The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which owns the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), has rules preventing realtors from listing a home in the database for a flat fee. A homeowner simply wanting to list her home in the MLS and is willing to do the legwork to sell her home on her own cannot do so. Instead, she is forced to hire a registered realtor, who in turn is prohibited to simply list the home in the database for a flat fee. The realtor is bound to represent the seller throughout the sale process under the “minimum service” standards required by the CREA.
The Competition Bureau, a federal watchdog mandated with protecting and promoting competitive markets, is saying that it will challenge CREA’s rules because the “rules restrict the ability of consumers to choose the real estate services they want, forcing them to pay for services they do not need”. You can read the Bureau’s press release here.
It is not clear how long it will take for discount brokers to start offering services to simply list a home in the MLS. What is noteworthy though it that it has taken close to three years for the Competition Bureau to rule on CREA’s “minimum service” standards. If CREA creates additional road blocks, could this dispute drag on forever?