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What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Old Apr 7th 2008, 5:22 pm
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Default What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

There has been much discussion on many threads about Real Estate Agents in Canada, and what the do and how they do it.

So this is what I do, others may do differently as different provinces have different laws and customs and practices.

When working with Buyers:-

With initial contact, usually over a coffee, I find out what they want from a home. I explain (if necessary) the complete buying process, and give them a buyers pack with all the information they will need in it.

I devise a search to match their needs and set it up on the “MLS” system. This will provide them with information on every house available for sale with every agent in Winnipeg that matches the search (which can be very compressive). E-mail them suitable homes as they become available.

Collect them (or have them follow me in their car) and take them to every house they want to see, give them details of that house, such as previous selling prices, tax details, encroachments etc that I have researched beforehand. I also point out the good and bad points of a house, look at the general structure, and give them my unbiased opinion, be that good or bad on things like location, condition, price etc., . I will show them however many homes they need to see, be that 5 or 50. I am not trying to sell them a house, I'm helping them buy one.

When they have chosen a house, I will do what is called a “CMA” that’s a comparative market analysis, I take similar houses that have sold in the same area and then add or subtract features to come up with a price for the subject home, I then prepare this as a report for my client, it is several pages long and has details of my comparisons.

With the CMA I sit down with my clients and we devise a strategy to buy the house, this will involve several things Price, Deposit, Mortgage, What additional conditions may be required, time scale etc., etc., etc.

When the decisions are made (by the Buyer) I sit down and write the offer, explain the clauses in the contract to the buyer and make sure they understand what they are agreeing to, the buyer signs it, I then hand deliver it to the Sellers Agent who will present it to the Seller.

The seller has the option to Accept, Reject or Counter the offer. The seller’s agent hand delivers the offer back to me. If it’s rejected we go onto the next house and start again. If it’s accepted we’re done for the night, if its countered I go back to my clients we discuss it and if they are happy with the counter offer they sign it again and I hand deliver it back to the Sellers Agent. If they want to counter the sellers offer, I have to write out a whole new offer and back to the Sellers Agent it goes. We normally do this back and forth negations during the course of an evening; my longest so far is 8 hours ending at 3.00am with a successful purchase for my clients. We do it this way because all offers have to be in writing and signed by the respective parties, verbal offers are not legal in Manitoba.

Once a successful offer has been received all the paper work has to go to my Brokers office where the conveyancing is dealt with by the Brokers.

My job is not finished yet, I have to follow every condition and make sure it is dealt with in time (if I don’t the contract will be voided by my lack of action). So we make sure we get the mortgage acceptance letter from the lender, take the condition fulfilled form to the buyer have them sign it and then fax it to the Sellers agent. It’s the same process with any condition; once it is fulfilled get the buyer’s signature on the form, fax it to the Seller before the deadline.

When there is a House Inspection I always go and accompany my Buyers, sometimes I go around and inspect the house with them, normally I find a quite spot and do some other work, but I am there throughout, if there is a problem with access, or if a major problem crops up, I am available to deal with it.

When all the conditions have been satisfied, the sale is complete, if for whatever reason the deal falls through, the buyers & I start again.

On possession day I try to call in on my buyers to make sure all is as it should be.



When working with sellers:

Once I’ve got the listing (which is a whole lot of work in it’s self)

Measure the house, outside to devise its total square foot, then every room.

Take photos inside and out.

Make a list of all the items included and excluded.

Do Sellers CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), this is very similar to one I’d do for the Buyer.

Pull title on the House to make sure who owns the house. This can be very important not just with fraud, but with the Homestead Act, If 2 people have been living together for over a year and they are in a sexual relationship, the Homestead Act applies and the non owning partner HAS to agree to the sale, in writing, and away from the presence of the partner. If it’s not done correctly it can end really badly for everyone concerned, buyer, seller, agent and broker. So I have to take the person to another room explain the Homestead Act and their rights and have them sign a waiver, or not as the case may be.

Prepare a marketing plan for the house.

Return to the Seller discuss price, they decided what price they want to sell for. Complete all the various forms required. Go over marketing plan with the Seller. Discuss and advise on any work that may need doing to prepare the house for market, staging, etc.

Gather all of the information on the house, double check for accuracy and then input all the details of the house onto the MLS system. (there are loads of regulation and fines for not putting the correct details in, so this has to be done carefully, and then double checked). There is a charge to me for entering a house onto the MLS over and above my monthly access and subscription charges.

Put up the details & photos on my web site and several others . Distribute information to other Agents who I think might have interested clients.

Write the detail sheet, print them up, and prepare any adverts and submit them, and pay for it all.

Arrange for signs to go up, and pay for them.

Supply a lock box to hold the house key, so other authorized agents can go into the house. I normally have to get a key cut for this, as I always keep a spare myself.

Co-ordinate with other agents for showings, sometimes this is simple and I know that a house can be shown any time between 8.00am and 6.00pm, other times its more difficult and I have to contact the seller, get their ok and go back to the other agent.

If I get contacted by an un-represented buyer I show them the house myself.

When offers come in they are delivered to me, I take them to the seller (UN-opened), we review them, I explain any conditions and make sure the seller understands the contract, the seller make their decision. Take the piece I wrote above about acting as the buyer and reverse it for the running around that may take place before a sale is finalized.

We may sell on the first offer, or it may take more. It may sell in a week or a year.

When it’s sold:

Paperwork to office for Conveyencing.

Deal with the conditions, chase-up the other agent when it gets close to a dead line and I’ve not heard anything. Deal with any problems as they crop-up. Make sure all paperwork get sent in the correct directions.

If for whatever reason the deal falls through, start again.

----------

As I said, this is what I do, other agents may do more or less, all real estate agents have to be licensed by their Province and operate within the law, Realtors are real estate agents who have agreed to be held to a higher standard.

Here in Manitoba the Broker is paid the commission from the lawyers upon land transfer, due the Manitoba System legal land transfer is normally 30 to 40 days after the possession date, The Brokers get paid last, so if for whatever reason there is no money left to pay the commision at the end we are so out of luck. The Broker then subtracts their share and passes the remainder to me about 50-60 days after the sale. From that I have to pay all my car cost, professional fees, office costs, marketing costs, taxes etc, etc., etc.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by MB-Realtor View Post
There has been much discussion on many threads about Real Estate Agents in Canada, and what the do and how they do it.

So this is what I do, others may do differently as different provinces have different laws and customs and practices.

When working with Buyers:-

With initial contact, usually over a coffee, I find out what they want from a home. I explain (if necessary) the complete buying process, and give them a buyers pack with all the information they will need in it.

I devise a search to match their needs and set it up on the “MLS” system. This will provide them with information on every house available for sale with every agent in Winnipeg that matches the search (which can be very compressive). E-mail them suitable homes as they become available.

Collect them (or have them follow me in their car) and take them to every house they want to see, give them details of that house, such as previous selling prices, tax details, encroachments etc that I have researched beforehand. I also point out the good and bad points of a house, look at the general structure, and give them my unbiased opinion, be that good or bad on things like location, condition, price etc., . I will show them however many homes they need to see, be that 5 or 50. I am not trying to sell them a house, I'm helping them buy one.

When they have chosen a house, I will do what is called a “CMA” that’s a comparative market analysis, I take similar houses that have sold in the same area and then add or subtract features to come up with a price for the subject home, I then prepare this as a report for my client, it is several pages long and has details of my comparisons.

With the CMA I sit down with my clients and we devise a strategy to buy the house, this will involve several things Price, Deposit, Mortgage, What additional conditions may be required, time scale etc., etc., etc.

When the decisions are made (by the Buyer) I sit down and write the offer, explain the clauses in the contract to the buyer and make sure they understand what they are agreeing to, the buyer signs it, I then hand deliver it to the Sellers Agent who will present it to the Seller.

The seller has the option to Accept, Reject or Counter the offer. The seller’s agent hand delivers the offer back to me. If it’s rejected we go onto the next house and start again. If it’s accepted we’re done for the night, if its countered I go back to my clients we discuss it and if they are happy with the counter offer they sign it again and I hand deliver it back to the Sellers Agent. If they want to counter the sellers offer, I have to write out a whole new offer and back to the Sellers Agent it goes. We normally do this back and forth negations during the course of an evening; my longest so far is 8 hours ending at 3.00am with a successful purchase for my clients. We do it this way because all offers have to be in writing and signed by the respective parties, verbal offers are not legal in Manitoba.

Once a successful offer has been received all the paper work has to go to my Brokers office where the conveyancing is dealt with by the Brokers.

My job is not finished yet, I have to follow every condition and make sure it is dealt with in time (if I don’t the contract will be voided by my lack of action). So we make sure we get the mortgage acceptance letter from the lender, take the condition fulfilled form to the buyer have them sign it and then fax it to the Sellers agent. It’s the same process with any condition; once it is fulfilled get the buyer’s signature on the form, fax it to the Seller before the deadline.

When there is a House Inspection I always go and accompany my Buyers, sometimes I go around and inspect the house with them, normally I find a quite spot and do some other work, but I am there throughout, if there is a problem with access, or if a major problem crops up, I am available to deal with it.

When all the conditions have been satisfied, the sale is complete, if for whatever reason the deal falls through, the buyers & I start again.

On possession day I try to call in on my buyers to make sure all is as it should be.



When working with sellers:

Once I’ve got the listing (which is a whole lot of work in it’s self)

Measure the house, outside to devise its total square foot, then every room.

Take photos inside and out.

Make a list of all the items included and excluded.

Do Sellers CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), this is very similar to one I’d do for the Buyer.

Pull title on the House to make sure who owns the house. This can be very important not just with fraud, but with the Homestead Act, If 2 people have been living together for over a year and they are in a sexual relationship, the Homestead Act applies and the non owning partner HAS to agree to the sale, in writing, and away from the presence of the partner. If it’s not done correctly it can end really badly for everyone concerned, buyer, seller, agent and broker. So I have to take the person to another room explain the Homestead Act and their rights and have them sign a waiver, or not as the case may be.

Prepare a marketing plan for the house.

Return to the Seller discuss price, they decided what price they want to sell for. Complete all the various forms required. Go over marketing plan with the Seller. Discuss and advise on any work that may need doing to prepare the house for market, staging, etc.

Gather all of the information on the house, double check for accuracy and then input all the details of the house onto the MLS system. (there are loads of regulation and fines for not putting the correct details in, so this has to be done carefully, and then double checked). There is a charge to me for entering a house onto the MLS over and above my monthly access and subscription charges.

Put up the details & photos on my web site and several others . Distribute information to other Agents who I think might have interested clients.

Write the detail sheet, print them up, and prepare any adverts and submit them, and pay for it all.

Arrange for signs to go up, and pay for them.

Supply a lock box to hold the house key, so other authorized agents can go into the house. I normally have to get a key cut for this, as I always keep a spare myself.

Co-ordinate with other agents for showings, sometimes this is simple and I know that a house can be shown any time between 8.00am and 6.00pm, other times its more difficult and I have to contact the seller, get their ok and go back to the other agent.

If I get contacted by an un-represented buyer I show them the house myself.

When offers come in they are delivered to me, I take them to the seller (UN-opened), we review them, I explain any conditions and make sure the seller understands the contract, the seller make their decision. Take the piece I wrote above about acting as the buyer and reverse it for the running around that may take place before a sale is finalized.

We may sell on the first offer, or it may take more. It may sell in a week or a year.

When it’s sold:

Paperwork to office for Conveyencing.

Deal with the conditions, chase-up the other agent when it gets close to a dead line and I’ve not heard anything. Deal with any problems as they crop-up. Make sure all paperwork get sent in the correct directions.

If for whatever reason the deal falls through, start again.

----------

As I said, this is what I do, other agents may do more or less, all real estate agents have to be licensed by their Province and operate within the law, Realtors are real estate agents who have agreed to be held to a higher standard.

Here in Manitoba the Broker is paid the commission from the lawyers upon land transfer, due the Manitoba System legal land transfer is normally 30 to 40 days after the possession date, The Brokers get paid last, so if for whatever reason there is no money left to pay the commision at the end we are so out of luck. The Broker then subtracts their share and passes the remainder to me about 50-60 days after the sale. From that I have to pay all my car cost, professional fees, office costs, marketing costs, taxes etc, etc., etc.
Is there a question?

If not the above might be better off in the wiki.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by NSpaul View Post
Is there a question?

If not the above might be better off in the wiki.
I think that this thread was generated on the back of the one about real estate commission. have a read through and you will get the point.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Thank you for taking the time to explain all that you do, and certainly there is a lot detailed there. Going back to the *other* thread where the point was more about how it feels to have to spend 5-6% on selling your house and how selling can feel like a monopoly situation at times where there is no negociation, this doesnt make me feel more at ease with the commission idea. Its a bitter pill for home owners and I just cant see how anyone can justify some of the commissions some Realtors get. (Meaning those that work in an affluent, fast pace market).

Maybe this is a gross deviation off topic, but I think it is a cultural issue. Just as Expats arent always that happy that we need to tip low wage staff for services given, and guilted into that being *ok* because we need to support the fact that they are not payed enough. This is similar. I say as a home owner (not that I am at present) that asking me to pay 5-6% of my house equity for a service is hard to accept, regardless of how many times and in how many ways I have the full service explained. Someone profits on the sale of MY largest asset, is that fair? And am I brave enough to risk waiting on the market to sell my house myself..............how many hungry Realtors (as such) will ring those home owners who choose that root and try to guilt them into marketing with them?

What seems fairer is a fixed rate of no more than a couple of thousand, I baulk when it comes to the cost of a brand new 4WD. And though the things like key thingies are a great idea, I can just as easily make up a key or give you my spare and trust you with it, or be in to let you in. I dont see that the service totally is worth the potential amount that is paid by the seller, even though I do totally understand that it is not solely paid to one individual. I still think that the process as a whole should be looked at, not what 3 parties (2 Realtors and a broker) want to make out of a sale. If that was the case, no one would need to spend that large sum to sell and the selling process would be reviewed.

Dont mean to seem rude or impertinant, that is just my view having sold a house recently and in general I felt more in control in the UK system. I will obviously work with a Realtor here when we buy, and have one in mind. It isnt a personal reflection on what I think of the people who are realtors, just the cost factor to the vendor. I must be a tight tick!

Now I head for cover............................
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

I agree the % of sale issue doesn't always appear fair.

I have never sold a house through a realtor or estate agent until now and although I am in the UK where esate agent cost are much lower than in Canada (albeit for a very different role). I still fail to understand why the % of sale is a fair pricing system.

I have no problem with realtors, in fact, I have only praise form the realtor who is helping me to buy my house in NS. However, why does there have to be a greater charge for someone selling a $500,000 house that somone selling a $250,000 house. I can see no reason other than the fact that it is assumed that the seller can afford more. The negotiation and contracting is the same, the search on MLS is the same, the viewing takes the saame amount of time.

Far be it for me to be taking the bread from people's plates, but wouldn't a fixed fee system be fairer? I don't desire for realtors to earn either more or less as ultimately what they earn will be largely based on how many houses they sell or find, in other words how hard they work and how well they do their job. I just think that for those people who have worked hard and invested their hard earned money into property, to be penalized for this is a crime.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Thank you MB-Realtor for taking the time and trouble to write such a lengthy post......are you charging commisssion to those of us who read it? After all, it's taken a great deal of time out of your busy day.....

I must point out that the "other" thread, started by myself, was simply a query regarding the seemingly high commissions charged. It never was, nor is, a reflection of any real estate agent personally. Despite everything you have said, I still cannot accept that this warrants such a huge sum of money for the service. It doesn't me feel any happier to part with 5% of my equity. It is disproportionate......I'm sure there cannot be more work involved in selling a house at, say $195K than in one at $95K; the difference in commission, though, is huge. It would actually make more sense if lawyers charged a similar fee, as they're the ones who've spent years in education and have with the legal know how!

So, no it doesn't make it any easier.........I don't know if that was your intention.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by destinationnovascotia View Post
I agree the % of sale issue doesn't always appear fair ...

I have no problem with realtors, in fact, I have only praise form the realtor who is helping me to buy my house in NS. However, why does there have to be a greater charge for someone selling a $500,000 house that somone selling a $250,000 house. I can see no reason other than the fact that it is assumed that the seller can afford more. The negotiation and contracting is the same, the search on MLS is the same, the viewing takes the saame amount of time.
I agree to some extent. The usual way to calculate commissions in BC is 7% on the first $100,000 and 2% (ish) on the balance, recognizes there is a fixed cost in the transaction.

There is nothing to stop you offering a fixed commission fee. However, as a seller I like to think there is something in it for the realtor if they get top dollar for the property.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
I agree to some extent. The usual way to calculate commissions in BC is 7% on the first $100,000 and 2% (ish) on the balance, recognizes there is a fixed cost in the transaction.

There is nothing to stop you offering a fixed commission fee. However, as a seller I like to think there is something in it for the realtor if they get top dollar for the property.
"Something in it for the realtor" need not be over the top, which it is at the moment. What on earth is wrong with a flat rate, based on the valuation? A % commission makes no sense to anyone BUT the realtor; it's a license to print money.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

I agree that the whole % charge is difficult, I would very happily go with a fee based charge, but any system like that would not work on the "No Sale, No Fee" basis that is currently in place.

I am quite happy to work for a set fee + marketing costs. But you would have to pay me even if you decided to withdraw the property from the market.

People have tried it in the past, but because of the "No Sale, No Fee" status quo there are very few companies who have made it work, and then only in areas with high property prices.

WE should be working on a similar system to lawyers, a simple fee based system, but the current system has been in operation here for over 100 years and there is no great movement for change from the average Canadian.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
I agree to some extent. The usual way to calculate commissions in BC is 7% on the first $100,000 and 2% (ish) on the balance, recognizes there is a fixed cost in the transaction.

There is nothing to stop you offering a fixed commission fee. However, as a seller I like to think there is something in it for the realtor if they get top dollar for the property.
So maybe the answer is a fixed fee with a % bonus if they get over an agreed sum. That way if they get a really good price for you, seller and realtor benefit, but you don't pay more just because your house is bigger or in a better area.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

If you read some of Oldbag's posts on the thread regarding commissions (and I'm sure you have, which is why you've started this one), the real estate people in her small town don't even need to do half of what you've listed! One of them, at least, has all the details about the house as she has sold it previously - to, guess who - Oldbag just a few years ago! So, c'mon, where's the justification in the 5%?
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by MB-Realtor View Post
I agree that the whole % charge is difficult, I would very happily go with a fee based charge, but any system like that would not work on the "No Sale, No Fee" basis that is currently in place.

I am quite happy to work for a set fee + marketing costs. But you would have to pay me even if you decided to withdraw the property from the market.

People have tried it in the past, but because of the "No Sale, No Fee" status quo there are very few companies who have made it work, and then only in areas with high property prices.

WE should be working on a similar system to lawyers, a simple fee based system, but the current system has been in operation here for over 100 years and there is no great movement for change from the average Canadian.
That's the way it works in England. I twice lost a sale on a house and had to pay BOTH estate agent and solicitor, even though it was the buyers who pulled out when they lost their sales.

There doesn't seem to be a great movement from any Canadians to change anything!
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by MB-Realtor View Post
I agree that the whole % charge is difficult, I would very happily go with a fee based charge, but any system like that would not work on the "No Sale, No Fee" basis that is currently in place.

I am quite happy to work for a set fee + marketing costs. But you would have to pay me even if you decided to withdraw the property from the market.

People have tried it in the past, but because of the "No Sale, No Fee" status quo there are very few companies who have made it work, and then only in areas with high property prices.

WE should be working on a similar system to lawyers, a simple fee based system, but the current system has been in operation here for over 100 years and there is no great movement for change from the average Canadian.
I agree that out of pocket expenses should be covered. In the UK estate agents often require and admin fee (perhaps £100) + advertising costs if you remove your house from their lists. This seems fair. But if a house sells and fixed fee + bonus were charged it means that you are paid for the amount of work you do not on the basis of how much money the sellers have invested into their house. How can that not work?
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by destinationnovascotia View Post
So maybe the answer is a fixed fee with a % bonus if they get over an agreed sum.

That would be a great idea, if only it wasn't Illegal here, that is one of the ways, explicitly spelled out, that we are not allowed charge for our services here in Manitoba.

It is either a % of the selling price or a flat fee.

It may be different in other Provinces.
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Old Apr 7th 2008, 8:57 pm
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Default Re: What does a Canadian Real Estate Agent DO?

Originally Posted by MB-Realtor View Post
That would be a great idea, if only it wasn't Illegal here, that is one of the ways, explicitly spelled out, that we are not allowed charge for our services here in Manitoba.

It is either a % of the selling price or a flat fee.

It may be different in other Provinces.
I'm not saying that you personally (or indeed any other realtor individually) could do it. Just that the system could be better. I accept that you have to work within current legislation.
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