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Realtors fight to maintain MLS status quo

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Guest | 31 Aug 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0

The filing comes just a couple weeks before TREB and the commission were due before a competition tribunal for the latest round of an ongoing battle over the multiple listings service and what seller information should or should not be listed there.
The hearing is meant to provide the final word on a simmering conflict begun in 2007 when the discount brokerages complained that their clients were unfairly denied access to all the information Realtors access on the MLS, including sold prices and seller information.
Last March, TREB ramped up its public relations war with the competition commission, ahead of that September hearing, focused on whether to allow buyers direct access to a seller's "personal information."
The problem, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, is that homesellers would effectively be put at risk with requirements their Realtors include their telephone contact information, along with details about how much they paid for their properties.
“Easy access to information online is a huge safety issue,” Von Palmer, the real estate board’s chief privacy officer, told The Globe and Mail. “There is a real possibility of break-ins and assaults; you only have to read the headlines to imagine what might happen.
"You hear stories about realtors getting attacked and killed. Can you imagine if we put that information out there about consumers? You can only imagine the headlines.”
While Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken is now preparing to step down, the bureau is expected to continue its fight for greater transparency on MLS.
“TREB is trying to have it both ways as the identical information is routinely provided today by real estate agents to consumers," Greg Scott, spokesman for the Competition Bureau, said earlier this year
  • carol | 30 Aug 2012, 03:46 PM Agree 0
    too little too late and for the wrong reason...simply put the MLS system is something we built and paid for...
  • Cecilia De Freitas | 30 Aug 2012, 04:00 PM Agree 0
    All Sellers need to be protected from the general public getting their hands on the Seller's personal information. That's why we have Realtors handling purchases and sales of properties with the highest of professionalism.
  • Chris Bone | 30 Aug 2012, 04:28 PM Agree 0
    That's not the only issue. It's unfathomable that the CB has required that we allow private sellers and the Com Frees and Property Guys to use technology bought and paid for by Reator's website Realtor.ca to sell their product. This is unprecedented and something all companies should be shocked about. Can you imagine IBM being forced to allow private companies ie Mom and Pops IT shop to sell their products on IBM built and designed Sales websites because they are the biggest IT company in the world? It would never ever ever happen and it's ludicrous that this has happened if it weren't true. IBM in conjunction with every large company in Canada would fight that tooth and nail to the Supreme Court.
  • brokersteve | 30 Aug 2012, 05:47 PM Agree 0
    MLS.ca for the public should never have been made available online to begin with. This is a classic case of closing the barn door after all the horses are gone. DUH...
  • Ed Wait | 30 Aug 2012, 06:47 PM Agree 0
    Can I book an operating theater in any Canadian hospital without a being a lisenced doctor? Can I offer do-it your-self services without being pesent or responsible when booking that theater?
    Can I go to any car dealers lot and park my own car there and post a sign on it "for sale"?
    If I can't....the Competition Bureau is going to find it's nose falling on the toe of my boot. Bring it, name the time and place.
  • b t | 30 Aug 2012, 07:31 PM Agree 0
    So stupid to pay to be a realtor then-lets go on our own we shouldn't need licences and to pay for mls info any longer,do we need brokerages,reco or orea? No,we just need the free to public mls and presto-and at what the public pays zilch-zero-nottacenta???
    How about fees for public access and 6mos training with 75% marks to sell and use the system. Mandatory ethics course must be completed and some sign by-law courses.
    I apparently need and pay for...my licence and mls, why? starting to be useless in the publics and competition bureau eyes to sell houses, we are just middle men.

    Competition bureau-cratz have no worries about job protection or pensions yet there views are so anti Realtor.

    I welcome the free for all but not just for the public, even the paying field.
    Good and great realtors will have no protection or same free-dumbs the public has.
  • karen tereck | 31 Aug 2012, 03:01 PM Agree 0
    Gregg Scott's comment on the TREB's wanting it both ways as Realtors are already giving out this information to consumers. The Competition Bureau must realize that Realtors are only giving this information to people in their market analysis reports to someone who is planning to sell their home. We are not allowed to advertise publicly the sale prices of any home sold unless it is with written permission from both the seller and the buyer. The public does not want the sale prices of their personal homes available for EVERYONE. They consider it private information. They understand that we use it for historical data collection to determine values of properties. I know our local paper in Winnipeg is trying desparately to get Realtors to advertise the sold prices in their HOMES section. Every week there is only one or two realtors that do that and I can guarantee you they get in trouble as they did not go the proper route to get permission from both seller and buyer. This happened to my purchaser and they were appalled to see the house they bought advertised with the price they actually paid for it. The Competition Bureau is acting against the public in this regard by not respecting the privacy situation of both seller and buyers. I hope with Melanie stepping down, someone will take over that understands the privacy issues. The MLS system is a private information board between Realtors/professionals. We, at least, are regulated on how we deal with this information. We are under constant attack from other web sites to gain access to this information and these web sites have no guidelines, no regulation and will publish anything just to get the advertising dollar. We, as Realtors, are here to guide our clients with knowledge and experience in what is usually their biggest investment in their lifetime. This is a role that it not taken lightly. It orginally was never intended for public use, only for Realtors to know about houses that other Realtors had for sale and then to help us do more accurate market analysis. We let the public have access later in time so they could also know about houses all Realtors had for sale but never to see the private information it contained. As I am a Realtor, I may sound bias but if I were a consumer, I would be appalled at
  • Suzanne Othmer | 31 Aug 2012, 07:27 PM Agree 0
    One thing that is very handy for buyers is the posting of what properties are selling for. If you visit our fellow Amercian MLS site a buyer can also see what the properties are selling for in the area they are looking at. As a Realtor I think that is a great tool to offer buyes and even a better one for listing a property. Our Amercian Realtors do not post the address just where it is located the sq. ft. and amount of baths & beds. No names no pictures. We should look to the south for examples. The sky is not falling! As Realtors we have or should I say it is time to re-invent ourselves. Its just progress. We cannot stay still or we will get hit hard. What is not fair is our MLS site has been paid for and developed by our money and to have a government agency dictate who we have to allow on it is just plain insulting. That is the part I do not get. Why did CREA just roll over. Are we that helpless?
  • Therese Conlon | 31 Aug 2012, 08:37 PM Agree 0
    Vernon Clement Jones needs to do his due diligencce when writing an article such as this and check with Reco what our code of ethics really is.
    We as realtors are not permitted to disclose to the public private sellers and buyers information without written consent from both parties.
    We have clauses we can use if we wish to use this information and need to get both parties signatures before doing so.
    I have alot of respect for a journalist who will dig deeper to get to the real truth before putting together such an article which is read by the general public and likely believed by them also.
  • Radu | 04 Sep 2012, 09:14 PM Agree 0
    Maybe a different approach would be to have a really nice and hefty fee for using the information that MLS has to offer...this way maybe our fees as realtors would go down and the public would pay if they want the benefits of our system. I am really curious what all the people on CREA boards that are supposed to protect us Realtors are doing and have to say about loosing control of our tool of the trade...I personally feel that they are not representing me anymore... as for the people that chose discount brokerages , they have to settle for less, one can't get something for nothing except the competition bureau believes otherwise...
  • Fred | 04 Sep 2012, 11:56 PM Agree 0
    How about some competition to the WSIB in Ontario? or the ICBC in BC? In both these instances government run programs which are very inefficient and not consumer friendly can easily be done by private companies and organizations. Huge cost savings can be realized and the consumer wins! But no, big government knows best! Get rid of the private industry success stories such as the MLS system who might be able to show the government a thing or two.
  • Lets Look at Real Issues | 05 Sep 2012, 01:13 PM Agree 0
    Competition Bureau should be looking at the LCBO and the Beer Store in Ontario. Talk about absolutely no competition!
    Or the Duopoly enjoyed by Bell and Rogers.
    Then there is the five majour banks charging fee after fee.
    Consumers are being gouged due to no competition!
    Dear Competition Bureau let's look a real issues!!
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