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Working with a REALTOR

Real Estate Council of Ontario

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is the licensing and regulatory body for Ontario’s real estate professionals. All Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Members are RECO registrants and are licensed under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), which is administered by RECO on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services.

Brokers and Salespersons

In Ontario, a Broker is a person licensed by RECO to trade in real estate. Real Estate Brokers may form brokerages or offices, while a salesperson is someone employed, appointed or authorized by brokerages to trade in real estate. The term ‘agent’ is not used to describe a real estate broker or salesperson in Ontario.

What is a REALTOR®?

The term ‘REALTOR®’ is restricted to those real estate practitioners who have chosen to belong to local, provincial and national real estate associations. In so doing, they have agreed to abide by a strict Code of Ethics that ensures the highest level of service and integrity. All TREB Members are REALTORS®.

REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Registrants in any province who become members of organized real estate have agreed to abide by the REALTOR® Code and its accompanying Articles and Interpretations. The Code establishes a standard of conduct, which in many respects exceeds basic legal requirements and ensures that that the rights and interests of consumers of real estate services are protected.

Agency relationship

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) requires registrants to disclose in writing the nature of the services they are providing and encourages them to obtain written acknowledgement of that disclosure. This disclosure is usually done with an Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) brochure entitled Working with a REALTOR®, the Agency Relationship, a brochure which includes a tear-off statement that the consumer signs and the REALTOR® retains as proof that disclosure was made. Signing the statement does not obligate the consumer in any way. It serves as proof that the REALTOR® has discussed the matter with the consumer.

Types of Agency

In real estate, there are three kinds of agency relationship:

  • Seller’s Agent: When a real estate brokerage is acting as a “Seller’s agent,” it must do what is best for the Seller of a property.
  • Buyer’s Agent: When a real estate brokerage is acting as a “Buyer’s agent,” it must do what is best for the Buyer. A written contract establishes Buyer agency. It also explains what services the REALTOR® will provide and spells out who will pay and what obligations to the REALTOR® a Buyer may have. Typically, buyers will be obliged to work exclusively with that REALTOR® for a period      of time.
  • Multiple Agent: When a real estate brokerage and its salesperson represent both Buyer and Seller. Under this arrangement, the REALTOR® must do what is best for both seller and buyer. In cases of multiple agency, strict procedures must be followed. A REALTOR® can only represent both Buyer and Seller if both agree in writing.

– Source: Ontario Real Estate Association