Protecting Real Estate Consumers

Understanding the services to expect of real estate professionals.

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In BC, licensed real estate professionals must:

Real estate professionals must disclose to consumers, at the outset of their dealings:

  • whether they will be able to represent the consumer as a client,
  • what their duties and responsibilities are to clients and non-clients, and
  • how to file a complaint with the Real Estate Council of BC.

This information helps to ensure that consumers are not confused or misled about whether a real estate professional they are dealing with is going to be representing their interests in the transaction.

The Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services form clearly outlines for consumers the services that a real estate professional can provide. In BC, real estate professionals cannot represent two or more clients in the same transaction whose interests are in conflict, except in the rarest of circumstances. For example, a property seller and a prospective buyer for that property. Representing two clients whose interests are in conflict is called dual agency. The practice of dual agency was prohibited in BC in 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I still represent myself in a real estate transaction?

    Yes. You may choose to be unrepresented rather than working with a licensed real estate professional.

    Before making that decision, you should consider the risks of remaining unrepresented, and the potential benefits of having a real estate professional represent your interests in a trade in real estate.

  • When do I need to decide whether to be represented or not?

    It is up to you and the real estate professional you are working with to decide whether you wish to enter a client relationship. The real estate professional is not obliged to provide you with services (such as showing you homes) if you have not yet decided whether you wish to be their client.

  • Why was dual agency prohibited?

    The practice of dual agency raised a number of concerns for consumers, including that:

    • a real estate professional may not be able to be completely loyal and impartial to two clients with competing interests
    • a real estate professional may not be able to properly advise those clients without improperly disclosing their confidential information to each other
    • a real estate professional acting as a dual agent might prioritize his or her own interest in earning the whole commission, rather than acting in the best interest of his or her clients.

    For these reasons, in 2016 an Independent Advisory Group on real estate regulation in BC recommended that limited dual agency be prohibited in BC. In 2018 the Superintendent of Real Estate prohibited limited dual agency, except in very limited circumstances.

  • Can I make an offer on a property my real estate agent has listed?

    Real estate professionals cannot engage in dual agency, except in very specific circumstances. Your real estate professional cannot represent both you (the buyer) and the seller in the same transaction.

    However, you can choose a different real estate professional to represent you going forward. Your real estate professional can suggest names of other real estate professional who may be able to assist you.

Read Our Advisory Notices

We let you know about emerging risks or issues.

Check our advisory notices for information and guidance on topics of concern.

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Ask Us a Question

Our Professional Standards Advisors are available to answer your questions about real estate services.

Find out how to contact us by email or phone.

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File a Complaint

If you believe that a real estate professional has acted improperly, you can send us a formal complaint.

We review every complaint, and take action to investigate.

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Send Us a Tip

Have you seen conduct that may require investigation or regulatory action?

You can use our online tip form or toll free line to send us information, anonymously.

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