Sunday, October 24, 2010

Agreement with the Competition Bureau Ratified by CREA

Members of the Canadian Real Estate Association have aceepted the agreement negotiated by CREA and the federal Competition Bureau with regards to access to the Multiple Listing Service.
I haven't seen the whole agreement yet but the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board has just issued a press release highlighting what it considers the main points.

As the GMREB has already indicated, this agreement will not have a significant impact on the way that real estate brokerage is practiced in Québec, for the following reasons: 
·         It does not give the public direct access to the MLS ® system or to the and websites; the MLS ® system remains a service that is reserved for members of a real estate board;
·         It does not require real estate brokerage agencies to change their business models;
·         It  does not change the fact that the listing broker is responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in a real estate listing and in the MLS ® system ; your obligation to comply with the Québec Real Estate Brokerage Act remains unchanged;
·         It does not preclude the Boards or CREA from having rules for the efficient operation of an MLS ® system, provided that these rules are not contrary to the agreement;
·         It does not impact compensation.
The fundamental point is that CREA and real estate boards/associations cannot prevent or discriminate against "mere postings" or against real estate broker members who offer mere postings. 
The GMREB has never restricted this type of business model and has never discriminated against others in this regard. We can assure you, however, that the GMREB will continue to make every effort to ensure the accuracy of information published in the MLS ® system so that consumers are well served and the professional image of real estate brokers is enhanced. The quality of the information found in the MLS ® system is what sets us apart from "for sale by owner" websites. 
Finally, the agreement stipulates that seller contact information is limited to the member-to-member portion of an MLS ® system and recognizes seller contact information will not be published on and 
As a real estate broker, you are still responsible for providing advice to your clients, and you still have the obligation to share compensation with the selling broker as well as inform sellers that they need to pay compensation to selling brokers. 
This agreement reached with the Competition Bureau concludes the litigation between CREA and the Competition Bureau, and ensures that the Bureau waives further legal action against CREA for "anti-competitive practices". The agreement will be in force for 10 years.

Here's what jumps out at me. The GMREB is making a point about the role and responsibility of agents in the real estate transaction. It looks like vendors will be able to post their properties on MLS, but they will still have to go through an agent to do it.
Some agents may choose to offer this service at a discounted rate but A) they still won't be paid until after the deal is concluded. No cash up front. B) Agents will still be responsible for the accuracy of the information on the MLS listing. Agents will still have to provide accurate tax and evaluation information, cadastral numbers and other pertinent listing details.
 In conclusion, the board reminds its agents that they/we are bound by the terms of the Brokerage Act, Quebec legislation ratified by the National Assembly. The act says that agents have an obligation to honestly and faithfully represent the interests of their clients. That obligation means that I can't just list your property and then leave the rest to you, the client. I can't waive my responsibility to you, even if all I've agreed to do is let you list your house under my name.


I'm not feeling the love. Here's a pithy comment from some disgruntled - is there any other kind? - Internet commentator on the Globe and Mail's site.

Realturds have replaced lawyers as the least respected vocation, for very good reasons. The sooner this group of clowns go the way of the dodo bird, the better.

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