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Opinion: The public needs exclusive listings

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A recent announcement from CREA indicates that any exclusive residential listing that is to be advertised in any format must be posted on MLS. 

Essentially, exclusive listings for residential properties would be eliminated. This was the case by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the USA in 2020, and it appears that CREA is following their example. 

I recently made a comment on this on Facebook and received 193 replies, so I will dispense with “writing an article” and instead post many of the legitimate reasons why exclusive listings have been and will continue to be necessary. 

In no particular order, and I have condensed the comments. 

• Chronically ill sellers who want and need to restrict viewings; we are reminded of this past pandemic, the lockdowns and the fears of many who needed to sell but did not want a great deal of human contact 

• High-end personalities, celebrities, and the very wealthy do not want the public to see photographs of how they live, nor do they want a bunch of gawkers wandering through their homes. 

• Divorce and legal actions where they want no pictures and very secretive exposure. 

• Seniors and hoarders. An agent takes an exclusive and takes weeks to get it cleared, cleaned and restored before offering it on MLS. It is prudent to take an exclusive in this situation and advertise it “as is” or “to be renovated to your taste,” amongst other actions. 

• Senior residents who did not speak English and clients who did not want their mom out on the streets during showings. They wanted control of their situation. 

• Hoarders who were ashamed about how they lived and refused to be on MLS. 

• People with pets who can run out or be scared. 

• People with valuable collections from art to coins. They want buyers vetted and not open to the public. 

• Assignment sales where developers have stated, “assignments cannot be listed on MLS.” 

• People who have been traumatized by stalkers and are fearful. 

• One had a client with over 100 legal firearms in the house and refused to be on MLS. 

• Farms – the sellers did not want their neighbours to know about their business and life change. 

And more…

Bottom line, many wrote, “this is for the sellers to decide, and they can opt-in to an exclusive over MLS for a myriad of reasons which is their prerogative. No one should restrict a seller’s right to be less open and more in control of their situation.” 

And my take is that there are laws in Canada about restrictive trade practices, and this smacks of that. 

CREA, think twice. We are not NAR, and American laws are not always welcome in Canada. I see a great deal of pushback from the membership, and I expect most resistance to start with the upper echelon of realtors in Canada who deal with the super-rich.


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