Everything You Need to Know to Start a Real Estate Brokerage in Ontario

With the Ontario real estate market as vibrant as ever, the demand for savvy, ethical brokerages and agents remains high across the province. Becoming an entrepreneur in one of the hottest housing markets in the country may seem challenging, but it can also be deeply rewarding.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key steps for successfully launching a real estate brokerage in Ontario in 2023. Follow this guide to learn tips on financing, regulations, sales, and marketing. With a bit of hard work and persistence, your goal of starting a thriving real estate brokerage in Ontario can become a reality.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the real estate market in Ontario is crucial to starting a successful brokerage.
  • Getting the necessary education and completing the Real Estate Broker Program is important.
  • Creating a business plan, registering your brokerage, building a client base, and staying compliant are all important steps to starting a successful brokerage.

1. Understand the Real Estate Market in Ontario

Starting a real estate brokerage in Ontario requires a solid understanding of the local real estate market. The Ontario real estate market is dynamic and constantly changing. Understanding the market trends and conditions is crucial for the success of your brokerage.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the Ontario housing market is currently experiencing a slowdown in sales and price growth. The benchmark price of a home in Ontario decreased by 1% year-over-year in May 2023. However, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market, which accounted for 17% of all home sales in Canada for the month of May 2023, continued to see support in home prices this month. The GTA’s average home price for May 2023 was $1,196,101, up 4% month-over-month.

To stay on top of the latest market trends, you should regularly consult real estate market reports and data from reputable sources such as the Government of Canada Statistics and the CREA. These organizations provide valuable insights into current supply and demand conditions in the market.

It’s also important to understand the different types of properties and neighborhoods in Ontario. For example, Toronto’s downtown core is known for its high-rise condos, while the suburbs offer more single-family homes. Researching the different neighborhoods and property types will help you identify your target market and tailor your services to meet their needs.

In addition, staying up-to-date on real estate regulations and laws in Ontario is crucial. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) regulates the real estate industry in Ontario and provides resources and information for real estate professionals. Familiarizing yourself with RECO’s guidelines and regulations will help you ensure that your brokerage operates legally and ethically.

2. Get the Necessary Education

To start a real estate brokerage in Ontario, you must have the necessary education and training. Here are the steps you need to take:

Personal Qualifications and Skills Required

Before you enroll in real estate courses, you should assess whether you have the personal qualifications and skills required to succeed in this field. Real estate brokers must be excellent communicators, have strong sales skills, and be able to work independently. You should also have a passion for real estate and a desire to help people find their dream homes.

Enroll in Real Estate Courses

To become a registered real estate broker in Ontario, you must complete the Real Estate Broker Program. The Real Estate Broker Program is for active real estate salespersons who are currently registered with the RECO and aspire to continue their education to become a registered real estate broker.

This program is offered by several colleges and universities in Ontario and includes courses on real estate law, ethics, marketing, and more. You can complete the program online or in-person, depending on your preference.

Registration with RECO

To register with RECO you must have successfully completed the Real Estate Broker Program and must have been employed as a salesperson for at least 24 of the 36 months immediately preceding the date of application. Please visit the RECO website for more information about all Broker Registration Requirements.

Identify Potential Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Starting a real estate brokerage in Ontario can be challenging, but there are ways to overcome potential obstacles. For example, you may face competition from other real estate brokers in your area. To overcome this, you can focus on building relationships with clients and providing exceptional customer service. You may also face challenges related to marketing and advertising your brokerage. To overcome this, you can leverage social media and other digital marketing channels to reach potential clients.

3. Create a Business Plan

Starting a real estate brokerage in Ontario requires a solid business plan. A business plan is a roadmap for your business that outlines your goals, objectives, niche, competition, and financial projections:

Determine Your Niche

Before you start your brokerage, it’s important to determine your niche. What type of real estate do you want to specialize in? Will you focus on residential or commercial properties? Will you specialize in luxury properties or affordable housing? By determining your niche, you can better target your marketing efforts and stand out from the competition.

Set Clear Business Goals and Objectives

Setting clear business goals and objectives is crucial for the success of your brokerage. What do you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term? Do you want to increase your market share, expand your team, or open new offices? By setting clear goals and objectives, you can measure your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Analyze the Competition

Analyzing the competition is an important step in creating your business plan. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you differentiate your brokerage from theirs? By analyzing the competition, you can identify gaps in the market and position your brokerage for success.


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    Financial Projections

    Financial projections are an essential part of your business plan. You need to determine how much money you need to start your brokerage, how much revenue you expect to generate, and how much profit you expect to make. You also need to consider your expenses, such as rent, salaries, and marketing costs. By creating accurate financial projections, you can make informed decisions about your business and secure funding if necessary.

    4. Register Your Brokerage

    Starting a real estate brokerage in Ontario requires registering your business with the government and complying with legal and ethical standards. Here are the steps you need to take to register your brokerage.

    Choose a Business Structure

    Before you register your brokerage, you need to decide on a business structure. You can choose to register as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that’s right for you.

    Register with the Government of Ontario

    To register your brokerage, you need to complete the necessary registration forms and submit them to the government of Ontario. You can find the forms and instructions on the ServiceOntario website. You’ll need to provide information about your business, such as its name, address, and business structure. Here’s our guide on how to use the Online Business Registery.

    Comply with Legal and Ethical Standards

    As a real estate brokerage, you’ll need to comply with legal and ethical standards set by the Real Estate Council of Ontario. These standards include maintaining a trust account, ensuring all advertising is truthful and accurate, and following RECO’s Code of Ethics. You can find more information on RECO’s standards at their website.

    5. Build a Client Base

    Starting a real estate brokerage in Ontario can be a challenging task. One of the most important aspects of building a successful brokerage is developing a strong client base. Here are some effective ways to build your client base:

    Develop Effective Marketing and Advertising Plans

    Developing a marketing and advertising plan is essential to attract potential clients. You can start by identifying your target audience and understanding their needs and preferences. Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can develop a marketing strategy that resonates with them.

    Some effective marketing strategies include:

    • Creating a website that showcases your brokerage’s services and expertise
    • Distributing flyers and brochures in your local area
    • Placing ads in local newspapers and magazines
    • Hosting events or seminars to educate potential clients about the real estate market and your brokerage’s services


    Networking is another effective way to build a client base. Attend local events and join real estate associations to meet potential clients and industry professionals. Building relationships with other professionals in the industry can lead to referrals and new business opportunities.

    Online Marketing

    In today’s digital age, online marketing is essential to reach potential clients. Creating a social media presence can help you connect with potential clients and showcase your brokerage’s services. You can also use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website’s visibility on search engines.

    6. Stay Compliant

    One of the most important things to keep in mind is staying compliant with real estate laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, legal trouble, and even the revocation of your license. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you stay compliant:

    Understanding Real Estate Laws

    The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 is the primary piece of legislation that governs the real estate industry in Ontario. It outlines the rules and regulations that all real estate professionals must follow, including brokers and salespeople. Some of the key requirements include:

    • Registering with the RECO
    • Completing mandatory continuing education courses
    • Following a code of ethics and standards of business practice
    • Maintaining proper records and documentation

    Renew Your License

    In Ontario, real estate licenses must be renewed every two years. To renew your license, you must complete mandatory continuing education courses and pay the renewal fee. It’s important to keep track of your renewal date and ensure that you complete all necessary requirements on time. Failure to renew your license can result in the suspension or revocation of your license.

    7. Frequently Asked Questions

    Starting your own real estate brokerage in Ontario requires several steps, including obtaining a brokerage license, registering with the Real Estate Council of Ontario, and meeting various regulatory requirements. You will also need to have significant industry experience and knowledge of the local real estate market. You can find detailed information on how to start a real estate brokerage on the RECO website.

    Starting a virtual real estate brokerage in Ontario follows the same process as starting a traditional brokerage. However, you will need to make sure that you have the right technology and infrastructure in place to support your virtual operations.

    To become a licensed real estate broker in Canada, you need to complete the necessary education and training requirements, gain relevant work experience, and pass the required licensing exams. The specific requirements vary by province, so it’s important to check with your local regulatory body for more information. In Ontario, you can find more information on becoming a licensed real estate broker on the RECO website.

    Owning a real estate brokerage can be a profitable business, but it also comes with significant costs and risks. Success depends on factors such as market conditions, competition, and the quality of your services.

    The cost of opening a real estate brokerage varies depending on factors such as location, size, and services offered. Some of the costs you may incur include licensing fees, office rent, marketing expenses, and employee salaries.

    The real estate brokerage business model involves providing services such as property listings, marketing, and transaction management to clients in exchange for a commission. Brokers typically earn a percentage of the commission earned by their agents.

    8. Resources for Real Estate Brokers in Ontario

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