By: Colleen Lyle & Joey Grimm

What is the difference between a Client and a Customer in a Real Estate Transaction?

Tags: Client vs Customer

Buying or Selling a home in Ottawa

Buying or Selling a Home in Ottawa - Difference between A Client vs A Customer


So you are thinking about buying a home in Ottawa?  You find one that you like and call up a Realtor to arrange for you to see it.  The Realtor may discuss a Buyer Representation Agreement with you and in doing so outline the difference between a real estate “Client” and a real estate “Customer”

In Real Estate transactions, there are two types of agreements that Buyers and sellers may enter into with a Real Estate brokerage – a Buyer Representation Agreement or a Customer Service Agreement. If you enter into a Buyer Representation Agreement, you are a client of the brokerage. If you enter into a customer service agreement, you are a customer. You can decide whether to be a customer, or a client, but please note that the obligations of the brokerage will differ.  See the following exerpt from the Real Estate Council of Ontario:

“If you are a client, the brokerage has an important obligation to you, called fiduciary duty, and must promote and protect your best interests in the real estate transaction. If you are a customer, the brokerage does not have that obligation, but is obligated to treat you with fairness, honesty and integrity, and to provide you with conscientious and competent service. If you are a client looking to purchase a property, under a legislated Code of Ethics, the salesperson must take reasonable steps to determine, and then disclose to you, all material facts about the property. If you are a customer, however, the salesperson only has to disclose to you the material fact that he or she already knows or ought to know, and they are not required to take any further steps,” says the Real Estate Council of Ontario – the body that regulates the trade of real estate in Ontario in the public interest.

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