Some new changes have been implemented in the real estate industry in British Columbia to increase transparency during a transaction between buyers and sellers and their agents.

 

On June 15, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate of British Columbia made some changes and implemented several new forms designed to increase transparency between consumers and real estate professionals.

The big change that you may have heard about in the news is that there will be no more dual agency. This means one agent can no longer represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. This change doesn’t apply in the lower mainland, however.

The first new form they introduced is called the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services. With this form, licensees must make a disclosure to consumers about whether or not the licensee will represent the party as a client before providing any trading services except for two exempted activities: hosting an open house or providing factual responses to general questions.

How will this affect you? Let’s use an open house as an example. Say you go through an house, talk to a Realtor, you get a feature sheet. If you have any questions about the property other than what’s disclosed on the feature sheet, the Realtor will have to stop the conversation and present you with this disclosure form to outline what they can and can’t discuss.

“These changes are designed to increase transparency between consumers and real estate professionals.”

Questions like “What’s the neighbourhood like?” or “Why are the sellers moving?” or “Do you know anything about the complex?” are now privacy-protected. Agents will have to disclose who they represent first, and if you provide any information to them, they can use that toward any future negotiations. 

The next form that was introduced is the Disclosure to Sellers of Expected Remuneration. When we work with sellers, our listing forms have always disclosed how much commissions they’ll pay, how much we get, and how much the buyer’s agent gets. This new form is a bit more clear on this aspect of the transaction. 

As a seller, when we get an offer on your property, we’ll have to disclose the expected remuneration in terms of dollars first. Before we’ll be able to go through that contract with you, we’ll need to discuss how much money you’ll pay on the offer—how much the total commissions will be, how much the listing agent will get, and how much the cooperating brokerage will get. After that, you can make a counteroffer to the buyer. If the buyer makes another counteroffer with any kind of dollar difference, a new expected remuneration form will have to be looked through.

The last two forms that were introduced are the Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties and the Disclosure and Agreement Regarding Conflict of Interest. The first form is if you want to look at an open house without a Realtor. The second form is for situations that engender a conflict of interest. If you’re a buyer and you’re interested in a property that your Realtor listed, that conflict of interest must be disclosed and your Realtor would no longer be able to represent you. 

If you have any questions about any of these changes or you have any other real estate needs I can assist you with, feel free to call or email me anytime. I’d love to speak with you.