The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has been challenged by the Competition Bureau with regards to how the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rules governing the use of the MLS may contravene the Competition Act by restricting access to the MLS among other things.
The MLS is a Realtor member-to-member service that all Realtors have paid for and continue to pay to develop. There is a lot of misinformation that the media has spread to the public about what this challenge may mean to the public, and some have even said that the public will now have access to the MLS system without using a Realtor. This is not the case at all.
As members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB), we pay monthly fees to belong to OREB and CREA, as well as OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association). The MLS.ca website is well-known as the right spot to be on the Internet to publicize and advertise all available homes for sale across Canada. The public does not have access to listing on MLS.ca without the use of a member Realtor. Listings are posted on MLS.ca by signing a listing agreement on OREA forms. No listing can be posted on MLS.ca without these forms being used. Some discount brokerages have been altering the forms to delete any reference to the Agency relationship between the seller and the brokerage, and inviting Realtors to contact the seller themselves for showings and/or offers and to negotiate the fees the seller is willing to pay. Generally, a discount brokerage will charge a service fee ranging from $100 to $500 or more, depending on what the seller wants to have the brokerage do for them. The seller needs to determine where their contact information is posted on MLS.ca for the public to see (posting any seller's contact information for the public to view is against MLS rules), so only Realtors will see the contact information.
Selling a home takes a lot more than simply placing the property on a website and waiting! Pricing a home correctly takes a lof of experience to become accurate and realistic. But that's not all it takes! If your listing brokerage is not working on your behalf, who is? Who is protecting you and your interests? Who is negotiating on your behalf? An agent with a buyer is negotiating for the buyer -- but must offer "customer service" to the seller, which means treating the customer fairly and honestly. The agent, though, is certainly working hard to assist their buyer in arranging a successful contract on the property. The seller is basically on their own. They need to discuss any details with their lawyer....who, incidentally, works 9 to 5, Monday to Friday! How many homes are sold on a Saturday night?