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Opinion: The public needs exclusive listings

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A recent notice from CREA indicates that any exclusive residential listing to be advertised in any format must be posted on the MLS.

In fact, exclusive lists of residential real estate will be eliminated. This was the case for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the US in 2020, and CREA appears to be following suit.

I recently commented on this on Facebook and got 193 responses, so I digress “article writing” and instead post the many legitimate reasons why exclusive lists were and will be necessary.

In no particular order, and I’ve shortened the comments.

• Chronically ill sellers who want and need to limit views; we are reminded of this past pandemic, the lockdown and the fears of many who needed to sell but didn’t want much human contact

• High-class people, celebrities and the very rich don’t want the public to see pictures of how they live, and they don’t want a bunch of howlers wandering around their homes.

• Divorce and lawsuits where they don’t want photos and top secret exposure.

• Seniors and hoarders. An agent takes an exclusive and takes several weeks to clear, clean and restore it before offering it on the MLS. It is wiser in this situation to take an exclusive and advertise it “as is” or “repair to your taste” and other actions.

• Elderly residents who did not speak English and customers who did not want their mother to go outside during the showings. They wanted to control their situation.

• Hoarders who were ashamed of the way they lived and refused to participate in MLS.

• People with pets who may run away or become frightened.

• People with valuable collections from art to coins. They want buyers to be vetted and not open to the public.

• Selling assignments when the developers said “assignments cannot be listed on the MLS.”

• People who have been traumatized by stalkers and are afraid.

• One client had over 100 legal firearms at home and refused to participate in MLS.

• Farms – sellers did not want their neighbors to know about their business and changes in life.

And more…

As a result, many wrote, “it’s up to sellers, and they can choose to pay MLS exclusive for any number of reasons, which is their prerogative. No one should limit a seller’s right to be less open and more in control of their situation.”

And I believe that there are restrictive trade practices laws in Canada, and it smacks of that.

CREA, think twice. We are not NAR and American laws are not always welcome in Canada. I see a lot of pushback from members and I expect the biggest pushback will come from the upper echelon of realtors in Canada who deal with the super rich.

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