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The Importance Of A Written Service Agreement

Residential real estate, property management, and mortgage brokerage professionals must have a Written Service Agreement (WSA) when entering into a client relationship.

Written service agreements help ensure the role of an industry professional is clear, and when clients are better informed, there is less confusion and typically, fewer disputes.

Written service agreements help industry professionals clearly and confidently communicate with clients about:

  • the relationship between the parties;
  • the services to be provided by the brokerage;
  • the obligations and responsibilities of the parties;
  • consent for collection, use and distribution of personal information of the client;
  • method of calculation of remuneration or how the industry professional will be compensated; and,
  • consent to obtain a credit report (for mortgage brokerage professionals).

Establishing a written service agreement with clients also offers benefits and protections to the industry professional. For example, even if a client chooses not to litigate, a written service agreement reduces the chances of dispute and dissatisfaction on the part of the client, because the client has a written record of the roles and responsibilities of all parties to the agreement.

Regardless of their sector, RECA believes all industry professionals should use written service agreements when establishing client relationships. Many commercial real estate practitioners and real estate appraisers already use written service agreements and RECA will continue to work with these sectors to meet the requirements of the Rules as they relate to written service agreements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are written Buyer Representation Agreements mandatory?

Yes, if you are interested in buying residential property and are the client of a real estate professional in Alberta, you will be asked to sign a written service agreement (buyer representation agreement).

What is the difference between an exclusive and a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement?

In an exclusive buyer representation agreement, you, as the buyer, agree to only use the services of that brokerage to represent and assist you in purchasing a property. In a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement, you, as the buyer, may use the services of multiple brokerages at the same time.  You can enter into multiple non- exclusive buyer representation agreements.

Does my buyer representation agreement have to be exclusive?

No. However, your agreement will need the consent of the brokerage(s) you’re working with. Consumers should make an informed choice about the type of relationship they wish to have with a real estate professional. They should also understand the implications of the options available to them.

When I agree to enter into a written service agreement, is there a specific form I will be asked to sign as a buyer?

The answer to this question depends on two factors:

  • are you interested in buying residential property?
  • will you be entering into an exclusive buyer representation relationship?

If you answer “yes” to BOTH of these questions, the agreement must contain the mandatory content as contained in RECA’s Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement.

If you are not interested in residential real estate OR you want a non-exclusive agreement, your real estate professional is not required to use the mandatory content.  However, you will be asked to enter into a written agreement that meets the requirements of the Real Estate Act Rules. You can review RECA’s sample non-exclusive buyer representation agreements here.

What is the difference between an exclusive and a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement?

In an exclusive buyer representation agreement, the buyer agrees to only use the services of one brokerage to represent and assist them in purchasing a property. In a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement, the buyer may use the services of multiple brokerages at the same time.  You can enter into multiple non-exclusive buyer representation agreements.

Does my buyer representation agreement have to be exclusive?

No. However, your agreement will need the consent of the brokerage(s) you’re working with. Consumers should make an informed choice about the type of relationship they wish to have with a real estate professional. They should also understand the implications of the options available to them.