In Saturday's Toronto Star there was an article on the Anti Competition watchdog coming after the Real Estate Industry for the " abuse of dominance". What this means is that our way of doing business has become so effective that it's not fair to someone not willing to pay us for doing so. Over 90% of homes sold are done so through licensed Real Estate professionals via our Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS has taken years and millions of dollars to develop. It is one of the most advanced systems of it's kind. Now there are those that say anyone should be able to access this system for the purpose of selling homes. Why? The integrity of this system would be jeopardized by allowing unqualified people to post listings on this MLS site. We Real Estate agents do more than just post an ad and collect thousands of dollars in commission. We are trained in providing accurate market value appraisals of the properties we list or introduce a buyer to. This ensures that a fair price is negotiated for both parties. We know how to set a home up to show off it's features. We qualify our buyers so that when you let someone into your home you know that they are able to afford your house. We draft and negotiate offers making sure the buyer and sellers are treated fairly in the transaction. We offer lists of lawyers, home inspectors, contractors,stagers that we know will do a good job. We professionally market the home with feature sheets and multi advertising media. We are required to do mandatory continuing education to keep our prized licenses. We are tightly overseen by the Real Estate Council of Ontario. We have errors and omissions insurance. We have forms filled out for every buyer and seller confirming their identity. We have a paper trail of all money transactions to prevent fraud. As well the costs of doing business in real estate are high. Our clients expect us to have the latest in communication tool. Blackberry, laptop, web site, e-mail and the like. We also pay for our signs, cards, cars office supplies and on and on. We are paid members of our local boards plus Orea, Corea, and Reco. We are not "abusers of dominance" we are highly skilled professionals. For that we are well paid. There is no abuse in that. I am proud of how I do business and feel I earn every dollar of my commission. There is a reason why 90% of homes are sold by licensed real estate agents. It's the best way.
Just a quick scenario of Joe Consumer throwing his house on the MLS. Who determines what price the house should be listed at? Who draws up an offer? How does the buyer find out what similar homes sold for? Who holds the deposit? Who negotiates in a professional and non emotional way? If you're the seller and someone calls to see through your house, how do you know what their intentions really are? Are they interested in buying or are they casing the joint to see if there is anything worth stealing? If you're buyer how do you know if the seller really has the authority to sell. The Family Law Act can complicate that to protect spouses not on title. It just scares me.