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Brokers Offer Canadian Consumers Many Options

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 30 October 2001 00:00

Let's start by clearing up a common misconception that leads many Canadians to overlook valuable opportunities and services: The widespread habit of calling real estate salespeople "agents" confuses consumers and downplays the value of professional realty services.

"Agent," or "broker" refers to a real estate brokerage or registered real estate corporation that employs real estate salespeople. Professionals employed by real estate corporations or franchises, whether they have earned the broker designation or not, are registered salespeople. This means when you select a salesperson you are also getting an agent or broker that offers a range of real estate services, a wealth of knowledge and a team of professionals.

Whether you're buying, selling or investing, consider the business advantages of one real estate broker over another. These advantages have less to do with the size of the sales staff or the number of branch offices than with the type of agency relationship offered, the agent's market share in the local trading area and the depth of special knowledge and expertise available through the brokerage.

Buyer's Choice: Customer Or Client?

Canadian buyers may select either "customer" or "client" status. Before January 1, 1995, agents typically worked for seller-clients who paid the real estate commission and worked with buyer-customers who received the duties of fairness, honesty and care.

Under an amendment to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Standards of Business Practice, the real estate industry formalized arrangements which now allow buyers to opt for "client" status.

Under agency law, Canadian real estate agents and salespeople owe their clients fiduciary duties, which means salespeople must put client interests first, fully disclosing all information and relevant relationships.

Buyer-clients have the full resources of the brokerage and the salesperson at their disposal. If current listings won't do, your salesperson may advertise, canvas door-to-door or contact other salespeople to find your ideal property. A market evaluation will help you establish value when you're ready to make an offer.

"Limited agency" is a term applied to dual agency relationships where both buyers and sellers agree to forgo the right to full disclosure from their agent and settle for limited confidentiality. Take the time to have the ins and outs of a brokerage's agency services explained fully so that you understand exactly what you are paying for and what level of confidentiality and commitment you are guaranteed. Getting the details in writing is a good practice.

Neighbourhood Specialist Vs Target Marketer

The volume of buyers or sellers attracted to the brokerage may be important to the success of your real estate plans. If you are interested in a specific neighbourhood or community, working with an agent that specializes in this area may give you an advantage with local sellers. When selling, consider an agent that consistently targets buyers in your price range and in communities that people move from when buying in your area. Investors may choose a neighbourhood specialist when location is a critical factor or a target marketer if they are looking for rental/commercial property.

Special Talents At Your Finger Tips

A brokerage may have salespeople who specialize in specific neighbourhoods, condominiums, cottages, rental properties, appraisals and so on. Some brokerages offer discount rates to clients in anything from home insurance to moving expenses, but don't get distracted by services or discounts that you don't really need.

Just when you thought you had it all figured out... be aware that Provincial differences may also factor into consumer bewilderment with real estate nomenclature while the term "Realtor" is used to identify licensed or registered brokers and salespeople who are members of CREA -- but licensees who are not CREA members cannot use the term.

For more articles by P.J. Wade, please press here .

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PJ Wade

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic speaker and author of 8 books and more than 1800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

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