Is it time for Realtors to ask for listing retainers?

Sutton Quantum

There are many misnomers around the process of selling a home and the role that the Realtor plays in the process. One of the most misunderstood elements of the process is the MLS system. Realtors and consumers are often surprised when they discover that typically 3/4 of the listings on MLS at any one time do not sell. This becomes a very interesting fact when you consider the emergence of mere postings on the heels of the Competition Bureau's campaign to allow various service levels; posting fees are non-refundable.

Whether you are a fan of posting fees or not, they are a nod to the reality that there must be a value placed on the actual service of placing a property on the MLS. As an entity, the MLS is a direct result of the investment of Realtor time and money. The board fees, the national and provincial organizations, the collection of data and the structure of policies and by-laws all culminate to provide a reliable valuation system. This arguably sustains the market place for the largest consumer investment of all.

Is it reasonable to expect access to this expensive, labour intensive system on a contingency basis alone when the failure rate is so high? Couple board fees, virtual tours, collaterals, staging, photos and advertising and the financial burden can become onerous for the Realtor if the property doesn't sell. Perhaps a posting retainer will soon become the norm for those Realtors who would like to operate a sustainable practice and an elevated, consistent level of service.

Tina Gardin is the Broker owner of Sutton Group Quantum Realty Inc. with offices in Lorne Park and Oakville. Exclusive home of the The New Age of Real Estate Program TM