“What ever became of the old system ‘Buyer needs to verify for himself'?,” asked an anonymous commentator on the REP forum
. “The reality is: we as agents do not need to provide information to buyers – so why do we mandate that we have to provide specific information … which opens the door to our assuming liability…”
One brokerage, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, is opening the process to sellers, enabling them to leave a personalized message or experience about the property, to be approved by their sales rep and incorporated into the listing.
“Seller participation fills a void in the real estate process,” says Sean Blankenship, senior VP of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “Up until now, digital real estate platforms have lacked the tools to truly capture a home’s character and personality. Our new platform will now solve the age-old question ‘what if the walls could tell a story?’”
Bruce Matthews, the deputy registrar of regulatory compliance for the Real Estate Council of Ontario, adds: “The listing that appears on the MLS is fundamentally an ad that is placed by the sales rep, and they have to assume accountability for the information that’s there.”
Currently, the Coldwell Banker platform acts as more of a social network, encouraging open communication between buyers and sellers. Investors can rate the different features of the home, and can upload their own photos and videos, alongside those of the sellers.
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Investors beware -- some agents suggest it is ultimately down to buyers to ensure all aspects of an MLS listing are true.