Ask Peggy: Do I have to use the same realtor to buy and sell?

The question is, do I have to use the same realtor to buy a new house as I’m using to sell my house? The answer is no.

When you signing a listing agreement, it’s a contract between you and your realtor’s brokerage but you choose your agent.

Same when you’re buying.  You can use whoever you like. That agent will probably ask you to sign a buyer’s representation agreement, and it can be drafted to be as narrow as representing you in a specific house, or in a specific geographic area, or it can be drafted to cover any kind of residence in a much broader area, in theory, all of Ontario.

(I say in theory because we’re members of specific boards and although we can represent buyers elsewhere, like most things, it involves a little more paperwork.)

There is a good reason, though, to use the same realtor to buy and sell if you’re selling at the same time you’re buying, and that’s because most of us will offer you a discount on our commissions; after all, we’re going to be handling two transactions instead of only one. We can also give you advice on timing your sale and your purchase and we’ll be  pretty familiar with your situation when it comes to negotiations.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using two agents from two different brokerages or two agents from the same brokerage,  however, subject to one caveat, which is this: we are not allowed under our RECO legislation to communicate with another agent’s client with respect to a specific trade.

What that means is technically if you have two agents, one handling the listing and one handling your purchase, the first can’t speak to you about the other transaction (the one we’re not involved in) without written permission from the second, and vice-versa.

And even then, our hands are tied. We can’t really comment if we think the price you may be considering in your other purchase/sale is too low or too high or if the terms aren’t exactly what we might negotiate: that’s between you and your other agent. This can make it difficult for us to live up to our ethical duty to act in your best interest: we are required to bite our tongues.

Still, there are lots of clients out there who prefer to work with more than one agent at a time, and it’s a matter of individual choice. As long as you’re aware of the rules,  it’s your decision, but I don’t recommend it.

Once a transaction is finished, by the way, you can work with whoever you like on another transaction without any qualms at all. The contract ends once the listing agreement or the buyers representation agreement expires. At that point, you’re not anyone’s client unless or until you choose to work with a new agent, so the rules no longer apply.

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This entry was posted in buyer's agent, Buying a house; realtors, Clients, Selling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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