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Realtors work within a legal relationship called agency. The agency realtionship is between you, the client, and your agent, the company with which the realtor is licenced. Most realtors use a brochure titled Working with a Real Estate Agent to disclose the nature of the agency relationship with their client. A realtor can act for a seller or a buyer, or to a limited degree, both. Whomever they represent, realtors have a legal obligation to uphold the integrity of their clients, while protecting and promoting their interests.

Seller's Agent
In order for a realtor to list a property for sale on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver requires completion of a listing agreement. By signing the listing agreement with you, the realtor has commited to uphold the obligations mentioned above.

Buyer's Agent
The contract of purchase and sale is completed when an offer is made by a buyer to purchase a seller's property. The contract outlines the terms and conditions of the offer, such as the offer price and any subject conditions. The seller may reject the offer or make a counter offer. Once all the terms have been accepted and both the seller and the buyer have signed the contract, each party is legally bound to fulfill the condtions of the contract.

Dual Agency
Dual agency is created when an agent represents both the buyer and the seller. This can happen if a realtor who is representing a buyer sell one of his or her own listings to that buyer. A dual agent must be impartial to both the buyer and the seller and fully disclose all information pertinent to the transaction. A realtor can be a dual agent only if both the seller and the buyer agree in writing.


The purchase of real estate represents amajor transaction in one's life. The transfer of real estate is often accompanied by a mortgage, and the adjustment of the matters between the Seller and the Buyer involves a complex set of procedures. The property title and tax record must be reviewed to ensure that the Buyer does not inherit the Seller's liabilities. Deposits, holdbacks, surveys, appraisals, mortgage proceeds and discharges, property transfer tax, GST, must all be accurately taken care of. To complete these tasks, one needs to have an expert on whom they can rely. Both lawyers and notaries have the expertise and are empowered to prepare and register real estate documents including transfer and mortgages.

In the area of practice involving changes to the title of real estate, notaries and lawyers perform the same tasks. The expected duty of care is exactly the same. Unlike lawyers, however, notaries do not represent their clients in court, nor do they handle lawsuits on behalf of their clients.

When you have made a commitment to purchase a home, make sure you explore the opportunity of having your transaction completed with a Lawyer or your local Notary Public.

For contact information see resources.