The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has been fighting with the Competition Bureau since 2011 over restricting sales data to buyers and sellers within the city. A few days ago (June 3rd to be exact), the courts ruled in favour of the Competition Bureau and ordered TREB to allow its members to provide more sales data to the public (mainly sale prices). Part of this ruling allows sellers the opportunity to opt out of having their information posted to the public. In order to drag process out even longer, TREB has appealed this ruling.
I don’t understand why TREB is fighting this. They say it’s to protect the privacy of buyers and sellers but if someone really wanted to know the sale price of a home, they can simply contact any one of the 40,000 + realtors in the city to get this information – it’s not rocket science. Sure, making this information readily available on a website makes life a bit easier for those curious about sale prices in their area of interest but the job of a realtor is not to just spit out sale prices to our clients and expect them to do the rest of the work. Sure, there are those agents out there who are in the business to make as much money as possible while doing the least amount of work and on behalf of the real estate industry, I sincerely apologize if you’ve met a greedy, arrogant and unprofessional realtor like this. Every profession has some bad apples, and real estate is no different.
In a way, I think TREB is insulting realtors by trying to hold back this information to the public. They’re sending the message that all we as realtors have is this sales data and if it were to get out to the public, our whole industry would fall apart. Sales data, in my opinion, is just one of the many tools we have at our disposal to do our jobs properly. Sure, we use sales data to look at industry trends, determine a reasonable value of a home and help our clients to make logical decisions about a home purchase. However, this information can only take you so far. Let’s take a look at some other areas where a realtor is a very important piece of the home selling and buying process:
Multiple offers – in today’s market, multiple offers are a way of life. You need someone experienced in this process to help you out – whether you are a seller trying to maximize your sale price with minimal risk or a buyer trying to purchase a home without drastically overpaying and having to drop conditions like there’s no tomorrow.
Advertising (for a listing – not the super annoying, straight to the blue bin real estate postcards you get in the mail daily from one of many realtors in your area that are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors). As a realtor, we should be using multiple advertising platforms to get the word out about a home. This all depends on the neighbourhood the home is located and the target market but things such as professional photography, video tours, newspaper advertising, postcards, feature sheets, etc. aren’t free and aren’t cheap. Our job is to make your home look its best in order to sell it for the best possible price in the least amount of time. In order to do that, we need to work our magic and spend some money.
Listing price – there are several other factors that impact a sale price that isn’t broken down within the sales data that TREB is so hell bent about keeping private. Location on the street, upgrades, view, lot size, parking – these are just a few of the factors that need to be taken into consideration when pricing a home. Should you set an offer date? List the home lower to attract the maximum amount of buyers and create a bidding frenzy? Are you in a neighbourhood where listing closer to value is the better option? You realtor is someone who should provide you with this information and help make the best decision based on your situation.
Negotiations – as a realtor, this is our time to shine. We’ve taken the courses and have experienced enough negotiations to know what works and what doesn’t. We know when to make the other party sweat it out a bit before making our next move. This is the fun part and the part where we will get you the best deal possible.
Time – we work when our clients are available so that means midnight texts, early morning showings and hanging out in a car for hours at a time while we participate in a multiple offer situation. Our schedules can also be unpredictable based on when our clients need us so scheduling in our personal life can sometimes lead to cancellations and lots and lots of rain checks.
Emotional support – purchasing or selling a home is a BIG ASS decision. The money part is a big component but not the only thing involved in the decision making process. As a realtor, we are expected to be sensitive to our clients needs, understand their reservations, help them through their decision, balance the needs when two or more people are involved and so much more. We are the salt to your pepper, the pen to your paper, the window to your wall….you get the drift.
The smorgasbord of random issues and problems – every single real estate transaction is different and as a result, realtors are constantly learning and adding to their arsenal of best practices. Over the years, we come to expect certain hiccups that we can overcome easily and without any disruption to the real estate process. For example, wording conditions a certain way to work in your client’s best interest.
As a realtor, these are just some of the things I have come to expect and am happy to deal with in order to work within this exciting industry. So, when TREB is fighting tooth and nail to keep their beloved sales data away from the public, I feel like they are enabling the haters out there who believe that without this information, our usefulness decreases significantly. The sales numbers are just a small piece of what we bring to the table and I encourage all of my fellow realtor colleagues to show your true value within this industry.