How to Choose a Real Estate Agency

The facts are that not all real estate agents are created equal, they are not trained the same way and they do not all get good education. Most agents come into the real estate business thinking all they have to do is go to school and pass a test to get licensed and their ready to hit the streets to sell homes.

This something that further from the truth just because someone passes a test does not mean they have the knowledge and expertise to handle the largest purchase of someone’s life. One of the biggest issues that are always apparent is the lack of education agents receive after they receive their license.

So how can you identify a true Professional?

This is something that is really easy to identify who has invested in training and education it all in the letters after the person’s name. If you see and agents sign or ad and you see letters after their name this means they have continuing education. Don’t think for one moment that just saying they are a Realtor means they have training and the experience to help you make the purchase of a lifetime.

So what Letters are important to see?

Well for starters there is the GRI if you see this it means this agent a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute. But it does not stop there because there is GRI 1 through 6. The agent who graduated from all six levels has over 180 hours of classroom study and has been in the real estate business for over two years.

If you see CRS this means Certified Residential Specialist meaning they have been in the real estate business for some time and have taken extensive training not just anyone can receive this designation it’s an honor.

The letter ABR is that this person has taken training as a Accredited Buyers Representative to work with buyers and offer special knowledge that focus on buyer needs which are different then Seller of Real Estate.

There are many different designations that one could achieve in real estate and the more letters after ones name the more this professional believes that by receiving extensive training and education the more they believe in the service to their clients. It also shows that they are at the top 1% of all real estate people because just having a license and paying the real estate board dues does not make one a professional in the field of Real Estate.

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Ontario Real Estate Agents Now Have an Option to Move and Park Their Real Estate License

Park your real estate license is now a term used by hundreds of agents registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario. Those practitioners who seek out such a service are usually agents that need to have their license held by an active Brokerage and one that has been a recognized name in the Ontario real estate Brokerage industry for over many years. Brokerage holding or parking companies have been assisting real estate agents with a better option if they decide to park their license with a non member Brokerage, thereby saving on the board fees and dues. The main service a holding Brokerage provides is a place for agents to park their license for a small fee and this would allow the agent to carry on with whatever other plans they may have. For example, full-time agents switching to part-time, women going on maternity leave, a change of profession etc. etc. When searching for a Brokerage that will allow you to have your license parked, make sure you do your due diligence and seek advice from others you may know who have already parked their license. Locate and interview prospective Brokers and hopefully you will find a Brokerage that has been and continues to be a proud holding company for those real estate agents who are parking their license and taking a break from real estate sales in Ontario.

The main difference between a board member Brokerage and a non member one are basically the costs incurred. If the Brokerage is a Board member then each agent registered with that Brokerage must be a member too. This means that the agent will be expected to pay the Board a yearly membership fee for that privilege. The fees for such a membership could be as high as $1500.00 per year. This may or may not include other association fees and dues.

If an agent is not selling much real estate and therefore not earning a sufficient income, he or she may strongly consider parking their license with a Brokerage that is not a real estate Board member. A new agent just licensed may consider parking it too while they also consider their options. With a parked license, agents may still trade in real estate but would do so without the benefits of a real estate Board. In this case they may cooperate with a Board member and share the business or they can enter into an agreement with a Board member to cooperate with a non member.

Real Estate Act 1987 And Regulations on Realty Business

On the 1st September, 1988, the Jamaica Real Estate (Dealers and Developers) Act, 1987 came into operation.

Broadly speaking the two main objects of the Act are:

1) The licensing, regulation and control of persons engaged in real estate business as real estate dealers or salesmen.

2) The regulation of dealings in Jamaican land in development schemes.

The Jamaica Real Estate Board

This Act, establishes the Real Estate Board which is the statutory corporation specifically created for administering the provisions of the Act. The status of the Board is such that before the Minister makes certain Regulations he is required to consult with the Board. This body, while possessing wide powers in relation to its various functions, like any other statutory body must act within the general provisions of the law and paiticular1y according to terms of the relevant Act.

The Schedule to the Act prescribes the Board’s constitution and operating procedure. It outlines the functions, duties and responsibilities of the Board and requires the board to give account of its activities.

Decisions of the Board are not necessarily final and conclusive and certain decisions regarding registration of dealers, salesmen and developers are subject to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Board is required to afford to every applicant under the Act an opportunity to be heard if refusal of the application is being considered, the role and powers of the Board’s Inspectors are discussed below.

Inspectors

Matters relating to the appointment and powers of real estate inspectors as it relates to monitoring.

The powers of inspectors are fairly wide consisting of power to

(i) Require information

(ii) Require the production of documents

(iii) Enter and search premises, subject to warrant

These powers must be exercised in a reasonable manner and it will be observed that the Act:

1) Allows time for requested information to be supplied

2) Requires that there be reasonable grounds before an Inspector directs production of document

3) Requires an Inspector to produce his identification card on request

4) Makes a warrant issued by a Justice of the Peace a pre-condition for entry to premises.

It should be noted that Inspectors act not on their own behalf but as representative of the Board in order to ensure compliance with the provision of the Act and assist the Board with the discharge of its functions.

Regulation of Real Estate Business

Nature of Real Estate Business

Describing what is meant by “the practice of real estate business” for the purposes of the Act. An understanding of this is important because the control of property business is one of the main purposes of the Act. This means that not everyone can get up and begin advertising homes for sale in Kingston Jamaica.

The practice of realty business involves the carrying out of a number of land-related activities on another’s behalf in exchange for some form of reward or benefit (monetary or otherwise) that is, compensation or valuable consideration. Not all categories of such activities are necessarily regarded as Jamaica property business under the Act and it excludes certain categories of persons from necessarily coming within the scope of the Act, briefly these are:

1. Attorneys (that is, persons conferred with power to act under a power of attorney)

2. Attorneys-at-law acting within the scope of their profession

3. Court officers

4. Persons with certain duties regarding Jamaica property, for example, administrators (of estates of deceased persons), executors of wills, receivers (for example, in relation to companies), trustees.

5. Persons dealing with land which they partly own

6. Other public officers carrying out their official duties

7. Building managers as regards rental of units in the relevant complex.

Inactive and Active Real Estate Agents in Ontario Who Park Their License – Explained

Before getting into the explanation of an inactive agent and an active agent we will begin with a short summary of how the real estate Brokerage system works in Ontario. We will refrain from getting into too much detail and thus the following will be a very simplified version.

In Ontario we have a Brokerage governing board called R.E.C.O. or the Real Estate Council of Ontario. A Brokerage is registered with R.E.C.O., pays its fees and dues which include errors and omissions insurance and is then ready to trade in real estate in the Province of Ontario only. The Owner/Broker may work alone as a single entity or invite licensed real estate salespeople and Brokers to join his or her Brokerage Firm and trade in real estate on behalf of the Brokerage.

A real estate Brokerage in Ontario may apply to become a member of its local real estate board. If accepted, the Brokerage will pay the board fees and dues which may include fees and dues applicable to the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. If this option is taken by the Brokerage, then all the registered realty agents with this Brokerage must also become members and pay their applicable fees and dues to the said board and associations. In very rare cases, the Brokerage will cover these fees and dues for selected agents. The difference between being a board member or not is, the board members will have the privilege of all the services available to them from the board and associations including the multiple listing service which has proved invaluable to the real estate full timer and professional.

So, what is an inactive real estate agent? Simply put, an inactive agent in Ontario is one who is licensed under R.E.C.O. and for whatever reason has decided that he or she will not be trading in real estate and has not been doing so for a specified amount of time. There are still many agents in Ontario who remain with their current Brokerage and if that Brokerage is a board member, then even though an agent is inactive, he or she may still be paying fees and dues. Fees and dues may also include their Brokerage monthly fees, desk fees, franchise fees and other expenses. Since this is obviously a big waste of money these inactive agents will seek other Brokerages that will allow them to park their license without the wasted expenses.

Here are some of the terms used when referring to a Brokerage that will accept inactive real estate agents in Ontario. “Park your license”, “warehouse my license”, “hang my license”, “hold your license”, “real estate license holding company or Brokerage”, just to name a few.

A real estate agent who decides to park their license will still have some fees to pay but the difference will save them hundreds if not thousands of dollars yearly. Some of the fees will be to R.E.C.O. like their license registration fees due every 2 years and the errors and omissions insurance will still apply. In Ontario, they must earn 24 credits in their continuing education requirements as well and these credits are due on renewal.

What about the real estate Brokerage that provides the license holding services? Here the agent must do their due diligence. Seek out a trusted and proven Brokerage Office who is not a member of any real estate board. Ask for the highest commission split available to you in the event you do sell a property or 2 or if you refer sales out to other Brokerages or agents you may know. Even though your license is on Park, and you are inactive, your license in good standing is still active. Make sure you do not pay any ridiculous desk fees, extra monthly fees, franchise fees etc. Having said that, there most likely will be a small membership fee applicable for their services. Shop around for the best deal but remember to keep the experienced Brokerage that park or holds licenses a priority to you.

Inactive then, refers to the actual agent who is not active in the day to day trading of realty properties. As long as the license is registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario and remains in good standing, your real estate license is “active”. If you decide, as an agent, to become inactive, you now have a wonderful and money saving choice to transfer and join an Ontario Brokerage that you can park your license with. This Brokerage will hold your license and this will allow you the opportunity to keep your license active so it does not fall by the wayside and lapse or be terminated.

I shudder to think about if I had to go over the process and expense of getting my Realtor license all over again..yuk! If you now have this valuable asset and are thinking of becoming inactive for whatever reason, think hard about keeping your license active because you never know how valuable this asset will be for you in the future. Hang it, park it, warehouse it, hold it, keep it active! Good luck.

Toronto Real Estate Board – Function and Purpose

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) was founded in 1920 by a small group of real estate practitioners. TREB is now Canada’s largest real estate board. There are more than 23,000 Members of TREB.

As stated in their policy manual, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is committed to advancing the interests of real estate sales people and brokers who comprise of TREB’s membership. Members of TREB are also members of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The Toronto Real Estate Board is the main real estate board in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that is the home board for real estate agents in the GTA and surrounding areas. These agents belong to and use TREB on a daily basis to promote the mls listings of their clients. Members also utilize the mls data in the area. TREB is one of the largest organized real estate boards in all of North America.

TREB is also responsible for membership, ethics and arbitration decisions and mandates much of the direction of the membership with regards to the public and the government.

REALTORS® who are members of TREB are licensed professionals who must abide by a strict code of ethics and meet continuing education requirements to maintain their status.

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) should not be confused with any information advertised on any site or the multiple listing service site operated by CREA. The Multiple Listing Service is a tool accessed only by REALTOR® members with extensive depth and functionality.

Toronto Real Estate Board Members utilize various fundraising events to raise money to make significant contributions to local and national charities such as the Hospital for Sick Children and Habitat for Humanity Toronto. These fundraising activities have also resulted in the construction of a Habitat home for a family in need.

The Toronto Real Estate Board issues news releases twice a month. This includes a full statistical update on local real estate market conditions at the beginning of each month. The publication is called Market Watch and is available from any member realtor

ConclusionThe Toronto Real Estate Board is a very large real estate board that runs the MLS system for listings in the area. TREB helps many agents in the greater Toronto area supply timely and relevant information purchasers and to promote vendor client listings across the GTA and the Southern Ontario region.

Mark Argentino is a Professional Real Estate Agent and has his Professional Engineering degree in Ontario. Mark works and resides in Mississauga and he specializes in helping people sell and buy homes in the Mississauga area. You may use his website to find real estate