Friday, August 27, 2010
How REALTORS® help
VancouverCondo.info linked to an interesting article in the Toronto Star on Monday. In preparation for the looming communications battle between the Competition Bureau and the CREA, they've decided to strike preemptively with some never-before-seen-in-Canada ugliness. Now I know a lot of you are thinking to yourselves "HHV, why would you subject me to this ridiculous bombardment of nasty REALTOR® propaganda?"
It's simple: first, don't click on the link if you don't want to see the crap in the first place, but second, and far more importantly, we need to see that the CREA, and the REALTORS® who support them, don't respect their consumer group enough to advertise with any semblance of truthful intelligence. Take the video above, do the CREA really believe that speaks to any of us? Sure it's funny to see a pyjama-clad fat man put the beats to a shoddy tear down under a downtown Toronto? flight path - as if their consumers couldn't figure out buying that sh&thole was a bad idea in the first place - thanks for the added value! Not.
It's this kind of nonsense that leads to the bad reputation the REALTOR® groups must contend with in the first place. Furthermore, any argument that there is competition in their market in the first place doesn't hold water. As long as the CREA and their member organizations enforce the closed nature of the MLS® there will never be open competition in the real estate marketplace in Canada.
Until I can employ a REALTOR® to list my home on the MLS® for a flat-fee and then have them walk away from the rest of the buying and selling process, the CREA is limiting my choice as a consumer. There may be varying degrees of service built into the REALTOR® monopoly, and I may be able to negotiate commissions with some individual REALTORS®, but the monopoly still exists: the vast majority of buyers will buy using a full-service REALTOR® believing their service is free, those same REALTORS® will guide their clients away from low-commission or no-commission listed properties - a practice which their industry guidelines strictly forbids but rarely, and never with any significant consequence, enforces.
As a buyer, I would like to choose the option of buying without using an agent. Right now, if the property I want to buy is listed with a REALTOR® I have three choices: hire a buyer's agent, enter a dual agency agreement with the listing REALTOR® or walk away. Considering 90%+ of all homes are bought and sold through the MLS®, how do these restrictions on consumer choice equate to an open and competitive market?
Canadian real estate consumers suffer from a strangle-held, archaic and anti-competitive listings system, held under the guise of a bullsh&t argument about what constitutes agency between sellers and the agent who lists a home on the MLS®. I'm not holding my breath that the outcome of next April's court challenge will break this monopoly, but the next 8 months or so sure will be interesting for us market watchers regardless.