Musings by George

RAHB as an “efficient” market?


Have you ever taken a minute to think about what RAHB’s role is in contributing to the “efficient” real estate market in the Burlington, Hamilton and outlying areas?

RAHB is a not-for-profit corporation that offers services to advance member interests.   I think most members (RAHB has 3,085 at the time of writing) would agree the MLS® System is the single most valued RAHB service since each member’s livelihood depends on it.  However, to thoroughly understand the total value offered, we need to go beyond thinking of the MLS® System as just a single service. Rather, we should also consider the two complementary services that go hand-in-hand to contribute to making RAHB’s MLS® System an efficient marketplace: the first is the MLS® Rules and Regulations and the second is our Professional Standards and Discipline process.

Rules and Regulations are needed to set the ground rules by which the market will operate.  Without rules there would be chaos.  Participants need to know the rules and abide by them in order for any marketplace, some may say exchange, to work efficiently and fairly.  Rules and Regulations provide the input structure to the market.

Professional Standards and Discipline services are needed to encourage market participants to follow the rules, and when they do not, these services provide appropriate disciplinary measures with the aim of motivating that individual to abide by the rules in the future. Some may think of these services as market output services to correct inappropriate behaviour and encourage application of the rules and regulations, again with the aim to create a fair and efficient market.

Now let’s look at three market descriptions.  Do the following sound familiar?

The organization likely descended from the Association of Brokers…. twenty-four … gathered at the Masonic Hall …– summarized from Wikipedia

[The organization]… does not own what is traded. Instead, it acts as a market where …buyers connect with …sellers – summarized from Investopedia

The primary function of [the organization]… is to help provide liquidity; in other words, to give sellers a place to “liquidate” their … holdings. – summarized from  Investopedia

Could those descriptions outline how our association and MLS® System began, and how the association works today?  I think they could.  However, they are actually describing stock exchanges in general and, in the case of the first quotation, the Toronto Stock Exchange, or TSX, in particular.

RAHB’s MLS® System is an example of an “efficient” market:  it contains reliable data; everyone using the data works to the same rules, which creates a level playing field; and there is a process in place to enforce compliance to the rules so the market remains stable.

There are additional similarities between our MLS® System and the TSX. Brokers (or participants) using the TSX are all licensed under the oversight of a regulatory body that enforces Ontario securities law.  That governing body – the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) – has rules all licensees must follow, and the TSX has additional rules and regulations that those market participants must follow.  These rules create a level playing field where participants know what they have to do, what’s expected of them and how they must serve their clients.

In addition to the rules, there is also an enforcement or compliance process that comes into play when rules are broken, for what good are rules where there is no way to make sure they are being followed? In this column last month I touched on that exact point.

So what does all this have to do with RAHB?

The financial marketplace governing structure sounds very similar to our industry’s structure with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) setting overall rules for real estate registrants to follow, and RAHB having additional rules and regulations associated with using our MLS® System.

RAHB’s MLS® System has evolved to have much in common with the financial services market, or exchanges.  We have created an efficient marketplace for the trading of real estate, and that marketplace has clear rules in place to ensure everyone – members, buyers and sellers – is treated fairly.  We have also created a mechanism for enforcing the rules – that is, a discipline process.

Our MLS® System is the real estate exchange for our market. Rule-setting and ensuring compliance to those rules are two integral components to make this market both efficient and fair for all.


On a different note, I hope to see you at the RAHB Annual Charity Golf Tournament to be held on May 18, 2017 at the Beverly Golf and Country Club! The tournament is raising money for two local women’s shelters:  Halton Women’s Place in Burlington and Interval House in Hamilton – both great causes.


Best regards, George


Mark YOUR Calendar

Held at RAHB – 505 York Blvd.
Lower Level room: C – Chambers     M – McCullough
First floor room: T – Thompson     P – Purnell



  • New Member Computer Training Level 1
    Thursday, January 5 – C, 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Thursday, January 19 – C, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Thursday, February 2 – C, 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Thursday, February 16 – C, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Register with

Board of Directors, Committee and Task Force Meetings

  • Board of Directors
    Wednesday, January 18 – T, 9 a.m.

Professional Development
See page 10 for a list of courses.

Upcoming Events

    AGM, Conference and Trade Show
    Thursday, March 9, 2017
    Grand Olympia, Stoney Creek
    See further details on page 13.

Update!  Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage

Upon review of the current Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policy, RAHB’s Board of Directors determined the policy did not provide value to the membership.  Therefore, effective February 1, 2017, RAHB will no longer be providing AD&D coverage for its members.  Alternate benefits will be investigated.

If you have any outstanding claims, please contact Camryn in the Membership department at or 905.529.8101 x251.


Meet the President, Lou Piriano











We sat down to talk with 2017 RAHB President Lou Piriano.

Q. First of all, congratulations on becoming President for 2017! Being on the board of directors and now being President is a big commitment of time, and you do this as a volunteer.  What makes you want to spend that time on behalf of members and the association?

A. The real time commitment here is the one our members have made to being a REALTOR® belonging to Ontario’s finest association!  Members have put their faith in the board of directors so we owe it to them to do whatever is necessary to empower them to succeed.


Q. The big thing coming up in 2017 is RAHB’s new Matrix MLS® System.  What else do you intend to focus on this year?

A. Once again, I only represent the hard working board of directors and so the entire board will determine priorities along with our CEO.  Those priorities are based in part on member surveys. MLS® services , a core competency,  is consistently rated as members’ prime concern. Therefore, along with Matrix, we will be adding complementary services to give members an edge in their daily work which they can use to up their professional services and image to their clients. Increasing professionalism and conveying REALTOR® value to the public are also high on members’ priorities. It’s now our job to demonstrate the delivery of these services.


Q. Are there any particular challenges you see for members or the association in 2017?

A. It is clear that government, particularly at the federal level, is trying to “cool” the market. Tighter mortgage rules will feed into that effort.  I am confident our location near the GTA represents the optimum value for buyers and we will continue to have a strong market in spite of those changes. Technology is also a huge challenge. As everyone knows, it changes at the speed of light and affects how REALTOR® services are delivered in some cases. Therefore, we need to be ready to adapt quickly when necessary.


Q. If you had to name one thing you wanted to accomplish this year, what would it be?

A. I don’t want to restrict our goals in any way. We can certainly walk and chew gum at the same time and I see no reason why we can’t complete multiple goals that members need and want. A huge goal is to share as much data with as many associations as possible so that members are not caught without information when their clients ask. Other associations have told us they aspire to the same goals.


Q. Any last thoughts to pass on to members?

Just know that we on the board of directors are members just like you and make the best decisions we can based on facts we have. As a member not on the board I often wondered why certain decisions were made. Now I know. As transparent as we are, there are still facts that can’t be “public” immediately.

My door is open to any member if I can help, 905-308-2988 is my cell number.  Most questions are operational in nature and we have an incredible staff who are more than willing to help. Just try’em  at 905.529.8101… tell ‘em Lou sent you.

Update – my note to you dated December 22 regarding ORTIS

from RAHB CEO George O’Neill

On December 22, 2016, I sent an email to each RAHB member about an ORTIS communication just before the year end holidays that may have caused some confusion to anyone who read it.

I would like summarize what has transpired:
We unexpectedly received a letter from ORTIS – the managing company of the regional Matrix system – that they unilaterally declined to continue negotiating a data sharing agreement that RAHB and ORTIS had been working on for several weeks.

ORTIS also advised that as of Wednesday, February 1, 2017, Access Members of RAHB (that is, users with computer access only) will no longer have login access to the regional Matrix system, and listings interboarded to RAHB’s MLS® System will no longer be forwarded to the regional system.

We understand from ORTIS’s communication they may have made their decision in order to generate revenue from creating their own subscriber category and may charge additional fees to interboard listings to the regional system. RAHB respects that ORTIS is a separate company, is not governed by OREA or CREA and is therefore entitled to make its own independent business decisions. However, RAHB is simply trying to protect our members from paying additional fees and desires to secure an ongoing commitment from ORTIS to share listings.

What does this mean for you?
If you are a full RAHB member, your listing data and access to the regional Matrix system will continue as it is for now.  For you, it will be business as usual.

Access members will continue to have login access to RAHB’s MLS® System and accompanying listing data, but may no longer be able to log in to the regional Matrix system after February 1, 2017.

Non-RAHB members who interboard listings to RAHB’s MLS® System may no longer have those listings uploaded to the regional Matrix system after February 1, 2017.

I assure you that RAHB continues to have confidence that the boards and associations participating in sharing listings via the regional MLS® System have the same goal we do: that our collective members benefit from access to complete listing data across the region.  We continue working with our neighbouring boards and associations to achieve this common goal, and are also working with them to urge ORTIS to amend its decision. Currently, ORTIS has not committed to share listings for RAHB full members past our cutover to RAHB’s Matrix system.

I will update you as soon as more information is available.


Regards, George O’Neill

Services Spotlight – What is RAHB’s most valuable member service?

This month, instead of focusing on one member service, we’re going to look at what members have had to say about the services that are most valuable to them.

In a large member survey done in 2014, members identified RAHB’s five most valuable member services as:

  1. MLS® and technology
  2. Enforcement of rules/professional standards
  3. Professional development
  4. Communications to members
  5. Government relations

In a more recent survey performed by Kitestring Media on RAHB’s behalf, members said that RAHB’s most valuable services are:

  1. MLS®
  2. Statistics (both SIM and monthly stats reports)
  3. Professional development
  4. Realty Shoppe
  5. Communications (tied with …)
  6. Professional standards
  7. RAHB promotion through advertising
  8. REALTOR® CONNECTIONS AGM, Conference & Trade Show
  9. Membership/committee meetings
  10. Convenient payment plans (tied with …)
  11. Political action mandate

Other services that didn’t make the “top” list were REALTORS® 4Kids Charity Auction, Karan Barker Scholarships, AD&D insurance and meeting room rentals.

Your RAHB membership provides numerous and diverse services.  Which are most important to you?

RAHB in the community


National Housing Day was November 22, 2016 and RAHB was a proud sponsor of two National Housing Day events in our community:

Halton National Housing Day
This informative session covered the issues and challenges of affordable housing in the Halton Region. The event featured a creative problem solving facilitation led by Sheridan College as part of a multi-year project being undertaken as part of a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Community Innovation Fund.

City of Hamilton National Housing Day
This year’s National Housing Day event from Hamilton’s Housing Services Division focused on bringing people together to participate in a facilitated discussion regarding how the City could develop balanced neighbourhoods in Hamilton.  The event fostered an environment of common purpose and understanding between stakeholders in the housing sector.

RAHB dues deadline December 31, 2016

The quarterly RAHB dues have been billed and emailed to you as part of your November monthly invoice.  Please note that dues are payable no later than December 31, 2016.



Acceptable methods of payment:
In person:  Visa, MasterCard, Interac, cash or cheque
By phone:  Visa or MasterCard
Online through Fusion:  Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Visa Debit ←NEW
Online: CIBC/PC Financial, Royal Bank, Scotia Bank, TD Canada Trust – for assistance in set-up, please contact Karin at 905.529.8101 x 258

Pre-authorized payment subscriptions will be processed on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.

A reminder about notifying RAHB of terminations in your office
Brokerages are responsible for notifying RAHB when members in their office resign or otherwise leave.  Notice must be received by RAHB within seven business days of the member leaving.  If notice is delayed beyond the seven business days, the Brokerage will be assessed a penalty of $50 per incident. (RAHB Bylaw, Article 4, Section 1.02)

*RAHB discontinuing Senior memberships – unless you are already a Senior Member!
At their recent meeting, the Board of Directors reviewed the Senior Member category and decided that RAHB will no longer offer a reduced Senior membership dues rate as of January 1, 2017.  HOWEVER, members who are currently classified as Senior Member will continue to benefit from the reduced rate as long as they are a RAHB member.

Qualifications for Senior membership are that you are at least 65 years old and have been a member of RAHB for at least 25 years.  If you meet these qualifications by December 31, 2016, please notify us by sending a copy of photo identification clearly showing your date of birth to Camryn at  Please note that we are unable to process status changes to Senior membership from January 1, 2017 onward.

If you have questions about this change in policy, please contact Camryn at

RAHB in the community

RAHB was a proud supporter of Hamilton’s first-ever NOSH Chef Wars! The event was a kickoff to the week-long NOSH celebration of Hamilton’s culinary scene (October 17 to 23, 2016).

Modelled after Chopped Canada but with a Hamilton flair, Chef Wars had ten renowned Hamilton chefs face off to create an appetizer, main course, and dessert to win the title of the best-of-the-best in Hamilton. Congratulations to Matt Kershaw (The Other Bird Group Inc.) and Shayne Madadi (Pokeh) who tied for first place for a spectacular win!

Congratulations to the RAHB members who won tickets to Chef Wars through our members-only Facebook group contest:  April Almeida (Keller Williams Complete Realty), Brenda McKinley (Keller Williams Edge Realty), Sue Boyle (Royal LePage State Realty), Branko Miskovic (RE/MAX Realty Enterprises Inc.) and Margaret Uznanska (Royal LePage State Realty)!


Enter your dish in Chili Days!

A Meet-the-Candidates Cookoff

RAHB is pleased to announce that we are holding a hot new pre-election event on November 21, 2016 –the Chili Days Meet the Candidates Cookoff!

Do you think your chili really brings the heat? Want a chance to win some great door prizes and be crowned Chili Supreme? Then enter your chili dish and show RAHB members what your crockpot skills are made of!

This event is a great opportunity to meet the candidates for the upcoming Board of Directors election, to ask questions about the election process, and to vote on your favourite chili dishes!

To add some extra spice, non-perishable food bank donations will also be accepted at the door.

So come on down, meet the candidates, check out the chili and season the moment!



Package deal to Commercial Forum and REALTOR® Quest

The CREA Canadian Commercial Forum and TREB’s REALTOR® Quest are happening all under one roof this year, and RAHB’s Regional Commercial Network has arranged a package deal for any member to attend on Thursday, May 5.  The package includes:

  • coach transportation (from RAHB and back)
  • admission to REALTOR® Quest
  • all sessions
  • continental breakfast
  • lunch
  • Forum’s wine and cheese reception

Full details are on the registration form. Seats are being sold “first come, first served”.  Register now!  Note: if we don’t have enough members registered for this package deal by April 22, the trip may be cancelled.

RAHB’s 2016 Board of Directors

Kim-largeKim Alvarez, President

Kim is a Salesperson with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services and has been a member of RAHB since 2009.  She was elected to the RAHB Board of Directors in 2013.  She has served on the Burlington Council, Young Professionals Network, Communications/GR, MLS® and Government and Bylaw committees. She chaired the Finance Committee and was on the CEO Selection Task Force in 2015.

In serving members, Kim believes strongly in innovation, fiscal responsibility, thorough analysis, transparency, effective communication, equal opportunity and accountability.  Her key strengths are her strategic, critical thinking and communication skills.

Prior to real estate, Kim earned her MBa with a marketing specialization and a B.A. in Political Science. She has taken additional courses in Financial Planning, Architectural Technology and Pure Mathematics. She has worked in a variety of industries including management consulting.   Kim is currently working towards her Broker designation.

Kim believes in building community.  She is a member of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, proud supporter of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and assists various charities.


Lou Piriano, President-Elect

Lou is Broker of Record of L. Piriano Real Estate.  He first joined RAHB in 1973; he was elected to the RAHB Board of Directors for the 2014 term and was recently re-elected to the 2016 Board and became  president elect.  Lou chaired the MLS® Committee, Regional Rules Task Force and the Audit Committee last year and was one of RAHB’s representatives on the Regional MLS® Board of Governors.  He has also served on the Finance, Arbitration and Professional Standards committees  and previously  chaired the Technology Task Force.

Lou is in his fifth decade in the real estate profession and believes it is critical to prepare our organization for the rapid oncoming changes in the next few years.   Lou sees serving the members one at a time as a great opportunity to ensure all members are heard equally; he hopes that by offering his knowledge and experience, both members and he can achieve personal and professional growth.  Although Lou has a keen interest in and keeps updated on new technological tools, he notes that some aspects of brokerage really haven’t changed that much over time – it’s still a people business.

Lou’s main interests lie in his family (which includes his dogs), playing hockey and squash and donating time and money to animal rescue organizations.


Jack Loft, Vice-President

Jack has been a RAHB member since 2004 and is a Broker at RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.  He has served on the Finance  and Professional Standards committees  as well as the CEO Selection and Honourary Life task forces.

Jack is a retired police officer and loves the outdoors.  He golfs, hikes, cycles, fishes and camps and is an avid reader and traveller.


Donna Bacher, Immediate Past President

Donna joined RAHB in 1983 and is a Broker with Royal LePage State Realty.  Donna has served as RAHB President (2015), Chair of the Finance and Communications/Government Relations committees and the Joint (RAHB/HDAA) Rental Licensing Task Force.  She has also served on various other RAHB committees.

Donna served as a director for the Ontario Goat Breeders Association and as a Founding Members’ Association Rep to the Toronto Livestock Land Development Board from 2001-2003.  She is an avid fundraiser for various charities and a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters annual bowl-a-thon.  Donna holds a Canadian Private Pilots license and has completed her Canadian Commercial Pilot written exam.


AnnAnn Forbes Arndt

Ann is a Past President of RAHB and has returned to the Board for a second round.  She has been a member of the Association since 1990 and is a Broker with Royal LePage Macro Realty Inc.  She has served as Chair of the Finance and Member Area Representation committees, as a member of numerous RAHB committees and task forces and on OREA and RECO committees.  Ann was named RAHB Volunteer of the Year in 2005.

Ann has a Level 3 in the National Coaching Certification program and coaches various skill levels in Dragon Boating.


Nikola Bucalo

Nikola is a Salesperson with Coldwell Banker Community Real Estate.  He joined RAHB in 2010 and has served on the Government Relations Committee and is part of the Young Professionals Network.  He is the 2016 Government Relations Committee chair.

Having grown up in a real estate household, this Millennial has been in and around the real estate profession since the early 90’s and he feels he has an excellent grasp of the long- and short-term needs of members.   Deep roots in the industry and a long-term vision for the success of the profession are Nikola’s main motivators.  He believes that members understand and respect the importance of the resources REALTORS® have worked together to build and he is proud and excited to be part of the  team managing these resources and developing greater ones.


KathyKathy Della-Nebbia

Kathy is a Salesperson with Royal LePage State Realty.  She first joined RAHB in 1986 and has served on the Government Relations Committee and Charity Auction task force.

Kathy first joined organized real estate as Kathy Fournier with Montreal Trust.  She left real estate for about 12 years, started a  family and returned in 2004 when her youngest was in grade one.  She recently celebrated 25 years of marriage and considers herself blessed in so many ways.  She is passionate about learning, involvement, people and family.  Her favourite quote is “life is not about learning how to weather the storm but about learning how to dance in the rain”.


Gary Herron

Gary has been a RAHB member since 1993 and is a Broker at Coldwell Banker Community Real Estate.  Gary is no stranger to the RAHB Board of Directors; he served on the Board from 2003-2007 and was President in 2006.  He has also served as Chair of the Election, Finance, Executive and Professional Standards committees and as a member on many other RAHB Committees.

Gary became a director again because he felt it is important “to give back to the association that has been so good” to him.  He also sees there will be significant changes to the real estate industry over the next several years and wants to be part of it.  Gary has a passion for cooking and fishing, and laments he doesn’t do as much of either as he would like.


Peter Holgate

Peter joined RAHB in 2012 and is the Broker/Manager/Owner at Chase Realty Inc. ’s newest branch office in Burlington.  He is serving his second year on the RAHB Board of Directors.  Peter was previously a director of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® and chaired the Professional Development committee of that association. Peter is a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada and holds several other distinguished accreditations.

Peter is a motorcycle enthusiast and prides himself on being involved with motorcycle charity fund raising events for a women’s shelter, Sick Children’s Hospital and the REALTORS Care® Foundation. With over 30 years in the business, Peter feels it’s time to give back and being a director of the Board enables Peter to do just that


PaulPaul Martindale 

Paul is Broker of Record and Director for Wink Properties and Realty Inc.  Since joining RAHB in 2005, Paul has served on the Government Relations Committee, the Joint Rental Housing Task Force and Regional Commercial Council (RCC), chairing the Council in 2014 and once again in 2016.  Paul has been immersed in commercial real estate – investing, rehabilitating and managing properties – since 1995 for clients and company portfolio growth.

Paul is a past Board member of the Hamilton & District Apartment Association,  current member of the McMaster University President’s Advisory Committee on Community Relations, and is frequently involved in real estate issues at City Hall.  His extensive management and construction experience has been invaluable toward successfully managing a portfolio of several buildings and multiple rental units.  In a past life, Paul was a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and Royal Conservatory-trained pianist, enjoying an extensive musical career playing R&B, Soul music and touring with ‘The Soul Revue’.  A highlight for Paul was performing for actor Kiefer Sutherland at his 1996 wedding in Toronto.


AndrewAndrew Robertson

Andrew is the Broker of Record of Keller Williams Complete Realty.  Since joining RAHB in 2005, Andrew has earned a number of sales achievement awards and has served on the Government Relations and Communications committees, as well as the Joint Rental Housing and Buyer Registry task forces. Andrew also serves on the Hamilton District
Apartment Association`s Government Relations Committee.

A passionate real estate investor, Andrew owns and manages his own portfolio of 27 residential units. Andrew is married with two daughters aged 10 and 11 and lives on the West Mountain.


BobBob Van de Vrande

Bob is the Broker of Record of Apex Results Realty Inc., and has been a RAHB member since 1988.  Bob has served on the MLS® Committee and the DDF, Charity Give Back, Report Solds and Lonnie Bushey task forces.

Bob enjoys attending his sons’ activities and travelling, particularly to tropical destinations, with his sons Nicholas and Tyler.  Bob has a passion for education, having earned an MBA as well as Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Education degrees.  He served as a trustee, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Halton Catholic District School Board.  Bob’s special interest is gifted education and he has worked to promote educational options in this area.  Bob has been an active member of St. Patrick parish in Burlington for more than 40 years and is president of Project Maranatha for Youth, a charity promoting youth leadership, education freedom and pro-life issues within the Catholic and broader community.  Politically Bob has been active at both the provincial and federal levels with the Conservative party.  Bob’s hobbies include reading, swimming, travelling and stamp collecting.