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New B.C. real estate rules take effect on June 15

Agents and clients shaking hands new BC real estate rules

This Friday, on June 15, 2018, the new Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) rules will go into effect for all real estate licensees in the province of British Columbia. This is a new B.C. real estate rule that will impact representation in real estate transactions.

In short, these new rules severely restrict or limit the situations where one Realtor can represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. These new rules also stipulate how and when a Realtor must disclose how much commission they are earning and whether or not they will receive any referral fees (fees paid by other professionals as a courtesy for referring a client).

Why introduce new rules for disclosure and representation?

Whether you are the home buyer or seller, all real estate professionals owe you, their client, a fiduciary responsibility to protect your best interests in the real estate transaction. That means each real estate professional must put your needs and financial well-being ahead of all other factors.

Up until now, there was always a potential conflict of interest between this fiduciary responsibility and an agent that represented both sides of the transaction. While agents in this position were required to be upfront about this situation (and the potential conflict of interest), there were egregious wrong-doings in recent years that prompted the B.C. provincial government and RECBC to reexamine the role of dual agency in real estate transactions. The result was to severely limit when an agent can represent both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction in British Columbia.

New resources now available about the new rules

In order to help buyers, sellers and their agents appreciate, understand and comply with these new rules RECBC collaborated with the UBC Sauder Real Estate Division to develop a new online course, Rule Changes: Agency and Disclosure. While the course isn’t open, yet, all licensees in BC will be required to complete this course as part of their relicensing requirements.

For those that want more information now, RECBC also developed a ‘one-stop resource shop.’ It’s called the Licensee Knowledge Base, and it’s a user-friendly, searchable resource with information delivered in a variety of formats. For instance, to get more information on avoiding conflicts of interest, click on the Conflicts of Interest portal. For more information on the forms and disclosures now required by your real estate agent, click on the Disclosures and Forms portal. Click here to access the complete resource. 

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo Homebase. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. Her north star is to consistently provide actionable, valuable and accurate information that helps elevate the financial literacy of everyone.