By Kathy Bevan
The Canadian Real Estate Association will survey Canadian consumers to see how aware they are of the differences between mls.ca and MLS, or if the mls.ca website should be rebranded. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) brought forward a proposal to rename mls.ca at CREA’s April 2005 General Assembly.
TREB’s proposal was based on concerns, shared with REM readers in March, that the buying and selling public is confusing the information carried on the public mls.ca website with the MLS system itself, which provides member-to-member listing information for Realtors. Research carried out by TREB indicates that many consumers believe that mls.ca and MLS provide exactly the same service, and that when they use mls.ca, they are performing much of the work that would normally be done by Realtors.
TREB president Ron Abraham says the Toronto board’s proposal garnered enough support at the CREA meeting to gain the national association’s commitment to undertake a $100,000 survey, expected to be complete by this summer, to determine just how confused consumers are about the services provided by mls.ca, MLS and Realtors.
“We’re on the right track with this thing, and I’m optimistic that we will be proven to be right, that it is a misperception the public has about going on mls.ca,” says Abraham. “It is not an MLS system. There are a lot of listings that are delayed in uploading, and there certainly isn’t all of the information on all of the listings that you can get from a Realtor. We bandied around some suggested names, but nothing firm – certainly anything but ‘mls’ would be good.”
Abraham says the ultimate goal of TREB’s proposal is to ensure the public understands that Realtors offer much more than MLS. “If nothing else, we’ve got to show the public that they’re not just dealing with someone who rides them around in a car and finds them a home – there’s a lot more to it than that. The public has to see that there is a benefit involved in dealing with a Realtor, there’s expertise. If that turns out to be the end result, I’d be happy with that.”