I’m selling my home, and my real estate agent will be taking a vacation soon. Should I be concerned?

That’s a great question – especially given that your property listing can be on the market anywhere from several weeks to several months.

It’s also a timely question. With the warmer months right around the corner, it is common for people to take a break to go on vacations for leisure and relaxation with family and loved ones – whether that’s to another country, another city or simply their cottage up north. Real estate agents are no different.

So, the short answer is no, you don’t need to be concerned.

I appreciate that it can feel stressful for a seller if their home is listed on the market and not sold yet. However, please know that agents are licensed professionals and have the resources and infrastructure to support real estate transactions even in their temporary absence.

When I bought my current home, my agent took a vacation, but it so happened that her brother was available as a substitute agent to us if something came up or we wanted to see other homes during her absence. We didn’t need to, but it was nice to know someone was there if we needed them.

Now, naturally when individuals hire a particular agent to help with the sale of their home, there is often an assumption that they will work only with them throughout the process. In fact, an agent may have been hired because of their specific individual experience and skills.

Communication is key here. For those who are looking to sell a home, but haven’t hired an agent yet, they can ask if the agent has any travel plans in the foreseeable future, before hiring them, and if so, the backup plan. However, it is critical to know that when you sign a listing or services agreement, you are entering into a legally binding contract with the brokerage, and not the individual agent.

While in most cases clients continue to work with the one agent who they selected, it is possible that their listing could be assigned to another colleague to accommodate vacation schedules or unforeseen absences, and still continue to keep the selling process moving forward. In that case, the other agent will be employed by the same brokerage.

So, in your case, if the original agent is going on vacation, you can ask them about the back-up plan. Ultimately, the responsibility will be on the new agent to sit down with you to establish a mutual understanding of your needs and preferences, as well as the services you are expecting while working together. They will get much of that from your agent, but it’s best to confirm yourself.

If you are not comfortable working with your new agent, you can speak with the person in charge of the brokerage, which is the broker of record. They can work with you to pair you with someone else who may be more suitable to meet your needs.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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