By Barb Sukkau

You take pride in the things you own.

Look no further than your house; you want people to be impressed the minute they walk in the front door. After all, you worked hard to get it and you work even harder at maintaining it.

Well, CREA has given you a reason to be proud of something else you own: Realtor.ca. The No. 1 real estate website in Canada has undergone a “renovation” and now features a sleek design with a more powerful search engine, enhanced homebuyer calculators and access to hyper-local information.



And, coming soon, sold and historical data will be made available on Realtor.ca listings, making it easier for consumers to get the information they want.

Just so we’re all on the same page here: as a member of CREA, you own the website that has, on average, 300,000 accurate Realtor listings at any given time. Not to mention the 264 million visits and the 2.6 million leads generated from Realtor.ca – at no additional cost – last year alone. With the largest number of listings, Realtor.ca is the only real estate website combining board/association MLS systems feeds from every real estate board in Canada and remains the most trusted brand by consumers and Realtors.

That’s something to be proud of and it’s something our American counterparts to the south envy.

Third-party, non-Realtor websites flood the U.S. real estate landscape and there is currently no trusted nationwide listing management system there. Some of the bigger sites will charge a premium to advertise a listing, meaning some leads get buried, or worse, won’t even get to the original listing agent.

What makes Realtor.ca so special is its investment of time and resources to help you succeed. The consumer-trusted, advertising-free website is where many consumers begin their real estate journey. In fact, 97 per cent of visitors use Realtor.ca and its apps as their primary or secondary source for viewing property listings and 92 per cent of Canadians are aware of Realtor.ca.

However, this isn’t the time to slow down. Technology is advancing the industry at an unimaginable rate, and Realtor.ca is constantly evolving to meet these new-age demands consumers have. The latest redesign of Realor.ca, released in October, targets desktop users and delivers an improved and responsive website for all.

After leading many presentations and speaking to thousands of Realtors over the last several months, I can tell you there’s a lot of excitement building over the new Realtor.ca

You wanted school boundaries added to your listings? You can now view properties for sale within a particular school’s catchment area.

You wanted improved mortgage, land transfer tax and affordability calculators? Done.

You wanted to promote your personal brand on the site? Every Realtor has a customizable profile on Realtor.ca so you can refer your page to potential clients and generate leads.

It’s important to point out Realtor profiles were viewed 6.1 million times last year, meaning consumers are definitely searching for you.

All of these make for impeccable business tools, but one of Realtors.ca’s more refreshing and consumer-focused highlights has been the addition of the Living Room blog. It features Canadian industry experts tackling a variety of home-related topics including market trends, home improvements, neighbourhood guides, design files and unique homes. The latest stats show 45 per cent of visitors to the blog are new to Realtor.ca and those who view the articles are almost twice as likely to contact a Realtor.

I could go on and on about Realtor.ca, but really it comes down to you embracing all that it has to offer. Become familiar with it, try the new features, and should you need a helping hand, the CREA member support team is an email away. You don’t truly know the powers of Realtor.ca until you discover them for yourself.

We work in an ever-changing industry and Realtors need to embrace innovation. So, be proud of the fact something you own continues to push the envelope and is seen as an industry leader.

Barb Sukkau is president of the Canadian Real Estate Association. She has been a Realtor for 20 years selling both commercial and residential real estate. She is a member and was the 2005 president of Niagara Association of Realtors. She was also the 2011 Ontario Real Estate Association president. She currently works as a sales rep at Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre in St. Catharines, Ont.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Russell your defence of CREA is forgivable.
    However I do know something about how Ottawa Works I was a Director of Finance in various Department and President of APEX an association of EX’s And SM’s in the Federal Government and I still say CREA capitulated long before they should have.

  2. CREA is not a supporter of Real Estate Agents otherwise they would have fought the Competition Bureau much longer.
    The Competition Bureau is Political. Over time if we had fought the Managers would have moved on to try to find Political points elsewhere during their time frame.
    From someone from Ottawa

    • Hi Mike, The Board of Directors at CREA are all Real Estate Agents just like you and me. The staff, do what they’re told to do by the Board. The Competition Bureau is a Federal Government Agency that has a lot more power then you might know and I can say with confidence, that the BoD’s at Crea and the Provincial associations worked hard to fight this. Please get involved in organized Real Estate and help fight some of the threats to our profession.

  3. Honestly it is a horrible site, the consumer is right to look else where, why is the map called neighbourhood and it’s 2018 why can’t I see a satellite view to see if a rock quarry is next door. Most 3rd party real estate websites have more features and relevant content than this joke of a website. We have 1 year at best to take this diamond in the rough and make it “the” portal for real estate in Canada or Zillow will do it for us!!

    • Great Points Jason, would you be willing to step up and help our profession build and develop a better site so we can keep the threat of 3rd party suppliers from controlling our listings? Please reach out to your local board and see what you can do to help.

  4. Realtor.ca can withstand the onslaught of people trying to tag onto our business and sell it back to us if we keep it updated and user friendly.

  5. I definitely agree whole-heartedly with Angela and David. If anyone wants to use Realtor, okay we give them the information, but if they want to use Realtor.ca, they pay a membership on monthly basis. This would help realtors with reducing our fees and yet giving them the information. We provide services and why do we provide it free to the pubic? So they can go on their own and not be loyal to the agents serving them?

    • I totally agree Laura. I have been writing that exact same suggestion on the surveys we regularly get. Realtors have to pay to finance the boards and create the information and then we give it away for free. This is a stupid business model!

  6. Russell Severnuk “You pay less than $1.00 a day to CREA and they then take a portion of that to manage, update and run a national website that has thousands of updates daily.”

    I can recognize that “old style script” from the old days. “you pay only one dollar a day!” Are you serious?

    I really do have different understanding of what marketing means? Or about waste money in CREA? Go to the Annual Audit Report for CREA. You can find that we pay in fees $40.1 mln per year. As a reserve fund, we have $700,000 (less than $1mln). Getting from the investment only $500,000:) Am I wrong in reading this document?

    Why not get some money from the site for the organization? We all (I hope for that) teach that the investment has ROI. We have such nice cash money machine and we don’t use that. Such a shame. According to the CREA site, in 2017 we had 28,8 MLN sessions!!! How much money we could earn?! How nice ROI could be!

    • Hi Angela, well, you pay CREA $325.00 annually and there are 365 days in a year. That is less than a dollar a day. You then simply multiple that by 125,000 members and there’s your $40M per year. Pretty simple.

      This is not about marketing, it’s about providing a service to the consumer that we can control with our data rather than paying a company like Zillow 30% of every deal you do. And trust me that’s where they are going. We have the chance as a professional group to do this but we need everyone to buy in and support our service, not pay for a third party to control our date. It’s going to be our choice and if we choose to not control our date, then you can’t complain when a 3rd party takes most of your commissions.

      As for advertising on Realtor.ca, it will only clutter up the experience a consumer currently experiences. Case in point, I use to like Accuweather and Auto Trader. They went the advertising route and now I never visit those sites. The ROI is in your commission, not a silly advertising plan on a website shared by 125k members. So we can sit back and let other groups take us over or we can stand together and build a strong profession, our choice!

  7. Realtor.ca will be irrelevant within 10 years, probably less. Feel all the pride you like as realtors. Consumers are your customers and realtor.ca does not provide the consumer experience or value that other services provide. Many realtor communities in smaller municipalities don’t even put their listings on realtor.ca because they don’t want realtors from outside their community buying or selling within their geographies. One of the commenters even asked here what we could expect to get for the money CREA spends on realtor.ca. CREA’s and TREB’s 2016 revenue were each under $40 million. CREA spent $0.5 million on technology; TREB spent $15 million on computer technology. Zillow invested more than $100 million just in R&D. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, which have all stated they want in on the real estate business, spent $16.1, $14.3, $12.3 and $5.9 billion in R&D, respectively. Before you flame other commenters and before you make uninformed comments about how useful or useless realtor.ca is, do an Internet search on ‘proptech’ and investigate how the role of the realtor we know today won’t exist in 5 to 10 years. Then write and tell me how realtor.ca, at least the one we know today, will have any relevance in a decade, probably less.

    • Hopefully there will be enough reasonable REALTORS who understand why supporting REALTOR.ca and not something like Zillow is so important. It is our data, our choice.

      • Our Choice, seriously. That was taken away from us when the competition bureau ordered us to put every listing from anywhere on it and now were going to put all sales info on and give the public free access to it. we’ve become the kijiji of real estate.

  8. Surprised to hear so many negative comments when so many brokers and realtors were, apparently, in favour of providing the sold data to consumers. Didn’t seem that long ago that we were being warned about providing that type of information due the privacy act.

  9. Wow, so many negative comments. You pay less than $1.00 a day to CREA and they then take a portion of that to manage, update and run a national website that has thousands of updates daily. What do you expect for that little $$$ investment. The idea of this site is to give our date away free to the consumer so you can make money representing buyers and sellers. How much do you spend on other forms of marketing? Social media, your website, photography and staging etc? I’ll bet it’s much higher than what you spend on CREA and Realtor.ca and I also bet your listings get more exposure through Realtor.ca than your own marketing. So why would you knock the best marketing tool you have? We need to get positive and invest much more as a profession into our own site and stop knocking it. The biggest problem is most Realtors are Blind to the fact they need to triple their CREA annual dues to increase their market share where they actually make money. I vote we triple our annual CREA dues. Who’s with me? Let’s keep Realtor.ca a Great resource for our own business.

    • You are so right Russell. There is just no pleasing some people. There are some who just have a hate on for CREA and all that they do and you will never change those minds no matter what.

  10. If we own it and pay for it, why do we allow the non-paying public to use the site to sell their homes privately?

  11. Are you kidding me? Proud?! What for?

    I feel that CREA is taking money from my pocket and share it with everyone for free. Each person who enters the REALTOR.ca should pay 5 cents each time or have year subscriptions. For real MONEY! Or, let’s have advertising on this site, making money. In this case, we don’t even need to pay OUR MEMBERSHIP! I am proposing this idea everywhere in our meetings unfortunately real estate agents are reacting very slow.

  12. I have a client with a lot 23 acres of Waterfront On the Ottawa River within the City of Ottawa but you cannot search for it as there is no search criteria for lots.

  13. My biggest beef in our industry is that we provide our data to 3rd party companies for free. Let’s sell that data to them for like this article said, “we own it”. Good for Realtor.ca for improving but lets not stop there. I know CREA is a not for profit so spin off selling the data to a for a profit company and lets put that profit back into the hands of those of us that “own the data”.

      • Brad, you have a valid beef, however you might not understand why the data is fed to the 3rd party websites. It all started years ago when agents started putting up ads on these sites and never took them down after the property sold. And there were 1000’s out there drifting around. You would get a call to see a property that had sold 6 months ago and you end up looking stupid. the easiest way around it was to have your board send it along so they could take it down after it sold, expired or was cancelled. So you have to put blame on the person sitting next to you in the office, not CREA. As for owning the data and keeping it, you’ll have to fight the federal government and their competition bureau that forces our profession to share it in certain circles.

  14. “You wanted improved mortgage, land transfer tax and affordability calculators? Done.”

    What a joke. I reported a serious bug in the iOS PTT calculator for British Columbia over one year ago and it has still not been fixed. Don’t rely on it; in some cases it’s just wrong.

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