Written Service Agreements: A Look So Far
| March 03, 2015
On July 1, 2014, written service agreements became mandatory for client relationship in residential real estate. Now the questions on everyone’s lips—are residential real estate professionals actually using them? And are they using them correctly?
Overall, there has been very good compliance in both designated agency and common law agency brokerages with the requirement for written service agreements.
As part of its regular trust assurance and practice review program, which focuses on practice improvement and compliance, RECA practice review officers visited 60 residential real estate brokerages between July 1 and December 31, 2014. During these brokerage visits, our team collects information from transaction files.
Between July and September, roughly 57% of designated agents and 42% of common law agents executed written service agreements at the time of writing the offer
Between October and December, these numbers fell to 46% and 15% respectively.
During this six month period, we also saw that the number of written service agreements executed more than three days prior to writing an offer trended upward in both designated agency and common law agency brokerages. Good news, all around. And for the record, there have been zero investigations commenced as a result of this information gathering.
As industry professionals become more familiar with written service agreements, they’re getting more confident presenting them earlier in the client relationship. It’s good news for both consumers and industry professionals themselves.
RECA staff has also met with brokers in Calgary and Edmonton over the past couple of weeks. These brokers represent more than 40 percent of real estate professionals in Alberta. The general consensus from these groups was that written service agreements benefit both clients and individual industry professionals.
No doubt real estate professionals will continue to adapt to the use of written service agreements with their buyer clients—and RECA will continue to provide assistance through its trust assurance and practice review program.