Realtors cry foul over MLS criticism

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Misinformation and stereotypes are painting an inaccurate picture of real estate agents’ use of the Multiple Listing Service, according to Realtors.

“First of all there is no monopoly on access to the MLS,” said Ed Novack, real estate broker with Caldwell Banker in Toronto. “You don’t need to be a member of CREA to access the system, anyone can view it.”

Novack also took exception to comments that Realtors rely on exclusive use of the MLS to be able to collect from their clients, fees as much as 5 per cent.

“I would like to meet these Realtors who are regularly charging 5 per cent, because the typical fees are somewhere around 3 percent to 3.5 per cent and everything is negotiable,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.

The Realtor community yesterday expressed strong reactions concerning the MLS after MBN posted a story about brokers supporting the opening up of the MLS.

Novak said the public is “being fed misinformation and stereotypical portrayal” of Realtors mostly by business that stand to profit from the loosening of industry control over the MLS.

He pointed out that non-realtors are able to access the MLS and view information on listed properties on the site and their current selling prices.

“The only data that is not open to the public is the seller’s name and address and previous sales history of the property,” said Novack. “Because of privacy regulations and safety precautions we can’t make personal information public. As for other information such as area market prices, people can get this free from a lot other Web sites.”

“I believe data in the MLS should be considered proprietary information,” said David Larock, broker at The Mortgage Group – Integrated Mortgage Planner in Toronto. “The Realtors built the system and gathered the data, so they are within their rights to exercise control over it.”

Larock also disagrees with the assessment of other brokers that Realtors’ fees are heavily dependent on restricting access to the MLS.

“Top-notched Realtors are worth their weight in gold,” he said. “I don’t share the view that opening up the MLS will automatically result in a drop of Realtors’ commissions.”

He said Realtors assist clients with many aspects of a home buying or selling transaction that goes far beyond having a property listed in the MLS.

  • Agent on 2012-09-14 3:16:36 AM

    What are realtors so afraid of? ITs called a monopoly for a reason.

  • Joe Speziale on 2012-09-14 4:23:56 AM

    I agree this is a problem that needs to be addressed. We pay a lot of fees to be Realtors and OREA or CREA should be on top of this with informative ads and messages via newspapers, TV or whatever. That's what we are paying fees for.

  • Christopher on 2012-09-14 4:38:57 AM

    In my area, rural in nature agents are typical of the local population and businesses; many without websites and fewer still using social media and YouTube to pitch their listings.

  • Agent on 2012-09-14 5:26:34 AM

    Ok more misinformation...... Realtors claim opening MLS will divulge personal info...really? ANYONE with the address of the property can go to the land registry office and get pull a title search. It will tell the1, all the past transactions, transfers, mortgages, amounts, who is the registered owner, leins etc. that info is already public and available. They are protecting NOTHING!! Just an excuse to protec their monopoly.

    If they are so open to competition then why is it standard 2.5% to selling agent AKA buyers's rep. Never seen that negotiated. Isn't that price fixing ?

  • Omer on 2012-09-14 8:45:37 AM

    Well "agent", if this information is so readily available then why should we be the ones to supply to the public at our cost. This is almost like a tax on our industry to provide what is readily available elsewhere. The fact that you say it is available diminishes your argument that we are protecting a monopoly. And as for competition, the real estate industry is the most competitive business around. I have yet to walk in, sign up a client without having other agents competing with me for the same listing and having to justify my service. If you are an agent, you would know this and wouldn’t be afraid to show your name.

  • Agent to Agent on 2012-09-14 11:26:00 PM

    **********Agent on 13 Sep 2012 03:26 PM
    Ok more misinformation...... Realtors claim opening MLS will divulge personal info...really? ANYONE with the address of the property can go to the land registry office and get pull a title search. It will tell the1, all the past transactions, transfers, mortgages, amounts, who is the registered owner, leins etc. that info is already public and available. They are protecting NOTHING!! Just an excuse to protec their monopoly.

    If they are so open to competition then why is it standard 2.5% to selling agent AKA buyers's rep. Never seen that negotiated. Isn't that price fixing ?************
    You didn't see it?? Realy?? The buyers agent gets as low as a 1% commission or some times flat fee. It has never been fixed at 2.5%. Do your research before commenting my friend....

  • P Hammond on 2012-09-14 11:37:14 PM

    I guess "Agent" does not want to want to expose his true name. The government controls the information and charges a fee to provide that information! It is not FREE like most people want and usually involves only one property!
    This is a well written and factual article that tackles real perceptions!

  • Spencer on 2012-09-14 11:53:29 PM

    @Agent - there are many listings with $1.00 to CB,so - what standard 2.5% are you talking about?

  • De mahn on 2012-09-15 1:21:51 AM

    @spencer - Really, where are these "many listings @ $1.00 to CB" because I must have skipped them?

  • De mahn on 2012-09-15 1:26:03 AM

    @Joe Speziale - with you on that 110%. @spencer where are these "many listings with $1.00 to CB" because I must have skipped them?

  • Jane Chen on 2012-09-15 1:38:20 AM

    www.jjanechen.com

    Realtor sold with more money. The public MLS is different from the TREB system. Don't mess up with this.

  • James on 2012-09-15 5:38:18 AM

    Times they are a changing folks. Time to reinvent your business models or find a new career its as simple as that. There is a new bread of Agent in the market place and that agents name is Discount. Good Luck

  • AMP Broker on 2012-09-18 5:23:18 AM

    Right on James. I think the mortgage industry should also follow your advice. Stay flexible and keep your options open.

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