OREB exploring integration with three other regional real estate boards

real estate
real estate

Four real estate boards across eastern Ontario are weighing the possibility of integration, which could include a merger or amalgamation, the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) announced Monday. 

In a press release, OREB said it is currently working with neighbouring boards to pursue options for greater regional integration. The boards involved include the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association, Renfrew County Real Estate Board, and Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board. 

A task force made up of representatives from each board has been struck to consider the issue and examine different options to bring to members. 

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“It’s really too early to speculate on what it’s going to look like, but there’s various versions,” Sylvie DesHaies, chair of the task force and a realtor in Kingston, told OBJ Tuesday. “We have quite a lot of work to do to figure out what it might look like, what will work and won’t work. It’s going to be very comprehensive and intense research.”

The group is currently considering options like expanded shared services, a merger with one or more of the existing boards, or amalgamation into a new corporation. 

According to DesHaies, the group is studying all the possible benefits of integrating, but she said combining their membership bases could increase their influence and capability.

She said it could also open up opportunities to introduce new services and technologies that are too costly for smaller groups. For example, all four boards are currently working to adopt PropTx MLS, a platform with data tools and insights for realtors. DesHaies said tech usage is changing rapidly in the world of real estate and the boards want to find ways to stay ahead of the curve. 

As the task force weighs its options, she said increasing value for members is a top priority. 

“It’s a very lengthy process and we need to really take our time to look at what is required and what would be the pros and cons, the liabilities and assets,” she said. “Then hopefully we can come to a recommendation and the members can weigh in.”

OREB president Curtis Fillier said in a press release that the process will be “complex,” and that leadership is giving the decision “careful attention, thought and time.”

Fillier said OREB has been working on ways to enhance its services for its membership to better meet their professional needs and to help them compete in a changing real estate landscape. 

“The potential of an integrated organization and the possibilities of what we can build together are exciting,” he said. “Integration is being considered because it could bring the regional boards together to establish a more influential and capable organization that can meet significant industry developments head-on and capitalize on opportunities to benefit our members.”

He added that the task force intends to prioritize transparency and will keep members informed throughout the process. 

OREB is an industry association of 4,000 registered brokers and salespeople in the Ottawa area. Members are also members of the Ontario and Canadian real estate associations. Members of OREB promote their listings on Ottawa’s Multiple Listing Service system, a co-operative selling system operated and promoted by OREB, which includes an inventory of listings of participating realtors.

The mission of OREB is to support its members by “providing leading-edge technology, tools and resources, upholding high ethical standards and practices, and advocating for our members.”

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