Customer - Real Estate
A customer is a person seeking information or assistance in a real estate transaction from a real estate professional, but does not want that professional to represent them.
What are a real estate professional’s obligations to you as a customer?
As a customer, the real estate professional is obligated to act honestly, ensure any information provided is correct, and exercise due care and skill at all times. Your real estate professional is also obligated to hold any monies received from you relating to purchasing a property in trust. A real estate professional can’t provide customers with advice, services that require the exercising of judgement or confidential information.
Optional services your real estate professional may provide
If you’re a customer, the real estate professional may provide you with other services or information, including:
- real estate statistics and property information (including comparables)
- agreements of purchase and sale, lease or other relevant documents and prepare all necessary documents in accordance with your instructions
- the names of real estate service providers (but not recommend any particular provider)
- present in a timely manner, all offers and counter-offers
- convey to the seller or buyer, as the case may be, in a timely manner all information you wish to communicate to them
- keep you informed regarding the progress of the transaction
Why would I want to be a customer?
- you simply want to view a property through a brokerage or attend an open house, but you aren't looking for advice
- you haven’t decided if you are serious about selling or buying property and you aren't ready to commit to a client relationship
- you are still talking to different real estate professionals and are not ready to form a client relationship with anyone
- you think you have the experience or sophistication in real estate matters to represent yourself
- a conflict of interest arises while you’re working as the client of a real estate professional and your real estate professional is no longer able to represent you
Real estate professionals need to give you a clear understanding of their obligations and they must ensure their role is clear. As a consumer, you need to make an informed choice about the type of working relationship you want. The real estate professional must give you a copy of the Consumer Relationships Guide to review before you enter into any service agreement. The Guide outlines the different types of relationships you can have with a real estate professional. Real estate professionals must not pressure or direct a consumer or customer to become a client. For more information about client relationships, click here.
Customer acknowledgment form
If you want to be the customer of a real estate professional, they may ask you to sign a customer acknowledgment form. The customer acknowledgment form clarifies the details of the customer relationship, and it can help avoid disputes or misunderstandings later on.
The customer acknowledgement form requires you to acknowledge:
- you have chosen not to be represented
- the real estate professional does not owe you any agency obligations, including fiduciary obligations
- that the real estate professional will not give you services that require discretion, exercising of judgment or provision of confidential information