Real estate for 'Consumers' not realtors. Yes! to Transparency, openness and more choice.
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Canada is one of the last few countries with an antiquated system which effectively gives near-useless realtors a monopoly.
Holding on to market data, being secretive about market data, this type of poor market policy is a reflection of the corruption that allows the realtors to live within an artificial bubble of undeserved comfort.
At least taxi drivers did their job, realtors can do very little and get rewarded over $30,000 for a transaction. THIS is an industry which neither deserves it, nor is it common sense to allow them a stranglehold on basic market data.
In a profession where collusion, secrecy, conflict of interest, and little to no repercussions for lack of ethical conduct and accountability prevails industry-wide, there is no benefit to average day-to-day property owners like us. The Real estate agents, lawyers, and the government are all benefiting from rising house prices. They are walking away with a big chunk of our nest-egg with little effort of their own.
The industry is corrupt.
If an engineer or doctor is held accountable for error or non-compliance, they lose their license to practice and are subjected to hefty fines and criminal prosecution. For banks that offer 2.25% on your saving account, there are plethora of regulations and compliance. However for a realtors', when owners and consumers like us try to grow our nest-egg, which is one of the biggest investment we will ever make, the profession is self-regulated with fines that mimic traffic violations. It also seems that the most successful realtors' are the least ethical ones.
As a buyer and seller, we have all been involved in bidding war and never feel confident that it is being done with little sense of honesty. Since the whole process is hidden and what we find out is what our realtor presents us with. How can one be sure that the offers aren't rigged to begin with?
Access to information
The monopoly on the information held by the real estate associations is the most important issue in the industry. All the numbers that are shown to the potential clients and to the general public are generated by internal data collection and we have no possibility on verifying them on our end. Market analyses, statistics, days on the market, price adjustments, previous listings and transactions are inaccessible to the public and we have to take the realtors' word for it. The Competition Bureau need to take action to bring about the long-overdue Canadian equivalent of Zillow (of USA). We need more transparency and better disclosure practices. The information held by realtors' is data generated by consumers like us. They should not be walking away with 5%(commission) of our nest-egg to present information to us that is ours to begin with.
When homes were $100-150K and before there was internet, perhaps we needed realtors'. But with internet, communication and social media at our finger tips, most agents charge the same as they always have. Except, now the houses are averaging $800K and up and 5% commission is a bit much considering the amount of work they have to still put in hasn't changed. They all charge based on the selling price of the house and this effectively gives them raises that are out of reach for most which makes it even harder for buyers to afford owning a home.
We are all aware of realtors' who own seven houses and condos of their own. This personal gain was only possible with loss of someone else - the consumers like us. Their Benz car, beach-front villas, lavish lifestyle, economically wealthy connections, all this was possible because of property owners like us. When something like this persists industry-wide, even to a lay man, it is evident that problems persists. Dark, intelligible, and questionable practices are not uncommon.
Do we use an 'Automotive Agent' to sell our car? Do we use a banking agent for 'Direct-investment' trading account? Do we use a 'shopping agent' to buy items from Walmart or Amazon? NO! Similarly, we don't need a realtor to buy or sell our property.
Commissions should be capped at expenses plus say 5%. 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 or 100,000 commissions is crazy. Increase sale process transparency, provide access to background real estate data and end 'self-regulation'. Bring in more real-estate scrutiny, hefty fines, license revocations, and subject them to criminal prosecution for wrong doing.
We cannot afford to just give away our net-worth. Let us do away with this 'gutless profession'.
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