Recently REM editor Jim Adair interviewed CREA president Beth Crosbie at the association’s offices in Ottawa. Crosbie is a sales representative with Coldwell Banker Pro Co in St. John’s, N.L.. Also sitting in were CREA CEO Gary Simonsen, vice-president of government and public relations Randall McCauley and media relations officer Pierre Leduc. 

Jim Adair, REM: When you started your year as CREA president, what were your goals?

Beth Crosbie: Under president Laura Leyser in January we did a five-year strategic planning session, and it was a thing of beauty. It’s one of those things that once you make a change, you wonder why you didn’t do it far sooner. This time, rather than just having the CREA directors and staff dealing with it themselves, we invited members and association and board staff from across the country. We had somebody from NAR, we invited a franchiser (and some other consultants) – so we brought a lot of outside stakeholders into the room.

We established that we have one key stakeholder – the Realtor, our member. The beauty of that is, once you have established that’s the person who you are planning your tools and services around, then as you consider anything new you say, “Does this benefit the Realtor?” and secondly, “Are we the right organization that’s in a position to provide that tool or service to them?”

The other piece that came out of it was that over the years we got to the point where we talked about levels of organized real estate, but we are all serving that same client. It’s really a community of associations that is working on behalf of the Realtor.

So once you understand that you also can look much more collaboratively on how you bring those tools and services forward and who provides what. I thought it was an excellent exercise and we’ve seen some spinoff where some other associations and boards are inviting outside stakeholders into their meetings as well, and it’s really formed a nice foundation on how we are building over the next five years.

Adair: How do you deal with members from different parts of the country? With big and small boards?

Crosbie:  I think you have to go back to basics. Our association is all about the Realtor. They are our key member – and Realtors face very similar challenges across the country and yet there are always challenges they face that are specific to their area. So I think one of the key pieces we have done is increasing our commutation and having a two-way dialogue – and not just explain what we are doing and the value we are bringing, but also the why behind what we do. We concentrated a lot since the beginning of (the Futures initiative) on communication and better understanding and I think at this point we are really seeing some dividends from that.

We are now doing Open House sessions with members across the country. As Realtors we know that getting in front of the client and understanding them and dealing with them face-to-face is the best way to build a relationship, so the Open Houses are reaching out both to leaders and to members directly to explain some of the tools and services that CREA is offering. We are tying those meetings into existing provincial or local meetings. We’ve done it over the last couple of months and I think it has been very successful.

Beth Crosbie-0400 wen ins1Adair: What are the members asking about? Do they want to talk about apps and Realtor.ca or do they want to talk about broader issues like FINTRAC and the Competition Bureau?

Crosbie:  Because of anti-spam legislation and FINTRAC we’ve had staff attending a lot of meetings across the country, trying to build the understanding of what those changes are and what they mean to Realtors.

In the Open Houses, I think the members are enjoying all the information but what they are really responding to is just having somebody explain, “these are some of the tools that CREA is offering and this is how I use them in my business.” And you can almost see the light going on for people in the audience. They’re thinking, I could do that. Most of it is very easy; it’s just an awareness issue.



Adair: The membership in CREA keeps growing (it’s currently more than 109,000). Is it hard to keep staff levels down and keep costs in check when there are so many more members?

Gary Simonsen: We pay great attention to our financial situation. We look at things related to best practices, such as for a non-profit organization, what’s the portion of our annual revenue that is dedicated to staff costs. There are some benchmarks in the industry and we pay attention to those and make sure that we are bettering those benchmarks.

One of the advantages of the planning sessions, the outcome is very focused and that’s to insure that we deliver on those things that we can do very well, and not try to be all things to everyone. Sometimes that’s a danger with associations, because you want to make everybody happy. The reality is that nobody can do that so you have to pick those things that are most valued by members and that you can execute very well. I think that for technology products and services, federal affairs and our lobbying efforts, statistical information and research, we do a great job. That’s where our focus will continue to be.

Adair: One of the issues that was much-discussed during the Futures sessions was governance. Is that still an ongoing discussion?

Simonsen: Last year our Board of Directors was reduced from 19 to 16. That was one of the initial pieces of the governance review, to try and have as effective and responsive a board as possible. You still must be able to insure that you have the appropriate input coming from across the country.

Crosbie: We have a very active governance committee – and we’re continuing to work on looking at what we need to do to put ourselves at the forefront of good governance practices. In Banff (at the Western Connection conference in January) we are going to take the entire governance committee and meet with the board and get them up to speed on what we are looking at. It’s always about trying to streamline and make sure the practices we have in place are the right thing for the members.

As we went through the Futures initiative, it became apparent that sometimes there’s duplication (in organized real estate) that is necessary but sometimes it isn’t – and if we work collaboratively we can reduce some of the duplication and also magnify the results – that’s something that all boards and associations are trying to focus on.

Adair: In 2012 and 2013 when we interviewed the presidents of CREA, a big topic was about the Quebec boards leaving the association, but now it seems there is peace.

Crosbie: Both parties have worked hard to ensure our relationship is growing stronger. We are very happy to have them back with us and moving forward.

We learned a lot from the experience – lessons we are taking across the country.

Adair: This year there were questions in the media about CREA’s statistics and a suggestion that CREA was protecting its president so she wouldn’t have to talk to the media. Was there any kind of attempt to avoid the media?

Pierre Leduc: It’s not a question of protecting the president, it’s more a question of making sure the proper expert is available. We have a chief economist, Gregory Klump, who is well-known, who does presentations to banks, the IMF and CMHC all the time, talking about the stats and how we collect the numbers. He is the numbers guy.

So when media keep calling and say we want to talk to Beth about what you are providing and not providing, we are not going to have Beth talk to that because it’s not her bailiwick. It’s Greg’s decision what numbers we make available to our subscribers and what numbers we keep to ourselves for our own analysis.

Simonsen: There is a real misnomer and there is misleading information with respect to the whole issue of statistical information that is being provided by CREA. It is the best, bar none, in this country. When our Housing Price Index was created, we used the best experts in the world. We had the whole methodology feted through Statistics Canada, the Department of Finance, the Bank of Canada, CMHC. We wanted to ensure that it wasn’t just good, it was great.

All of those folks have had input into verifying and validating that the information we are producing is absolutely valid. So the notion that has been portrayed by some people who are quite frankly ill-informed and certainly not experts in the field is completely fallacious. We stand by both the quality and calibre of the information that we provide and Pierre is absolutely right – I can’t speak to someone about the methodology of the Housing Price Index, I’m not the expert in it, but I certainly know the process that we went through for the creation of it and the credibility of that information.

Beth Crosbie-0446 ins2Crosbie: My job… For one year I chair the board, which I consider to be one of the most important pieces of what I do, and I am spokesperson, but I’m not an expert in any of these other more technical fields. We as an organization believe in having experts deal with the various things that we’re looking at, so it’s wrong for me to step in and speak when we have an expert in our offices.

Adair:  Another always controversial topic is CREA’s consumer advertising campaign. I thought the SWAT team ad was the best one ever, but how was it received?

Crosbie: It was very well received, both by the public and by Realtors. You never get unanimous support of something like this, and the thing to remember when people do have differing opinions is that it’s not really about what they are thinking; it’s about what we know. And we know that campaign is doing its job.

The purpose of our campaign is to help convert those people who are sitting on the fence about whether or not they will use a Realtor. And we’ve seen significant numbers from this campaign. We’ve had the biggest amount of recall – 39 per cent in our target age range recall the ad, which is an important piece of selling the message. So we are very pleased with that ad. And I still chuckle every single time it comes on.

Randall McCauley: I think one of the interesting things is the feedback we got from across the border from NAR. We showed it at our AGM with senior NAR officials in attendance and it was so well received. It got a spontaneous round of applause. Several states expressed an interest in using the ad. You can’t get much better than that, when you have NAR with an ad budget that’s (up to) seven times ours, saying your creative is so good, we want to use it.

Adair: What are the main priorities for CREA’s government lobbying?

Crosbie: We’re concentrating a lot on the lobby for indexing the Home Buyer’s Plan. We have an election a year out, and this is a prime opportunity to speak to government and opposition parties on that subject. I think even Realtors sometimes forget that we originally initiated that plan. We’ve seen over two million people use it over the years and so the ask is just to see that it doesn’t lose value because of inflation.

We have also started the Realtor Action Network, which is a way for every Realtor in this country to participate in our lobbying. It’s an opportunity to have your voice heard.

McCauley: The Realtor Action Network is a unique tool that only organized real estate has in Canada. It’s a technological tool that we brought in from the United States, modeled on what NAR does – and it allows all members equal access to all of our lobbying efforts and it allows them to reach their MPs directly. A lot of them don’t know that they have the ability to do that. They don’t know that CREA built this. It takes them 30 seconds to sign up and through our collective efforts, we can message like no one else in Canada.

Realtors need to know that there are effects of dealing with the government on a constant basis. You have seen that with FINTRAC and anti-spam, with nine and 10 changes to the regulations and legislation to each one. Their participation helps us to do those things. The efforts we can deploy on their behalf on spam and FINTRAC will save them time and effort that they can spend elsewhere.

Adair: How has your year been? Fun, a lot of work?

Crosbie: I do put a lot of time in on the road. I have done 80 flights. I’m a bit different than others because I’m coming out of Newfoundland so it adds that extra distance for me. But I really enjoy getting out and meeting the members and having an opportunity to speak to them and (explain) what we are facing and why we dealing with it the way we are.

This is something I knew I was signing up for. I don’t really look at this as my year as president, I look at it as time I have had on the board  – a seven-year landscape of being involved at this level. It’s been great, I love what I do. When I got up to this level I invested a lot of time trying to be on top of the files and reaching out to understand member concerns. I’m quite enjoying my year and I take the responsibility and the trust very seriously. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to do it.

Adair: Are you able to keep your real estate business going?

Crosbie: No. I had plans in place when I knew I was going to be doing this – so my business is referred at the moment.

Adair: So if someone wants to be involved in organized real estate, do they have to be prepared to sacrifice their own personal business?

Crosbie: I don’t see it as a sacrifice. It’s like public service in any area, there are tradeoffs you have to make and if your only concern is the bottom line, there is some loss, there’s no question. But there is also a lot of benefit to better understanding the whole business. The building of relationships is what Realtors are all about and that’s what this side of things is all about as well, building relationships both internally and externally and with government, as well. I see it as a win-win.

34 COMMENTS

  1. “To level the playing field of the best most ethical members of your
    association when competing against the worst most unethical members, what changes is CREA bringing in 2015?”

    I would like to add some context to Ross’ above question, posed to the current CREA President, by citing just one situational example from the consumers whom I encountered in 2014. The following list of items relates to a situation I became familiar, that came to my attention regarding a single, listing contract, experience on the part of a local seller:

    1/ The building’s exterior measurements were incorrectly represented.

    2/ The primary heating system was not completely and ergo properly described – resulting in the false impression that the home had the most expensive heating system available, from an operational point of view.

    3/ The description of the foundation was incomplete.

    4/ The listing was not shown in the correct MLS, numerical, district.

    5/ The seller’s advised me that they had not received a copy of the paperwork relating to their listing contract.

    6/ The seller’s indicated that items shouldn’t have been included in the prior listing contract text (I showed them), based on what they believed had been discussed.

    The aforementioned seller’s had used a listing agent, REALTOR, who is very much a “top-producer” in our market.

    We hope that by debating things and making viewpoints known, those who are empowered to make things better will realize where their energies and priorities need to be focused. It’s a given that our top priority must be the consumer. Ultimately, to the extent that we as an industry provide a professional service or don’t provide a professional service – broadly speaking – is the measuring stick of how we are collectively perceived. There are some fine individuals who practice as real estate professionals, however there aren’t enough of them. Do those who are in a position to potentially effect change in our industry, truly grasp the urgency around the need for us to change and improve, or are they complacently accepting that this is as good as it can get because our problems are just too systemic?

    The following quote from the CREA President, is not what we want consumers to think, nor do we want it to be the case: “Crosbie: I think you have to go back to basics. Our association is all about the Realtor.” We understand the context of the aforesaid quote, in that it probably wasn’t intended to be made to the exclusion of consumer’s. While the intention of the CREA President’s subject statement was to patronize the national membership and soften dissension, it was an awkward misstep because it has some potential to be prejudicial – in terms of consumer perception. What we fundamentally wanted and want from CREA, was/ is for CREA to uphold and strengthen the functional and decent ethical standards associated with the trademark entity: REALTOR! The other services that CREA may provide to our membership are quite incidental to what is more important.

    As an industry, I don’t see a plan to get us where we really need to go. Our leaders top priority continues to be a focus on industry marketing efforts, as opposed to what and how we actually deliver when servicing consumers – broadly speaking. We can’t create REALTOR value through advertising; we can only create value by actually giving value!

    • Hi Alan:
      Here is an example of downright misrepresentation combined with selfishness that one Realtor displayed right before my eyes a few years ago.
      A fellow Realtor in my office had just brought a new listing into the office which I had become aware of due to the fact that I had seen her vehicle parked in front of the subject property the night before. I asked her if I could show the property that evening. She replied “Oh no! I don’t want to sell it yet! I need to use it for a couple of weeks to send out some advertisements to get my name out there and to round up some new buyer clients!” She begrudgingly let me show it the next day. The sellers were very happy with ‘her’ salesmanship! During the inspection I determined that the septic system was screwed after having lifted the access covers on the tank and finding the tank overflowing with effluent running out of the tank through the cold joint between the tank’s walls and the cover. Nothing was running out into the bed, which was flooded. I found out from the sellers that they used the septic very sparingly to avoid backups into the bathtub when the toilet was flushed too often. I told the hot-shot listing Realtor about this situation upon my return to the office, after dissuading my clients from any further interest in the property. (There were numerous other serious problems with the dwelling). The listing Realtor said “Oh well, I’ll just change the listing from a septic system to a holding tank!” I told her that she could not do that, that she had a duty to disclose the defect to anyone who wanted to inspect the property going forward. She did not like this advice coming from me. I reported her to our owner and broker of record, stating that they did not want to have a Realtor like this representing their brand in the public sphere. She changed brokerages a while later. Good riddance! So she doubtless took her attitude elsewhere, and currently has her face splashed all over a trailer (under another banner) that she loans out to clients for moving purposes. What a joke! But here is the kicker. Prior to her leaving, shortly after our one-way conversation, she reported me to our broker-owner as having harassed another of her sellers, and as well she had accused me (behind my back of course) of stalking her. I told my broker, upon having been called into his office to discuss the accusation, that I wouldn’t be interested in that bitch if she was the last person on earth, and moreover, I would have to be the stupidest moron in the world to stalk anyone, seeing as my bright red Honda Civic Si coupe had a full door wrap with my name plastered all over it. As I said above, the bitch changed brokerages a while later.
      Professionalism? Ethics? Some Realtors have no concept of doing or saying anything meaningful other than saying and doing whatever it takes to make those commissions, to be a “producer”. Marketing has become the holy grail of real estate practitioners v. doing the right things…for far too many in the business. Licensees like the above cast a large shadow over the many good guys and gals in the business, but the bad guys’ and gals’ CREA and ORE fees carry just as much weight as every one else’s.
      CREA…ORE…;are you reading all of these posts? Do they matter to your sensibilities?…really?

      • Brian,
        I realized early on in this business that many practitioners substitute their lack of any real product knowledge by utilizing aggression instead. The aforesaid fact could even be viewed as systemic, because unlike other sales fields, product knowledge has been mostly incidental to or absent from this business.
        Ironically, CREA’s focus on raising us up through their various forms of advertising initiatives, is exactly the approach that has been taken by some industry members – whose success is really about their personal marketing efforts, as opposed to their real estate marketing efforts.
        CREA needs to get out of the direct marketing business. At the present time, if a seller client does a Google search for their own listed property it is likely to come up under more different brokerage names, plus the third party sites etc., than I care to count. This fragmentation confuses the marketing of a property, from my perspective. A seller hires a particular agent for a reason and one of those reasons is so that a listing REALTOR’s marketing will have a higher visibility and take precedence. Google is an internet phenomenon and at present we have confused its potential, to our detriment.
        I’m glad you didn’t pursue that aggressive lady agent – it doesn’t sound like it would’ve worked out for you two!
        Merry XMas.

    • It’s very frustrating to read these posts because we all know it’s so true. Too bad more real estate ” Professionals ” do not participate or probably read these articles and posts.
      The ” real ” facts are— generally speaking :
      1. Realtors are NOT ” Professionals “. They operate in a self-serving manner to collect a commission and ” move on “.
      2. CREA, RECO and Provincial Boards collect FEES . That’s what pays the Administration costs and provides JOBS — so, be prepared for more Realtor ” Professionals ” qualifying for entry into the Industry. With low interest rates not meeting the inflation rate, more FEES are required to maintain the same standard of living in Administration positions.
      3. RECO — Have a look at the number of Convictions ( 25 ) and Disciplines ( 28 ) in 2014— Not very many.
      4. Question : On a $ 600K sale, what service does a real estate ” Professional ” provide for the Seller to pay a ” $ 30 K commission ?

      • >p>SDW:
        I agree with your first paragraph. Few registrants take the time to read REM. I think that some may not be good at reading anything at all, especially in combination with good comprehension skills.
        Re your points #’s 1 and 2: Registrants are absolutely not professionals engaged in a profession as described in Websters, which said descriptions go thus:
        “Profession”: an occupation requiring advanced education and training, as medicine, law etc.
        “Professional”: engaged in, or worthy of the standards of, a profession.
        However, I have come across many registrants who do ‘act’ in a professional manner, but sadly, they are outnumbered by the sales hotshots and wannabe sales hotshots, because that mindset is what is sold by CREA and the rest of Organized Real Estate (ORE) in order to keep the recruitment process alive and well. Most brokerages have a recruiter on staff for the simple reason that for every drop-out failure that departs the scene a new wishful thinker needs to take that vacant place on the roster. This is a never-ending process. They come and go faster than washroom patronizers at an Octoberfest party. This is not the fault of the many wishful thinking suckers who are already out of work and/or who can’t find a job anywhere else, who often reluctantly are drawn into the fray with visions of sugar plums in their minds as supplanted therein by the ceaseless advertising/marketing efforts of CREA/ORE which in the end only wants one thing, registrants’ dollars…the more the better. CREA/ORE may thus be described as a monolithic leech. CREA doesn’t really want to be a party to cutting back on the constant turnover of amateurs in pursuit of encouraging a smaller but more competent registrant population…why?…because they, the salaried CREAcrats, will be the poorer for it…unless they triple fees, along with every other leech-based ORE association. The above-noted bureaucrats are the only people who are regularly doing well financially on a predictable on-going basis. A fish rots from the head down. Amateurs at the top beget amateurs from the top on down. But the money flows in the opposite direction. CREA and ORE have a vested interest in protecting the status quo (their back pockets), and that attitude is fostered from there on-high downward. You have institutionalized anti-professionalism-pro-gambling “I’m OK Jack” attitudes at play here. It is just that the CREAcrats and OREcrats don’t ‘want’ to see the writing on the wall because that would mean acknowledging that ‘they’ are the real problem due to their inability to step away from the gravy train that never stops running and take a chance on changing tracks.
        Re your point # 3: The Code restricts registrants from talking poorly about fellow registrants, yet RECO encourages registrants to report fellow registrants for alleged wrong doings. Mixed messages here. Amateur newbies are confused enough as it is as they go about trying to earn a living with nay but a few weeks in a classroom to start their usually money-losing proceedings off with. Get involved with disciplinary proceedings? Are you kidding? Besides, they will likely have to work with those scum bags again in the future…maybe really soon! Best stay on their good side. Lesson learned. They don’t teach that in real estate school.
        Your point # 4: If a seller signs a contract agreeing to pay any percentage agreed upon at the time of signing a listing contract, the whether, or not, there is real value attached as delivered thereby is a moot point. Some registrants will deliver real value vis a vis excellent negotiation skills while others will not. The amateurs will simple press the sellers to accept the first offer that comes along stating that that may be the only offer that will surface. This is an old selling strategy that is drummed into newbies’ heads by money-grubbing brokerage sales trainers in pursuit of commissions. Any commission is better than no commission if the property does not sell before the listing term runs out and the listing goes to another brokerage. Usually said listings are overpriced, ‘bought’ by the amateurs in order to build a listing portfolio upon which to get their names out there via advertisements.
        To CREA and ORE in general: The above is what you continue to foster on a national scale. Good foster parents you are not. Like some foster parents you seem to be in it mainly for the money, all the while spinning tales of public awareness “We are Professionals” ads. Why do you expect far too many of your adopted progeny to be any different than you once they are released upon the public with their decades-old scripted marketing smoke-and-mirrors pronouncements?
        Professionals don’t need smoke and mirrors to earn an honest, competence-based living. Professionalism begins at the beginning, endemic in folks with a professional mindset, a good education (preferably post-secondary) and/or industry related experience of at least ten years prior to gaining access to real estate schooling, which said schooling should consist of at least six months full time in-class and in-field training. Ninety percent should be the passing marks on all examination. That still means that a ninety percent student is deficient by ten percent. You want to represent professionals ORE?Then start acting like professional organizations and demand it of your adopted progeny. Cut the numbers of newbies by half. Cut your own numbers. Change your Constitution. Come down off of your high horses. Be the solution.
        Somehow I think that I have just wasted thirty minutes of my time herein, but at least Jim the-editor-guy will get a read over the holidays.

        • Brian,

          Of course, your depiction of our industry is accurate and true. And if we’re all being honest, who could reasonably dispute your fundamental descriptions, and those of others that have been similar.

          I believe that the acronym SDW, is likely just an antagonist with an agenda that wouldn’t be helped by our industry actually progressing in the way that it should. While we may not qualify as true professionals, many of those that do aren’t immune from ethical controversy nor incompetence. In reality it is even more offensive when a true professional conducts him or herself in an unprofessional or unacceptable manner.

          The product that we deal in (real estate) is most often times of significant monetary value, and yet our greater society has not recognized the need to take professional real estate to the next level and make it a true profession. The need to make professional real estate a true profession needs to be recognized by our elected politicians, and moved forward by our elected politicians. The subject needs to be taken out of the hands of our industry.
          We have people in our Association who have very good intentions towards trying to educate the membership, and keep us current. I have participated – in my capacity as a practitioner – in sessions where the goal was to contribute to making one of our annual requirements better and we did accomplish some things. However, the topic was very important and complicated (aspects of agency) and we were seeking to clarify to ourselves and the membership that which we should’ve been clear on, years before.

          The basic structure of our industry around education is fundamentally inconsistent with the many complexities that are integral to being a real estate practitioner. We need dedicated and professional teachers who are not active practitioners. We need to take the time it properly takes to learn something, and not just the amount of time it takes to say that we tried to learn something. We need our elected officials to realize that the kind of intervention we need, needs to focus on competence and ability, and that the intervention of the Competition Bureau of Canada was detrimental and counter-productive to what must be the main priority: professionalism.

      • I believe that I could better address your points if I could relate to what it is that you do or have done regarding your livelihood. Obviously this wouldn’t effect your annonimity, so I’ll look forward to your favoured response in this regard.

      • So by your logic a lawyer is also not a professional given our operational structure is almost identical?

        Fact is,like a lawyer, it’s difficult to measure the value that a Realtor provides into a tangible form. However, when the $#!t hits the fan and deals come together where by- owners are losing deals left and right, that’s when the value of a Realtor shines through. An honest and ethical Realtor puts more deals together and puts more money into a sellers pocket. Period! And if you look at the dismal record of for-sale-by-owner companies both on and off the the MLS, it’s clear why we are seeing the Realtor industry growing and the by-owner industry struggling.

        I used to her sellers saying we will just use a fsbo company, now I hear them say I will never use a fsbo company again. So all the naysayers can just keep talking, the fsbo company wanted access and now they’ve got it, and guess what….theyre now making us look good. thanks property guys and thank you comfree!

  2. Does any CREA member actually think that any president is fully qualified to answer every question asked? Having spent four years as a CREA director, I witnessed some very experienced successful people who brought their combined knowledge to the table and did their best to deal with any issues before them. Those who were elected president had the experience of the previous years on the board as well as the input of their fellow directors and this is as much preparation as one could expect on a volunteer board. The fact that they get compensated for their executive duties is the only fair way to deal with it, otherwise only the wealthy could qualify.
    Having said all that, there are some extreme expenses that have nothing to do with the general membership. The one that stands out is the participation in FIAPCI , the international organization that is attended by the past presidents and their entourage at great expense for no good reason that I could see. The more recent costly venture was groups of people running around the country trying to plan for the next ten years. Given that most of us have to go with the flow and adjust to current conditions, this seemed like a ridiculous expense for an organization that is funded by membership. The statistics, no matter, how accurate they are deemed to be , result in headlines that give a rosy view of residential real estate sales that have nothing to do with the actual state of the market here in Atlantic Canada. As familiar as I was with the inner workings of CREA, from this distance it is hard to see the benefits to the general membership, so I strongly recommend that new communication methods be developed. I don’t remember anyone from CREA Executive even being at NBREA annual meeting last spring. So, send your people where we can converse with them and tell us why we should be pleased to pay our membership fees. :)

    • The ” experienced , successful people with their combined knowledge ” were pretty damn weak with the Competition Board !
      Perhaps the ” groups of people running around the Country “, blah, blah, blah,planning for the next 10 years etc —should have fought the Competition Board and planned the next 2 years?
      What ? An ” entourage ” to attend a Real Estate conference ?
      Are they celebrities that require an ” entourage ” ?
      Oh Yea— It’s pretty easy to spend money on these ” conventions , 10 year studies, etc when the money isn’t coming out of your own pocket .
      Statistics— Of course they will put a positive ” spin ” on them — but, you take money to the bank, not statistics.

    • Hi Noreen:
      If a President has spent seven years on various boards leading up to the Presidency, as Beth has done, then a President (in this case, Beth Crosbie) should damn well know more about various current issues than the bureaucrats say she does.
      The other problem is this in-house “president-for-a-year” golf-and-country-club-style presidency. So-called presidents come and go on a regular rotating basis whilst the there-forever bureaucrats (the real powers-that-be) remain entrenched, calling the shots for everyone…including the faux president…as this article has revealed.
      Solution? Draw up a new constitution. Hold elections every five years for the positions of power. All Realtors country-wide get to vote, seeing as they are the ones paying for this monolithic bureaucracy. This new model of actual democracy just might encourage Realtors to pay attention to the goings-on within the CR$Acrats’ cozy domain…for the first time ever.
      Imagine Canada being run like CREA, with a yearly prime minister coming and going (mostly going…on 80 flights here-and-there around the country), being told, right in front of reporters, what to say or not to say to tax payers by the surrounding salaried, unelected (thus appointed) mandarins from Ottawa’s silly service network, said P.M. claiming that after serving seven years in the silly service and/or parliament, he/she does not know what is going on and/or is not up to speed on certain touchy, thus important, issues. That is incompetent political spin bull shit.
      Please define “combined knowledge”…gained from where? My combined knowledge is gained from experience acquired thus:
      New home Builder in my father’s business
      Licensed tradesman
      Conciliator-Inspector: Tarion New Home Warranty Corp. (Ontario)
      National warranty adjuster, PAFCO Insurance
      Real Estate Appraiser affiliated with/member of Appraisal Institute of Canada
      Realtor, paying member of CREA
      University degree: Political Science
      Not bragging, just exposing the truth about what ‘should’ constitute where “combined knowledge” might flow from.
      A volunteer board is an amateur board. This is not a board game to be played by amateurs. Amateur boards beget amateurs in the field. Full-time professionals, elected by the tax-payers, are what is required to underpin CREA. Less amateurs, more professionals, both within CREA and within the Realtor populace, are what is needed by the Canadian consumer.
      I don’t expect the amateurs-at-the-top to give up their power easily, but once they are gone, replaced by elected professionals, amateurs will not be allowed to practice their incompetence upon consumers.

  3. Bye the way— Can anyone remember any dumber ads promoting the Industry than the recent SWAT ad or the previous Old Lady in a Shoe ad ?
    Who the hell thought that crap would promote the Industry in a positive manner ?
    Yup, ” Hey Bob– I wanna a real estate agent NOW !!! They are professional !! ”
    And, to think there were meetings, task forces, focus groups, ad agencies , etc, and this is what the ” experts ” came up with ???

  4. Beth,

    What is a REALTOR in 2015? What minimum standard is CREA going to attach to using the REALTOR trademark?

    To level the playing field of the best most ethical members of your association when competing against the worst most unethical members, what changes is CREA bringing in 2015?

    Why have you licensed the REALTOR trademark to FSBO and Communication companies, when for 40 years you did not?

    Now that the new non-profit rules are in place can you tell each member of CREA what their 1/109,000 share in CREA is worth, especially if any member does not agree with changes made to realtor.ca without their approving those changes?? Are sales reps members of CREA??

  5. PED, Yes, I wish I could wave a wand and the brand REALTOR represented what my family fought 40 years to achieve but if you look at the 12 questions Jim asked above and see 9 not answered but instead responded to with the usual political redirect, I realize that war has been lost.
    Does one CREA member even know how few homes your President has sold or how many non-profit non-real estate associations she has been part of? Presidents LEAD or FOLLOW!!!
    Does one CREA member realize 3 Paid staff answered questions for the President and why??

    Does one CREA member know the President will earn more as President than she did as a sales rep? Why didn’t she come clean??

    SWAT AD….What registrant as a buyers rep in 2014 does not include clauses for stigmatizations and defects, both latent and present????

    • Hi Ross:
      I believe that Beth is a career politician wannabe. I am told that her father is one John Crosbie, former Conservative NFLD federal member of parliament and cabinet minister. I guess it just runs in her blood. The political dynasty must go on don’t’cha know.
      I think that there should be a new SWAT ad that goes thus: The Swat team breaks into a CREAcrat meeting. The CREAcrats scatter like spent dried- out year-old dandelion seeds in a hurricane, but one crat remains. He is the former janitor, now head of security operations. He pulls a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket and without speaking hands it to the SWAT team leader. It reads: “I see nuuuthing!; I hear nuuuthing!; I know nuuuthing!”
      The director of security then speaks: “No need to go after the others; they all have the same damn copy. I advised them never to answer any questions from nobody no time no how. They voted on thet thar motion and it passed with a 100% show of hands. Golly-gee!…some even put up both hands! First time I ever seen thet since I been here…except when they vote themselves pay raises. They’ll be hidin’ in thar locked offices right now, but I don’t have keys to any of ’em. Don’t know what goes on behind closed door around here mate…likely calling their lawyers…again”
      The SWAT team leader rolls his eyes, tsk-tsks and turns his head to and fro in disdain, as do his team members, as they begin kicking in CREAcrat office doors. Fade to black to the sounds of splintering wood and shrieks of “I see nuuuthin’!; I hear nuuuthin’!; I know nuuuthin!”

  6. Do you think for one ( 1 ) minute 99.999 % of ” Professionals ” ( I love that term ) in the Real Estate Industry :
    A. Watched or remembered the AD ?
    B. Care about the background of who lived in the home or even investigated ?
    C. Care who buys what– as long as they close the deal ?
    Get Real !!
    As long as RECO and the Provincial Boards are weak in enforcing REBBA’s Ethics , Fiduciary Duties to Clients, Disclosure, etc rules the ” general public ” coupled with the information available on the internet will increasingly do transactions on their own.

  7. PED…You enjoyed the SWAT ad as did I but…..Did CREA consider what risk exposure this caused all OREA members and did OREA vet the ad concept first?
    CREA blatantly informed all Ontarians buying a home with a REALTOR would prevent a consumer from buying a home used by criminals. OREA did not rebut this in the press and even Canada’s largest board has remained silent. Clearly consumers must assume if you buy a home with a REALTOR it won’t be a home formerly owned by a criminal or used for criminal activities.
    There is no disclosure on an SPIS or clause or form provided by OREA to cover this issue and there has been no training or courses offered to REALTORS in Ontario over this issue as far as I can tell?
    RECO requires any statement made by a Registrant to be backed by due diligence and is not a misrepresentation.

    All OREA members are suppose to do what now? Honestly asking…..

    • Ross, I’m sure whenever police raid a home they are sure to ask if the owner used a Realtor – part of their protocol you know.

      imagine the lawsuits when Jaguar purchasers who, believing the puffery of the ads discover they don’t actually become villain chasing spies or get to speed through town outrunning helicopters.

      I wonder how many men who ran out to buy old spice expecting to jump over cliffs, fight giant octopi and come out looking like Adonis with the body of Hercules are going to sue for puffery in advertising?

      The operative word is “puffery” recognized in advertising as such.

    • Ross,
      I think your main point is excellent.
      We must realize that as a group that wants to be perceived as being part of a, real, service profession, we shouldn’t confuse ourselves with other businesses that may be able to reasonably use “puffery” to draw attention to themselves. It is glib to suggest that we’re entitled to use “puffery” just because others can and do. Many of us enjoy James Bond, but rational people understand we need more than just his special car, and a decent gun, to become him!
      The question of the use of a home in relation to criminal activity is one that might pertain to the question of stigmatization – which isn’t just about whether or not you purchased your home using a REALTOR. It’s more about whether or not someone purchased a home, subsequent to an event or usage that may be considered as creating some form of stigmatization, used a REALTOR. I believe that you probably understand this, but I don’t think the same can be said for all your fans, apparently.

      • A poll please

        Realtors, since that ad aired how many of your buyers have asked if the property they’re interested in has ever been raided or possessed by a criminal?

        And, when the question was asked, did it encourage you to do any due diligence you wouldn’t normally do?

        Oh brother Alan M., give the consumer a little more credit.

        • Ped,
          In all my years of practicing, I don’t recall a buyer raising the subject of stigmatization – so using your logic here, we should treat the subject as a moot point.
          Jim Adair’s piece has drawn out three key points: 1/ Brian Martindale’s original letter precisely describes CREA, and can be summarized as the “cause”; 2/ Ross’ letter outlines a legitimate technical concern that can be summarized as the “effect”; 3/ My point was that I believe Jim Adair’s questions have solicited answers that confirm a fundamental status quo regarding CREA’s approach towards governance – which is further reinforced by this evidence of: “cause and effect”!
          How savvy a consumer may or may not be, is only relevant to the subject professionalism when it is apparent that we need to exercise additional caution.

          • Okay then, so in all your years because no one has raised the issue of stigmatization with you it’s a moot point. Well, stigmatization was never a moot point – cases found within canlii would confirm that.

            I happen to think that Ross is a very knowledgable man who still cares for this profession far more than most even though he’s no longer a registrant and he still offers up some very good information and insight. However, I believe he knows and respects that I don’t always agree with everything he says, just as I respect he does not always agree with me. In this particular case I do not agree with his take the ad represents to buyers that using a Realtor prevents them from buying a stigamtized home.

            “you’re not the cartel?
            no, we just bought this house
            didn’t your realtor tell you about this house?
            we didn’t use a Realtor
            oooh”

            The message is delivered at the very end and only at the very end. The most literal interpretation that can logically be assumed it implies is –had you used a Realtor you “would know” the history of this house.

            The one and only question that mattered in my post was the second one for it was intended to bring into focus that obligation inherent in our duties to clients. Now maybe you’re offended that any of our associations would place their membership in harm’s way by insinuating that a Realtor“would know” the house’s past history, but since we are all required to
            discover and disclose facts and ought to know we are required to do so, the message if taken in extreme, is not suggesting we do anything beyond that required duty of care. And, it certainly doesn’t take an ad for Realtors to be sued for non- discovery or non-disclosure of pertinent facts which would have impacted the client’s decision. It takes a client who discovered them sans Realtor disclosure.

            If you abide by the discovery and disclosure requirement, then no harm, no foul and no need to worry, about the message, is there?

            Besides, how can one with even the tiniest sense of humour not laugh at the absurdity of the situation and the police engaging in such dialogue?

            There are many things our associations may do that we’re not pleased with but we shouldn’t be so biased that we’re hardpressed to lift that curtain.

          • Ped,
            You’ve misread the point in my first paragraph.
            As an Industry we’re still struggling to discover facts, as it relates to that which is right under our noses – the tangible physical clues that can be present, as part of any real property.
            Our obligations around discovering something that would be more intangible, as weighed against the likelihood such is going to happen – from a broad industry perspective, now that does require more than “the tiniest sense of humour”!

    • Hi Ross:
      I saw your piece on the11:00 P.M. national news a few days ago when you were interviewed regarding the real estate market across Canada. Don’t forget to use the CREA ads to back up your assertions!
      Gee, I can’t get my tongue unstuck from the inside of my right my cheek.

    • Really! Ross when will the silliness end! Hey if I don’t grow wings after my first Red Bull I’m gonna $#!?.

  8. You’re not paying fees yet you seem to be the only one complaining. Truth is nothing would satisfy you Brian. Organized real estate is exactly that and the benefits that come from it for realtors, brokers consumers and Canadians is huge. And like I’ve said before, if realtors don’t agree with our boards then they can leave or become active and try to change them.

    • If your Board or Association utilizes a Nomination process as part of their Bylaws, it is a strong indication that those already in a position of authority want to influence who might win a Regional Election. They do this by hand-picking their candidate, even when others have offered! This is type of partisan politics where none should exist.

      The Boards or Associations that allow CREA to: “We are tying those meetings into existing provincial or local meetings. We’ve done it over the last couple of months and I think it has been very successful.” are likely doing what CREA has asked for, as opposed to asking CREA to make the “open houses” a separate event. CREA used this approach years ago, when they first made attempts at explaining the Futures Project, at the tail end, of one of our AGM’s.
      Any REALTOR – hardworking or otherwise – should know, that REALTOR’s don’t tend to stick around at the tail end of an AGM etc., -especially if they have to wait in a queue to ask a question. If CREA is sincere about having genuine dialogue at these “open houses” then they need to be dedicated events. Our Boards and Associations should realize this as well, and take charge of the agenda – if they really want the members to be heard and not just herded!

  9. Should the Websters Dictionary editors ever decide to add the Canadian Real Estate Association acronym (CREA) to their dictionary as a word, I hope Brian Martindale will allow them to use his letter here as the primary basis for the formal definition.

    I would also like to nominate Rem Editor Jim Adair for a Pulitzer Prize for his fine piece of journalism here, but I’m not sure if this piece fits into a recognized category or not. And it also seems that the CREA President perhaps didn’t get a copy of the questions far enough ahead of time to be able to offer pertinent answers regarding certain questions.

    Since the money flows from the membership towards CREA and not the other way around, there really isn’t an argument for CREA conducting itself as an employer in a typical employer employee relationship. The suggestion by the current CREA President that we are now at a point where rank-and-file members are being heard in new ways is belied by her own responses in this very article.

    Take the following quote from Beth Crosbie, for example: “So I think one of the key pieces we have done is increasing our communication and having a two-way dialogue – and not just explain what we are doing and the value we are bringing, but also the why behind what we do.” The aforesaid statement is a contradiction within itself because it describes explaination as being equal to dialogue, when they are two different things. Furthermore, Beth Crosby gives no indication as to how CREA is prepared to handle any objections.

    In the third question posed by the Rem Editor, Beth Crosby is asked the clear question: “what are members asking about.” She simply avoided answering the question and instead rambled on about what CREA was talking to members about. The question was fundamental because it’s a question that relates to the CREA President either knowing what is first and foremost on the minds of the membership or not knowing or not wanting to acknowledge what the membership really wants to talk about. In a Court of Law, I believe that her response to the question asked would be deemed: non-responsive.

    The idea the CREA would be in possession of any statistical information that would be beyond the intellectual ability or expertise of a CREA President to have a reasonable comprehension of, should only be an indication of a President’s unworthyness for the position. This shouldn’t be confused with what the membership should be entitled to expect, from their President.

    • When only one or two in all of real estate are presumed to understand the stats that’s a big problem.

      For the Realtors who can’t explain it to consumers and for the consumers who obviously cannot understand them either.

      To then chastize those who criticize the stats as “quite frankly ill-informed” is more than a tad haughty.

      Other than that, I do give the CREA a check mark for opening the door to communication to all of its 109,000 members.

      And I also thought the Swat ad was a hoot – unlike the Old Lady in the Shoe.

  10. “…once you make a change, you wonder why you didn’t do it far sooner…We established that we have one key stakeholder–the Realtor, our member.” (Beth Crosbie, CREA President). What? It took a study and committee meetings with various players to figure this out?
    “I have done eighty flights” (Crosbie). All on your dimes, Realtors. I wonder if your president for-a-year is related to Allison Redford?
    “…we are not going to have Beth talk to that because it is not her bailiwick…” (Pierre Leduc). I guess Leduc is the ‘real’ President-for-life. “My job–for one year I chair the board” (Crosbie). Crosbie is simply a figure head, without any powers as are usually ascribed to a real President of most organizations and/or governance models. Got to keep the real power ensconced in the hands of the there-forever well-salaried bureaucrats and out of the hands of actual Realtors masquerading as Presidents for-a-year don’t’cha know paying little people.
    I submit that the only reason that the in-house powers-that-be have allowed Crosbie to state that the “one key stakeholder” within the framework of CREA is the Realtor (no mention of the provincial associations this time) is the unrelenting barrage of words of dissatisfaction with CREA as expressed by many within this venue (which has likely spilled over into encouraging direct verbal attacks from individual Realtors against the CREAcrats from across the country).
    Lots of political spin contained within the answers to Jim’s questions herein. At least the bureaucrats gave REM, thus its readers (CREA’s paying lifeline to its ongoing existence) the time of day for a change, if only on an annual basis. Too bad the 109,000 paying grunts don’t demand that the ruling bureaucrats change the constitution and arrange for regular elections to be held for the positions that ‘they’, the significant bureaucrats hold, as is the case with this country’s political model. Prime Ministers and Finance ministers come and go federally; why can’t ‘real’ Presidents and finance directors etc. be democratically elected within the governance model of CREA v. the there-forever political appointment self-sustaining practice that currently exists? High-salaried CREAcrats are never held accountable for their actions and/or beliefs. They believe themselves to be the United Nations of the real estate industry, officially telling you Realtors what you want to hear, all the while engaging in back-room dealings with their other chosen constituents, non of whom pay CREA a single penny (now a nickel). Change can only be demanded from the fee-paying populace…if enough of you care…which I don’t believe that you do.
    So silly of me to waste twenty minutes of my time on this article. But I do respect Jim and REM

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