Did you know that as a Buyer you cannot be represented by the real estate agent whose name is on the For Sale sign?
In 2018 the BC government banned dual agency. What is dual agency? This occurs when the same real estate agent represents both sides of the transaction. For example, in the past, the listing agent (the person whose name is on the For Sale sign and who is representing the Seller) could also represent the Buyer. You can see how this would be a conflict of interest! The Buyer, of course, wants to pay as little as possible for a property, do as many investigations as possible, and pay the smallest deposit. The Seller wants the opposite. So why would a Buyer want to meet with the listing agent, who is representing the Seller, and write up a contract with them? Because of the ban on dual agency, if you were to get the Seller’s agent to fill out your offer to purchase, they would only be able to do so only in a “Non-Client” relationship. If you view the disclosure form below this would mean that they would owe you no loyalty, no duty of full disclosure, no duty to avoid conflicts, and no confidentiality. Yikes! Check out the form below then keep reading…
In addition to this, the Seller’s agent would be required to provide you with the Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties form. As you can see in the document below, this situation where you are choosing to remain unrepresented is not at all favourable to you! That agent could “fill in the blanks” for your offer, but they cannot offer any advice. Check out the document then keep reading.
Luckily when the Seller signs the listing agreement they are actually agreeing to pay two commissions. One goes to the listing agent who is representing them and the other goes to a Buyer’s agent. So if you as a Buyer do not have to pay a commission (except in rare circumstances…almost never) why would you not call and get your own agent? If you do not already have a REALTOR® then just get in touch with one for that market (and by “that market” I mean one who knows about that city or town and who knows about what problems to look out for there, not an agent who has never worked there….but that’s the topic of another post). What happens if you already have an agent and unfortunately that agent is the one on that For Sale sign-the person you’re not supposed to call?? Good question! It happens on Quadra Island a lot. Ask this realtor to refer you to someone else, even just temporarily to view and discuss that property. No need for an explanation, it is a common occurrence and they will totally understand. They also will usually get a referral fee from the Buyer’s agent. If you decide you are no longer interested in that property after viewing it you can go back to them. Yes it can be a bit awkward and annoying, but when you read those disclosures it makes sense and anyways it is a must-do. It is definitely advantageous for you to view the property with an agent who can actually write up an offer for you because they can point out any red flags while you are there together. There is also the possibility that the agent has never seen the place before either and they really must see it to or how can they advise on it when you call them to write up an offer?
So if my name is NOT on the sign, and you need an agent who can help you as a Buyer, then give me a call! I will book the showing, request and review all of the property documents with you, talk to you about the zoning and title documents, help you come up with an offer price, recommend a deposit amount, help you decide on closing dates that work for you, advise you on any conditions to include in the contract, guide you on your due diligence journey, help with negotiations, guide you through the subject removal and possible renegotiation, provide a list of contacts to help you along, make sure all of the documents are complete and sent away for the conveyancing, do a walk through with you on the possession date and finally welcome you home (that’s the best part)!
In addition to all this, if the property is For Sale By Owner, definitely still give a real estate agent a call to see if they can write up your offer and protect your interests. It makes the process go smoothly for you and the Seller since all of the legal contracts get taken care of and typically the Seller will still pay your agent for bringing you along.