British Columbia real estate agents are blinding the government with a cooling-off period

    Darlene Hyde, CEO of the BC Real Estate Association, said the planned BC cool-down period will create more problems than it solves.

    The Confederation of Industry representing British Columbia real estate agents says the province’s government is well-intentioned but misleading as it is pressing ahead with plans to implement a cooling-off period to protect home buyers.

    In an interview on Tuesday, a day after Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlined plans to introduce what the government calls a “homebuyer protection period,” Darlene Hyde, chief executive of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, said the measure would create more problems than it solves. .

    Hyde said the association supports anything that ensures consumer protection, but that the cooling-off period is “fraught with problems.”

    She noted that the cooling-off period could increase competition for real estate, could raise prices and do nothing to protect sellers.

    The county has yet to release details of how the cooling-off period — which is due later this spring — will work, but in theory it will give buyers a limited amount of time to consider their offers, secure financing, get a home inspection and cancel the purchase.

    The county said it was an attempt to address concerns that potential buyers feel pressure to bid for homes without key terms in order to ensure they have a chance to buy in a highly competitive market.

    The sentiment is in the right place, Hyde said, but the county is using the wrong tool.

    Implementing a cooling-off period could result in sellers adjusting their prices upwards to take into account the resulting uncertainty and the chance of a potential buyer pulling out of the deal, she said, and could also lead to an increase in the number of offers because buyers can cancel their terms sheet at any time.

    “We think there is market turmoil in this, but the intent in terms of protecting consumers from this crazy market is what (agents) are there for,” she said, noting that they offered the government a lot of alternatives in a paper released this year.

    That paper made 30 recommendations that included establishing five-day no-offer periods from the time the property was listed that would give buyers time to search for a property before making an offer; creating a more transparent process for real estate where there are multiple offers; Make property disclosure data mandatory and available when property is listed; And make all layers documents available with the menu.

    These recommendations protect customers and reduce market disruption, Hyde said.

    She said there were still details to come on how long the cooling-off period would last and what kind of financial penalty would be imposed if potential buyers pulled out of deals.

    “It is a process and we will meet with the minister next month,” she said. “We hope to have the opportunity to clarify some of our ideas face to face with the minister.”

    The Real Estate Association rejects any suggestion that real estate agents are not investing in consumer protection and housing affordability — in an earlier statement Robinson said the commission-driven industry has a significant stake in a hot market.

    Hyde said the industry is not taking advantage of the sweltering market conditions that leave most of its customers frustrated and discouraged when they lose a new home.

    “It is time to abandon this harmful preconception and recognize the important contributions (real estate agents) can make to better consumer protection and improve housing affordability,” she said.

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