So the Competition Consent Agreement between The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and The Competition Bureau has been ratified; with the support of 97% of Canada’s 101 real estate boards. So what does it all mean? What changes?
Quite frankly, I can’t see a lot changing. Why? The fact is that here in Edmonton (and across the country) there are already a number of brokerages that offer consumers so-called a la carte real estate services for flat fees. In other words, home sellers already have access to brokerages willing to do nothing more than list the consumer’s home on MLS® for a flat fee.
Furthermore, REALTORS® are bound by legislation, professional standards, and a code of conduct that prevent them from denying or discriminating against brokerages that offer a la carte services as part of their business model. In other words, all REALTORS® are obligated to show all homes meeting a buyer’s criteria; regardless of what remuneration or ‘cooperating commission’ is being offered by the seller.
You can read CREA President Georges Pahud’s comments on the agreement by visiting CREANews.ca and clicking the “CREA President Georges Pahud Comments on Competition Consent Agreement” link.
This whole tribunal reminds me of a post I wrote several years ago entitled “Home Selling and the Common Law of Business Balance”. The takeaway of that post was that it’s up to each of us as consumers to determine who, in our own opinion, offers the best balance between services provided and the fees charged for said services because more often than not we all “get what we pay for”. I closed that post with the following: “Think of it this way: do you buy the cheap paper and hope your finger doesn’t poke through it or do you go with the brand with the kittens on it, knowing it costs a bit more but delivers as advertised?”.