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New rules for multiple offers
Mar 13, 2008

by Dave MacKenzie

The Manitoba Real Estate Association in partnership with the Manitoba Securities Commission (provincial licensing body) has released updated rules for the real estate industry on offers presented when purchasing a home in Manitoba.  

The new rules will come into effect on March 31.  

During the last few years, the real estate market in Manitoba — Winnipeg in particular — has experienced accelerated activity.  Increases in fair market value have created a vibrant “seller’s market.” As such, many buyers have become increasingly frustrated in their efforts to acquire their dream home. Unfortunately, much of this frustration is an unavoidable byproduct of more buyers competing for the same product.  

However, our industry is not content to simply let consumers suffer without actively taking steps to minimize public distress associated with today’s hot market.  As real estate professionals, REALTORS® have a duty and responsibility to provide value-added service to their clients.  

In partnership with the regulatory body (MSC), a task force was convened to examine protocols on presentation of offers, particularly in “multiple offer” scenarios.  The task force spent a considerable amount of time reviewing existing rules and regulations from virtually every jurisdiction in Canada, as well as samples from the US, to glean practical and workable rules and regulations for Manitoba.  The goal is to create an atmosphere where both buyers and sellers can be confident they are being treated fairly, within a situation of increased transparency, without sacrificing the legal rights of both parties to the contract.

The MREA is confident that the re-stated protocols will serve both our membership and the public well. 

A few highlights of the protocol:

Members of the public can expect that when they deal with a REALTOR® the contents of their offer to purchase will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Competing buyers must be advised that they are in competition without disclosure of any of the terms of those offers, directly or by implication. 

Greater definition of the manner of communication between a listing agent and a buyer agent during the offer presentation and prequalification process.

A listing agent will maintain a list of offers presented to the seller, identifying the buyer agent in the transaction (without disclosing any terms of the offers) and will be provided to any buyer agent at their request.

In addition to these initiatives, the MREA is also developing a number of consumer-oriented materials that will soon be released to the public. Among these will be an information piece for buyers reviewing issues to consider in their purchase, as well as a list of potential conditions which might be inserted in an offer to purchase for their protection.  

For more information on issues related to real estate, you are welcome to visit www.realestatemanitoba.com.

(Dave MacKenzie is the president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association.)