REALTORS® aren’t just people who help find you a home. They’re an invaluable resource for knowledge, contacts and advice that help turn buying a piece of property into a home. Here we explain what you can expect when you enlist the help of a REALTOR®.
There are a number of different kinds of relationships that you can develop with your REALTOR®. However, they all fall primarily under two categories – agency relationships and non-agency relationships.
An agency relationship is one where the REALTOR® represents you exclusively. In that respect, the REALTOR®’s primary obligation is to you, and they are required to act only in your best interests. Anything you tell your REALTOR® agent is strictly confidential, and the REALTOR® has an obligation to disclose to you any information he or she has that is related to the transaction.
Dual agency refers to the situation where the REALTOR®represents both the buyer and the seller as agent at the same time. In this case, both parties are required to sign a dual agency contract setting out the obligations of the REALTOR® to both parties, and obtaining the consent of the parties to this type of representation.
It is possible for a REALTOR® to work with you without being your agent. In this case, the REALTOR® can give you information, but cannot provide you with advice. There is a big difference between these two concepts. Nothing you say to a “non-agent” is confidential, so you have to be careful what you confide. As a buyer you will likely want your REALTOR® to act as your agent, but that decision is up to you.
Remember, the REALTOR® Code requires REALTORS® to disclose the nature of the relationship they have with you, and the duties and obligations associated with that relationship. Make sure you have this discussion with your REALTOR®.
Selecting a REALTOR®
There are lots of ways to find a REALTOR®. As you drive through prospective neighbourhoods, jot down the names and numbers of REALTORS® on the For Sale signs. Open Houses are a great way to meet face-to-face. Maybe friends or family members have a REALTOR® they love. If you are browsing properties on REALTOR.ca, you can also contact a REALTOR® directly through that web site. Interview two or three and pick the one you think will be your best “business” partner. Here are a few helpful questions to ask when talking to a REALTOR®.
How REALTORS® can help buyers like you
- Review your list of wants and needs to help you determine your price range.
- Answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods.
- Use the local real estate Board’s MLS® System. Your REALTOR®can give you access to exclusive features of an MLS® System that the public is not privy to.
- Preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget.
- Make appointments and walk you through potential homes, answering all your questions.
- Give up-to-the-minute information on financing and explain your mortgage options.
- Negotiate with the seller, smooth out any potential conflicts and draw up a legally binding contract.
Stick with your REALTOR®
Your REALTOR® can become an expert on your specific needs and tastes. Scattering your time and energy amongst multiple REALTORS®will work against your goal of finding your best home. And because most REALTORS® have equal access to the same property listings, there’s no real advantage to having multiple REALTORS®.
Canada’s money laundering reporting requirements
No matter which REALTOR® you select, he or she will advise you of reporting requirements by FINTRAC, the federal agency responsible for administering Canada’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation and regulations. Your REALTOR® is required by federal law to complete a client identification form, and must ask you as a client (buyer) for verified ID such as a driver’s license or passport. You can find out more on the FINTRAC web site.
Information provided by HowRealtorsHelp.