The role of the real estate and mortgage broker


In order to establish a bond of trust with your real estate broker at all stages of the transaction, it is important to understand his role (and that of the mortgage broker if you are planning to buy another property following the sale of your current one).

Once he has completed his basic training and obtained his licence, a broker must continue to update his knowledge and skills. The OACIQ also supervises his practice by providing him with mandatory forms designed to standardize real estate transactions.

Duties and obligations of a real estate broker


Inform and verify

Your broker must be able to demonstrate the accuracy of the information he provides to the buyer using relevant documentation. He must:

  • validate the information you provide about your property, including measurements, municipal taxes, any renovation work done, age and components of the building, municipal evaluation, municipal and school taxes, zoning, compliance of use, income and any other information regarding the building or the lot;
  • verify whether the property is subject to any servitudes or easements, indicated on the certificate of location;
  • take steps to discover any factor that could unfavourably affect the immovable; this includes the municipality’s conditions to connect a lot to utilities (e.g. : water supply);
  • inform you of any potential problem (pyrite, radon, dry rot, cannabis, water quantity and quality, contaminated soils, septic systems, etc.) and the impact this could have on the sale;
  • for a divided or undivided co-ownership property, verify co-ownership documents such as the declaration of co-ownership and the by-laws of the immovable. With your collaboration, he will ask the syndicate of co-owners for all documentation deemed useful regarding the immovable (e.g. minutes of meetings of co-owners and boards of directors).

Act with transparency

Your broker must act with transparency and integrity at all times, including by:

  • completing the appropriate version of the form Declarations by the seller of the immovable with you;
  • informing you in writing of any remuneration sharing agreement he has concluded with other brokers who may be involved in the transaction;
  • collaborating with other brokers and providing fair treatment to unrepresented buyers;
  • keeping you and the buyer informed of any factor that could unfavourably affect the transaction;
  • recommending to a buyer who is not represented by a broker to have a complete inspection carried out by a professional or a building inspector. He may also recommend that you have a pre-sale inspection carried out if an earlier inspection report included negative points that you have since remedied.

Disclose

Your real estate broker must avoid placing himself in a conflict of interest. If a conflict cannot be avoided, he must disclose it in writing without delay to all the parties involved in the transaction. For instance:

  • he must tell you if he is also representing the buyer where he is bound to the buyer by a brokerage contract involving remuneration;
  • he must inform you if he receives a financial (or other) benefit of any kind for referring you to a third party (e.g. an evaluator or a financial institution).

Be loyal to you

Your real estate broker is bound by a strict obligation of loyalty towards you, his client. He must promote your interests and protect your rights, while acting fairly towards all parties to a real estate transaction, for example:

  • if the property has known defects, by recommending that you obtain written quotes to find out how much it would cost to fix the problem prior to putting your property on the market;
  • by presenting you with all promises to purchase received as soon as possible;
  • by not disclosing confidential or strategic information concerning you to a prospective buyer (e.g. your financial situation, the fact that you must move to another city quickly to take up a new job, etc.).

Advise you properly

Your real estate broker has a duty to advise and inform you objectively. For instance:

  • He must explain all the clauses of the contracts and forms he fills out with you (Exclusive Brokerage Contract – Sale, Declarations by the seller of the immovable, Counter-proposal, etc.);
  • He must make sure the content of the forms reflects your wishes;
  • When a Promise to purchase is received, he must advise you on the content, including the price offered and the conditions.

Be available

Your broker must be available to represent you. He must make sure all communications received are dealt with and followed up on by:

  • responding to any communication from you within a reasonable time frame. If he is not available to respond, he must designate another broker to replace him. The executive officer of his agency can also take over for him;
  • conveying all important information to you as soon as possible, including when a Promise to purchase is received or a visit is requested.

Use OACIQ forms

To protect your interests, the OACIQ has designed some 50 forms and contracts which all brokers are required to use. When a broker presents you with an OACIQ form (bearing the OACIQ logo), you may be assured that this form has been validated at every stage and is constantly being updated.

Protect your interests

A broker’s duties and obligations are all aimed at one thing: protecting your interests in a transaction. They also include the following:

  • Your broker must inform you of the protections available to you from the OACIQ;
  • Each broker must be covered by professional liability insurance in case of fault, error or omission in the course of a transaction;
  • And finally, all brokers must pay into the Real Estate Brokerage Indemnity Fund, or FICI, which protects you in case of fraud, dishonest tactics or misappropriation of funds by a broker or agency.