Barb Sukkau: Why we need to work together

Homeownership is a powerful economic force – and we as REALTORS® are also a force.

We can have 125,000 REALTOR® members speaking with one voice to the federal government and we will do this, with greater focus than ever before, because we have to.

Government’s support for the dream of homeownership is slipping and our only defence is a unified voice. We are in the homeownership business. We need to help government to understand how and why homeownership is good for individuals and society as a whole.

We need to help government understand the desire for homeownership is powerful amongst Canadians and it also motivates people from all over the world to choose Canada as their new home.

Like all industries, we are also facing a seismic shift in technology. But we have a secret weapon. is a tool developed for REALTORS® and owned by REALTORS®. Because we own it, we are in the driver’s seat. It is designed to offer a great user experience as well as connect us with consumers.

Canadian REALTORS® do a great job of participating and cooperating on MLS® listings, which are displayed on to obtain maximum exposure for our clients and to market ourselves and our services. But what is different about is, because we own it, we can also define the rules, to be unique and envied. is a market leader, but to keep it there it needs continuous improvement, reinvestment and support from REALTORS®.

We may not have billions of dollars to enable us to implement every shiny new idea, but we do have cooperation and brainpower. We need input from REALTORS® and from every board and association across Canada. We have incredibly smart, capable staff at CREA, but we need alignment, not duplication, of efforts. We can be our own “black swan,” but we need to work together.

The new consumer has been transformed into one that demands choice, who wants to feel they are getting good value and also some who think they can do the job themselves.

We know we add value to every real estate transaction, but we are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that value. We need to ask ourselves the following question: how can we improve our reputation and increase the professionalism of our REALTOR® members?

This endeavour is as old as the trademark REALTOR® – what was true then is still true now. Let’s do something about it, together. 

My CREA is you. My CREA is every individual member across this country. We are all part of the leadership that is going to move us forward in the right direction. Change is inevitable, innovation will lead the way and governments will continue to try and insert themselves into our industry, but at the end of the day, we are only as strong as our cooperation allows us to be.

Barb Sukkau, CREA’s President for 2018, has been a REALTOR® for more than 20 years selling both commercial and residential real estate. She was President of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) in 2011 and was the 2005 President of Niagara Association of REALTORS®. She has served on various committees, including CREA’s National Ad Campaign, Governance and By-Law Committee and Futures Implementation Team committees. Among her proudest achievements, Barb created the OREA Young Professionals Network—which has more than 1,700 members.

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