Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Here is everything you need to know and do to become one in Ontario
So, you want to be an agent? Congratulations on making a great choice that can prove to be a highly lucrative career. With a still booming market not only in the GTA but throughout the province, there will be no shortage of customers.
However, becoming a successful real estate agent can take years to secure a position and a profitable customer base. Here we explain what you can expect throughout the licensing process as well as the most important considerations of getting into the business.
WHY CHOOSE A CAREER IN REAL ESTATE?
The real estate business is the ideal career if you love working with people and have a strong work ethic. You must be dedicated to customer service, have a keen instinct for negotiation and most definitely have a salesperson’s spirit. You also must be honest and committed to providing ethical services, adhering to a long list of rules and regulations. Sounds manageable?
So why become a real estate agent? Here are some considerations:
Education: eLearning makes getting your license a relatively quick process. If you are thinking of switching careers, it can be done at relatively low risk as you can continue working a full-time job while completing your courses. You can then ease into your career and make the full transition once you have secured experience and a customer referral base.
Self-employment: If you enjoy being your own boss and setting your own hours, real estate sales allow you to be self-sufficient. In fact, many people are attracted to this business specifically for this reason. On the flip side, you don’t necessarily have guaranteed income. But there are options. Choosing to work for a great brokerage will increase your chances of success. “A lot of agents come to the OnlyWith.ca team because we take the time to teach our people everything from lead generation to build your sphere of influence, to sales and marketing. And the best part? We provide our agents with leads so they worry less about getting them on their own, and focusing more on customer needs,” says Jay Frenkel, Agent Relations Manager at OnlyWith.ca. At the end of the day, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a can-do attitude you can be very successful as an agent.
Earning potential: Although you are working strictly on commission, you do have the opportunity to earn a very respectable salary. Not everyone becomes a multi-million-dollar agent, but the potential is there for high earnings. According to leading job site Indeed.com, the average annual salary for an agent is about $110,936 compared to the average overall Ontario salary which is $82,836. One last thing on salary: Although each sale will provide you with a very tidy sum with the current market, you have to be good at managing your money because you might go months without a sale.
Opportunity: Although there can be an oversaturation of agents in some markets (there is about 1 agent for every 140 people in the GTA), the market tends to be stable. And keep in mind, while there are 39,000 licensed agents in Toronto, not all of them are active or even making an effort to become full-time professionals.
Stable market: According to CREA Ontario posted the highest home sales in three years. There was an increase of 14.5% from July 2018 in the number of homes sold in Ontario this past July. The number of homes sold in the first seven months of the year was up 7.2% and the average price in Ontario was up 7.3% reaching $596,545, so this is all good news for the market.
Overall if you consider the stable market, short licensing period and the chance to make as much as 5% off the average house sale price of $596,545, things look bright. That’s almost $30,000 for just one sale.
THE REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON PROGRAM
As of 2019, Humber College is the official provider of the Real Estate Sales Program in Ontario. The program is delivered on behalf of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) using an eLearning, self-taught method in hand with in-person exams and simulation sessions.
The set up of the program allows students to choose their own hours and work at their own pace. This makes it an excellent option for people who wish to continue working in their current careers while studying. The only constraint is that all the courses must be completed within a two-year period which commences from the start date of the first course.
To apply for the course, you must submit either an Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma or GED certificate. If you don’t have the prerequisite, don’t worry. You can also take the Salespersons Admissions Exam. The exam will assess your reading, writing and math skills. It’s delivered online and costs $75 for registration. You will receive certification once you pass the exam which can be used for admission into the course.
Keep in mind that the course is only available in English. It is important to have a strong grasp of the language if you wish to succeed.
Step 1: Pre-registration
The Pre-registration courses are self-directed, meaning you choose when you wish to take them and studies are done from your computer without in-class time with a professor.
Pre-registration also includes in-person simulation sessions and exams. Courses cover the fundamentals of real estate and transactions as well as the legislative rules and regulations.
What are Simulation Sessions?
The simulation sessions allow students to demonstrate they understand the courses they have completed. Over a five-day period, you will practice tasks related to your course with an experienced real estate professional. For example, you will work through a simulated typical transaction for different types of properties for the Residential Real Estate sessions. The interactions are designed to be as authentic as possible to allow for accurate assessment of the skills gained during your e-learning courses. This is required before you can progress to the next course.
What Courses are Included?
The courses are “sequential” so they must be taken in a certain order. The pre-registration schedule is as follows:
Real Estate Essentials: 15 hours, with a two-hour exam
Residential Real Estate: 70 hours with a three-hour exam
Additional Residential Real Estate Transactions: 25 hours with a three-hour exam
Stimulation Session #1 - Residential Real Estate Transactions: 53 hours
Commercial Real Estate Transactions: 30 hours, three-hour exam
Simulation Session #2 – Commercial Real Estate Transactions: 30 hours
Getting Started: three hours
You can register for courses here.
Step 2: Register with RECO
Once pre-registration is complete you will have to find employment with a brokerage within twelve months. You also must obtain Registration as a Salesperson with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). The requirements are as follows:
You must be a resident of Canada and 18 years of age or over
The pre-registration segment courses must be completed within 18 months of the time you start your first course
You must be employed with a registered broker
You can find the form here.
Step 3: Post-registration
Once you complete your two-year registration cycle, you must complete the post-registration phase. This includes a 15 hours mandatory compliance course and your choice of two of the following five electives:
Working in real estate: Rural, Recreational, Waterfront properties
Working in real estate: Ownership alternatives and complexities
Real estate as an investment strategy: Residential properties
Real estate as an investment strategy: Commercial properties fundamentals
Real estate as an investment strategy: Commercial properties advanced (must first complete the fundamentals course as a prerequisite)
Each elective is 10 hours.
There is then a 15-hour Wrap-up Session: Bringing it all together. This two-day course includes tasks and activities under the supervision of a real estate professional. It is basically the same as your simulation sessions.
If you are considering becoming a real estate agent, the team at Onlywith.ca has helped hundreds of agents launch their careers, provide incredible training and coaching opportunities and teach agents to become resourceful and self-sufficient, increasing their chances of becoming top agents in this highly-competitive industry.