The Role of REALTOR.ca in Modern Real Estate

In the mid-90s, the internet ushered in a new era in how consumers buy and sell real estate. Today, REALTOR.ca is the No. 1 real estate platform in Canada (ComScore).

So, how did we get here? And what’s next?

On Episode 25 of REAL TIME, we’re joined by Patrick Pichette, Vice President of REALTOR.ca, and Andrew Jackson, Head of Business Development at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The pair discussed the evolution of listing sites, how REALTOR.ca has staked its claim as the No. 1 real estate platform in Canada, and how the platform has incorporated resources beyond listings, to help home buyers and sellers along their journeys.

What’s the difference between REALTOR.ca and an MLS® System? “Without getting too technical, an MLS® System is a cooperative selling system that is operated by a local real estate board or association …  As a member of a board, you get access to an MLS® System and you can share your listings with other REALTORS®. The MLS® Systems also contain all sorts of detailed information and tools that are really geared towards the REALTORS®. REALTOR.ca on the other hand is not an MLS® System. This is where people get confused. REALTOR.ca is a national listing portal where consumers can view the listing info that is stored in these various systems across the country,” explains Pichette.

Listing a home has come a long way from the days of consumers driving through neighbourhoods, looking for “for sale” signs. Now, REALTORS® have the option to use multimedia tools, like video and 3D tours, to help position listings for the greatest visibility; Pichette and Jackson told us just how much difference those and other attention-grabbing techniques can make to a listing’s appeal.

Unlike many similar platforms used outside of Canada, REALTOR.ca is owned by REALTORS®, for REALTORS®. Not only is it the most comprehensive single-source for new listings in Canada, but it’s also an excellent resource for home buyers and sellers. Pichette and Jackson explained the shift from focusing simply on “search” to including resources for “research” like encompassing a blog to help inform home buyers and sellers through their journey, social media channels, practical resources like a mortgage affordability calculator and, of course, a simple way to connect with REALTORS® across the country.

“I think what’s interesting about this journey from search to research is that, and we’ve seen this also accelerated over the past couple of years where people are not just using the site when they’re in the midst of a transaction. They’re also now using this as part of their dreaming process about the future, or part of their curiosity process about what’s going on in their neighbourhood, or you name it,” said Jackson. 

The REALTOR.ca brand has become synonymous with trust and credibility, and Pichette and Jackson described how effectively positioning the REALTOR® brand alongside these two characteristics can have a positive influence on consumer sentiment.

“There’s always going to be a human side to the transaction, and buying and selling a home is a very emotional journey. There’s always going to be a role for REALTORS® to be that trusted advisor,” said Pichette.

Listen to Episode 25 of REAL TIME to learn more about how REALTOR.ca will integrate itself into the growing real estate technology industry moving forward, what they anticipate its role will be, and what tools, technologies, and innovations can we expect to engage with in the future to enhance buying and selling real estate.

This month, REAL TIME launched its 25th episode, so, we’ve rounded-up a few of the most popular episodes for your listening enjoyment! If you haven’t been a long-time-listener, check these out!

Sarah Doktor brings her experience as a small-town journalist and national online editor to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Sarah helps facilitate conversations between CREA and our members, boards, associations and the public via our online communities. She also helps coordinate the content presented to you here on the CREA Café. In her spare time, Sarah can be found at the gym, running on a trail or watching Netflix with her cat, Libby.


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