Written Service Agreements - Enhancing Consumer Protection
Have you heard? There’s a change coming to how licensed real estate professionals in Alberta will be working with residential buyers.
Beginning on July 1, 2014, the Real Estate Council of Alberta will require residential real estate professionals to use written service agreements with their clients – sellers AND buyers. This means that if you’re the client of a licensed real estate professional in Alberta, they are going to ask you to sign a written service agreement.
Sellers are used to signing a Seller Representation Agreement (commonly referred to as a Listing Agreement) with the real estate professional who is helping them sell their house, but the practice of signing a written service agreement has been less common for buyers.
That’s about to change.
Written service agreements provide greater clarity about the roles and obligations between real estate professionals, and their clients, and they reduce any potential for conflicts and confusion. And that will enhance consumer protection.
Written service agreements:
- Describe the role and services of the real estate professional
- Outline the obligations of the real estate professional and the client
- Reduce confusion and misunderstanding
- Set out the fees (if any)
- Provide consent to collect, maintain, use and distribute a client’s personal information
Written service agreements ensure there is clarity between the consumer and their real estate representative, by outlining the services a real estate professional will provide to their clients. We’ve all heard that a verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, right? So, as a buyer, put your agreement with your real estate professional in writing. Make sure you know and understand the services that will be provided to you and make sure they are outlined in the agreement.
Consumers can negotiate terms for the agreement that will work for them and their real estate representative. They can even negotiate the length of term for an agreement. Consumers need to feel comfortable with the person they’re working with – and they may not be prepared to commit to a long-term working relationship right from the beginning. Try out a shorter-term agreement and if at the end of that agreement, you don’t want to work with that real estate professional or they don’t want to work with you – both parties can move on.