What is the difference between a real estate “Client” and a real estate “Customer”
Buyers and sellers may enter into one of two types of agreements with a brokerage – a representation agreement or a customer service agreement. If you enter into a representation agreement, you are a client of the brokerage. If you enter into a customer service agreement, you are a customer. You can decide whether to be a customer, or a client, but please note that the obligations of the brokerage will differ.
“If you are a client, the brokerage has an important obligation to you, called fiduciary duty, and must promote and protect your best interests in the real estate transaction. If you are a customer, the brokerage does not have that obligation, but is obligated to treat you with fairness, honesty and integrity, and to provide you with conscientious and competent service. If you are a client looking to purchase a property, under a legislated Code of Ethics, the salesperson must take reasonable steps to determine, and then disclose to you, all material facts about the property. If you are a customer, however, the salesperson only has to disclose to you the material fact that he or she already knows or ought to know, and they are not required to take any further steps,” says the Real Estate Council of Ontario – the body that regulates the trade of real estate in Ontario in the public interest.