Though extremely supportive, it's not what it sounds like! B.R.A. stands for Buyer Representation Agreement. This is the first document I discuss with homebuyers as it allows me to start representing their best interests right from the start! As a buyer, you also have reassurance of my commitment to you:
In real estate, we operate on the concept of agency. There are different types of agency relationships available to consumers when working with a salesperson. The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA 2002) makes it mandatory for all salespeople to explain agency and the different kind of services available, as well as the nature of those services. Explaining these types of agency enable you to make an informed decision as to whether you would like to become my client or my customer. Before we get into the F.A.Qs, enjoy a short video from the Toronto Real Estate Board which outlines some of the basic advantages of signing a B.R.A.:
Why do I have to sign an agreement, can’t you just show me listings?
There are several reasons to have an agreement in place. Firstly, the agreement sets out the type of services I will provide you, and it also allows me to retain information about you under the provisions of the Privacy Act.
What’s the difference between a client and a customer?
When you’re my client, I work for you, and I’m obligated to do what’s best for you. As my client, any information you give me is kept strictly confidential. For example, you tell me you would be willing to go higher in price on an offer – as my client you can be assured that I will never reveal that information to the seller or their salesperson.
Don’t you do the same for your customers?
No. If you’re my customer, then I’m free to pass that information along to the seller. I will, however, treat you ethically and fairly, and not make any misrepresentations in any way. Also, as my customer, I would caution you not to reveal any confidential information as I may have to reveal it to the seller of a property that you want to purchase. I am not able to represent your best interests as my customer in the same way that I am empowered to if you are my client.
What else do I get if I choose to be a client?
As my client, I will provide you with the best service I can and I would promote your best interests at all times. I would search out properties that meet your criteria, and once I locate a property that interests you, I can provide information on the property’s value, make sure that any offer to purchase contains clauses to protect your interests, and negotiate you the best deal possible. As mentioned earlier, as a client I will not disclose any confidential information about you to a seller of their representative. As my client, I can also act as your representative to obtain information from the municipality or a particular ministry regarding a property. I can also advise the use of outside professionals to assist in that process. As my client, you would receive many advantages that are unavailable to a customer.
Who’s paying you to do all that?
When you sign a B.R.A. with my brokerage, you are in fact acknowledging that I am entitled to be paid. In a typical transaction, the seller of the property will pay me. If my brokerage receives the amount of commission that was specified in our agreement, then there is no obligation on your part to pay my commission. However, if the amount we receive is less that our agreement, you would be responsible for the difference.
But I thought the seller always paid the commission?
In most cases, that is absolutely true. In fact, the majority of times the seller does pay the commission. Occasionally, there are exceptions.
What happens if the property I want is For Sale By Owner? Who pays then?
If you would like me to approach a private seller directly on your behalf, I will try and negotiate to be paid by the seller of the property. However, if they are not willing to co-operate and you still want to buy the property, then you would be required to pay the commission as outlined in our agreement.
What happens if I can’t afford to pay you?
In the majority of transactions, it is the seller who pays the commission. When that’s not possible, you will know that up front. All you do is simply keep it in mind when you decide on the terms of your offer.
What happens if I sign the B.R.A. and we don’t get along?
If you find that we are not compatible, I would be more than happy to make arrangements for you to work with one of my colleagues in the office. We have an amazing group of Realtors at Sandra Rinomato Realty, and I’m sure we can find someone you will feel comfortable with. I understand that this is a very important purchase for you, and I want to do everything I can to ensure you have the best experience possible.
What is multiple representation?
Multiple representation is when one real estate brokerage represents the interests of both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. For example, Sandra Rinomato Realty has lots of great properties for sale, so it’s possible you may want to offer on a property listed by our office.
How would that work? How can your brokerage represent both the buyer and seller fairly?
Firstly, it may not be me that has the listing you want to purchase, it could be one of the other salespeople in my brokerage. Either way, I understand your concern. I would be working for both of you, and even though the B.R.A. explains this situation clearly, I would still need the seller’s and you, the buyer’s, informed and written consent before proceeding.
So in this case, the seller and I know that you are working both of us?
Exactly. I would owe both you, and the seller full disclosure of factual information – such as comparable properties, and potential uses for the property.
What about when I make my offer? You will know all about my financial situation!
This is true, but at no time will I disclose to the seller how much you are willing to pay for the property. Nor will I disclose to you how low the seller’s willing to go.
Those are just a few questions that could come up when explaining the B.R.A. and Reoresentation. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave me a comment below. You can also visit WWW.BRAFIRST.COM to learn more about the B.R.A. from the Toronto Real Estate Board.