Real Estate Agency
HOW DOES REAL estate WORK IN CANADA for buyers & Sellers
Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is behind organized real estate in Canada. It is more than 150 years old. Some countries in the world follow the Canadian systems. Developing countries like India, UAE (Dubai), Middle East have recently introduced regulatory authorities which are similar to the CREA which is equivalent to India's RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) or Dubai's RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency).
In Canada, real estate has been working in a very organized manner for many years. Canada is a land of immigration and people come here from different parts of the world, including India, China, Middle East, England, Australia etc. The way real estate industry works in many other countries is very different from how it works here in Canada. It becomes important to understand how the Canadian Real Estate industry works before anyone ventures into real estate purchase and sale in Canada.
Let's understand the basic differences of how real estate agencies work in Canada vs. other Countries.
In India, If someone has to sell their home, they will call the local real estate salespeople (aka real estate agents/ property dealers) and introduce their property to many local property agents. These salespeople will go find buyers for the home owner. The agent who brings interested buyers to purchase the home gets paid by the seller. The agent will also take commission from the buyer. So both the buyer and the seller pay 1% to 1.5% each in commission to the agent. Or in the words, the agent who gets the home sold receives commission (total 2% to 3%) from both the parties. Obviously, other salespeople who were not able to find a buyer for this home, will not get paid.
How are Homes Bought and Sold In India, UAE, UK and Australia?
In the UAE, buyers pay real estate commission when buying a property. Sellers typically contact different agencies to introduce their property. Agency that ends up securing a buyer for the seller's property gets paid approximately 2% to 2.5% from the buyer. Sellers do not pay any commission whatsoever in a real estate transaction in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
In Australia, it works in a very different manner which is very much similar to how it works in the United Kingdom. There is no concept of buyer's representation. A seller will introduce his property to one or many estate agencies. Seller pays from 1.5% - 2.5% commission to the estate agency who finds the buyer. If a person has to buy a home in London or Sydney for example, he or she will search homes on many estate agents' websites and then approach many estate agencies to view homes listed by them. If there are three homes listed on a street listed by three different estate agents, the buyer will approach each estate agency independently to look at these homes. Buyer will then put an offer on the home that they like. The buyer does not pay any commission. While this is all great but it leaves the buyer on his or her own in terms of what they should know before putting an offer (knowledge on the neighbourhood or the home) because the buyer is not an expert who does this day in and day out.
In North America, things work very differently. Both in the USA and Canada we have a concept which we call a Buyer's and a Seller's Representation. A real estate salesperson representing the seller is a Listing Salesperson/Broker (one who lists the seller's home on the market) and the salesperson representing the buyer is called a Buyer's Representative/ Salesperson/Broker. The seller will hire realtors based on their reviews online, reputation, referrals from friends or family and neighbourhood experience. The seller normally invites a few different salespeople to get an opinion of price on the home. These salespeople will also tell them things to do or not to do, how to get the maximum price, help them with staging, fixing any minor issues and then they market the home to find the right buyer. This is where our expertise comes in when we are representing sellers.
How are Homes Bought and Sold In North America?
As per the Canadian laws, the seller's realtor has a prime allegiance to the seller. In a nutshell it means that the salesperson has to work to protect the seller's best interest and to get them maximum dollars from the sale of their property.
In Canada, buyers typically choose to work with a salesperson who is not working for the seller but someone they hire to protect their best interest as a buyer. Only occasionally one salesperson represents both the sellers and the buyers. This is not very common as there is bound to be conflict of interest in terms of price negotiation. Buyer's reps do all the leg work, like selecting properties based on buyer's criteria, securing appointments, advising buyers on neighbourhoods, prices, property features, price negotiations etc.
Seller typically pays around 4.5% to 5% commission to the listing brokerage (salesperson's agency). Listing brokerage forwards a portion of their fees to the buyer's brokerage. In the GTA, buyer brokerages receive around 2.5% commission. So in Canada, sellers end up paying twice the amount of commission compared to their counterparts in India, Australia, UK or the Middle East. To sum up, in Canada, the seller pays all the commission to the selling and the buying brokerage. Typically, the buyers do not pay any commission in Canada.
Contractual Agreements - Realtor & Client AgreementsThere are different forms of Realtor and Client relationships: buyer representation, seller representation and customer representation.
As a buyer, working with a "buyer agent" or "buyer agency" is the best way to ensure your interests are taken into account, and not the seller’s or anyone else’s.
Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA): The Ontario Real Estate Association has developed a standard buyer agency agreement that brokers can use with clients. Any licensed real estate salesperson in Canada can legally act as a buyer's salesperson/broker. A buyer agent performs services for you that a seller's salesperson can't, such as showing you reasons why not to buy a particular property. A good buyer agent will include contingencies in the contract that protect you, rather than the seller as in most standard contracts, and keep confidential any information that could hurt your bargaining position.
The hallmarks of this relationship with the buyer agency are good faith, full disclosure, competence, adherence and accountability. The buyer agent and the brokerage will enter into a signed Buyer Agency Agreement that details their relationship.
Bear in mind that the seller's salesperson (salesperson whose name is on the lawn sign) always works for the best interest of his/her seller. Brokerages have to disclose all relevant information they have on property defects to sellers. But brokerages must tell buyers only about material defects that render the property dangerous or unfit for habitation, not necessarily all defects in a property. That's where a buyer agency comes in handy, being free to talk about anything that can affect the buyer's interests.
It is always in your best interest to sign a BRA when looking to buy a home or a condo. Remember, typically buyers do not pay any fee or commission to buy a property in Canada!
Understanding Buyer Representation Agreement.
When a real estate company is a “seller's agent,” it must do what is best for the seller of a property. Seller Agency establishes a relationship in which the brokerage and its salespeople represent the interests of the seller exclusively. This agreement/contract sets out what the seller instructs the brokerage to do and what services are provided under a seller agency.
Further, it provides that representatives of the seller will use their professional negotiation skills to seek qualified buyers and generally promote the listed property, while keeping information concerning the seller confidential and always acting in the seller’s best interests. The hallmarks of this relationship between the seller and the seller agency are good faith, full disclosure, competence, compliance, and accounting.
The seller traditionally pays a commission directly to the brokerage. The listing agent then pays any brokers or salespeople within its employment and, if applicable, any co-operating brokerages involved in the transaction. The seller then signs the agreement with the listing agent.
Understanding Listing Agreement.
Multiple RepresentationOccasionally a real estate brokerage will represent both the buyer and the seller. The buyer and the seller must consent to this arrangement in writing. Under this multiple representation arrangement, the brokerage must do what is best for both the buyer and the seller.
Since the brokerage's loyalty is divided between the buyer and the seller who have conflicting interests, it is absolutely essential that a multiple representation relationship be properly documented. Representation agreements specifically describe the rights and duties of everyone involved and any limitations to those rights and duties.
Customer ServiceA real estate brokerage may provide services to buyers and sellers without creating buyer or seller representation. This is called "customer service." Under this arrangement, the brokerage can provide many valuable services in a fair and honest manner. This relationship can be set out in a buyer or seller customer service agreement. Real estate negotiations are often complex and a brokerage may be providing representation and/or customer service to more that one seller or buyer. The brokerage will disclose these relationships to each buyer and seller.
About CREAThe Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry Associations. It represents more than 130,000 real estate brokers, agents and salespeople, working through 90 real estate boards and associations across Canada. The REALTOR® Code, which sets out standards of professional conduct for members of CREA, helps protect the rights and interests of buyers and sellers. CREA’s efforts also allow our REALTOR® members to better serve their clients with knowledge on economic statistics and analysis.
About REALTORS®Not every licensed or registered broker or salesperson is a REALTOR®. To be a REALTOR®, the agent must be a member of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). And to be a member of CREA, an agent is expected to be:
- Committed to the REALTOR® Code: It’s your guarantee of professional conduct and the quality service.
- Knowledgeable in real estate: A REALTOR® can get you the information needed to make an informed decision: comparable prices, neighborhood trends, housing market conditions and more.
- Actively updating education: Through courses, workshops and other professional development, a REALTOR® maintains a high level of current knowledge about real estate.
- Access: REALTORS® have access to Board MLS® Systems, which facilitate the sale of properties to benefit consumers.
About realtor.caREALTOR.ca is popular with sellers, buyers, and renters and is accessible online and on mobile devices. It is owned and operated by CREA and provides listing information for residential, commercial and rental properties across Canada. This is a great site because 90% of the homes get sold on this site. If you are looking for a home from Fredericton to Halifax, to Winnipeg, to Toronto, everything can be found on this site. Please note that the realtor names you see on the site are of the seller agents who are selling the properties. So buyers beware: you will not get full representation. Simply put, the seller agent will not do the things for you that a buyer agent will do, for instance, providing you with detailed information or pricing, research on sold listings, giving extra information on neighbourhood, schools, amenities etc. This site is great when advertising seller's properties. Most buyers would approach the site and once they like any properties, they will send the listings to their respective buyer agents to view the properties.
Hire Team Kalia as your Realtors®
Whether you are a Newcomer, First-time Buyer, or someone on Work Permit looking to Buy Your Home or Condo in Mississauga or the GTA, or a Seller looking to Sell, Team Kalia is here to assist! Contact us today!
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