It is not compulsory to retain the services of a real-estate broker (real-estate agent).
This being said, unless you are capable of handling on your own the purchase or the sale of a condo, and investing a lot of your time and efforts and possess specific knowledge in relevant fields, it is in your best interest to be assisted by a competent real-estate broker.
A regulated practice
The real estate broker can act on his own account or for a real estate agency. The practice of real-estate brokers is governed by the Real-Estate Brokerage Act. The agency designated as “Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) ”, (the Québec real estate brokerage self-regulating organisation), ensures the protection of the public and is responsible for the administration and the enforcement of the Real-Estate Brokerage Act.
Real-estate brokers must also abide to a Code of Ethic and are compelled to subscribe an insurance policy covering their civil liability, which is additional assurances to an owner-vendor and purchaser.
The real-estate broker is a guide who must, amongst many tasks , assess adequately the value of a property and get relevant historical information .To do so ,he should use the DRCOP form; “Demande de renseignements au syndicat de copropriétaires”,(Request for information to the syndicate of co-owners) and consult relevant documents, such as:
The declaration of co-ownership and its amendments ( it provides the allocation of common expenses between the co-owners and the rights of use in the common portions for restricted use);
The amendments to the By-Law of the immovablefiled in the register of the syndicate;
The insurance coverage of the co-ownership, to find out if the immovable is insured and the amount of the insurance deductible;
The total of the amounts in the contingency fund. Was a survey carried out to determine the amounts to be deposited in this fund?
The minutes of the meetings of the co-owners and of the Board of Directors (is there any mention of special assessments to carry out major work in the near future?
The common expenses in arrears (if any)affecting theprivate portion(s) sold;
The financial statement of the co-ownership, to find out if the current financial year will end up in a deficit.
The real-estate broker should always consult experts recognized in the field of co-ownership to proceed, as needed, to the relevant verifications.
And finally, the real-estate broker will prepare the declaration of the owner-vendor, who will, in turn, send to the purchaser the relevant documents such as the certificate of location and the deed of sale of its property.
The remuneration of the real-estate broker
The remuneration paid to the real-estate broker, his “commission”, is generally paid by the vendor. It usually includes, except in special cases, the inherent costs of his services: negotiations, publicity, traveling and communication expenses. This remuneration is to be negotiated between the parties and is generally based on a percentage of the sale’s price.
A safe transaction
For the duration of the sale process and of the assistance offered by the real-estate broker, the latter must act to ensure a safe transaction. If not, consumers have at their disposal recourses such as a claim to the; “Fonds d’indemnisation du courtage immobilier” (the Real-estate brokerage indemnity fund) and to the; “Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du courtage immobilier du Québec” (The Québec professional liability insurance fund of real-estate brokers).
Any person who wishes to become a real-estate broker must successfully pass a “rigorous admission examination”. Since May 1st, 2015, real-estate brokers must also participate in compulsory continuous training imposed by the “OACIQ”. You are therefore ensured that they are knowledgeable in the ins and outs of their profession and that their knowledge is kept up-to-date.
Amongst the training course accredited by the “OACIQ”, we wish to point out “Formation Condo”, organized by the “Collège immobilier du Québec”, in collaboration with the law firm de Grandpré Joli-Coeur. “Formation Condo” is given by the Emeritus Lawyer (Ad E) Yves Joli-Coeur and the curriculum is relevant to co-ownership. The real-estate brokers which successfully attend this course receive the title “Passion Condo” and are inscribed in the list “Passion Condo” on the site Condolegal.com.
An invaluable strike force
During his search for or the sale of a property, the real-estate broker will use the many tools at its disposal to bring the transaction to a successful conclusion, including the Centris system, which identifies condos compatible with your profile or purchasers interested in your apartment.
Furthermore, he will support you during visits by giving sound advice. A real-estate broker can also negotiate the price. The negotiations are a crucial step in any transaction and require the assistance and support of an experimented person. All and all, a real-estate broker ensures a presence during every step of the transaction leading ultimately to the signing of the deed of sale before the notary.
Compulsory and recommended standard forms prepared by the “OACIQ”
The “OACIQ” has prepared standard forms to protect your interests. Any real-estate broker must use those compulsory in some instances. They are (essentially) the following forms:
Declarations by the seller of the immovable. This form includes information essential to the drafting of a promise to purchase;
Promise to purchase – Divided co-ownership. This form is compulsory, even if the vendor or the purchaser is not an individual.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! A real-estate broker practicing in the field of co-ownership must have followed the appropriate training and be knowledgeable with Co-ownership Law. To help you choose your broker, Condolegal.com gives access to the Register of the brokers who have followed the “Formation Condo” training.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: The purchase of a condo is not a simple matter. Over and above commercial, financial and legal considerations, you must also be a skilled negotiator. Real-estate brokers who are members of a real-estate chamber are generally experimented in this field.
WARNING! The “Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ)” (the agency responsible to oversee real-estate brokerage in Quebec) ensures the competency of the brokers and of the managers of agencies for you. Make sure that the broker you wish to retain holds a valid permit by consulting the OACIQ Licence Holder Register.
CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Purchase and sale of a condo: Everything you should know at pages 236 and following.