Tis the season. The start of a new year things are a little slow and agents are laying out plans to increase their business in 2017. If the previous year was less than spectacular many agents look inward to analyse their performance, where they spent money, what worked and what didn’t and formulate a plan for improvement in the new year. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the business plan can go along way in planning what the year ahead will look like. Then there is the other group of agents who blame their bad year on external forces like the market, bad luck or even their brokerage. Their knee jerk reaction is to switch things up with radical ideas like hitting a yoga retreat for a couple of weeks to get realigned or, heaven forbid, uproot their lives and change brokerages. Now I’m not saying a move isn’t a bad idea. There are other factors at play but if you are making a move it has to be for the right choices.
As a manager for nearly 10 years I have interviewed more than my fair share of agents, both new and experienced, and I can safely say there is one question no one has asked. ‘What happens when I get a RECO complaint? What is the company policy and how will you help me if I am right or wrong?’ You see, no one goes into the real estate business expecting to have someone file a complaint against you, so naturally it’s not on your radar. However, as the old expression goes…if you are going to make an omelette you need to break a few eggs. So be prepared.
The reality is that most RECO complaints that come by my desk are frivolous at best. They are either misunderstandings that could be resolved with a quick phone call or are as a result of an irate agent or member of the public who felt they were mistreated or lied to. But innocent or guilty a RECO complaint puts you on the defensive right away followed closely by a sinking feeling of shame which moves to anger and finally frustration. Now you have to deal with it. Full stop. Oh and it will drag on for years and just when you think they forgot about you, a letter comes asking for more information.
Recognizing that over the course of your career you are likely to do thousands of deals. Take it from me…you will get a complaint. It is inevitable. So it should be one of the first questions you should ask a manager at a potential brokerage office. In my experience, there is no standard for handling complaints. Here are just a few I have experienced; One company I knew had a very simple strategy… if you get a complaint, you are fired. One manager of a large company asked the complaining agent to write out the details of the complaint to him, and then he passed it to his agent with a simple message…deal with it. Still another had a lawyer on retainer and the agent simply pays a set fee to handle the complaint, while other companies, like ours, have legal counsel on staff.
As silly as it sounds, there is a belief that the new shiny new companies out there have great ideas, fancy marketing materials, and promises of real estate glory, but if they cannot support you through the inevitable RECO complaint process you may regret your decision down the road.
Mark McLean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association .The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE. Currently Mark is writing this post from a yoga retreat in The Bahamas.
‘Twas the night before Christmas when I sat down to think
About the year that had past… God, I need a stiff drink.
To all that are listening please sit back and prepare
For a recap that will leave you on the edge of your chair.
For buyers who bought, all snug in their beds
While double digit increases dance in their heads
And sellers relaxing, on heap loads of money
Take less than asking? Well That’s pretty funny
When out on the street there arose such a clatter
I sprang to my iPad to see what’s the matter.
In Vancouver they established a tax on a buyer
Chinese or elsewhere…a real high flier.
And if that home sat vacant unused
Another new tax left foreigners confused.
The government declared, there’s no time to wait
We need this tax this now, before it’s too late
Back in The six we had worries too
As cbc’s marketplace gave us a surprising view
Of a few tricky agents making eye popping claims
And reco’ s response of shock….we need names!
Please out them right now we’ll double our efforts
We’ll increase our fines, and hire some experts
Because quite frankly we’re in a cash crunch
And tomorrow is our annual holiday brunch
But reco was not trebs biggest concern
Let’s leave it to OREA, let’s give them a turn
Let’s let Hudak drive this bus
Give him a chance to talk and discuss
So that treb could continue the competition fight
Which continues, you know, right into the night
No matter the bureaus claims on the law
Disregarding privacy is their one biggest flaw
We need, said our leaders, to speak up on taxes
They’re hurting our buyers whatever their chances
And we need more housing, supply is too tight
Speed up development lets get this thing right
To complicate matters there was a movement down south
To confirm a new leader, a scoundrel a mouth
Trump was elected to everyone’s surprise
And thousands of Americans took to the skies
His hair was mistaken for an escaped capybara
And his eyes were as red as sauce marinara
“Better leave now” he said with a drawl
“To protect my klan, I’m building a wall”
Now Schumer, now Handler, now Stewart and Miley
On Baldwin, on Babs, on Snoop Dog and Woopie
The celebrities led the exodus forth
To the land they call Hollywood North
And on they fled to this side of the border
The land of a liberal new world order
Today, they said, is the start of our plan
To move far away from that awesome orange tan
Americans had Pokemon to show them our city
All the cool places… the flashy, the gritty
And they called on our realtors to secure a sweet pad
Living in the t-dot wasn’t all that bad
Sure it’s tougher to get a Kardasian update
But relax young Americans we have Will and Kate
You’ll love living here at least that’s the theory
We’ve got a few years before prime minister O’Leary.
My phone was alive with hundreds of callers
Looking for homes with American dollars
This is shaping up to be my best year yet
My staff is excited and I’ll soon be out of debt
I need to find listings those Yankees can’t wait
Right now I have buyers, at least 7 or 8
And this just the start of the great Trump escape
Moving to Toronto requires little red tape
So I sprang to my car, with a win and a whistle,
And headed downtown like the down of a thistle.
I exclaimed as left and drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night”
Mark McLean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association . The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE