I received an email recently from someone who was buying a new home and wanted to be represented by a REALTOR® (this happens fairly often), because they didn’t think the show home attendant was being completely honest with them. When they told her they wanted to be represented by a REALTOR® she responded by saying that would be breaking the REALTOR® code. I assured them this was not the case, but I also broke the bad news that if they wanted me to represent them at this stage, the builder would probably not pay my fee.
REALTOR® builder relationships
For the most part these relationships are excellent. We have blogged about the REALTOR® builder cooperation agreement before; there are over 30 builders in the Edmonton region who participate in this program. These builders will let you be represented by a REALTOR® without any additional cost to you. To qualify for the program, your REALTOR® must come with you to register when you go into the show home for the first time.
In this case, they'd already visited the show home a number of times, and had even begun discussions about purchasing a home from the builder, before mentioning they'd like a REALTOR® to represent them. So why would a builder now agree to pay for a REALTOR® that had nothing to do with finding the home? On the other hand, for those who were truly "just looking" and somewhere down the road got a little more serious, it is upsetting to learn they can't have their REALTORS® fee covered.
- The builder's representative is often an employee or independent contractor of the builder. They owe no fiduciary duties to their customer and are not regulated.
- Whereas a REALTOR® must comply with all regulatory obligations and owe their clients full fiduciary duties. Some of the rules the REALTOR® adhere to are
- The Real Estate Act - the rules of the act and the code of conduct established by the regulator, the Real Estate Council of Alberta.
- The REALTOR® code
• Often referred to as the code of ethics the Canadian Real Estate Association
• Rules and regulations of their local association which in our case is the REALTORS Association of Edmonton.