“(Sold data) is private, (and giving it to clients) is actually illegal,” says Ian Hocking, a broker in Barrie, Ont. “It flies in the face of the real estate council’s legislation.”
The current climate surrounding the release of sold data is especially precarious as the Toronto Real Estate Board prepares to go up against Canada’s Competition Board. The case, which has been ongoing since 2011, will – hopefully – culminate in a tribunal hearing decision in September. That ruling will determine whether sold data will remain private information or be opened to the public using the MLS.
TREB says its members pay to collect, organize and keep the proprietary information, and point to the privacy issues around when the information is released. The Competition Bureau, however, says the Board’s hoarding of the information is anti-competitive, and ii is likely looking for agents already flouting the rules in an effort to make a case for itself.
Still, many agents, desperate for business, will concede to potential client demands for sold data in an effort to win listings. Some sales reps, Hocking adds, even provide the information over the phone without qualifying the prospect.
Agents are faced with another gray area during listing presentations. Hocking says the key is to take the sold information with you when the presentation is finished.
“During a CMA process, we’re allowed to bring along comparables, but we’re not allowed to leave them behind,” he says. So … I can offer sales data, but I can’t leave the data behind.”
Many agents wouldn’t hesitate to provide potential clients with a comparable sales analysis, but one broker says even that is prohibited by most provincial legislations.