MLS Now Open To Public – CREA Agreement

by Mike Holman

The recent agreement to open up the MLS real estate database to agents working for a flat fee, means that it will be lot easier for people to sell their homes without hiring a commissioned agent.

Previously, sellers without commissioned agents couldn’t list their homes on MLS which made selling without an agent, a lot more difficult. From my experience, most buyers use MLS as their exclusive search destination when looking for potential houses.

Benefits for sellers

This change allows home owners to sell their house without paying an agent up to 2.5% for the privilege of listing on MLS. Even if they pay a buying agent up to 2.5%, they can still save quite a bit of money.

It will be interesting to see if the standard 2.5% for the buyer’s agent continues or if that gets changed to a fixed fee as well. What would make more sense to me, is for buyers to pay their own agent for services rendered. Maybe buyers should pay for each house viewed?

Benefits for buyers

This might make it easier to buy a house without an agent. However, since the invention of dual-agency status (otherwise known as double-dealing) this benefit might not be very significant since it’s pretty easy to buy a house without an agent.

Give me access to MLS sales data

At one time I had full access to the MLS sales data, due to the generosity of a friend. As I was changing houses at the time, this information was invaluable. I would hate to pay an agent a huge chunk of money just to get access to comparables, but it might just be worthwhile.

What I’d love to see is an option for someone to pay for an MLS login. If I was in the process of buying or selling my house, I would have no problem paying $50 per month to be able to look at relevant sales data.

So how about it CREA? Sell your data before Zillow starts doing it.

Will this result in lower real estate fees?

No.  In the US, this change happened a few years ago and commission rates for real estate agents have not gone down.  The only difference is that people who want to sell their home on their own have an easier time doing it.

This is analogous with the Canadian investment industry.  At one time, there were no do-it-yourself cheap options for investors.  Now we have discount brokerages, cheap ETFs and index funds.  Has this lowered the price for the “full-service” investment model?  No, all it means is that if you are willing to do it yourself, you can save a bundle of money.  Most investors choose not to do that.

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