CEO'S REPORT

ANNUAL REPORT 2017

REAL ESTATE BOARD OF GREATER VANCOUVER

Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We’re putting the strategies, processes, and resources in place to do just that.

Brad Scott

CEO

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver exists to provide you with structure and services to help you excel in your business and to foster public confidence in the real estate profession.

We’re always looking for ways to innovate and improve our products and services.

Our strategic plan sets targets to make us the best customer service provider in organized real estate and to create a new generation of MLS® that stands as the most effective marketing system for REALTORS®.

To reach these goals, we maintain a disciplined focus on what you most need from us. We do this in a couple of ways:

  • First, you’ve probably noticed that we do a lot of surveys. They provide us with the most critical performance measurement of all: your satisfaction.
  • We’ve also developed sophisticated processes to analyze what products you’re using and how you’re using them. Comparing this analysis with your survey feedback gives us the insight we need to provide world-class service in an evolving marketplace.

Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We’re putting the strategies, processes, and resources in place to do just that.

Our world is changing

The real estate profession is changing. To create our future, we must recognize and adapt to these changes.

The Real Estate Council of BC recently published a three-year strategic plan. Their mandate is to enhance consumer protection and implement the 28 recommendations from the Independent Advisory Group.

Many of the changes recommended in the IAG report are things Realtors advocated for over many years. Like better education. Increased requirements for professionalism. Increased focus on consumer protection. Many of you argued that dual agency should be banned. As of June 15, it will be.

The real estate profession is constantly evolving, so you know better than most that change is hard. Many of you will be frustrated because the changes will cause you to have to do things differently.

At times, we’ll need to push back. We did that recently when the ban on limited dual agency looked like it would require you to recuse yourself from serving both the buyer and seller in certain circumstances. Fortunately, we were able to advocate with the superintendent for a more common-sense approach. The result is that you can keep one client in a situation where a conflict of interest may exist.

Council’s new mission is “to protect the public interest by promoting and enforcing professional standards to raise the competency and conduct of real estate licensees in British Columbia.”

These are good goals. Our Board has stood for these things since our founding 99 years ago. Based on the enormous amount of member feedback on the subject over the years, we believe Realtors are ready to support our regulator’s pursuit of these goals over the next few years.

Financial health

The strength of any organization is in its people and resources. Your Board remains in a healthy financial position, with a net operating surplus, before amortization, of $1.9 million in 2017.

This surplus was due in large part to a growing membership. In 2017, we gained 741 members and 19 corporate offices, bringing our total membership to 14,184 and our corporate offices to 571.

We ended the year with $6.5 million in unappropriated reserves. We have an additional $2.9 million in reserve to enhance our MLS® technology and modernize our member management system, which stores your account, billing, and other information.

Today’s housing market

Last year, you sold 35,993 properties on the MLS®, the third highest total in the last 10 years. However, home listings trended in the opposite direction. You listed 54,665 homes for sale on the MLS® in 2017, which was the second lowest total in the last 10 years.

Strong demand and weak supply in 2017 caused prices to rise and affordability concerns to worsen in our region.

Realtor public image

As the housing affordability debate has intensified, media, public, and government scrutiny of our profession has impacted public perception of Realtors.

Over the course of a year, your Board participates in hundreds of media interviews, issues public statements, places advertisements, sponsors events, writes op-eds in the news, and profiles Realtor charitable activities.

More is needed.

We’ve hired an advertising and marketing firm to take a strategic look at the unique challenges our members face when it comes to defending Realtors’ reputation. This company is working with our communications team to develop a path forward. The campaign will incorporate a blend of public relations, marketing, and advertising practices.

Watch for more details on this initiative later this spring.

New public websites

We’re also reshaping our online presence with our two public websites: rebgv.org and realtylink.org:

  • Rebgv.org features MLS® statistics, tips, and resources to help educate the public on housing market trends, the home buying and selling process, and the value of working with a Realtor.
  • Realtylink.org is our public listing website. It features MLS® listings for most BC regions.

Both sites are operating on outdated platforms. We’re working with a web development firm to redesign them. New versions of both sites will launch later this year, helping the public better connect with Realtors and the value you provide.

Improving Paragon

In 2017, Black Knight, the makers of Paragon, delivered six of our top enhancements requests. These changes improved the look and feel of the system, streamlined work flows and allowed you to email more detailed listing information to your clients.

Improving Paragon’s search experience, CMA and Collaboration Centre tools remain at the top of our enhancements list. Black Knight will launch Collaboration Centre Pro this summer, which is intended to improve your mobile experience on Paragon.

Continuing to improve Paragon is a top priority. To better understand your views, we conducted a Paragon satisfaction survey in August. The results showed that 57 per cent of members are either satisfied or very satisfied with the system. That isn’t good enough. To get the kind of results you expect, we need to have more influence over Paragon’s enhancement cycle.

To that end, we’ve partnered with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Realtors Association of Edmonton. We’re close to signing a premium support agreement with Black Knight to hire a senior person who will work on our behalf in its Kansas office. Having someone engaging with the development team, face-to-face, every day will give us a stronger voice in shaping the priorities and direction of the system. This investment is about ensuring that your needs are front and centre.

Watch for news on these and other system enhancements in the months ahead.

A new education facility

Our members work and live across a large geographical area. More than 40 per cent of you live east of the Burnaby-Vancouver border. You face long commutes to get to classes at the Board office.

We want to make it easier for you to take professional development program (PDP) courses — and that’s what we’ve done! I’m excited to announce that we’ll open a second education facility later this spring at a leased property located at 228 Schoolhouse Avenue in Coquitlam. You’ll be able to attend courses and events, pick up lockboxes and sold stickers, and receive other support services.

It’s a great location, with lots of parking, great restaurants close by, and easy access from Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway. The space will contain one classroom that can accommodate 44 members per class, which is about the size of the Thompson Training Room at the Board office.

We plan to deliver more than 200 courses to approximately 8,000 members from this location each year. We’re currently renovating the space and hope to begin offering courses from Coquitlam in early May.

ShowingTime and Touchbase

On December 4, we replaced Touchbase with a new member-to-member messaging and appointment scheduling app called ShowingTime. Member response was swift, with many expressing concerns about missing functionality in the app.

We were quick to reach out to Realtors and Brokers to better understand these concerns. As a result, we re-enabled to Touchbase. ShowingTime offers attractive new features, but it currently lacks functionality that many of you rely on. Eliminating this functionality without providing you with a satisfactory alternative failed to meet the high customer service standards you expect of us.

We’ve held member focus groups to identify the critical functionality you need from these messaging services. We’re also speaking with the companies that provide Touchbase and ShowingTime to help us determine which product might provide the best long-term option.

In the meantime, given that it’s impractical to have two messaging systems running simultaneously, and our neighbouring Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is running solely on Touchbase, we’ll also return to Touchbase as our sole messaging system in April. However, we will consider ShowingTime or other alternatives when and if they meet your requirements.

Commercial First

Last summer we launched a new commercial listing service, Commercial First.

Designed with commercial real estate practitioners in mind, Commercial First is a one-stop destination to list, promote, and search for commercial properties. The system offers more flexibility for commercial Realtors than the MLS®.

Feedback on Commercial First has been positive, but adoption has been lower than expected. For Commercial First to succeed, we need more commercial members subscribing and sharing their listings. We’ll launch a Commercial First marketing campaign later this spring, offering incentives for members to join.

In closing

It’s been a pleasure to work with President Jill Oudil over the past year. She embraces challenges and opportunities with enthusiasm, tenacity, and good humour. You’ve been well served with her as your president. I’d also like to thank our Board of Directors for their leadership and guidance.

Finally, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to our staff for the energy and talent they bring to work every day on your behalf.

Sincerely,
Brad Scott
CEO
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

 

 

 

THE MANAGEMENT TEAM

(L-R): Craig Munn, Communication; Eileen Day, Chief Operating Officer; Kim Spencer, Professional Standards; Wendy March, Human Resources; Brad Scott, Chief Executive Officer; Noreen Davis, Member Services; Richard Joy, Education and Training; Harriet Permut, Government Relations; Mary Galaugher, Chief Financial Officer. Missing from photo: Mike Pedersen, Chief Information Officer.

 

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Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

2433 Spruce Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 4C8

Tel. 604.730.3000 Email: communications@rebgv.org