In response to government consultations, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has proposed 28 recommendations for ending “bully offers” in real estate. OREA’s report, Vision for a Modern REBBA (Real Estate and Business Brokers Act): Getting to the Highest Professional Standards in North America, outlines ways to increase fairness in the home buying process by modernizing industry rules and eliminating practices that give some buyers an unfair advantage.
“If a home listing includes an offer date, that’s the date on which all offers should be considered; an offer made before that date, which is known as a pre-emptive, or ‘bully offers’, should not be allowed,” said Karen Cox, OREA President. “This will ensure that all interested buyers of a particular home get a fair shot at making an offer. For sellers, it means they will have a chance to work with their realtor to carefully and thoughtfully consider all offers without feeling like they are in a pressure cooker.”
OREA’s top 7 recommendations include:
- Leveling the playing field: The current two-tier consumer protection system exempts builders and developers from having to follow the rules that all real estate salespeople in Ontario must follow when trading in real estate.
- Protecting consumers against unlicensed operators: Some unlicensed real estate “consultants” still outside of consumer protection rules in Ontario. The grey area in REBBA that allows this should, therefore, be removed.
- More transparency: If buyers and sellers want a fully transparent, multiple-offer process, REBBA should allow for it with buyer and seller consent.
- Enhanced education: Industry knowledge and awareness about the home buying process should be enhanced through more in-class training and specialization in areas like condominiums, industrial, and rural or waterfront properties.
- Tougher enforcement: The Real Estate Council of Ontario should have the authority to proactively investigate the worst offenders and kick people who break the rules out of the profession.
- Fair tax treatment for realtors: An outdated piece of red tape is preventing real estate salespeople and brokers from operating their businesses through professional corporations that would allow them to reinvest in their business, hire more staff, and contribute to the local economy.
- Specialty licensing: REBBA should be amended to permit specialty licensing classes for commercial, agricultural, condominium, and other forms of real estate.
Read the full proposal at www.rebbareform.ca.