How Do You View REALTORS®?

How would you rate REALTORS?

How would you rate REALTORS?

In the 2011 Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Membership Survey, members were asked how they think the real estate profession is perceived by the public.

CREA’s survey showed that one quarter (25.2%) of the respondents felt the profession is seen negatively by the public.

Here’s where you come in, and I really need your input:

1.  What can REALTORS® as a whole do to improve their image?

2.  If you have a negative opinion about agents, what can I personally do to help change it?

3. Please share your agent experiences, both positive and negative in the comments section.  (No names, please)

Are 25% of Canadian agents right in assuming that you, the public, views us negatively?  If so, we have a lot of work to do – but first you need to voice your concerns.


15 responses to “How Do You View REALTORS®?

  1. I’ll start by sharing this little video I created last year (it was a slow market, lol)

    The Open House
    (When a stereotypical agent meets a low-balling buyer)

    What I find amusing/annoying is that some agents actually try these lines on me when I’m scheduling to show their listings or attending their open houses with clients. As a Buyer’s agent it’s my duty to relay any information I receive to my clients. However, I carefully advise and help them filter and decipher what I’ve been told.

    I have to tread carefully when, after submitting a clients’ Offer to Purchase, I hear from the listing agent that “we have another offer on the table.” Of course the first things I ask are whether it’s actually a written offer that’s signed and in their possession, and who the buyer representative is.

    The topic of “Phantom Offers” will be discussed in a post in the very near future.

    There have been many great agents I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Professional, ethical & courteous. It’s those few shady ones that blemish the reputation of the entire industry – so let’s work together by bringing those issues to light.

  2. If you’re following my daily stats, you may have a noticed a discrepancy lately between the median price in my daily stats and the one CREB provides.

    It seems there’s a glitch in the way that CREB calculates the median price. The thing is, their glitch (if the error is indeed on their end) is showing the median price lower than it actually is.

    Apparently the median price miscalculation occurs anytime there is an even amount of sales. Instead of averaging out the 2 median sales, it just selects the lower of the two.

    For example, yesterday there were 4 condo sales:


    CREB is showing the median at $220,500 when it should be $235,250. (Average of $250,000+220,500)

    I’m committed to providing the most accurate stats possible for you and will let you know when I hear back.

    The last thing I want to see is consumers lose confidence in what’s being reported – like what’s happening in Chicago, Illinois where a glitch was inflating their median price for at least 3 years.

    At least CREB’s glitch (to be determined) was deflating the daily median price, so no one can accuse us of trying to pump the market 😛

  3. I heard back and the reply was:

    “CREB does all their median calculations where they take the lower of the two instead of producing the average…and it is how they have always calculated the median.

    On the monthly stats figures the monthly median prices are calculated appropriately.”

    I’m not sure why they chose to do it that way… In any case, I’ll continue to calculate the daily median price the correct way. At least the monthly stat packages are accurately tabulated.

  4. I think people are severly dissapointed in realty agency commissions that are disproportionate to the value of the service provided.

    Realtor billing should be decoupled from the sale value of the homes to legitimize the business in the eyes of the public. Perhaps billing by the hour with standard fees for specific services rendered would improve the perception of realty and associate value to the tasks realtors execute while working for clients.

  5. My take on realtors:

    I did use 5 realtors in my life. Only 2 gave me complete satisfaction. the other three I had pretty much to tell them what to do or remind them that the showings were not what I wanted. The commisions are way too high these days.

  6. I think some realtors are just in for an “easy” way to make money. Realtors are usually the “time is money” type.
    A realtor doesnt bring great value into the real estate industry, they do bring some value, but not enough for the amount of money they move.
    Last time i asked a realtor, how much do you think the lot on this house is?, he couldn’t tell (and he said he did an “analysis” on the property). What most realtors do when you want to make an offer is to see other houses sold nearby and tell you that you have to at least make a similar offer, when each house is different, they just say: oh this one doesn’t have a garage 18k less, done. It is hard to know the condition of a home sold that you havent personally seen and assessed and then compare with what you are analizing.
    Im sure there are excellent, well educated and smart realtors out there, but i bet i could count them with one hand. A good realtor is not the one that showed you a lot of homes, picked you up in a nice SUV and speaks so nicely.
    As any industry based on commision, most care about getting a commision, the end. That’s why the typical phrases: Great Value, Great time to buy, unique oportunity, act now, instant equity, buy now before prices get higher.

    Maybe i see things with buyer eyes (im looking to buy in a month or two, unless economy gets worse), but nice homes are overpriced, and good deals are dumps.

  7. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts – I appreciate being able to see things from your perspective.

    I’m looking forward to reading from other readers as well.

  8. 1. What can REALTORS® as a whole do to improve their image?
    Allow for more competition – which they are doing begrudgingly. I think competition is the backbone of capitalism. I also think that home sales data should be public data, as it is in the US with Mike, you do a great job combatting this image.

    2. If you have a negative opinion about agents, what can I personally do to help change it?

    You are doing it – keep it up.

    3. Please share your agent experiences, both positive and negative in the comments section. (No names, please)
    I have had 2 realtors in my life, and both were great. Recently though I have had several friends get into the business. They have openly told me that they are doing it for the easy money. Both are smooth talkers and attractive, so are getting clients. ugh…

  9. I’ve had 3 real estate transaction experiences so far in the 11 years I’ve lived in Calgary. My first experience was purchasing a condo with a “dual” agency role where the real estate agency represented both the builder and me, the seller. This was not a good situation as the real estate agent clearly represented only one side. This was so shady that I actually think it should be outlawed. After this experience I was really turned off by real estate but learned my lesson to get my own agent next time around.

    For my second experience, I sold the condo and purchased a house. I had my own agent and he was involved in both transactions. This was another disapointing experience where the only value added by the agent was listing the property on MLS. This was in teh winter of 2007 shortly after the boom and the agent failed to properly support me in negotiating a good deal on the home I bought and constantly tried to trick me into quick sales with the condo. I lost all confidence that the agent represented my best interests and when all was said and done, I was alone in negotiating and was moderately satisfied with the outcome–with no credit going to the agent.
    I switched agent for my third experience when I sold the starter home and upgraded to a larger home. With my severe distrust of real estate agents I laid the ground rules with the new agent (and his partner). This was a wonderful experience. They advised me to keep the existing home and convert it to a rental property and helped me negotiate a great deal on my new home. This is the type of agent that will get my repeat business.

  10. Mike,

    I’m an intelligent do it yourself kind of person who recently bought a house. I was bothered that I needed to get a realtor just to have access to real estate info in the city. You have no choice at all, if you don’t get a realtor then you have a slim hope of getting what you desire because you can’t even access the info. This is the first thing I hate about realtors – whether they are beneficial or not, being forced to use them just to get basic market info makes me dislike them. Why is it I have to get my realtor to send me property notices from his locked down system just so that I can review them myself? I don’t like it.

    The second thing I dislike is the grossly disproportionate commission realtors receive. Suppose for the sake of this example the realtor charges 5% of the sales price for services, and suppose it’s a hot market and you list your $400 k house for sale and it sells in a few days with virtually no effort from the realtor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the realtor just earned $20,000 for doing a day or two of work. This is gross. When I need professional services I pay the proper wage – I pay a plumber, lawyer, doctor, or whoever it may be the fair wage based on how much work they do, usually a few hundred dollars for a use of their services (which isn’t cheap). But when I sell a house I don’t pay a comparable wage at all, I’m forced to accept basic terms that are fixed and way higher. I paid my lawyer for the house purchase about $300 for their time and expertise, something I couldn’t do myself (which is why I hired him). For the same amount of time and expertise (in a different field) I’d pay a realtor way more, and have no choice in the matter. Fixed and properly proportionate fees are needed. Does it really take thousands of dollars worth of extra effort for a realtor to sell a more expensive house? Because they certainly get paid thousands more for what appears to be exactly the same work they do for an inexpensive house.

    The third thing I dislike is that with realtors it doesn’t matter so much if you have a good realtor or a bad realtor, the market will set the price and the offers will come. This means good realtors and bad realtors will both continue to work because people still want houses regardless of what idiot (or competent) realtor is representing people. I’ve seen so many houses posted on MLS in all CAPS with spelling mistakes and sloppy misrepresentations (like taking strategic pictures to make a duplex appear to be a single detached home), but realtors like this continue to exist because if I wanted that house I’d go buy from them anyway. The system doesn’t filter out the bad realtors. This makes it hard to pick a realtor yourself. There are no websites or organizations that review realtors and give you a breakdown of who is good or not. You’re flying blind.

    Now I should clarify, my buying experience with my realtor wasn’t a bad one, and it didn’t cost me anything personally since I was buying and not selling. But even then, I have to ask myself if I really got $15,000 worth of value from having a guy drive me around on a few weekends in his Mercedes Benz to look at houses (which I could have done myself) and then have me sign a few form letters he printed off from his computer. I can’t help but feel ripped off, the form letters weren’t even covered in gold.


  11. One of the key issues noted in many of the above comments is the disproportionate fees earned by some realtors vs. other occupations, or just that the fee is too high based on the gross value of the home and a fixed commission structure. I sold a home once for nearly 600k and it was not even listed, the agent already had a buyer, showed the house and did the paperwork. For this service I paid 50% of his regular fee, all in about $10k (don’t remember exact figure). In some respects I was impressed with his contacts and ability to generate a legitimate buyer and offer in a short number of days. On the other hand he probably earned over $1000 per hour based on what he actually provided. At the time, to earn $10k would have taken me two months…. (and I owned the house, paid the interest, did the repairs, paid the taxes, was house poor for years, etc), basically all the risk was mine and the realtor earned a huge payday for relatively little time, no risk, no effort or real skill other than some contacts and knowledge of some aspects of the local market (even then the agent couldn’t even recommend a price as I had to set the price and found this quite bizarre).

    This agent remains at the top of his field and owns the brokerage. I at least didn’t need to deal with a shady sales type who can’t spell and puts out cheesy all CAP blurbs in the mls listing. I find most agents are inclined to speak out of both sides of their mouths – how can it be a good time to buy and a good time to sell unless you are collecting the commission? Generally I would say it is a good time to buy when prices are rising and a good time to sell when prices are dropping for any asset including something as levered and volatile as real estate.

    I would prefer to have access to sales history of all homes in the calgary market. To me the monopoly on information is a problem. This site, by far the best I have seen in a Canadian market, is hardly adequate as an information source. The system is rigged with a particular focus on taking advantage of first time buyers. These buyers may not pay the commission, but it is their financing that in the end allows the seller to pay the commission, and they are naive enough to take the advice of the professional agent they are working with at face value.

  12. I agree with much of the above posts. The inability to access information creates the dependeny on the middle man. Allow buyers and sellers access to the full database, even if it’s for a moderate fee (very moderate), and you can elimiate the usefulness of uneducated realtors. There will always be a need for professionals in the industry, why not create a little transparency.

    I’m currently shopping without a realtor hoping to use that as a negoticiating tool bypassing the need for commission from the buyers end. Of course the realtor agrees but what assurances do I have that they aren’t pocketing the full commission? I’ve spoken with many so far in my search on this subject. Most are vague in what is actually happening. I often leave those conversations with a lesser oppinion of the realtor profession and having more questions then when I started. I really don’t like that the realtor has so much power and operate without complete transparency.

  13. The entire real estate system in Canada should be changed: Sellers should be able to list the house by themselves without any legal entanglement of sticking to a realtor for 4 months or so. Seller realtors just take photo and measure your house (which is not needed in most of the new houses!), sit like a bum till a buyer realtor comes with a sale! The stupid buyers in Canada blindly depend on these realtors who are even more stupid! All the buyer has to do is just contact the owner selling the property, negotiate the price and engage a good home inspector to do inspection. Listing in MLS, etc should be done by owner and there should not be any need for engaging realtors. At the most, a realtor will be required to do some paper work for initial deposit cheque and there is no need for any greater role than this! The buyer should be aware that a house listed through realtors is closed for negotiations and the actual realtor fees (both seller realtor and buyer realtor) comes from the buyer’s pocket! I am ready to sell my house without engaging realtor and willing to pass on the realtor commission to the buyer. But the stupid buyers never trust the owners of the properties! There are always lawyers who will do title search, etc to confirm that the property listed is real and not fake! Then where is the need for a realtor?

  14. DistressedHomeOwner

    I have a peculiar scenario here with the same realtor who helped me buy my place. I am now in financial trouble after ‘X’ years in a condo where the board and management co are asking for some pretty big money for building repairs, etc. I have basically been hit with a condo cash call. I called the realtor who helped me in the first place as I am troubled deeply on how we will afford this huge expense on top of all the rest of our normal bills and payments. My realtor is asking to purchase 50% of my place – and in return will agree to pay half of the cash call. Here’s the interesting thing. The half that would be bought would be paid out with literally half of my money invested so far. For example, to keep things easy, let’s say I have paid out 20K in mortgage and other direct expenses to my place. My realtor is suggesting that I sell half to them for 10K. I pocket this money and pay off whatever expense to get out of this jam. Has anybody heard of this before? I am shocked at this seemingly shady offer. And to answer the obvious – NO – I don’t plan to entertain this offer. I will find some other way out of my current issue. But, just taken aback that someone with real estate authority has suggested I do this with my hard earned property. Doesn’t make any financial sense to sell 50% of a $200K property to someone for $10K worth of investment on their part.
    Thoughts and comments are welcome for sure.
    Is there a legal term for what was proposed here? Is this allowed? What repercussions are there.

  15. I think there should be clearly defined measurement criteria on a per agent basis. For example, the following (and more that others can think of):
    1. #bought/sold in last year
    2. list price vs. closing price
    3. duration unit on market from list to close
    These criteria would appear under two columns “Bought” and “Sold.” The sum of these figures divided by the volume of entries could appear in a third column, “Industry Average.” Perhaps these stats are already available in the MLS system and all that’s required is for someone to pull and post an annual report?

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