Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wed Post #1: Sign of the times? Young Maple Ridge Realtor charged with robbery by RCMP

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) there are over 11,000 real estate agents who "live and work in communities from Whistler to Maple Ridge to Tsawwassen and everywhere in between."

As the Lower Mainland enters it's first prolonged downturn over a decade (with monthly sales levels consistently hitting 15 year lows), one can only imagine how difficult it is for agents whose income is commission based.

In fact it was just last month that we profiled this article in the Singtao Chinese newspaper telling us about the hard times agents were facing:
Greater Vancouver realtors are now forced to quit and find new jobs  
Mr Shen, a newly minted realtor since 2011 had been working for a year without reaching a single sale. He had just quit RE and is training to be an electrician... 
When interviewed by SingTao, Mr Shen said he had a university degree in business administration. Upon seeing the hot RE market in early 2011, he paid $5000 for a realtor prep-course and obtained his realtor license. 
Ever since he’s working as a realtor. He’s been busy every weekend showing houses, one client even had him show 10 units. 
He had a total of 20 clients in the first half year, but no sale. 
Mr Shen said, in the current housing downturn, even seasoned realtors are having a hard time. 
Another realtor, Mr Sun of Macdonald realty, said that in 2011 he averaged 2 sales per month, this year some months even went without a single sale. 
Many realtors are leasing expensive cars, paying expensive fuel, hosting networking dinners – averaging $2000 per month of overhead. Without sufficient sales numbers, many realtors cannot survive.
Perhaps it was this need to 'survive' that possibly drove a real estate agent from Maple Ridge's Royal LePage Brookside to crime.

As noted yesterday in the Maple Ridge Times, one of two men arrested for armed robbery was a real estate agent in Maple Ridge, and he has since lost his licence as charges have now been laid.
Police announced Friday that two local young men, including one who was a local realtor, are facing a series of charges in connection with pharmacy robberies.

Police have recommended charges against Ryan Olson, 27, and 29-year-old Luke Ash for robberies at a Langley Pharmasave, Blueridge Pharmacy in Abbotsford, twice at Surlang Pharmacy in Surrey, and The Chemist in Maple Ridge. The heists took place from Aug. 21 to Oct. 12.

Ash was a realtor in Maple Ridge for Royal LePage Brookside, but is no longer licenced.

"Royal LePage - Brookside surrendered Ash's licence on Nov. 22," said Tyler Davies, spokesperson for the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.

"Luke always presented himself as a very likeable and pleasant young man. This is a shock to all of us in our real estate industry," said Bob Quinnell, Royal LePage - Brookside's general manager.

"When we heard of this situation we immediately notified the Real Estate Council of BC, who oversees our licensing system. The council requested that we send Luke's licence to them immediately," said Quinnell, adding that it is "important to note that police checks are taken of anyone prior to obtaining a real estate licence."

Ash was originally licensed in July 2011, according to Davies.
On another note, yesterday was an interesting day in our Inventory watch on the side bar.

As the scroll states, "Inventory has probably now peaked for 2012 and we will see more and more listings pulled off the market in hopes the market will recover in the Spring. The main watch now is to see if we will have any days in the final two months where sales surpass the number of new listings for that day."

Yesterday almost achieved that historic first time for 2012 as we came in with 114 new listings and 114 sales.


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  1. Now that there aren't many RE sellers to rob from, realtors resort to robbing people on the street.

  2. Only one Realtor accused of robbery? Seems to defy logic. Most of those rats have no moral compass at the best of times. The whole lot behave like 11th grade dropouts who made it on easy street while the getting was good. I have no respect for them whatsoever. The total lack of professionalism so many of them have shown is partly hinged on the ridiculous percentage pay scale they can achieve for very little real effort. Why would anyone be surprised that the industry attracts criminals and those with no conscience? Real Estate needs to be regulated by a higher authority than the R/E boards whose thinly written guidelines regarding conflict of interest, integrity and honest business practices is but a sham for people who went to them expecting a trusting relationship. Instead they encounter just shenanigans, scams, cheats, liars and thieves whose only motivation is a commission and a fuck off letter to the client after the fact. All those rats should be sent packing in my opinion.

  3. Regardless of anyone's opinion on the real estate profession, according to the story - he has been charged. He has not been found guilty. Interesting that the license was 'requested' by the BC Council and 'returned' by his brokerage. As the story indicates - he is no longer licensed but according to the legal process he has not yet been proven quilty. I realize the Council may have requested him to suspend his license but what is implied is that they 'cleaned up shop' as soon as they heard about the charges. IMO they are trying to appear powerful and selective. Doesn't seem like the right approach in any circumstance when charges are laid. I can understand that a request for license suspension during the legal process may be appropriate but nothing more than that because everyone has rights to a fair legal process. The BC Real Estate Council appears to have already found him guilty as charged.

    1. i am sure if you watch the video footage of one of the robberies, you can spot him. or the fact that the police got records of his text messages. ppl like you are why our justice system is messed up. police don't lay charges unless they have convincing evidence. now, how his lawyers find a loop-hole is another story. he was in a position of trust by being allowed in innocent ppl's homes without them knowing what he is up to during his "other" job. the judge should throw the book at him and teach him a lesson. what about the innocent ppl he victimized? they are probably losing sleep because of his senseless act. I hope everyone google searches his name before they hire this scumbag...hope his image is tarnished for life.

  4. I'm surprised he lost his license for this. I mean, isn't this business as usual for a Real Estate agent?

  5. Maybe a promotion....???

  6. More often than not these cases are more of a drug addiction issue than anything else.

  7. According to the inventory tracker on the sidebar, it looks like listings for spring pick-up as soon as the new year hits.

    I wonder if that will again be the trend come 2013, or will people refrain from listing in this market next spring... Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like we might go into 2013 with about a 50% overhang of unsold property on the market compared to this time last year.

    1. You are correct, I will have more on this in Post #2 later today.

    2. Thanks Whisperer, and thank you for all the great reporting and valuable information and perspective that you provide here.

      -anon 10:01

  8. We're just getting started in this real estate downturn. This is just the beginning where hope still prevails for the majority of residential realtors.

    REBGV has over 10,000 realtors today which will probably revert to less than 7000 within 5 years. That's over 3000 people that will need to give up and find a new career in a time of slow economic growth.

    The good one's will find a way to survive and others will probably have to take jobs that pay 1/4 of what they are used to.

    REBGV Chart of realtors

  9. While I generally support the point of view of this blog, I cannot agree with the vilification of someone who has merely been charged. This does not constitute guilt. You are way out of line here. Stick with your opinion until you've taken journalism 101. Start with a refresher on proof reading for spelling and grammar.

  10. Furthermore, since you have decided to post a photo, a name and cry "guilty" publicly before due process has taken place, don't be surprised if/when you get served with a civil suit of your own.

    1. Well... The comments and identification come from the Maple Ridge Times newspaper. Perhaps your concerns about 'journalism 101' are best directed to them.

    2. You must be another indignant realtor who needs to accept that your "profession" really isn't.

    3. Whisperer just posted the publicly available fact, big thanks for that.

      The point is not about accused former realtor (his personality is more than clear for us), but about the bright trend in RE industry - the overly-lucrative business has attracted a lot of questionable people for easy money.

      Nothing wrong with photo, rather opposite, another proof that appearance is deceiving...