Competition ruling ignites agent reaction

by Olivia D'Orazio04 May 2015
Agents are cheering a new decision from the Competition Bureau blocking private sellers from listing their contact information on the MLS.
The Bureau’s decision – which you can read here – found the rules and guidelines set by the Canadian Real Estate Association were fair in the limitations placed on use of the MLS. Specifically, the Bureau upheld the association’s decision to prevent private sellers from listing their contact information on the system.
Instead, the brokerage facilitating the sale must create a landing page with the seller’s information that links from the MLS.
“The sellers’ contact information should still be private, because the company they’re using to put (the listing) out as for-sale-by-owner should do their part as a filtration system,” says Justin Kua, one of many sales reps welcoming the decision, released Friday. “It allows the seller to qualify or stream who they want to give their information to. It’s not in anyone best interest to have their cell phone number out there right away.”
This decision is a small win for the real estate community still awaiting the outcome of another case focused on sold data. The Toronto Real Estate Board has been before various courts and tribunals since 2011 in an effort to keep the information private. But a pivotal hearing before a Competition tribunal is scheduled for September 21.
Even now, that case has divided the industry, with some agents supporting TREB’s desire to keep sold data protected, while others want to widen access, arguing sold data is but a small fraction of the value-add sales reps offer.


  • by Ian Hocking, Broker 5/4/2015 11:45:41 AM

    Whether or not a Seller wishes to display their phone number to the world really is the Sellers choice, however, under the rules of agency, when you sign a listing agreement the Brokerage is the one advertising and as importantly is the one responsible for the accuracy of that listing, a fact that seems somewhat lost on many! Even if you are one of the alternative model brokerages, the brokerage is still the one advertising and the one that has the right to "Co-operate" using the MLS. There should be a step that requests information so the Seller's info is not right out there, so well done. I totally agree with not having the Sellers name on the listing.
    To speak to your second point of the release of 'sold data'. I am totally at a loss to understand why this is even up for discussion. Sold data is private, until the trade closes and then its available for any member of the public to go down to the local registry office and look it up for a fee of about $8. If there is a suggestion that sold data be released prior to a close of a transaction that cannot be allowed. What if a trade doesn't close? You just told the world where a deal was struck. Not to mention the numerous breaches of the Real Estate Act and PIPEDA. Agents are presently not supposed to even have sold listings identifiable by any means on their websites (I know many do, but that is totally against REBBA). The reason agents have access to the data is because we pay for it ! If a member of the public wishes to obtain sold data, get off your horse, go down to the registry office, pay the $8 and look it up. Or, alternatively, spend 6 months or so at real estate school, pay the $3,000 a year approx that it costs to be an agent and get your own license. Either that or blow it wide open, breach the privacy act and stop charging agents for access via their board dues. I don't usually respond to many of these articles but this one is ridiculous. Before anyone comments that I am just blowing smoke, I close around 80 deals a year and I don't display sold data anywhere on a website or provide it over the phone to all and sundry that may call for it. My suggestion, get better at what you do, create a solid value proposition and stop relying on this sort of idea to try and gain a listing.

  • by Barbara 5/4/2015 11:59:29 AM

    Placing a private home sale on MLS is like allowing private car for sale on a Chrysler lot. I don't understand why that option was ever considered.

  • by Commission Wars 5/4/2015 12:00:38 PM

    Ego Ian,

    The consumers pay for the data with the overcharging of commissions. You know the model of realtors is broken when their fighting with themselves!!!! 80-90 % of the agents barley sell enough to eat but pay to guard the 10-20 % ego agent . Time for the 80-90 % make changes because at this rate they will starve when the few gate keepers want to protect their monopoly.

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