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A street in Ottawa's downtown core

For commercial REALTOR®️ Geoff Godding, the reason for joining the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) was simple – it boosted his business.

The sales representative from Decathlon Commercial Realty Corp., and 38-year industry veteran, says the effects of joining the board a year and a half ago were almost immediate.

“We’re now doing around 25 per cent of our deals from OREB members,” he adds. “I’m contacted almost daily from members of the real estate board about my listings. We were initially quite shocked with all the activity.

“So as a result, we’ve become immersed in the board.”

Godding’s experience was so positive, in fact, that he’s now chair of OREB’s Commercial Services Network. He says there are many benefits to being a commercial member of OREB, but the main advantage is the vast exposure its MLS® System provides its members.

After all, for the approximately 3,000 OREB members across the city – and, let’s be honest, for most non-real estate professionals as well – the MLS® System is the first place to look when starting a property search.

“Anyone who’s selling a property and isn’t on MLS is missing out on a whole pile of inquiries,” adds Godding, who deals primarily in business parks and industrial properties.

OREB president Ralph Shaw agrees. The Century 21 broker of record says there are around 200 commercial Realtors®️ within OREB’s Commercial Network, and all of them offer distinct advantages over commercial real estate professionals outside the board – with perhaps the most notable being access to the MLS® System, and cooperation among members.

“A Realtor®️ is a brand that says you have a code of conduct beyond the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act that you adhere to,” he says, adding that only members of the real estate board can call themselves Realtors®️. “It raises the bar. And once you’re a member, there are rules of engagement that require you to cooperate and participate in a high level of moral and ethical functionality.”

Shaw, a nearly 40-year commercial real estate veteran himself, says OREB members automatically also join the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). This provides even more exposure for potential buyers or tenants of their commercial properties.

He also points to lobbying work done by Realtors®️ across Ontario, such as when OREA successfully convinced the provincial government to not expand Toronto’s municipal land transfer tax to other Ontario municipalities. He says the organization is also lobbying the government to allow Realtors®️ to form professional service corporations, similar to doctors or dentists. “We almost got it through before the election,” he says, “and hopefully the Ontario government will pick up on that and get it through this year.”

Mr. Shaw also says his organization is improving OREB’s commercial database to ensure each commercial listing has more robust metadata.

For commercial Realtor®️ Bruce Firestone, meanwhile, the best option for commercial real estate in Ottawa really isn’t up for debate.

“If you’re in commercial real estate in Ottawa, you should belong to the board,” he says. “I’ve expressed this opinion for a while now. If you join, you’ll make more money."

What's in a name?

  • Only members of the Canadian Real Estate Association are Realtors®️

  • Members must adhere to a strict Realtor® Code of Ethics

  • The MLS®️ System is a cooperative marketing tool that can only be accessed by a Realtor®

  • Click here for a list of commercial Realtors® in Ottawa, searchable by areas of concentration