By Peter Squire
It has been ten years since WinnipegREALTORS® went through a branding exercise to rename the Winnipeg Real Estate Board to its current operating name of WinnipegREALTORS®. And it also came up with its tagline “The tools. The team. The trust.” 2007 was also the last year the newly named association of 104 years had its best sales year ever up until 2016. Last year, the 2007 total of 13,079 MLS® sales was finally eclipsed by the total of 13,632.
Of course, dollar volume was a different story with the average MLS® selling price increasing each year. There have been 16 consecutive years where the value of MLS® sales transacted has reached a higher level. In 2016, WinnipegREALTORS® transacted $3.78 billion through its MLS® system. For MLS® sales in all of Manitoba, both 2015 and 2016 have exceeded $4 billion in dollar volume.
Obviously a lot has changed over the last number of years with new development springing up across the city and throughout the capital region which WinnipegREALTORS® market region encompasses. Did you know that the rural municipalities have actually grown in total MLS® market share when compared to the five MLS® zones in the City of Winnipeg? In 2016, nearly 26 per cent of all MLS® sales took place outside the City of Winnipeg. Just ten years ago, the rural zone percentage of total sales was 18 per cent.
So how does the tagline fit and align with the real estate association in 2017? Let’s look at each of the attributes included in the tagline.
The tools are as important as they have ever been given advancements in technology and the need to be relevant and current with today’s home buyers and sellers. From having its own call centre and paging service for members, new advanced lock boxes, a peer-to-peer messaging system, a web-based application for members to access property specific information in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba, a plan in the works to introduce a new commercial real estate information exchange system, and continual upgrades to the Association’s MLS® which runs and operates for all of Manitoba, and preparation for electronic signatures, you can appreciate being a leader in providing the most effective, efficient, intuitive and secure electronic tools for its members is a top priority.
WinnipegREALTORS® has a very active technology committee which is backed up by strong IT staff support to implement identified projects each year. Simply put, they are dedicated and determined to bring forward technology improvements to strengthen the REALTOR® value proposition so consumers get maximum results.
Further to MLS® enhancements, the Association also has a long standing MLS® Committee. Serving Realtor volunteers are always looking at ways to make the MLS® run better with the end user in mind. The fact there were more sales transacted through MLS® than ever before in 2016 shows the system is working well to enable Realtors to provide successful outcomes to buyers and sellers of real estate.
The team of Realtors, and their extended family of other professionals to make the real estate transaction as seamless as possible, has grown since 2007. The team has gone from 1,248 Realtors in 2007 to 1,741 in 2017. Total membership is 1,869 as there are affiliate, business partners and supplier members, too. They include appraisers, mortgage brokers, financial institution representatives, home inspectors, builders, developers and even trainers.
Through the cooperative mandate and set-up of MLS® to encourage and facilitate cooperation amongst listing and selling agents to ultimately bring buyers and sellers together to conclude a successful real estate transaction, the “team” theme is very much a reality of how Realtors work together. When you think that your listing becomes available to 1,800 Realtors who potentially have qualified buyers potentially looking for a similar property, and there are vehicles such as the Real Estate News in its online and newspaper form to bring attention to it, you know why on average it only took a month to sell a home in 2016.
WinnipegREALTORS® commercial division members are pursuing their version of a commercial MLS® which will enable its REALTORS® to work more effectively as a team to help their clients in the buying, selling and leasing of commercial property.
Trust is a cornerstone of any business, especially one where you are making one of the most important financial decisions in your lifetime. Realtors’ success are based on positive word of mouth and that is by maintaining the utmost in integrity and providing timely and up-to-date information on real estate values and the current buying and selling process.
All Realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics, must be bonded and carry errors and omissions insurance. They can be brought before a professional standards committee and must take mandatory education to keep apprised of important issues such as any changes to real estate legislation.
On a final point with respect to trust, it is critically important that a consumer can rely on accurate and factual information to make an informed decision. As the exclusive provider of MLS® services for the entire province, WinnipegREALTORS® prides itself in ensuring the database of record is reliable. This includes its public reporting of MLS® sales and dollar volume activity. All MLS® stats are based on solid and verifiable current and historical records.