Real Estate Association to vote on industry changes
A vote this weekend by members of the Canadian Real Estate Association could significantly change how people buy and sell houses.
The vote, part of a deal between the industry and the federal competition bureau, could allow agents to offer so-called ‘a la carte' services.
Mike Shanks of PropertyGuys.com Waterloo-Wellington says "For example a seller could list their property on the multiple listing service for a flat fee without having to buy any other service from the real estate agent."
The new rules would give the consumer a lot more choice when it comes to deciding on the services they want, whether it's just a listing, or includes services like a photo shoot, signage and appraisal advice.
The move comes after companies like PropertyGuys.com complained to the competition bureau about the industry's lock on the multiple listing service, or MLS.
The average commission for agents in Canada is five per cent, and annually $8 billion is collected by nearly 100,000 brokers and agents.
But newer startups like PropertyGuys.com offer marketing packages for your home from $400 to $3,800, a significant savings.
Jim Culham chose to sell his home without an agent and says he saved a lot of money.
He says the other advantage was "I got to really tell people what my house was like. I probably know it better than anyone else.
Peter Schneider of Re/Max Solid Gold Realty has 25 year of experience, and says he doesn't expect to lose much business if the changes take effect.
"I think you get what you pay for. There's the professionalism, the experience that you get with an agent. They can look after the problems before they arise."