Toronto Real Estate Board aims to ease competition concerns

The Toronto Real Estate Board has been battling the Competition Bureau, but they have unveiled a new policy that will allow agents to give their clients more access to information on the MLS.

From the June 24th Globe and Mail by Steve Ladurantaye:

In a bid to satisfy the Competition Commissioner, the Toronto Real Estate Board has unveiled a new website policy for agents that would give them the power to create personalized listing sites so customers can browse for new homes from their living rooms.

While some of Canada’s 101 real estate boards already allow agents to set up password-protected sites for their customers, the country’s largest board does not.

What happens next could set a national precedent for the way home buyers research the biggest purchase of their lives, because other boards are expected to adopt the same policy once it’s instituted.

The Competition Bureau launched a lawsuit against TREB in May, saying it prevents brokers from sharing information online with their customers. It was the latest move in the protracted fight between the bureau and real estate agents, who have come under increasing scrutiny as commission-based payments have grown along with the price of Canadian homes.

The Competition Bureau appears less than thrilled by TREB’s overture, however, saying it would still prefer the real estate association to enter a legally binding consent agreement guaranteeing the sites can operate.

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