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Service agreements are contracts entered into by a real estate licensee and their client. A service agreement outlines the expectations and obligations of each party. Service agreements will include:
- the names and addresses of all the parties;
- the amount of remuneration (if any) the buyer is required to pay the real estate licensee’s brokerage;
- the search area in which the real estate licensee agrees to assist the buyer in finding a property;
- the duration of the service agreement;
- how your personal information will be used.
While service agreements are required between sellers and their real estate licensee (unless a seller requests to waive it), they are not mandatory for buyers. That being said, without a written service agreement, it can be exceedingly difficult to ensure that all parties are doing what they agreed to do at the outset of the relationship. Should an issue arise and you need to file a complaint, without a written service agreement it may be hard to prove that your real estate licensee agreed to do something that you claim they did not do. While you can waive the requirement for a written service agreement, your real estate licensee will likely ask you to put this instruction in writing. If this contract is entered into, your real estate licensee must provide you with a fully executed copy of it.
In B.C., electronic signatures are valid on all types of contracts. This must not be confused, however, with an email signature at the bottom of the email. An electronic signature must be on the contract itself as would a signature written in ink. Your real estate licensee will have programs that can be used to facilitate an electronic signature and it can be done on a phone tablet and many computers.