Written Service Agreements

Residential real estate, property management, and mortgage brokerage professionals MUST enter a Written Service Agreement (WSA) with consumers when entering a client relationship. Written service agreements help ensure consumers understand the role of an industry professional, and when clients are better informed, there is less confusion and typically, fewer disputes.

Written service agreements help industry professionals clearly and confidently communicate with clients about:

  • the relationship between the parties;
  • the services to be provided by the brokerage;
  • the obligations and responsibilities of the parties;
  • consent for collection, use and distribution of personal information of the client;
  • method of calculation of remuneration or how the industry professional will be compensated; and,
  • consent to obtain a credit report (for mortgage brokerage professionals).

Establishing a written service agreement with consumers also offers benefits and protections to the industry professional by reducing the chances of a dispute or dissatisfaction on the part of the client, because the client has a written record of the roles and responsibilities of all parties to the agreement.

Regardless of their sector, RECA believes all industry professionals should use written service agreements when establishing client relationships. Many commercial real estate practitioners and real estate appraisers already use written service agreements and RECA will continue to work with these sectors to meet the requirements of the Rules as they relate to written service agreements.

FAQs – Residential Real Estate Clients

What is the difference between an exclusive and a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement?

In an exclusive buyer representation agreement, you, as the buyer, agree to only use the services of that brokerage to represent and assist you in purchasing a property.

In a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement, you, as the buyer, may use the services of multiple brokerages at the same time.  You can enter into multiple non-exclusive buyer representation agreements.

Are written Buyer Representation Agreements mandatory?

Yes. Effective July 1, 2014, if you are interested in buying residential property and are the client of a real estate professional in Alberta, you will be asked to sign a written service agreement (buyer representation agreement).

Does my buyer representation agreement have to be exclusive?

No. However, your agreement will need the consent of the brokerage(s) you’re working with. Consumers should make an informed choice about the type of relationship they wish to have with a real estate professional. They should also understand the implications of the options available to them.

When I agree to enter into a written service agreement, is there a specific form I will be asked to sign as a buyer?

The answer to this question depends on two factors:

  • are you interested in buying residential property?
  • will you be entering into an exclusive buyer representation relationship?

If you answer “yes” to BOTH of these questions, the agreement must contain the mandatory content as contained in RECA’s Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement.

If you are not interested in residential real estate OR you want a non-exclusive agreement, your real estate professional is not required to use the mandatory content.  However, you will be asked to enter into a written agreement that meets the requirements of the Real Estate Act Rules. You can review RECA’s sample non-exclusive buyer representation agreements for more details.


Mortgage Brokerage Clients

Written service agreements will inform borrowers about what they can and should expect from their relationship with their authorized mortgage broker. The agreements will:

  • describe the responsibilities and services of the mortgage broker
  • outline the obligations of the mortgage broker and the borrower
  • set out the fees (if any) or how the mortgage broker will receive their fee
  • give consent to collect, maintain, use, and distribute the borrowers’ personal information
  • address any potential conflict of interest scenarios
  • give consent to “pull’ a credit bureau on the borrower(s)
  • give an option for the borrower to receive electronic messages from the mortgage broker after the funding of the transaction

RECA has sample documents for use by mortgage brokers to comply with written service agreements and other legislative requirements. Consumers can also benefit from reviewing these documents.

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