Hiring a Good REALTOR®
RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) requires that a salesperson present a written Buyer Representation Agreement for signature prior to any offers on behalf of the Buyer. This agreement serves several purposes that include defining the working relationship, expectations and services between you and your REALTOR®. Yes, one of the reasons is to protect a Realtor’s® commission. From a business point of view, this is important. Any business person knows that you must make money to stay in business. REALTORS® can put in many hours and do not receive any compensation unless a real estate transaction closes. But there are also real benefits for a buyer to sign a Buyer Representation Agreement. The Buyer is essentially hiring a REALTOR®. This agreement outlines who is working for whom and what the expectations are. The single most important factor in establishing a “client” relationship is that your REALTOR® is able to give you their real estate opinion. A “customer” is only entitled to receive facts and information. Another reason is the level of accountability your REALTOR® owes you.
Everyone is entitled to be treated with honesty, fairness and integrity. However, a “client” also receives “fiduciary duties” – loyalty, obedience, competence/due diligence, confidentiality and duty to account for all monies. Basically when you establish a working relationship with your REALTOR®, your REALTOR® will work in your best interest and provide all the information you need to know regarding issues that may affect the value of the property you’re interested in.
Many people are very reluctant to sign documents from a REALTOR® and I have met several people who had signed agreements and had no idea what they were signing. It is imperative to always know what you are signing. Once an agreement has been signed it is a legal and binding contract. If an agreement is difficult to understand (and many real estate contracts are) ask your REALTOR® to provide you with a copy in layman’s terms.
I wouldn’t expect anyone to sign anything I wouldn’t sign. Why not ask your REALTOR® if you can sign for a short period of time (30 days). This way you can see if you and your REALTOR® are compatible and if your REALTOR® is actually working for you. If not, you can move on. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.