Realtors fear new ban on dual agency will hit rural B.C. hardest

Beyond less choice for consumers, new rules mean Realtors are prone to conflicting sales

As the governing board of B.C. Realtors works to reform the industry, new regulations that will nix realtors from representing both a buyer and seller at the same time in a housing deal will soon take effect.

But ahead of those changes, realtors in the north are concerned that consumers in rural communities will have even less choice when it comes to buying or selling a home.

As of March 15, dual agency, or limited dual agency, will be prohibited – an idea first proposed by the Superintendent of Real Estate in September.

The proposed changes stem from recommendations issued in a report to the Real Estate Council of BC in June 2016, which was prompted by allegations that some real estate agents were flipping homes multiple times before a deal closed, also known as “shadow flipping,” that drove up prices and commissions.

While consumers may be protected, some realtors will struggle to find jobs that don’t pose conflict and consumers will be turned away, said John Evans, president of the Northern Real Estate Board.

The new rules could result in a realtor that people have known and trusted for years having to reject their business if they have a buyer client that is possibly interested in your home, he said.

“Imagine taking a transfer to one of these small communities but you cannot find a local agent to represent you as a buyer’s agent because they all have agency relationships with sellers,” said Evans.

“Will you use the services of an out-of-town agent that is not familiar with the area, does not have any local market knowledge, does not know where the latest grow-op home was?”

These are the types of services realtors have provided that may not be available in smaller communities in the next few years, Evans said.

“The loss of dual agency will restrict the services that we can provide to the consumer. ‘I’m sorry sir, I cannot show you homes. I’m sorry Ma’am, I cannot help you with your high assessment. I’m sorry you two, despite the fact that you are good friends and going through a divorce I cannot help you determine the value of your home. I’m sorry, I can put my sign on your lawn but I can’t sell your home to any of my former clients.’”

With such a large purchase, most consumers rely on realtors they know or have been recommended to by friends or family. In smaller communities Evans fears it will be next to impossible to avoid conflict, leading to businesses closing down.

“Will these small offices have to shut down based on the fact that they are simply unable to provide services based on strict guidelines to avoid conflict? They likely will,” he said.

“In the end, small offices will be absorbed by the larger offices. More agents will be providing services in under-serviced areas despite the fact that they have no knowledge of the local area. Services that have been provided by local agents will all but disappear.”

Changes for the protection of the consumer

Although the changes will take time adjusting throughout the province, the goal is to protect the consumer, said Mykle Ludvigsen, a spokesperson for the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate.

“Our job here is to make sure that people that have representation when they’re buying and selling something worth so much money are fairly and properly represented, and that is always our focus,” he said.

“We’re here to serve the public and not the industry. We talk closely with them to make sure we get it right but at the end of the day our job is to protect consumers.”

There is room for exceptions in very rural areas, where getting another realtor is almost impossible, but it’s up to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia to determine how to apply that rule, said Ludvigsen.

“The real estate agent isn’t the product. The home you’re trying to buy is the product. Our perspective is that you’re trying to buy a home and you’re having someone to help you do that and that person needs to be 100 per cent. Your fiduciary duty as a real estate licensee is to your client and that’s what this is designed to do.”

While it will change the way things are done, the hope is that the market will adjust.

“There are 35,000 realtors in the province of B.C. and I’m certain that they will find a way to manage this,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Black Creek actress finds success in a virtual world

Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read