Guest Column – Stan Albert – Change is in the wind

“They’ll be some changes made.” Some loyal readers will remember that great tune by the Barlow Sisters from the late ‘40s! (My goodness am I dating myself or what?)

So, here we are again looking at the big R word in 2008 and Realtors from all over are reeling from the economic news in the USA, which is having a profound effect on our economy.
We’ve been here before several times since the ‘70s and through the ‘80s and ‘90s, and some of us actually survived to continue our profession and make money. Others dropped like flies.

Here in Ontario as I ponder this article, it’s sunny and warm. We just returned from a friend’s cottage in Georgian Bay and on the way up, my wife and I remarked at the numbers of cars, SUVs, trailer homes and trucks on the road. It was bumper to bumper, and the same way on the way home on the multi-lane highway.

So, how is it that with the price of gas, people aren’t staying put? Canadian average gasoline prices have risen from 60 cents in 1998 to the current price here of $1.30 a litre. The automobile industry is in the pits and yet we still love our cars and SUVs. What would we do without them?

What exactly are most Canadians who still have a job doing without? For starters, the food and beverage industry is suffering as people are not using their expendable income to go out as much. They’re also not spending on boats, trailer homes and luxury cars as much as they were in the past.

But, as Realtors, we’re still in the right profession. Canadians still want to own their own homes.

Yes, the “times they are a-changing” and those of you who take the necessary steps to keep abreast of how to deal with these changes, will survive. More stress coming, keep reading.

Most of you don’t remember the awful ‘80s, with interest rates hitting 28 per cent, and how great it was to put people into homes with vendor take-back mortgages. But look at the interest rates now. I paid six per cent in 1961 when I bought my first property. What are rates now?

Bill Johnson’s multi-part columns in REM about relationships are worth a close look (they are available at Johnson’s well-written articles on building relationships are most timely in light of the recent federal FINTRAC regulations, and the coming Do Not Call list regulations. Bill, put your recent articles into a CEU course if you haven’t done so already. Realtors are ready for this course! I’ve been expounding this forever in my columns as well, but Johnson really has it down to the “nth degree.”

This week, Toronto Star columnist Michael Geist ( wrote about the Do Not Call list. He tells us who can call and who can’t call those who are registered on the list. He also goes on to tell readers that they can go on to HIS OWN website at to imbed their names on the list. Over a cup of chamomile tea this afternoon, (to calm my nerves), I read and re-read the parameters of this newest legislation to hit our industry.

Geist’s column says, “The National DNC contains a wide range of exemptions that will require Canadians to individually opt out from hundreds of organizations if they want to completely stop unwanted calls. Political parties, registered charities, newspapers and businesses with prior consumer relationships, all enjoy exemptions.”

I recently asked my sales training group if they would opt into the DNC. One hundred per cent said yes. So, what is the general public going to do?

At the bottom of the newspaper page is the Star’s Business Calendar for those who may wish to sit in on a lunch for business development or with a professional real estate investor. Talk about an inexpensive method of expanding your spheres of influence!

Realtors, wake up! You will soon realize that with all of these regulations facing us, the options are limited. If you persist in flaunting the government’s rules and regulations, you will be eventually caught and fined/and or even worse – imprisoned!

To survive – no, excel in the later part of this year and for the next several years, expand your network now! This is how the top achievers in our industry continue to succeed every year. It’s not rocket science.

You can be happy doing what you’re doing or you can be right in doing something else that is more positive. But you can’t be both!

Thought for the month: “The more committed you are, the more credible you become.” – G. Cohen, Brixton Real Estate.

Stan Albert is celebrating his 39th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at