BCREA’s mission: To restore pride in the profession

It’s been a challenging couple of years for the real estate profession in BC and according to BCREA, one of the biggest casualties has been REALTOR® self-confidence. The organization representing the province’s 11 real estate boards and their 26,000 licensees has a goal to change that.

“It’s unacceptable to us that REALTORS® are not trusted,” said Corinne Caldwell, BCREA’s Chief Operating Officer, addressing 250 delegates at BCREA’s inaugural Advocacy Exchange Conference for Managing Brokers, held on September 19 in Richmond.

Caldwell, responsible for most of BCREA’s core services meaning she oversees all advocacy strategies, said, “We believe it’s critically important. How can we restore confidence and pride in the profession? And we’ve been working to change that.”

Randall McCauley, CREA’s Executive Vice President of Reputation, echoed the observation in his presentation saying it’s not surprising that REALTORS® currently may not want to talk about what they do for a living at dinner parties.

All anyone ever sees or hears in the media about real estate in BC and in Canada is either reports of unethical behaviour or practices by REALTORS® taking advantage of consumers, or suggestions that the housing market (in Vancouver) is imploding or severely unaffordable because it was artificially bolstered by off-shore buyers and illegal money laundering; transactions facilitated by knowing or unknowing real estate agents.

In BC, the government stepped in two years ago to tighten real estate regulations, followed by the introduction of new foreign buyer and speculation taxes and most recently ordered an investigation into the real estate industry as it relates to money laundering.

The daily headlines don’t ever talk about the thousands of licensees across the province who continue to work hard every day, abiding by rules and ethical guidelines on behalf of their buyers and sellers helping them through one of the most important single financial transactions of their lives. In BC alone, on average, over 225 homes will sell every day this year. BCREA’s Economics Department is projecting that BC will post 82,000 residential sales this year.

As Corinne Caldwell stressed in her remarks, statistics not only show that most REALTORS® are law abiding professionals striving to achieve the highest standards of professionalism, clients agree.

She shared data from BCREA’s online consumer survey launched in August of this year. It was conducted by Mario Canseco of Research Co. and focused on consumers’ views of REALTORS®, real estate issues and Rule changes.

In terms of consumer satisfaction with their REALTOR® based on their most recent transaction:

  • 86% were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied
  • 78% would use the same REALTOR® again in a future transaction

Caldwell’s presentation revealed that the consumers polled had a generally low awareness (+60%) of how the Rule changes impact them, but 45% indicated that their opinion of REALTORS® would improve if regulation in real estate transactions was increased.

Caldwell said that although the facts do not support the assumption, “An overwhelming majority of British Columbians are concerned money laundering is prevalent in real estate transactions.”

She reiterated that moving forward, BCREA’s advocacy work will continue to reflect consumer’s needs and concerns (in addition to REALTORS®’), which is why three of their key strategic priorities are: Housing affordability and homeownership; transparency; and, REALTOR® professionalism and practice.

To review Caldwell’s full slide deck from her presentation, as well as the other conference presentations (video content to come in October), head to BCREA’s Lobbying and Legislation page on REALTOR Link®.