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Agents sound off on B.C. regulation issue

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Real Estate Professional | 04 Jul 2016, 08:15 AM Agree 0
Following a wide-sweeping independent report aimed at overhauling the real estate industry in British Columbia, the government has vowed to step in to right the wayward ship; agents, to the surprise of none, have strong opinions. Share yours
  • Van | 04 Jul 2016, 10:41 AM Agree 0
    Why doesn't the government step in and regulate, doctors, dentists and lawyers too? Have you ever tried to launch a complaint on one of those self governed "professionals"? Good luck!
  • V1E4P9 | 04 Jul 2016, 11:07 AM Agree 0
    Most of the problems with BC real estate are in the lower mainland--rising prices- off shore purchasers and a few agents flipping--It is unfortunate that the government is painting the whole industry with a broad brush -they are shooting from the hip in an effort to gain popularity as would any government looking at an election but stopping duel agency isn't going to stop the problems they have in Vancouver
  • Frogmore | 04 Jul 2016, 11:58 AM Agree 0
    With attitudes like the two displayed above it is a good thing the government intervened.
    Self-regulating means exactly that. If the bulk of the industry sits around with their collective
    finger up their nose, saying it a Vancouver problem, go chase other self regulating professions,
    instead of addressing the self-dealing of more than a few bad actors, the government may have
    Stayed out of it.
    Clearly somebody had to take charge & clearly the BC real estate industry didn't have the leadership or the fortitude
    To make tough decisions. Now they will have to live with decisions made by others.
    No tears shed here.
  • Robin Telfer RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) | 04 Jul 2016, 02:53 PM Agree 0
    1/ The fines for misconduct should be higher, but what was recommended in the report was excessive. The intention may have been to determine a maximum amount and allow the Courts to determine what final amount of fines to apply in specific circumstances. 2/ I do not agree with abolishing the Dual Agency scenario. Many competent REALTORS can successfully complete this type of transaction in a competent manner with both sides having benefited from the transaction. 3/ The Real Estate industry garners a tremendous amount of publicity with many people overreacting including the BC Premier Christy Clark. 4/ The 64 page report was very well documented and made some insightful recommendations. The British Columbia Real Estate industry has always been Canadian leaders in Board structuring, education and innovation. Some of their policies are used throughout Canada. 5/ Canada is a very safe and sound country to invest in. The real estate industry is well regulated, the financial sector is well regulated, there is little chance of fraud or having your invested real estate interest "confiscated" by a corrupt government. 6/ Canada is open for business. Canada takes care of it's reputation. Canada is a great country to buy Real Estate. 7/ The regulators should eliminate legal loopholes within British Columbia to prevent further speculation abuse of Real Estate in Vancouver. Very few have caused so much havoc in an Industry that I'm proud to be part of. Lets focus on the problem and not over and over and over excessively define the solution.
  • John Serdar Amex Broadway West Realty Ltd. | 04 Jul 2016, 04:06 PM Agree 0
    Political expediency has a minimal effect on the way agents conduct their business. Nothing has changed! If you want to double end a real estate transaction you still can and you will. Instead of acting as an agent in a limited dual agency, now you will simply treat the buyer as a "customer" which requires no representation at all for the buyer. In this scenario, when you list a property--you always represent the seller but never the "buyer". At the same time you will be entitled to collect both the listing and selling commission should the buyer enter into this kind of an arrangement--and they will-- guaranteed!

    Hey, I got an idea--let's change legislation and pretend we are protecting the consumer! After all, the election is not far away and we must pretend we are doing something. And besides, these "foreigners" are driving up prices, we need affordable housing and let's increase the cost of building permits, lengthen the development process to make sure we keep the consumer well protected! Well done toothless tiger!

    My 41 years in real estate smells incompetence at the highest levels and a lot to do about nothing!
  • Linda at Royal LePage | 04 Jul 2016, 05:30 PM Agree 0
    1) Both Toronto and Vancouver have busy markets... so why is Vancouver the only market that needs to be "fixed"?
    2) The saying "a few bad apples spoil it for the lot" really comes to mind here. Why should the vast majority of responsible, ethical agents be made to pay for the few unscrupulous unethical jerks?
    3) The existing industry structure generally works just fine as it is... the Assignment clause is perfectly legitimate. But for people determined to break the rules... they will just find a new workaround. Therefore, making up a bunch of new rules and throwing out all the old, perfectly good rules.... doesn't solve anything!
    4) Why didn't the Council reprimand the few known problem Brokerages and Agents, months ago? As Realtors we are constantly browbeaten with rules of conduct and engagement.... so it's particularly galling when these non-compliant brokerages and agents seem to break every rule, and then receive no reprimand whatsoever - now resulting in our entire industry's reputation receiving a black eye - and seriously pissing off the public and undermining confidence in Realtors. Why did council not act sooner to shut down the bad guys quicker!
    5) In an upcoming provincial election year.... it is very easy and convenient for politicians to point to the "bad guys", make them into their favorite whipping post.... and get re-elected.... just sayin...

  • | 04 Jul 2016, 07:45 PM Agree 0
    In most of North America including BC, commercial realtors act as dual agents since a large portion of their listings are exclusive listings. It does not appear to be a problem. This is not wrong, it is how business is done and it works fine.
  • Peter B. Realtor | 04 Jul 2016, 09:03 PM Agree 0
    Yea, like government intervention has ever helped. My dentist charged me $987 for a cap. $250 for the lab and the rest for about an 35 minutes work. Where are my options, eh government of the people?

    The most simple and effective way to eliminate "dual agency" concerns is to prohibit Dual Agency. Smaller brokerages will not have much of an issue with this but larger brokerages, the ones that deal mostly with number fudging in their advertising "sell more than brand "b"" etc, will have a cow.
    If you have a seller, you cannot represent the buyer under any circumstances nor can anyone from your brokerage. Refer them elsewhere and make a cut off of that if you can.
    Will it happen? Do you thing a large brokerage with 200 agents would want this to happen?
  • | 05 Jul 2016, 10:29 AM Agree 0
    As a Realtor with a over a decade of experience, and is a self proclaimed to the letter rule follower, I fully back the changes and outlined in the report. I would encourage any and all to actually read the IAG document and see first hand why they made the recommendations and what they are. Dual agency is only part of the report. The report is very insightful and goes into many of the problems that we all face in our business. I do think the winners will be honest and hard working Realtors who follow all the rules all the time. Those that tread into the grey and or black areas deserve what they get and fines of $200 and or a week off do not seem to be enough the new fines and other changes are much welcomed. For most Realtors the changes will be minor because the vast majority do follow all the rules and do not tread into grey areas and would not even consider some of the black area tactics some employ.

    I some ways this report adds to the vote to amalgamate the boards. The report basically condemns the boards complaint systems as being self serving and should not be a board function. Another blow against the boards and again their role is diminishing to the point of making the boards irrelevant.

    To those that wrote the report I want to thank them for an outstanding job of investigating the problems and coming up with real working solutions that have been recommended. I fully support their report.
  • 3Dee | 05 Jul 2016, 11:04 AM Agree 0
    Define the problem: Affordability of housing in the Vancouver Market. Heated demand and not in anyway related to GDP or wage increases.

    Suggest a cause:
    1. Out of country forces: Foreign Investment in local residential real estate.
    2. Low interest rates.
    3. Low percent down payment requirement.

    Suggest a solution:
    1. Increase interest rates and reduce demand. Gov't and public know this will affect the people they are trying to help.
    2. Increase percentage down. Gov't tried and does not work also affected the people they are trying to help.
    3. Restrict Foreign Investment. Gov't afraid it will collapse the market and the economy. Is being tried in many countries, with some success. It must be fine tuned so we get enough investment for healthy growth but not so much as to create the 'heated market' that we face.

    Stop looking for a 'straw man' to placate the public. Do your Gov't of BC! Be honest and truthful to the public you serve.
  • Tom | 05 Jul 2016, 12:52 PM Agree 0
    3Dee What does this have to do with the IAG report? Do you really there are no problems and no crooked Realtors in BC?

    Maybe a head tax on all Chinese buyers or put restrictions back on the titles that restrict who can buy Real Estate in BC. O wait we had that.

    Wake up and admit it some Realtors are cheating by using 3rd parties to flip and or have fake exclusive listings that make prices seem higher and then only show their own over inflated listings and are conning the uneducated foreign buyers and ripping them off.
  • Long time Real Estat agent | 07 Jul 2016, 03:58 AM Agree 1
    Real Estate price sky rocketing in Vancouver and Toronto may be only 10% caused by all the factors that the Governments are talking about, 90% of the problems are caused by both Provincial & Federal Government by potting their head to the sand and ignore the forging investors money to the market, they are responsible for all of these by asking the forging investor to bring their money to Canada without any regulation like Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and other regulated country and now instead of answering to the Canadian Tax payers who can not afford to live in place they grows, try to put the blame to the few unethical Real Estate transactions and few unprofessional Realtors, unfortunately most people they don't realize this is a game that Governments are playing for their benefit in election by high lighting the Real Estate Industry, the Real Estate Industry leaders are not brave enough to defend of more than 90% of honest, hard working and ethical Realtors who work hard to put the food on table for their family, I hope the Canadian Tax Payers take a good action in next election to the Government.
  • Paul Vancouver - Long time realtor. | 10 Jul 2016, 07:05 PM Agree 0
    I have read the IAG report, and I agree with the mojority of your comments (and the majority of the report).

    However, let's not throw the real estate boards under the bus as being irrelevant. Recognize that real estate boards are a valuable and critical part of our industry. Without the boards and the mls system, selling real estate becomes very challenging.

    If you look at the system in Europe, and see how poorly served both buyers and Seller's are due to lack of agent co-operation, you will get a sense of what I am talking about.

    The discipline within real estate boards is meant to ensure cooperation between agents.

    The roll of the council (soon the superintendent) is to protect the public.

    This is definitely difficult for the public to understand, but as realtor's
    it should be clear to us all.
  • Barry Brown-John | 11 Jul 2016, 09:30 AM Agree 0
    Those who feel the government must take back self-regulation should understand that the REC has only been self-regulated for the last 10 - years. Prior to that it was fully regulated. So, for the most part I see this hue and cry as a "red herring." There is very little if any difference between then and now as far as the REC operates. Granted, penalties may require a review but the Council has been run in a very responsible manner. The hue and cry is very much rooted in the huge impact of foreign investment in the Vancouver (Lower Mainland) Real Estate market combined with greed by a few unprincipled Realtors®. A more lengthy and comprehensive review may well be needed but some of the knee jerk reactions are extreme. Some solid statistical information on how many Real Estate transactions are executed annually vs. the amount of complaints received from the Public is one place to look. The government has acted out of political expediency as the NDP found an issue they could use to their advantage and with an election less than a year away, withdrawing self-regulation was the political response. The IAG did NOT question self-regulation though I believe their report was hurried and should certainly have been more-in-depth! Before major changes are made to the way Real Estate is conducted in BC, a more in depth look would be a wise decision.
  • | 11 Jul 2016, 10:40 AM Agree 0
    I am a owner/broker of a large brokerage in the interior of BC with 4 offices. To my misinformed friend above the facts are that the problems they are trying to stop are on the coast. In 20 years I have been in my position I have not seen one occurrence of Ghost or shadow flipping from Kelowna to Salmon Arm. We don't have the market that creates it and likely never will. These problems are caused by a very small number of Realtors and a substantial number of of unlicensed people taking advantage of naive sellers. There are other problems created by the boom in Vancouver. They needed to be shut down. I voted for Christie Clark. I certainly will not do it again. In my opinion her move to deregulate the Real Estate business in BC was a gutless, 100% politically motivated move. The NDP had made Real Estate the top issue debated in the government. They stated that if their party is elected they will deregulate Real Estate. By Christie Clark making that move she completely annihilated the NDP's main platform. Great political move but in no way was that made with the public in mind. The 28 recommendations by the Independent advisory Group were good suggestions that promoted good change. The less political but more ballsy approach would have been to endorse those recommendations. Christie Clark has taken an opportunity to look like she rode in on her white horse and saved the day with zero regard for what is actually going on and what change is actually needed.
  • Michael | 13 Jul 2016, 01:32 PM Agree 0
    Glad I threw in the towel after 33 years in real estate in BC and Alberta...8 years ago I made the transition to Mexico real estate ...was best move I ever made. I am looking for Chinese agents to help me promote the Puerto Vallarta are of Michael Murphy Bucerias.
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