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The CREA/Competition Bureau Agreement – Status Quo Continues

Well, it’s been about a week since the agreement between CREA and the Commissioner of Competition, and that seemed like enough time to let things settle before posting.

Here’s the thing. It changes nothing.

Commissions are not fixed, and there’s nothing preventing Realtors from offering discount services. The only catch has been that listings on the MLS system, and thus on MLS.ca and Realtor.ca, must have a Realtor as the contact, which is to preserve the integrity of the data.

Local boards had the option to opt out of this policy, as the local boards are the ones who actually own their own MLS systems. Toronto is one such board which required that their Realtors offer added value services as well as just listing a property on MLS. CREA changed their stance earlier in the year, forcing several Ontario boards to allow listing-only services. This quote from one of the people who filed the complaint with the Competition Comission reflects this:

“It was only after my persistence that resulted in the Competition Bureau finally recently intervened which forced CREA to only recently remove these rules earlier this year. The settlement agreement now prevents CREA from re-implementing these types of rules again,” said Mr. Dale, who plans to announce in the coming days his reentry into the marketplace.

There have been discount or reduced service brokerages in Alberta for years. It’s important to note Mr Dale is planning his re-entry because reduced service brokerages aren’t a viable business model for Realtors or consumers.

In most markets, just listing on MLS isn’t enough to sell your home.

Realtors (by which I mean good Realtors) do much more than just stick your property on MLS.

  • They know how to help buyers find safe, affordable properties which suit their needs.
  • They know how to deal with multiple offers so that you always have a back-up.
  • They know what to do with a property that might have issues with zoning, encroachments, missing Real Property Reports, assumable mortgages, and under/over pricing.
  • They’re bound by a code of ethics which requires them to disclose defects, clearly indicate who they’re working for and all conflicts of interest.
  • They know the right places to market a property, how to negotiate with buyers and do all the dirty work of running around for you.

If you want to see how a Realtor should really sell a home, go chat with some of the folks who work with Sara and Sheldon at Coldwell Banker.

Realtors make a healthy commission because they’re highly trained and do a lot of work to make that commission. The 2004-2007 Tiger Woods years made a lot of Realtors, buyers and sellers lazy, and sure, more competition and harder working industry members will help things. But ‘destroy the system’? Not bloody likely.

I still think it’s a great time to become a Realtor if you’re committed to doing it full time, making is your primary occupation and being ready to learn, change and grow. I’m not afraid of my commission disappearing beneath a wave of sellers wanting listing-only services. You’d better believe I’m going to earn my paycheque.

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