Despite all the media hoopla associated with Sunday's vote by CREA members to ratify the Competition Consent Agreement, it will be business as usual for real estate professionals across the country.
The public will continue to access listings on the MLS system or Realtor.ca, but any posts to the system remain firmly in the hands of local realtors. Under the terms of the new, 10-year agreement, CREA and the Boards cannot prevent or discriminate against 'mere postings' and members who offer 'mere postings.' CREA does not believe that such rules exist today-but if they do-they must be repealed or Boards will lose their license to operate under the MLS trademark.
So all in all, it's business as usual. Sure, consumers have more choices, but then again, they always have. Discount brokers have been around for years. There is a reason why the MLS system is responsible for 90 per cent of resale housing transactions in the country. Canadians rely on the full-service approach provided by the country's 100,000 real estate professionals. Regardless of alternatives, most people require the services of an experienced agent to sell their home.
All we need to do is look south of the border-where the process is similar-for confirmation of that fact. According to the National Post, "the U.S. Department of Justice negotiated an anti-trust settlement with the National Association of Realtors allowing internet brokers and other agents offering discounted commissions to access the MLS in 2008. Two years later, traditional full-service brokers still control between 70 and 80 per cent of the U.S. housing market, and the average commission has increased to 5.3 per cent of the sale price from five per cent in 2008."
In fact, NAR statistics provided by the National Post show 80 per cent of sellers use a full-service broker, managing most of a transaction from listing to closing. Another nine per cent choose limited services that include discount brokerage and 11 per cent opt for the bare minimum of just listing on MLS.
There's a story to be told here. Consumers place value on the services we provide as realtors and that's not about to change. Why? We have the knowledge and expertise to generate results. Few are willing to take chances with their most valuable asset. As Canada's leading real estate organization, we will continue to do what we do best-assisting buyers and sellers with the biggest financial decision of their lifetime.
Take a moment to look at our new marketing campaign on the critical role of a RE/MAX agent. It is easily found on www.FitToSell.ca. This timely campaign demonstrates the value of using a professional RE/MAX agent. It should help offset some of the negative press, until things settle.
As I said, business as usual.
Executive Vice President, Regional Director
RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc.
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