Should agents show their own listings?


Dear David,

I’m wondering if you ever personally walk interested buyers through your listings if they don’t have a Realtor, or if you prefer they get their own Realtor and schedule a showing?  – CURIOUS

DEAR CURIOUS: Real estate in Ontario has changed. Effective December 1st 2023, the provincial legislation that governs our industry was updated after nearly two decades. One part of the law that was altered quite dramatically was the nature of the relationship between Realtors, buyers and sellers. Under the new legislation, buyers and sellers have a choice: they can enter into a relationship to become a “client” of a brokerage, or they can act as a “self-represented party”.  The old legislation outlined a “customer” relationship that was a middle ground between these two, but that provision was eliminated by the update.

If you are involved in a real estate transaction and not a client of a real estate brokerage, you are considered to be a self-represented party. If you choose to self-represent, there are rights, obligations and risks associated with choosing not to work with an agent. You need to understand what these are, and how they impact your position.

It’s important to know that an agent is obligated by law to protect and promote the interests of their client above all else. If you are a self-represented buyer seeking help or advice from a seller’s agent, that agent is obligated to share anything you tell them with the seller, including your motivation for buying the property, the maximum price you are willing to offer, and your preferred terms or conditions in an agreement. As a self-represented buyer, any information you share with the seller’s agent could potentially weaken your negotiating position, which is why very few buyers would make the choice to represent themselves.

If the seller’s agent provides you with assistance, it’s important to realize that anything they do is in service to their client. By law, an agent is not allowed to provide you (a self-represented party) with opinions or advice related to the transaction, as this could weaken their client’s position. If you walk into a showing with the listing agent, you are considered a self-represented party. That agent is working for the benefit of their client, and asking them for service means you’ll be taking on certain risks and obligations which they will explain to you.

Now let’s circle back to your question. As the listing agent of a home, I am able to show you the property, but I am not permitted to offer you advice or opinions related to the transaction because you are a self represented party. I always prefer that people have their own representation. If someone chooses to self-represent, they should keep in mind that they can change their mind at any time and obtain representation from an agent. 

PRO TIP: In 2020, I was elected to the Board of Directors of RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario), the provincial governing body for real estate, and had a seat at the table when the new legislation was created. RECO is of the opinion that with all the duties and benefits a Realtor owes a client, very few people would choose to self represent when presented with the options. For more information about the client relationship, self-representation and how the new regulations might affect you, call a real estate professional or download the RECO consumer guide at #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.