Realtors are independent contractors. We are individuals with our own mindset toward business. Yet, we all belong to a team as well.

I found myself relating the mindset of a Realtor with the different positions played in hockey.

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I imagine how the players are positioned on the ice just before the puck is going to be dropped. They look up and all they can see in front of them is the players on the other team. What hockey player in that moment looks at the other team and decides he/she wants to play on their side instead? Seems ludicrous, no?

Think about the defence position. If I have the mindset of a defenceman (sorry! defence person) in this business, then I am constantly saying, “What if?” Then I am only moving forward if the entire team is moving forward. Wow, I could talk for a half hour on the mindset I see here because I have to overcome the fear of all the likely variables just like anyone else. If my mind is only in defense mode then I will get fatigued.

The goalie reminds me of a broker. That is a lot of responsibility. Taking shots for the whole team! I have immense respect for anyone who works in this role. It takes a strong mindset to manage the criticism when the other team scores. In hockey, not every game is a shutout. In a brokerage, while a broker is skillfully defending shots all day, they may also not deflect every possible problem. Obviously some goalies have more experience than others and not everyone on the team would make a good goalie. Who would put their fastest skater in goal? Again, even when a goalie saves 99 shots, we all remember the one he didn’t stop.

That being said, in hockey, there is a team effort to get the puck across the line and keep it from getting near their own net. So, how can the team be more successful?

  1. Blame the broker for your failed deal, a slow month and for not motivating you when you are discouraged? Go ahead. See if that works for you.
  2. Be glad someone is in goal so you can go score.

I want my mindset to look forward. I believe in my ability to succeed. I make decisions with a forward mindset. Personally, I am stimulated by growth so it’s in my personality to be a forward thinker. It is a bonus if the defence line is supporting me and that there is someone in goal so I can take that puck and go. However, my success is not the responsibility of the defense or the goalie. It depends on my forward focus.

I suppose we have all admired the centre position. I am conflicted about my thoughts on this position. Am I intimidated by that No. 1 position? Or wait, is that already my position? I am certainly not the No. 1 producer and that has never been my goal. No. 1 in client satisfaction is what matters to me and there are emotional rewards for that with every deal.

Who is in charge of my career? Only me.

So, am I the coach? Am I the one responsible for my education, strategy and practice? Of course I am.  That seems like an unlikely position to chose to relate to. It sure was not the first to come to mind.

This is the lecture I just gave myself and I will share it with you because perhaps you need this lecture too.

Mr. Realtor, Mrs. Realtor, you own the whole flipping team!

Own it. This is your career.

Are you working to make your brokerage money or are you working so you can love your life?

Own the positions.

If you suck at one of the positions, then perhaps you can team up with someone who can benefit you.

Get into a forward mindset. That includes surrounding yourself with other positive-thinking people in and out of work.

Defend and protect your business by keeping your reputation clean. Be on the ball to respond when the “what ifs” happen but don’t get stuck regurgitating a fearful thought.

Decide what colour uniform you want to wear. Every team wants you. Work anywhere you like. Every brokerage is great! Do you want to spend time checking out brokerages or going to get listings? Regardless of where you work, you have to motivate yourself. No one is going to give you a wake-up call every morning and tell you it’s time to get to work. You need some clients who want to buy or sell. You will need that regardless of the colour of your uniform.

Choose your equipment.  Get your website, your marketing plan, your listing presentation. I mean, put on all the equipment you need. You have to have skates and a stick right? May as well sharpen up your skates!

Now get your butt off the blasted bench.

Show up at centre ice. At work. Go to work. I didn’t say go to the office. I said go to work. What do you get paid for? Going to the office? No, you get paid for selling houses, which means you have to go to work with sellers and buyers.

The stands are full. The opportunities are the same for me as they are for you.

As for me, I am happy to focus on my business and let the brokerages focus on theirs. My business is listing and selling property. No brokerage will pay me unless I go do that!


  1. The author writes: “Realtors are independent contractors. We are individuals with our own mindset toward business… ”


    As goes the twenty-five year oft misunderstood world of buyer brokerage where even the press and some real estate agents insist on trying to (mis) convince the public that the seller always pays the commission (whether in reality or hypothetically), the use of the term “independent contractor”suffers from the same malady.

    The CRA is a federal government institution. Typically the real estate industry is governed in the broad sense, provincially (and within subsets). Except regarding taxation.

    I forget the year that it was lobbied by the industry and decided a long time ago, (by the federal government, correct me if I’m wrong), that real estate registrants (in Ontario) were suddenly deemed “independent contractors” (for tax purposes “only”).

    This has nothing to do with the definition of the term often associated with company registration referred to as “independently owned and operated.”

    Back to “look to the contract,” this time the “employment” contract. Not necessarily the same as an “employee” contract.

    Clearly each company or corporation has its own definitions of terms.

    But we were taught, in Ontario, that the term “independent contractor” only applied to its definition relative to taxation specifically – and “only.”

    Over the years, in Ontario the term “independent contractor” definition had become bastardized, it seems to mean different things to different people: one of which seems to mean the agent doesn’t have to follow office protocol. as in: “don’t boss me around; don’t tell me what I can, cannot, or must do; office (head office corporate) rules don’t apply to me. As an independent contractor “I” get to choose if I will attend office meetings, or abide by corporate decisions. I get “to do my own thing.” (Because I am an independent contractor.)

    As an independent contractor I can write my ads however I like, put whatever I want on social media, and certainly put whatever I want up on my website, and the boss doesn’t get to override it or approve it. As an independent contractor I get to “do my own thing.”

    Theoretically, as an independent contractor I report to no one meaning to many: “I float my own boat, don’t tell me what I can and cannot do.” Doesn’t matter what “council” (or equal provincial by whatever name) dictates. As an independent contractor, it all simply doesn’t apply to moi.

    There hasn’t been much written about this topic. Please don’t think for one minute that I am criticizing the article author. I’m not. Merely referencing how much misinformation runs rampant in our industry; not dealing in the semantics of our English language.

    Imagine how difficult it must be for those whose first language, while working (licensed, registered, authenticated somehow as agents/representatives) in the field so to speak, on a daily basis in an environment where they don’t have to follow any rules or even guidelines because why? they are “independent contractors.”

    Would that then make the “quantum meruit” definition I referred to in another recent post, apply, as in “work for hire?” tied to being an independent contractor? Is there any case law that applies? in regard to the definition of “independent contractor status?” Although the term is meant to be Federal, does it in reality mean different things in different provinces?

    Carolyne L ?

    • Carolyne, I believe that if you screw up, the broker is still responsible for your actions even if you are an independent contractor. As an independent contractor you may have certain tax benefits, but if you get sued so does your broker. Are you recognized under the real estate brokers act as an employee or independent contractor?

      • David

        Thank you for your comment. I was not referring to me. I was referring to the article writer’s first line, in a general sense, and to readers at large. We are told there are more than a hundred thousand operating in our small Canadian sphere of influence.

        I was comparing the unknowns of buyer brokerage to the unknowns of independent contractor status.

        You might refer to the Nelson DeHoey post last paragraph at:

        and my replies… There’s also a link there to Tim’s post. About buyer brokerage. I’ve been around for 39 years :)

        Forgive me, I don’t recall having seen your name on the forum previously. Thanks again for your comment. Appreciated. Maybe someone else will reply to your comment and get a conversation going about independent contractor status, bringing REM readers up to date. It easily ties in with the Town hall topic discussions.

        Kind regards
        Carolyne L ?

    • Just to confirm that I understand that in Manitoba, being the trading arena In which the author practices real estate, the real estate industry is governed by the Securities Commission, whose definition might in fact be different regarding independent contractor status than it is in the other provinces in Canada.

      Again, respectfully,

      Carolyne L ?

      • Carolyne, is the term “independent contractor” even acknowledged in the Brokers Act in Ontario?

        • I believe not, David, since it isn’t a real estate term; it’s a CRA term. And maybe only applies in Ontario.

          I called CRA one day a couple of years ago to ask a question, and the person I spoke to had never heard of RECO or REBBA. No amount of trying to explain it worked. So I just said thank you and hung up.

          Carolyne L ?

          • Thank you very much, David (there’s no reply button as a discussion progresses, so I simply post here.) and yes, I’m the Carolyne with an “e.”

            There’s other REM readers who have same name but spelled differently. Which leads me to say how important it is in communicating with clients, or even referring to comments on REM, to double-check such things.

            Appreciated. (But on an iPhone, “Auto-correct” can mangle words in an unmanageable fashion – forever swapping “so” for “do” and changing some words entirely (even if proofread, copy sometimes regurgitates differently in print); and of course we know that all “systems” default and defer to American-English spellings.

            While on the topic of addressing names and such: we’ve mostly all had introductory newsletters and emails with the salutation: “Dear Friend.” I, for one delete immediately.

            Of course in the social media world as has been addressed on REM, short forms are simply the way of the new world order… But I’m sure there are some of us who are substantially offended by being identified such as: “Dear Friend.” (As in how frightfully presumptuous.)

            Friends are valuable assets, and the term should be reserved for such.

            I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but you might not be familiar – I am REM’s Gourmet Cooking Columnist for the past decade, and not sure how long you have been a REM reader, but if new: Welcome aboard. It’s wonderful to hear what colleagues have to say. Keep posting comments on various topics. We all learn from each other.

            Carolyne L ?

      • Carolyne – In Manitoba all real estate salespeople are employees of the broker. I think that is the same for Ontario and other provinces. Can you imagine what would happen to the real estate industry if the CRA didn’t allow salespeople to be independent contractors. No more offices wth hundreds of agents. I believe that independent contractor status is good for some agents but not all.

        • I agree, David, good for some, more so than others. When some teams report all transactions in the name of the team leader, I’ve often wondered if that is opening the door to be challenged by CRA. I don’t know if that procedure has ever been challenged.

          I believe even if you are categorized for tax purposes as an independent contractor, yes, you are still an “employee” of the broker. But I know many who seem to disagree, and give their brokers a hard time over that topic definition of terms.

          Manitoba agents are governed under the Securities Commission, so I don’t know if they have any different rules than other provinces have, in the overall.

          Maybe the article writer could address the topic seeing as how Tina opens her article with the first sentence referencing independent contractors. I had the feeling re the opening statement that agents had much more freedom as independents. The writer practices in Manitoba. .

          Not being knowledgeable about sports of any kind, I can’t relate to the sports analogy. But the opening sentence lead to my comments,

          Carolyne L ?

          • Carolyne

            I would call it “limited independent contractor” status since the brokers are still in charge and the agents are not 100% free to do what they want. Any move away from the existing independent contractor status would certainly increase the brokers costs and responsibility. For sure brokers would be more responsible in the hiring of new agents. Today it seems everyone likes to be part of a TEAM and the TEAMS present themselves to the public as if they are a brokerage. Many Realtors join a TEAM to get the support of a TEAM leader. Are each members of a TEAM truly working as independent contractors? The TEAM leader is the coach and the members on the TEAM are the players. A coach usually tells a player
            what to do to become successful. A TEAM with 5 coaches would not work and that is what I see taking place in real estate today. Has the agent centric real estate model really been as successful as one might come to believe for the 100,000 + Realtors in Canada.

          • David

            I am the wrong one to talk to about teams, I suppose. I am known in the industry as one who worked alone but with a different kind of (support) team, back up admin and professional advisors: real estate lawyers, bankers, mortgage brokers, chartered acct’ant, bookkeeper.

            And a private secretary who was my overall watchdog and right hand man so to speak. It worked for me. Colleagues knew they could count on me to help them help me (my clients) get “the job” done, and in a time sensitive manner.

            Many agents need the cohesion developed in teamwork. Guilty: I wanted things done my way. And no other way. That’s not the same thing as saying I wasn’t open to hearing good ideas. But generally speaking I was very strict about how I wanted my business done. I really needed clones, if I were to have had a team, and I discovered early on, there just weren’t any. So I took the road of least resistance and did what I managed to do – my way.

            Worked for me. Clearly not for everyone. To each his own. Agents have to do what works for them. I let it be known in the public venue that essentially I worked alone, as far as they were concerned. I flaunted that I worked alone and promised my undivided attention, even so I carried an abundantly full workload.

            Here is a copy (in part) of one client’s comments about team experience.

            “As you know, prior to asking you to represent us, (wife) and I interviewed several other “high profile” agents who all promised to do great things, but upon further questioning, it became quite apparent that they could not match your personalized approach and often handed off their clients to underlings during the sale process. To us, that method had the potential for some serious miscommunication and we simply weren’t interested.”

            Retired Vice-president HR at Canadian bank …

            He had shared the names of successful agents he had interviewed. And that always enabled me to address my personalized, individualized way of working.

            There’s a lid for every pot so to speak. I think many times it all comes down to a business marriage of personalities.

            I never paid particular attention to how others worked. I only knew what worked for me. I spent a great deal of time in an interview educating the public as to the workings of our industry at large. I don’t think others used this approach.


            If you have time perhaps scroll down this page until you get to “Carolyne’s Clients Speak” area. The material represents an overview of hundreds of dozens of such received.

            Carolyne L ?

  2. Baseball and the Real Estate Sales Rep business really have so much in common and it is the lesson all Brokerages fear the newbys will learn before spending $10,000 to get their ticket to earn commissions.

    There are around 8800 professional baseball players connected and being paid to play MLB
    10% of those players are playing for a Big League Team
    The average Big League Player will fail 7 out of 10 times the step up to the plate
    When a player fails 8 out of 10 times they are fired
    The very best player of all time succeeded 4 out 10 times they stepped up to the plate failing 60% of the time
    The record home run in a year before steroids is 61
    Around 200 out of 8800 players average at least one home run a month in a year

    Finally last year 1300 different players actually dressed and got to play in a Big League MLB game last year.

    The Median Home Runs hit was ONE.

    The Brokerage you select to work at is very very very important as is the framework you must build to even begin a career in real estate sales. The simplest tools like what email address you will use or who owns the phone number that appears on your business card will impact your earnings in the years to come.

    The Brokerage you select to begin may not be the one that serves your interests if you ever hit one home run a month on average. The Brokerage you select to hit 61 is probably best in 2019 to be your own ( in one way or another).

    MLB owners are the big financial winners as they own their team for decades or even generations passing on the income created by all those struggling players while letting the top performers pass NO income onto the brokerage.

    CORE is a flawed system built on failure where the promise of becoming a Hall of Famer ( after all isn’t that what the franchise system entices you try and achieve) is presented in the same way children believe they will make it to the big leagues one day. The truth is it is as damaging to the financial life of 98% of all CORE paying members as it is to children who spend a lifetime believing they will reach the big leagues.

    It takes kids around 8 years to learn their Big League plans are not going to turn out.
    Unfortunately those 8 years as an adult looking to build a business will wipe you financially and probably limit your ultimate financial wealth in life.

    While MLB and the Team Owners want this game to continue for CORE it is really time a honest ethical and rational discussion takes place on the total number of players needed to swing the bat at 40,000 pitches made in a month across Canada.

    The truth is scary but then again entering a 25 year mortgage on the advice of a player who only hits one run in year is even scarier.

    • Nelson, your stats are eye opening. I appreciate your conclusion. “entering a 25 year mortgage on the advice of a player who only hits one run in year is even scarier.”

  3. John Tavares earns 100% of what he produces…Many publications called Tavares the biggest free agent in the modern history of the NHL.[58][59] Just before 1pm, almost an hour into the free agency period, it became public knowledge that Tavares had informed the Islanders he would be leaving the team and signing with the Toronto.
    On July 1, 2018 it was announced Tavares signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.[61] Tavares cited Toronto’s chances as a Stanley Cup contender, as well as living out his childhood dream to play for the hometown Maple Leafs, as his rationale for signing the contract. Tavares rejected higher paying offers in favour of joining the Maple Leafs, such as the San Jose Sharks, one of the six teams vying for Tavares’ services, who offered a seven-year, $91 million contract.[62] The San Jose offer would have made Tavares the highest paid player in the NHL. (Wikipedia)
    John picked Hometown, picked Best Coach ever, and picked the Best Team to win the Stanley Cup…imo, Go Leads Go!


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