REALTORS® work within a legal relationship called agency.

The agency relationship is established through a contract between you, the client, and your agent, the company under which the REALTOR® is licensed. Most REALTORS® use a brochure titled Working with a Real Estate Agent to disclose the nature of the agency relationship with their client.

A REALTOR® can act for a seller or a buyer, or to a limited degree, both. Whomever they represent, REALTORS® have a legal obligation to uphold the integrity of their clients, while protecting and promoting their interests.

A REALTOR® can also provide real estate services to parties with whom the REALTOR® does not have an agency relationship. Typically called a customer relationship, REALTORS® can do the following:

  • Explain real estate terms, practices and forms
  • Assist in screening or viewing properties
  • Prepare and present offers or counter-offers at the customer’s direction
  • Inform customer about lenders and their policies
  • Identify and estimate costs involved in a transaction

A customer relationship does not include agency duties of loyalty, disclosure and confidentiality.

Seller's agentBuyer's agentDual agency
  • For your REALTOR® to list your property for sale on MLS®, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver requires completion of a listing agreement.
  • Signing this agreement with you commits your REALTOR® to uphold the above obligations.
  • The listing agreement also states the compensation amount the seller will pay the REALTOR®.
  • The contract of purchase and sale is initiated when an offer is made by the buyer to purchase the sellers's property.
  • The contract outlines the terms and conditions of the offer, such as offer price and subject conditions.
  • The seller may reject the offer or make a counter offer.
  • Once all terms have been accepted and both seller and buyer have signed the contract, each party is legally bound to fulfill the conditions of the contract.
  • Dual agency is created when an agent represents both the buyer and seller in a single transaction.
  • This can happen if a REALTOR® who is representing a buyer, sells one of their own listings to that buyer.
  • A dual agent must be impartial to both buyer and seller and fully disclose all information relating to the transaction.
  • A REALTOR® can be a dual agent only if both seller and buyer agree in writing.

Remember: read all contracts and disclosure forms before signing. If you have questions about agency relationships contact your REALTOR®.