Monday, October 25, 2010

MLS will be opening up to the public in Canada- proposal ratified

Good morning,

This article below is an excellent summary of the results of the vote and the potential implications that opening up the MLS system to the public may have.

A more open system will encourage private sellers to list their homes on the MLS for a small fee yet allow for the current system to continue as it is.

One more choice for the consumer!

Enjoy reading,

CREA members approve MLS deal with Competition Bureau Sunday, 24 October
2010 22:17
Written by David Hatton, Editorial Team

The winds of change were blowing outside a St. John's hotel Sunday afternoon, as representatives of the country's 101 real estate boards voted 97 per cent in favour of a deal that some warned could mean the end of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

At the very least, it will change the current face of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The controversy began earlier this year when Competition Bureau Commissioner Melanie Aitkin announced she was investigating complaints of anticompetitive behaviour, including concerns CREA kept its members from offering services that would lower costs for consumers.

PropertyGuys.Com Ink Deal with Ontario Brokerage Ahead of Sundays Vote On The MLS, Canadas largest FSBO company has partnered with Harvey Real Estate Co, a Hamilton-based real estate brokerage which means that the brokerage can now put its clients listings, should they choose, on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS). Walter Melanson, Director of Partnerships believes this is now the beginning of the marketplace opening up: "today, we're attracting a small-niche part of the market that
believes it doesn't need the MLS," and he adds that around ...

Some of the biggest complaints involved the popular MLS system, with complaints agents were charging full commission just to post a listing.

If clients didn't use an agent, they couldn't list their property on MLS.

That sparked intense negotiations between CREA and the Competition Bureau in the months leading up to Sunday's vote. And if CREA members didn't vote in favour of the deal, there were looming threats of a court battle next spring with the federal government.

CREA president Georges Pahud said he welcomed the decision to ratify the agreement and end the Competition Bureau battle.

"We are pleased that after careful consideration and reflection, real estate boards and (local real estate) associations from across Canada have endorsed the agreement."

"The commissioner and CREA have agreed that its rules as well as those of members should not deny or discriminate against realtors wishing to offer mere posting services. 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 trademarks" Pahud said in a statement.

Reaction from Canada's estimated 100,000 agents was swift.

"If this vote goes through, it's time for the full time real estate sales people to leave the CREA," Greg Chiang, of ReMax Omega in Newmarket, Ontario, wrote in an email prior to the vote.

"We will pull all our listing(s) from the MLS system. Let all the FSBOs start their own MLS system ...It takes money to build up a great real estate system, (and) that is why most discount systems fail. The FSBOs want to take a free ride on our backs ...use the system that we as full time realtors have paid for many years to develop and make what it is today."

Others questioned why the Competition Bureau was even getting involved.

"I don't understand why the brokerage community has been targeted, and why the system we have built up with our fees over the years should be treated like public property," Steve Glogowski, an associate vice-president of Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto, said in another email.

"Brokers do not have a monopoly on selling property. Everyone is free to advertise and negotiate their sale in the newspapers or on the web and not use the MLS," he added.

Glogowski suggested instead of "caving in", CREA should disband and hand over the MLS system to its members. "How can a system with dozens of owners be considered a monopoly?" he asked. "If people think they will save a few bucks by selling on their own, they are sadly mistaken."

The deal with the Competition Bureau could result in buyers listing at an unrealistic price and not getting serious offers, not negotiating effectively based on experience and having a have increased chance of fraud, he said.

As rumours of the deal filtered out in advance of the vote, some entrepreneurial realtors saw opportunity. Details emerged late last week that the largest of those private sale companies, Moncton, N.B.-based, had signed a deal with Harvey Real Estate Co. Ltd, a tiny brokerage in Hamilton, Ont.

The arrangement would see Harvey listing client's properties in Ontario on the MLS site for a fee, if the client wishes. The MLS profile would then link to a client's customized profile.

The broker has been posting listings for a week now and there is still a backlog, according to a report in the local New Brunswick Business Journal. It added expects the overall opening of the marketplace to boost their listings by 30 to 40 per cent in the next year alone.

How will this vote affect you? We want to hear from you, tell us how you feel using our comments feature, below.

I hope this finds you Happy and Healthy!

All the Best!


A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.
Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987
BUS 905-828-3434
FAX 905-828-2829 CELL 416-520-1577

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