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Banning Bully Offers Won't Make Ontario Real Estate Any More Fair

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By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

It's no secret that Ontario's real-estate market has transformed dramatically since the rules that govern it — the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) — were first established in 2002. Not only has the technology behind transactions changed from fax machines to online contracts, but unprecedented price growth and supply issues in the real-estate markets in Toronto and the surrounding GTA have bred unscrupulous and anti-competitive practices.

courtneyk via Getty ImagesBuyers who lose to bully offers can feel they've been shut out of the competition before it even started.

For example, the double-ending of transactions, where an agent represents both the buyer and seller, and collects a commission on both deals, has come under particular fire for taking advantage of clients in a hot market. So has the method of pricing listings artificially low to spur interest and incite bidding wars.

The industry and the Province of Ontario have been working to address these issues in the modernization of REBBA 2002. The first phase cracked down on double-ended deals, and proposed to strengthen the Real Estate Council of Ontario's (RECO) disciplinary powers and increase maximum fines for unethical agents. This is all a step in the right direction to better protect........

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