When working with a REALTOR, it is important to understand who the REALTOR works for, and to whom is the REALTOR legally obligated. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) requires REALTORS to disclose Agency Relationship to a potential client at the earliest time possible.
Buyer’s Relationship to Realtors
A Buyer has a choice of two relationships with a REALTOR.
As a Client, a Real Estate Brokerage acting as a “Buyer’s Agent” must do what is best for the buyer. A written contract, called a Buyer Representation Agreement, establishes buyer agency. It also explains services the Brokerage will provide, establishes a fee arrangement for the REALTOR’s services (typically the Seller pays commission and there is no cost to the Buyer), and specifies what obligations a buyer may have. Under such agency, a buyer will be obliged to work with that Real Estate Brokerage for a period of time. In return, confidence a buyer shares with that Brokerage will be kept confidential. The REALTOR is also required to act in the buyer’s best interest, offer professional advice, negotiate the best possible price for the buyer and provide the buyer with as much information required to make the right decision.
As a Customer the buyer can expect to be treated fairly and honestly. It is important for the buyer to realize that under such a relationship the REALTOR is technically a sub-agent of the seller so that duties are owed to that seller. However, the buyer can expect the REALTOR to disclose all pertinent information about a property, not to misrepresent any facts, and to honestly answer all questions about the property. Under such relationship with the buyer, the REALTOR must not must not imply that they shall negotiate a price for the buyer as that would be a direct conflict with the REALTOR’s sub-agency relationship with the seller and a violation of our rules and regulations.
Seller’s Relationship to Realtors
A Real Estate Brokerage must do what is best for the seller of a property. A written contract, called a Listing Agreement, establishes seller’s agency. It also explains services the Brokerage will provide, establishes a commission arrangement for the REALTOR’s services and specifies what obligations a seller must have.
Confidence a seller shares with their REALTOR must be kept confidential from potential buyers and others. That REALTOR must tell the seller anything known about the buyer. For instance, if the REALTOR knows that a buyer is willing to offer more for a property, that information must be shared with the seller.
A seller must understand that a REALTOR working with a buyer as a sub-agent is ultimately working with the seller’s best interest in mind. A REALTOR working with a buyer, as a Buyer Agent, is working for the buyer’s best interest mind, but may still be compensated by the seller through provisions made to the Listing Agent.
Occasionally a Real Estate Brokerage will be representing both the buyer and the seller. The buyer and seller must consent to this arrangement in writing before an Offer is presented. Since the Brokerage’s loyalty is divided between the buyer and seller who have conflicting interest, it is absolutely essential that a multiple representation relationship be established in a written agency agreement. This agreement specifically describes the rights and duties of everyone involved and any limitations to those rights and duties.