Real Estate Agents

Also called real estate licensees, real estate professionals, REALTORS®, real estate associates, or real estate brokers. These are the people who help you buy, sell, or lease property. They can hold a licence in residential, commercial, rural, or property management, some of them, or all of them. In order to become licensed with RECA, they must register with a real estate brokerage within one year of completing their education.

CONSUMER TIP: there is no standard commission for real estate professionals. Compensation is 100% negotiable.

There are two types of working relationship you can have with a real estate professional, depending on your needs.

A client is someone who has entered into an agreement with a real estate licensee to have that licensee represent them in a real estate transaction. In a client relationship, the licensee must represent the client’s best interests at all times and assist them with the transaction.

A written service agreement is required when a consumer is working with a licensee on a residential transaction. Written service agreements are not required for commercial or rural real estate transactions, but they’re always recommended.

Real estate licensees owe their clients:

Undivided loyalty:

The licensee must act only in your best interests and put them above their own and those of other people. The licensee must avoid conflicts of interest and must protect your negotiating position at all times.


The licensee must keep information confidential, even after your relationship ends. Confidential information includes your personal information, information about the property, and information about the transaction (except information the law says must be disclosed or information you agree to disclose).

Full disclosure

The licensee must tell you, in writing, about the services they will provide. They must also tell you everything they know that might affect your relationship or influence your decision in a transaction, even if they don’t think it’s important. This includes any conflicts of interest, for example when they act (or are planning to act) on behalf of any other person in a transaction. The only information they can’t give you is confidential information from another agency relationship.


The licensee must obey all your lawful, reasonable, and ordinary instructions. If you insist on something unlawful, the licensee must refuse and may consider ending your relationship and the agreement.

Reasonable care and skill

The licensee must exercise reasonable care and skill in all their duties. They must meet the standard of a reasonable and competent member of the real estate industry.

Full accounting

The licensee must account for all money and property they receive while acting on your behalf. Everything a client puts in the care of a licensee—for example, money, keys, or documents—must be returned when the agreement ends.

A customer is a person seeking information or assistance in a real estate transaction from a licensee, but does not want that licensee to represent them. If you’re the customer of a licensee, they don’t have the same obligations or responsibilities to you that they would if you were a client.

Why would you 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 licensees 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 licensee and they are no longer able to represent you

With you as their customer, the real estate licensee is obligated to act honestly, ensure any information provided is correct, and exercise due care and skill at all times. The licensee is also obligated to hold any monies received from you relating to purchasing a property in trust. However, the licensee can’t provide you—as a customer—with advice, services that require the exercising of judgement, or confidential information.

Customer acknowledgment form

If you want to be the customer of a real estate licensee, they may ask you to sign a customer acknowledgment form. The customer acknowledgment form clarifies the details of the customer relationship; it can also help avoid disputes or misunderstandings later on.

The customer acknowledgement form requires you to acknowledge:

  • you have chosen not to be represented
  • the licensee does not owe you any agency obligations, including fiduciary obligations
  • the licensee will not give you services that require discretion, exercising of judgment, or provision of confidential information

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