The Canadian Real Estate Association, or CREA, is a large real estate organization with 160,000+ members spread across a vast geographical region in Canada. Like other real estate boards, CREA also offers an MLS and data feed for its members but also tops that up with its portal, mobile app and philanthropic initiatives—making it much more than just a real estate board.
In this post, we will delve deep into all aspects of CREA, starting from membership, tech offerings, data feed and code of conduct. We will also look into the programs and ideology of CREA to give you a comprehensive outlook on the MLS. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
CREA is undoubtedly one of the pioneers of the Canadian real estate industry. Its day-to-day workings slowly crystallized the standards and protocols of the real estate industry in Canada. From its inception in 1943, it has been instrumental in shaping the narrative, advocating for realtors and ensuring that the code of ethics is followed and implemented.
As of 2022, CREA has more than 160 thousand realtors who are operating from more than 80 cities in the country spread across the following regions:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
The association is much more than a real estate board or an MLS. It supports the right to homeownership and fulfils it with a well-defined strategic overview built on top of three elements:
- Advocacy: Advocating affordable homeownership by changes to policies
- Reputation: Impart education, training and professionalism into realtors
- Realtor and Consumer Technology: Provide a full-service marketplace, realtor.ca and other tools to bring value to customers.
CREA’s volunteer committees support its strategic vision further. Annually, CREA appoints 100 volunteers from their realtor pool to volunteer for its board and operational committees. A total of 10 committees exist, five belonging to the board committees and five to operations committees. The committees act as pillars to strengthen the organization and achieve its strategic vision.
Having a CREA membership implies professionalism and commitment to ethical practices set by the association for its members. Hence, aspiring realtors must meet some criteria and be in good standing with their provincial boards. The license requirements vary across provinces in Canada. However, prospective salespeople and brokers must pass an exam to obtain a licensing perspective of the differing requirements.
Once you are a member, the next step is to decide which area of real estate you want to work with. You can choose from residential, commercial, real estate appraisers, property management, property development, financing and urban planning.
Often CREA realtors start their journey working with a broker. After you obtain your membership, you will likely interview brokerages to determine where you can fit in and receive the support and guidance you want.
Benefits of the Membership: Because CREA is much more than an MLS, there are multiple benefits on top of listings.
- Access to Realtor.ca: Realtor.ca is CREA’s portal website built for members to access listings and also capture leads–all at the same place. You can access the portal as a benefit of possessing a CREA membership.
- Access to Realtors Care: Realtors Care is a noble step from the association to give back to the community via charitable activities and donations. The primary function of Realtors Care is to advocate for homeownership and turn it into a reality for those in need.
- Access to CREA Global: CREA Global connects Canadian realtors with professionals on a global scale. CREA members gain access to its international directory, exclusive networking events, and valuable opportunities to expand their real estate business and boost their sales.
Documents Required for Membership: CREA may ask for several documents for membership. These are:
- Real Estate License: License from the provincial territory–the province you operate in.
- Membership with a Provincial/Territorial Real Estate Board: Proof of membership that you are associated with a local board in your province.
- Compliance with Provincial/Territorial Laws: CREA needs to ensure that you are compliant with the provincial laws and may assign training, continuing education and performing background checks.
- Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance: E&O insurance helps protect your business from lawsuits if a client sues your business for negligent acts like errors and omissions that can lead to monetary losses. CREA may require this document with the application form.
- Filled out application form with fee: Provided by the local board and has your personal and professional biodata.
- Background Check: A mandatory background check to verify that you are free from convictions.
In addition to these, CREA may also ask for professional references to gauge your professionalism and character. The association may also require you to submit proof of professional development or prove that you are continuing your education.
Tools and Stats:
CREA provides a host of tools, access to portals, and MLS listings–a wholesome package that realtors would ever need to grow their business. Offerings from CREA include:
Access to Realtor.ca for Members: CREA membership gives you their trademark REALTOR access to log in to their portal site, Realtor.ca. Realtor.ca is a prominent real-estate portal in Canada that receives millions of pageviews that help you get exposure to your listings.
Own Site for Lead Generation: CREA members may build their portal sites to generate leads to grow their real-estate business by gaining more online visibility.
CREA Webform: The CREA Webform is a real estate document and transaction management system that streamlines your paperwork in property transactions to facilitate a smooth real estate transaction ecosystem. It is a suite of software tools that has become the benchmark for the modern-day real estate business. CREA Webform comes loaded with several features:
Features and Benefits of CREA Webform:
- Document Management: Store and manage transaction documents securely.
- Document Library: Access a library of commonly used real estate forms.
- Auto Population of Listing Details: Reduce manual data entry with auto-populated listing details.
- Customization and Templates: Create personalized templates for efficiency.
- E-signatures to Facilitate Transactions: Embrace digital signatures for convenience and speed.
- Cross-Device Compatibility: Access the Webform from any device, ensuring flexibility and accessibility.
CREA DDF: The CREA Data Distribution Facility (DDF) is a managed service that allows CREA members to share listings with third-party websites, widening the reach of property listings and exposing them to a larger audience.
- Distribution of Listings: Listings shared via CREA DDF appear on various real estate ad websites and partner websites, including prestigious platforms like TD Bank and The Globe and Mail.
- Access to Listings of Other Brokerages: CREA DDF also enables collaboration, allowing access to listings from other brokerages and expanding the pool of properties available for prospects and clients.
- Access to Franchisors and Your Site: CREA DDF integration allows members to share their listings on their franchise websites and personal sites, giving a seamless experience.
- CREA Member App: The CREA Member App is a powerful tool to empower realtors. They can easily monitor listing statistics, communicate with clients, and analyze listing performance for their property listings, including inactive listings.
- HPI Tool: The Home Price Index (HPI) tool provides access to real-time housing market data, including monthly and quarterly statistics. Its national price map offers actionable insights into markets and provinces across Canada to help you make informed decisions.
Code of Conduct:
Like every real estate board, CREA also abides by a set of directives and a code of conduct about trademark protection and ethical obligations for business practices.
Ethical Obligations About CREA: CREA’s Code of Conduct defines the ethical standards expected of its members. Realtors must conduct themselves with the highest professional standards, honesty, and integrity in all their dealings.
Components and Obligations of Members of CREA: Members must take care of the interests of their clients, provide accurate information, and adhere to fair business practices. Overall, realtors must uphold the reputation of CREA by demonstrating desirable conduct.
Obligation of Members Towards Trademark Protection of REALTOR: Members must protect the trademarked term “REALTOR” and use it in compliance with CREA’s guidelines to uphold and preserve its integrity and value.
Adhere to the Principle of Competition: CREA encourages fair and ethical competition between members to promote a competitive and healthy real estate market.
Pledge of Competition: Realtors pledge to compete vigorously and professionally, maintaining a commitment to excellence while respecting the rights and interests of clients and colleagues.
Programs from CREA:
CREA has three programs that allow access to knowledge and networking opportunities of both national and international nature for its realtors. The program ties back to their advocacy of affordable homeownership while serving as a platform to groom future realtors. Below listed are the three programs by CREA:
CREA Global: CREA Global serves as a global state for Canadian realtors to collaborate and work with professionals across the globe. Realtors can access a global directory, get invited to exclusive networking events, and grab opportunities to expand international real estate endeavours. CREA Global is available with the membership. International realtors can access those benefits for a nominal fee of $99.
Realtors Care: Realtors Care is a community initiative that advocates affordable homeownership for Canadians, irrespective of income or affordability of the buyer. CREA’s network actively engages in charitable activities and provides financial support. The idea is to have a nationwide impact on homeownership.
CREA YPN (Young Professionals Network) Connection: CREA’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) Connection is a program designed to support young members of the REALTOR® community. YPN empowers the next generation of real estate professionals by providing them networking, mentorship, and skill development opportunities. YPN Connection fosters collaboration among emerging real estate talents to help them navigate an ever-evolving real estate landscape and ensure a better future for the industry.
In summary, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), with its long history, vast geographical reach, and 160000+ members, is a cornerstone of the real estate industry in Canada. Unlike other boards, CREA’s philanthropic outlook towards affordable home ownership sets it apart in the country.
Additionally, CREA’s stance of facilitating healthy competition among members while supplying them with tools such as DDF, realtor portal, and Webforms shows their focus on creating empowered members. Last, but not least, their realtor programs like YPN and CREA Global provide many opportunities to expand a realtor’s horizon, irrespective of their geography or age.