Realtor.ca’s strategic shift toward a property-centric platform
Pichette said CREA is creating a permanent page on Realtor.ca with the vision of having the latest sale price of every Canadian address — whether it’s listed or not.
“So let’s say you were selling your house in Halifax on 123 Main Street. It sells. The sold price will be advertised, and then a few days later, that listing will convert to just a property page. Things like the listing photos will leave. The agent information. It will just become a property page. It will have (something like) Google Street views. We’ll have some neighbourhood information. We’ll have sold history. That kind of thing,” said Pichette.
“It will flip from a listing to a property page, and really this is the strategic shift of Realtor.ca. We’re moving from the listing platform to a property-centric platform.”
Properties that have price histories on MLS would be on that page.
“At the end of the day, we started in Nova Scotia because we have a willing partner on the other end. The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors. We can’t do this on our own. We need to partner with the local boards, and in Nova Scotia, for years now, they’ve had what’s called Virtual Office Website. There’s a lot of them in Ontario as well,” said Pichette.
Staying relevant in a competitive market
“These are websites that are set up as VOWS. They’re set up by a brokerage. As long as you log in, you have access to essentially everything that’s in the MLS system. So the folks from Nova Scotia came to us and said the information is out there, the consumers have access to information, it doesn’t make sense that a platform that’s called Realtor.ca, that’s owned and operated by members, is at a disadvantage when it comes to providing information to consumers. So that’s how we got there.”
Pichette said what it all comes down to for the real estate industry is remaining relevant to consumers.
“That’s the overarching goal,” he said. “Realtor.ca is owned by CREA. It’s operated as a member benefit, and the greatest value that we can bring to members is ensuring that their platform is relevant to consumers. And when you talk to consumers, the top thing that they ask for is more information, specifically when it comes to sold price history. They want the comparables. They want more transparency of information.
“It’s becoming more and more competitive. There are heavily funded companies moving in. We need to stay relevant. And all of this is realtor-generated data in the first place.”
– Patrick Pichette, VP, Realtor.ca
When engaging with consumers, Pichette says their primary request is for increased information, particularly regarding sold price history — they desire access to comparable data and a higher level of transparency in the information available.
Pichette acknowledges the presence of various other platforms and websites that already provide this information to users.
To remain competitive, it is crucial for Realtor.ca, a valuable asset that offers visibility and generates business leads for members, to stay up-to-date, he explains. The goal is to continue providing member value without devaluing the platform itself.
“It’s becoming more and more competitive. There are heavily funded companies moving in. We need to stay relevant. And all of this is realtor-generated data in the first place. It’s also the top question we get from realtors now. “
Pichette notes that realtors frequently express their concerns about the information available on Realtor.ca.
“They’ll say when will Realtor.ca have the same level of information as this site or that site, and they’ll start naming them off, and they’ll tell you they’re sending their clients to these sites now so they can see the information. They’re embarrassed to do so, but they don’t have a choice because it’s not on Realtor.ca.”