The largest barrier to this type of part-timer regulation stems from the lack of a qualified definition of what, exactly, constitutes a part-time agent. What loose understandings do exist involve such blanket statements that many of those calling for a ban on part-timers would find themselves out of a job.
“It’s hard to paint everyone with such a broad stroke,” says Davelle Morrison, a sales rep with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto. “The reality is that you only have a couple of agents who do a ton of deals a year, most are doing two or three. For those agents, they might be starting out and you have to start somewhere.”
Similar to rookie agents just learning the real estate ropes, veteran sales reps working toward retirement might choose to slowly wind down their businesses – are they part-timers, then?
That’s a question that many agents in the REP forum have already asked and tried to answer.
“Being otherwise employed does not necessarily mean one is part time in real estate, based on hours worked. It means one is unavailable at certain times,” writes Lee McDonald in the forum. “Full time or part time does not determine, in itself, how effectively a professional performs their job.”
Professionalism, meanwhile, remains the largest concern of various regulating bodies. In Ontario, registrar Joseph Richer of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) says the legislative body’s only concern is with the level of service provided to consumers.
“There is no correlation between someone who is part-time or full-time and their level of professionalism,” Richer tells REP. “The code of ethics requires that every salesperson and broker treat people fairly and honestly, promote the best interest of the client and promote conscientious service.”
Morrison says juggling a real estate career with another job makes that conscientious service next to impossible; and she’d know – she’s tried it.
“It doesn’t work from a time perspective,” she says of her experiences early into her career. “It’s impossible to squeeze in another job on top of that. And your knowledge just isn’t as up to date as someone doing it full-time. You can’t stay on top of that kind of information – new condo buildings and bylaws and neighbourhoods – if you’re working part-time.”
As agents are increasingly forced to compete for a shrinking pool of clients, some sales reps are calling for the regulation of their part-time counterparts – a move some say is unlikely to come to fruition.