Real Estate Industry Regulation
Recently, an independent report on the real estate industry was published and Premier Christy Clark announced that the province is now set to take over the regulation of the real estate industry.
The recommendations included a 250 percent increase in fines for misconduct setting fines at $250,000 for the individual Realtor and from $500,000 for brokerages. In addition, Realtors will no longer be allowed to represent both the buyer and the seller in one transaction. This is often referred to in the trade as “double ending”.
While Fifth Avenue prefers less government regulation we do support the adoption of these recommendations. We think the recommended increase in fines for misconduct will deter those few that may have acted unethically away from unethical practices while helping the ethical majority protect their image. Furthermore, for nearly a decade Fifth Avenue has elected to not represent both parties in a particular real estate transaction. It appears the industry will now follow suit.
Why Good Realtors Are Invaluable
Realtors bring many positive things to the table that help protect the public including:
1) Providing Up to Date Market Data
Realtors collect and pay for the tabulation, storage and sharing of vital sales information on the Multiple Listing Service (known as MLS) system they helped to create. This is the information that Realtors and their boards work hard to collect and use on a regular basis for establishing market values in British Columbia. Without this system there would not be anything except city assessments and hearsay to base value on. Realtors are also knowledgeable about the areas and neighborhoods they work in, allowing them to explain to those coming from other areas the difference in neighborhoods, the history of a particular area and more. For an illustration of the importance of area knowledge watch this video.
2) Ensuring Legal and Enforceable Contracts
Realtors are trained professionals able to write enforceable contracts in order to insure their clients get what they need in a transaction. They also provide needed clarity for their clients. All in all, realtors help consumers make informed buying and selling decisions.
3) Clarifying Transactions Costs
Realtors are also knowledgeable about all the costs associated with real estate transactions, not just the sale price, but things like property transfer tax, if GST applies (new homes), legal fees, appraisal contacts, and more.
There is an unethical minority in every industry and sadly they can damage the reputation of the ethical majority who are here to help. We hope the practices of the few do not deter the consumer from seeking a trusted and ethical advisor who is an expert in their profession. Realtor.ca is a great place to start a search for a trusted advisor.