Sunday, April 21, 2024

Listing service a boost for real estate

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The local real estate industry is expected to become more transparent and buoyant in coming months following last Wednesday’s launch of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Under the system which has been used in the United States and Canada for over 70 years, all properties listed for sale by members of the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association (BEAVA) will be featured on one website and any member can sell any property.
So far 140 agents have been trained and BEAVA president Suzanne Davis said more are expected to join the association as the new system picks up.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday during an MLS seminar at Hilton Barbados, Davis said BEAVA was “blown away by what [the system] could do for our agents, what it could do for our owners and our purchasers”.
“They can go to one site and find everything that’s available in Barbados and they can choose whichever agent they want to use provided they’re a member of MLS.
“It doesn’t have to be the listing agent . . . they can use any agent, and that agent can go to the listing agent and sell that property,” she explained.
Wayne Berthin, the managing director of Realty Server, a Canadian company which will host the site, said with the MLS system the marketplace becomes “more transparent to everybody involved”.
“It’s more easily determined what is for sale, what is selling, how much things are selling for and what gets sold.
“All of this information becomes reasonably available, particularly available to the people who are running the MLS – the members of BEAVA – but more generally available to the buying and selling public.
“Through marketplace transparency the market becomes more efficient and more fair.
“People are more easily and readily able to buy what they’re actually looking for, what they actually want, because they know what’s for sale,” he said.
Berthin, who has taken MLS to 12 countries, noted that it will also reduce the difficulty some people face in selling their houses since they can better determine what price they should be asking.
He added that the system also brings about a system of cooperation among real estate agents.
“The idea is to give full market exposure and security of commissions so you’ll have motivated people rather than demotivated people working on selling your property because they know they’re going to get paid,” he said.
Davis noted that since Jamaica implemented the MLS two years ago, their “real estate has just boomed” and she was hopeful the local market would react the same way.
“Barbados really and truly until the recession has boomed anyhow.
“Real estate has always been a very lucrative market and until the recession we did not really find the need for [MLS],” she said.
Howard Johnson, president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica, agreed that the culture in Jamaica “seriously changed” since the introduction of MLS.
“We are seeing where our market has increased significantly in Jamaica because of the MLS.
“A couple years ago before the MLS was instituted, a lot of companies were struggling.
“Everybody was struggling over the same loaf of bread.
“What the MLS has done is level the playing field and everyone is now working together,” he said.

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