I’m planning to buy my first home this year, and am looking for a brokerage and salesperson to help me. How do I know if they are registered?

Congratulations! Purchasing a home is an exciting milestone.

With so many things to consider, recruiting a registered brokerage and real estate rep is a good first step.

Figuring out where to start your search for a home can be daunting. Hiring a brokerage will help take the guesswork out of the process, so you can focus on finding a place that meets your lifestyle wants and needs.

It is important to confirm a salesperson or broker is registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario. RECO is the provincial regulator that works to uphold the safe and fair trade of real estate by salespeople, brokers, and brokerages, all of whom must be registered with RECO in order to trade real estate in the province.

Here are a few tips to help you select a brokerage and sales rep that is right for you:

    • Seek out a brokerage that has experience in the type of real estate you are considering, ask questions and be forthcoming in providing information regarding what you are and are not looking for in a property. Limit the amount of personal and financial information you share until you decide to engage in a representation agreement with the brokerage;
    • When you have found a salesperson or broker you would like to work with, look them up on RECO’s website to ensure they’re registered to trade in real estate;
    • Be sure to read and fully understand the rights and responsibilities that you, your salesperson, and their brokerage will have before signing any documents.

In addition, you should also hire a real estate lawyer to handle the legal aspects of your purchase. Regardless of the property type you are considering — detached or semi-detached house, townhome or condominium — a real estate lawyer’s services can prove to be of tremendous value.

For example, when purchasing a condo, a lawyer will review the condo’s status certificate, which contains information about the physical and financial state of a building, and the condo corporation’s by-laws, among other documents. This is crucial information. If the previous owner wasn’t up to date on their condo fees, and you purchase the property, you could find yourself responsible for their outstanding debts.

I would also like to stress that while salespeople, brokers and brokerages have a fiduciary duty to represent the interests of their clients in a real estate transaction, no amount of advice and counsel can replace the benefits of being an active buyer.

Once you’ve selected a registered real estate rep and lawyer to represent you in your purchase, I encourage you to stay engaged, ask questions, and take ownership in making informed decisions in what will be one of the most significant purchases of your life.

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

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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