Recently I read an article in Toronto Life magazine about the trading in real estate. I have decided to post my letter to the editor as my blog posting. For those of you who do not read Toronto Life magazine, the gist of the article was about selling private vs. selling through a traditional brokerage. And, having access to the traditional brokegage site/data as a private seller/user. This articles was like many I have read all having a common theme. There is a lack of knowledge from the journalistic public about the role of real estate agents.

I am little disappointed and at a loss after reading Ms. Wong’s article and its one-sided slag of Realtors. The MLS system was built by Realtors, paid for by Realtors, for Realtors exclusive use. Realtors are members of local, provincial and national boards.

There are a number the issue is I have with the article, but I will try to focus on the issues that the media does not know or chooses not to report.

First and for most the issue is not about commissions. Realtors are bound by a code of Ethics from our governing body- The Real Estate Council of Ontario ( RECO). They have the power to revoke our registration. RECO is a consumer protection agency. The number one rule as a Realtor is to offer our primary duty of care to our clients, with that said, we are solely responsible for the accuracy of the information offered on our member only service site. We are responsible for the accuracy of the information obtained in a listing and for offering it on the open market for tender. Allowing just any posting will dilute a system that for years has offered the consumer a reliable avenue for determining value. Banks and CMHC ( Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp.) rely on sold MLS listings to ensure the buyers financing are secure, and ultimately the sales will close. In my 25 years experience, I have assisted 2 past clients in the purchase of a non-mls listed home and both times had to supply data and prove that the property in question was offered at market value.

Allowing any posting from anybody, does not protect the consumer from dealing with fraudulent sellers or shoddy transactions. As a Realtor, when I show a property listed by another broker member it is understood that the accuracy of that listing is deemed to be correct, as that broker is bound by the code of ethics and standard of business practice. More over , when I show a home that knowledge provides safety for me and my clients. We are also bound by the Bill-C-25- Fintrac, which is the anti-terrorism and money laundering legislation. We have to identify all participants in the transaction and report any unusual activity or face fines up to $50,000.

Ms. Wong made reference to another brokerage that is now defunct- that brokerage likes to blame the MLS for its failings. When the market peaked the first time in 2007 that brokerage had an average list to sale ratio of 94% where “full” service brokerages had a list to sale ratio of 108%. I cannot help but say “do the math”. I also ask myself why did that brokerage fail the first time in a great market! Maybe the business model was faulty?

In my years as a full service agent, I have never experienced anything but appreciation and praise for the dedication I have to my practice. I am no different from many of my colleagues.

It is disappointing to read once again about commissions when it comes to the Competition Bureau. There is a lot more to being a real estate agent today than what commision is charged.

  1. Well said Agent Anita…the focus of commissions from Ms. Wongs article is no surprise as it tends to be some sort of crutch that non-members weigh heavly on without full understanding of what the MLS offers to everyone.

    thank you for sharing your experiences!

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