Houses for sale in Ottawa

QUICK HITS

 

  • Boards and associations will vote on a proposed amendment to the Realtor Code at CREA’s AGM in Ottawa on Tuesday, which would make it mandatory for realtors to place their listings on MLS within three days of publicly marketing a residential property.
  • The amendment defines public marketing as any representation or marketing of a listing to the public or anyone not directly affiliated with the listing brokerage/office in a business capacity.
  • While some in the industry are concerned about unintended consequences and limitations to consumer choice, others, including TRREB, support the amendment.

 

Canada’s real estate industry is gearing up for CREA’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Ottawa, where proposed changes to the Realtor Code will be voted on Tuesday. 

If passed, the amendment, known as the Realtor Cooperation Policy, would make it an ethical obligation for realtors to place their listings on MLS within three days of publically marketing a residential property.

The amendment defines public marketing as any representation or marketing of a listing to the public or anyone not directly affiliated with the listing brokerage/office in a business capacity.

“I think there are a lot of misunderstandings of the policy and what it means,” says Paul Baron, president of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). 

Baron expressed TRREB’s support for the amendment and was emphatic that this is not a ban on exclusive listings, “It just prevents them from publicly marketing a property if they’ve got it listed exclusively.”

 

“The idea of realtor cooperation is not banning exclusive listings. It is changing the rules so that when you market something publicly that then you’re going to get involved in the cooperative and that you’re going to put the property on MLS.” 

– Paul Baron, TRREB president

 

He explains, “When an agent goes in to do a listing presentation, the consumer can absolutely choose to list it exclusively or choose to list it on MLS. They don’t have to opt-out. They have that choice. The choice is not taken away.”

Under the proposed changes, if a seller decides to forego placing their listing MLS, they must provide written confirmation of this decision to the listing agent, including a specific instruction not to engage in public marketing of their property.

Commercial property listings, new construction listings in developments with multiple properties or units and rental property listings are exempt from the policy.

“The idea of realtor cooperation is not banning exclusive listings. It is changing the rules so that when you market something publicly that then you’re going to get involved in the cooperative and that you’re going to put the property on MLS.” 

The proposed amendment emphasizes that using limited exposure marketing tactics diminishes the value and benefits that MLS provides to realtors and consumers.

 

“It is our position that the proposed Realtor Cooperation Policy is an overreach of CREA’s authority. The core elements of the transaction need to be left to boards and regulators.”

– Statement from the Calgary Real Estate Board

 

In a statement to Real Estate Magzine, the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) says it does not support the proposed amendments, calling it an “overreach” of CREA’s authority, adding core elements of the transaction should be left to boards and regulators.

CREB’s statement goes on to say, “Although the intent of Realtor Cooperation is valid at its core, including the work to ensure an effective cooperating selling system, we have concerns about the potential for unintended results of the proposed policy change and the potential for it to limit consumer choice. These are important changes for our industry that require further consideration.”

Alan Tennant, president and CEO of CREB, was part of the original CREA working group that recommended a previous version of this policy in 2022.

REM’s request for an interview was declined by a CREA spokesperson, who shared that the association will comment following Tuesday’s vote.

 

Background

 

In 2021, CREA began a review after some industry stakeholders expressed concerns about the increase in “coming soon” marketing tactics, where a property is marketed narrowly to a select group without being made available to others. 

CREA previously told REM those concerns led to the establishment of a working group, which recommended a cooperation policy to the CREA board in Aug. 2022. 

After significant pushback from many in the industry in Oct. 2022, the board agreed to bring the policy to a vote at the 2023 AGM. CREA’s board approved the revised version in March.

 

Enforcement

 

If passed, the proposed amendment will come into force on Jan. 3, 2024, and enforcement will fall to local boards and associations. Baron says TRREB will create rules and guidelines within its professional standards department to monitor and enforce the new policies.

The TRREB president also confirms the board will vote in favour of the amendment and is confident it will pass on Tuesday.

He adds, “I think that it will take some time for everybody to understand the policies and how it affects their business and how they go about things.” 

 

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