Real Estate

A person who trades in real estate on behalf of another for compensation, or holds oneself out as a real estate agent, is required to have a real estate licence from the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), unless they are exempt by the legislation.

You do not need a licence when you buy or sell your own property.

In the most basic sense, trading in real estate means buying or selling real estate on behalf of someone else. But it also includes managing a rental property on behalf of someone else.

You must hold a licence to trade in real estate on behalf of another person.

You do not need a licence when you purchase or sell your own real estate, as long as you own 25% or more of the property.

Trading in real estate as a residential, commercial, or rural real estate professional includes the following acts, when done on behalf of someone else:
  • a purchase or sale of real estate
  • an offer to purchase or sell real estate
  • an offering, advertisement, or listing of real estate for purchase or sale
  • the showing of real estate for the purpose of purchase or sale
  • holding oneself out as someone who can trade in real estate
  • the solicitation, negotiation or obtaining of a contract, agreement or any arrangement for an activity referred to in the bullets above
  • any conduct or act to advance an activity referred to in the above bullets
  • property management
Common activities that aren’t trading in real estate include:
  • providing information, forms, and signs
  • creating a website to market properties
  • publishing a list of properties for sale or lease
Individuals and groups that are exempt from requiring a licence
  • an assignee, custodian, liquidator, receiver, trustee or other person acting as directed by a statute or under the order of a court, or to an administrator of an estate or an executor or trustee selling under the terms of a will, marriage settlement or deed of trust
  • subject to regulations, a bank, treasury branch, credit union, loan corporation, trust corporation or insurance company trading in real estate owned or administered by it
  • a person buying or selling their own property, or their official or an employee assisting for their employer
  • a condominium corporation in respect of managing its own affairs
  • a person trading in real estate that consists only of mineral rights
  • a member in good standing of The Law Society of Alberta acting in the course of and as part of the practice of law
  • a person who is licensed under the Land Agents Licensing Act
  • a person who has a licence under the Retail Home Sales Business Licensing Regulation
Licensing Examples
  1. An individual designs, maintains, and hosts the website for a real estate brokerage. The website includes information on current listings, brokerage services ,and contact information for the real estate broker. These activities are not trading in real estate and a licence is not required.
  2. An unlicensed assistant holds a public open house. They tell potential buyers they are the listing agent’s unlicensed assistant. Holding an open house on behalf of the owners is a trade in real estate. Although they identified themselves as an unlicensed assistant, this is a trade in real estate and requires a licence.
  3. An owner wants to sell their home. They advertise the home on a for-sale-by-owner website. The website provides “For Sale” lawn signs and blank Offer to Purchase forms. Website staff does not advise the seller. They do not represent the seller or negotiate for them. Interested buyers must contact the seller directly. None of these activities requires a real estate licence.
  4. Five couples each own 20% of a condominium unit in a resort and want to sell the property. One of the owners offers to sell the property for everyone for a percentage of the selling price. The individual requires a real estate licence, as they do not have a substantial interest (25% or more) in the property.

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