Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Competition Bureau VS MLS Toronto

Yes, WE, have right to the lowest commission!

The Competition Bureau has been in the news lately about their quest to CRUSH the CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association’s) MLS.ca site or REALTOR.ca

You should have the right to post your information. And SAVE!

Save what?

Realtors are required to have proof of ownership, Take detailed Identification, Birth Certificate, Driver’s License, Passport Details. (FINTRAC) We have searched on MPAC and on our own REALnet systems that you indeed are the registered owner and not the tenant in hostile possession. A general list of services can be made available /printed/sent to you.

There is one ingredient that is being overlooked. Glossed over maybe. Possibly, I am too in touch and aware of the legal side of real estate transactions.

The new Small Claims Court limits for lawsuits has been increased to $ 25,000.00 The newest form of licensing is for paralegals to make the law more available to the common people. The first graduates are now licensed and out looking for business.

Think about that for a moment; and let’s generate a scenario. A willing buyer and a willing seller agree on a price, contract is drawn by a paralegal/ lawyer/ friend/ bought a program at Chapters; the deal doesn’t close because there are contract errors? or The contract contained an avoidance of land transfer tax that the buyer and seller thought they were the first to invent? or The financing did not follow through? or The Buyer’s was a straw buyer trying to FLIP because he saw it on TV, there could be a variety of reasons, nevertheless now you are in litigation.

Paralegal can sue for Breach of Contract, You need a Lawyer for Superior Court for Specific Performance, You just want them to close. There were no costs or damages from not closing or for the sale but have you lost? Who gets the deposit? Was it forfeited as a breach of contract? Has the market changed? When did your case get to trial? Now you need a lawyer to clean up the mess. Lawyers normally enforce or apply the agreement of purchase and sale, generally they do not draft original contracts, Now, IF you need a real estate and litigation law specialist.... I can recommend a few.

Everyone has the right to conduct their business model in the fashion they see fit. If a broker licensed in Ontario wishes to provide flat fee MLS services it is their right to do so. Some Sellers can be very well served by this model. The general public has no idea other than a sign goes onto the front lawn; then it changes to SOLD. You are now the seller, you have signed a waiver of liability from the Listing Broker that says you are not his client; [he] is only providing MLS access for you. On the offer, you are forcing me to act as the default dual agent and explain all these issues and clauses to you, possibly to the negotiating detriment of my BUYER! You are now opening yourself to be negotiated out of your money without representation.

While all the Agents and Brokers are howling about these potential changes, the general public has no concept of the dreaded Miller Land Tax (Toronto LTT) in addition to the Ontario LTT. They are unaware of the HST model being added, July 1st 2010. How does this MLS.ca change anything? Florida has used this flat rate broker fee for years. It has not changed anything. You are out living your life; earning and providing for your family. We look after selling your home and finding your new one.

Lets take a different tact. You have the right to drive on the highways; The 401 was built by the taxpayers. You need a car, any car, a license, insurance, valid plates and the daring to drive at 100 KM per hour. There are police and a legal system in place to deal with the consequences. The 407 is a toll road and you need to pay. The MLS is a pay for play system. You need to find a broker who will list at a flat fee.

The MLS system and the rules and regulations that govern Broker and Agent conduct are built over decades of precedent law and legal decisions. The computer system and the MLS.ca has grown because of technology and the internet has speeded up the process. The MLS could be made prettier and more effective but adding clutter that is unverified is not a value added item. Real estate offices are brick and stick locations that have live answering staff for a reason, not voicemail on a phone que. I am obliged to follow the rules as provided by my broker.

My clients are receiving daily emails through the LIVE MARKET TRACKER earlier than those postings to MLS.ca. My marketing is done online in this fashion. Why limit myself to 9 photo’s if I can have Video Streaming and a Flickr photo array that is enhanced by the street view mapping from Google? My Online Marketing; Video Presence, will generate showings and offers. That is called marketing.

If the MLS is proven to be public and EVERYONE has the right to use it; Then the government also has the right TAX IT, to impose a small user fee of lets say $250 per listing nationally? Is it possible that one arm of the government is at cross purpose with another? Will it become more litigious with more people having access? Are these the changes we want?

Do not throw organized real estate away so quickly. And, Yes, We can take your services ala carte, But do you know what that means? Now, what if ala carte is more expensive? The concept, I am trying to provide is termed shopTOism, by creating and giving value to your family and real estate transaction, I earn a living and feed mine. Paying less commission does not necessarily mean that you will net more.

Your comments are invited.

3 comments:

shopTOism said...

"well written, on topic,informed, and clear enough that everyone could understand"

DaveChomitz Coburg

shopTOism said...

his Commissioner of the Competition Bureau being a lawyer preaching that Sellers don't need to be represented and protected in the most important financial transaction of their life is irresponsible,reckless,and absurd. Either that or she is deliberately trying to develop a make work program for all of her lawyer friends out there with all of the realestate nightmare lawsuits that will be upcoming if she gets her way with the Tribunal. A few months ago I sold a Court Recorder a home and her exact words to me were "you realtors are worth it." The reason she told me that was because of all the realestate nightmares she had recorded and heard first hand in court when people try to buy or sell realestate on their own without using a Realtor. This Commissioner is falsely accusing the CREA that there is not competition and varying competitive commisssions charged in the CREA. That is absolutely untrue since there are 98,000 independant contractors belonging to the CREA who charge from a few hundred dollars to list a home to several thousand dollars to list a home. The real issue here is all about an unjustifiable takeover of our MLS system that CREA and it's licensed Realtor members both own and pay for,and a cancelling out of our services in which we earn our living.Since we are a service industry and MLS is our professional system that we use to help us carry out our job. One thing I have observed about this Commissioner is that the facts are not the least bit as important to her as trying to make a name for herself with her own hidden agenda in cancelling out our professional listing services that are most definitely to the benefit of the public.

Bill Lafferty

shopTOism said...

Your comments are very accurate Mr. Lafferty.

Some of the [proposed] practices of providing MLS access without agency relationships create a liability for me in a lawsuit where I can (without harm or intent) be included with all the litigants because a) I possess and maintain E & OE b) will be found proportionally liable in a transaction even if the miss step is not mine.

The CREA could be well served to hire a few lawyers and lobbyists to promote their position and how they are handling this situation to it membership and the Competition Bureau.

The Brokers need to [consider] their withdraw from the MLS National System. Our office has 470 agents with a dominant market share in the City to attract buyers. We would still have our own TREB access that can be syndicated and shared in an IDX. With a strong market share RE/MAX has nothing to fear.

The change in major broker participation will achieve the same end.