With the evolution of 'mere postings" on our Toronto Real Estate Board site over the past year or so - there was much outrage as can be expected from the "general"realtor population.
Many were concerned that the value of a realtor would be put to the stress test by allowing these type of listings to appear. For clarification, a "mere posting' is a listing displayed on our realtor TREB site - "listed" by a member of our board. These listings typcially offer very little in the way of a fee for the co-op broker, and direct any realtor to contact the seller directly for showings, and offers. The "mere posting" brokerage is fulfilling their duties by displaying the information on our system with the invitation to connect directly with the consumer.
This is all good under our competitive nature - after all - each and every member firm in our Board cannot be told how to conduct their business - as long as the firm is adhering to RECO and TREB rules and regulations.
Here is the disconnect for me. When a co-op realtor contacts a seller direct to arrange for showings or perhaps an offer - the obligation of the seller to provide industry standard disclosure isn't always forthwright. A realtor must disclose when asked how many offers are registered on a property, if it is his or her own offer - and any collatoral agreements which may be in place. Sellers of "mere posting" listings are not always forthwright in the information they provide. By way of example, a realtor in our firm had an offer on a "mere posting" listing. The realtor asked specifically if there were any other offers on the property - 3 was the answer. Our realtor adjusted their clients offering accordingly.
Turns out their offer was the one and only offer on the property. What is the recourse of the buyer and realtor in this circumstance? If the property was being represented at the table by the listing agent - the answer is easy and most likely not an issue. Realtors understand (for the most part) that transparency is critical for all parties involved and would be held accountable by RECO.
Who is holding the seller accountable? Sellers likely are not experienced when it comes to selling their own properties - they don't understand the "rules" of our trade or perhaps they even choose to ignore standard industry practises.
As for me, I would be very concerned with the information supplied by an owner of a property listing under a "mere posting." The information provided must be considered self serving. A buyer rep needs to go to great lengths to verify all info provided by a seller, and even in the case of multiple offers registered - getting the names of the other agents to verify the existence of any competing offers - prior to submitting their buyers offer.
Another reason for the buying public to work with qualified realtors on their behalf.