“If all of the sales stats were made readily available for free, I would seriously consider starting my own FSBO company,” wrote Peter Barbati in the REP forum. “(I would) essentially use the sales stats and my experience to offer a ‘consulting service’ to sellers at a much lower final cost than traditional Realtors.”
Barbati says he was writing tongue-in-cheek, but argues TREB’s potential inability to keep sold data private could push a lot of agents in that direction.
“If they give away all of our tools, and now they’re taking our dues to help the competition,” he says. “(Starting a FSBO) would be one possible reaction. I don’t want to (do that). FSBOs aren’t regulated, they’re very dangerous to the consumer. They don’t have fiduciary duties, they don’t need to be insured. There is a lot of potential for damage to the buyer or seller.”
That frustration is shared by many sales reps, who are increasingly anxious about TREB’s upcoming tribunal hearing with Canada’s Competition Bureau in May. The two organizations have been in and out of court since 2011, arguing about real estate sold data, which the Competition Bureau claims is anti-competitive.
“We pay professional dues to ensure professional standards are maintained,” Barbati says, echoing the predominant Realtor train of thought. “But if the competition bureau does this, they should be fair across all industries across Canada. I think they’re picking on Realtors because we’re a disorganized lot.”
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – at least, that’s the sentiment of some agents threatening to become FSBO consultants if sold data isn't better protected.