REALTORS® are professionals who help their clients navigate through the often complicated and emotional home buying and selling process.

That’s the message Jill Oudil, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver  (REBGV), the association that represents the more than 14,000 Realtors in the region, wants the public to understand.

“Our job is to protect and advise the public throughout the home buying or selling process,” said Oudil. “When someone within our ranks fails to do this, the public’s trust in our profession diminishes. As professionals, all we have is our reputation.”

REBGV recommendations

High-profile allegations of misconduct rocked Metro Vancouver’s Realtor community in 2016. This brought public, media, and government scrutiny of the profession to a fever pitch.

As a result, the provincial government struck an independent advisory group that ultimately made 28 recommendations to strengthen the regulatory regime that governs real estate.

While this group did its work, REBGV submitted 27 pages of recommendations for government, highlighting issues of language proficiency, multiple offers, enforcement of non-licensed individuals, insufficient levels of fines, contract writing standards, and other issues that the provincial regulator could improve to protect home buyers and sellers.

“Realtors protect and serve our clients. Our business depends on it,” Oudil said. “If a Realtor fails their clients, no one wants to throw the book at them harder than other Realtors.

“Our reputation has been affected by the misdeeds and unethical behaviour of a few. We must now step up and demonstrate that we’re intolerant of anyone behaving contrary to the rules,” Phil Moore, REBGV president-elect and a Realtor with RE/MAX Central in Burnaby, said.

Most experienced Realtors have a loyal network of repeat clients over the course of their careers.

“It’s not uncommon to work with the children of people I helped with their first home years ago,” Moore said. “I appreciate their loyalty and respond with a commitment to always do my best for them.”

How Realtors help

There’s a whole other side to being a Realtor that doesn’t play into the common stereotypes, Oudil says.

The media doesn’t report on airplanes that land safely. Likewise, they don’t report on the overwhelming majority of real estate transactions that go well.

“A friend recently told me about the day he and his wife found the ‘house of their dreams’ and how their Realtor saved them from making what could’ve been the mistake of a lifetime,” Oudil related.

The couple toured a recently updated house, getting excited as they pictured living there. Their Realtor quietly took them aside and explained that most of the fabulous looking renovations were done without permits.

The Realtor helped the couple understand that if anything wasn’t done to code and came to the attention of the municipality, they’d be responsible for getting the renovations re-done.

They’d have to pay for the new permits and even perhaps fines.

“The couple was deflated, but realized entering into such an agreement was risky. They were grateful that their Realtor did her due diligence and gave the advice that she did,” Oudil said. “That Realtor exemplifies the type of professional, ethical and thorough member that makes up most of our membership.”

In short, Realtors’ goals are their clients’ goals. Whether it’s a buyer struggling to find a home they can afford, or sellers looking to find a buyer for their long-time family home.

“Our members want to do the right thing for our clients,” Oudil said. “They’re just regular people who live, work, and volunteer in our communities. What we want the public to know is: we’re with you.”

When you work with a Realtor, you should expect to work with a professional who invests in continuous training, is held accountable to legislation and an ethical code, and who always has your best interests in mind.