Photo Credit: Darren Calabrese For The Globe and Mail                               

There has been a longstanding battle in Toronto where the Competition Bureau is fighting to open up sale price information to the public that the Toronto Real Estate Board currently holds near and dear to their heart.  In our opinion, this is an insult to all real estate professionals as this sends a message that the only thing that real estate agents are good for is to provide sale price information to the public.  The public shouldn’t feel forced into speaking to a real estate agent in order to find out the sale price of a home.  They should WANT to speak with a real estate agent for the many other services that we provide.

There is proof in other markets, such as Australia, where opening up this data to everyone hasn’t wiped out the real estate profession (see this website  The Australian model of selling real estate is built upon transparency – open auctions, easy access to sale price information and no double ending (where a real estate agent represents both buyer and seller in one transaction).  On The Block has been inspired by these approaches and we are working toward a similar model to provide more choice to the public in the Greater Toronto Area.

As real estate professionals, we need to show that we are better than these numbers, work hard and show the benefits of hiring a professional.  Providing comparable sale price information is such a small part of our jobs.  The work we do to sell a home or help a buyer purchase a home goes well beyond this data.  Home buyers and sellers work with us for our experience, skill and knowledge of the industry and how to get the best results based on someone’s specific circumstances.

Working with a real estate professional should be a choice so let’s give people that choice instead of holding them back from accessing this information.  Those people who choose to work without an agent shouldn’t be penalized because they didn’t enlist the help of a professional.  Just like you don’t NEED a plumber to fix your leaky faucet or an interior designer to decorate your home, you also don’t NEED a realtor to help you buy or sell your home.  Working with a real estate professional comes with many benefits and those that recognize these benefits will continue to work with a real estate professional regardless of whether they can retrieve sale price data.  It’s about providing choice, a service and working for the best interests of your clients.

On The Block encourages the Toronto Real Estate Board to open up the vault and give everyone access to sale prices throughout the city.  The time and effort used to fight the Competition Bureau about this case could have been much better spent on other projects such as providing information to assist the city with key planning initiatives or figuring out ways to provide more affordable housing options to those who can’t afford a home in our city.  You can't do big things if you're focused on the small things!


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