Why do out-of-town Realtors list some properties only on their board and not the local board where the property physically exists?

Last week I was out showing houses in beautiful Brantford, Ont. As I was trying to get the lockbox to sync with my phone (a rare occurrence), my client, looking across the street, shouted: “Andrew, why didn’t you send us that one? That’s exactly what we’re looking for!”

Embarrassed and about to take a hammer to the lockbox, I shot back, “It must be a brand new listing! I’ll try to get us in right away.”

The sign belonged to a Toronto Realtor. Well, it wasn’t a new listing, it had been on TRREB for over two weeks. As far as getting an appointment right away, it didn’t happen. We came back the next day knowing very little about the property, as the listing agent still hadn’t sent me the information. The bottom line: Not listing a property on the board where the property physically exists is a disservice to the vendor and could result in a substantially lower sale price. Imagine listing a property in Brantford only on TRREB!


Andrew Karpavicius
Sales Representative
Royal LePage State Realty Brokerage
Ancaster, Ont.


  1. The private sector has partially solved this issue by creating one exclusive network for agents. Check out http://www.BrokerPocket.com. Although it’s not an MLS and advertised to the public it would it would be nice to see our boards do the same.

  2. I see three choices:

    1. One MLS per province,
    2. Free and mandatory interboarding to ensure that the property is available to local agents,
    3. Stop cooperating with Brokerages not within your local Board’s boundaries. (YIKES!!)

  3. The private sector already has solutions to this issue, providing consumers with all the listings. By trying protect their own turf, boards are undermining the sales professionals that they are there to serve. As noted by others, we are ending up in embarrassing situations and the value of service is being eroded. We are helping data compilation companies. The self inflicted information vacuum is being exploited by companies that will fundamentally change this profession.

  4. “Not listing a property on the board where the property physically exists is a disservice to the vendor and could result in a substantially lower sale price. Imagine listing a property in Brantford only on TRREB! ”

    This is a very important point that has been made. The fact that the seller may get a lower price for their home should make our industry uncomfortable.

    Until we get to 1 MLS system, our associations need to make it a requirement for realtors to post the listed property on the board the property is located in. To encourage this, there cannot be a fee charged to the realtors, rather the realtor will have to pay a fine (eg $100) for non-compliance.

  5. It is definitely frustrating. It would be nice to have a master board. ORTIS seems to cover quite a bit. If those home sellers knew that it wasn’t on the Brantford board for Brantford agents (the ones selling Brantford) to see they would fire them…
    I see this a lot in Hamilton where the out of town TREB agent cant dig deep for the interboard of a hundred dollars or so and do a disservice to their clients. They still sell but you have to wonder what they’re leaving on the table by not giving the property the appropriate exposure.

  6. we should all have full Mls access without it there is another reason for the buyer not to deal with a realtor

  7. I simply cannot believe the number of people that read this from Ontario that are not aware of the work that has been done over the past 9 years to bring the listing information from all Ontario Real Estate Associations together under a single MLS® System. There are currently 21 such organizations operating a single MLS® System with over 16,000 REALTORS® using this single system. Those REALTORS® also have direct access to the listing information from an additional 6 Associations, leaving the information from just 10 Boards/Associations outside this envelope. And those 10 are geographically connected into 3 groups with their own internal access. The result is that REALTORS® in Ontario are now grouped into just 4 pockets of MLS® services, so progress is being made. Of course the largest of these is the area in and around Toronto.

    It is hoped that within the foreseeable future, the access to all MLS® Listing information will be accessible to all REALTORS® in the Province.

    • When I said “largest” I was referring to the number of REALTORS®, not the number of Associations in the pocket or the size of the geography.

    • Except that as of tomorrow, Oakville will no longer be available on TRREB. That’s huge..Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills…

      That’s a shrinking map. Unfortunately it is for an area that currently affects me, where I could respond immediately to any questions by my buyer clients, know all I need to know about the listing and see the brokerage remarks, All TRREB agents who are not a member of Oakville’s board will have no more information than our buyer client which is going to add a whole new dimension to receiving information considering the growing propensity from many on those boards to want to unilaterally reduce co-op fees should they first show the eventual buyer a property but who chooses to get their own.

  8. It’s time for changes. As OREA Realtors we should have an access to ALL boards.
    To protect client’s best interests we need ONE system and ONE board for ALL Ontario realtors

  9. The exact same thing happened to my next door neighbour in Brampton. Listing agent was from Halton and my neighbour had no clue that Brampton agents could not see his listing. All the consumer sees is what is in realtor.ca. I am not allowed to get involved; his property never sold.

  10. In B.C., there’s something called the MLS Pledge of Cooperation that all boards (MLS’) agreed that the listing is sent to the board area MLS(R) that the address falls into and they upload to realtor.ca (optionally to the board that the Realtor works in and does not upload to realtor.ca). It’s been around for many years so you don’t see duplicate listings on realtor.ca from BC and the local Realtor is first to know. It does take some political will by the boards to agree but it’s worth the effort and looks a bit more professional.

    reference is here if you’re interested.

    reply if you want a copy.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more, Andrew. To those Realtors who say we should be checking the consumer designed Realtor.ca several times a day…. Nonsense. Realtor.ca does not have all the information we as Realtors require. Eg sales and price history, vendors name, legal description, offer date and so on. One platform, all listings, Province-wide. Time to get with the times, TRREB and sign on to an inter-board system we all have access to. We are, after all licensed to sell in The Province of Ontario and need the tools to do so. No access to TRREB members until this happens, perhaps?

  12. Caution: Rant ahead.
    Since 2014-18, depending on your area but without exception, the cost of doing business as a fully informed Realtor in most of Southern Ontario included getting a TRREB membership and investing the time to learn and implement Stratus on top of your local board’s system. A hair-pulling-ly annoying, sad, time-consuming, and disappointing, reality. The ‘one Ontario MLS’ conversation has noble origins but has become rather boring. While one system is inevitable, the joining of the boards as they stand is as likely as parties in government merging into one benevolent leadership. Lovely dream, but once one learns the diverse histories, motivations, and systems of those who’d be doing that negotiation, the wind slowly but definitively gets removed from your sails. It will happen, it’s just going to happen organically; and information is the real power, and whoever wields it, well…. it makes it hard to imagine it ends up as anything other than TRREB or outside proptech. I’ve personally put in a lot of optimistic time and effort, only to learn that the system’s broken. So while I continue to be hopeful there will be an actual revolution from within – I’m adapting -and right now adapting costs a few extra grand a year. At least TRREB is an association run by Realtors. Here’s hoping for a silver lining: think this might weed out those who aren’t doing enough business to afford it and thus brings up the standard a bit?

  13. Unless a listing is exclusive, irregardless, to it’s location within Ontario, or to which board(s) a realtor belongs, a listing should appear on realtor.ca.

    A realtor serving his seller and/or buyer should be perusing realtor.ca several times a day to keep abreast of new listings within the area to which they are servicing their clients.

    • Realtor.ca is designed for consumer use. Your use of Realtor.ca is simply undermining the systems Realtors pay to have access to. Shall we abolish board systems and move exclusively to Realtor.ca?

    • you are kidding right ? What should happen (as long as we don’t have one board) is that the lazy and cheap listing agent join the other board (there are short term options) to have the
      home listed where it is located. I’ve done it multiple time before most of SW Ontario was amalgamated.

  14. It has taken over 20 years to get floor to ceiling windows listed as an option. I have been wondering and asking for over 25 years as to why OREA hasn’t stepped up and created a provincial wide system. This is not a new idea; it is a logical one that has been around and requested by many for decades. I’m sure they have a lot of excuses etc.; however, we are not paying for excuses. We are licensed in Ontario, yet we don’t have access to information that the public has been given access to through other sites. They claim to be working for us and yet decisions are made without our knowledge or consent. They only change I have seen lately is “Master Bedroom” being change to “Primary Bedroom”. I guess this change makes us “cutting edge” and justifies their existence. Those that know do, those that don’t know are in charge. This problem is long over due to be solved.

    • OREA can’t create a provincial system. Trreb wouldn’t opt into it, and we’d still be in the same situation we are currently in.

      Don’t forget that trreb led a nationwide charge that allowed boards to leave their provincial association and become direct members of CREA. There’s no way trreb would agree to data share with a provincially-run platform. It’s kind of obvious.

  15. One single Board for All over Ontario and in same format. Stratus and matrix have different formats and information is not displayed in read friendly manner. OREA, CREA, TRREB and all local boards please take note and get on board with new technology. I have clients who go on zolo and other sites to look at listings as they give more detailed information in reader friendly format.

  16. Our broken system is making buyers agents obsolete. Buyers, especially tech savvy ones are signing up for Zolo, getting all boards listings sent to them right away, and contacting the listing agents. I find myself checking Realtor.ca three times a day for new listings in my area, so my buyers don’t miss out on local listings posted on TREB. Its frustrating when you are supposed to be a local expert, but your buyers inform you of a new listing. Then if you do book a showing, it’s like pulling teeth to get the property information. There should be a rule that if you are listing a property on another board, it must be inter-boarded to the local board. Or all Realtors have access to all data.

  17. Inter boarding has become political! And the procedures and forms are daunting (yes it’s as if the receiving board wanted to make it difficult – which I’m sure is not the case)
    One MLS for Ontario. It’s Time.

  18. Hence the need for a uniform listing platform across the province. Daunting and time-consuming, but an exponential leap forward in consumer service, as well as for individual Realtors. Perhaps OREA should be advocating this? Real estate associations need to get with the times. They are no longer lords commanding over a dominion. Borders are illusory. I understand they fear the loss of influence and relevance, but the time of a single listing platform is long overdue. We all know that the way to win over clients is to show value. Surely, regional boards have more to offer than the ability to post listings.

  19. I belong to a group of REALTORS in the Collingwood area who are currently putting together a petition to send to CREA about this exact topic. There are many CREA and RECO rules of ethics that this contravenes. We are in the process of getting a petition ready with a link for people to sign. If anyone is interested please email [email protected]


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