BCREA disolves into more efficient REALTORS of BC Organization
(November 30, 2016 )
REALTORS® of BC is a proposed new organization that will benefit all members across British Columbia, enable our industry to seize opportunities and meet future challenges, maintain consistent and high professional standards, and give organized real estate in B.C. a stronger, unified voice. The recommendation to create REALTORS® of BC was the result of work undertaken by the presidents of each real estate board in B.C. and the B.C. Real Estate Association.
HOW REALTORS® OF BC WOULD OPERATE
REALTORS® of BC would have member chapters across the province, four branch offices and a central service centre.
Currently, the individual participating boards are supporting 6 office locations and employees across the province. By moving many administrative functions into a single service centre, there will be significant human and financial resources available to provide local REALTOR® support and community engagement with consumers and governments.
All REALTORS® will be a member of REALTORS® of BC.
A central service centre will be responsible for the key back office operations of the new organization (i.e. MLS® management, communciations, IT, Governance, finance etc). This will streamline the duplicated effort and inefficiencies at the current board level, freeing up time and resources to redeploy to serving members better.
Branches (service centres) will be an extension of the central office, focused solely on delivering services locally to members. It is anticipated that branches will operate out of some of the current board office locations.
Chapters will function as REALTOR® networks across the province and will be supported by local staff that will work out of branch offices, the central office, their homes or small offices in communities where a need is identified. The first chapters (community group) to be implemented will be geographic and likely Commercial. It is expected that special interest chapters (i.e. agriculture, young professionals) will then be developed based on the interest of REALTORS® around the province. A core principle of the new organization is robust member engagement with chapters.
REALTORS® of BC will offer significant benefits to all members and consumers across British Columbia. Through robust member engagement, the new organization will harmonize fees and provide greater value to REALTORS®, deliver world-class member services across the province, enhance the profession and give organized real estate in B.C. a stronger, unified voice.
KNOW THAT YOUR MONEY IS WELL SPENT AND YOUR INTERESTS ARE AT HEART.
By centralizing the support functions, more resources will be freed from keeping the lights on to focusing on enhancing our profession. By doing things right and only once (instead of multiple times through the current board structure), REALTORS® will receive a consistently higher quality of service at an overall lower cost.
By eliminating duplication and inefficiencies, the new organization has identified about $9.3 million in annual savings and resources across the participating boards. It is expected that much of it could be re-invested into services that matter most to REALTORS® across B.C., and reduce administration burdens and costs. Simply put, you will enjoy enhanced services and have more flexibility in how you access them.
The following benefits would be shared across the province:
ONE MLS® SYSTEM!
REALTORS® of BC will have a single, province-wide MLS® system that streamlines and enhances this critical service. A single MLS® system with broader and consistent data and improved tools and analytics, will allow REALTORS® to better-leverage the market insights from this resource to enhance the real and perceived value to consumers.
BENEFITS OF A SINGLE MLS® SYSTEM
Under the existing system, there are several different databases in use across the province for MLS® listings. With one province-wide MLS® system, REALTORS® will be able to use consistent business rules and processes everywhere and anywhere in B.C. Further enhancements are planned to improve access to the system.
REALTORS® and clients will be able to utilize higher value tools, such as analytics, to make the buying and selling process more effective. The single MLS® solution will also provide members with off-line access, when internet is unavailable.
In addition, it will make organized real estate in B.C. more attractive to technology providers to develop new tools that can be more quickly deployed to REALTORS® and consumers. Shared services and costs can lead to cost savings yielding either lower operational costs or funds which can be reallocated to provision of value added services.
REALTORS® of BC will have transparent and consistent professional standards set and managed at a provincial level, and arbitration and dispute management to enforce them. It will reinforce the value of expertise and local knowledge, while encouraging professional conduct within the areas of expertise of each REALTOR®.
One of the core benefits of this new model is the harmonization and consistent approach for arbitration and professional standards. This will be managed as a critical function of the central service centre and will ensure that every REALTOR® across B.C. is held accountable to a consistent, high standard of realtor professionalism.
Resources will be provided to train local staff members and to cover travel costs in the event that mediators, arbitrators or facilitators are required to help resolve an issue. This will make certain that each region is served equally.
Enhancing our Profession
ENHANCING OUR PROFESSION
Designed to serve all REALTORS® no matter where they are located, REALTORS® of BC will have the resources to build REALTOR® networks across British Columbia and enhance the profession.
This new organization will provide harmonized standards for REALTORS® across the participating regions. This will allow REALTORS® to make certain that the business of real estate is handled consistently and to the same high standards across the province, and provide a system to proactively identify and respond to irregularities.
REALTORS® of B.C. will generate about $9.3 million in annual savings and resources, and it is expected that some of this could be allocated to enhancing the image and understanding of the profession. For example, the organization may choose to run a province-wide advertising and public relations campaign that promotes the benefits of working with a professional REALTOR®. This would benefit all REALTORS® across the province.
Awards and recognition will be handled at all three office levels, which will enhance the visibility of REALTORS® locally and at a province-wide level.
Member education is a central priority to ensuring the continued professional growth of REALTORS® and the improvement of the profession. REALTORS® of BC will offer REALTORS® a comprehensive program of educational materials, courses and certifications to continue member development and enhance the profession.
A range of different courses is currently available to REALTORS®, with topics and curricula varying in different boards and associations.
REALTORS® of BC will offer a comprehensive program of courses, managed by the central service centre to make certain there is consistency across the province. These will be easily accessible, either through online materials or branch offices. Harmonizing the courses offered across B.C. will allow all REALTORS® to benefit equally from the same growth opportunities and remain up-to-date with best practices.
REALTORS® are community leaders and builders, strengthening the social fabric of your cities and towns. REALTORS® of BC will enhance existing and support new community building programs and advance the profile of the professional REALTOR® through additional resources and support. The goal is to ensure that REALTORS® continue to support your respective communities, with improved resources and the full support of REALTORS® of BC.
REALTORS® know what people value most in a home and a community. It’s part of our jobs. Our clients talk to us about the value of quality of life everyday. From clothing and blanket drives to sponsoring and coaching kids’ sports, from volunteering on community boards and societies to contributing to food banks and shelters, REALTORS® understand that building and maintaining community relationships is essential to successful and rewarding careers, but also to the sustainable future of your communities.
REALTORS® of BC is designed to ensure that community initiatives will continue to be driven locally. With additional resources, REALTORS® of BC can manage a larger community building budget, and provide resources to support local initiatives and take successful local community building programs to communities right across British Columbia.
REALTORS® of BC will provide all members with a comprehensive suite of services, allowing REALTORS® to focus on what’s important – growing your business. Centralizing the provision of member support via a website portal and one-call service line will simplify the process for REALTORS®, while improving effective and efficient response capabilities across the organization.
photo-1445620466293-d6316372ab59In the modern marketplace, REALTORS® are more reliant on technology. Making certain that members have seamless access to top quality IT support is an important priority of the new organization.
Under the new structure, IT support will be centralized and standardized across the province, allowing all members to receive fast assistance no matter where they are located. The central service centre will manage enquiries, while branch offices will continue to deliver local services where needed. Efficiencies will be made through converging support and development teams, while offering the potential for savings though group procurement.
Lockboxes, directories, standard forms – these are the tools REALTORS® need quick and easy access to, to run your business. To date, these have been provided by your current board or association. REALTORS® of BC will centralize the provision of these services, making certain that they are delivered consistently and efficiently across the province, while maintaining local delivery, management and training where needed.
Lockbox services will be managed centrally by REALTORS® of BC, with regional offices coordinating the service in your local area. Local brokerages may be engaged to house some inventory of lockboxes that are administered by branch offices. A centralized list will facilitate finding the closest lockbox to you. Own your own? There are no plans to impair your ability to use it or get support for it.
Centralizing contracts will lead to cost savings and increased buying power, while maintaining the quality of service across the board.
REALTORS® will be able to access an up-to-date, province-wide directory through the website portal, providing contact information for REALTORS® across the participating boards in a single place and identifying key points of contact in chapters, regions and in the central service centre. This will be maintained by the central service centre to make certain that it is accurate in real time.
REALTORS® of BC will consolidate and standardize forms, replacing the current assortment of forms in use in different parts of the province. Standardized forms, which will allow for customization where required, will be easily accessible by all members instantly through the website portal, making certain there is consistency across the province.
Forms will be fill-able electronic files for ease of use, and REALTORS® will be able to receive printed versions from local chapters and regional offices, where necessary.
PRODUCTS AND APPS
A number of different products and apps are currently available to REALTORS® through existing boards and associations. These tools will be reviewed and tested and the best and most effective one will be made available to REALTORS® across B.C., making certain that all members have the best available access to the best tools for the job.
REALTORS® of BC will be transparent and user friendly to consumers. Information for consumers will be available on a single REALTORS® of BC website, offering a single point of contact to handle enquiries. When needed, enquiries will be routed to the appropriate regional branch office for a local response.
Advocacy & Government Regulations
ADVOCACY AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
REALTORS® of BC will provide one strong, unified voice to represent the interests of all REALTORS® across the province. The ability to engage with municipal, provincial and federal governments, through the collective, unified voice of more than 18,000 REALTORS® across B.C., will allow organized real estate to have a significant impact in having our voices heard.
The profile of the profession will be enhanced at the provincial and local level by dedicating additional resources and investment to supporting local communities, engaging municipal governments, and expanded advocacy across British Columbia.
A single organization can help make certain that we are able to harmonize and enforce the high professional standards with which REALTORS® have always and will continue to hold ourselves to.
REALTORS® of B.C. will generate about $9.3M in annual savings and resources each year, and it is expected that some of this could be allocated to enhancing government relations. For example, supported with the interest of 18,000+ REALTORS®, instead of multiple, slightly different requests, REALTORS® of BC could coordinate a single awareness and engagement initiative to bring together key government stakeholders and the leaders of organized real estate from across B.C.
MARKET DATA AND NEWS
Go to market based on your knowledge and the added value you bring to customers. To provide all REALTORS® with consistent high-quality information in a rapidly changing consumer environment, REALTORS® of BC will develop and produce market forecasts, data and statistics on a macro level and at a regional level.
REALTORS® of BC will also develop and produce a suite of electronic and printed informational materials (e.g. media releases, newsletters and videos) that will have a consistent look and include regional sections.
NEWS AND MEDIA
photo-1444653614773-995cb1ef9efaThe central service centre will also be the main point of contact for media enquiries, and will proactively engage with and support media contacts at the regional level. One of the enhanced member services of REALTORS® of BC will be proactive communications and media engagement across the province. This will include regular, media, government and community outreach across B.C. While there will be key media spokespeople for REALTORS® of BC, we understand there will be a need for local spokespeople in each region. The new organization will provide media training and local communications support.
With ample resources for investment each year, REALTORS® of BC will be able to offer services that are not currently available across the province to all REALTORS®.
With 11 different real estate boards currently operating, not all members have access to the same services. REALTORS® of BC will be able to take such scalable services – for example, title search – and offer it to REALTORS® right across the province.
In cases where the service is not scalable, they can be retained as is, with the central service centre reviewing non-scalable services for the benefit to members’ (current and potential) utilization and economic viability.
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