Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Competition vs. MLS ... part 1

So, the government (in the form of the Competition Bureau) wants to open up access to the data on the MLS system which is the property of organized real estate via CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association).

The idea is that the MLS system, built and operated by organized real estate, is the focal point for such a huge percentage of real estate sales in Canada that it is impossible for alternative approaches or systems to establish themselves and compete.

Theoretically, easier and more open access to this data would create lots of options for people to handle much more of the buy/sell process themselves at a much lower financial cost.

I’m going to rattle on for a post or two with some thoughts and perspective that I don’t expect to see very clearly expressed in the media. I might even be right about some of it.

And I’m actually still thinking some of it through. I understand the value of competition and I know that real estate commissions represent a lot of money, and there are probably changes that should be made to the MLS system.

But I think that I’m going to conclude that what the competition folks are after is wrong-headed and will leave homebuyers and sellers with weaker service, more risk, more confusion and will not ultimately save them any money.

So, if this interests you, follow the blog or subscribe or whatever. I’ll try to get at least one piece on this topic up daily for a week or so. And I would love it if you got in on the conversation.

Final thing today … here’s the official Royal LePage thought for the day:
Royal LePage Position
Royal LePage Real Estate Services believes that CREA and the MLS system are important components in Canada's real estate market. It is important to note:

1. The real estate market in Canada is highly competitive, and includes a wide variety of companies with diverse and innovative business models and price structures

2. There are other channels through which buyers and sellers can participate in the market, including online and do-it-yourself options

3. The organized structure and efficient attributes of the Canadian real estate industry are recognized globally, and many emerging markets would like to adopt a similar system.
Consumer protection and trust are the hallmarks of our business, and we will advocate strongly for our business, our partners, and our customers.

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