Whistler Blog

The Competition Act and CREA

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Recently, the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Real Estate Association entered into an agreement/settlement in regards to access, and use of, the MLS.ca database. Many media stories were written and opinions offered that this will represent significant cost savings in terms of commissions to sellers which could be passed on to buyers and result in greater efficiency in the operation of the real estate industry itself. A couple of things that have been overlooked in the excitement should be considered by property owners in Squamish. The new rules do not allow individuals without a real estate license to have access to Realtor.ca and Agents are still required to confirm that all details on the system are correct and can be relied upon. They won’t take their responsibility to ensure the integrity of the information posted on the data base lightly or without appropriate compensation. This agreement has many agents contemplating unbundling of the services that an agent provides. It should not be construed as discounting. Agents perform a variety of services to insure success, from information gathering to interpretation to troubleshooting. Each has its own value and normally cannot get your property sold in and of themselves. Make sure that you understand the interrelationships and full scope of the work the representative is going to perform for their fee. Unbundling means that there are a lot of things that the agent normally does that will no longer be performed. . Be sure you understand what they are not going to do and remember that you get what you pay for. A business model that offers unbundled services has now become more common place. That doesn’t mean that the agent you would like to use is required to offer this service as part of their business model, nor may their brokerage support this concept. A good agent knows that there is a lot more involved to sell a home than a sign and a mere posting to MLS. An old industry maxim is “it is easy to be for sale, it is hard to sell”. The good agent understands that there are a variety of interrelated services to be processed to achieve a successful result for a client and they may not wish to offer the services on a piecemeal basis. The consumer needs to understand that in real estate the “whole is more than just a sum of the parts”. And that an effective representative is a lot more than an administrator. The possible shift and discussion of the unbundling business model comes at perhaps the worst time for sellers in this market place. Now more than ever sellers and agents need to work together on all functions of the process to achieve a successful result. (after all it is a buyer’s market isn’t it?). The competition Bureau while ensuring the consumer has more choice in determining how their property can be marketed has not provided that the necessary consumer protection can be achieved by only relying on a part of the process. If you have any questions in regard to this post please feel free to ask through our “Ask an Expert” section.