Realtors of BC..... just the world according to Bill

If you are not a REALTOR in BC this will likely not concern you. It is an incredibly long blog and post about an issue that I think deserves some time and attention. On December 6 one of the most important decisions in the history of BC Real Estate will be made. 86% of the Realtors in BC will vote to amalgamate together as one board or not. I am a director on the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board and I support this move. Why? More importantly why does our entire board support it? Here are the issues in my opinion...

  1. Why are they shoving a yes vote down our throats? This is the most common question I get asked. Why does a board exist? When the membership of any association votes a board into the leadership positions they are saying that they want that board to be diligent, unbiased, look out for the membership's best interest ahead of their own and make educated, informed decisions on their behalf. In essence be focused and do the research so that they do not have to. Our board spent 2 years looking into this decision with tons of heated conversations that instituted many changes before the present model of Realtors of BC was established and issued to the membership. Many of us had fears and were very hot against a lot of the issues in the beginning. As the process continued either our understanding of the model or changes to the model eventually gave us a sense of comfort.  I have yet to talk to someone who is a no vote who either has all the information or has it all correctly. Not only that, when a no vote comes to a meeting and really gets into the information or goes to the website and researches the information the vast majority of them change to a yes vote. I have been to many of the meetings. I have yet to hear a director at these meetings tell anyone to vote yes. They try their best to answer the questions unbiasedly.  However, I have heard many people come out and publicly and vehemently and sometimes insultingly tell people to vote no. If anyone is shoving anything down anyone's throat it isn't the yes votes. The directors answer the questions at these meetings with a yes slant to them because they are informed and they believe in a yes slant. After hundreds of hours put into investigation and changes we are convinced that this is a good thing for all. It's pretty stupid and dishonest to answer a question one way when you are believe another.  
  2. The government has said to our industry, "Get your shit together". The press is having a heyday with it. The controversy over this vote is exactly the reason why it would be a good thing. We have 11 boards in BC and they cannot agree on anything. In saskatchewan when they went down to 4 boards and they still could not agree on anything. That is why there is push there to go to one board. Imagine what the 6 o'clock news on December 7 will say based on a yes vote or a  no vote. I think most people would agree that the press looks for negative spins more than positive spins. Let your mind wander as you visualize that news report. How will they portray us if we vote yes or no. Thanks to the government there is already the opinion in the public that we are all scattered and cannot seem to get together on anything. I suggested this to one of my REALTORS last night and he said that is "fear mongering" .My response to that is that we can put our heads in a hole and not consider how we feel about an issue because someone is saying it's fear mongering but that won't make the facts go away. The press is going to spin this whether we like it or not. The only question is how they spin it.
  3. We have no standard rules and regulations or bylaws. More and more REALTORS are expanding their reach into other markets and once outside their own board area it's open season. If an outside member comes into our area and does something against our rules, our board is dramatically limited as to what they can do because he or she  is not a member of our board. 
  4. Why am I a yes vote? The Realtors of BC initiative is not going to "FIX" everything. Nothing ever will. In order to fix everything for each one of us we would all have to want the same things which we do not. I believe we have to ask ourselves, "Does it fix anything?" and "Will things be a little bit better if the vote is a yes?" Will we be on a path towards positive change in the future. I believe we will. 
  5. Rof BC will promote people coming into our area to sell. I am sorry for the bluntness but in my opinion this is just naive. The world, our country and our province are all getting smaller. It is a trend that is going to continue. Computers and the internet have allowed us to communicate instantly with people all over the world which allows us to do business all over the world. Whether you think globalization is a good thing or not isn't going to stop it. REALTORS from other areas can already come into our area and sell Real Estate. Very few do. If Rof BC goes through it will become very slightly easier. But that trend is a steam roller and whether R of BC gets voted in or not is not going to change that much if any. 10 years from now there will be more people working a larger geographical area and nothing will stop that. 
  6. With R of BC we would have one set of rules and regulations. Because I am defending one of my REALTORS in a board issue right now I went back and researched all the disciplinary decisions of our board for as many years as I could go back. The disciplinary decisions are all over the map. There is no consistency in decisions or penalties or principles. I called one of my fellow brokers in Vancouver and discussed this issue. He basically said the same thing. Our system in this area is badly broken. It needs to be overhauled and it needs to change. I can't positively say that Realtors of BC would change this for the better. I think they would but who knows. However, it would be different and we would all be able to count on one set of rules.
  7. Why have other boards refused? This is an issue that I agree creates a problem. Nothing is perfect. In one of our meetings I asked a director of the Victoria board this question since they were the first to refuse a vote. Yes the Victoria  board made a unilateral decision not to allow the membership to vote on this issue. Do you think they shoved the decision down their throats? That board member said to me and I quote, "Because we are special". I think we are more special. That is just as ludicrous. However, although the majority of REALTORS in BC would have unified vote it would not represent all REALTORS in BC even though the name implies it does. I get that this is incongruent and I don't like it either. However, in my opinion only, I believe this is one negative that we cannot fix "NOW". I really wish we could because this bothers me as well. I also believe the positives of this initiative far outweigh the negatives and we will eventually fix it in the future.  
  8. We would eliminate the incredible waste of money from having 11 different accounting staffs and MLS systems and lockbox systems and increased admin expenses. If we were to set up Real Estate in BC today with the technology of today, would we set it up the way it is? My opinion is not a chance. If Rof BC is voted in, the savings would amount to about $9 million per year. Many people have asked why they do not just give this back to the REALTORS. I am ok with that if they give it all to me but they said no. Go figure? :) First of all it would not be a lot of money if they gave it back to us all. .Secondly, and most importantly in those 2 years of discussions it was decided that this money would be better spent in 2 ways. First, some, about 3 million, would go to REALTORS in the province who are going to experience a fee increase from R of BC. The mandate was that no one would have a fee increase and everyone would have the same or better services. This subsidy to those REALTORS would be gradually phased out over the next 5 years and that money would be reallocated. But secondly, the balance would be funnelled back into the system to actually increase the services. Many REALTORS have a problem understanding this. A few of the positions in each board will obviously disappear. Rather than lay those people off it was decided that they could be retrained and utilised in other ways to supply better services to REALTORS. What kind of services? The new board will decide but here is a couple of possible examples. Consider all of the things that depend on REALTOR Volunteers; organizing the food drive, organizing and running the smaller zones like the Shuswap, the commercial zone and North Okanagan, organizing the various different events that the REALTORS put on each year or maybe new initiatives like a Real Estate investment chapter. These programs would have paid administrations staff to help enhance these programs. This is an increase of services over what we have now. 
  9.  Someone said the horse has left the barn. In other words we have already lost self governance and some decisions have already been made so it is too late to make the change. If we think that these issues are the last macro issues that we are going to face in our industry in BC we are naive. We will have a stronger voice with R of BC. to express our opinions.
  10. Here is a little fear mongering for you. If this gets voted down we need to be happy with that decision for a long time. Never before has so much money and time been put into an effort like this within our board. It will be years before anyone has the audacity to take this on again. 
  11. Why not just wait and see how other boards do? First the obvious; if everyone does that there will be nothing to watch because the vote will be no.  But secondly, consider this. Kelowna is the third largest city in BC. If Rof BC goes ahead there will be 4 branch office locations set. If the vote is yes a branch office will be in Kelowna. The branch office will be similar to our present board without all the accounting etc. If the vote is a yes and OMREB is not part of it. That branch office will be placed somewhere else. If we as a board decide to join at a later date the location of the branch offices will have been decided. 
  12. We will lose our vote because Vancouver will control everything. First when is the last time we in OMREB voted on anything other than voting in new directors. As far as I know it has been a long time. I think we voted to change KInnexus to Matrix and that was years ago. The branch office in Kelowna  will be working with the REALTORS  in the area to solve issues. General governance decisions will be made at the board level in the lower mainland by people just as nice and focused and likely more experienced in board conduct than us. But also the OMREB situation now is that we presently have directors in all areas of the Okanagan Shuswap. I know all of my fellow directors personally and they go out of their way to follow the mandate that they pledged to follow. That is that they make decisions based on the good of the entire membership not their own offices or own zones. To look at the new structure as made up of the big bad REALTORS of Vancouver that will make decisions only to help them is not only inaccurate because of the structure of the new board but it is based on a conspiracy mentality that I refuse to buy into.
  13. Why do we not have all the answers and shouldn't we have all the answers to this very important decision? This initiative has cost millions of dollars. Just to extend the vote was over $600,000. In order to have all the answers we would have to set up all the board and administrative systems and have them make those decisions. If we do that and the vote is no it would be millions of wasted dollars. We as a board have researched everything we could to answer everything we could for you the members. 
  14. Lastly is just my personal belief. You may not want it but I'm sorry it's my blog and you don't get a vote in that. :) I believe technology and information are crucial in our business. However, it is going to continue to throw change at us at an alarming and frightful rate.  Amalgamation is not just a decision for our board it is a strong trend in society. Technology is allowing us to do more work, better, faster and cheaper than we ever have before and do it from anywhere in the world. Companies, associations and towns and villages are looking amalgamating more and more. To turn our backs on this trend is to turn our backs on progress and advancement.  R of BC, if it gets passed will grow to a better Real Estate world in the future in BC. Change sucks but if you go back in change sucks worse. But that is just the world according to Bill.

There are no comments

Thank you! Your comment has been submitted and is awaiting approval.

Bill Hubbard

Bill Hubbard

CENTURY 21 Executives Realty Ltd.
Contact Me

Blog Archives