Also called 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 licence in residential, commercial, rural, or property management, some of them, or all of them. In order to become licenced 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 professional to have that real estate professional represent them in a real estate transaction. In a client relationship, the real estate professional 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 real estate professional on a residential transaction. Written service agreements are not required for commercial or rural real estate transactions, but they’re always recommended.
Real estate professionals owe their clients:
The agent must act only in your best interests and put them above their own and those of other people. The agent must avoid conflicts of interest and must protect your negotiating position at all times.
The agent 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).
The agent 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 agent must obey all your lawful, reasonable, and ordinary instructions. If you insist on something unlawful, the agent must refuse and consider ending your relationship and the agreement.
The agent 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.
The agent must account for all money and property they receive while acting on your behalf. Everything a client puts in the care of an agent—for example, money, keys, or documents—is returned when the agreement ends.
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. If you’re the customer of a real estate professional, they don’t have the same obligations or responsibilities to you that they would if you were a client.
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.
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: