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Posted on February 21st 2006 in Legal Articles

Working with a real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent

You have decided to put your house up for sale. Like most Canadians you will probably hire a real estate agent to help with this task, although there is no legal obligation to do so.

Once you have found a realtor you are comfortable with, you will be asked to sign a listing agreement. This contract between you and your real estate agent, gives the agent an exclusive listing for a fixed period of time. In addition, it gives the agent the right to list your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a computerized system available to the majority of real estate agents in your area. The listing agreement spells out the terms on which you are willing to sell and the agent’s commission. A 60 or 90 day extension clause will also be part of this agreement. The purpose of this clause is to prevent a vendor and potential buyer from by-passing the realtor, thus avoiding the commission.

It is important to understand that the listing agreement is not an offer to sell and that you have no legal requirement to accept any offer, including what you originally set out in the listing agreement. However in the latter case you may be liable to pay the realtor’s commission.

Although the real estate agent’s job is to try and find a buyer for your property, the main duties he/she owes you are to accurately describe the property to be sold and to correctly set out the financing provisions in the listing agreement.

Before signing the listing agreement you should take it to your lawyer for review. Howard Steinberg or Stan Landau can assist you.