There has been a few stories lately in the news regarding real estate in Saskatoon and in Canada and the competition bureau and some 'major changes'. I would like to take a moment to touch base on this.
There is a common misconception from the public that the MLS system is and should be open to everyone. The MLS system is owned, operated and most importantly paid for by members of the Canadian Real Estate Association so each real estate agent pays monthly fees to be a part of the MLS system. So as one of 400+ realtors in Saskatoon I pay dearly for membership access to MLS and I hope that our systems don't become as backwards as those in the US and even other parts of Canada. Have you ever tried to search for a house for sale outside of Canada? Yikes!
Century 21 Saskatoon is a company that prides itself on service and care to consumers so as a company Century 21 Conexus in Saskatoon has opted to protect its buyers, sellers, and Saskatoon realtors (r) by not taking on mere MLS listings in Saskatoon. I will get into the reasons below as they are very important.
When talking about the internet and how easy it is to find things online from travel to wedding dresses, there is something to be said about the largest investment in a person's life and leaving it to amateurs or to yourself. Would you attempt to do an operation on yourself? You have access to drugs, knives, gauze, etc but would you trust that you know exactly how to handle everything that comes up or would you prefer to leave that to someone who does the operation every day? I know my answer! I used a Saskatoon real estate agent when I purchased my first condo for sale in Saskatoon and it worked out better than I could have hoped.
There was an article in Canadian Business Magazine comparing travel agents, stockbrokers and real estate agents and stating that the travel agents and stockbrokers are almost obsolete thanks to the internet and are realtors (r) next? I believe they couldn't be more wrong. Our home is, almost 100% of the time, our largest investment and most valuable asset. A little different than booking a trip or selling $500 in stocks! So real estate agents in Saskatoon need not run for the hills just yet.
There is great value in both buying agents and selling agents. A full service selling agent should be verifying all of the information about a house, thereby protecting the seller and the buyer. I have often seen misrepresentation of square footage on FSBO sites in Saskatoon. In Saskatchewan real estate we can only count what is above grade. Many private sellers want their houses to look jucier so they include all sorts of areas that are not correct (porches, basements, etc).
There are Saskatoon real estate agents out there who will do a 'mere posting' but this goes against the pillars of organized real estate in Canada. We owe the public due care and it is in our Code of Ethics to be honest, have integrity, etc. If an agent is merely posting a listing he is trusting the sellers to do all of the correct measurements, be honest about the history of the house and that the sellers with their Saskatoon homes for sale are disclosing everything. I can't see how a Saskatoon real estate agent who is merely listing a house can not get into legal trouble when a buyer finds out that the square footage is wrong or that the sellers didn't dislcose something pertinent about the house.
In reality, if a Saskatoon real estate agent wants to protect himself against being sued for misrepresentation he/she will need to verify all of the listing information and the facts, otherwise his neck is on the chopping block. Do you really think a mere posting Saskatoon real estate agent can get out to measure every house, every room, find out all of the history on the house, verify all of the things the seller tells him to be truth? It is a dangerous situation some agents are putting themselves into for very little money and when it comes down to the work involved if they are still using the 3 pillars of organized real estate.
It is dangerous for a Saskatoon home buyer to purchase a Saskatoon house for sale that they don't know if the information is accurate or not. Often times the sellers in these cases come up with the price for the Saskatoon house for sale so they are generally overpriced. I have seen many cases where the Saskatoon home for sale does not appraise out at the bank as it is priced to high. Sellers look at what other houses are listed for instead of what they are selling for and every seller always thinks their house is better than everyone else's house. It is human nature!
I think we will see much more legal action in Saskatoon real estate transactions but it is necessary to maintain the integrity of organized real estate as a whole and not just for realtors (r) in Saskatoon but for banks, lawyers, home appraisers, home inspectors, etc.
We have already seen some real estate brokerages in Saskatoon offer the mere MLS listing fee so I will be curious to see how that works out. There are often times no other services being offered, yet if it is listed by a licensed Saskatoon realtor that Saskatoon real estate agent is supposed to protecting his and his brokerage's assets by verifying all information. The brokerage is liable if that realtor (r) does not verify and someone is not happy.
There is now and always has been a variety of business models in Saskatoon real estate. There are 'discount brokerages', full service brokerages, and a variety of services in between. This is nothing new so the Competition Bureau's "win" really wasn't much of a "win or lose" situation as the media makes it out to be.
If you are interested in learning more about real estate in Saskatoon or to discuss listing your home for sale in Saskatoon with a full service Saskatoon realtor (r) I would be happy to speak to you. I do much more than the bare minimum of posting your listing on MLS!
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd