The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) exists to help our members succeed in building stronger communities. We are always looking to improve our product offering to members and we have an incredible opportunity before us at OREA to invest in new member services.
For more than a year now, OREA has been consulting with Ontario Realtors and its 37 member boards on how to improve its member services through the New OREA Member Services Consultation. This has been the most extensive and ambitious consultation in OREA’s history.
After canvassing our membership, detailed consultation with our 37 member boards, nearly 250 interviews with real estate leaders, and in-depth research on the feasibility of several innovative ideas, the OREA board landed on four bold, new ideas.
Before we greenlight these programs, we want to hear from our members one last time about which new services will provide the greatest benefits.
One of our ideas addresses a major pain point for our members: a client seeing an amazing listing before they do. We hear about this from our members all the time.
OREA is proposing to help solve this problem through making funding available that would bring member boards together and create infrastructure to share MLS data. We are not proposing a provincial MLS platform. But rather, OREA would act as a facilitator and support existing, or expanded, member board initiatives to expand MLS data sharing and access.
Another idea is to invest more in government advocacy to strengthen the Realtor voice at Queen’s Park. This would help us fight even harder when it comes to stopping things like the Municipal Land Transfer Tax or allowing Realtors to form Personal Real Estate Corporations. A big part of this is helping local real estate boards advocate for good ideas that support affordable home ownership and bad ideas that pile red tape on new housing and taxes on homeowners.
A third idea currently on the table would help increase professionalism among Realtors. Increasing professionalism was a major focus of OREA’s work to modernize the Trust in Real Estate Services Act. It’s why, for example, we fought for and won things like specialty certifications.
But government regulations and mandatory RECO courses alone won’t raise the bar in our profession. We need to do more than that.
We’re proposing to offer voluntary cutting-edge continuing education for all members. This continuing education would help keep members up to speed on new technologies, legal requirements and business opportunities. For example, OREA will consider partnering with other established institutions, such as the Real Estate Institute of Canada, to develop and deliver programs on topics like standard forms, specialty certifications and helping to increase professional standards in the industry.
Finally, OREA is proposing to create a Commercial Overlay Board (COB) that would focus services for commercial members in one provincial organization. In addition, OREA is proposing that the COB house commercial real estate property information and make it available to commercial-focused Realtors across Ontario.
This idea comes with many complexities that will require further research. But at a high level, this proposal would help deliver more tailored products and services to commercial members. For example, the new COB would work to give commercial members better access to data and information through the development or acquisition of a Commercial Information Exchange. The COB would have its own membership, but commercial Realtors who join the COB would also continue to have the option of being members of their local member board.
All four of OREA’s bold, new ideas can be found at www.newOREAservices.com. This website has been set up to collect feedback, which members can do easily right through the website.
Go to our website and tell us what you think. Will these services help you do business better? What would you change? What can we be doing better?
Your feedback on these ideas is going to be crucial in deciding which products and services our Board of Directors moves forward with.
I look forward to hearing from you.