Saturday, September 22, 2012

Competition Bureau and Consumers VS Organized Real Esate

The Competition Bureau has been outspoken about Real Estate practices and access to data.  The solution of a VOW may not bring the intended effects.  The Toronto Real Estate Board went for the Hail Mary pass with a procedural Charter Challenge...

But Vistnes argues more open access would put more information — and power — in the hands of consumers and bring an end to costly and questionable real estate practices.
Making commission agreements public, for instance, might discourage realtors who now refuse to take potential buyers through homes where the owner has negotiated a lower commission, pushing them instead to other homes that may be less ideal but have better payoff.
It would also be more obvious when an agent is engaging in “gaming” — removing a property that’s been languishing on MLS for weeks and reposting it a day later to create the illusion of a new listing, says the report. That can be a red flag to buyers that a home is overpriced.
Consumers would also be able to tell when a realtor has acted as both the listing and the buying agent, a “conflict of interest” that occurs in about 10 per cent of all GTA transactions, says Vistnes, who analyzed several years of TREB’s MLS data.
By denying a new generation of Internet-savvy homeowners and buyers access to information, as travel agents did years ago, realtors remain the only real “gateway” to critical property details, says Vistnes.
“VOWs are not simply a vehicle by which consumers can access raw MLS data and conduct searches. Brokers can also offer VOW-based tools through which consumers can then analyze those data,” says the report.
“VOWs often attract buyers by offering a convenient means to search listings, to learn details about individual listings, to learn how home prices differ by neighbourhood, to see how quickly homes are selling and the extent to which final prices differ from the list prices and, in some cases, by offering a commission rebate.”

There are some glaring inaccuracies;

Realtors acting for both parties are indeed in a conflict of interest. You sign for and specifically acknowledge whether you are receiving Customer Service or Buyer Representation.  The solution is to  Bring your own agent!   Yet, Consumers, feel they will SAVE by using only the Listing Agent. Client or Customer? 

Posting and reposting listings to the MLS system is easily solved when you use your own agent to search the property history and provide an impartial CMA when purchasing the home.

Undisclosed  closing costs are dealt with in a detailed summary of costs, expenses and proposed funding costs available here.  This is used with each transaction.

Commission rebates sound wonderful;  What about those listings posted by REALTORS who post one penny or one dollar to selling broker?  The Sellers set the commission payable to selling broker when they list the house.  Listing agents do not necessarily "SPLIT" listing fees equally. No. They may discount their fees to induce you [listings] into a transaction. 

Lenders will not permit you to add your purchase expenses, surveys, loan application fees, appraisals,  lawyers fees, land transfer taxes, taxes on CMHC insurance to the purchase price of the  house in addition to Real Estate fees that you committed to in the Buyers Representation Agreement. What do we do when the commission is ZERO? *

* It is not my responsibility to explain your options to you as an unrepresented Seller or Mere Listing.  My duty is to get the best deal for my client. 

VOWs will permit; an out of Territory Agent to post your home for sale  IE  Windsor or London or Burlington Posted to  They then field those inquiries.  That listing may or may not appear on the Toronto System.  Are all potential Buyers viewing your home? 

More power into the hands of the consumers Yes!  I am in favour of the VOW's.  I am also favour of real Brick and Mortar offices where complaints or disputes can be aired, meetings take place, and  live telephone answering occurs.  Those appointment front desks are the lifeblood of getting your listing seen and showings booked.  What services will I continue to provide

Personally I think it permits Brokerages /Agents to provide a lower level of service under the pretense of SAVINGS.   More data requires context.   Context needs insight and experience.  That's what I provide.  Add your comments...

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