On July 1, 2014, the Real Estate Council of Alberta made a Written Service Agreement (often referred to as a “Buyer Representation Agreement”) between a REALTOR® and a client mandatory across Alberta. There seems to be much controversy over its use and purpose. Let’s explain:
Much like a contract when you sell your home, a Buyer Representation Agreement clearly outlines the obligations and responsibilities of a REALTOR® and the client. As well much like that contract, it can be exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive agreement states the client will be "exclusive to that representative", outlines clearly remuneration, and identifies contract length and holdover period for any purchase outlined. Therefore the client is legally bound to that realtor for better or for worse. A non-exclusive agreement, leaves the client open to work with other realtors, but will outline a remuneration for services should they choose to make a purchase with another realtor, or simply change their mind to purchase altogether. Tanya’s take on it: “The Agreements increase professionalism in our industry by outlining expectations, obligations and permissions. They also encourage the discussion of a buyer’s wish list, budget, and my compensation and length of service. When I represent a buyer I am generally compensated by the seller, so it is important for buyers to understand the intricacies, and to have their rights protected under a legal agreement. More importantly, I believe in the importance of building relationships, and with that comes trust and loyalty from my clients. It’s important that my clients “like me first”. If they don’t, they will likely holdback pertinent information or thoughts and feelings that may damage their search and ultimately their purchase. I utilize both types of agreements and make adjustments according to my clients overall comfort level. If I feel the relationship isn’t “clicking”, I will be the first to sign a release. If I do my job, my clients are more than happy to ensure that I am compensated”.
This is a short video on how a Buyer's Agent can help: