Andrew la fleur is saying over at BlogTO what home-buyers have been thinking for awhile. MLS.ca sucks. His quick review of Realtor.ca reiterates the pain that Canadian online house-hunters have been feeling for years.
Realtor.ca has finally launched and soon the much loathed MLS.ca will finally be put out of its misery. The recent shut down of the popular Housing123 caused quite a stir and reignited the debate over not just the fact that there is are lack of a quality website for viewing properties in this country, but also the Real Estate Industry’s handling of the information itself.
The real estate industry in Canada is in some ways unique in that it has managed to avoid to this point what just about every other knowledge-based industry has faced since the invention of the Internet: the mass dissemination of its most precious resource-information. Specifically, they have consistently shut down any attempt that has been made to open up the central MLS database that contains all the information about properties sold and those currently for sale.
One of the main reasons why these ‘rogue’ sites keep popping up is that MLS.ca is pretty terrible and has been basically unchanged over the last several years. MLS.ca completely missed the whole web 2.0 party and many entrepreneurs and programmer types couldn’t take it any longer. But with each new site that emerged, CREA was right behind them to shut them down.
Unfortunately, Canadian consumers still have a long way to go before there is a clean, transparent system for accessing real estate listings in our homeland. We are miles away from what is currently available south of the border with sites like Trulia.com and Zillow.com. If you know of any innovative websites that are tackling this problem, be sure to point them out in a comment on this post.