A legacy of innovation and enhancing services to members

Seventy years ago, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), then known as the Canadian Association of Real Estate Boards, was created. It was a time before computers, Internet, and even MLS® Systems – they didn’t happen until the 1950’s and 1960’s.

In 1974, the first year CREA tracked total MLS® System activity in Canada, there were 111,163 transactions. In 2012, the total was 485,311 MLS® System sales. It would be hard to believe now but the introduction of the MLS® System was not without controversy. Members were concerned that this co-operative system would undermine consumer relationships and imperil “the way” real estate had always been done.

Can you imagine real estate being conducted without MLS® Systems? At your national office we receive continuous inquiries from around the world about Canada’s secret sauce for having an incredibly effective and efficient marketplace. Globally the practice of real estate in Canada is envied. From the MLS® trademark to the operation of your national site, REALTOR.ca, to the stability of our markets to the quality of education, we are approached by other associations, governments and private entrepeneurs wanting to find out how they too can emulate or acquire our success.

From the incredible success story of MLS® to enhanced education requirements and consumer protection to assisting members through new services like real estate newspapers to world class websites to lockbox systems and more, organized real estate has a legacy of innovation and enhancing services to members.

In 1996, when mls.ca, the forerunner of REALTOR.ca, was launched members paid $100 for a homepage, an annual fee of $150 to link to their properties on mls.ca, and $5 for each photo they wanted to add to a property advertised on mls.ca. How things have changed! Today members have as many photos as they want and links to their homepage and properties on REALTOR.ca are all covered by their annual CREA dues. More importantly REALTOR.ca brings over 17 million visitors to the site on any given month.

As we implement new services like data distribution and consider new programs like “Rate Your REALTOR®,” keep in mind that legacy of being prepared to change and innovate. It has not only stood the test of time, it has enabled and promoted a future for REALTORS® that those in the business 70 years ago could never have imagined.

Thanks for stopping by CREA Café. Check back regularly as this space will be used to keep you up to date, informed and plugged-in as we continue to innovate and adapt on behalf of REALTORS®.

As former Chief Executive Officer of CREA, Gary Simonsen worked closely with our Board of Directors to oversee the management of the Association. Gary took the helm as CEO in 2011, after serving as CREA’s Chief Operating Officer since 2008 and being involved with organized real estate since 1984. When he can, Gary gets some rest and relaxation at his country home on the lake.


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