If you’re looking to buy a home for the first time, you might wonder where to start. Real estate brokers, notaries, mortgages, hidden defects—you’ve probably heard these words before. But what do they mean exactly?
In the coming weeks, we will guide you through some legal issues that arise when buying a home. Today: the role of real estate brokers.
The role of real estate brokers
A real estate broker can guide you through the process of buying a home. For example, a broker can help you find property and write up documents like a promise to purchase.
You can sign what is called a “brokerage contract to purchase” with your real estate broker. This contract says what type of property you want, the desired price and the amount of money you will pay the broker if you buy property.
If you decide to sign a brokerage contract to purchase, you must follow some rules. For example, you can’t negotiate buying a home yourself.
Real estate broker responsibilities
Real estate brokers must respect ethics rules. For example, they must tell you about anything they know that could affect the property. So, if they learn that there are problems with the foundation or the roof, they must tell you.
Even if you aren’t represented by a real estate broker, you can benefit from the expertise of the seller’s broker. The seller’s real estate broker must treat you fairly. He or she must advise and inform you in an objective manner.
Real estate brokers must also ensure that the information they give the public is accurate. For example, they must ensure that property descriptions are accurate (square footage, year of construction, number of parking spaces, etc.).
Protections for the public
In Quebec, the real estate brokerage profession is regulated by law and by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ or Quebec self-regulatory real estate brokerage organization).
Real estate brokers must also pass a training program and have a permit.
Before deciding to work with a broker, you can check the OACIQ website to see if he or she meets these requirements. You can also check to see if the broker has ever been disciplined for ethics violations.
If you think that a real estate broker isn’t respecting the rules, you can make a complaint.