Say “No” To A Part-Time Agent

Michael Polzler, head of Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada recently launched a campaign against choosing a part-time Realtor(R).  In a letter/advertisement he placed in The Real Estate Magazine he stated that it is time to “take back the industry”. 

He says that if an agent is doing at least 1 deal per quarter they should not be in Real Estate.  Having stronger rules around education and adding an apprentice program would be beneficial he says.  In Toronto 20% of Realtors did not complete a deal in 2009.

Someone who has a non-real-estate, full-time job should not be allowed to handle the largest financial transaction most people make in their lifetime. You have taxi drivers with real estate licences and that’s not cool,” Mr. Polzler said.

When you consider the numbers…98,000 agents (that’s one agent for approximately 336 people)…maybe he has a point.

What do you think?


New President Ready For Court

Georges Pahud assumed the presidency of the Canadian Real Estate Association this week in Ottawa, in the midst of the Competition Bureau’s challenge of CREA’s MLS rules. Although CREA made changes to its MLS access rules, the bureau says the changes are not enough and that it will continue to pursue the challenge before the Competition Tribunal.

He said this week, “You can’t get something for nothing; it just doesn’t work. You can’t work for nothing. People need to be willing to pay a fair price for their choices and, in Canada, we are lucky because we have choices.

Come Realty Boost often for more updates!

87% Voted YES

On March 22, 2010 CREA voted and 87% voted, YES, to the changes presented regarding the MLS system (see previous post for more details).

Although, Melanie Aitken the Commissioner of Competition still isn’t satisfied, saying, “These amendments amount to a blank cheque allowing CREA and its members to create rules that could have even greater anti-competitive consequences.”

This Thursday is the deadline for CREA to submit to the Tribunal a response to the Bureau’s accusations.  We’ll have to wait and see if they agree or disagree that these changes satisfy the Bureau’s issues.

Watch Realty Boost for an update later this week!

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 The seller’s name or contact information shall not appear on 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 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 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 (, 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!

Power Plant Blocked…Or Is It?

On February 24th, over 500 people set their sights on Queen’s Park to protest the 900-mega watt power plant that is planned to be built in Oakville, ON.  Their message was clear – Oakville doesn’t want a power plant!  Residents in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods of Oakville will be the closest to the power plant and that means it could impact their home’s value.

But, guess what?  They blocked it!  …for now.

There is a bylaw that states that no power plant can be built without an impact study (environmental, land use, air quality and public safety) by the town.  The study will be ready for council on March 29th and the bylaw expires on March 31st

But, according to the power plant spokesman, Chris Breen, this won’t stop the power plant from being built, saying, “We remain fully committed to bring this clean energy project to Oakville.”

Now we wait…for March 29th to see what next steps, if any can be taken…

FINTRAC – 1st fine against brokerage

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) has assessed its first fine against a real estate brokerage. HomeLife Effect Realty in Hamilton was fined $27,000 for violating the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

FINTRAC says the brokerage was fined for committing four violations:
– Failure of a person or entity to appoint a person to be responsible for the implementation of a compliance program;

– Failure of a person or entity to develop and apply written compliance policies and procedures that are kept up to date and, in the case of an entity, are approved by a senior officer;

– Failure of a person or entity to assess and document risk; and

– Failure of a person or entity that has employees, agents or other persons authorized to act on their behalf to develop and maintain a written ongoing compliance training program for those employees, agents or persons.

FINTRAC has had the authority to issue administrative monetary penalties in response to non-compliance with the act and related regulations since December 30, 2008. It says penalties are used as a last recourse after other measures to ensure compliance with the law have been exhausted.

“FINTRAC remains committed to working with reporting entities in ensuring compliance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and related regulations,” says the agency in a news release. “The new penalties are a tool to encourage compliance.”

FINTRAC is an independent federal government agency with a mandate to assist in the detection, deterrence and prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.


10 Marketing / PR Ideas

Here are some ideas that I found or thought up in no particular order.  Some of them are tried and true, while others are a little off the wall, but it’s all about getting noticed and building more contacts!

  1. Add your social profile(s) to your business card (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc).
  2. Attend “Meet-ups” that suit your lifestyle/business to network (check out:
  3. When you’re grabbing your lunch, coffee, etc in a drive-thru, pay for the person behind you and ask the teller to pass along your business card.
  4. Let your web audience know what interests you – wouldn’t you rather work with people that have similar interests, it will help you understand them and give you an “in”.
  5. Support something! Little league, community events, the Humane Society, a political party, etc.
  6. Comment on business pages/groups/blogs, but do not SPAM. Be informative, helpful, “the one who knows”, do always include your name and web/email address in your signature.
  7. Go to the library/book store and put your business card in all the FSBO real estate books or in books related to your interests.
  8. Host a client appreciation BBQ, breakfast, dinner, party – once your guests have arrived, remind them of your knowledge and why you’re always the best choice with a short up date on the market, mortgages, future real estate, etc – no more than 10-15 mins. Be sure to THANK them too.
  9. Make your sign do some work! Sign up with a online texting company, like, and get a sign rider that tells people who drive by how to get immediate information about your listing straight to their phone!
  10. Sponsor a struggling artist by renting the venue for them, or by paying for ½ their flyers (be sure that you get one side) – most importantly be sure that their audience is your target market!

Use these ideas as they are or as a base (somewhere to start) to come up with your own creative marketing idea.

Good luck!

Will Realtors “Bow Down”?

On Wednesday, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced it would ask its members to bow to pressure from the Competition Bureau of Canada to allow easier and possibly cheaper access to the Multiple Listing Service.

Competition Tribunal – Application Has Been Filed

The Competition Bureau took the next step yesterday by filing an application with the Competition Tribunal to decide whether or not CREA’s (Canadian Real Estate Association) rules are anti-competitive. 

The Commissioner of Competition, Melanie Aitken, believes that consumers should be able to select the specific services they want from a Realtor(R), which (she says) should include lower cost options.  One option she feels would be beneficial is that consumers should be able to pay a flat fee to just have their home listed on the MLS (the first place buyers go to start their search in Canada) instead of also having a predetermined set of additional services tacked on and forcing the price higher (where current commissions are).

In 2007 there was a similar change in the US where a ruling by the Department of Justice opened up the MLS data and in doing so created a place for innovative web-based real estate services and drove real estate fees down.

The president of CREA, Dale Ripplinger said, “We do not agree with the Bureau’s position that certain CREA rules are anti-competitive, either as a matter of fact or as a matter of law. CREA’s rules allow for innovative business models and provide a broad range of choice for consumers.”

If these changes are enforced, the cost of buying and selling a home could drop dramatically.  Real Estate Agents could potentially become salary jobs, real estate shops will open that offer more of an al-carte type menu, etc.

What do you think?

Watch Out – Redfin Coming To Canada

With the expected changes in the Real Estate industry (please see previous posts for more information), Redfin (a hugely popular US based, online Real Estate company) is just waiting for the outcome between CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) and the Canadian Competition Bureau to finally enter the Canadian Real Estate market.

In the US, “House hunters can find and bid on a home using one of dozens of Web-based applications. A single map can show which houses are for sale, the area’s crime rate, average test scores at the local elementary school and the location of the nearest Starbucks.” ~ excerpt from Globe & Mail article – for full article (which is very interesting), click HERE.

Anyone interested in the Real Estate industry should keep their eyes on this situation.  To help you with that, we are constantly looking for more information, we will immediately post anything we find here at