New rules for B.C. realtors are throwing a wrench in the rural market, says seasoned Trail agent Ron Allibone.
“The public has always had the choice of using the same realtor,” he said. “That has been taken away from them.”
As of March 15, dual agency, or limited dual agency will be prohibited.
What that means, is realtors can no longer represent both a buyer and a seller at the same time in any real estate deal.
“This is a huge change for both the realtor and the public,” Allibone said.
“It opened up a can of worms and yes, it will have an incredible impact on rural realtors like us.”
When new regulations kick in, long-term clients may have to be handed over to a realtor they have no relationship with, and this could happen in the middle of a transaction.
“There are circumstances where I may even have to back away from the party whose listing I have, if I have a relationship with the person wanting to buy it,” Allibone continued. “So in this situation, I can’t represent the buyer or the seller.”
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, and driving up prices and commissions. This unscrupulous practice is known as “shadow flipping.”
Allibone sits on the Kootenay Real Estate Board as a Trail director, and he disputes that finding.
“This rule change was the previous government’s answer to shadow flipping that happened on the coast,” he explained. “Less than five per cent of realtors there ever did Limited Dual Agency ( representing the buyer and the seller ) and that was not what was behind shadow flipping.”
The Kootenay board is going one step further by taking action, they are appealing to the NDP government and the province’s regulating agency.
He says the board, through the BC Real Estate Association, is petitioning and trying to negotiate with the Minister of Finance and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate to postpone and review the devastating effect this will have on rural realty.
“And more importantly, the client we deal with,” Allibone emphasized.
According to the governing body, the RECBC (Real Estate Council of B.C.), new rules for real estate licensees, “will enhance consumer protection by increasing the number and frequency of disclosures that real estate licensees must make to consumers, and in almost all cases, prevent real estate licensees from acting for both a buyer and a seller in the same transaction.
“There are many other scenarios that have surfaced with this new rule,”Allibone said.
In this area, for example, Allibone says 20 to 30 per cent of a realtor businesses has historically involved representing both buyer and seller.
“(With) some top producing realtors, it can be 50 to 70 per cent,” he added.
The Kootenay Real Estate Board (KREB) is a not-for-profit association owned by its members and governed by a volunteer board of directors.