Five things your broker must do or say*
Doing business with a Québec real estate or mortgage broker is to rest assured that your transaction is protected.
1. Your broker has a duty to show you all the properties that meet your criteria
Buying or selling a home requires a lot of skills and technical knowledge that your broker must possess. The latter assists you throughout your transaction and should ensure that all required acts be performed in compliance with the Real Estate Brokerage Act and its regulations. The Act is administered by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), whose mission is to protect the public by overseeing the profession adequately and ensuring quality real estate and mortgage brokerage in Québec.
The Real Estate Brokerage Act requires the broker to present his client with all the properties available on the market that meet his requirements, or to explain to him why he chose not to present him with certain ones. The broker is bound by a strict duty of loyalty to his client. He must promote his interests and protect his rights.
2. Your broker: The duty to assist you
Because buying or selling a property is one of the most important transactions in your life, take the time to properly choose your broker. Start by checking whether the broker has a valid brokerage licence by consulting the Find a broker tool on the OACIQ website. Don’t hesitate to ask for references from the people around you or from your neighbours. Ask questions: does he understand your needs? Does he know the desired area? Feel free to discuss with him his service offer and his various contract clauses. After all, he is required to give you all the explanations!
3. Your broker is a professional who has the duty to advise and inform
The broker must show the accuracy of the information provided by relevant documents. This information verification principal must be respected because the broker and his real estate agency are responsible for the information they disseminate.
For instance, if your broker informs you that you may install a deck in the backyard of a home you are visiting, this means that he made the required checks with the urban planning department of the city before saying such a thing, in accordance with his ethical responsibilities.
4. Your broker is subject to a duty to disclose
Your broker has access to a comprehensive network of seasoned professionals. He can refer you to trustworthy people who will make sure your transaction goes smoothly.
Under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, your broker must recommend that you have a complete inspection conducted by a building inspector. He can also provide you with a list of professionals who meet the OACIQ requirements. And if, in some cases, he gets a benefit, he is ethically required to inform you about it.
5. The broker has a duty to properly explain the contracts you sign
You may terminate your brokerage contract if that’s what you want. For instance, you signed a brokerage contract with your broker and changed your mind? You may unconditionally terminate it during the three (3) days of the signing. You may also agree with your broker on the termination of your contract before the end of the term. In addition, if you sell through a broker and during the process you no longer wish to sell, you may take your property off the market. This means that your contract is still valid, but your broker must suspend any activity aiming at offering the property for sale.
The OACIQ puts at your disposal a wide range of tools to ensure you a successful and protected real estate transaction. Visit oaciq.com. You will find, among other things, the Seller’s Guide and the Buyer’s Guide, which contain practical and concrete information to assist you in your transaction with a broker. You have questions? The agents at the Info OACIQ information centre are there to answer them.
* The OACIQ reacts to the article published in L’actualité on March 1, 2016, entitled 5 choses que votre courtier ne vous dit pas (Five things your broker does not tell you).