Monday, January 31, 2011

During 2009, ongoing news reports regularly appeared regarding the Competition Bureau's allegations that Canada's Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) was anti-competitive.  The MLS® system which as you will note is a registered trademark, is owned and operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). 
After months of legal wrangling which cost CREA and essentially those of us in real estate over three quarters of a million dollars in legal fees in addition to the cost born by Canadian taxpayers, a settlement was reached which saw modest changes adopted to the way in which property listings can be placed on the MLS®.
  Contrary to public belief, the change does not allow consumers to list their homes or other property(s) on the MLS® by themselves.  The MLS® still remains a REALTOR® to REALTOR® service.  What the new rules do allow is listings to be simply posted onto the MLS® by a REALTOR®, allowing the home owner to handle as much or as little of the selling process on their own as they wish.  If a home owner elects to recruit a REALTOR® that will simply use his ability as a licensed real estate practitioner to "post" the listing on MLS®, the seller can then put up their own sign, conduct their own open houses and handle all the negotiations and paperwork should a potential buyer happen along.
  REALTORS® are still required to handle the posting of a property on MLS® in order to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the listing information ie: are the room sizes, taxes and other information about the property correct?
  I know of at least one area property the owners are trying to sell on their own which has been posted onto the MLS®.  The REALTOR® that posted the listing to the MLS® on the seller's behalf is located 6 to 7 hours from Collingwood.  Has he seen the property, measured the rooms, calculated the total square footage and verified other pertinent listing information?  Not likely.  This was one of the primary concerns that CREA had in adopting this change and rightly so.  Canada's MLS® is the envy of many other countries including the U.S.  We are one of a few countries that has a nationwide MLS® thus allowing consumers to search for properties online anywhere in the country regardless of where they happen to live.  Further REALTORS® are legally held to a high standard via Provincial law and are required to carry errors and omissions insurance in the event we make a mistake.  As such, consumers have a much better chance of receiving accurate information and fair treatment with respect to their real estate buyer and seller needs versus dealing with a private individual.
  Thus far, we have seen little change in the marketplace as the result of the regulatory changes that took place with respect to the MLS® rules in 2009.  The listing and sale of real property continues much the same as it has for years with the majority of properties on the MLS® listed by full service REALTORS® that work with seller clients from start to finish.  Other options for consumers now exist and there's nothing wrong with that.   For those sellers wishing only to have their property "posted" on the MLS® and are willing to promote and market their property on their own and subsequently handle the negotiations and paperwork associated with the sale process they are free to do do.  Buyers dealing with sellers wherein their listing has been merely posted to the MLS® should exercise some caution with respect to the information provided.  For sure, a home inspection should be done and further, buyers of these properties would be wise to verifiy first hand tax, zoning and other information relative to the property in question.  In this area we also have other regulatory bodies to deal with in certain circumstances such as the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Nottawasaga Valley and Grey Sauble Conservation Authorities etc.  A REALTOR® that is located outside the area may not be familiar with properties that fall within the confines of these governing bodies and the chance of a mis-step is then that much greater. As with any purchase the term caveat emptor applies and even more so when dealing with the unknown.
  I want to hear from you. Please leave a comment or take my current online poll regarding this matter, I look forward to hearing from you.

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330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.