As the housing market in Vancouver continues to grow, the industry is booming with real estate agents. But what is it that makes becoming a real estate agent so appealing?
“Vancouver’s a great place to sell real estate of course. Each sale, if you get one, is high dollar value relative to lots of other markets. So, should you get a listing or a sale completed representing the buyer, there’s a very nice paycheck in it. You’re selling real estate in a great place. You’re putting people into homes that are terrific,” says UBC Economics professors Tom Davidoff.
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But he says the role does have a major obstacle: competition. Davidoff says even though it’s a terrific market, it is hard to get listings these days.
“There’s a fair number of pre-sales, not that many people are selling, but buyers are knocking down the doors. So I think the biggest issue is competition to find a listing or qualified buyer.”
Jim Stewart is President of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, and he shares similar thoughts.
“With the lack of inventory, the lack of competition to get your clients into that new home, you may end up having multiple offers. It takes a lot of work to get your offer in and then find out if you’re against half a dozen offers when there’s only one person that’s going to get to buy that house.”
So what does it take to become successful? Davidoff says successful real estate agents are disciplined, generous with their time, and willing to do outreach.
“The way you get future listings or future clients is by doing a good job or at least making your clients feel like you did a good job for them. I’m sure there are many real estate agents in the game who aren’t necessarily bad people but are doing it for a paycheck, don’t necessarily love the sector and those are probably the people who struggle.”
Steve Saretsky is a Realtor at Sutton Group-West Coast Realty and he says a lot of people go into the profession thinking it’s going to be an overnight success.
“But it’s an unsteady job where you get paid sporadically and you really got to work for it.”
He says the flexibility is rewarding but it’s not an easy career.
Davidoff says a lot of other intermediation professions have been wiped by internet applications.
“I think if sellers could credibly get their homes inspected by reputable home inspectors, put documents online, eventually that’s going to have to wipe out the intermediation role of real estate agents, because so much information can be presented well online. It hasn’t happened yet, people have been expecting it for years, so whether it is a viable career path 20 or 30 years from now, is an open question.”
However, Jim Stewart of the British Columbia Real Estate Association doesn’t quite agree.
“It’s a service industry and people are not informed. They respect your advice on the biggest investment they are ever going to make and they expect to hire a professional that is knowledgeable and is aware of some of the pitfalls of buying a home. So I don’t think technology will ever take over the personal relationship that you develop with your clients.”
He says buying a home is an emotional process with a lot of moving parts.
Stewart says it’s a fantastic business to be in and that a personal touch will always be needed.