CREA Changes Simplified

The changes to CREA’s Pillars and Interpretations (due to the Competition Bureau’s investigation) are being brought forward to the Committee on March 22, 2010. Here is an overview of what changes they are proposing: 

The current 3 Pillars of the MLS System are as follows: 

  1. MEMBERSHIP: Only REALTORS® may place a listing on a Board/Association’s MLS® System.
  2. AGENCY: A listing REALTOR® must act as agent for the seller to sell the property and to assist the seller throughout the entire time of the listing contract.
  3. COMPENSATION TO CO-OPERATING BROKER: The listing REALTOR® agrees to pay to the co-operating (i.e. selling) REALTOR® compensation for the co-operative selling of the property. An offer of compensation of zero is not acceptable.

The one that the Competition Bureau is focused on is the AGENCY Pillar.  CREA is proposing that the new verbiage for this Pillar shall read as follows:

AGENCY: A listing REALTOR® must act as agent for the seller in order to post, amend or remove a property listing in a Board’s MLS® System.  The nature of any additional services to be provided by the listing REALTOR® is determined by agreement between the listing REALTOR® and the seller, subject to applicable regulatory requirements and the Rules of CREA and Boards/Associations.

What does this mean?  In order to maintain the integrity of the MLS® System a seller must work with an agent in order to have their home placed on the MLS® System.  It also means that the agent can provide only that service to the seller if that’s what is decided between the agent and the seller (as long as the agent is still complying with their Board’s/Association’s/CREA’s rules and regulations; i.e.; if the agent’s Board requires that the agent must submit the “SOLD” price, the agent still has to comply with that rule).

CREA also has 7 Interpretations, they are as follows:

  1. The listing REALTOR® shall receive and present all offers and counteroffers to the seller.
  2. The listing REALTOR® shall provide professional advice and counsel to the seller on all offers and counteroffers unless otherwise directed by the seller in writing.
  3. The mere posting of property information in an MLS® system is contrary to CREA’s Rules. A “mere posting” occurs when the listing agreement relieves the listing member of any obligations under the Rules, including the obligation that the listing REALTOR® remain the agent of the seller throughout the term of the listing contract.
  4. The listing REALTOR® is responsible and accountable for the accuracy of information submitted to a Board/Association for inclusion in the Board’s MLS® system, and the Board/Association is responsible for ensuring that the data submitted to it meets reasonable standards of quality.
  5. Only REALTORS® are permitted to display the MLS® trademarks in signage, advertising, etc.
  6. Only the listing REALTOR® name(s) and contact information may appear on REALTOR.ca. The seller’s name or contact information shall not appear on REALTOR.ca or in the public remarks section of the MLS® system.
  7. In cases where a Board permits listings in which the seller has reserved the right to sell the property himself/herself, that fact shall be specified in the Board’s MLS® database.

CREA is proposing the following changes (it will actually remove 2 completely, creating only 5 Interpretations):

INTERPRETATION 1: Remove completely.

What does this mean?  In relation to INTERPRETATION 2, it means that if a seller wants to negotiate and/or work with the buyer directly, they can.  But, they must put this in writing to the agent so that the agent is aware of the expectations.

INTERPRETATION 3: Remove completely.

What does this mean?  It means that an agent can be used to only post the listing on the MLS® System and not remain the agent throughout the entire listing process.  Again, it must be in writing from the seller to align with INTERPRETATION 2, and of course, the agent is not released from any Board/Association responsibilities as mentioned previously.

INTERPRETATION 6 (new verbiage): Where the seller directs the listing REALTOR® in writing to do so, the seller’s contact information may appear in the REALTOR® only remarks (non-public) section of a listing on a Board/Association’s MLS® System.  The seller’s contact information shall not appear on REALTOR.ca or in the general (public) remarks section of a listing on a Board/Association’s MLS® System.  The listing REALTOR® may include a direction in the General Description section on REALTOR.ca or on websites operated by CREA or a Board/Association to visit the REALTOR® website to obtain additional information about the listing (but the nature of such additional information shall not be specified).

What does this mean?  If a seller would like REALTORS® or the public to contact them directly, then they must direct the agent to do so.  But, their contact information will not be posted on the public MLS® System.  It can be available to agents on the Board (internal) MLS® System under the “REALTOR® only remarks” (non-public) or placed on the agent’s or the agent’s broker website with directions on the public side (REALTOR.ca), under “General Remarks” to state that that there is more information on the REALTOR® website (not allowed to be specific around what other information is available though).

INTERPRETATION 7 (new verbiage): Where the seller has reserved the right to sell the property himself/herself, that fact shall be specified in the Board/Association’s MLS® System.

What does this mean?  If a seller is selling their own home and only using a REALTOR® to gain access to the MLS® System, that will be disclosed on the Board/Association’s MLS® System.

There you have it.  On March 22, 2010 we will find out whether or not these changes will be passed.  Be sure to come back to Realty Boost to get the latest!

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