prevalent existence of part-time Realtors in the Real Estate profession has offered very little to elevate public perception on the professional competencies and ethics of Realtors. So, for the love of the Real Estate Profession and for the benefit of all consumers, please continue to educate the public on the deleterious effects that part-time Realtors have on the Profession and how the public needs to make better decisions on who they decide to hire to manage the sale of their properties.

    Keith Braun
    RealPros Real Estate Consultants

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