Conflict - Representing Seller and Buyer

Purpose:  To explain how you work in transaction brokerage when you represent a buyer and seller in the same transaction.

This bulletin applies to real estate brokerages, brokers, associate brokers and associates.

In a common law brokerage, conflict of interest arises when:

In a designated agency brokerage, conflict of interest arises when:

Your obligation is to disclose the conflict of interest to both clients as soon as the conflict of interest arises and then discuss options with each party to resolve the conflicts before proceeding further with the transaction.

Resolving the conflict of interest using transaction brokerage
Transaction brokerage allows you to facilitate the purchase and sale of a property between the seller and buyer. Before you can proceed to act as a transaction facilitator and facilitate a transaction, you must:

If the parties do not agree to enter into a transaction brokerage agreement, the brokerage will continue to represent the party with whom it first entered into an agency relationship. This is subject to any other conflict of interests the brokerage may have with the clients.

In a common law brokerage, you will offer the option to the other party to either treat them as a customer or refer them to another brokerage.

In a designated agency brokerage, there is another option when the buyer and seller do not agree to transaction brokerage. This option is to refer one of the parties to another designated agent of the brokerage.

Your role as a transaction facilitator

Facilitation services
You can assist your buyer and seller to achieve a successful real estate transaction using facilitation services. They may include:

A transaction facilitator may exercise a degree of discretion or judgment when:

A transaction facilitator should not exercise discretion or judgment when you:

Confidentiality of client information
Confidential information means “any information concerning the client including the client’s financial or personal situation, the client’s real estate and the transaction involving the client.”

You must not disclose confidential information, property or transaction information to another person unless you receive consent from the client or required by law.

If you were in sole representational relationship with a seller or buyer before acting in a transaction brokerage role, all information you receive in confidence must remain confidential.

Unless you have informed written consent from either a buyer or a seller, you must not disclose confidential information. Examples:

Publicly available information about a client
You may consider information that is available to the public “confidential information” under the Real Estate Act and “personal information” under privacy legislation but given the public nature of the information, it is available to use without consent, for example legal description, tax assessment.

In addition to the obligations in the Real Estate Act Rules, you should be aware of the requirements and obligations of the Personal Information Protection Act of Alberta and the federal government’s privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Additional obligation to disclose certain information
Transaction facilitators must disclose the following information to their respective clients:

Practice tip
Explaining your role in the real estate transaction and the client’s preparation for different role possibilities will assist sellers and buyers with the transition to transaction brokerage.

Related information



Designated Agency and Transaction Brokerage Practice Guide