The REALTOR® Difference
You’re trusting a REALTOR® with one of your most valuable possessions: your property. REALTORS®—that is, members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (and, by extension of a provincial association like BCREA and a regional real estate board)—take this responsibility very seriously.
Whether buying or selling a home, you can trust that your REALTOR® will ensure the transaction is completed competently and professionally. You don’t have to worry about the details—your REALTOR® can take care of them for you.
Here’s what a REALTOR® promises:
- Commitment to the REALTOR® Code: The code is the accepted standard of conduct for all real estate practitioners who are REALTORS®. It’s your guarantee of professional conduct and quality service.
- Knowledge about developments in real estate: a REALTOR® can get you the information you need to make an informed decision, including comparable prices, neighbourhood trends, housing market conditions and more.
- Active education updates: Through courses, workshops and other professional development, a REALTOR® maintains a high level of current real estate knowledge.
- Access: REALTORS® have access to MLS® Systems, which facilitate the cooperative sale of properties to benefit consumers.
Use realtor.ca to find a REALTOR® in your area.
- Guides from the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.
- Information from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Working With a REALTOR®
What are your responsibilities as a buyer/tenant or a seller/landlord?
As a buyer/tenant or seller/landlord who is working with a REALTOR®, you should:
- Carefully read all documents and understand what you are signing.
- If you need special or expert advice, seek other professionals for advice.
What are the definitions of some commonly used real estate terms?
The brokerage is the real estate company where a REALTOR® is licensed.
The licensee is a managing broker, associate broker and/or representative of a brokerage.
A REALTOR® is a real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board, provincial association and The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that enforce a strict Code of Ethics. Only these professionals can call themselves REALTORS®. In BC, REALTORS® are licensed under the Real Estate Services Act.
The boards are the real estate boards and associations in whose jurisdiction the property is located and/or of which the brokerage or REALTOR® is a member. They assist REALTORS® to market, sell or lease real estate. The boards also provide ongoing training for their members and enforce ethical standards.
The Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System is a computerized cooperative selling system of a real estate board for real estate listings and sales. The MLS® System is operated by the boards in conjunction with other real estate boards and the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Personal information means any personal information about you, including your name, address, phone number, financial information and may include information about your property (such as listing and selling price, lease rate, listing term, etc.).
The buyer may also be referred to as the purchaser.
The seller may also be referred to as the vendor.
The principal is someone who has engaged a brokerage to act for and on his or her behalf either to buy, sell or lease real estate.
The landlord is often referred to as the lessor.
The tenant is often referred to as the lessee.
Mere Posting is a listing where the brokerage has chosen or agreed not to provide services to the seller/landlord other than submitting the listing for posting on a Multiple Listing Service® System.
A full glossary of real-estate related terms is also available on the BC Real Estate Terms page.
What is the agency relationship?
REALTORS® work within a legal relationship called agency. The agency relationship exists between you, the principal, and your brokerage, the company under which the individual representing you is licensed. The essence of the agency relationship is that the brokerage has the authority to represent the principal in dealings with others.
Brokerages and their licensees are legally obligated to protect and promote the interests of their principals as they would their own. Specifically, the brokerage has the following duties:
- Undivided loyalty. The brokerage must protect the principal’s negotiating position at all times, and disclose all known facts that may affect or influence the principal’s decision.
- Obey all lawful instructions of the principal.
- Keep the confidences of the principal.
- Exercise reasonable care and skill in performing all assigned duties.
- Account for all money and property placed in a brokerage’s hands while acting for the principal.
You can expect professional, competent service from your brokerage, knowing that the company is bound by ethics and the law to be honest and thorough in representing a property listed for sale or lease. Both buyer/tenant and seller/landlord can be represented by their own brokerages in a single transaction.
What happens when there is no agency relationship?
You may also choose to use the services of a REALTOR® without having any kind of agency relationship. This might occur, for example, when you are being shown a property by the seller’s/landlord’s agent.
The REALTOR® you choose to work with in this manner has a legal and ethical duty to provide you with accurate, honest answers to your questions and may provide these services:
- Explain real estate terms, practices and forms.
- Assist you in screening and viewing properties.
- Prepare and present all offers and counter offers at your discretion.
- Inform you of lenders and their policies.
- Identify and estimate costs involved in a transaction.
A REALTOR® who is not your agent cannot:
- Recommend or suggest a price.
- Negotiate on your behalf.
- Inform you of their client’s bottom line price point.
- Disclose any confidential information about their client, unless otherwise authorized by their client.
You should not provide a REALTOR® who is not your agent with any information that you would not provide directly to his or her principal.