As you’ve probably already heard, Sold Listing Data in Canada is becoming more accessible to the public.

How will these new changes affect real estate agents and their clients in 2019 and beyond? Are you nervous? Hopeful? Scared? Excited? Angry? Confused?

While we’re sure there are many emotions being felt among Canadian real estate agents in light of changes with sold listings, the Ninjas are here to explain, and to tell you that everything’s going to be just great. *hug*

So what’s the story with sold listing data, exactly?

Since 2011, the Competition Bureau of Canada has had a case ongoing against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) in efforts to remove the board’s restrictions on real estate data – namely historical listings and sold listings.

In June 2017, the Competition Tribunal served TREB an order addressing their “anti-competitive conduct”. On August 23rd, 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed TREB’s application to appeal, concluding seven years of litigation.

According to Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition:

“Today’s ruling is a decisive victory for competition, innovation and for consumers. By removing TREB’s anti-competitive restrictions, home buyers and sellers in the GTA will now have greater access to information and innovative real estate services when making one of the most significant financial decisions of their lives.” (Source)

Since this decision, many other boards across Canada are following in the footsteps of TREB and choosing not to challenge the ruling. CREA itself is planning on giving access to sold listing data without requiring a login. That is of course if the various provincial boards give them permission to do so.

At this time, it is unclear which boards will provide this data through a VOW feed, which boards will freely provide access without a login, and which boards will decide to resist the change.

One thing looks fairly certain: sold listing data is going to be accessible to the Canadian public one way or another, and probably sooner than expected.

How will public accessibility to sold listings affect me as a Canadian real estate agent?

Remember not too long ago when you’d go to a restaurant and the kitchen was tucked in the back, behind closed doors and out of plain view?

These days it’s hard to find a restaurant where you don’t get a direct view of what’s happening in the kitchen. The “open kitchen” model has been adopted by nearly all restaurant concepts.

In fact, going to a restaurant with a “closed kitchen” gives me a weird feeling today… what exactly are they hiding back there?

transparency in business - open kitchen concept

The same mentality is true of any industry… the less we hide behind closed doors, the better it is for business. Transparency is the evolution of the business landscape. It’s just the world we live in now, and we’re better off accepting it early and pivoting to leverage transparency to grow our business.

So let’s accept that allowing consumers to do their own sold listing research is just a positive step in our industry’s evolution. Knowing that, here are a few truths about how this change is going to positively affect your real estate business:

  • In the USA, public access to sold listing data happened over 10 years ago, and REALTORS® are still thriving down there. This public access to sold listings will provide more transparency which will not threaten the core value that a Realtor® provides, nor is it going to invoke more FSBO listings.
  • You’re going to save a ton of time by not talking to tire-kickers on the phone and via email. No more responding to nosey neighbours who just want to know what the next door house sold for. These people can do searches on their own, allowing you to focus your efforts on REAL leads.
  • If you’re a RealtyNinja website customer, or any modern Realtor® who is intent on capturing high quality leads, you have an opportunity to create websites and landing pages to position yourself as a leader in sold listing information in your market. You have the potential to earn tons of extra traffic that wasn’t previously possible.
  • A VOW-enabled website (which is most likely going to be required for sold listing access) often yields higher quality leads because they require the visitor to submit accurate contact information in order to get access.

Don’t take our word for it, watch this quick video from Richard Robbins, where he talks about the upcoming changes surrounding sold listings, and how Canadian real estate agents can stay ahead of them by evolving their value proposition with the times.

The bottom line

You have nothing to fear. 👌

Real estate agents are highly valuable professionals and the service you provide can not be devalued by technology or search portals – on the contrary, these changes will just result in more tools for your business toolbelt.

Real estate transactions are very important, high-touch, low-frequency and emotionally charged parts of Canadian life – too much so to be completely replaced by something as simplistic as market research tools or software.

Focus on the needs of your target market, and find opportunities in change. Serving your clients’ needs and meeting their changing demands is the best long-term strategy for safeguarding yourself against any kind of disruption, be it technological or otherwise.

You can and will continue to provide people with value, even in changing times.

We believe in you, Ninja!

BY THE WAY: Here at RealtyNinja we’ve been working through the holidays and are in the process of developing tools that will help ensure our website customers have an industry leading VOW implementation and access to sold listing data feeds as they become available on your board. Sold listings our number 1 top priority for early 2019, so stay tuned for updates on this front as they become available in the weeks ahead. Happy New Year!