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March 8, 2018

Keeping Clients Informed

On June 15, 2018, new consumer protection rules from the Superintendent of Real Estate will take effect. The new rules will protect consumers by:

  • prohibiting limited dual agency in almost all cases, and
  • requiring new disclosures about commissions, services to expect from a licensee, and the risks of being an unrepresented party in a real estate transaction.

As we prepare for the implementation date, the Council is your source for reliable and accurate information. Throughout the month of March, we are taking an in-depth look at agency duties to help all licensees in BC understand their legislative requirements.

Material Information – what’s key to your client?

One of the goals of the Superintendent’s new rules is to ensure that consumers get all the information they need to make informed decisions about their real estate transactions. So understanding your duty to disclose material information is particularly important.

You must share “all known material information respecting the real estate services, and the real estate and the trade in real estate to which the services relate” with your clients.

So what is material information? A material fact is anything that could affect a buyer’s decision to buy, or a seller’s decision to sell. In other words, you need to tell your client any facts that could cause a reasonable person to make a different decision about the transaction. And you need to make sure that you’ve made reasonable efforts to gather material information.

Listing agents can use the Council’s Listing Checklist as a guide to help ensure they collect all the relevant information about a property. Buyer’s agents should verify all listing information – particularly any information that is important to their client.

Know your client

Every listing – and every client – is unique. It is a good practice to make sure you are familiar with your client’s needs and understand what is important to them. Ask your clients if there are any issues you should be aware of, and be sure to document the conversation.

If you are unsure about whether a piece of information is “material”, put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask yourself whether it is something you would want to know if you were a buyer or seller.

When in doubt, it’s always better to share the information with your client. You could face disciplinary and/or civil action if you fail to disclose a piece of material information.

Answers to Your Questions

Visit the Council’s website for information and advice about how to comply with the new rules in many common scenarios.