“The Great Resignation” is a phenomenon across the country that some experts are saying will see up to 40 per cent of employees thinking of leaving their jobs in the next year. Millennials, front-line workers, managers and even some senior-level executives are looking for a change. Many have reached a breaking point after months of high workloads, hiring freezes and stressful workdays. The idea of returning to long commutes and inflexible schedules is unappealing, to say the least. Looking for a better work-life balance and control of their own destiny, many of those leaving long-time careers in other fields are looking at real estate as a possible “next career” choice. Every province in Canada will soon see an enormous wave of new agents graduating from the real estate course.

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To succeed, this wave of new agents will need what most successful agents have: a great broker that can provide the training, technology, marketing and team environment that will ensure the agents have the best chance of success in our industry. A strong broker can flip the well-known equation that 80 per cent of new agents don’t make it to their second anniversary, to an 80-per-cent-plus chance of successfully carving out a new career in real estate.

However, there is a shortage of great brokers. Many of the leaders in our industry who run brokerages are now in their 60s and 70s, some without a succession plan as fewer agents are choosing to transition to management. This will inevitably lead to broker consolidation.

Being a broker is hard work. The responsibilities of regulatory compliance and management of complex operations with high overhead, salaried staff and independent agents with strong personalities is taxing. Brokerages, even when run well, typically only see a small percentage of the upside of an otherwise raging real estate market. Most of the risk in the real estate transaction falls on the broker, yet so little oversight is achievable as agents learn their craft, many choosing their own enrichment over the due care and attention of their clients’ best interests.

Successful brokerages require outstanding leadership and management skills. A great broker excels at taking brand-new agents and guiding them to a successful career. They make already good agents better with their support and culture. They offer great technology and marketing tools and then train agents to use it. They offer great training and counsel their agents to treat people right. They recruit and retain strong agents who recognize and appreciate the value of a great broker.

Too many agents struggle because they are at a brokerage that offers them very little, other than low fees. They struggle because their personal value proposition is weak; bad web presence, slap-dash marketing tools, they don’t use a CRM or presentation tools – and they don’t have the training available to make them better agents. And perhaps most importantly – they don’t have the guidance, mentorship or leadership available to them to shape them into a professional, successful agent.

In five years, there will be more agents working at fewer brokerages. The strong brokers will get stronger because they offer their agents a better value proposition and a path to be more professional – and earn more referrals. And yes, the already large brokers who offer very little for very low fees will also grow as they can warehouse the part-timers who cling to their real estate license hoping to sell that one house a year.

As an industry, I believe we need to celebrate the outstanding leadership and professionalism of the great brokers – our true leaders who work tirelessly to foster great agents. We just need more of them.

Todd Shyiak is vice president, national network development, Century 21 Canada, where he oversees operations including the selection and servicing of all technology and training, leads national recruiting and retention initiatives and actively pursues M&A opportunities for C21 brokers. He has been in the real estate industry for decades. As an agent, Todd sold over 850 homes and condos. He has managed and mentored many agents, sold MLS systems into dozens of boards across Canada and the U.S., consulted and created broker technology and tools and ran his own agent recruiting company.


  1. Hands on experience is the key in Real estate. I found this website looking for real estate tips, for my daughter who just became a real estate agent. Real estate is such a cut throat industry, everybody is doing it. To be successful though in real estate you need hands on experience.

  2. I chose to be be an independent because I did not see the value in being part of a larger brokerage – but that is me. Tried that and I don’t disagree with some of the points made in the article. I think its like this……..strong self motivated realtors will go independent and newly licensed/part-timers will go to larger brokerages. It’s effectively what is happening right now.

      • PED - acronym for:
        Professional Enhancing Details

        Sometimes a circuitous route is the safest one.

        Carolyne L 🍁

    • The seller pays a commission to the listing agent’s Brokerage. The broker, in turn, pays the buyer’s Agent (or Broker) a commission for representing you as the buyer. With that being said the Buying Realtor represents your interests 100% and we have many rules in place to make sure the buying Realtor does just that.

  3. Lets not forget Mr. Shyiak has something to sell, a franchise and services. This is to some extents a self-serving view point. It may or may not reflect reality, much less future reality.

  4. Well written Todd, as always! I agree we will see more agents and fewer brokerages. Fewer brokerages due to needing more agents to remain viable as everything is being squeezed. One of the most frustrating things I continually see is agents ignoring the value proposition. For a few thousand more annually in fees you can align yourself with an outstanding broker. The payback is massive if utilized but so many agents can’t see the forest for the trees and continue to stay with, or join a low cost option.

  5. ” A great broker excels at taking brand-new agents and guiding them to a successful career.” I’ve been telling this to my real estate client. She needs to work with experienced agents in the brokerage real estate world. hands on experience is what matters in theses days. It takes a little while to develop your own sop in marketing, and to capture leads.
    Hit your cool guy up at https://yourcoolman.com

  6. There has been and is far too much emphasis on the data sharing aspect in Real Estate. If you look at something like Income Tax Filing, all the data is open to everyone, yet tax filers and accountants are thriving. The hit-and-run listers and the battle cry ‘list to last’ will be the most affected with data sharing. But there will be a role for Realtors to navigate and guide the client through the legal, financial, property complexities, and ownership complexities of a Real Estate transaction.

  7. I wish I knew where all the current change is going to shake out, but I don’t and I suspect nobody really does right now.
    But since I started my real estate podcast last year, I have learned a lot from some of my guests. I recently interviewed a brokerage out of Vancouver and I just yesterday interviewed another from Toronto; both are very very successful brokerages and both are very focused in what they do.
    Interestingly, neither is what we would call a traditional brokerage in that they are very focused on serving limited market sectors, but I think both have a very important message for our industry: specialize and have the best data.
    In addition to focusing on a narrow sector of the marketplace, they both produce their own data and it is superior to any I have seen to date – and that is where I think they have a powerful message for traditional brokerage models to take note of in this era of well funded competitors that offer powerful websites but little in the way of really useful help or data.

    These brokerages both go beyond basic statistics that allegedly help consumers price homes right. One brokerage has created a software solution that seamlessly walks the buyer through the buying process from start to finish, and after. The other brokerage drills down deep into the data to find what factors really matter to consumers, and what those factors are worth to the marketplace.
    So to reiterate, I don’t know where all this will shake out but one clear message emerges that really isn’t all that new: in an era of well funded, low cost competitors, taking our services and data to new heights is one sure road to success.

    • KarinKanji wrote (found on Google):
      “Many times I hear the age old debate about the use of a Real Estate Professional. “I can sell my own house! I don’t need a real estate agent.” I’m sure many of you have heard this arguement. However, there are so many clauses, laws, by-laws, and other waiver and amendment type stuff. It’s enough to make a civilian go nuts!

      So, it comforts me when I come across information that attempt to clear the muddy world of real estate. Carolyne Lederer (www.carolyne.com) has written a very detailed and comprehensive piece on Deposits and Downpayments. Please take a read. I’m sure you’ll like it!”

      I have no idea who this person is or where, or when this was written, but thank you. The note appeared as I was researching something else.

      Carolyne L

      • Schwarzenegger history YouTube, Tony Robbins, et al. And other interesting stories. It’s a ten-hour audiobook, so bookmark it to listen in segments. It talks about being organized.

        Who is your (business) muse?
        Edison said never go to sleep without asking your subconscious mind to provide the answer to what you need while you sleep; that in the morning you will have the answer you need.

        Carolyne L
        Tools of Titans The Tactics Routines and Habits of Billionaires – Audiobook – Part 1 – YouTube


        Sent from my iPhone

  8. Today there is probably 1 Realtor for every 100 homes in Canada. In GTA there is probably 1 for approximately every 60 people. Soon every household in Canada will have a living Realtor and every family will be able to list their homes on the MLS for FREE. Exclusive Buyers Brokerages will be the place to work. Doesn’t look like real estate is a dying industry. Today there is approximately 1 Realtor for every 100 homes in Canada. However, there may be a lot of listless Realtors as the industry grows and Realtors don’t retire. In the future there will be seniors homes for licensed Realtors operated by C21. Of course there will be no desk fees only bed fees. The more the merrier. Imagine spending your final days of life living in a building full of Realtors.

    • ROFL!

      John Lennon forgot to include your final line in his epic song “Imagine”.

      It might go like this:

      “Imagine there’s no Realtors: above us only sky; below us only hell;

      Imagine there’s no commissions: above only five points; below only zeros;

      Imagine there’s no conditions: above only brokers; but no water in the well;

      Imagine there’s no realturds: above only angels; below only heroes;

      Then you might get your wish, my friends;

      And we’ll all live as one;

      As long as you think like me;

      For I am the god of hell fire;

      Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee;

      And if that don’t get your ire;

      Imagine spending your final days of life;

      Dealing with constant nattering strife;

      Trapped in a house full of Realtors;

      Cursing and cussing all over;

      That bastard’s phantom offers;

      Then you’ll know why I sold private;

      I kept my money in my own coffer;

      And now that my little song’s over;

      We’ll all live in harmony;

      Keeping our hard-earned money;

      Away from that lyin’ bastard phoney.

      (This message not intended to lump professional Realtors in with the realturds of the world)

      Lyrics and melody protected by copy right and left law.

    • We’ve been hearing this for the 21 yrs we’ve been in business. Here’s an actual fact for you. In a massive transaction like buying a house or land, professional advice from people who know what they are doing will ALWAYS be needed. Those that do so without it are free to do so and good luck. I’m a Realtor who has sold 20 of my own properties over the years and I always hire an independant Realtor to do it for me, for many reasons that I don’t have time to list here. Suffice to say I practice what I preach and have done so for over 2 decades.

  9. I agree with the second opinion to the effect that there will be fewer agents but not that there will be more brokerage
    The population is more sophisticated and has Acces to more tools to buy or sale homes that will make less brokerage for the agents to handle the hard to sell and hard buyers, and that the market will regulated the influx of newly graduated agents and the millennial who want to change carriers
    In short everything will change and everything will remain the same.

  10. I disagree. In five years there will be fewer agents working at more brokerages. As standards gradually rise, technology advances, and consumers & regulators demand stricter adherence to representation with less tolerance for a sales approach, fewer agents will thrive and those that do will be more independent and able to avoid representation conflicts by forming their own brokerage or affiliating with a smaller one.

    • This, I believe, is a more realistic comment. With less emphasis on service and quality representation, their will be a much higher demand for a more seasoned realtor who is
      capable of providing better assistance to the consumer. It will be those that are totally consumed with the almighty dollar that will be “weeded out” of the industry, hopefully leaving the professional, full time realtor to serve the public. After all, if we do provide top quality service, our income will take care of itself. After many years in the industry, I am licensed with a smaller (in terms of numbers) company with an excellent broker. Costs are low, business is steady and the environment is non stressful. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t good brokers in large companies (there are lots). The real success of agents is long term with repeat business – NOT a quick commission for today. As for a previous comment above, the use of the word “realturd” is at best, unprofessional, demeans our industry and is, in my opinion, not worthy of this publication.

      • Yes William, realturds are at best, unprofessional, demeaning of the industry, but in the editor’s opinion, are worthy of this publication.

        What you failed to acknowledge are my words qualifying my opinion, being:
        “(This message not intended to lump professional Realtors in with the realturds of the world)”

        Realturds—as I describe scum-bag real estate salespeople—usually spring from those whom you correctly describe as “…those that are totally consumed with the almighty dollar…”. So, in essence, we are totally in agreement. You just don’t like the term. I do.


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