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Our Atrocious Real Estate Licensing System

Did you know you can take a six-week course and become a REALTOR®? 

I guess that’s why there are over 7,000 of us licensed by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 

Honestly, at the end of six weeks, these new agents are bewildered by the sheer volume of how much they don’t know. Most of them can’t even fill out a contract correctly, let alone accurately assess a property. I feel sorry for them and regularly go out of my way to help them if I can.

The smart ones seek additional training, but they’re entirely on their own to learn as much as they can as quickly as possible. That’s our “system”.

When I was a brand new agent (19 years ago), I remember being terrified that someone would want to list their home with me because I was smart enough to know that I had no clue what I was doing. I spent long days learning as much as possible from every available source while also implementing various systems and procedures that I’d learned from running a successful business in my previous life. 

I would spend 6-8 hours preparing for something that now, with the benefit of having completed 1000+ transactions, takes me 15  minutes. But in the early days, I gladly put in all that extra time because I felt a massive sense of responsibility that people were entrusting me with their most valuable asset, and I didn’t want to let them down. There were a lot of long days and late nights.

I learned through dedication, hard work, and, admittedly, trial and error. Yes, I made mistakes, and do you know what? Those mistakes cost some of my clients real money in those early years. I still feel the pain of having let down some of my past clients, and this keeps me devoted to this day to doing everything I can to deliver the best possible result for every client, every time.

But do you know how many of those 7,000+ agents DO NOT feel that same sense of responsibility? I can tell you from personal experience it’s a LOT (remember, there’s another agent on the other side for 99% of those 1000+ transactions).

But I blame our system, churning out ill-equipped agents year after year. I mean, imagine if you could take a six-week course and now you’re a lawyer. Ridiculous, right?

Can you imagine the incompetency of most lawyers under such a system? 

A few would continue to study and work hard to gain proficiency, eventually gaining valuable skills and achieving success. But most would fail, and they’d have to quit. After all, you can only go so far as a lawyer with a false sense of bravado. You get labeled a dud PDQ when all your clients go to jail.

I guess that’s why 87% of REALTORS® don’t make it to their fifth year in business. And why the industry needs to continuously hire more and more agents to replace the ones who have quit. It’s really a pretty stupid system.

(I feel so strongly about this that I took an entire year off from being a full-time agent to create a course for agents to improve their skills, and I’m proud to say that I’ve helped around 150 agents across Canada so far.)

So, what’s the point of this Rant? I guess it’s just to be very careful about who you hire. A license does not prove competence. It’s not easy to find an agent who is skilled, knowledgeable, experienced and always has your best interests at heart. If that accurately describes your agent, you’re one of the lucky ones!