How do you become a licensed real estate salesperson or broker in Ontario? It’s a question we’re asked a lot and so we decided to put together a handy guide to help you navigate the early steps of a career in real estate sales.
With over 64,000 licensed real estate Brokers and Salespersons in the Greater Toronto Area alone, the real estate industry has grown considerably in recent years. It’s clear to see why, with demand high and prices increasing, there is plenty of opportunity to carve out a successful and profitable career for people with the right approach, attitude, effort and support. But what are the first steps and how do you get started as a licensed real estate salesperson? Read on to find out…
Take Your Courses
As it is a regulated profession in Ontario, anyone looking to work in real estate sales must register with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). Before registering, however, you must complete mandatory pre-registration education courses and examinations.
The required program is known as the “Pre-Registration Learning Path” and is offered by Humber College. The course is very flexible and can fit around your current commitments. Learning materials are also accessible online, so remote learning is an option. To qualify for entry to the program, you must hold a Canadian secondary school diploma or GED certificate or an equivalent credential that the college accepts.
According to the Humber College website, the program will offer a variety of benefits for participants. That includes a learning path that will follow “the flow of a real estate transaction” and give participants valuable insights and an understanding of key aspects of real estate. Participants will also benefit from online data banks of searchable information, as well as vital information to help you get started in real estate sales and find your first sales position.
The program is split into five courses:
- Real Estate Essentials – this looks at the role of a salesperson and important legal requirements based on the various codes and rules governing real estate in Ontario.
- Real Estate Transactions – this course looks at the processes involved in listing, buying and selling residential real estate and also begins looking at marketing strategies and real estate contracts.
- Additional Real Estate Transactions – following on from the previous course, this focuses on leasing and additional property types such as condos, new homes and rural properties.
- Commercial Real Estate Transactions – this course looks at the processes involved in buying, selling and listing commercial properties, and the brokering the sale of a business.
- Getting Started – this course gives an overview on how to get started with a career in real estate.
Examinations will be held at the end of each course and these must be passed in order to move onto the next course.
In addition to the courses, there are two separate in-person simulation sessions that last a week each. In these sessions, participants will get a chance to apply their new knowledge in real-life scenarios.
The course needed to be taken in order and there are flexible schedules available, including online learning options for those who live far away. Because of the flexibility, completion time varies amongst candidates but, in general it takes nine months to a year to complete all the required parts of the program. Once you pass all your examinations and complete your simulation sessions, you will have successfully completed the program and can then move on to the next step.
Find a Brokerage
After successfully completing your pre-registration course, it’s time to find yourself a brokerage and a broker of record to work under. These come in all shapes and sizes in the GTA – from small independent brokerages to huge multinational corporations with franchises across the globe. Each brokerage works differently, with different support services and marketing approaches, for example. However, most share common features in the way they hire and employ licensed real estate sales people. The most common feature is a regular fee paid by the salesperson to the brokerage. This can take the form of franchise fees, desk fees, brokerages or often a combination of those.
One brokerage that operates with a different model is Living Realty, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020. It is a family-operated brokerage operating out of a large head office in Markham and with five office locations across the GTA and approximately 650 active real estate sales agents. Unusually for a North American real estate brokerage, Living Realty does not charge any fees to its agents. No desk fees, no franchise fees, no office fees; nothing. At the same time, Living Realty provides industry-leading back office support and ongoing training – investing in its agents and helping them to grow into better and more successful sales people. Many of the most successful sales people in the Greater Toronto Area started their careers with Living Realty and remain as part of the Living Realty family to this day.
Register with RECO
Once you have completed the pre-registration education courses and associated yourself with a brokerage, you can apply to register with RECO. You must apply within 12 months of completing your final examination, otherwise you will be required to retake the entire program – so don’t take too long!
To apply to be a new registered salesperson, you must complete and submit the RECO application online and pay the relevant application fee, which was $590 for a new salesperson at the time this article was published.
The first two years as a newly licensed real estate salesperson is called your “articling” period. During this time, you must complete several more mandatory continuing education courses within the 2-year articling period after which you will become a full-fledged sales representative. Thereafter, every registrant must continue to take Continuing Education courses offered by RECO every two years to renew their registration.