Tag Archives: royal lepage real estate services
Tony Wong – Yourhome.ca
Executives at Canada’s top brokerage houses say they have no plans to break away from organized real estate to form their own central site that would challenge the established Multiple Listing Service.
However, they do want the ability to share information with each other and that would allow their brokers to place listings on each other’s websites as early as next year.
“We don’t intend to storm the Bastille,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.
“The Multiple Listing Service is already the dominant content provider and we don’t intend to reinvent the wheel. What we want is more sharing of information.”
The heads of major brokerages such as Royal LePage, ReMax and Century 21 held a conference call Tuesday to determine the best way they can go about placing listings of homes on each other’s websites.
Under the current system, for example, only Royal LePage agent homes available for sale would be seen on the Royal LePage website. Under the data sharing plan, Royal LePage’s listings would also be available on their competitor’s website.
The brokers want the system available to any realtor who wishes to share listing information.
The new tone is much more conciliatory than in 1999 when the same brokerage houses got together and threatened to form their own separate MLS system.
“We were not happy at the time with some of the fees and services being offered by some of the boards,” said Don Lawby, president of Century 21 Canada, who was one of the leaders in the charge.
“But this time we are not coming in with guns blazing. We are working co-operatively with organized real estate.”
Lawby said he still has some issues with CREA, the governing body of realtors that controls the MLS, where 90% of home sales are made.
“It likely needs to be more efficient and effective about where it spends money, but we still need CREA and the MLS,” said Lawby.
Soper said the talks have been ongoing for more than a decade, when the brokerages first started meeting.
“This has been a long time coming, and it’s been a long struggle just moving the ball forward over the years.”
The original threat 11 years ago was to potentially have a completely separate computer system that could replace the MLS, since the major brokerage houses control most of the listings. But that would have cost millions and the plan was scrapped.
Now the major houses say, the public interface for MLS listings will always remain integral to the real estate business.
“There won’t be that kind of singular competition because we are still competitors with our own websites,” said Soper.
Even though brokerages might be sharing listing information, their hope is to drive buyers to their sites over their competitors.
This week Yahoo Canada said it would also offer listings on its main search page using the database of Zoocasa.com.
Lawby said Century 21 also had a similar partnership with AOL Canada a decade ago.
“It helped to drive people to our site. But it’s not a game changer. It’s one more alternative for the consumer. That’s what we’re all offering.”
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