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Re/Max slams 'indifferent agents'

As reported by Tony Wong in the Toronto Star.

The Canadian real estate industry has too many poorly performing and under qualified agents who are tarnishing the profession and contributing to a backlash by consumers, says a prominent real estate industry executive. "Our industry is overrun by indifferent agents who lack the knowledge and experience to service their clients adequately," said Michael Polzler, executive vice-president and regional director of ReMax, Ontario Atlantic Canada.

"The ease at which they can hang a shingle and tarnish our profession is astounding ... Truth be known, we'd all benefit from an industry overhaul."

Polzler's comments, sent in a letter to industry leaders last month, have become controversial since organized real estate is already under siege from a high profile investigation by the federal Competition Bureau.

The bureau alleges that the Canadian Real Estate Association is being anti-competitive by trying to keep service fees and commissions high with their control over the Multiple Listing Service. The association rejects the charges, which are to be heard before a tribunal. CREA is holding its annual general meeting in Ottawa next week to vote on whether to relax its rules.

In an interview, Polzler said he did not write the letter in response to the investigation, but said the industry must also accept responsibility in "cleaning up its own act. It's time we acknowledged the elephant in the room."

The frank talk by a leading realtor is all the more remarkable because Polzler is one of the leaders of the industry and responsible for day-to-day management of the ReMax brand in Ontario.

Since writing the letter, Polzler said he has gotten mostly positive feedback from the industry on his website.

But not all realtors think the initiative is positive.

"Maybe Mr. Polzler should look inside his own company before trying to impose new rules on all of us," said one comment.

But Polzler maintains that poor-performing realtors are abundant and said it's difficult for consumers to tell the difference.

He said about one in five realtors failed to sell a home on the Toronto Real Estate Board, adding that more than half of all agents fail to sell at least one home per quarter.

Many realtors approach the job as a part-time profession, which can be detrimental to the business, said Polzler. "It is far too easy to get a licence today."

Polzler said consumers should ask more questions of realtors, such as whether they are doing it full time, and ask for references.

Currently, realtors need to take a five-week course and pass exams before they are licensed. They also need to do continuing education courses annually.

Polzler said education requirements need to be bumped up, recommending introduction of a one-year apprenticeship program for new realtors.

Dale Ripplinger, president of the Canadian Real Estate Association, said consumers are "largely satisfied with the service they have received from real estate professionals."

Ripplinger added that "there are lots of agents who may do one or two deals, but they may be big commercial deals, or some agents are winding down, but it doesn't mean they're not qualified."

March 20, 2010 in Real Estate Personalities | Permalink


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I feel your blog really useful and inspiring me. Commendable job done by you. Congratulations!

Posted by: toronto bathroom renovations | May 24, 2010 6:27:56 AM

Like any profession there are good and bad.I think there are some good and caring Realtors that are part time as well as some that just want to supplement their income.The people that we need to weed out are the ones that do not give proper time and care to their clients due to lack of knowledge or trying to make a quick buck

Posted by: Don Edmunds | May 20, 2010 9:28:24 AM

It is very good to hear about interview of Polzler.This Useful blog for all the customers.

Posted by: Real Esate in Hyderabad | Apr 13, 2010 7:23:14 AM

I'm not sure that people are dissatisfied by the level of service they are receiving as much as they are upset with the price they are paying for real estate services. Since the price of housing has shot up, realtors can make 10s of thousands of dollars on a deal that they can complete in a week. This doesn't seem reasonable. I think Mr. Polzler is simply turning on his colleagues and creating a red herring so that he can attempt to justify the high prices that he would like to continue to charge.

Posted by: Toronto Mike | Apr 3, 2010 8:29:29 PM

One of most informative real estate blogs. I would like to visit again

Posted by: 500 Brickell Condo | Apr 3, 2010 1:04:33 PM

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