I’ll just comment quickly on today’s Edmonton Journal article: “Realtors Association of Edmonton a house divided over sales disclosure.” The article discusses a new rule from the board of directors to withhold sales information until the title transfers. This it the biggest change I’ve seen in the last 25 years when it comes to deciding how much to pay for a home, or accept for a home. With this new rule, REALTORS® and their clients will no longer have current data available at that critical decision making moment.
Under this new rule, if you’re working with a REALTOR® to buy or sell a home, you won’t have access to information about recent sales when you need it the most. You will be able to see that the home is sold, but you won’t know the sale price until title transfers (typically 30-60 days later). The rule is set to come into affect on Dec. 1/12.
No way, no how, can you pin this new rule on REALTORS®. I know that sounds weird, but every REALTOR® I have talked to since this decision was made is against it. You see, our Board of Directors made the decision with no input from the membership. Even though these directors are elected, not one of them ran on a platform of changing the way we report sales data. If they had, they wouldn’t have gotten my vote.
The board says the decision is to protect the association and its members from potential liability – they liken it to buying fire insurance. I liken it to buying bomb insurance. They say that every year a number of deals collapse after conditions are removed, and by reporting the sales information we open ourselves up to liability. It’s worth noting that after at least 100,000 transactions in the last decade in Edmonton, a whopping 0 lawsuits related to publishing sales information in our database have occurred.
The board says it’s no big deal, we should be able to estimate the sale price based on market conditions and the length of time it took to sell. They don’t mention that in doing so, the liability the association sloughed off has now been pushed squarely on to the shoulders of the individual REALTOR®. Our “educated guesses” could be wrong at least half the time.
We make our living interpreting market data for our clients. Our clients rely on this critical, timely information to make informed decisions. I can’t speak for the public, but as someone who buys and sells properties this information is invaluable when key decisions are made. How do you feel about the rule?
A message to our fellow REALTORS®: the board may say the decision is made, there is nothing we can do about it, but I think we can do something. Come to the general meeting on Sept. 27 at the Delta Edmonton South and have your opinion heard (register on the intranet – the form is in the weekly review inserts). Hopefully in a few weeks we can all wake up and think this was just some kind of bad dream.