US vs. Canada
At first blush the journey to discover similarities and differences between you as an American Realtor and me as a Canadian Realtor might seem a simple task. Initial thoughts of “of course we’re different, we have to be, we live in different countries so we must be” rang loudly. A reality check soon delivered a verdict.
Our Paper Is Different
Oh sure, there are obvious mechanical things that are different in American real estate like escrow, short sales, seller contingencies, and repair. One thing that does stand out is the amount of paper work necessary to process a transaction. By itself, this seems to be the most notable American difference as my informers tell me there is a form to cover every possible circumstance. Comparatively, the Canadian paper load is much lighter. I can’t say our buyers and sellers expect any less of us as Realtors in a transaction. Nor can I say that we have more tree huggers who don’t want to waste paper. I do think however, that as a society, we tend to be less likely to litigate over problems that can be resolved through a discussion and a handshake.
Our Toys Are Different
We also have MLS systems like you. We don’t have as many and ours may not be as diverse in service levels as yours. I will acknowledge that while we all cut our hair differently there are some toys on your systems that would be nice to have in ours. One noteworthy difference is that we provide only one consumer portal to MLS information. We keep it centralized somewhere in Ottawa and simply call it Realtor.ca. Another is that our MLS dominates the resale housing market in Canada. We don’t have the Trulia’s and Zillows out there competing. This one aspect makes it a lot easier for us to use on a daily basis and centralizes the deliverance of information to the consumer.
Ground Shaking Conclusions
Usually I’m not big on consensus but this post called out saying you better be careful not to step on toes. So being the clever boy I am I thought a nice spammy email to a bunch of American and Canadian realtors would garner some consensus on the differences and similarities we possess. The response was less than stellar in two ways. First, few responded so next time I’ll include free chocolate bars. Second, those who did return a message responded with strikingly similar answers. To my surprise no one offered a response that was absolutely earth shaking. The question then is, are Canadian and American Realtors more similar than different or are we equal?
You need to know it’s tough to travel through 50 states, 10 provinces and various territories in a week and talk to millions of Realtors in order to come up with a definitive answer. I’m good, but not that good. Furthermore, since I travel light, I concluded that flip flops just wouldn’t work in the muskeg near Tuktyuktuk. Considering this is my first time on the payroll at Genius I didn’t want you thinking I was a slouch. Also I didn’t want to slough off my work to your shoulders by leaving you with a question but I’m going to anyway.
Now that you know I’m not lying down on the job, here’s a thought that might start a fire about things that differentiate or make us similar.
Are We Borg?
As humans we have inherited genes granting us unique characteristics. While we are part of a collective called humanity, each of us is different. Accordingly, within our two countries we as REALTORS are part of a collective called the real estate industry. We are somewhat similar to the Borg of Star Trek fame. Like Borg we are interconnected and bring our assimilated knowledge forward for the common good. Yet we are not Borg. We refuse complete assimilation and will not surrender our divergent character.