Vancouver brokerage’s purchase of Chinese real estate site Vanfun.com collapses


Vanfun.com, a Shanghai-based company that provides BC property listing information to Chinese buyers, announced last December that it had been purchased by Metro Edge Realty, a relatively new but growing brokerage. rapid growth in the Vancouver area, for $8 million. .DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

A Vancouver-based real estate brokerage firm’s multimillion-dollar plan to buy a controversial Chinese-language website that markets overseas properties has fallen apart.

Vanfun.com, a Shanghai-based company that provides BC property listing information to Chinese buyers, announced last December that it had been purchased by Metro Edge Realty, a relatively new but growing brokerage. rapid growth in the Vancouver area, for $8 million. .

Vanfun came to the attention of BC regulators last year when the province’s superintendent of real estate issued a cease and desist order against two people who worked at the site and imposed a fine to two licensed real estate agents.

Website activities highlighted the role of foreign companies in the BC real estate market. A Globe and Mail investigation into Vanfun prompted the superintendent to announce a review of regulations that allowed offshore companies to bid on properties in British Columbia, although no changes were made.

Vanfun released a statement on its website and Chinese-language online messaging service WeChat announcing that it had ended its relationship with Metro Edge Realty. The statement cited a payment dispute and said Vanfun was concerned about Metro Edge’s practices, but did not provide any details.

Stephen Jin, director of global sales at Metro Edge Realty, declined to comment on the dispute with Vanfun, but said the company followed the rules of the Real Estate Council of BC and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

“All of Vanfun’s claims are misleading and false,” Mr. Jin said. “We do everything strictly by the book under the supervision of the board and the council.”

No disciplinary decision has been made by the Real Estate Council of BC regarding Metro Edge. The board declined to say whether there had been any complaints, saying the agency only comments if a complaint results in a disciplinary hearing.

The BC Real Estate Superintendent’s office said it was aware that Vanfun and Metro Edge had ended their relationship.

“We are working closely with the Real Estate Council to determine if there are any other requirements under the Real Estate Services Act that must be followed to help protect consumers,” said Mykle Ludvigsen, spokesperson for the Real Estate Services Act. superintendent.

In September last year, the superintendent and real estate board sanctioned two real estate agents and took action against Vanfun.com.

The superintendent said B.C.-based Shangren Vancouver Settlement Service Ltd. and two people identified as its operators, Feng (Fanny) Ni and Xiao Wen (Wendy) Ye, were providing unlicensed real estate services and issued a cease and desist order. The superintendent alleged that these services were facilitated by Vanfun’s websites, www.vanfun.net and www.vanfun.com, and said there was evidence that Ms. Ni was involved in creating and maintaining the Vanfun service.

The Real Estate Council of BC also sanctioned two licensed real estate agents for their involvement with Vanfun. Xiao Ming (Alban) Wang’s real estate license was suspended for 12 months and he was ordered to pay 10,000 dollars; Xin (Selena) Li received a seven-month suspension and was ordered to pay $10,000. At the time, $10,000 was the maximum fine available.

According to the board’s disciplinary decisions, Mr. Wang and Ms. Li accepted client referrals from Vanfun and paid referral fees to the unlicensed brokerage. The two realtors also violated the Real Estate Services Act by providing real estate services on behalf of Vanfun rather than the brokerages they were licensed for.

The rulings also state that Mr. Wang did not disclose to his clients that he was paying a referral fee to the unlicensed brokerage, nor did he keep his chief broker informed of his relationship and its arrangements with Vanfun.

Vanfun declined to comment.

Both Ms. Li and Mr. Wang declined to comment, although Ms. Li said she no longer had any connection with Vanfun. Vanfun currently advertises over 14,000 properties in British Columbia, with information such as multiple listing service number, location, price, size, amenities and property taxes. Potential buyers can see more detailed information if they provide their personal information. However, no listing brokerage information was provided.

Jill Oudil, chair of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said Vanfun has no right to use MLS listing information and urged consumers to respond on more reliable and legitimate sources.

“Vanfun’s website is not authorized to display our MLS listings,” Ms. Oudil said. “We believe the individuals operating this site are violating our MLS® Data Access Rules and are exploring our options. We are concerned that the public may visit this site and see inaccurate or misleading information.”

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