4 Steps To Fix The Vancouver Real Estate Industry

On June 29 Chirsty Clark came down hard on the Vancouver real estate industry. Declaring the end of self regulation and promising provincial oversight on the RECBC (Real estate council of BC).

The move shocked very few in the industry. With the public losing a great deal of trust in Realtors and the non stop chatter of the Vancouver housing crisis it’s clear changes were coming. Although many Realtors see it as a cover up, one that makes Christy Clark appear pro active on the housing crisis that’s a topic for another day.

So changes are coming. Here’s how I would fix the Vancouver real estate industry if I were the new super intendant of the Real estate council.

  1. Firstly, the barrier of entry is way too low.

I wrote a post on how to get your Vancouver real estate license. To sum it up it’s about 6 months to a year of work. Much too easy for people who are about to handle the publics largest asset.

With over 12,000 Realtors licensed with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver it’s clearly an enticing job and the overwhelmingly large number of Realtors probably tells you it’s a little too easy to get your license.

2. Change the curriculum

Most of you don’t know what Realtors actually study and are tested on. For the most part it’s a bunch of legal jumbo and financing questions that are almost never used in real estate transactions. For example, almost a quarter of the real estate examination is on number crunching. They ask you a lot of amortization and calculating interest payment questions. Never since I’ve been a Realtor have I used any of that.  It’s called a mortgage calculator or more importantly i’ll have one of my expert mortgage brokers answer those types of questions for me. That is their area of expertise!

The course and examination needs to be more focused on protecting consumers, understanding product, how to properly write contracts and understand which clauses to use to adequately protect the consumer.

3. I would require more education

Did you know the real estate board only requires 18 credits every 2 years. This works out to basically having to do 3-4 one day classes every 2 years in order to renew your license. Which works out to about 18-24 hours of additional education. That is far too little! Especially for new agents who know very little and are basically learning as they go. Many brokerages don’t provide their agents additional education either. And since going into your brokerage is completely optional many agents won’t actually seek out the extra education even if it was available.

If I was in charge of fixing the Vancouver real estate industry I would double the required additional education. It would also provide additional revenue for the board which could help offset some of the losses they would see from making licensing more difficult to begin with.

4. Lastly, I would impost stricter penalties.

You’ve read it firsthand in the media, the current fines and suspensions are pathetic. Screw over a client and cost them thousands of dollars and you only pay a $1250 fine and lose your license for 2 weeks. Stricter penalties would make Realtors think twice before being dishonest and unethical.

Oh and just so you know I have no intentions nor desires to become the super intendant of the RECBC… These are just my thoughts/ suggestions from working in the industry day in and day out. Here’s to positive changes hopefully forthcoming.


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