What can you do when a Realtor behaves badly?

Most people have either had a personal experience or heard an outrageous story about nefarious Realtor conduct or practice.  Our Realtor only Facebook page is full of them and believe me, the Realtor community is furious with this type of behaviour, as it tends to tarnish all in the profession.  Most real estate professionals and brokerages operate fastidiously within the myriad of rules, regulations and policies that govern professional real estate. (more on this later)

But what is a consumer to do?

Consumers have many options they can pursue:

Speak with the offending Realtor directly and try to clear the air or gain some remedy from the perpetrator.
Contact that brokerage manager or Broker of Record (who is in most cases, also the owner)

  • Contact the Ottawa Real Estate Board and lodge a complaint. The Board has its own Discipline Committee and quasi-judicial processes and has recently begun to fine members for a variety of offences under Board rules and MLS® policies.
  • Contact the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) the regulator and licencing authority for real estate in Ontario. RECO has sweeping powers including the ability to levy large* fines, licence suspensions and even criminal charges. *one prominent Ottawa broker was fined over $200,000 several years ago for obstructing a RECO investigation and falsifying records.
  • Contact a lawyer to see if there are grounds for a legal case.

Many, many pieces of legislation affect activities around professional real estate (which is one of the problems) and those with a beef may have a difficult time sorting out who to contact.  If it is a rental matter, then it might be to the Rental Housing Tribunal.  If a privacy matter, the federal Privacy Commission.  Aggressive and unwanted or unauthorized marketing may require a complaint to the Competition Bureau or the CASL (anti-spam) folks whichever Federal Department they may happen to be with.  Real Estate sign issues are a City of Ottawa bylaw matter and so on and so on…

Why it is difficult to curb bad Realtor behaviour:
We mentioned earlier that the core of the Realtor community is furious with the egregious behaviour attributed to some members and one must wonder: “so why isn’t something done about it…why don’t more people complain?

Though many are involved in managing and regulating the profession and many positive steps have been taken, there is still a long way to and any commission sales environment with relatively easy access, high commissions and large numbers of members, will have its share of those who deviate from the overall standards.  The rewards are just too good and the enforcement is often deemed lacking, so some Realtors must say to themselves: why shouldn’t I do what gets me more business and commission?

Barriers to enforcement and complaint resolution:

  • Consumers most often do not want to get involved with a formal or legal complaint which can take a lot of time and energy and possibly money. Most consumers do not even know all the rules, either or more would complain.
  • There are so many bodies and legislation surrounding organized real estate that it is very difficult to identify which rule, regulation or law has been broken and whose jurisdiction a complaint must be filed with.
  • Processes for various organizations are long and involved and often stop complaints before they are even heard. RECO for example, takes consumer complaints very seriously but is not able to manage Realtor complaints on what are considered minor issues, so they defer these mostly back to the originating locale. For example, as a Broker of Record, I cannot refer a discipline matter to RECO unless I have already communicated and discussed the issue with the perpetrators Manager or Broker of Record.
  • There is a bit of a “live-and-let-live” approach to most common Realtor misbehaviour, on the grounds that we have to work with these people in the future, so why spoil the realtor-realtor synergy that may be needed to do a future deal. Also, as one must identify oneself to make a complaint, many can be concerned about potentially “putting a target on their own back”  and are concerned with possible reprisals from the complaint target agent.

We will write about our many “Broker beefs” via broker rant reports, future posts.  We also welcome any notes, questions or comments on things you have seen or wondered about concerning Realtor activity and behaviour.


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis
Realty Brokerage Ottawa, Canada
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Do Federal election results affect Ottawa housing?

Do you ever wonder if it makes a difference which major party is in power or whether we have a majority or minority government?

When it comes to Ottawa real estate here are some recent average selling prices that might give you a hint:

Harper Majority:              Trudeau Majority:

2012: +2.4%                        2016: +1.2%

2013: +1.6%                        2017: +5.5%

2014: +1.2%                        2018: +3.8%

2015: +1.6%                        2019: + 9.1% (through Sept)

So if you are voting based on your housing wallet, the choice is pretty clear…..though a minority government of any kind, pretty much ensures the cash will be flowing and all will be good in Ottawa real estate.

All in all, no party seems to have threatened (promised) to make any significant moves to balance the books, so while perhaps not good news overall, it certainly doesn’t seem to predict the tight budgets of the Harper majority or even the previous John Chretien majority, where budgets and headcount were threatened and Ottawa housing often paid the price.

The link between Federal headcount and program funding has a huge impact in the Ottawa economy and therefore housing. (and in Gatineau,  “don’t’-call-me-Hull” too)  For every Federal job in Ottawa there is probably another job in the private sector that is also largely tied to their employers business with the government.  So if a Federal majority government decides to go strong on a “balance the books” principle, we are bound to see our economy suffer and our housing market flat line.

During the last Harper majority, we suffered through buyers’ market conditions for 3 or 4 years’, with average price increases barely beating inflation.  New home construction (and all the jobs that go with it!) also suffered during this period.  All this turned round with 2015 election and the Sunny spending ways of the Liberal majority and their “modest” deficits which helped prime the pump for a reboot in Ottawa real estate that continues to gather steam.  New construction has been at unprecedented levels, sales increases and price increases have been double digit and we have a strong sellers’ market at the current time.

So please vote today, as it is unlikely our market will suffer from the most widely anticipated outcomes,

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Hello world! Ottawa Real Estate Guide 2.0

This is version 2.0 of our Oasis Realty Ottawa blog and we are keen to get it ramped up again. (we lost about 5 years worth of posts due to a misunderstanding between us and our website supplier…ugh! …not all their fault but it was surprising there was no way to go back and repatriate the content)

We think we can have a valuable role in creating a forum for consumers and Realtors to discuss real issues in today’s Ottawa real estate scene.  Many professionals in the business don’t have time to blog or don’t have much latitude, due to employee contracts, corporate brokerage policies or management practices.  Many others prefer to focus strictly on marketing and lead generation using their blog.

We hope to emulate in some small way, the super blog by a Realtor colleague in Toronto, David Fleming who has done a fantastic job in “telling it like it is”  in Toronto real estate.  He doesn’t pull any punches, either….something that is not possible for 95% of Realtors out there who are effectively muzzled or controlled, since everything they write or post, is subject to some management or corporate policy, scrutiny or legal potential.  We encourage everyone to check out https://torontorealtyblog.com/  for an interesting perspective on the GTA market and real estate in general.

We think we have some real insight to offer, with over 15 years of industry experience and 12+ years running our own small brokerage.  We have worked with 2 major corporate franchise brokerages prior to launching our own brokerage, so we feel we offer an interesting perspective.

We encourage you to submit questions and issues you would like to hear about it and we will address them, if we believe they are topical and of interest to other consumers.  So what are your thoughts on the Ottawa real estate market?  What have your experiences with Realtors been? What surprises, confuses, entertains or ticks you off about how real estate is done?

We look forward to hearing from you!


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com