How to Catch a Non-MLS Sale Using the Land Registry

November 7th, 2016

rsz_not_showing_up_on_mlsIt used to be that MLS was the be all and end all information source for real estate sales professionals. However, over time, as technology and resources for real estate sales professionals have evolved, things have changed dramatically. People now sell their homes in a number of different ways and even transact in creative ways, leading to not all sales ending up on MLS.

The problem with this is, if a property is not registered on MLS, the sale won’t be either. In fact, in hot urban centers, real estate sales professionals are listing on more than just MLS. For example, Blog TO lists these top 5 sites real estate sales professionals are using to market their listings:,,, and Read more on this here:

In the U.S., the practice of ‘Pocket Listings’ is becoming more and more common. It is essentially the practice of a real estate sales professional promoting and selling a property without promoting it on MLS, hence the term pocket listing – keeping the listing in their pocket.

And what about FSBO? While the DIY-ers who want to sell their homes themselves can now list on MLS with the assistance of a real estate sales professional for a small fee, many still choose not to, for whatever reason. Hot urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver can see an individual put a sign in front of their home and offers flooding in almost immediately. It all comes down to supply and demand and it seems in Canada we continue to enjoy a significant demand for real estate.

Catching fraud – often non arms-length and even nefarious transactions will occur off of MLS because these deals are negotiated privately. Being able to see all sales can help you to identify if there are transactions that raise a flag to you.

So, when it comes to representing a buyer or a seller, how can you ensure that they know as much as possible about the property they are purchasing?

There are different tools that offer robust sales data and they derive their data from different places – the local MLS, municipalities, management companies, etc…but which one is the most accurate?

The most accurate information source in Ontario for land registry information is the Province of Ontario Land Registry Information System (POLARIS). When the lawyer electronically transfers the title of a property in Ontario, it is immediately registered with the land registry.

If you want to access the most current information about a property, including a history of all transfers, parties and amounts, you are best served by working with a tool that derives its data from the provincial land registry.

There is great value in being able to provide as much information about a property as possible. Because land registries are administered provincially in Canada, the best way to find out what tools are available to you is to start with your local government. In Ontario, real estate sales professionals use Teranet’s GeoWarehouse.

To find out more about GeoWarehouse please visit