REALTOR.ca Apple Watch app makes Editors' Choice

Apple watches

CREA released the new REALTOR.ca iPhone app on April 24, 2015 with features specifically designed for pairing with the new Apple Watch.

REALTOR.ca was one of a select group of apps available when the Apple Watch launched and iTunes® promptly named it Editors' Choice! This accolade is reserved for only the best apps and underscores the popularity of REALTOR.ca.

Over the past month the REALTOR.ca iPhone app has been downloaded or upgraded over 40,000 times*. It has also been getting positive press through publications like Marketing Magazine, which grouped REALTOR.ca with other top Canadian brands such as the Globe and Mail, WestJet and Pizza Pizza.

It is clear with this strong entrance into the wearable market that REALTOR.ca will continue to put REALTORS® at the forefront of real estate marketing in Canada.

* Source: Flurry Analytics, April 24th - May 26th, 2015.


What's New and What's Old:
Out of Province Listings and REALTOR.ca

Any great success like REALTOR.ca is going to have people who try to take unfair advantage of it. Take the example of out of province listings. A few years ago, CREA started receiving complaints about out of province listings on REALTOR.ca that did not comply with provincial regulatory requirements.

So CREA reacted in 2013 by putting into place a policy to allow the removal of such listings. The purpose was simple: to protect one of our most valuable assets, REALTOR.ca, from being misused to improperly advertise non-compliant listings.

What is the most common reason for removal? Many provincial regulators require that a listing agent or brokerage be licenced in their province in order to advertise a property located in their province. As of today, regulators who have indicated to CREA that they require such licencing include Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, recently joined by Yukon and Saskatchewan.

REALTORS® must keep up to date on licencing and other requirements in every jurisdiction where they operate. Otherwise, you may have to explain to a client why their listing is no longer on REALTOR.ca.


CREA Scores Win at the Competition Tribunal

In light of our past experiences with Canada's competition watchdog, it is no surprise that the Commissioner of Competition continues to take a keen interest in the real estate industry and recently CREA once again found itself defending REALTORS® against the Commissioner.

The cause of this latest dispute was the Commissioner's belief that CREA's rules, which prohibit display of seller contact information or advertisement of a private sale on a webpage linked directly from REALTOR.ca (within one click), were discriminatory against mere posters and therefore contrary to the 2010 Consent Agreement. CREA disagreed with the Commissioner and argued that its rules were within both the spirit and the letter of the Consent Agreement.

After almost two years of discussions culminating in a warning from the Commissioner, CREA's Board of Directors seized the initiative and CREA filed a motion to the Competition Tribunal asking it to determine whether these CREA rules were consistent with the Consent Agreement.  We are pleased to report that the Competition Tribunal not only found in favour of CREA, but also awarded costs in favour of CREA.

In order to ensure that the member-to-member nature of MLS® Systems continued to be respected, and to reflect that REALTOR.ca was created by and for REALTORS®, in 2011 CREA enacted reasonable rules designed to ensure that a consumer would not click on a button on REALTOR.ca and be directly taken by that single click to a webpage that contained seller contact information or which clearly advertised that a sale was private. CREA made it very clear to the Competition Tribunal that the intention was not to prevent this information from appearing anywhere on a REALTOR®'s own website, just not on the first landing page linked directly from REALTOR.ca.

In its decision issued on April 30, 2015, the Tribunal ultimately agreed with CREA and, significantly, recognized the member-to-member nature of the MLS® Systems underlying REALTOR.ca. The Tribunal noted CREA's position that "Member funded services are not required to promote private sales, something antithetical to the CREA member-to-member business model". The Tribunal also disagreed with the Commissioner's view that any distinction between CREA members and private sellers would be discriminatory and contrary to the Consent Agreement no matter how minute, and found that CREA's rules were justified in requiring the creation of a "buffer page" between REALTOR.ca and private sellers' information. In other words, the Tribunal found that requiring a "second click" to reach such information does not prevent or hinder mere postings or the display of seller contact information on a website.

This is a solid win that is good news for CREA and its members as the Tribunal recognized the member-to-member nature of the MLS® Systems underlying REALTOR.ca.


Register for CIPS events across Canada

There is no denying it; Canada is an exciting place to be a REALTOR® doing international business.

Foreign interest in Canadian real estate continues to surge with over 1.5 million international visits to REALTOR.ca in 2014. As international real estate continues to grow, the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation provides REALTORS® with the required knowledge, network and tools needed to globalize their business.

The CIPS is an international designation recognized by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and CREA. By earning a CIPS designation, REALTORS® gain access to the CIPS Network of over 2,800 international members across 50 countries.

Calgary

CREA will be hosting a 5 Day CIPS Institute on July 6-10 in Calgary, Alberta and July 27-31 in Brampton, Ontario. Here's what you can learn about the critical aspects of international real estate transactions:

Don't miss out on this opportunity to obtain your CIPS designation. Registration is now available at www.events.crea.ca/CIPS