In Ontario, it is not uncommon to find that the same real estate agent represent both the buyer as well as the owner of a property. This is called double ending and requires both the buyer and seller to agree to work with one real estate agent. However, the government has recently proposed several changes to its housing laws, one of which is to prohibit double ending.
If the proposal is passed, a real estate agent will be barred from representing the buyer and seller. Exceptions may exist when the deal is a private transaction between family members or if the location is in a rural area with limited realtors. Reportedly, consumers have complained that the practice of representing both sides may lead to agents accepting unethical financial incentives.
It appears inconceivable that one agent can protect the rights and act in the best interests of two opposing parties. The buyer will require a commitment from the agent to negotiate the lowest price at the most advantageous terms, and the seller will expect the same agent to secure the highest bid at the best terms. Authorities believe this creates divided loyalty that cannot benefit either the buyer or the seller.
The act of selling or buying a home is one of the major moments in any Ontario resident’s life. At this time, the best step might be to consult with an experienced real estate lawyer who will ask and answer questions to establish the unique needs of the buyer or seller to enable him or her to address potential issues. A lawyer can provide guidance and support with every step of the way and focus on ensuring that the client’s interests are protected.