In Ontario, buyer representation agreements should be in writing for the protection of all parties. The representation agreement sets clear expectations for the buyer and the real estate broker.
A buyer representation agreement (BRA) is a contract that lays out the terms of the relationship between a buyer and a salesperson. These representation agreements have a specific time period and can range from a very short time period to represent the buyer on a specific property or a few weeks or months to search for the right property. Top professional real estate agents tend to work under contracts with their buyers to ensure they are able to give their buyer specific and focused attention. Often, we think that this agreement is only beneficial to the real estate agent to protect their commission, but the agreement is beneficial for the buyer as well. When a buyer signs a BRA it creates a relationship that outlines the rights and duties each party is responsible for. The agent’s duties will include working to locate a property with the desired criteria, in the desired area and in the price range specified. The agent is now under a contract to represent the interest of the buyer when viewing properties. This may include discussing property areas, reporting on property histories, researching and explaining documents in the home buying process – such as septic use permits, well records, shore road issues; property price points, helping to structure and present an offer on behalf of the buyer, handling the post offer paperwork, liaising with the real estate lawyer, and being present for inspections and walkthroughs. Your agent will have the confidence to invest their time and resources into your search, knowing that you are dealing solely with them and in return, they are absolutely focused on your real estate requirements.
When a BRA is signed it gives a level of comfort for both the agent and the buyer. The Buyer knows the agent is spending time and effort scouring the market to find the right property. They now have the assurance that their search is top of mind for the agent and all available resources are being used to uncover eligible properties. When a BRA is signed it indicates that you are a genuine buyer and therefore your real estate requirements are taken very seriously by your agent.
Only by having an agent committed to your search are you assured of not missing a listing before it is out on Realtor.ca or the minute it is. If you have missed out on available properties that are sold by the time you call, or you have made the drive to Muskoka only to be disappointed because the pictures look nothing like the actual listing it may be time to employ an agent working on your behalf.