What are the duties of the seller’s broker when I request to visit the property?
When looking for a property, you have the right to be represented by the real estate broker of your choice. It is however in your interest to be informed of representation rules of brokerage licence holders. You will then be able to make an informed choice:
- Deal directly with the seller’s broker and receive fair treatment; or
- Do business with your own broker who will protect your interests.
When you request a visit or information about a property, or when you go to an open house, the broker representing the seller must:
- at the earliest opportunity, ask you if you are represented by a broker; and
- inform you, at the same time, that he represents the seller’s interests and not yours.
Dealing with the seller’s broker
If you elect to deal with the seller’s broker, note that he must treat you fairly at all times, i.e. he must notably:
- inform and advise you objectively;
- demonstrate the accuracy of the information provided to you;
- inform you of any adverse factors affecting the property;
- complete the forms for you according to your wish and present them to the seller immediately, etc.
However, keep in mind that the seller’s broker remains bound to his client by an obligation of loyalty. This means that, unless otherwise instructed by his selling client, the broker will keep certain information confidential (desired price, negotiation margin, reasons for sale, etc.). He may in no case disclose the content of other promises to purchase or promote yours.
Choose your own broker
If your broker has not yet been chosen, but you intend to deal with your own broker, notify the seller’s broker at the earliest opportunity. Take the time to choose your broker, then let him act as an intermediary between you and the seller’s broker. Your broker will have the responsibility to act to the best of your interests, whether or not you signed an Exclusive brokerage contract – Purchase with him.
You already have a broker
If you are already represented by a broker and a property interests you, you should let your broker contact the seller’s broker in order to avoid confusion. If you signed an exclusive service agreement with a broker to look for a property (Exclusive brokerage contract – Purchase), you must, in accordance with the obligations set out in that agreement, act through your broker.
In addition, if you intend to visit a property during an open house, notify your broker. If he is unable to assist you, he will be able to notify the seller’s broker of your presence. However, if you were unable to reach your broker, upon your arrival, inform the seller’s broker that you are already represented by a broker. If you have your broker’s business card, do not hesitate to give it to him.
There may be situations where your options and your right to be represented by the broker of your choice are not explained or are not quite clear. If, for instance, you visit a home directly with the seller’s broker without informing him that you intend to be represented by your own broker, this may lead to a dispute.
In fact, determining which broker first drew your interest in a specific property is a criterion that is central to brokers’ right to remuneration (this is called “efficient cause of the sale”). The rules pertaining to the right to remuneration of brokers in connection with this criterion are developed and governed by the Association professionnelle des courtiers immobiliers du Québec (APCIQ).
When the situation cannot be avoided, brokers should agree in advance on a remuneration sharing without jeopardizing the transaction. Otherwise, the option available to you is to sign an Exclusive brokerage contract – Purchase whereby you undertake to pay remuneration directly to your broker.
The OACIQ does not intervene in remuneration disputes between brokers or agencies. However, we put at your disposal protection mechanisms in case ethical breaches are committed by real estate brokers. Discover what the OACIQ can do for you.
Remember that brokers must comply with their ethical obligations at all times and always put the protection of the parties and the transaction first.
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