The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) uses the name industry member to refer to the industry as a whole. This distinction is due to the different licence types available. The terms Broker and Associate are names that refer specifically to specific classes of licence for real estate and mortgage professionals.
RECA is responsible for licensing and regulating the real estate, mortgage and appraiser industry in the province. All industry members -regardless of licence type- comply with the Real Estate Act, Rules and Regulations.
The following are the licence types for Alberta real estate and mortgage brokers:
Brokerage: is a legal entity, licensed to trade in real estate or deal in mortgages. It’s also where a real estate or mortgage associate or associate broker’s licence is registered. An individual person (sole proprietor), partnership, or corporation can obtain a brokerage license. If the brokerage is a partnership or corporation it must employ a broker. The broker is responsible for the brokerage’s operations.
Broker: A brokerage must employ a broker to operate the brokerage. Brokers ensure all brokerage business conducted is in compliance with the Real Estate Act. They supervise all staff – including associate brokers and associates registered to the brokerage.
A real estate broker may also represent buyers and sellers in their real estate transactions and a mortgage broker may also deal in mortgages. In small brokerages, the broker often represents clients in addition to management duties. In larger operations brokers tend to focus on the management role.
As a consumer working with an industry member, you may have concerns with your industry member’s activities. If you can’t resolve them directly with the industry member, you can consider contacting the industry member’s broker to discuss the matter.
Associate: A real estate associate (or associate broker) or mortgage associate is likely the person you’ll be dealing with. While the brokerage is the legal entity, the associate is the brokerage’s representative.
A real estate associate will:
- draw up the agreement between brokerage and seller when listing property
- show properties to buyers
- hold open houses
- give advice
- act honestly.
Associate Broker: An associate broker has the necessary qualifications to become a broker, but currently holds the role and responsibility of an associate. Associate broker licences are only available in the real estate sector.
A mortgage associate will:
- take mortgage applications on behalf of the brokerage
- discuss financing options
- quote interest rates
- give advice
- act honestly.
Real estate appraisers are also under the Real Estate Act jurisdiction. There are certain exemptions for individuals performing employer only appraisals and for real estate agents preparing market value comparisons for clients. In Alberta, there are 2 classes of real estate appraisers – appraiser and candidate.
A candidate is supervised by a licensed appraiser and takes responsibility for their work. They will sign the candidate’s appraisal report and confirm the appraisal is completed within the accepted standards.
An appraiser will:
- estimate the defined value of real estate
- sign and take responsibility for a real estate appraisal report prepared by another person
- provide real estate appraisal consulting services
The Real Estate Council cautions consumers to protect their interests by dealing with licensedindividuals and companies in any real estate or mortgage transaction.