Working With REALTORS®: When are you a client?
With so many REALTORS® out in the world, we see their faces everywhere. The back of buses while we are in rush hour traffic, on the carts at the grocery store. Everyone seems to know at least one Agent in their lives, and often many more than that!
With so many people in the industry, it can be easy for a casual conversation to quickly turn into a working relationship. But how to know when that actually happens is important.
REALTORS® bump into two types of people, Clients and Non-Clients. All people fall into either of those two categories. Even our own friends and family. Why? Because we are professionals in the community with specific legal duties that we are educated on how to provide members of the public, whomever they may be. As good Agents, we know the difference and how to conduct ourselves to support each kind of person regardless of the relationship. So, how to know which type of person you are when you are speaking with an Agent?
Non-Clients? Clients? What's the Difference?
It's true, they both sound the same but in Real Estate, they are each unique types of consumers. While we always have a responsibility to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill, no matter the interaction, we service the needs of each person differently based on which side of this coin they are.
Who Is a Non-Client in Real Estate?
A Non-Client a person that we do not represent as a Real Estate Professional. In our every day lives, we meet people who are Non-Clients constantly. We could meet a Non-Client in the course of our work lives, at an Open House, at a Buyer's Seminar, or even just casually in a bank line up, or at the sidelines of our kid's soccer game on the weekend. A Non-Client is a member of the public who might casually ask "How's the market these days?" but to whom we are not providing "Agency"to. We don't represent them as a Buyer or a Seller, rather, and in answering any business related questions from a Non-Client, we would be careful not provide advice of any kind. The line is crossed once advice is given, creates "Agency".
What is Agency?
If we were to answer the question "How's the market these days?" with some quick facts on how homes are selling right now in Edgemont Village in North Vancouver in five days so it's a good time to sell, we would have created Agency. Agency is created when we cross the line from informing on facts, to advising on the facts informed.
Who is a Client in Real Estate?
Simply, a Client is a person who relies on our advice. Whether advice is casually given as we saw above, or is more formally delivered through signed representation documents identifying us as the Buyer or Seller's REALTOR® of choice, a Client benefits from our advice and we owe that person special legal duties as a result.
For more information on Agency, Non-Clients and Clients, just click here to see the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services.