When you enter into a real estate transaction, whether it's as a buyer or seller, a licensed REALTOR will require you to determine what type of agency relationship you fall under. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) defines your legal relationship with your agent under one of these three agency designations:
1) An entire real estate brokerage can act as your agent. This is a common law agency relationship and means you have a relationship with all of the brokerage’s real estate licensees.
2) An individual real estate licensee (or team of licensees) can act as your agent. This is a designated agency relationship.
3) You can be the customer of a real estate licensee. You do not have an agency relationship with anyone at the brokerage; they are not acting as your agent. This is called customer status.
Each has it's own legal meaning and responsibilities and it's crucial you understand what those are so you know what to expect from your real estate transaction.
Our brokerage, Royal LePage South Country is a designated agency brokerage. This means we act on behalf of YOU and YOUR best interests. Our duties to our clients include the following:
1) Undivided loyalty. Your interests are above all else. Agents avoid conflicts of interest and protect your negotiating position (at all times).
2) Confidentiality. All information you give us remains confidential - even after the relationship ends. Unless lawfully required, we cannot disclose any information without your consent.
3) Full disclosure. We have to tell you, in full honesty, the services we will provide and if there are any barriers or conflicts of interest to our service.
4) Obedience. We must obey your lawful, reasonable and ordinary instructions.
5) Reasonable care and skill. We must exercise reasonable care and skill in our duties.
6) Full accounting. During the term of our relationship we are responsible for the care of all the money (i.e. deposit cheques) and property (i.e. keys, documents) you give us.
These above list the expectations clients can have of us, their designated agent. This Consumer Relationship contract also stipulates that our clients have responsibilities to us, which include:
1) Give Agent facts/information relevant to the transaction that could affect it OR affect their ability to be their agent.
2) Pay the fees described in the Buyer Brokerage/Seller Brokerage agreement.
In a transaction, our focus is you and only you. Your designated agent should advocate for you, represent you fairly and ensure you are having your needs met. When you hire a REALTOR, ensure they fulfil their fiduciary duties.