Alberta has new real estate forms. As of today all of Alberta’s licensed industry members are required to use new plain language forms with mandatory content, as mandated by the Real Estate Council of Alberta. This is certainly no picnic for the industry and the consumer but for the most part the pain is logistical (The forms are mandatory for use today and our first access to download them is today as well) and many of the forms still retain the same intent.
Every form imaginable and most of the names of forms that you might have recognized have changed as well. For example, what we call a Listing Agreement, was officially known as a "Residential Seller Brokerage Agreement" is now known as an "Exclusive Seller Representation Agreement."
Is this the end of the changes?
Not likely, but the majority of changes coming should be relatively minor and not likely noticeable to anyone but the most avid real estate geeks, at least in the foreseeable future.
What’s the biggest change?
The Consumer Relationships Guide - Aside from everything being in plain language, the biggest change to the average person would be the change in name from “Agency disclosure” to “Consumer relationships guide.” For the most part the content of the form is still very much the same, explaining the choices you have for representation.
Are any of the forms mandatory?
For licensed industry members a signed these new plain language form are mandatory as of this date even if today was the first day we could actually download them. The "Consumer Relationships Guide" is also mandatory for industry members. This form is not a contract, but an acknowledgement that the industry member has explained your options with respect to representation. At this time written service agreements are only mandatory for Designated Agency offices (Liv Real Estate became a designated agency brokerage in December - abut 30% of Alberta industry members belong to Designated Agency brokerages). As of July 1st, 2014 written service agreements will be mandatory for common law brokerages as well. Which means whether you are buying or selling, want to or not you will be required to sign a service agreement with your industry member. I will be going into more detail regarding this change on our blog shortly.
We will also be posting the final market report for February later today.