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Canadian Realtors violating anti-spam laws face $1 to $10 million penalties- AG Exclusive

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Digital marketing rules with heavy penalties

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) notified their members today that they have been advised that “the government is close to finalizing new rules for marketing by e-mail, text messaging and other forms of electronic communication, which will impact the way REALTORS® communicate with clients.”

The Anti-Spam bill which is in the Canadian government’s final stages of legislation spells out terms in which Realtors can contact or market to potential, current and past clients electronically over email and text and violations by individual Realtors come with a penalty of up to $1 million and for corporations up to $10 million and additionally, consumers will have the right to sue for damages.

Canadian Realtor Andrew McKay said, “there are bigger problems such as agents taking only 3 photos with a cheap phone for listing, blatant lies on the listing, etc. Make the fine 10k or 20k and Realtors will take notice. Make it 1 mil and they will think that’s never going to happen. Teach realtors that spam back fires.”

The new electronic marketing measures

According to CREA’s email, these are the 10 points of the Electronic Marketing legislation that Canadian Realtors must know:

1) With a few exceptions, REALTORS® will no longer be able to send electronic messages to clients or potential clients without their consent.

2) Consent will be implied for REALTORS® to send electronic messages to a client for two years following a real estate transaction and six months after an inquiry from a potential client.

3) A transitional provision allows REALTORS® to send electronic messages to clients without their consent for three years, provided the relationship existed before the new rules come into force.

4) The onus is on the REALTOR® to prove consent; therefore you must document that consent has been obtained by a recipient.

5) When obtaining consent, REALTORS® must set out the purpose for which the consent is being sought, as well as information identifying them. More details about obtaining consent will be included in the regulations issued for the legislation, which have not been drafted yet.

6) REALTORS® will need to ensure each electronic message contains their contact information, an unsubscribe mechanism, and any other information set out in the forthcoming regulations.

7) Consent will be implied and REALTORS® will be able to follow up by email with new contacts they meet at networking functions, so long as the electronic message is relevant to the recipient’s business.

8.) Consent will not be implied for REALTORS® to follow up on a referral unless the potential client provides their express consent, or has a personal, family or existing business relationship with the REALTOR®.

9) REALTORS® who fail to comply with these new electronic marketing rules could face administrative monetary penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations. In addition, individuals who receive unsolicited electronic marketing materials from a REALTOR® could launch a private right of action and sue for monetary compensation.

10) Telephone marketing continues to be governed by the Do Not Call List rules. In the future, the government may include telephone marketing under the same electronic marketing compliance regime.

Will this trickle to America?

The implications of this legislation are huge and the Canadian government is not joking around. Will this trickle to America? It’s not likely, we barely have enforceable do not call laws on the books (yes, they’re there as are RESPA laws that require lenders to respond in a specific window of time), and the laws do not have penalties quite this steep.

Canadians and Americans alike should be very careful with how they are marketing in the digital era and the Canadian government is going to make sure that Canadians will. Tell us in comments what you think of this news.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    April 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I would not want to be the company or Realtor made an example of, you'd be out of business.

  2. Drew Meyers - Virtual Results

    April 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I hate spammers with a passion. They are a waste of life. But even I think these penalties may be too steep.

  3. Marlow Harris

    April 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

    I'm assuming that this applies to anyone in a sales position, not just Realtors. It must be a one-law-fits-all-salesperson law, from siding to new windows to tickets to the Policeman's Ball. I wonder if it applies to non-profits looking for donations? It seems a little excessive. Would an Open House be considered a networking event? If an old client wants you to email their brother about helping them sell their house, would that be spamming? Another reason I'm glad I'm not Canadian, I guess 🙂

  4. Brad | Home Loan Artist

    April 14, 2011 at 1:13 am

    One Million? Why not two? Everyone has a budget to meet…..they need to raise money somehow.

  5. Andrew McKay

    April 14, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I recently heard that something like 90% of complaints against realtors violating the code of ethics etc up here are made by other realtors. I maybe a bit Machiavellian but imagine the damage you could do to a colleague/competitor with these fines. I wonder what the virtual or electronic equivalent of a "honey trap" is.
    On a more serious note there is a huge problem we all face with spam and it reflects badly on our industry but $1 million in a perverse way is not a serious figure. Thats why I mentioned make the fine $20,000 as that hurts and is collectable.
    I use Aweber for my newsletter etc and find the service easy and excellent with consent and unsubscribe options built in.

  6. Jon Angevine - Calgary Real Estate

    April 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

    This has been in the works for some time and has now just come into effect from what I understand. You can check out the actual legislation here -https://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=4901869&file=4

    As with anything those are maximum fines. I doubt that we would see an individual Realtor getting the maximum for the first offence. I wonder what will happen with all the pharmaceutical ads we get as spam. Our national do not call list has not seemed to have much impact on the unsolicited calls either.

  7. Roland Estrada

    April 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    The only spam I get is from other Realtors and real estate related services. And it happened by registering my name with NAR, CAR and OCAR. However I've found a possible solution. For the past week or so, I've been using a service from Unsubscribe.com. So far my daily real estate related spam is declining. I was getting 10 to 15 spams per day. Yesterday I got one spam. So far today, I've gotten one. Fingers crossed.

  8. Jon Angevine - Calgary Real Estate

    May 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Just an update here in Alberta our Industry Association has published a list of 10 rules REALTORS® need to know regarding this legislation.

    areahub.ca/Home/AREAhub-Monthly/marketing.aspx

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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