Toronto Real Estate Board Reminds Agents They Shouldn’t Give Fake Sold Info

The Toronto real estate sold data drama continues, after less than a month of being published. Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) notified members that there have been reports of false sold data being submitted to the MLS. Agents looking to “protect” consumer privacy have submitted false sold information, to obfuscate how much was really paid for the home.

Toronto Real Estate Agents Input Fake Info

Manipulation of the days on market is nothing new, but faking sold data is new to us. Since TREB was ordered to open up data, a few agents have been accused of inputting false information. At least one incident saw an agent put $1 as the sold price, in an effort to obfuscate the property’s history. The reason is, according to agents, customers are concerned about privacy. Rather than telling clients it’s unethical, apparently some agents just submitted fake information.

Toronto Real Estate Board Reminds Agents They Shouldn’t Give Fake Sold Info

Source: xelan_gta.

Toronto Real Estate Data Is Increasingly Useless

The $1 sold price issue can f**k up statistics, by lowering comps and average sold prices – it’s basic math. For example, if you sold ten $10 widgets, and report one as $1 sold, the average sold price is now $9.10. There was no $1 widget for sale, and most people seeing that would understand it was false data. However, the integrity of the market data is skewed as time goes on.

Next year, if no one else lowers the numbers, the numbers would soar unintentionally. For example, if all widgets sell at $11, prices have increased 20.87%. Few people in the market will wonder how the previous year’s numbers were made. The only thing they know is the news reported a massive increase, and the FOMO hits. There’s a word for this in equity markets, but it slips me right now.

TREB Tells Agents To Stop

Earlier today, TREB sent a note requesting agents not submit false data into the MLS. “We have received reports that some Members have been reporting inaccurate figures in the sold prices of their listings due to privacy concerns raised by their customers,” the email opens… before telling them they “appreciate” the privacy concerns. It later reminds them that failure to comply with TREB MLS rules and policies, can result in disciplinary proceedings and/or suspension or termination of TREB membership.

Ordering TREB to allow members to share data is one step to consumers getting better info. Unfortunately, if the quality of that data isn’t great, it’s of limited use anyway. The false information has serious consequences, and actually would make the information worse than closed data. This of course assumes that agents were submitting the correct information the whole time. If you can easily submit sold information as under the true price, what was stopping agents from submitting over the sold price?

Side note: Congrats to my pal that sold his house, after only being listed for “one day” on the market.  😉

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  • Pina 3 years ago

    If that isn’t reason enough to have TREB lose control of real estate data, I don’t know what is. This should be handled by the government, who knows how screwed up numbers are and for how long they’ve been messed up. People would be storming Queens Park for regulation if this was any other industry.

    • Quan 3 years ago

      Canada is a corrupt country of oligarchs. The real estate data is managed by the board, the provincial registry is operated by a private company which gets to hold the information ransom, and you’re just suppose to trust that the information is correct.

      Even real estate agents must be frustrated with bad actors that can operate in the system, since they have to share the market with bad actors.

  • Michael 3 years ago

    Did they correct the information, or just warn people to stop doing it?

  • Zoe 3 years ago

    That tweet you link to in the end needs to be a whole article by itself. Do they tell the buyer that they’re delisting and re-listing? Any honest agents want to chime in an tell us if you’ve been told that this is happening.

  • Contrarian 3 years ago

    During checking the assessed value of my house, I found that a house nearby that sold for $2.7 Million was registered as sold for $27,000 by MPAC. I had to pester MPAC to correct the error. It appears that the sale price was registered incorrectly. I wonder if that was to mislead or an “honest” error and wonder how many other properties’ sale prices are incorrectly registered.

  • Beh G. 3 years ago

    What a pile of crap, as if agents have any incentives to actually reduce sale prices… it looks terrible on them doesn´t it?

    This is obviously just another desperate ploy by TREB and an obvious inside job to keep restrictions on the release of data… you notice they site ¨privacy¨once again!

    The more likely scenario and practice is that agents have been systematically increasing sale prices when entering them into TREB´s system, god knows how many of those are out there and will be discovered.

    It´s pretty ridiculous that in the 21st century, this information has to be input manually into the MLS rather than being automatically collected from the land registry data! Makes you wonder how many skeletons are in the closet.

    • backwardsevolution 3 years ago

      Beh G. – “It´s pretty ridiculous that in the 21st century, this information has to be input manually into the MLS rather than being automatically collected from the land registry data.”

      Yes, all of the information should be coming from the Land Registry and ONLY from the Land Registry. There must have been great industry pressure brought to bear to ensure that this wasn’t done. I shudder to think of the manipulation that has gone on.

  • Herry 3 years ago

    This IS corruption ! It seems to be everywhere in this country, like a disease. There’s not much of a cure out there, let alone a remedy.

  • Mark 3 years ago

    There are so many agents making so much $ off people it makes me sick. If someone was caught entering wrong info, when the rules say you can’t, you are no longer an agent. Once word gets out that the board is not messing around they will get the hint. I have had nothing but bad things to say about every agent I have met. They just want a quick sale so they can lease a new BMW. I always use a private lawyer as my agent and try to do private sales whenever possible, saves both parties thousands. And I have yet to meet an agent educated on the construction of homes yet, they all talk about the lovely paint or the manicured garden, how about the foundation bud, or what’s the condition of the roof, makes me sick, they should be selling flowers and rainbows 🙂

  • babe ruth 3 years ago

    Lots of tv commercials lately telling us we should use real estate agents to sell or buy property. But everyday there’s a story like this one that shows how shady they are.

  • Stew 3 years ago

    interesting that the real estate board caught fudging numbers happens to be in the most over-valued market, likely in North America if not for Vancouver. A full investigation should be done to find exactly how much false data there is, and who entered it. This investigation should go back to before real estate prices started sky-rocketing in the GTA. Lots of people can’t afford homes now, if this is part of the reason, the agents should be held accountable.

  • max 3 years ago

    Your casually thrown dart that, “Days on Market manipulation is nothing new”, is a lie – the dates are hardwired into the MLS system. But I totally get the anti-realtor bias, how “incite-full” of you!

    Wait, isn’t your false statement itself a manipulation of the truth – the very thing you’re complaining about? Ah , forget about it, this is the internet, not organized real estate – one of the the most highly-regulated, ethics and rules-bound professions.

    But I am puzzled by one thing: first, the uninformed scream for the MLS data, then get pissed off that some of the data may be inaccurate??

    I must admit, I have the same compaint when it comes to insurance , dental bills, car sales, legal bills. I demand to know what past customers paid, but they just don’t release the accurate past sales numbers. How odd, right? Here’s a tip: Use an informed realtor who can intepret the mls data (which, you may be surprised to know) they pay for. Thanks for allowing my two-cents, now relax, and hate on some inanimate object.

    • Jo 3 years ago

      I can tell you as a fact that days on the market are bullshit in Canada, since a good portion of listing agents set the termination date to the end of the month, then re-list. There will never be a DOM for TREB above 30 days on it, and that’s why Ottawa had to start adding CDOM – something we would never get in Toronto.

      The problem is that agents like you see the active fraud, and downplay it because you know it deters people from the market. You shouldn’t be pandering to this behavior, you should be angry and outspoken. You’re doing the industry a disservice by defending it.

    • Carm 3 years ago

      Entitled millennials, that want access to correct information before they make the biggest mistake, I mean investment, in their lives! Also, who said millennials wouldn’t pay for the data? It’s not even an option for consumers, we have to rely on your interpretation – which could be wrong for all we know. Getting a Realtor license is easier than getting a drivers license. I don’t trust every driver to tell me how to spend a million dollars.

      BTW, it’s a common discussion on this site that there’s more than a few charts of actual DOM vs. reported DOM. I’m sure as an “informed” Realtor that can “can intepret the mls data,” you already know that though – right?

  • Poor CanadianGangsta 3 years ago

    It seems like the agent has updated the price, $2.98M.

    • Victor 3 years ago

      It looks like DOM is around 100 days and it was sold 480K below the asking price, 84% of it, not 96%. To those who say that DOM is accurate.

  • Contrarian 3 years ago

    I discovered a serious error in MPAC regarding the sale price of a neighbourhood home in downtown Toronto registered as sold for $27,000, which was obtained directly from land registry records, when the actual sold price was $2,700,000. Looks like a possible scam by those involved to reduce land transfer taxes and/or foreign buyer/seller tax and/or property tax. I wonder how many other properties have this kind of “error”?

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