Sold data is public in this Canadian city – and agents still prosper

by Olivia D'Orazio06 Apr 2015
Toronto-area agents bemoaning the pitfalls of public sold data might take a page from one Canadian market where public data is already a reality – and where, in fact, the sky hasn’t fallen.
“I don’t see any Realtors complaining about us being able to use sold data,” says Matt France, an agent in Vancouver, where sold data is readily accessible by the public. “You sell what you have. If the public has access to it, you have to find your value in other ways.”
Real estate professionals in the Greater Vancouver Area have not ceased to exist since B.C. Assessment made the data available to the public. Buyers and sellers continue to use the services of licensed real estate agents – for-sale-by-owner listings are even less common on the west coast.
“I don’t think that data being protected or kept private has a lot of impact on consumer behaviour,” says Brad Gannon, an agent in Burnaby, B.C. “(Clients) are still looking at a Realtor for our analysis of the data.”
Those agents in the Greater Toronto Area who are for the publication of the data have also pointed to sales reps’ value-add, which they say goes far beyond being gatekeepers of the information housed on the MLS.
“On a go-forward basis, we Realtors should be interpreters of information, not gatekeepers,” says David Fleming, an agent in Toronto. “It’s not our job to safeguard this information. The public will have access to it [eventually], our job is to advise and guide, not to hold back the information. There’s no real value in that.”
Back in Vancouver, though, Gannon says the market is so active that sold data all but requires a professional to understand.
“Our market is kind of unique,” he says. “Sold data from six months ago could be out of date. (Clients) need us to say what the data is this month, this week – it’s that volatile.”


  • by Peter Barbati 4/6/2015 11:32:10 AM

    I believe you are missing a main-point here. The concern is not that allowing the sale of information will cause buyers and sellers to omit agents but that making this information readily available for free will give FSBO companies more ammunition to sell their services and essentially devalue licensed agents.
    If all of the sales stats were made readily available for free, I would seriously consider starting my own FSBO company, essentially using the sales stats and my experience to offer a "consulting service" to sellers at a much lower final cost than traditional Realtors.
    My services would be offered within the "legal" envelope and I would not have to carve professional dues, insurance dues and others out of my pay-cheque nor would i have to deal with FINTRAC and hold onto deals for years to accommodate board and council regulations, as the offers would not be prepared by myself.

    Seems "our" boards and regulators are trying to make life easier for all but the people that pay their paycheques. Go figure.

  • by Rob 4/6/2015 11:34:11 AM

    I am an agent in DT Toronto. I find in many cases when you walk the client through the interpretation of the data and how it relates to the market and market conditions at any given time, there is sometimes both a willingness to accept and also to draw their own conclusions. I think as agents, it's our responsibility to educate the client on the possibilities of the effect of how the data is interpreted. By doing this, it demonstrates the knowledge and expertise that comes across as value.

    It's like saying, any agent can stick a sign on the front lawn, but a professional will actually give you a good analysis of the market and how to present and price the house based on the competition.

  • by Greg 4/6/2015 11:41:45 AM

    FSBO's attract a specific demographic. Publishing data won't help them compete with Realtors anyway. Most large FSBO companies are already licensed Realtors, or have them employed to extract the sale info as well. FSBO's have been around for a long time. They don't worry me as a Realtor, or affect my business much anyway.

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