I’ve been a licensed REALTOR® for over thirty years. Being a “lifer” has given me the rare glimpse into the advances that our industry has witnessed. Technology alone has played a massive role. No more pagers and rolls of quarters stuffed in car ashtrays for pay phones. No more legal size forms with carbon paper or having to write clauses by hand. I’ve seen the fall of the fax machine and the rise of the internet and social media and how it made searching for a home so much easier.

I’ve also worked through at least two recessions, 15% interest rates, the collapse of the US housing market, and watched the Canadian market enjoy one of the longest running real estate booms in history.

In those same 30 years, the role of the REALTOR® has shifted. We’ve gone from the first point of contact when looking to buy or sell, to the gatekeepers of information, to that of a trusted advisor. But even that is changing.

It’s not just about understanding the value of a neighbourhood or building or staying on top of market conditions, REALTORS® today need to understand the global perspective and how other markets can shape or influence policy decisions at home. It’s not just about knowing what the interest rate is or what closing costs are, it’s about understanding underlying trends and keeping a sharp eye on potential legal liabilities and identifying advantages one property may have over another eye.

With prices skyrocketing in urban centres around North America, buyers are now looking for answers to their housing dilemma. REALTORS® are now faced with another challenge; finding real-world solutions to solve the accessibility or affordability needs of their clients.

It’s not enough to suggest a client rents while they save for a deposit, or find a home an hour and a half away from where they work. Successful REALTORS® will need to stay on top of the myriad of alternative ownership models that are coming to the market to determine which solution suits a client’s needs the best.

Ultimately, the days when we only had two choices, buy or rent, are over. The role of a REALTOR® will include suggesting a third choice, alternative and hybrid ownership models. They’ll move from a “rent it and forget it” attitude to one that places the long term interests of the client ahead of all else. It won’t be about simply putting a roof over someone’s head, but instead about presenting solutions that will speed up the client’s long-term goal of owning and providing a home that will improve someone’s lifestyle, not just monetarily, but emotionally.

Interested in speaking with Key’s VP Mark McLean? You can book a call with him here.