A new rule prohibiting realtors from acting on behalf of both a buyer and a seller is likely to cause more harm than good in small towns like Kitimat.
As of March 15, 2018, the practice, known as dual agency, will no longer be allowed in B.C., the only province in Canada to enact this rule.
B.C. Northern Real Estate Board president John Evans said while the board supports many of the rule changes announced recently, it is disappointed in the banning of dual agency without clear practice guidelines for small offices.
“The new rules are a response to problems arising in the very large and very busy lower-mainland market,” said Evans. “Unfortunately, with limited dual agency gone, what is left are agency rules designed for larger offices and we are a board of small offices.”
He said it is unclear at this point what the system of limited dual agency for smaller offices will be replaced with.
“We have asked the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate to consider the issue and we hope to receive some guidance,” said Evans.
RE/MAX Kitimat Realty realtor Shannon Dos Santos said the announcement had “absolutely stunned real estate agents across the province”.
She said the impact that the rule will have on markets in smaller communities, particularly her market in Kitimat, won’t be apparent initially.
“We are awaiting the superintendent’s full report to see exactly what other rules are going to be implemented, other than not being able to act as a dual agent and represent both buyers and sellers in a single transaction,” said dos Santos.
She said dual agency has been in place since she started out in real estate in 2008, during which time she has built relationships and grown her business, serving repeat clients on both ends of transactions.
“I feel I have been robbed of what I have been good at for the past nine years I have been selling real estate,” said dos Santos. “We as agents are held to a high standard of service and I take pride in my integrity and in the way I operate my business.
“I do not feel for one minute that this is in the best interest of my clients.”
She said the benefit of the dual agency system is the ability to establish a bond with repeat clients, being able to know what they are looking for in their “forever home”.
“Even though I know I have a house listed that I know will be perfect for them, I now have to pass them onto another agent that they are not comfortable with and haven’t established a relationship of trust with,” added dos Santos.
She said she has built up a relationship of trust with her clients and has been rewarded with their loyalty.
“It’s going to be very difficult for them now, to have a wall put between us while they try to make one of the most important decisions of their life, finding a home,” said dos Santos.
She said the clients will be stripped of the freedom to choose which agency they would like to work with.
“I also feel robbed of my reputation as an honest, hard working realtor in a community that has always supported me and put their faith in me,” said dos Santos.
She said until the full impact of the new rules is apparent she will continue to work to ensure the impact on her clients is minimal.