The new Realtor relationship for buyers


Realtors, buyers and sellers in Ontario are being affected by changes in provincial legislation that came into effect December 1, 2023. The Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) has updated the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) of 2002, and this week we continue our conversation about how the new rules change the real estate landscape.

A licensed Realtor guides their clients through all aspects of a complex real estate transaction, providing advice and information to help make decisions that last a lifetime. Under the new TRESA legislation, every real estate buyer has an important choice to make: they can either enter into a contractual agreement with a licensed Realtor and officially become a client, or they can sign a document stating they wish to represent themselves. While the client-Realtor relationship offers significant consumer protection, there are limited ways a Realtor can assist someone who chooses to self-represent.

As discussed previously, a Realtor has strict obligations when working with a client: they must keep the client’s information confidential, avoid any conflict of interest, and advise their client should a conflict of interest arise. A Realtor must disclose anything they know about a property that could impact their client’s buying decision. They must show undivided loyalty to the client by following their instructions, and must promote their client’s interests above their own, above the interests of the brokerage, or any other party involved. 

The effects of TRESA are widespread for buyers, since Realtors assist them in so many ways. A  Realtor will often work with buyers to find financing pre-approval and make them aware of tax exemptions or programs they qualify for (such as the first time homebuyers land transfer tax exemption). Realtors gather information about homes and neighbourhoods that suit their client’s criteria, and make inquiries on their behalf about zoning and property use. They also recommend service providers to meet a client’s unique needs, such as property inspection, water testing or septic pumping. 

When a buyer is ready to make an offer, their Realtor helps achieve the best results in terms of price and conditions, and navigates the complexities of competing offer situations. When the deal is done, a Realtor will guide their buyer through paperwork and closing until they have the keys in hand.

TRESA allows buyers to self-represent, which means they proceed through their real estate purchase without the help of a Realtor. In choosing to work alone, an unrepresented buyer takes on the responsibility of booking their own showings and must be escorted through the home by the listing agent (or a designated agent for the property) who cannot provide them with services, advice, or even show them the house next door. Because a listing agent is under contract with the seller, the agent is legally obligated to serve the seller’s interests and must tell the seller anything a potential buyer shares about why they are buying, how much they are willing to pay, or their preferred terms of agreement. Very few buyers and sellers choose to self-represent, since it’s like going to court and relying on the opposition’s lawyer. 

Next week we’ll discuss TRESA’s new open bidding process. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.