Could your flyers get your license revoked?

by Olivia D'Orazio01 Apr 2015
If you’re looking for those guilty of breaking TREB’s new rules on sharing sold-data, you need look no further than a growing number of agent flyers.
“You’re not allowed to disclose the price,” says Ken Ramsay, an agent in Toronto who has seen this kind of illegal marketing in his own neighbourhood. “I concentrate online now, but I’ve had to take sold listings off my site.”
Like Ramsay, fewer agents are using the marketing technique, but many still distribute flyers throughout a target neighbourhood, boasting the selling prices of various properties in the area. These flyers, intended to entice potential sellers, are in violation of the Toronto Real Estate Board’s rules regarding published sold data.
“I started weeding down (on flyering) because I found it ineffective compared to other ways of marketing, such as the Internet,” says Ira Jelinek, a Toronto-based agent. “You don’t give out all the information, so you don’t put the sale price, and gives the neighbours a reason to call you.”
Jelinek and Ramsay agree that releasing sold data to the neighbourhood could be embarrassing for the sellers.
“I have some clients who were curious to see what the neighbour’s house sold for but the seller might want to keep it private,” Ramsay says. “If your house sold for a crazy high number or a low number, it could be embarrassing (to have that broadcast).”
The Competition Bureau claims the privatization of sold data is anti-competitive on TREB’s part, and the Bureau and the Board have been in and out of hearings since 2011. At the latest hearing in May, TREB will argue that the data should be kept private since its membership pays for the collection and the organization of the information by way of their fees.
“We shouldn’t have to give (sold data) away to the public for free,” says Elaine Smallwood, a 25-year real estate veteran in Ottawa. “We have invested in this – it’s a business investment. To be told this isn’t yours, it belongs to the public, I believe the boards need to stand up for our rights, and that isn’t what’s going on.”
While the debate over making sold data public is far from over – the Toronto board will sit before a tribunal in May to continue conversations with the country’s competition bureau – many agents see the value in this type of marketing. However, many more are not willing to risk their licenses, and by extension, their livelihoods.
“(Breaking the rules) could hurt you,” Jelinek says. “Of course it’s not worth the trade-off.”


  • by Matt France 4/1/2015 11:41:06 AM

    The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver allows us [its members] to publish sold data. I like to display on my website some of the properties that I have helped my clients purchase and sell. It becomes sort of like my resume to display what I am actually good at, and not just what I say I am good at. I have never heard of our members here having any objection to being able to display our sold listings.

  • by Peter Barbati 4/1/2015 11:58:48 AM

    A simple variation of the rules should suffice. Advertise your SOLD listing until possession date. After that, it is not your clients house anymore so remove from your material. It's not that complicated.
    As for sold data, data from the boards belong to the (members of the) boards, not to the competition bureau. Should lawyers be forced to disclose their actual per-hour costs to potential clients? Should dentists be forced to post their actual procedure-cost to would-be patients? (If you are charging me $220 for a 1/2 hr session and a filling and only use $2 worth of amalgum, should I have the right to haggle with you before the procedure begins?). The competition bureau is picking on Realtors because we are an un-unified group with weak leadership... and the bureau needs to justify their existance. How much do their head brass make anyway?

    Ignore spelling errors please. Waiting on a "MIA" much for my last 2 hours of time and gas.

  • by karen tereck, winnipeg 4/1/2015 11:59:30 AM

    Publicly publishing a sold price should only be done with written permission from both the seller and the buyer. When these 2 people are asked for permission, 100% of the time, they don't want it made available to everyone publicly.


Is a Toronto foreign sales tax a good idea?