MLS®.ca and Realtor®.ca - the good, the bad, but definitely not ugly!
By Carol Budnyk, Royal LePage Coast Capital, November 4, 2010
For months the public has been hearing and reading controversial reports presented by the media regarding negotiations, and the subsequent consent agreement, between the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Competition Tribunal. The issue was alleged discrimination on the part of CREA against "mere postings" being allowed in a Member Board's MLS®.
I welcome this change as a great opportunity for true professionals in the real estate industry to showcase their personal services offered to their clients, over and above the basic posting on REALTOR®.ca. As a dedicated REALTOR®, recognizing the changing face of real estate services available in Canada, I am hard at work putting together a schedule of service level options available to a Seller. Much to my advantage, I will be pinpointing each and every service I provided to my Sellers in the past, some of which were not documented or clearly defined (bonus services). Fortunately, I welcome change!
As a full-service REALTOR® I continue to offer my all-inclusive real estate sales package to those who understand and embrace the value of contracting with a full-service REALTOR®.
The following was extracted from the Notice of Application issued by the Competition Tribunal to CREA (the "Parties") and provides a description of the Competition Tribunal's concern:
"that CREA and its members have used CREA' s control of the MLS and related trademarks to impose exclusionary restrictions on their use; that CREA enacted these restrictions with the intent of having a negative exclusionary effect on real estate brokers and agents (collectively referred to as "brokers") seeking to provide less than a full package of brokerage services; and that these restrictions lessen or prevent competition substantially in the market for residential real estate services in Canada."
A Consent Agreement was reached between the Parties, which contains the following CREA preclusion:
"AND WHEREAS IT IS AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD THAT CREA does not accept theallegations of the Commissioner and nothing in this Agreement will be taken as an admission or acceptance by the Commissioner or CREA of any facts, liability, wrongdoing, submissions, legal argument or conclusions for any other purposes,"
Consequently the CREA has amended its Agency Pillar Rule 188.8.131.52 to read as follows:
"A listing REAL TOR®/brokerage must act as agent for the seller to post, amend or remove a property listing in a Board's MLS® System. The nature of any additionalservices to be provided by the listing REALTOR®/brokerage to the seller is determined by agreement between the listing REALTOR®/brokerage and the seller."