Are you considering a real estate transaction? One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you should work with a licensed Real Estate Professional, who will represent you.
Remember, not every real estate agent can call themselves a REALTOR®. REALTOR® is a trademarked term belonging to the Canadian Real Estate Association. It represents a high standard of professionalism and commitment to value for clients.
Professionally, a REALTOR® adheres to a strict set of standards called the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Any violations to the Code, Standards, Rules, or legislation are brought forward for investigation and disciplinary action at both the Board level and at the provincial level, through the Real Estate Council of BC.
Before you disclose confidential information to a Real Estate Professional regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of business relationship you have with that individual. You can work with a real estate professional in one of the following ways:
- AS A CLIENT, your Real Estate Professional works on your behalf, and has special legal duties to you.
- AS A NON-CLIENT, a Real Estate Professional who is not representing you as a client does not owe you any special legal duties
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you are a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction may be representing a client with competing interests to yours in a transaction. They must be loyal to THEIR client, not you. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they will act only in your interests.
If you’re a Non-Client, the other Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction do not have a duty to give you all relevant information regarding the transaction. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they must tell you everything they know that might influence your decision.
When you’re the Client of a Real Estate Professional, they must avoid any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests. When you’re a Non-Client, no Real Estate Professional acting in your interests.
When you’re a Client, the Real Estate Professional must not reveal your private information without your permission, even after your relationship ends. When you’re a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction must share any information you tell them, with THEIR client.
When you become a Client, you may be asked to sign a written agreement setting out yours and the Real Estate Professional’s responsibilities. As a Non-Client, a Real Estate Professional may give you only limited services.
Whenever a Real Estate Professional works with you in a real estate transaction, whether you are their client or not, they have a responsibility to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill.
The Real Estate Council of BC
The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is the legislated regulatory agency that works to ensure Real Estate Professional have the skills and knowledge to provide you with a high standard of service. All Real Estate Professionals must follow rules that help protect consumers, like you.
The Real Estate Council of BC helps you understand your rights as a real estate consumer. Visit their website at www.recbc.ca or call them at 1 – 877 – 683 – 9664.