Competition Bureau Gets Into Real Estate

09 February 2010

The Competition Bureau has decided that real estate needs more competition and lower fees. They have not said if that will affect service but they are sure that is what consumers want. The proof will be sometime in the future. The Head of the Competition Bureau has said she wants changes such as those enacted in the U.S. whereby consumers can list for a flat fee and pick the services they want. After two years with this option in play, there has been no noticeable increase in the number of sales being done is this manner, as opposed to a percentage commission rate. My guess is that most people soon realized how hard it is to price, stage, and then promote a property for sale. Then who arranges, screens and is present for the showings. Finally, the seller has to ‘up front’ the fees. That means the consumer pays first even if the property does not sell. Right now the Realtor does all the work and if the property does not sell, they get nothing! I am sure the real estate industry would like to get paid up front too! My take is that this investigation is simply a publicity exercise, as the Bureau desperately needs any type of conviction. The Competition Bureau which has been maligned in the past for doing little can now take on the role of the good watch dog for consumers. Of course it does not hurt that the Head of the Bureau, being a lawyer by trade, is maybe hoping for more business for her profession too which would be a natural fall out.