The market is tightening, business is getting tougher and there are new calls to let consumers know if the agent they are planning on using is a full-time real estate agent or maybe a plumber, mechanic or pilot during their ‘day’ job.
“I think people who are hiring a real estate agent have a right to know whether the agent is full-time or part-time and they should be able to look that up just like they can look up other things on the RECO website,” Toronto-based Realtor Nick Boothby tells REP.
The calls for an open and transparent disclosure of an agent’s status follow a particularly lively discussion on REP’s forum in which Boothby argued that potential clients have the right to know if their agent may have future scheduling conflicts or reduced availability.
However, registrar Joseph Richer of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) says the legislative body is not permitted by law to identify whether or not agents engage in other occupations. Further, Richer says RECO is mainly concerned with the level of service provided to consumers – regardless of the agent’s status.
“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. [Our concern is with] anyone who breaches that code of ethics, whether they’re at another job or if they have too many clients.”
Still, Richer says consumers should ask potential agents about their availability during the interview process. If searching for a home solely on evenings and weekends is not an issue for the client, then it wouldn’t matter if the agent is part-time or not.
For his part, Boothby admits that hyper-specialist part-time agents can actually benefit certain clients.
“If they are part time – and there are many good part time agents – … they may be able to say, ‘I live three doors down from the house you’re looking at and I know more about it than anyone else in Toronto’,” Boothby says.