Bad Apples

  • Wilson Sisters
  • 14 November 2016

You've probably seen the recent much publicized and viewed Marketplace 'invesitgative' report about corruption in the ranks of Realtors by the CBC. If you haven't, you can view it here. Our cheeks were stinging from the shame of it for days, we are ready to admit. Motherfluffer, was it embarassing. However, not really a big surprise to us. We have seen and dealt with these so-called "professionals" and have very occasionally come out on the losing end of bidding wars that left us scratching our heads and our clients extremely disappointed and frustrated. We are very happy to see a spotlight shine on the issue, especially if it brings about some change. 

We do have a problem with the way the CBC selected a sample of Realtors whose 'double-end' numbers were oddly high, or who had been called out as possibly corrupt, rather than walking into random open houses, as we strongly believe that had they conducted a more fair test, the results would have been much different. We know A LOT of amazing professionals who would never behave that way. Most Realtors we know have their clients best interest at heart and work within the strict Code of Ethics we are expected to honour. The '60% are corrupt' and this is an 'industry-wide problem' result the CBC claimed is just not accurate. However, as this investigation clearly demonstrated, there are some bad apples in the bunch, and we would love to see them stripped of their licenses. We are so tired of hearing about wrist slaps or no consequences at all. If a person does not have the ability to follow the rules, or have the required inherent integrity, we don't want them in our ranks. 

So, we are VERY wiling to have our annual professional fees increase to cover the cost of hiring our own RECO employed investigators to do random spot checks and undercover investigations to weed these fools out. We would also love it if there could be a peer reporting mechanism, with a certain number of complaints about the same registrant resulting in a very thorough review and possible refusal to renew their license. Get rid of them. Clean up our Toronto Real Estate Board registrant membership.  

We would also be very happy to see an open bidding system implemented and have been talking about this for years. We thought the Australia way of doing things, as an auction in the street was pretty cool, but we think there could be a way of doing this online instead, and we hope to see this in the coming years.

In the meantime, we are hoping that it becomes illegal for a Realtor to represent both the Buyer and the Seller on any transaction. There is a real conflict of interest there that can't be ignored. We have never done it in all the years we have been in the business, and are proud of that. If Buyers know the option of using the listing agent is not available to them, they may show up better prepared with a Buyer Representative to protect them the way they should be protected.

We are ashamed and it doesn't feel great. A member of the public actually said to us the other day that we should consider behaving the same way as our corrupt colleagues in order to be competitive. We were pretty stunned. Thanks for the advice, but we'll keep doing things the right way. More often than not, it works out. Hopefully the times it doesn't become fewer and fewer.