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Buyer Representation Agreement – age old debate explained to consumers by Board

The dreaded contract

Some Realtors adhere to asking clients to sign a Buyers Representation Agreement up front, others wait until a proper rapport and others have done away with it altogether.

Several references have been made in Canadian media to the B.R.A. being full of fine print that consumer’s rarely read and feel tricked by. True or not, the Toronto Board of Realtors have produced the above video which has had nearly 4,000 views and a litany of other options that educate consumers about the virtues of the agreement:

  1. A website dedicated to the B.R.A.
  2. A YouTube video as featured above.
  3. Radio ads which can be heard by clicking play on the top left of the B.R.A. homepage.
  4. An explanatory PDF taking consumers through the actual contract.

Explaining the document – good or bad?

One could say that explaining the B.R.A. makes a Realtor’s job easier and protects their interests. Or, one could say that explaining the document in such detail offers an assumptive apology which could lead consumers to distrust it in the first place, especially when other agents they have met don’t bring up the document.

Real estate is different in Toronto than say Dallas, so we’re curious what you think of the extent the board has gone to promote the document for their members? Is it a good effort or could it backfire? Tell us in comments what you think of the Toronto BRA campaign.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Donna Patton

    April 12, 2011 at 4:37 am

    I would like to see NAR or one of the U.S. boards put out a video like this.

  2. Joe Manausa

    April 12, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Lani, I think in today’s market homebuyers should demand a written agreement up front. It removes the conflict of interest the agent might have in showing a low-paying property versus a high one. Some listing agents offer higher commissions and bonuses, yet others offer very little. The compensation to the agent should have no bearing on what homes are shown, so if an agreement signed up front sets the compensation, the buyer can know for sure the agent is totally focused on the buyer’s best interests.

  3. Paula Henry

    April 12, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I think the video was nicely done and doesn’t warrant an assumptive apology at all. We just do a bad job of explaining it and with so many agents working without one, the mere mention of it scares buyers.
    It is to the buyer’s benefit to know I represent them and their best interest. You can’t give your full attention to everyone, so those who trust your expertise enough to sign the buyer/broker agreement are the winners.

  4. Andrew McKay

    April 12, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Recently there has been a big ” Ho Ha” up here with the government Competition Bureau and the use of the MLS. Realtors had a monopoly, could charge exorbitant commissions just because they controlled the MLS etc.
    I think this will be part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the “value” a realtor should bring to the table. The seller generally pays the commission although the buyer gives him the money to do so, so the BRA isn’t directly involved with the competition issue but these types of videos are making the industry seem more professional.

    As an aside the fact a realtor can represent both buyer and seller I think will be the next issue. Personally I don’t think it can be done fairly. I will be shot down by my colleagues who like to double end deals but multi representation is inherently impossible and makes the ideas from the BRA video irrelevant.

    Maybe TREB know that something is coming re multi representation and they are paving the way for BRA’s to be the next big talking point.

    • Andrew McKay

      April 12, 2011 at 6:33 am

      PS the plain English explanation is available for all docs:

    • Joe Manausa

      April 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

      Andrew, while I don’t disagree with anything you said, I would just consider that there is more to it than “the fact a realtor can represent both buyer and seller I think will be the next issue..” I think it might be a realization that the whole process might be changing to the real estate industry is losing control of the “seller side” and therefore needs to establish a stronger role in the “buyer side.” With so much available to home sellers on the internet in getting their home sold, maybe we’ll be “listing” buyers instead of sellers within the next few years.

      • Andrew McKay

        April 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

        Good point Joe. If multi representation does become an issue I hadn’t thought through to the next stage you highlight; prospecting more for buyers than sellers which traditionally has been the case. I was thinking more of the inherent impossibility of representing both sides without the detriment of either.
        In theory the new “mere” postings ( if thats how you spell it) could be seen to have handed all the control to the seller. It was the last part of the jig saw. As you say there is huge amounts of information on the internet and the ability to advertise on the MLS for $200 or so is the last part.
        However there is a huge can of legal worms waiting to be opened so we shall see.

        Fortunately the majority of my work is with buyers anyway so we shall see.

  5. Randy Pereira

    April 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

    This is definitely a good thing. There is nothing wrong with explaining an agreement that protects your client, and yourself. It will probably answer many of your buyer’s questions/concerns, as well.

  6. Cliff Stevenson

    April 12, 2011 at 11:24 am

    These agreements are starting to become more popular in our market, but we are long way off from them becoming ‘the norm’. The video explanation was a good idea IMHO.

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