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Protecting Real Estate Consumers
Understanding the services to expect of real estate professionals.
In B.C., licensed real estate professionals must:
- Give consumers information about commissions and fees;
- Inform consumers of the duties and responsibilities owed to clients and non-clients;
- Inform unrepresented consumers of the risks of dealing with a real estate professional who is representing
another party to the transaction; and
- Only work for either the buyer or the seller in a real estate transaction.
Real estate professionals must disclose to consumers, at the outset of their dealings:
- Whether they will be able to represent the consumer as a client;
- What their duties and responsibilities are to clients and non-clients; and
- How to file a complaint with BCFSA.
This information helps to ensure that consumers are not confused or misled about whether a real estate professional they are dealing with is going to be representing their interests in the transaction.
The Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services form clearly outlines for consumers the services that a real estate professional can provide. In B.C., real estate professionals cannot represent two or more clients in the same transaction whose interests are in conflict, except in the rarest of circumstances. For example, a property seller and a prospective buyer for that property. Representing two clients whose interests are in conflict is called dual agency. The practice of dual agency was prohibited in B.C. in 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You may choose to be unrepresented rather than working with a licensed real estate professional.
Before making that decision, you should consider the risks of remaining unrepresented, and the potential benefits of having a real estate professional represent your interests in a trade in real estate.
It is up to you and the real estate professional you are working with to decide whether you wish to enter a client relationship. The real estate professional is not obliged to provide you with services (such as showing you homes) if you have not yet decided whether you wish to be their client.
The practice of dual agency raised a number of concerns for consumers, including that:
- A real estate professional may not be able to be completely loyal and impartial to two clients with competing interests;
- A real estate professional may not be able to properly advise those clients without improperly disclosing their confidential information to each other; and
- A real estate professional acting as a dual agent might prioritize his or her own interest in earning the whole commission, rather than acting in the best interest of his or her clients.
Real estate professionals cannot engage in dual agency, except in very specific circumstances. Your real estate professional cannot represent both you (the buyer) and the seller in the same transaction.
However, you can choose a different real estate professional to represent you going forward. Your real estate professional can suggest names of other real estate professional who may be able to assist you.
Read Our Alerts
We let you know about emerging risks or issues.
Check our alerts for information and guidance on topics of concern.Learn More
Ask Us a Question
Our Practice Standards Advisors are available to answer your questions about real estate services.
Find out how to contact us by email or phone.Learn more
File a Complaint
If you believe that a real estate professional has acted improperly, you can send us a formal complaint.
We review every complaint, and take action to investigate.Learn more
Send Us a Tip
Have you seen conduct that may require investigation or regulatory action?
You can use our online tip form or toll free line to send us information, anonymously.Learn more