Property Sellers 26 March 2021

Is Your Home Sale Price Really Private?

If you haven’t heard by now, your home price and history may be public knowledge. That’s right, the information you thought was private is now being displayed across something called a virtual office website (VOW). While this isn’t new for the majority of the Greater Toronto Area, it’s a new addition to London & St. Thomas.

Let me begin by explaining what a virtual office website is. With a virtual office website, you as a consumer are able to sign up through an online password-protected portal, and doing so states that you’ve formed a lawful broker-consumer relationship. This means that the virtual office website (brokerage) can provide a customer service relationship with you as a consumer. The brokerage is not by any means representing you, however, they are able to provide you data as requested.

Now, I’m all for information gathering. As a consumer, it’s your right to gather the knowledge and make an informed decision, however, here is where my concerns begin. As Realtors, it is against our ability to publicly display the sale prices of properties on social media, blogs, and news reports, unless agreed upon with the buyer and seller. Now, where is the virtual office website’s responsibility to monitor how this information is being distributed?

 

Let’s run through a couple of scenarios:

When you purchased a mutual fund and sold it off, were your earnings posted on social media?

I’d sure hope not, it’s private. 

Now imagine if your financial advisor posted your earnings to social media?

You’d be lodging complaints against the brokerage, left, right, and centre. 

Now imagine if your brokerage gave clients the ability to enter onto a portal, take screenshots and post them to social media.

You’d be lodging complaints against the brokerage, left, right, and centre.

 

Let me ask you this. Why, when it comes to homes is it suddenly public knowledge to be posting on social media, across news broadcasts and blogs?

In my opinion, it’s not. It’s time that home sellers and buyers share their voices on the issue regarding property sale prices being publicly displayed across social media platforms, news broadcasts, and blog posts. There needs to be heightened measures being put in place to avoid the distribution of the data outside of a virtual office website.

Let me emphasize that I am all for consumers having access to sale data, however, there needs to be protection for home buyers and sellers on how this information is being distributed.

Want your voice to be heard?

Contact the Real Estate Council of Ontario by clicking here