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Hot market is watering down the profession, realtors say

Tim Hudak, former leader of the Ontario PC Party and now CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), spoke at the Durham Region Association of Realtors’ Broker Breakfast event recently. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Local realtors didn’t hold back with some concerns about the state of their industry during a recent talk with the head honcho of the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Tim Hudak, former leader of the Ontario PC Party and CEO of OREA since August 2016, spoke at a recent event hosted by the Durham Region Association of Realtors.

Several local agents informed Hudak they feel their industry has become watered-down simply because there are too many realtors, some of which they believe are getting into the profession without the best interests of their clients in mind.

For Hudak, the answer to this problem is to raise education standards across the board.

“Realtor education has not changed with the times. We need to raise the bar and make it much more demanding.”

Dennis Roberts, president of the Durham Region Association of Realtors for 2018, agrees with Hudak’s thoughts.

Roberts told The Oshawa Express he feels education should move away from a strictly online process into a more classroom-driven curriculum, with an increased focus on practical learning.

With the industry becoming more technology-driven, Roberts says it is a natural progression that education standards become more modernized.

He believes this will be achieved with changes to the province’s Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, , which may be finalized next year.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is the provincial regulator of the industry and also oversees the education system for realtors, something Hudak questions.

“I’m not convinced RECO is the right place to have education, why not the Ministry of Colleges and Universities,” he stated.

OREA is currently contracted to provide education for realtors on behalf of RECO, but that agreement will cease on Dec. 31, 2020, when NIIT Canada and Humber College will take over.

Hudak suggests it may be a better option to change realtor education into either a college or university course.

He also provided an update on some changes OREA, the organization that represents real estate agents across the province, has made under his leadership.

Hudak, who took on his new position in August 2016 after a 21-year-career in provincial politics, says OREA is getting back to its basic principle, being the voice for the industry.

“Quite frankly, we weren’t doing a good job at respecting the dues you put in,” Hudak said. “We were spending too much on hospitality, travel, and hotels.”

Hudak said he saw a need to take “money out of waste and administration and put it in frontline services that actually have impact.”

Challenging local agents not to overlook their impact on their communities, Hudak told them being in the real estate sector is “a great mission to be on.”

“When you look around Durham, I defy you to find another profession that is more actively involved in the grassroots of the community,” he said.