Buying and selling a home may be the biggest and most important financial transaction that you enter into in your life time! It is important to understand the relationship that exists with your Real Estate Agent.
Real Estate Agents (Realtors) all work within a legal relationship with their clients called AGENCY. This relationship is established via a contract between the client and the Agent (the Company under which the Real Estate Agent works). Real Estate Agents can act for a buyer, seller or both and this relationship should be explained at the start of the transaction. No matter what, Realtors have a legal responsibility to uphold the integrity of their clients and to promote and protect their client’s best interests.
When a seller of a home enters into a listing agreement with a Real Estate Agent, that Realtor is bound by the legal responsibilities mentioned above. The compensation is laid out for the transaction and the Agent is legally working for the seller (vendor).
When a buyer makes on offer on a property this is done with a Contract of Purchase and Sale. Within this contract, the terms and conditions of the sale are set out and the relationship of the Real Estate Agent to the buyer is specified. If the Real Estate Agent is only working for the buyer that Agent is considered the Buyer’s Agent and the legal responsibilities outlined above are expected between the Agent and the Purchaser.
This is created when a Real Estate Agent is representing BOTH the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. The Dual Agent must be impartial to both parties and must fully disclose all information that may be pertinent to the transaction. In some cases, a purchaser may seek an additional Realtor to act in a transaction where the listing Agent is also acting for the Buyer.
Remember, always read all contracts and disclosure forms before you sign anything! More information can be found on the Real Estate Board of Vancouver’s website: http://www.rebgv.org/faq/who-your-agent-and-what-are-their-obligations