| November 30, 2023
by James Porter, RECA Investigations Manager
Professionalism is important for licensees. Afterall, you are not just a representative of your client, you are also a representative of your business, brokerage, and the entire industry. It may seem like common sense, but it is important to remember what professionalism means. Professionalism means treating clients, other licensees, and third parties with civility, respect, and professional courtesy, and is part of fulfilling your obligations to your client and providing competent service under the Real Estate Act Rules (Rules). A failure to act professionally that brings the industry into disrepute is a breach of s.42(g) of the Rules.
This article is a reminder that it is critical to set high standards of professionalism and continually work to maintain your integrity in all your business interactions. Maintaining professionalism is crucial in building and maintaining trust not only with your clients, but with fellow licensees, their clients and all those you do business with.
One of the most important aspects of maintaining professionalism in real estate is the quality of your communication. You should always communicate clearly and effectively with your clients, as well as with other licensees and anyone else involved in the transaction. This is providing competent service and required by s.41(b) of the Rules. This means returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner, providing updates on the status of a transaction, and answering questions honestly and accurately. It is also important for real estate licensees to be knowledgeable about the market and the properties they are listing or showing.
Another key aspect of professionalism is honesty and integrity. It is important to be transparent with your clients and avoid any conflicts of interest. You should adhere to ethical standards and ensure you are practicing withing the rules and regulations of the Real Estate Act.
Recently we have received complaints where licensees acted unprofessionally or failed to demonstrate professional courtesy, particularly during home showings.
We have seen examples where licensees have:
- disrespected a seller and their licensee by failing to provide notice when they can’t make a showing or don’t adhere to the showing time agreed upon. Professional courtesy is communicating that you can’t make the showing once that is known.
- not sought appropriate permission to access a property. e.g., assumed permission was not required when accessing a vacant property. Whether or not a property is occupied does not change the fact that permission is required. Competent service means a licensee must have permission to enter a property.
- disrespected the seller’s privacy and personal space. e.g., leaving lights on and doors open and unlocked after they have left. Competent service requires a licensee properly secures a property when they leave.
- not supervised their clients while showing them a home, e.g., allowing clients to take items from refrigerators, look in dresser drawers, touch personal items, and play a piano. A licensee entrusted with the care and control of a property, must properly supervise all occupants.
After a deal is complete, it’s your professional image that will linger in the minds of your clients and anyone you have encountered while doing business. Ensure you are putting your best foot forward each time you do business.
WHAT DOES PROFESSIONALISM MEAN TO YOU?
The above examples were situations that consumers and licensees were upset about and were reported to RECA, proving every interaction matters. If the people you are doing business with don’t like how you behave, you won’t be the one they contact or refer to their friends or family the next time they need guidance in a real estate transaction. Worse yet, a lack of professionalism can result in violations of the Real Estate Act, and you could wind up under investigation and potentially disciplined.
Hold yourself accountable for your words, and actions. By doing so you will ensure our industry standards are kept high and you are representing yourself in the best possible way professionally.