You know, it’s a shame that there is so much mis-information out there about real estate. As the Broker of a rural real estate brokerage that has chosen not to be part of the M.L.S. system, we seem to always be fighting an uphill battle with consumers and Realtors believing that we aren’t licensed to sell real estate (we are), that we aren’t as ethical or regulated as carefully ( we are), or that we can’t market our properties as effectively without putting them on realtor.ca (we have our listings on approximately 15 websites, and can put them on realtor.ca through a co-listing with a Realtor if the client wishes).
To sell real estate in Alberta , you have to be licensed by the Alberta Real Estate Council (“RECA”) and registered with a licensed real estate brokerage. Once this is done, you are referred to as a real estate associate (or associate broker or broker as the case may be). You can also use the term real estate professional or agent. If you choose to join your local real estate board, (in Calgary, that is the Calgary Real Estate Board) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (“CREA”), then you can be called a “Realtor” and post your listings on realtor.ca. The term “Realtor” was copyrighted by CREA so only associates registered with CREA can use that term. There is no difference in level of competency between a Realtor and a real estate associate.
CREA has a code of conduct that Realtors are supposed to follow. This, however, does not mean that if you are not a Realtor, then you have no regulation. There are rules and regulations in place under the Real Estate Act (Alberta), and a lot of training on ethics. RECA does a great job of regulation and responding to consumers. At Linview we have a code of ethics in our policy manual that all our sales associates are expected to adhere to, that is very similar and in some cases, stricter, than the Realtor code of conduct.
As far as marketing properties, I would argue that with the rise of social media, a single website is no longer good enough for most consumers. They are looking everywhere for properties to purchase and there are lots of property listing websites out there. Our course, we have our website, Linview.ca, and Kijiji.ca is one that we get a lot of response from in Alberta. Others include Point2Homes, HotFrog, Real Estate Channel, HomeHippo, BuySellTrade.ca, and many others. In addition, facebook, twitter and other social media platforms help people find us. It’s about so much more than just one website. Of course, we haven’t even talked about the extensive newspaper advertising that takes place. In essence, by not participating in M.L.S., we have to keep on our toes and work that much harder for our clients and customers, so it’s a win-win for everyone!
Ethics and morals can’t be legislated, so all the organizations and rules in the world will not make dishonest people honest. It comes down to working with someone you can trust has your back and will look after your best interests. Someone who is dedicated in working only for you to get you the best deal possible. These sales associates are found in every company, M.L.S. or not. It’s a matter of meeting with several and finding someone that you are comfortable with, someone who shares your values and that you feel will work for you and only you.
When buying or selling a home, the very first thing you should do is find a sales associate who can help you with one of the largest financial transactions most people make in their lives. That sales associate can then help you navigate the confusing waters of home inspections, mortgages and the other hassles that inevitably crop up when buying and selling real estate.
Thanks for reading!