There’s a new wind blowing through the real estate market and from the consumer point of view, it smells pretty good!
In what is being termed as a landmark deal, the Canadian Competition Bureau and the Canadian Real Estate Association have come to an agreement regarding the MLS (Multiple Listing System). While it is generally acknowledged that 90% of properties in Canada are bought and sold using the MLS, to advertise on it consumers usually had to contract for other services as well, many of which they may not have wanted. Now, if CREA members at their next annual general meeting ratify the deal, consumers will be able to engage a real estate agent to list their property on the MLS and pay only for that service. This could lead to significant savings in real estate fees.
When You Find A Real Estate Agent, Ask About The MLS
In the eyes of the CCB, restricting access to the MLS was unfair to sellers, forcing them to take the MLS listing as part of a package deal. But it’s not only consumers who benefit from the agreement; real estate brokers can now offer various pricing options, giving them greater flexibility in addressing their clients’ needs. The Globe and Mail reported the Commissioner of Competition Bureau, Melanie Aitken, as saying:
“Consumers are going to have the ability to choose what services they want from a real estate agent, and pay only for those services, and at the same time, it gives much-needed flexibility for the agents to offer the variety of services and prices that meet the needs of consumers.”
But This Won’t Make Buying A House Easier
However, not all real estate agents are happy with the idea of a pay-per-service model of buying and selling a home, with warnings of fraud or bad service being high on the list of potential disadvantages. There’s also the concern of botched deals and lost revenue to lawyers who will be retained to sort out what went wrong; all which wouldn’t have been necessary if an experienced real estate broker had been on hand in the first place.
It’s early days yet. The deal still needs to be ratified by CREA and once – or – if it goes into effect, the market will need to be monitored to see what the fallout is. Either way, it’s an interesting time to be buying and selling a home!