Real Estate as a Profession

By now, you have likely heard the tragic news from over the weekend involving the murder of  Lindsay Buziak, a young Saanich Realtor who loved her chosen profession and died while doing it. My sincere sympathies to her family, friends and colleagues who are deeply saddened by this horrific event and are left wondering - why? What could have been done to prevent it? And  the bigger question: Who is responsible?
Attacks on Realtors are rare but history has shown they have happened in BC before with the most memorable incidents involving realtors in Duncan,  Abbotsford and this past October in Surrey/White Rock.  Sometimes the job requires you to accompany a stranger in another stranger's house....alone.  It is so true about gut feelings. Trust your gut. In radio we used to say "When in doubt - leave it out" which was a good rule of thumb to prevent on-air talent from saying something stupid/slanderous/or in bad taste.  In real estate terms its "When in doubt - get the hell out".  I have had the feeling once. It was at the end of an open house and I stayed a full room away with a plan ready to be put into action.  Nothing happened that day but I definitely had a feeling about this guy and it wasn't good.
Perhaps you can understand why realtors ask to see I.D. and will ask  Open House guests to sign the registration form. (Funny how everyone has 'doctor' handwriting when they fill out the forms.)
I know every profession has its dangers but like the construction or forestry industry, preventative measures can and should be taken to ensure a safe work place for realtors too.
Having said all of that, I still think real estate is a great career.  I am often replying to e-mail from students taking the real estate exam through UBC.  While it is a good program, I don't believe enough information is being shared with students in the program. Sure it's hinted at but they don't put it out there, perhaps afraid it will scare away would be realtors. The reality is, something like only 2 in 10 new realtors will still be in the business in two years when it is time for license renewal.
I guess I should be happy that all the newbies are helping to keep costs down but I feel many should be required to 'not continue' before they even get started.  Another group making fistfuls of dollars are the "Get your real estate license in 5 weeks" people.  At an additional cost of $1,000 they will prep you for the exam. Works for some people I guess. I talked to a young woman who just moved to Canada who paid $3,000 for the additional training. Sounds like a case for "Olsen on Your Side" to investigate.
If you are considering a real estate career, feel free to e-mail me.  Also prepare to have 6 months salary set aside to help pay the bills. Even if you close a deal in your first month (quite unlikely) you will still have to wait 30-60 days for the possession date before you get a paycheque.
Once you have your license, chosing a company to work for is an interesting experience.  In every other job in the world, the employer interviews you, decides if they like you and then offers you a job. I met or talked to nine brokerage managers, each with their strong points. I was interviewing them for the most part because I needed a company that I was compitable with, AND, something to keep in mind is they (the brokerage) makes money off of you.  Some charge monthly, some per deal, whatever the case - they make money from realtors. The more realtors, the better, which is why every one of them thinks you would be a great addition to their company.  In all honesty, I would have been happy working for one of at least three of them. I chose Keller Williams Results Realty.
Again, that 'gut' feeling played a roll, as did their cost structure but perhaps more importantly was the continuous training available and the fact the most successful realtors in the company are always open to sharing their ideas and offer help if needed.  I have other friends working for other companies and they are happy with their choices too. At the end of the day, the company you work for doesn't even matter. Its the relationship the realtor has with the client that matters most. One of my daughter's favorite books is Elmo's "Red or Blue I like You!". Same thing with real estate companies. Its not the colour of your logo that matters, its the people who work for the company. Good people are good people, whether they work for Keller Williams, Re/Max, Sutton or whomever.
If you would like to find out more about Keller Williams, check out their website at 
If you are starting your career, do some homework and check out your options. Go to the different brokerage websites and call a couple of agents for feedback.  If Keller Williams sounds interesting to you, talk to our Team Leader, Peter Talbot, at 604-472-0811.
Good luck with your career!
And be safe...
Allan K.


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