New Westminster Real Agents Association

On October 19, “13 men engaged with realty business” resolve “that an association be formed known as the New Westminster Real Agents’ Association,” to establish standards of business practice and to elevate the industry in the eyes of the public.

New Westminster Real Estate Exchange

A re-organization of the association’s structure and function brings a new name “New Westminster Real Estate Exchange” and a new constitution to the group on April 27, 1939.

New Westminster Real Estate Board

On November 26, 1947, the organization is again re-named.

The New Westminster Real Estate Board’s amended constitution has these objectives:

  • To cultivate and enforce fair dealings, and foster good fellowship among its members in their business of buying, selling, renting, and managing real estate.
  • To conserve and develop the urban and rural wealth and resources of our Province.
  • To promote individual ownership of homes in the cities, towns and villages and of the farms in the country.
  • To encourage British Columbia investors to invest in British Columbia.
Board members are so convinced that Multiple Listing will become the modern method of real estate marketing that they financially back the development of the Multiple Listing Bureau.

On October 17, the first sale through the new Multiple Listing Bureau is recorded. A property on Colbourne Street, New Westminster, is listed at $7,950 and sells for $7,700.

Westminster County Real Estate Board (WESCOREB)

On December 17, 1958, the name of the real estate board changes again.

By the late ’50s, most of the member firms have branch offices in Fraser Valley communities and the New Westminster headquarters of the Board go from being at the centre of the Board’s district to being almost at the western-most edge.
W.E. Dempsey, president of the Board, states in the annual report: “The law of condominium is already a fact in 38 of the United States. This is relatively a new field in ownership of real estate. The owner of each suite in an apartment can take title to it, his title indicating he owns a part of the roof, lobby and land, etc. Legislation enabling us to sell apartment suites and give title in this manner will probably be forthcoming.”
The gross sales on the Multiple Listing Service® exceed $10 million for the first time.
The changing market and greater travel involved for some members to attend Board meetings and use the Board facilities lead, in 1969, to a move into larger and more central premises in the Guildford area of Surrey.
On July 1, 1973, the boundaries between WESCOREB and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) are redrawn; WESCOREB concedes New Westminster and South Delta, and gain agreement that listings are to be filed according to jurisdiction, not by the Board affiliation of the agent.

This is the basis of our reciprocal agreement with REBGV, which still stands today and is frequently acknowledged as an ideal model of cooperation between boards.

In June the new computer, nicknamed “Flossy,” is welcomed aboard to help speed the processing of listing and sales information.
The WESCOREB Pictorial Publication of properties for sale is introduced” this became known as the “tear-sheet system.” Members are sent weekly updates on each listing on MLS®, and update their own books accordingly. Because the handle paperwork for each listing every week, members have a personal knowledge of each listing.

At the AGM in 1976, salespeople are given active membership status. Prior, only broker/owners could vote on the affairs of the Board; now all members can.

The Board purchases two adjoining lots on 104 Avenue for future expansion. An adjoining strip of land is made available for a mere $12,000, which the Board also purchases for its investment potential. This additional strip of land, now often referred to the “back 40,” is still undeveloped.

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB)

The Westminster County Real Estate Board, now 1,142 members strong, applies to the Registrar of Companies to officially change the Board’s name to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Ken MacKenzie joins the Board as Executive Officer.

Improvements are made to the Board’s new computer system, affectionately called FVRED (Fraser Valley Real Estate Data). Over 80% of Board members have terminals in their offices, an unprecedented usage rate, well beyond the Board’s expectations.

The same year, FVREB approves the production of a catalogue for MLS® listings.

The design for the future Board building is reviewed. Plans are developed for a three level building, with two levels occupied by the Board and the third level open for tenants. The design of the building includes expansion options to add a fourth floor, if required.

The Board switches from the old tear-sheet system of distributing listing information to the MLS® catalogue system.

Surpassing all boards in Canada, the Board is recognized as the best at public service and community involvement, and is presented the Mortgage Insurance Co. of Canada Community Services Award.

On February 24, FVREB staff move into the Board’s current headquarters at 15463 – 104th Avenue. Local MP Benno Friesen performs the ribbon cutting. The Board leases out its old office building until 1986, when it is sold.

A particularly poor market leads to some staff members being laid off, and a full review of funding methods. As a result, the Board moves to a system of charging dues monthly instead of annually to provide cash-flow relief for members.

The Contingency Reserve Fund is created to ensure that the Board had reserves to weather an economic downtown such as the one experienced the previous year
Demands on our computer system are so high the directors opt to speed up the purchase of a new computer, and bring new hardware online in October 1984.

The Board is once again recognized for public service and community involvement with the Mortgage Insurance Co. of Canada Community Services Award.

The Professional of the Year award, later re-named the John Armeneau Professional Award, is first presented to an FVREB REALTOR® for projecting a positive professional image of the real estate industry, displaying high standards of business ethics, and for contributing to their community and to organized real estate.
The Board invites offers to purchase the “back 40,” but no sale resulted.
The land west of the Board’s building is purchased for a future parking lot.
The Board replaces its outdated computerized system with a powerful UNIX-based, state-of-the-art system. The new Stellar III program allows REALTORS® to include on-screen digitized colour photographs with each listing.

Number of members reaches an all-time high at more than 3,200 members and then declines steadily until 2002.

The Realty Watch program is developed to assist local police in the search for missing persons and vehicles.

FVREB members commemorate the 40th birthday of its Multiple Listing Service®. Forty years after it was first established, the MLS® records a sales volume of more than $2.5 billion in Canada.

Agency disclosure is introduced across Canada.

The Board now in its 75th year of service, partners with the Canadian Real Estate Association to provide access to MLS® listings information to its members and to allow an international audience of consumers to view listings via the website www.mls.ca.

In recognition for outstanding efforts and leadership by providing constructive input to all three levels of government, the Board is presented with CREA’s Political Action Committee Award in Ottawa.

A Commercial Division is formed within the Fraser Valley Board.

FVREB develops the Housing Price Index, a statistical tool that compares the estimated change in price on a typical and constant quality property over time. Subsequently, this statistical model is adopted by several boards across Canada.

Several projects are initiated through the Inter-Board Cooperative Task force, made up of representatives from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, and the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board. The first project involves research on cooperative MLS® operations and technology, and another involves a multi-board Intranet.

An Agreement brokered by FVREB between Kwantlen University College, the University of BC (UBC), and the Open Learning Agency (OLA) allows courses taken at Kwantlen to be credited toward a Bachelor of Real Estate Studies degree offered by UBC and OLA.

FVREB launches a website to provide the public with statistics and general information on Fraser Valley communities and REALTORS®.

Along with several other real estate boards and associations, FVREB launches REALTOR Link®, a national intranet with information and tools for REALTORS®. WEBForms®, an online real estate forms management program for use by REALTOR Link® partners, is developed by the FVREB.

Once again, the Board is presented CREA’s Political Action Committee Award for outstanding efforts and leadership by providing constructive input to all three levels of government.

FVREB receives the Ministry of Attorney General Provincial Corporate Award for outstanding leadership in and contributions to crime prevention and community safety via its Realty Watch program.

FVREB offices are renovated.

WEBForms® and WEBImages®, online forms and image management applications, are introduced.

Members actively fundraise for fellow REALTOR® John Ryan, who crossed Canada in an effort to raise money for research to help those with spinal cord injuries.

The Spirit of Cooperation, an agreement signed between FVREB and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver to share access to MLS® listings, is expanded to become the Pledge of Cooperation, an agreement between all 12 boards in BC.

Standardized MLS® forms are introduced province-wide.

A Brokers Division forms to ensure brokers/owners a voice on the Board of Directors, and to provide a forum to discuss issue of importance to broker/owners.

As sales picked up in the Fraser Valley, the Board of Directors waive membership dues for December, and reduced MLS® fees, saving members over $500,000.

A Supreme Court Decision officially recognizes and upholds FVREB’s commission trust by-law, set in place in 1988 to protect real estate commissions in the event of the insolvency of an agent. Many real estate boards across Canada now have included a commission trust in their By-laws.

New software, called Aurora, is introduced, along with a simple web-access program at www.bcmls.net. These two new programs allow access to MLS® listings from Hope to Whistler.

The MLSLink project is officially launched, with the objective to create a single, seamless Lower Mainland MLS® for members of all three Boards: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board.

With a significant number of members now using email, the Board launches an email newsletter, called eLink, which is very well received by members.

The REALTORS® Make Good Neighbours awards are launched. The awards recognize the volunteer contributions of members in their communities.

A 16-seat computer learning centre, called the TLC, opens for members. The first sessions includes training on Aurora and basic Microsoft Office tools.

The Board begans to investigate partnering opportunities with Habitat for Humanity.

In August, Residential MLXchange is launched for all REALTORS® in the Lower Mainland. In November, Commercial MLXchange is launched, and Lower Mainland REALTORS® join Edmonton and Calgary REALTORS® on a single Commercial MLS® system.

In conjunction with the implementation of MLXchange, the Rules of Cooperation are adopted. This historic undertaking combines the rules and regulations from the Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver, and Chilliwack real estate boards into a single document.

The mortgage on the Board building is paid off completely.

Members petition the Board to hold a Special General Meeting regarding the transfer of listings information towww.mls.ca. At the meeting, all resolutions brought forward by the petitioners are defeated, and the transfer of listings information (timing and content) continues as is.

As part of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association’s Bench Art project, the Board sponsors a bench entitled Shelter, the seventh in a series of unique benches throughout Abbotsford’s revitalized downtown. Shelter is created by a local Abbotsford artisan, Dave Doerkson, and features a comfortable wooded bench protected by striking copper and cedar canopy. The bench stands on the corner of Essendence and West Railway.

The three Lower Mainland boards, Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver and Chilliwack, introduce Touchbase, a web-based messaging service that allows members to communicate directly with one another without having to play telephone tag through the office.

With elections at all three levels of government in a single year, the Board is very active in government relations, co-sponsoring all-candidate meetings with local chambers of commerce.

The Board, along with all Boards across BC, approves and launches the Professional Development Program for all members across the province. The program is tied to licensing, and members are required to complete 18 credits within their two year licensing cycle. The eighteen course credits are made up from an approved selection of mandatory and optional courses.

Realty Watch, the program to assist police in finding missing and abducted children and adults, is expanded to include the members of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Now, over 11,000 REALTORS® can be paged details in less than 30 minutes and be on the lookout for missing persons. The program is a partner of Amber Alert.

In conjunction with the Canadian Real Estate Association, the Fraser Valley Board introduces its new pages on the national Intranet for REALTORS®, called REALTOR Link®. The Board works closely with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) to ensure members’ needs are front and foremost in the design process.

The Board adopts BCREA’s Quality of Life program. Quality of Life provides a framework for the real estate profession’s government relations, community outreach and communications activities, helping build influence, credibility and trust. The five principles form the foundation of the Quality of Life philosophy: ensuring economic vitality, providing housing opportunities, protecting property owners, building better communities and preserving our environment.

The Board, along with the Real Estate Foundation of BC, bestows a combined pledge of half a million dollars, $100,000 from the Board and $400,000 from the Foundation, towards the naming of the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus library and an endowed lecture series in Urban Sustainability in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. For many years, the Board has worked to secure a full post-graduate and research library south of the Fraser River.

In March, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Academic Library is officially unveiled at a dedication ceremony held at the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus.

The www.howrealtorshelp.ca website is launched by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) to help explain what REALTORS® do, how to interview a prospective REALTOR® and offers helpful tips and useful checklists for consumers.

In May, the Board releases a mobile browser version of bcmls.net. Members can now access a specially-designed webpage for quick and easy access to listing information.

The 13th annual REALTORS® Care Blanket Drive sets a new record: Members from across the Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver and Chilliwack bring in 4,199 bags of warm clothing and blankets for people in need in our local communities.

The REALTORS® Make Good Neighbours Awards are expanded to include a special Corporate Award category in order to recognize the extensive community and fundraising initiatives of real estate offices.

The Board hosts its first ever electronics recycling drive. An astounding 1,000 electronic items are donated to Vancouver’s Electronic Recycling Association. These items are distributed to schools, charities and other community based organizations.

Over $10,000 is raised for local food banks at a silent auction held during the Board’s Medallion Awards Gala.

Realty Watch is presented with a Certificate of Appreciation at the Surrey RCMP’s third annual Officer in Charge (OIC) Awards. The program is recognized for outstanding community services which assist law enforcement with cases involving abducted children, missing or lost persons.

Nineteen REALTORS® from across the Lower Mainland graduate from the first Facilitator of Ethical Leadership in Real Estate program. This training program has graduates commit to engaging and guiding fellow members about ethics issues during meetings, workshops and mentoring.

In July, CREA launches a new web site: www.REALTOR.ca. It includes the best of the existing mls.ca site, along with a highly detailed interactive mapping system by Microsoft Virtual Earth.

After 30 years, Ken Mackenzie retires as Executive Officer. Rob Philipp is hired as his replacement.

In April, the Board receives the Most Innovative Political Action Committee (PAC) Program award from CREA in recognition of efforts to address public safety issues related to illegal drug operations. Also in April, the Board is presented with the 2008 CREA Ethics Award for its many initiatives to enhance ethics and professionalism amongst members.

The White Rock RCMP credit Realty Watch for helping them locate a missing, vulnerable senior within one hour of asking for their assistance, marking Realty Watch’s third success in the Fraser Valley.

WEBForms®, developed by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and shared through CREA with Boards across Canada, celebrates ten years of success and remains a popular tool, with over 42,000 REALTORS® signing in during September to work with 658,000+ forms.

The Board becomes the first real estate board in North America to launch its Automated Data Transfer (ADT) service. ADT takes the listing contract and data entered by Fraser Valley REALTORS® on WEBForms® and automatically sends the data directly into MLXchange, pending approvals.

For the first time, Realty Watch partners with the BC Crime Prevention Association (BCCPA) to host its flagship event for police at the BCCPA’s two-day regional crime prevention symposium. In doing so, the Breakfast achieves its greatest exposure and highest attendance ever with almost 200 REALTORS®, police and crime prevention advocates from across the Lower Mainland and BC coming together.

In November, the Board donates $10,000 to YWCA Vancouver in support of a new housing development for single mothers in Surrey.

The 16th annual REALTORS® Care Blanket Drive sees its most successful year to date, collecting over 5,186 bags of warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags and bedding for dozens of charities across the Lower Mainland.

The Board reaches a major milestone by turning 90. Although the Board was first established on the north side of the Fraser River and underwent five name changes during its rich 90-year history, its mission to serve local REALTORS® and the public has remained constant.

The best of commercial real estate in the Fraser Valley is showcased at an inaugural awards gala presented by the Board and the Business Fraser Valley newspaper on May 26 at the Langley Coast Hotel & Convention Centre. Eleven categories of commercial and mixed use commercial/residential buildings are recognized at the sold-out event attended by local REALTORS®, builders, contractors, architects and developers.

In the summer, the Board building undergoes extensive renovations to its lower level, including the theatre and auditorium, areas that are well-used by members. The outside stairs leading to the lower level are also updated, as well as the landscaping.

In December, the Board makes its largest donation ever to local food banks — $20,000 — to assist them in their fight against hunger. The donation is divided proportionately based on the number of REALTORS® represented in each community with $9,000 going to the Surrey Food Bank; $3,600 going to both the Langley Food Bank and Sources White Rock South Surrey Food Bank; $3,200 to the Abbotsford Food Bank; and $600 to St. Joseph’s Food Bank in Mission.

In February, the Board’s new MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) is launched. The MLS® HPI replaces the Lower Mainland’s MLSLink® Housing Price Index, and measures home price trends and home price inflation/deflation for residential properties in five major markets across Canada. It includes Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and was pioneered by six founding partners, including the Fraser Valley Board.

The Board launches Data Distribution Facility, a product made available by the Canadian Real Estate Association that allows brokers to control the distribution of the MLS® listing data to various websites for advertising purposes.

Fusion, an upgraded and enhanced version of the current MLXchange system used by REALTORS® since 2004, is launched in October. Among other upgrades, a major feature is its compatibility with all major operating systems.

Also in October, WEBForms® 4.9 is launched. All current and active forms are converted to HTML5, relinquishing WEBForms®’ reliance on Adobe Acrobat Reader. Also, by using HTML5, REALTORS® are now able to use virtually any HTML-compatible browser.

The Board is honoured with a Business Excellence Award by the Surrey Board of Trade at its annual gala held November 15 at the Sheraton Guildford in Surrey. The FVREB wins in the category of a not-for-profit organization with a budget greater than $500,000.

In December, the Board gifts $20,000 to the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s new adult hospice. The contribution will go towards the creation of a water feature in the future garden of Holmberg House set to break ground in January, 2013. The 10-bed facility will care for patients as young as 19 facing terminal illness.

Also in 2012, the Board donates $18,500 to five of its region’s food banks. The donation is divided proportionately based on the number of REALTORS® represented in each community with $8,325 going to the Surrey Food Bank; $3,330 going to both the Langley Food Bank and Sources White Rock South Surrey Food Bank; $2,960 to the Abbotsford Food Bank; and $555 to St. Joseph’s Food Bank in Mission.

The Board launched a number of innovative new tech tools for members in 2013 that aimed to greatly improve their access to real estate data and help them perform more efficiently for clients. Two new apps, REALTYmobi and REALTY-to-go, allow members to search the MLS® system and share listings with their clients while on a mobile device.

Additionally, the FVREB Stats Centre was released providing members with an online, interactive tool for creating statistical graphs that can be easily shared and understood by clients. This year also saw the introduction of e-signatures to the WEBForms® platform, which is both developed and managed here at the Board. Reaching over 50,000 unique users per month in Canada, REALTORS® can now fully create and manage paperless transactions with the addition of digital signing.

In December, the Board donated $16,000 to five local food banks in support of their efforts fighting hunger in the Fraser Valley. As with previous contributions in 2011 and 2012, this year’s donation was divided proportionately based on the number of FVREB members represented in each community with $7,200 going to the Surrey Food Bank; $2,880 going to both the Langley Food Bank and Sources White Rock South Surrey Food Bank; $2,560 to the Abbotsford Food Bank; and $480 to St. Joseph’s Food Bank in Mission.

Also in December, the Board donated an additional $3,000 on behalf of its members to Surrey’s Phoenix Drug & Alcohol Recovery and Education Society. The funds were given to help improve living conditions for those in treatment, providing new laundry appliances for each floor of the organization’s two housing buildings.

February marked the Board’s most successful Conference & Trade Show to date. Over 600 B.C. REALTORS® attended the event to learn, network, and see keynote speakers including national icon Commander Chris Hadfield.

Later that spring, the Board announced that the next MLS® system software would be Paragon® by Black Knight Financial Services, with implementation set to begin mid-2015. Paragon® will offer a more modern user experience with increased functionality and a wider range of features for the Board’s members.

In July, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect in an effort to reduce unwanted electronic marketing. In cooperation with the new legislation, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) created a number of resources that would help Fraser Valley REALTORS® comply to the updated regulations.

During the summer, the Board surveyed members about their current and past community volunteer efforts. The results showed that, of those who responded, over 95% had volunteered in the past. Additionally, over 70% of respondents indicated that they were currently volunteering in 2014.

The REALTORS Care® celebrated its 20th consecutive year in November and supported over 17,000 working poor and homeless people in our region through donations of blankets and warm clothing.

Also in November and in cooperation with CREA, the Board released a new version of their REALTOR®-only web platform REALTOR Link®, offering a cleaner, more efficient experience for members in need of resources and tools.

For the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall, the Board donated to five local food banks on behalf of its members. As in previous years, the donation is divided proportionately based on the number of REALTORS® represented in each community with $9,450 going to the Surrey Food Bank; $4,200 going to the Langley Food Bank; $3,900 going to Sources White Rock South Surrey Food Bank; $2,730 to the Abbotsford Food Bank; and $630 to St. Joseph’s Food Bank in Mission, for a total of $21,000.

The Board also donated an additional $5,000 to The Residence in Mission, a facility which provides aging residents with care, health support, and a home if needed.

2015 was a significant year for the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, not only statistically, but through advancements made in how Fraser Valley REALTORS® conduct business.

Fraser Valley real estate was in hot demand throughout 2015, and with 21,095 sales processed through the MLS® system, it became the second highest year for property sales in the Board’s history.

This year also marked the successful transition to the Board’s next MLS® system, Paragon. The Board’s previous MLS® systems, MLXchange and Fusion, were phased out as both residential and commercial members were introduced to Paragon through extensive communication and training.

In February, the Board hosted its annual Conference & Trade Show: Home Advantage 2015, featuring famed CBC newscaster Peter Mansbridge.

The Board also launched its first ever video ad campaign, featuring clients discussing their experience with actual Fraser Valley Realtors. The ad campaign can be viewed on the FVREB’s YouTube channel.

Between November 16 and 23, the 21st annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive collected over 1,000 bags of warm clothing and blankets to help an estimated 5,000 working poor and homeless throughout the Fraser Valley.

Once again, the Board donated a total of $20,000 to five local food banks on behalf of Fraser Valley REALTORS®. As in previous years, the donation was distributed based on the number of members represented in each Fraser Valley community.

In addition to the Board’ss donation to local food banks, $3,500 was gifted to the Langley Lodge, part of the Langley Care Foundation. The donation will go towards building an art installation designed to provide residents suffering from mental illness and dementia with a sense of calm and relief.