Should Realtors Pay Land Transfer Tax?

Business | September 20, 2007

Another day, another newspaper article that has got under my skin.

Why are everybody ganging up on Realtors these days?

Is it just because real estate is the hot topic of the year?

You won’t believe what one newspaper columnist suggested…

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Have you ever purchased a new car and then told the car dealership that you wanted them to fill up the gas tank?

That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request, given that you’ve paid maybe $35,000 for a car, and a tank of gas is fifty bucks.

This example is me trying to play devil’s advocate to my own issues with a suggestion by a Toronto newspaper columnist that has us Realtors all up in arms.

In The Toronto Star, columnist and local business lawyer, Bob Aaron, has suggested that Toronto Realtors should be responsible to pay a portion of the Land Transfer Tax that property buyers incur when purchasing a new home or condominium.

Really eh?

Where does he get off suggesting this?

As we all know, when a property changes title, it is taxed by our Ontario government, who is one step away from a Fresh Air Tax that would see us paying for the right to breathe on a daily basis.  The tax works on a sliding scale, and is paid buy the buyer of a house or condo.  For example, a $350,000 condominium would see a $3,725 tax paid by the buyer.  For a calculator, go to: http://www.macnaughtonlaw.com/landtax.htm.

I fail to see, however, why Realtors should all of a sudden be responsible to pay for this tax, or a portion of it.  Are people just sick of paying taxes?  Are people tired of Realtors making money at their jobs?  Next time my accountant tells me to pay my income tax, should I suggest that he pay a portion of it?

I remember earlier this year when I sold a house to a “friend” of mine.  I put the word friendin quotations because I thought this man was my friend.  He purchased a rather large, rather expensive house and used me as his Realtor on the deal.  I was very thankful, and very appreciative, and I decided rather than give him a bouquet of flowers or some cheesy housewarming gift like most Realtors, I was going to go all-out.

I talked to my good buddy whose family friends own an upscale restaurant on King West, and he got me hooked up with the owner.  I told the owner that I was going to send a client here for dinner, and I would pickup the tab.  Filet Mignon, Crown Rack of Lamb, and the best wine he had in his own personal selection.  I then enlisted another buddy whose friend owns a limo company, and got a stretched black limousine for the big night out.  I had planned a whole night out for my “friend” and his wife, and even got a babysitter for their two young children.

I went over to my “friend’s” new house, and couldn’t wait to tell him the news.  I explained to him what I had planned, and gave him the business card of the restaurant owner.  “Everything is set.  Just call this guy, and tell him when you’re coming down.”  I smiled the whole time, and then eagerly awaited his response…

He looked at me, then looked at the business card, then looked at me again.  He flicked the business card onto the floor and said:

“Quit f*cking around here.  Let’s have a man-to-man talk about what kind of cut I’m going to get of your real estate commission.”

My jaw dropped.

I had never been so insulted in my life, and more to the point—I was hurt.

I worked my ass off, doing what I do for a living to find this man and his family the best house in the best neighborhood at the best possible price.  I spent more time with him than ALL of my other clients combined.  I had worked with him off and on for TWO YEARS, and I finally closed the deal.

And he felt entitled to a portion of the commission that I earned doing my JOB.  Perhaps he only used my services because he felt that he would receive some sort of “discount” for doing so.

He went on to tell me that I owe him my career, I wouldn’t be where I am without him, and another ten minutes worth of speech that I don’t care to repeat.

I bit my tongue and politely thanked him for his business, and left the house.  I have not spoken to him since.

Why does the general public feel that real estate agents are getting something for nothing?

Why do newspaper columnists opine that it is our responsibility to pay for our buyers’ land transfer tax?

A student doesn’t ask his teacher to pay for his books, since she gets paid to teach him.

Money brings out people’s true colors.

I’m finding it all too common these days that people are absolutely green with envy…or perhaps red with rage…

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3 Comments

  1. Sanh

    at 2:22 am

    I don’t think Realtors work hard enough to earn the commissions they do. I won’t work with any realtor who won’t give me a kickback upon completion of a purchase.

  2. Peggy

    at 12:40 pm

    It was a very thoughtful and generous gift that you gave. This “friend” of yours behaved like a beast. (No insult to animals).

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