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Posts from the ‘AgentThink’ Category


Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time

crime blogLet me start by saying unequivocally that I try to follow the rules. I tell my agents…work hard, make money, do the right thing, stay out of trouble and when in doubt, ask. These ideas have served me well. I suppose that’s why I get incredibly frustrated when others can’t do the same. I mean, is it too much to ask that we all compete with each other on an equal playing field? The reality is that there are plenty of opportunities to create an advantage in your business either through advanced technology, perhaps some service advantage or maybe it’s price cutting, and I should add here that I have no problem with any model that tries something different as long as it follows the laws that have been put in place.

But here’s the problem….lots of agents and companies are content to live outside the law because they know they either won’t get caught, they just don’t care or know that no one is going to turn them in. REBBA 2002 created the rules and regulations for which we must all adhere to and they are supposed to be administered by The Real Estate Council of Ontario. For the most part, the rules are not open for interpretation. They are black and white, not varying shades of grey. For instance the advertising guidelines are pretty clear. Display your true and legal name, your designation, contact information and above all clearly identify the company you work for (not place it in a footnote somewhere on another page). If you have taken your RECO update then you are aware that advertising guidelines form a major section of the course. So why is it that, on a daily basis, I come across advertising, whether it be in a website, on a sign, a flyer or business card that doesn’t comply? Simple. Agents know they can get away with it. They know Someone is not going to turn them in for not clearly identifying who they work for. It’s petty and a waste of time and the offender, if found guilty is likely to get a minor slap on the wrist or a $100 fine. Big deal. Call it the cost of doing business and quiet frankly does anyone out there have time to launch a complaint for a minor infraction? No. It’s hardly worth the time and to be quite honest, in my personal experience, many of my friends are breaking small laws like that here and there.

The truth is, I know some people who are breaking some pretty big rules too. Small companies that operate unregistered branch offices, agents that pay bird dog fees or knowingly disclose pertinent facts about competing offers. Frankly the list could go on and on and RECO is as much to blame because they won’t do anything unless you make a formal complaint. That means putting yourself out there, something that prevents most complaints from happening. So when an agent shows me a marketing idea that clearly breaks advertising guidelines I tell them that we don’t win THAT way. Their response? Well, so and so is doing it.

So what’s the answer? Well RECO could do nothing and people will continue to push the limits and before long we are working in the wild west OR RECO could adapt a DIS type service similar to that of the Toronto Real Estate Board. TREB’s DIS (Data Integrity Service) is an anonymous tip hotline for agents to complain about MLS listings. A similar system would keep RECO inspectors busy and initially we would see a huge spike in complaints and levied fines and like all hotlines there is always the possibility for abuse, but the goal here is to create a level playing field and nothing less. Complaints need to be backed up with proof and solid evidence. Minor or first infractions could be corrected with something a simple as a warning and a subsequent follow-up.. From there…sky’s the limit. It’s not a perfect solution and it’s probably filled with holes but the end result is clear. It’s time for our industry to get back to the business of buying and selling homes not looking for loopholes in a system that rewards rule breakers.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


2800Kms and Counting And One More Lesson Learned

Three years ago, January 2012, I had a crazy notion to ramp up my fitness so I decided to set a goal of running one hundred 10K’s. I had no idea if I could do it. I liked running, just not THAT much. I’m a busy guy so I knew I would have to do it early in the morning if I had any chance. I ran in the cold, the rain, the snow. Often I woke up at 5am to get it done and just when I got close, a terrible thing happened. In early November I got hit by a car. I remember lying on the ground it total agony. Life in a wheelchair flashing before my eyes I remember being so terribly sad that after 890km in the bank, I would not achieve my goal. I spent the next six weeks hobbling around. Propping myself up with pillows just to sit upright. As time passed I watched any chance of my goal slip away. Then someone said that since I started my journey in mid January, I technically had two extra weeks to hit my goal. On Boxing Day, in a crazy snow storm, I put on my big Canada Goose Jacket and Sorels and went for a walk. After two and a half hours I completed run (walk) 90. Two days later, and in much lighter clothes I went out and did it again, and then again and again. With a day to spare, I finished my 100th 10k.

Along the way I learned some incredible things about myself and what I was capable of achieving. I recognized that there were some serious similarities to prospecting, because it starts with getting up, even on a lousy day, and “getting it done”! I started blogging about my experiences. It was awesome.

The following year I put another theory to the test. If running was like prospecting then surely I could run more and go farther. That would be like Prospecting more and for higher priced homes. So in 2013 I ran one hundred and fifteen 12k’s. That’s over 1300kms in one year.

Hot on the trails of that theory I thought that this year I would put my last theory to the test. If you were a successful realtor who made prospecting second nature, then surely, without set daily goals you could prospect without even thinking about it. Essentially you were hardwired to prospect. So this year’s goal was just to go out and run when I felt like it (of course I still kept track of my distances). Well today I hit the midway point and guess what? I am well over 500kms. Some of my runs were little 5k’s others were epic 25k battles. I just ran when I felt like it.

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of running but I’m getting better at it and for a guy with a busy schedule it has a few other benefits. I don’t have to spend money on a gym, I can do it anywhere, and it gives me time to spend an hour alone with my thoughts.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


Have You Hit Rock Bottom? Time For Some Prospecting

the rock bottom blog post
Has this ever happened to you? One morning you wake up and you realize that you have no closings, no prospective clients and no money? Many years ago, when I was just a fresh face with a real estate licence, I survived on credit. I would rack up huge credit card bills and then pay it all back the moment I sold something. Then the cycle would start again. It wasn’t until I developed a saving plan and prospecting strategy that I finally broke from the insanity of living hand to mouth. We are lured into the real estate business by quick and easy money. It’s not until a few months later that we realize it isn’t quick OR easy. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers, but successful entrepreneurs are also visionaries. They are motivated, determined, thorough, hard-working and above all, recognize that they need to reach people….a lot of people, and they need to do it everyday. It’s called PROSPECTING.
Are you like Agent Steve? A few years ago he got his licence. He had been talking about it for a few years and, as a likeable fellow, he had a few friends that said they would buy through him when he was registered. His mother was also planning on downsizing so he had hopes of helping her out too. Out of the gate he bought two properties for his friends. He listed and sold his mother’s house and helped her find a small condo. In his first year he did four transactions. Feeling very proud of himself he thought he had lucked into a great part-time job which helped him supplement his other income as a manager at a printing company. With his new-found money he bought himself a little Benz and took the family on a nice trip. And then everything changed. Agent Steve found himself with nothing. Throughout the time that he was working with his mom and his clients, Steve forgot to prospect. He said he was too busy. So when everyone got settled into their homes he had no new prospects or clients. Steve when from hero to zero.
A good entrepreneur (read Real Estate Agent) knows that when a cheque comes in you have to use some of it to reinvest in your business not buy yourself something pretty. They also know that you can’t put all your eggs into one basket. I have heard lots of stories of agents who have worked with clients for months trying to find a very specific home. They take up a lot of time but in the end they dry up and go away. We call it the “Hail Mary” approach. Two problems…first, the agent didn’t qualify them well enough and second, they didn’t prospect because they knew the payoff would be sweet. Double whammy.
The lesson here is simple. If you have hit rock bottom I can tell you with 100% certainty that you have NOT been prospecting. As crazy as it seems, prospecting, whether you love it or hate it, is the single most important job an agent has to do EVERY DAY! So when an agent tells me they have nothing on the go I know exactly why. The problem compounds very quickly too. Left with no money you start to stress about the rent. Life gets increasingly more difficult. So what can you do?
First, prospecting MUST start at the office. Be present. Go to work every day and talk to the other agents there. Get open houses to do. I know that is tough to do when there is very little product on the market but talk to agents and see if they will extend their open house hours. Let them know you will do the noon to 2pm shift. Second, inspect property. Get to know your product again. You will get a lot of stuff to talk about. Third, call up your friends and ask them out for coffee. Catch up with them and slip in a few details about the market. Ask them if they know any body looking to buy or sell. Fourth, get out and take a course. Learning something always invigorates us. Finally, join a team or club. It’s a great way to meet people and network.
I think it is important to recognize that real estate, in it’s most base form, is nothing more than a numbers game. You need to have 50 meaningful real estate conversations with someone in order to get one contract. Simple. The first step is getting up with a positive attitude. So if you want to sell 10 houses a year you need to have 500 serious conversations. That’s one a week and a couple on the weekend. When you break it down like that it doesn’t seem that hard to do.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.


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