New rules protect homebuyers and sellers in BC

New rules approved by the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) to enhance consumer protection in the real estate industry came into effect June 15, 2018. The rules will be enforced by the Real Estate Council of BC and they will ensure that consumers have better information to make informed decisions, and that real estate professionals act with undivided loyalty to serve their clients’ best interests.

“These changes have been designed to reinforce a real estate agent’s duties and obligations to their clients and to ensure that agents are always acting in their client’s best interests,” says Micheal Noseworthy, British Columbia’s Superintendent of Real Estate. “We want to make sure that the advice consumers receive is solely for their benefit and that consumers have confidence that their agent is undoubtedly on their side.”

Overview of changes

– Real estate professionals are banned from practicing dual agency (representing both sides of the same deal – for example, a buyer and seller, two buyers or a landlord and tenant).

– An exemption to the ban has been established for remote locations underserved by real estate professionals, where it is not feasible for parties to be represented by separate real estate agents.

– Real estate professionals are required to give consumers more information about the services they can expect, the fees/benefits brokerages may earn from the sale, risks they should be aware of and where to go if they have a complaint.

Increased consumer protection

The changes to the rules will enhance consumer protection by:

– Giving homebuyers and sellers the assurance that their real estate professional is entirely focused on their interests.

– Providing consumers with more complete information that’s easier to understand in regards to the services to expect from a real estate professional, and the benefits of representation.

– Giving property sellers information, with each offer to purchase they receive, about the amount a brokerage would earn from the sale of their property.

– Fostering a more professional and ethical real estate industry in BC.

“The rules will help foster a more professional and ethical real estate industry in BC, with better protection for consumers,” says Robert Holmes, chair of the Real Estate Council of BC. “Every homebuyer and seller deserves certainty that the real estate agent representing them is focused on achieving their goals. With these new rules, BC consumers can be confident they are receiving clear information to help them make informed decisions, and getting the representation they need to safely navigate real estate transactions.”

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