Thank you to Jo-ann Roberts and CBC for their coverage yesterday of the agreement between the Canadian Real Estate Association and the Federal Competition Bureau. Thank you as well for reading my response on the air today.
There is currently a lot of coverage of this agreement, and I'd like to say, a lot of confusion.
Most people don't realize that even before this agreement the public could list properties on MLS for whatever fee their Realtor is prepared to charge. And real estate companies are free to set whichever policy they wish for providing service and fee.
I've seen listings in the past years offering buyer agents a few hundred dollars for bringing buyers to the listing, and have heard of listings offering only $1. I haven't been privy to what they charged to actually list, but usually its $200-$500. Obviously, this isn't enough to maintain an industry. Regardless of what fees actually "should" be, a Realtor, through experience, education, and the authority given by their clients to represent their interests can provide value far beyond the financial. While change is in the air, it is incumbent upon those who seek service to understand the pros and cons of the various service models they are considering. At Pemberton Holmes, my brokerage, the policy is that, while I can charge whatever fee I wish, I cannot offer anything less than full service and representation. Other brokerages are free, as they always have been, to create their own unique model.
Below is a link to CBC's Podcast, the story is about halfway through. http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/bcallpointswest_20101026_40199.mp3
My response as read today on the air.
"As a working Realtor, I welcome changes which bring clarity and flexibility to my business. I'd like to note that Realtor fees do not reflect simply putting a property on MLS as was suggested on today's program. Realtors take on a very high standard of care and fiduciary duty, and often are expected to market and promote a property at their own cost and risk for months at a time and for thousands of dollars, regardless of whether the property sells. While "out of the box" solutions may work for some people, most "for sale by owner" properties eventually end up listing with a Realtor. Although MLS access is a reason for doing so, it is not the sole reason; there are many benefits to professional 3rd party representation. Before a seller chooses any one option, I recommend they do their research and weigh all the pros and cons. By the way, I don't believe we will see the dramatic changes to the industry as being forecast. Realtors in Victoria, even before this agreement, could choose to place properties on MLS with limited services and charge what they wish. It is the market which has always dictated the model and fee structures. Andrew Plank, Pemberton Holmes"