Editor’s Note: The Current has received the following opinion about the proposed review of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act discussed in an article dated Feb. 4. Click HERE to read it.
I offer kudos to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and the government for looking at the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 20002 (REBBA) in order to ensure we have better licenced realtors in Ontario. I guess I just have to hold my breath until they get to the things in REBBA and the Code of Ethics that really need their attention. Then I believe we will reach what is needed.
In a multiple offer situation it is in fact correct that realtors can only state the number of competing offers to be presented to a seller. Buyers and sellers at present never have to guess who is representing who. If there is multiple representation, then all parties (buyers, sellers and all sales reps) complete a confirmation of co-operation and representation. This document clearly states the representation, including if it is multiple representation. As well, a document is signed about working with a realtor which explains the different forms of client representation or customer service.
The proposed change to disclose the contents of the offer prices is, in my opinion, a breach of the confidentiality that we owe to the buyers we represent. Where do you draw the line? If you decide there is no confidentiality about the offered price, do you also disclose all the terms of the offer including any conditions, etc.? How can you say the terms are confidential but the price is not — when the price is probably the biggest part of the offer? To me, this proposal fixes nothing and is not the way to go about improving the image of our profession.
If you disclose offer prices, it almost appears to be an auction — where everyone knows your business. This is not in the buyer’s best interest at all, because it will just drive up the selling price and potentially the buyers could overpay. While the sellers would probably be happy, I don’t think this is good business practice.
As in any profession, in real estate there are good and poor examples of how to do business. A few bad situations paints all realtors with the same brush without exception, which is of course very harsh. I suggest that if we raise the bar on ethics, provide a new education format for new realtors seeking a licence and better prepare them to step into the real world of real estate in Ontario, we will provide a far better example of how realtors should do business. Those who are already licenced may need more re-education to get up to the new standard. If so, I encourage this.
About the author: Pat Scott is the owner and Broker of Record at Queenswood National Real Estate Ltd. She came to the area in 1976, raised her family here and considers it home. Pat’s real estate career began in 1990 at Queenswood. While she purchased the company in 2014, she mostly loves the listing and selling part of the job.