“There are a lot of old school agents whose value proposition is that data,” says Carl Langschmidt, a broker with Property.ca. “But there are a lot of agents who have moved away from that and their value proposition is marketing.”
Langschmidt, like a growing chorus of real estate professionals, reject the idea that more-readily available sold data will have a negative impact on their business. He even goes so far as to call on TREB to open the system to the public ahead of a Competition Tribunal hearing scheduled for September.
“I think that information belongs to public records anyway,” he says. “It keeps the market honest and open and transparent. It’ll be very hard to get away with dishonest and dodgy dealings. It’ll make agents give better service to consumers – they’re not telling the seller what their home is worth, that’s not worth a full commission.”
If – or, perhaps, when – sold data becomes public, agents will need to re-examine what services they offer clientsm, suggests the high-volume player working Toronto’s urban neighbourhoods. Langschmidt says some of the agents he works with offer clients complimentary home staging, putting their design skills to good use. Others will need to determine how to best to use and market their own strengths.
“I think the average agent is going to have to redefine what their value proposition is for the consumer,” Langschmidt says, pointing to a variety of skills many successful agents already possess, including marketing, negotiating and specializing in a real estate niche. That skill set may lie outside the comfort zone of industry professionals focused on the valuation research and price setting.
“If (agents) are valuing themselves as appraisers and not marketing professionals, then, yeah, they’ll have to do more.”
Agents in the Greater Toronto Area are increasingly convinced sold data is headed into the public domain, with many now convinced the move will actually grow opportunity.