Inactive and Active Real Estate Agents in Ontario Who Park Their License – Explained

Before getting into the explanation of an inactive agent and an active agent we will begin with a short summary of how the real estate Brokerage system works in Ontario. We will refrain from getting into too much detail and thus the following will be a very simplified version.

In Ontario we have a Brokerage governing board called R.E.C.O. or the Real Estate Council of Ontario. A Brokerage is registered with R.E.C.O., pays its fees and dues which include errors and omissions insurance and is then ready to trade in real estate in the Province of Ontario only. The Owner/Broker may work alone as a single entity or invite licensed real estate salespeople and Brokers to join his or her Brokerage Firm and trade in real estate on behalf of the Brokerage.

A real estate Brokerage in Ontario may apply to become a member of its local real estate board. If accepted, the Brokerage will pay the board fees and dues which may include fees and dues applicable to the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. If this option is taken by the Brokerage, then all the registered realty agents with this Brokerage must also become members and pay their applicable fees and dues to the said board and associations. In very rare cases, the Brokerage will cover these fees and dues for selected agents. The difference between being a board member or not is, the board members will have the privilege of all the services available to them from the board and associations including the multiple listing service which has proved invaluable to the real estate full timer and professional.

So, what is an inactive real estate agent? Simply put, an inactive agent in Ontario is one who is licensed under R.E.C.O. and for whatever reason has decided that he or she will not be trading in real estate and has not been doing so for a specified amount of time. There are still many agents in Ontario who remain with their current Brokerage and if that Brokerage is a board member, then even though an agent is inactive, he or she may still be paying fees and dues. Fees and dues may also include their Brokerage monthly fees, desk fees, franchise fees and other expenses. Since this is obviously a big waste of money these inactive agents will seek other Brokerages that will allow them to park their license without the wasted expenses.

Here are some of the terms used when referring to a Brokerage that will accept inactive real estate agents in Ontario. “Park your license”, “warehouse my license”, “hang my license”, “hold your license”, “real estate license holding company or Brokerage”, just to name a few.

A real estate agent who decides to park their license will still have some fees to pay but the difference will save them hundreds if not thousands of dollars yearly. Some of the fees will be to R.E.C.O. like their license registration fees due every 2 years and the errors and omissions insurance will still apply. In Ontario, they must earn 24 credits in their continuing education requirements as well and these credits are due on renewal.

What about the real estate Brokerage that provides the license holding services? Here the agent must do their due diligence. Seek out a trusted and proven Brokerage Office who is not a member of any real estate board. Ask for the highest commission split available to you in the event you do sell a property or 2 or if you refer sales out to other Brokerages or agents you may know. Even though your license is on Park, and you are inactive, your license in good standing is still active. Make sure you do not pay any ridiculous desk fees, extra monthly fees, franchise fees etc. Having said that, there most likely will be a small membership fee applicable for their services. Shop around for the best deal but remember to keep the experienced Brokerage that park or holds licenses a priority to you.

Inactive then, refers to the actual agent who is not active in the day to day trading of realty properties. As long as the license is registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario and remains in good standing, your real estate license is “active”. If you decide, as an agent, to become inactive, you now have a wonderful and money saving choice to transfer and join an Ontario Brokerage that you can park your license with. This Brokerage will hold your license and this will allow you the opportunity to keep your license active so it does not fall by the wayside and lapse or be terminated.

I shudder to think about if I had to go over the process and expense of getting my Realtor license all over again..yuk! If you now have this valuable asset and are thinking of becoming inactive for whatever reason, think hard about keeping your license active because you never know how valuable this asset will be for you in the future. Hang it, park it, warehouse it, hold it, keep it active! Good luck.

New Ontario Real Estate Agents – So You Are a New Ontario Real Estate Agent Licensee, Now What?

A new Ontario real estate agent, wow, congratulations! Now what? Chances are you are probably still flying high with excitement after all the hard work and study you just went through. Time to take a well deserved break before jumping into the realty sales game. An opportunity to think about things like what kind of properties to specialize in, what kind of Brokerage to be part of, and a good time to review and list some old and new goals.

Now that you have your passing marks, and you took some time off to celebrate, a decision to join an Ontario realty Brokerage firm needs to be made. This is a requirement since you must be employed by a Brokerage registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario or R.E.C.O. You will fill out a new registration with your employer and your employer (realty Brokerage) will also fill in its section and authorize same. These forms with your fees and dues payable to R.E.C.O. will be sent by either yourself or your new employer. Upon successful qualification, based on the information you provided on the application, you will be issued your brand new Ontario real estate license certificate.

There are many different types of real estate Brokers and Brokerages to work for in Ontario. Variations among them like, residential vs commercial and/or industrial and leasing, office expenses, commission splits, services provided for you, training, office space for your desk and phone, franchise office vs independent etc etc. One main difference which is vastly overlooked by many new realty agents starting out in their careers, is whether the real estate Brokerage is a member of their local realty board. The difference is vast since being a member means that all registered agents with that Brokerage have to be members as well. Being a member entitles the agent many beneficial privileges and services but it also comes at a yearly cost. If the Brokerage is not a member then the yearly cost is avoided by the Brokerage and all its registrants and no services or privileges given either.

Here are some steps you should consider:

1. In Ontario under the R.E.C.O. rules and regulations, you must be registered with them through an Ontario Brokerage within 1 year of passing your final exam. If you fail to do so, you will have to start from “scratch”. Therefore, your first step ought to be whether to jump in as per the steps that follow or park your Ontario real estate license and hold it active with a Brokerage that provides a low cost “keep your license active” service. If you decide to park your license by holding it active, you can do so indefinitely subject to the Brokerage policies. When you decide to take your license off hold then all you need to do is request to transfer it to another Ontario Brokerage of your choice. One more thing, if you park your license, make sure it will be a month to month contract to ensure flexibility. If you are asked to pay a yearly membership or parking fee, inquire whether they have other options available for you.

2. Decide what type of real estate in Ontario you want to sell/trade. Residential homes and condos, investment housing like apartment buildings, industrial buildings, commercial properties, office buildings, leasing etc

3. a) Based on your decision in step 2, interview the Broker/Owner of a few real estate Brokerages in Ontario that specialize in that field since they will be able to assist you in the “know how” of that selection. Learn about their support, and commissions payable to you and learn about their office policies. Compare them to the other Brokerages you interview. Pick the Brokerage the fits in with your personal goals.

3. b) Depending on your selection in step 2, you may or may not require the services of your local Ontario real estate Board. Most active residential salespeople will want to be members of their local Board because the multiple listing service will be extremely beneficial in sales. However, some commercial salespeople elect to be registered with a Brokerage that is not a member of any Board. Commercial is often a field where agents develop their own purchasers for their in house listings and prefer to sell or lease commercial properties without the assistance of other agents from other Brokerages through the m.l.s. system. If I lost you here, sorry…make sure you ask the Brokers you interview to explain the pros and cons. You may get a different view from each Broker.

As a new Ontario real estate agent, Licensee, you may want to consider taking it slow before you jump in and incur all kinds of expenses right off the start. It may prove you well to initially join an Ontario realty Brokerage firm that will allow you to hold your registration or license there with them at a low cost before deciding to go full out with a franchise Brokerage or any other Firm that provides all the services that you will eventually require in your career. In the real estate Brokerage world this is also known or referred to as “park your license” or “hold it active” with a non board member Brokerage in Ontario.

Park your license and holding it active does not only apply to new Ontario real estate agents. There are Brokerages out there that provide this “parking” or “holding” real estate licenses for all registrants including Brokers, associate Brokers, Realtor, sales rep’s, husband and wife real estate teams where there are 2 licenses active etc etc.

If you had previously done your homework and have already selected the Ontario Brokerage you wish to join and be employed by, then great, jump in with gusto and make it happen. For the many new real estate graduates out there, taking the slow road may be a better way to ensure you make the right decisions for yourself. It is amazing how many well intentioned people decided to become a real estate agent in Ontario with a long term career in mind only to have that dream cut short. The expenses that will be introduced to you in this field can be shocking especially if it takes a while before you notice some commissions coming in.

Give yourself a fighting chance. It really is a great business to be in right into your later years. Your just around the corner from receiving that certificate (real estate license) in the mail that you have worked so hard for. Shop around for that Brokerage and interview at least 3-5 Offices/Firms. Jump in with a full service real estate Brokerage with full real estate board membership or park your license for a while and take your time doing your due diligence. The choice is yours.