Unhappy with the current direction of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the Montreal and Quebec Real Estate Boards
What does this mean? With a combined membership of approximately 24,000 REALTORS®, the Montreal and Quebec City real estate boards are amongst the largest in the country. Should they opt to leave CREA, it will mark the departure of upwards of 25% of CREA’s total membership. Leaving CREA is no small task. CREA owns and operates the Multiple ListingService® (MLS®) as well as the MLS®, REALTOR® and other trademarks. With no further association/membership with CREA, the Montreal and Quebec City Boards would be forced to establish their own property listing “system(s)” as they would no longer have access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).
The MLS® system we have in Canada is the envy of many other countries including the U.S. I lived and travelled extensively throughout the U.S. for four years and I can attest to the fact that they have a very fragmented MLS® system with some states having multiple systems in which to search for properties. This makes it very difficult to search for a home as effectively there is no one online site whereby you can access all of the properties for sale in a given region. Should the Montreal and Quebec City real estate boards follow through with their departure from CREA, this could well open the door for other large boards such as Toronto to do the same.
There is no one specific reason for the dissatisfaction being expressed by the provincial REALTORS® in Quebec. Among their concerns are the regular increases of annual dues that CREA thrusts upon us as members. At the same time, CREA’s expenses are being called into question with expensive meeting locations and other costs being looked at that ultimately do not add value to the efforts of individual REALTORS®. Just as consumers question our commissions and the value we bring to their real estate needs, we too question the costs that we incur as licensed REALTORS® relative to the day-to-day operation and success of our individual businesses.
The most significant complaint however maintains CREA’s direction with respect to the MLS® system itself. Many REALTORS® across Canada feel that CREA failed to adequately protect the MLS® trademark and the overall integrity of the MLS® system when challenged by Canada’s Competition Bureau. As the number of monthly visitors to www.realtor.ca reflects, Canadian consumers have enjoyed the benefits of a well established nation-wide MLS® system for many years. Upwards of 5 million visits per month are made to www.realtor.ca by Canada’s real estate hungry consumers. Whether you live in Toronto and are relocating to Vancouver, or you are looking to move from St. John’s Newfoundland to Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, you can from the comfort of your home, your car or while sitting in your favourite Wi-Fi equipped coffee shop, search for property from one end of the country to the other. That to me is an invaluable asset that Canadians consumers have with respect to buying and selling real estate that few other countries offer.
I hope the two Quebec based real estate associations can resolved the sticking points that have resulted in their dissatisfaction with CREA and their desire to leave.