25 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Changes Approved by Canadian Real Estate Association


Today somewhere in Newfoundland member real estate boards across Canada voted 97% in favour to the rule changes set out  by the competition bureau in its investigation into the “monopoly” of the CREA.

So what does this mean now? Mainly that licensed real estate agents can now offer services and fees similar to what FSBO (for sale by owner) companies have been offering to sellers who have opted not to use the services of a real estate agent to list their home or property for sale. It’s important to note that even though the seller in the past has tried to sell privately, in most instances a fee was paid to the agent representing the buyer. So in essence, a real estate agent was involved in selling the house, just not in listing it. Let’s see the future of FSBO companies now that a seller can get more exposure for the same expense by using a licensed real estate agent! Now were talking monopoly!!

So what does this mean for real estate agents like me in my day to day job of successfully assisting both buyers and sellers with the complex (and don’t for a moment think its not complex, I/we just make it look easy) tasks of looking out for my clients best interests with there real estate needs? Pretty much nothing in the short term I suspect. We as professional real estate agents have gotten little, if any guidance or support from CREA or TREB (Toronto real estate board) and the little info we have gotten is don’t worry, it’s going to be business as usual. Great leadership and support from the “monopoly” called organized real estate.

So if not much is going to change you ask why all the fuss? Good question. There have been countless articles written or comments made by frustrated real estate agents across Canada (100,000 or so strong) asking why is that our advertising website www.realtor.ca (formerly known as www.mls.ca) and private MLS systems need to be open to anyone who hasn’t contributed to the huge expenses in creating, storing and operating the site for both accuracy and relevance while we pay large fees for the access to such sites? I’m not sure how much realtor.ca costs to run but anyone looking at TREB’s most recent audited financial statements will see that in the past year $10,000,0000 was spent in operating our MLS system alone! This paid for by the dues of the 30,000 members of TREB. Heads up people at TREB and CREA I have a strong suspicion that many pissed off agents will be questing your relevance and fees when the next invoice arrives. I read this afternoon that todays agreement could be the demise of CREA and I strongly sense this very well could be the case. Not tomorrow or the even next month most likely but sometime in the future I would suspect.

So back to what to expect. Well for one not all real estate agents or real estate companies will be participating in the additional “flat fee” service option. But as any person knows who has sold a home before, the commission rate or fees charged have always been negotiable. You always hear about the much quoted 5% or 6% figure or even better the $20,000 or $24,000 dollar amounts being quoted in the media and by FSBO companies that your real estate agent just made off the sale of your home and how easy it was and how you should just have done it yourself and pocketed the money. Yes if life were so easy and simple.
But as any consumer who has been a seller knows if they do their proper due diligence in hiring the right real estate professional you almost always will get incredible value for the money you invest in the sale of your home. What’s the best way to ensure that you get a great agent? Ask around to your friends, family and neighbours. And be direct with your questioning. Take full responsibility in the agent you choose to hire and hold them accountable. Too many times I have heard the complaint that “my agent didn’t do a good job” or that “they never returned my phone calls”; “They could have done a better job” and then when pressed a little on why they choose that particular agent I find out that the agent was a distant family member or friend who didn’t do much work in the area they hired them to work in or that they are a part time agent who is giving them back some of the commission in order to use them. People wake up!!! Part time agents (or part time anything) will almost always lead to part time results! Look at the big picture. If you were looking for a financial planner to invest $300,000 or more of your money would you choose the part time planner who dabbles in the business or a committed professional who has chosen to make looking after your best interests their passion and livelihood?

As a professional real estate agent (and I take the word professional very seriously) I know I bring amazing value to the clients I work with. I explain fully the process on how things are going to work, where the money will be spent and get the successful results they are looking for. So for me I expect it will be business as usual with maybe more time being spent on where the money goes to get a home properly marketed and then successfully sold and closed. As to the accuracy and relevance of the MLS systems and public website paid for by CREA members I’m not so sure? There is mass confusion and in the immediate future I’m sure there will be many unhappy sellers who get duped of their money when they go with one of the flat fee companies and find out hard working real estate agents want to be paid for their time and results and in the end they didn’t save any money at all but had to do a ton of work to get the home sold, if it does get sold at all. Just don’t come crying to me. Make sure you finger the appropriate agencies involved which is the competition bureau and CREA.

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