The provincial government has made substantial changes to the provision of real estate services that came into effect June 15 with the intention of providing additional consumer protection for those looking to sell or purchase real estate in the province.
Under the new rules, realtors are no longer able to represent both the buyer and seller in the same real estate transaction with the exception of a few very limited circumstances for remote areas with limited access to realtors.
The representation of both parties is called limited dual agency and the government has now banned the practice with the intention of providing better protection and increased awareness to consumers engaging in real estate transactions.
Under the new rules, an agent engaged with a seller to sell their home, will not be able to represent a buyer in an agency capacity and would either need to treat this buyer as an unrepresented buyer or refer them to another licensee.
Chris Grout is the managing broker for Venture Realty Corp, a boutique brokerage in Kelowna, that specializes in representing home buyers.
He says that, in the past, people often ended up in dual agency situations simply because they didn’t fully understand what that meant and in some cases likely ended up getting a sub-par deal.
“If they were hunting for a home and they saw a ‘For Sale’ sign or online listing their first reaction was usually to call up the listing agent,” he says. “Typically these buyers were not aware that it was the listing agent’s duty to get the best possible price for their seller, so they’re not going to have the buyer’s best interest in mind.”
Buyers would often get into situations where they went through the deal as an “unrepresented buyer,” with the listing real estate agent taking care of the entire deal. Grout says that’s problematic because, in those cases, the agent can’t give the buyer any professional advice on price, and has no obligation or duty to protect their privacy or information.
“That unrepresented person comes in and asks, for example, if the seller would take a slightly lower price, or discloses crucial information about themselves or their motivations. That listing agent now has a duty to take that information back to the seller and tell them ‘here’s absolutely everything I know about this person; this is what they told me; this is what I think we can get out of them.”
Someone with a buyers agent, however, has access to an agent that can provide expertise, will collect and interpret information, make recommendations, ensure a deal is structured in a way that is beneficial to the buyer and negotiate the best possible price.
“It’s basically having someone in your corner to guide you through the process of purchasing real estate and ensuring your best interest is at the forefront of the transaction,” he says.
Grout added that with new rules now in place, it is important to talk to a realtor and understand what the new real estate landscape looks like—and what it means for you.
More information about dual agency and buyer agency is also available on Venture Realty Corp’s website.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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