UPDATE: Since the time that this blog was originally posted, CREA has clarified that one to one marketing between agents at different brokerages will be permitted.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently released the announcement below to all Ontario real estate agents informing them of changes that will become effective starting January 2023. These changes will affect the way that exclusive listings are marketed. It is important to review the below information if you have any plans of listing your home exclusively in the future. Unfortunately, for sellers who prefer to market their property privately, there is no option to opt out of these new rules.
“On January 1, 2023, the REALTOR® Cooperation Policy will require that REALTORS® must place their listing(s) on their board/association Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System for cooperation with other REALTORS® within three (3) days of public marketing. This policy seeks to reinforce cooperation among REALTORS®, which will better serve the needs of consumers, strengthen the MLS® and REALTOR® trademarks and increase the level of professionalism.
Either directly or indirectly, nearly every homeowner in Canada has used an MLS® System. They are REALTOR® to REALTOR® cooperative marketplaces that bring together REALTORS® who list properties on behalf of sellers and REALTORS® who represent buyers. When more listings are placed on an MLS® System, it becomes more comprehensive and valuable to REALTORS® and their clients: a real estate marketplace with more homes for sale will attract more buyers, and a marketplace with more buyers will attract more sellers. In other words, the interests of both REALTORS® and Canadian consumers are better served. These benefits were recently validated in a white paper we commissioned (you can read the full report here).
The REALTOR® Cooperation Policy was approved by CREA’s Board of Directors. Boards and associations that operate MLS® Systems will have six months (until July 1, 2023) to adopt and enforce this or an equivalent policy in their MLS® System Rules. You might be wondering: How does placing a property listing on a board/association MLS® System benefit REALTORS® and consumers? From a seller’s perspective, a property listing with extensive exposure on an MLS® System may increase the number of offers received and improve their chances of receiving the most competitive offers for their home. At the same time, buyer clients benefit when their REALTORS® have access to a more complete inventory of homes for sale that may meet their needs. Can a listing brokerage or REALTOR® “opt-out” of the policy’s obligations? No, there is no mechanism for listing brokerages and/or REALTORS® to “opt-out” of the policy. This policy will be adopted by all board/association members of CREA as part of their MLS® System rules or equivalent policy and apply to all members who publicly market property listings. Does this policy apply to non-active property listings (like “Coming Soon” listings)? Yes. This policy applies to all listings that are publicly marketed, whether they’re active when public marketing begins or not. REALTORS® should be prepared to place all property listings on their board/association MLS® System within the required timeframe once public marketing begins. What’s considered “public marketing”? The policy defines “public marketing” as the representation or marketing of a listing to the public or any REALTOR® not directly affiliated with the listing brokerage/office in a business capacity and includes any representation regarding the sale of the property (flyers, yard signs, digital marketing on public-facing websites, brokerage website displays, social media posts, etc.).”Early last year, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) established a REALTOR® Cooperation Working Group made up of CREA staff and Executive Officers from various boards and associations across the country. The group was tasked with a review of the issues surrounding cooperation in the industry and solutions that could help address them. From feedback collected through consultation with industry stakeholders throughout Canada, the REALTOR® Cooperation Working Group put forth a recommendation to CREA’s Board of Directors that a policy be adopted as one of the solutions to address cooperation issues in the industry.