Chase Olsen, a Re/Max Realtor in Calgary, said a good Realtor would already outline the terms of the buyer/Realtor relationship.
“I’m completely against having my buyers sign any agreement,” Olsen tells REP. “If I’m doing a good job, if I’m completely open with them, I shouldn’t need any contract.
“But if [a Realtor] is not doing a good job, [the buyer] can’t seek out another Realtor; they’re required to continue working with that Realtor.”
Natalie Scollard, communications co-ordinator with the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) told REP that the move simply clarifies the relationship between buyer and Realtor, and puts everything in writing.
“It’s to clarify the roles and responsibilities between real estate professionals and their clients,” Scollard said. “It’s not a change for who is doing what, it just puts everything on paper.”
Olsen said the conversations that the agreement can spark are good agreements that every Realtor should have with his or her buyer, particularly in the case of homes that are for sale by owner. Still, he believes that Realtors should already be having those conversations.
The required agreements will come into effect on July 1, but the independent regulatory body has been working toward the agreement’s implementation since summer 2012.
Scollard said that, since many agencies knew of the impending change, several Alberta brokerages have identified the benefits and are already requesting a signed service agreement from buyers.
“It is also the opportunity for the real estate professional to sit down and talk to their client about what their wants and needs are, and take a few extra minutes to make sure everyone understands the relationship,” she said.
Scollard said there were no glaring issues or complaints regarding buyer/Realtor relationships, but the service agreement presented an opportunity to further clarify who does what in the transaction.
“There was a desire to increase the standards of practise and to minimize the chance of dispute,” she said. “We have the support of the members [of RECA], and the Government of Alberta and Service Alberta also indicated their support.”
Olsen, however, still believes the required agreement can inadvertently protect an ill-intentioned Realtor.
“It does more harm than good, in my opinion,” he says.
One Calgary-based Realtor says soon-to-be-implemented service agreements meant to better protect buyers may actually tie them to dishonest buying agents.