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Transparency and Accountability in Real Estate (Part1)

Blog by Amanda Blake | January 11th, 2012

Did you know in the MLS Rules & Regulations of the Central Alberta Real Estate Association, there is a rule that allows the buyer's agent to contact the seller directly if the seller's agent does not respond within a reasonable amount of time? The rule states:

The Member must make appointments for other Members without delay, (subject to Sub-Section 12.1); (24 hours shall constitute a reasonable effort). If, after a reasonable effort has been made by the Selling Brokerage to contact the Listing Brokerage, the Member shall be permitted to contact the Principal(s) directly.
So you might be asking yourself, why does such a rule exist? In my experience, it is to protect the integrity of the industry by encouraging agents to work together and to ensure that the best interest of their clients, both the buyer and the seller, are promoted.

For instance, let's say you decide to sell your home and list your property on the MLS® System. The next day, a buyer's agent makes a request to view a home to your listing agent but unfortunately your agent fails to respond to the buyer's agent. How would you feel as the seller, to find out that you missed out on a potential offer because your agent was not doing their job? And better yet, how do you even know that your agent failed to do their job? Well the answer to that second question is simple, you won't know. You, as the seller, will have NO IDEA that you missed out on a showing which could have potentially led to an offer which could have potentially sold your home. And the reason you will have no idea is because the agent that is representing you, acts as a filter.

Rules are usually the result of trying to prevent issues from happening in the future. So it is my guess that this rule was created as a result of issues that were faced in a highly competitive, commission based industry. The Central Alberta REALTORS® Association has ensured that the listing agent that you have hired ("the filter") to represent you has accountability by allowing some transparency and giving the buyer's agent an opportunity to contact you if your listing agent is failing to perform their obligations. Transparency and accountability seem like a good thing to me!

Personally, I appreciate being held accountable to my clients by having a rule that allows a buyer's agent to contact my sellers directly to arrange a showing should they not be able to reach me. I would never want my clients to miss out on a viewing as it the first step to an offer. As an agent, if I am acting in my seller's best interest and if I have nothing to hide, then why would it bother me if a buyer's agent felt the last resort was to contact my seller directly?