With the media frenzy and coverage, is seems like there isn’t anyone not talking about potential changes to the way real estate is handled in Canada. CREA and the Competition Bureau have done a fantastic job of attracting the spotlight for different reasons and a poor job at truly explaining to the public what these changes mean. After 21 years in the industry, I believe it is necessary to provide at least some answers:
1. The Bureau believes that the industry has too much control over the supply of residential brokerage services.
False. The boards and its members are governed by federal, provincial and municipal bodies and must adhere to strict rules and maintain the integrity of data and factually represent information. There is definite recourse when guidelines are not met.
2. There are no adequate substitutes for the MLS system.
False. There are hundreds of sites that offer home listings advertised by non-licensed representatives that have no responsibility or accountability to anyone.
3. CREA has used its control to exclude real estate brokers that want to provide discounted and flat fee services with no compensation to Selling agents
False and True. There “are” presently brokerages with membership to CREA that offer flat fee arrangements with limited to no services. What is true, is that a zero value ($0) is not permitted. As long as a dollar amount like $1 is posted, it is permitted. Do you think $1 is unreasonable?
4. The Competition Bureau would like (if the seller chooses) not have an agent provide agency , have offers sent directly to a seller once a home is posted on MLS.
True. This is to allow a discount and or flat fee service Broker to be absolved of responsibility towards a client/customer. The client would therefore be on their own.
There are more recommendations, however I don’t think that the public really cares if there is a dispute over trademarks and signage. In an era of identity theft, privacy, money laundering, grow houses and counterfeit certified cheques, what they do care about is their protection for the largest investment of their life and how they will be better served with integrity in representation.
If they choose, sellers have and will always continue to have the right to represent themselves in the sale of their home. If they choose, buyers have and will continue to have the right to house hunt and purchase without a Realtor. The question is why would you? Why would you risk not being informed, educated and guided by a professional? If the commission or fee is the issue, discuss it with your Realtor. Commission rates and fees have never been set in stone but always remember you get what you pay for.
It has been said in media reports recently from people not in favour of organized real estate, that all Realtors do is post a property in the MLS. This is furthest from the truth. The MLS is not the reason a property sells. It’s the Realtor’s countless hours preparing before, during and after a meeting with a client. The countless hours of research, experience in construction and home styles, neighbourhoods, financing, marketing, negotiation and the overall psychology of the sale that helps a buyer get their dream home and a Seller achieve top dollar for their home. Just like lawyers, doctors, accountants and other professionals, a Realtor’s value is what they know (in most cases), more than what they do. I’m very proud to be the Broker of Record of a full service Brokerage filled with outstanding full-time professionals.
Do you/we really want to return, participate and be part of the old unregulated and wild, wild west scenarios where everything and anything goes? Home ownership is a dream and not a legal nightmare.
Lastly, all this dialogue led me to do much more research and look at the example set by the Competition Bureau and the National Association of Realtors south of the border quite a few years ago. Everything was negotiated just like they’re doing here and its business as usual. Concessions were made to allow choice for the consumer in what services they want to retain, the Bureau realized that licensed Realtors are to maintain the integrity of the data and Realtors are still more valuable than ever. Especially in their present market.
“The more things change, the more they remain the same” Alphonse Karr
RE/MAX Ultimate Realty Inc., Brokerage