BRA talk

UNDERWEAR modified

It looked perfect. Three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, 45-foot lot, smokin’ garage with bench, on a great street in the hood they wanted. Jim and Cindy were smitten. So after viewing it with a nice realtress we’ll call Bea Ware, they made any offer – conditional upon a satisfactory home inspection.

But the house failed. Some knob-and-tube, vermiculite insulation, saggy deck boards, roof and furnace at the end of their lifespan. The vendors weren’t willing to drop the price by the thirty grand needed to fix things, so Jim refused to sign a waiver and the offer died. End of story. On to the next listing. Adios Ms. Ware.

A month later, success. Better house, offer accepted, good inspection, deal firmed, hugs & kisses. Cindy was pumped. Then Jim got a call from the old agent. He hardly remembered her name, as they’d interacted for only a few days. She was calling as a courtesy, she said, to remind the happy couple they were legally obliged to ensure she received 3.5% commission on the price of their new home.

“Are you out of your friggin’ mind?” Jim asked. “How can you possibly ask for money when we bought another house from another agent that you had nothing to do with? You’re a crazy woman.”

Then Bea reminded Jim that he and Cindy had signed a BRA – Buyer Representation Agreement – when they put in the offer with her. “So what?” he said, “we didn’t buy it.” But that mattered not. Bea had filled out the BRA saying she was their buyer representative and in the event they purchased a single-family home anywhere in the entire city during a period of 90 days, she was entitled to commission. If the seller or the listing agent didn’t agree to share the commission with her (fat chance of that), it was the buyers’ responsibility to do so.

“You signed it,” she said, “and if you want to close this deal, you’ll need to abide by the conditions you accepted.” Jim lost it.

This is a true story. And while the BRA has been kicking around the industry for years, realtors have made a big push recently to snag every purchaser in this web of entrapment. The massive Toronto board has been pumping it hard, and starting the first of the month, Alberta realtors will be asking every buyer to sign. Don’t.

A story in the Edmonton Journal days ago gave the typical realtor spin, without the least attempt to explain what this document actually does:

Starting July 1, Realtors in Alberta will ask their clients to sign a written service agreement. While this has been standard practice for sellers, the rule change being implemented by the Real Estate Council of Alberta means people trying to purchase a home will also sign a buyer representation agreement.

The document lays down the ground rules of the relationship between the real estate agent and the client, which have typically been implied or based on conversation, said Kevin Clark, chairman of the council, which licenses Realtors in Alberta. “What are my expectations of this? When do I go out and how many homes are we going to look at, how do I write an offer, who does the writing and who develops the offer, how do you get paid and how long does this relationship go on for?” Clark said. “What a written service agreement does, is basically take all that I’ve just said and puts it down in writing so there is clarity of the relationship between the two parties.”

Sounds harmless, right? Almost reasonable. But it’s not about trust. Or service. Even duty. It’s about money. So let’s review again the three ways that BRAs can bite you. As I said here a year ago, they all have to do with commission.

First, you (the buyer) could be liable for the entire commission on the purchase of a home if the vendor decides not to pay, if there is a dispute over the amount, or full payment is not made at the time of closing for whatever reason.

Here’s what the BRA says: “The buyer agrees to pay directly to the Brokerage any deficiency between this amount and the amount, if any, to be paid to the Brokerage by a listing brokerage or by the seller. The buyer understands that if the Brokerage is not to be paid any commission by a listing brokerage or by the seller, the Buyer will pay the Brokerage the full amount of commission indicated.”

Second, you (the buyer) could be nailed for commission if you end up buying (or even renting) any property whatsoever if you don’t do it through the guy who made you sign the BRA. Even if you do it months after the agreement expires. Even if another agent shows you that property.

Here’s what the BRA says: “The buyer agrees to pay the Brokerage such commission if the buyer enters into an agreement within 90 days after the expiration of this agreement (Holdover Period) to purchase or lease any property shown or introduced to the Buyer from any source whatsoever during the term of this Agreement, provided, however, that if the Buyer enters into a new buyer representation agreement with another registered real estate brokerage after the expiration of this Agreement, the Buyer’s liability to pay commission to the Brokerage shall be reduced by the amount paid to the other brokerage under the new agreement.”

Third, if you (the buyer) enter into an agreement to buy a house, then get cold feet and back out, or decide you can’t actually afford it, or face death from your wife if you complete the deal, you’re screwed. Now your agent can sue you (along with the seller) since the agreement makes you liable to pay the commission as if the closing had taken place.

Here’s what the BRA says: “The Buyer agrees to pay such commission as described above even if a transaction contemplated by an agreement to purchase or lease agreed to or accepted by the Buyer or anyone on the Buyer’s behalf is not completed, if such non-completion is owing or attributable to the Buyers default or neglect.”

Yes, you should have a trusted agent assisting you in any purchase. But if you sign a BRA, you are the greater fool.


#1 nonconfidencevote on 06.08.14 at 5:16 pm

I knew these “BRA’s” were brutal but I had no idea how brutal.
Just another Realtor looking after “their” clients interest…………


#2 TimV on 06.08.14 at 5:16 pm

Here is one point where I disagree with Garth (the BRA).

When we bought a house (Toronto), none of the good real estate agents would talk to us unless we signed a BRA. They were willing to modify it and cross-out some of the onerous clauses (one even had her own suggestions for this). I think this is partly because what good real estate agents do — is they follow the rules and guidelines (no, it’s not a rule to sign the BRA, but I believe the source of the pressure to sign was from the brokerage).

So, sure, you can find an agent who want insist on a BRA, but I’d be worried about what other things they also won’t insist on…

Anyhow, we signed a 1 month BRA and bought a house 7 months later. The BRA had long since expired and was irrelevant, but it was the required entry fee for the realtors that we found + trusted.

#3 jumbo on 06.08.14 at 5:19 pm

Gotta get every dollar they can out of you. But it will only add $2.60 to your monthly payment… What a joke, this should be outlawed

#4 JRH on 06.08.14 at 5:21 pm

BRA is in Alberta too !!

#5 X on 06.08.14 at 5:23 pm

For those that think Garth makes these stories up:

#6 Rick in Japan on 06.08.14 at 5:28 pm

So, what was the end result with Jim and Cindy? Were they forced to pay the agent?

Yes. — Garth

#7 devore on 06.08.14 at 5:28 pm

Realtors will also tell you if you change your mind and want to work with another realtor after signing a BRA, you just ask for a release, and they will do it (because they have nothing to gain otherwise, huehuehue, yeah right), so no big deal. But there are many cases I have heard of anecdotally where the agent is dragging his/her feet in granting a release from the BRA, for weeks even months.

As a buyer, you’re dumber than a sack of rocks signing this garbage.

#8 FRYMIEISTER on 06.08.14 at 5:29 pm



#9 Chopper on 06.08.14 at 5:29 pm

Sound Advice Garth. Last house I purchased I only signed the BRA after I found a house and the offer was accepted.

The next time I buy a house I am not signing it.

#10 jake on 06.08.14 at 5:31 pm

This is a boring article because buyers who don’t read their agreements deserve to pay full commission to the original realtor – for being blind to the facts.

Of course any Realtor that sues risks a huge PR nightmare, and rightfully so, but it still doesn’t mean that the agreement is there to be changed and modified.

Whenever I have purchased a home I always ensure that just the address I am buying is in the agreement. That’s IT.

#11 Protea on 06.08.14 at 5:35 pm

How low can you go. I am aware of this BRA agreement pretty disgusting GT you are doing a stellar service by keeping people well informed.

What ever happened to the competition bereau that had the Real Estate Ind. in their gun sight. This industry needs to be exposed for what they are. A big percentage being unethical leaving a bad taste in one’s mouth. There are exceptions but they are far in between.

#12 Ralph Cramdown on 06.08.14 at 5:40 pm

It’s a contract. As much as an agent may try to present it as a thing that you just sign, it’s a thing that you can CHANGE before you both sign it. Change the length of time, make the area smaller (how about 24 hours, and this house only). Strike out paragraphs you don’t like. Add paragraphs that you want (like maybe the ability to terminate the agreement with written notice).

The thing that bothers me the most about it is that, as written, it gets the buyer to indemnify the brokerage against the seller’s brokerage not paying. Hey brokers, if another brokerage tries to screw you, sue them, don’t take it out on your client who you’ve told is getting service for “free.”

In the case of the poor schmuck in the story, he should threaten to go to court over it. If that doesn’t work, he should actually sue. A contract is first and foremost a meeting of minds. If the guy didn’t think he was signing an agreement that lasted beyond one property, then a judge probably won’t enforce it.

#13 Robbie on 06.08.14 at 5:44 pm

Confession…I am a Realtor! I’m sorry but nothing I can do about it at the moment! :)
There are 2 sides to this story. I have had spent many hours with Buyers checking out lots of homes and sending them lots of information only to have them select a home and then use a different Realtor who would give them a “rebate” of part of the commission. So, that’s why Realtors like BRA’s. That said, Buyers who sign a BRA are then “locked into” having to use a certain Realtor…could turn out he or she is a real jerk and once you sign the agreement they don’t do what they should. I never ask Buyers to sign a BRA and I accept that sometimes my Buyers will not treat me well…I can live with that as most Buyers I deal with are honest, fair and good to deal with. My advice is don’t sign a BRA but if you have an honest Realtor who gives you good advice and service then stick with him or her.

#14 Old Man on 06.08.14 at 5:47 pm

This mirrors an extortion racket – No? I have always believed that the mob had the exclusive rights in this regard. These Realtors have become banditos so we need a new name for them, and what should that be?

#15 just say no on 06.08.14 at 5:48 pm

Buying and selling realestate has way to many unpleasantries for me….I will stick with paying my landlord month to month while I am here on earth for this journey. This housing thing sure is fun to watch! It is like throwing people in to the lions den and they are so willing to go? How far and for how much is anyones guess. The price these egos will pay for their socially acceptable image. BRA is just another reason not to call about a listing as more and more hoops for sheeple to jump through are added and ways to get more money for doing nothing.

#16 Rob on 06.08.14 at 5:53 pm

When I was in the investment industry, I saw a great deal of oversight on the part of the Ontario Securities Commission. Powerful people in well-to-do firms would actually noticeably slump in the presence of the auditors. I know that the OSC didn’t do a perfect job, but at least there’s a broad recognition that they have teeth. That’s not the case with realtors. And what realtors can get away with, legally, is absolutely shocking. No wonder housing goes ever upwards here (though, of course, it won’t forever). Canada, land of the wealthy realtor, wealthy developer, wealthy banker, and poor everyone-else.

#17 Frustrated on 06.08.14 at 6:01 pm

I’ve been looking at homes with a couple agents. Both asked me to sign a BRA. I refused to sign. One said that I had to sign or he won’t be able to continue and I said that’s fine and I haven’t talk to him since. The other agent said I don’t have to sign but his office tool him any offers he puts on a house has to have a BRA with it. Will all agents make you sign a BRA to put an offer ?

#18 D.D. Corkum on 06.08.14 at 6:02 pm

To be honest, I think a BRA is a reasonable idea — but not with onerous terms like these.

It should only apply to homes that the agent has had a meaningful involvement in, such as by arranging a viewing. This protects the agent without giving them a disproportionate advantage over the buyer.

#19 Bobby on 06.08.14 at 6:04 pm

It’s always read before you sign.

Recall selling a condo at Whistler. Realtor was a useless twit who offered inept service. We got an offer and accepted it but wrote in a clause grossly reducing the commission.

She signed without reading it then initially refused to complete the sale. A quick call to the brokerage and the threat of a formal complaint and legal action brought her in line.

Yes, everyone should read and understand what they are signing.

#20 Old Man on 06.08.14 at 6:11 pm

#16 Rob – agree about the Ontario Securities Commission, as was under them, but disagree with the other. Years ago the Real Estate Industry along with Mortgage Brokers Association was under a Registrar who was feared; his name was Cox who was mean and for the smallest whim would phone to say he was watching us all. He called me once in the afternoon to inform me he had heard some rumours, and to watch my step or would get me one day. He drank too much, but nevertheless was feared.

#21 Yashar on 06.08.14 at 6:18 pm

This is the exact wording of the holdover clause for BRA:

“The Buyer agrees to pay the Brokerage such commission if the Buyer enters into an agreement within ……………………………days after the expiration
of this Agreement (Holdover Period) to purchase or lease any real property shown or introduced to the Buyer from any source whatsoever during
the term of this Agreement, provided, however, that if the Buyer enters into a new buyer representation agreement with another registered real estate
brokerage after the expiration of this Agreement, the Buyer’s liability to pay commission to the Brokerage shall be reduced by the amount paid to the other
brokerage under the new agreement.”

So Miss Ware is only entitled to the difference of the 3.5% and the commission that Jims and Cindy’s new realtor/ess is charging.

Second, Jim and Cindy can make an official complaint to RECO on the basis that the holdover clause was not made clear to them at signing the contract and the onus will be on Miss Ware to prove she complied.

They did not sign a second BRA. Nailed. — Garth

#22 Whistler bubble boy on 06.08.14 at 6:21 pm

#19 Bobby
Nice job turning the BRA around.
Very nice job selling your Whistler condo, things are getting ugly.
Garth you should cover the Whistler market one time, people are getting taxed, hit with special easements and tourism Whistler fees like never before. Not to mention the management fees are way off the chart, quarter ownerships can not be given away.

#23 Retired Boomer - WI on 06.08.14 at 6:23 pm

Never sign such a document. I’m not certain “I” would always use a Realtor, or at least one I did not know, or vetted previously. That said, I have always used a Realtor in the previous buy / sell relationships.

These RE transactions were in WI, MI and NY not Canada.

While no expert on Canadian Law the Latin phrase “Caveat Emptor” must still apply universally.

Buyer – BEWARE!!!!!!

#24 visitor number 9 on 06.08.14 at 6:55 pm

This is obviously what I’ve always said, that it is the buyer who pays the commission, not the seller.

#25 For those about to flop... on 06.08.14 at 7:04 pm

Once again the consumer gets screwed while the guys in Ottawa sit around with their thumbs up their bums!
It,s time for a real estate industry overhaul.

#26 AB Boxser on 06.08.14 at 7:07 pm

I’m still baffled why you continue to push these guys even though their terms for engagement (BRA) suck, their fees vastly exceed the actual amount of work done in most cases, their training and education required to enter the business is a joke, their trade organization (they are not a ‘profession’-please) is a monopoly, their statistics are manipulated and inaccurate to their own self interest, their sales tactics are highly suspect and possibly illegal (eg. dual agency, low ball listing to create price wars) , etc, etc. etc,…
But it’ still a good idea to use one to either buy or sell a home?
Makes no good sense.

#27 Blobby on 06.08.14 at 7:17 pm

I hope that “Bea Ware” got her money wrapped in dog crap

Realtors really are some of the scum of the Earth, just slightly below Politicians and car salesmen.

#28 KommyKim on 06.08.14 at 7:21 pm

Next you can write about the agreement the house inspector wants you to sign that absolves them of all responsibility for missing things during the inspection.

#29 takla on 06.08.14 at 7:27 pm

realtors are getting increasenly desperate for income,the b.r.a is a shame and im sure the contracts are written up with the smallest type possible to avoid detection.
And to think ive always been a bra lover,or at least what occupy’s them..this is sacrilege!!

#30 Mr. Reality on 06.08.14 at 7:28 pm

This is nothing but an attempt to control the revenues for real estate agents at a time in which everyone in the business knows the fat lady is singing.

Ask anyone in the mortgage business, things are not looking very good these days.

I think this move to manipulate buyers into these agreements will end up backfiring.

Mr. R.

#31 Joe2.0 on 06.08.14 at 7:41 pm

Garth I posted yesterday information about immigration re opening a pilot project welcoming, and i quote the
Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander “wealthy Chinese investors are welcome.
It also pertains to Chinese students .

It a Government Document.
TITLED -if link fails.
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Visits China. Dated March 17 2014
Government of Canada News Release.

The immigration program is opening under a different title.
Pilot Immigration program with a larger entry fee.

30,000 students entered Canada in 2013 and 35,000 permanent residents. (From China)

Am I missing something?

#32 NDP voters Vote strategic on 06.08.14 at 7:43 pm

As a strong NDP supporter it pains me to vote anyone but NDP but in this case my riding could go either liberals or crazy conservatives (Hudak) and so I will vote liberals. We as NDP must send a message to NDP whorebath who forced an election even though the liberals has an NDP favorable bill. WhoreBath reminds me of Bob Rae who was a conservative in NDP clothing. We don’t need another Mike Harris. Don’t be suckered by the corporate media who is giving whorebath a lot of media time ( never seen that before) because the conservative hope you are fooled into throwing your vote away and then giving Tim Hudak a mike harris clone victory. Make your VOTE COUNT AGAINST HUDAK so dont’ throw it away .

#33 Smoking on 06.08.14 at 7:44 pm


Anyone who signes one is retarded… If your forced to do it, so they present an offer.

Get another agent.

#34 Old Man on 06.08.14 at 7:50 pm

#29 takla – do not like BRA, as BRAless would be better in the Real Estate business.

#35 Shawn on 06.08.14 at 8:06 pm

A BRA burning party needed?

I am sure Robbie at 13 is correct that in part these things are the result of a-hole clients who took advantage of the “free” services of buying agents and then used another agent.

People are cheap and if they were not so cheap maybe agents could just charge by hour for work actually done.

Same thing for stocks. People whine endlessly about MERs and trailer fees but not 1 in a 100 is willing to pay a decent rate by the hour for ahdvice.

Buyers don’t need real estate agents anyhow. Sellers usually do.

In my view, wrong. Buying without a dedicated agent magnifies risk. How many properties have you purchased lately? — Garth

#36 Ford Prefect on 06.08.14 at 8:08 pm

#12: Ralph Cramdown, is basically correct.

In cases such as this the rule of “contra proferentum” often applies. Basically the rule says that if a contract is offered by a knowledgeable party to an innocent, naive etc. party (ie. unequal bargaining power) then the innocent party can be relieved from obligation on the basis of lack of understanding. In many cases inability of the knowledgeable party to prove that he/she recommended that the innocent party seek independent legal advice can also be fatal.

#37 Entrepreneur on 06.08.14 at 8:10 pm

I really don’t know how some real estate agents sleep at night…this is absolutly terrible to do this to a buyer. Do not sign a BRA agreement after hearing about Jim and Cindy. The more that don’t sign the end of it.

I know, I have an idea: Every small business should have an agreement like BRA. Operators of small businesses give pros and cons of product(s), talk to the customer for about half an hour (give or take) but only to notice that the customer buys from one of the big box stores at a cheaper price. Time for small businessess to have an agreement: if customer wants information about product, they have to sign an SBA that says have to pay a certain amount if do not buy at their store.

Do not sign BRA; everyone, do not sign BRA.
Live with the consequences realtors just like everyone else or get another job.

Maybe everyone should pool together and help Jim and Cindy. I will pitch in to fight this because this is just plain wrong.

#38 Poker Face on 06.08.14 at 8:11 pm

Over the years, I have done my own homework, and when I put in an offer, I do it with the listing agent. I tell them it is a one-shot deal, and if the deal goes through they get both sides of the commission, so I won’t sign the BRA. Sometimes they make made me sign something saying this is a one-shot deal, which is fine. But I never had an agent say they wouldn’t agree to that. The logic of this approach of course is that the agent is incentivized to get the deal done and to protect the deal, which can be just as important, as the listing agent is in control of the situation.

#39 OttawaMike on 06.08.14 at 8:21 pm

I will again recount this anecdote of my experience with BRA’s. Soon to be ex-wife and I are going through a rather amicable separation and she has enlisted the help of a rather inept realtor who took us around to see some dud properties. Ex even placed an unsuccessful offer and unknowingly signed a BRA in the process(sign here it is just a formality)

I found her a FSBO that turned out to be a decent deal and ex’s offer was accepted. Realtor finds out and wants 6%. I told her to ignore his harassing phone calls and he did eventually go away empty handed in his Yellow Pontiac Aztec with the wrap photo of his sorry face splashed across the hood and sides.

#40 not 1st on 06.08.14 at 8:29 pm

Just don’t pay it. Make the realtor go to court to enforce it. I bet she backs off big time knowing things will be tied up for years and she will have a nice hefty lawyer bill trying to get it.

#41 Shawn on 06.08.14 at 8:35 pm

I said… Buyers don’t need real estate agents anyhow. Sellers usually do.

In my view, wrong. Buying without a dedicated agent magnifies risk. How many properties have you purchased lately? — Garth


Maybe so, not a view I hold strongly one way or the other. I would hesitate to use an agent is some restrictive BRA were needed.

I have purchased three houses, 1989, 1990 and 1995. So, basically all were pre internet era and I used agents in all three cases and had no BRA and was happy with the service.

I am given to understand that one could get a lot of info from the internet these days and just attend open houses.

Someone has to write up the offer however…

Basically, in this whole matter of house buying and use of real estate agents I will admit to knowing very little.

Is actual knowledge now a requirement for posting here?

#42 KommyKim on 06.08.14 at 8:37 pm

RE: #39 OttawaMike on 06.08.14 at 8:21 pm
I found her a FSBO that turned out to be a decent deal and ex’s offer was accepted. Realtor finds out and wants 6%

I wonder how he found out. Especially since it was FSBO. Maybe the real estate lawyer your ex used was known to the agent?

#43 Joe Anderson on 06.08.14 at 8:57 pm

What this realtor did was legal, and while I feel Jim and Cindy were ultimately responsible to understand the legal document they signed (even if that required them taking it to a lawyer), I cannot help but think the realtor in question pulled a fast one and did something that is unethical. It took 5 minutes to read and comprehend what Garth wrote about this situation. I suspect he was able to write the piece quickly, too, being familiar with the subject. This makes me think the realtor could have also explained the implications of the BRA to Cindy and Jim in 15 minutes (1/2 hour max if they asked a lot of questions). I also suspect she chose not to deliberately. I will also go out on a limb and “guess” she did not suggest Cindy and Jim get a real estate lawyer to review the BRA with them. This type of realtor won’t get glowing referrals, and I doubt she will succeed in the long term with this type of behaviour. That said, in the short to mid term she may screw over plenty more good people like Cindy and Jim. Is there no effective way to protest her conduct with the local real estate board, or any other regulatory agency?

#44 OttawaMike on 06.08.14 at 8:58 pm

#42 KommyKim on 06.08.14 at 8:37 pm

Ex told him when he phoned to tell her he had more listings to show. She had no idea what she had signed.

Story gets better: Fast forward 5 years and Aztec man shows up to present an offer on my house on behalf of an interested party. We meet and shake and he sneers “I remember you” as he presents the offer.

His buyers never returned after my reasonable counter offer.

#45 test on 06.08.14 at 9:05 pm

@42 Komm Kim

They have access to land regitry

#46 Mean Gene on 06.08.14 at 9:05 pm


#47 Old Man on 06.08.14 at 9:09 pm

There is a need for an honest real estate agent in any transaction. The profile is older; has big money; knows the market; and has a moral obligation to protect your interests. For Example – in Muskoka proper is a small firm of realtors all multi-millionaires; need something to do; lived in the area for generations; and their names alone are legendary. If I was buying or selling in Muskoka guess who I would go to, as know them all.

#48 gladiator on 06.08.14 at 9:15 pm

Garth, you were an annoyance for house selling professionals till today. Now, you’re their enemy.
Today’s post is literally throwing a huge wrench in their works. Kudos!

#49 section8 on 06.08.14 at 9:20 pm

I recently bought a house in Calgary with a low-ball offer and got it! My realturd, witch was a useless piece of crap, did nothing but try to talk us up in price. The BRA was pesented just like Jim and Cindy. I told him if you want me to sign a contract to buy a house you can hit the road. This industry needs to be cleanded up bad. Also realtors are a pathetic breed of human beings.

#50 mark on 06.08.14 at 9:20 pm

I’ve been searching for Bea Ware all day on google so I could give her a piece of my mind!

I’m beginning to think that’s not even her real name!

#51 OttawaMike on 06.08.14 at 9:26 pm

#32 NDP voters Vote strategic on 06.08.14 at 7:43 pm

Are you a Liberal staffer – press secretary type or just a registered volunteer getting the word out?

This is the most despicable election I have ever had to vote in. What has become of once mighty Ontario?

#52 Cici on 06.08.14 at 9:30 pm

#25 For those about to flop

I totally agree. The BRA is total nonsense, and RE in Canada is a joke.

#53 TheCatFoodLady on 06.08.14 at 9:32 pm

What if everybody refused to sign a BRA? Many salespeople work, as do RE agents, on a commission basis. It’s not uncommon for any salesperson to spend hours with a client only to NOT get the sale. It’s the cost of doing business & as in any profession, the well reputed sales professionals who offer ethical, legal service develop a reputation as people to seek out if the services they’re offering are what you need. I’ve never bought any product where I had to sign the equivalent of a BRA.

One can tell the agent a number of things other than a flat out: “No.” First, it’s YOUR money or financing & if you’re a motivated buyer, are they willing to walk away from the potential commission? Make them aware you know the implications of a BRA – all of them, hence no signature.

I’m concerned about the younger buyers. For a generation that pride themselves on their ability to research EVERYTHING & find answers in under a minute or two, why are they so clueless?

In all fairness when it comes to RE – many don’t know what questions they should be asking & many RE agents aren’t in a hurry to tell them.

As to the home inspection deal & clauses, you can’t hold an inspector liable for a defect he could only have seen if he opened up walls or caused other damage. I would change the inspection contract to add they’re responsible for VISIBLE deficiencies they signed off on – something like that.

#54 -=jwk=- on 06.08.14 at 9:33 pm

if the price of housing has doubled in the last ten years, why hasn’t the % commission been cut in half? Anyone else get a 100% raise in the last 5 years?

I bet you when/if prices go down, realtor will try and raise their % take ‘to compensate’ you see.

#55 Ben on 06.08.14 at 9:34 pm

It’s pretty simple. If your realtor tries to get you to sign this, even if you refuse and they back off, they are filth. Do not do business with companies that use these. If they use it with anyone they have no scruples.

#56 Hawk on 06.08.14 at 9:41 pm

#2 TimV on 06.08.14 at 5:16 pm

I agree with you.

Common sense suggests that in a commission based business, if the client does not sign some kind of agreement, the agent would have endless clients ripping them off.

All a client would have to do is make a particular agent do all the work and then either close on their own or through another agent (who agrees to a small fraction of market based compensation). Without a written agreement the agent doing the work will be screwed, there isn’t a snowflakes chance of them proving anything in court.

The only clause that logically seems unreasonable is the one that states that the buyer should bear the whole commission if the seller is unable or unwilling to pay their share. A smart buyer can require his agent to remove or modify that one.

#57 Andrew Woburn on 06.08.14 at 9:46 pm

#25 For those about to flop… on 06.08.14 at 7:04 pm
Once again the consumer gets screwed while the guys in Ottawa sit around with their thumbs up their bums!
But are they clean? Madeline wants to know.

No, no. Not again. — Garth

#58 World traveller on 06.08.14 at 10:03 pm

#44 OttawaMike on 06.08.14 at 8:58 pm

Were you dealing with Walter White?

#59 rob on 06.08.14 at 10:08 pm

I am confused, Garth. You advise readers here to use a good listing agent when selling a home. One that you obviously sign a listing agreement with. If it goes awry, then try to get out of it.

Isn’t a BRA the same thing but on the buyer side? Shouldn’t you, as a buyer, find a really good agent and sign an agreement to work together when buying? How is it different?

Read the post. — Garth

#60 AisA on 06.08.14 at 10:20 pm

If this country were the size of Gibraltar it might all make sense, if I here one more time, just one more time that ” they ain’t making any more land”, I ‘m going to deck someone.

Hey geniuses, last time I checked there was no fountain of youth either.

The patient will always buy for a song.

#61 Shawn on 06.08.14 at 10:24 pm

Don’t Knowingly Waste People’s Time

CatFoodlady says:

It’s not uncommon for any salesperson to spend hours with a client only to NOT get the sale. It’s the cost of doing business


There is no justification to knowingly waste a realtor’s time (or any other sales person) if one has no real intention or even inclination of buying, from that person, ever.

It’s fine to to maybe talk to a salesperson during some of their dead time such as in a store or at an open house. It’s not fine to expect a realtor to or other salesperson to spend a lot of time and effort with you under false pretexts. You are not obligated to buy but you should not knowingly waste the person’s time.

If I were merely tire kicking I would not bother a realtor. Only if I had real intentions to buy (or sell) would I use a realtor.

As for Realtor’s they should know when to fire or refuse to serve a customer who they feel is wasting their time.

There may be a lot of realtors from hell, there are also most certainly customers from hell (in any business) who should be “fired”.

#62 omg on 06.08.14 at 10:29 pm

The BRAs i Saskatchewan also cover FSBO.

So even if the house is not on MLS (listed through a broker) and no real estate agent had anything whatsoever to do with your FSBO purchase, you will still be on the hook for some amount of commission payable to the broker you signed the BRA with.

#63 saskatoon on 06.08.14 at 10:29 pm

#51 OttawaMike

Ontario is being slowly Michiganized.

#64 Nemesis on 06.08.14 at 10:31 pm


#WarningOrders. #Where’sYourFreshUnderwearWhenYou’reTryingToPack!?!

[NoteToGT: I’m beginning to wish I’d forgone the SixPack after this afternoon’s ‘DevilRide’. NeverMind, SaltyDogz… ‘N’ doesn’t sleep. Chillax. For now.]

#65 Pope Nosty666ynVlad the Snugglebombed on 06.08.14 at 10:45 pm

#176 TS on 06.08.14 at 6:32 am — Wow! I’ve got two confirmed fans now, so I’ll give SMan a run for the money in this lifetime!
In this quote from, see if you can spot where the west and Harper is, and note the year it was written.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY! — “Capital must protect itself in every way…Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd.” — Taken from the Civil Servants’ Year Book, “The Organizer”January 1934
SMan — 4 U; The Soros – Obama connection, Artificial Intelligence Somewhat goes with last night’s link, about our futures already being decided for us; Secession Not just a European fancy; Christine Lagarde Whoops! The IMF does screw up; As above, so below Star Trek was way ahead of its time. Kudos to Gene Roddenberry, who witnessed many UFOs as a USAF pilot; Fracking What is it good for? MH370 Strangely curious; None Of The Above One of the best voting options presented in years.

#66 CalamityJane on 06.08.14 at 10:55 pm

We as first time buyers recently put an offer on a home. When we met our agent to sign the offer he brought up the BRA and I refused to sign it. He asked why and I replied because I heard horror stories of how it was used by realtors to the detriment of their “customers” (as an aside wtf is all the garbage distinction realtors make about being a customer vs being a client – complete trash). He tried to persuade me by saying we could get a release at any time if we chose to stop working with him, because hey hes an honest guy and doesnt operate like those other guys do. Then he tried sending me the plain language explanation because apparently I didnt want to sign because I was misinformed and didnt understand the legal jargon (duh gee dont ask me Im just a girl). Then he told me I would have to sign one if the offer was accepted anyway so I might as well sign. Had my boyfriend not been there the contract woild have been so far down his throat…. Anyway in all the explanation no where did the Crea coles notes version explain the 3 implications outlined by Garth. Nada. Not even anything related to the comission being our (buyer) responsability if the seller didnt pay up. We were without a doubt purposely misled and repeated attempts were made to convince us this contract isnt really binding because we can get out if it at any tine. Im glad Im stubborn, I cant imagine other newbies trusting their real estate professional and signing as instructed without a clue as to the consequences.

#67 John in Mtl on 06.08.14 at 11:14 pm

@ #10 jake on 06.08.14 at 5:31 pm

Right on! It IS the buyer’s responsibility to carefully read any agreement or contract and negotiate to alter or biff clauses. If they can’t agree, get another agent. That’s it, that’s all.

#68 Freedom First on 06.08.14 at 11:16 pm

Time spent reading all of Garth’s Blog from the beginning of time is time well spent. Will $ave your a$$. If you don’t wish to do this have a good lawyer who specializes in every business deal you do.

If anybody thinks this written contract is bad, you aint seen nothing yet. Talk to a few lawyers who deal with the wills and estates of the deceased. Their stories of the deceased persons relatives fighting over the estate, without a will, or even with a will, will give you a whole new slant on what people will do to each other when money is involved. And that’s family doing it to each other. Fact.

#69 Ronaldo on 06.08.14 at 11:27 pm

#14 Old Man – how about Con-dor’s (aka Vultures)

#70 Angus on 06.08.14 at 11:27 pm

A very interesting look at Detroit in time lapse

#71 natrx on 06.08.14 at 11:31 pm

BRAs should be illegal. However, the buyers in this case didn’t pay attention, and should have done their research.

#72 Realtors are useless on 06.08.14 at 11:50 pm

Realtors are useless. The RE industry keeps all the info(should be public info) and thus forces people to use realtors that have no value. Realtors are like travel agents where at one point in time they were needed and now NOT. Canada needs to free itself from realtors strong hold and become like the US where info is public. Realtors here know they are not worth $10 an hour.

#73 TheCatFoodLady on 06.08.14 at 11:54 pm

#61 – Shawn: I agree totally. It’s not fair to waste an RE agent’s time & resources if/when you have no intention of using them in a purchase. We do a lot of dissing of RE agents here but there are some very good ones out there who know the market, know how to price properly to get results for their clients & have over time, built a reputation as solid people any customer would be pleased to deal with.

When I’m window shopping or not entirely sure what I want, I let the salesperson who approached me know that. If I do decide to purchase something, I make sure I find the salesperson who first approached me to handle the sale – only seems fair.

#74 Rainclouds on 06.08.14 at 11:59 pm

Yet another example of the malfeasence present in the RE industry.

Way overdue for independent oversight……….too many weasels who have little ethics and morals, they need to be on a tight leash.

ridiculous Fees, BRAs, Suspect statistics, shady marketing tactics, ect ect ect

#75 Questioning on 06.09.14 at 12:07 am

What about buying from com free or private sale?

#76 Oceanside on 06.09.14 at 12:42 am

There may be a lot of realtors from hell, there are also most certainly customers from hell (in any business) who should be “fired”.

I know quite a few realtors and have never heard of anybody that uses the BRA, I do know that some realtors spend literally hundreds of hours over sometimes 3 or 4 years and do not get paid a single cent, admittedly we live in the boondocks of Vancouver Island, not the big city…

#77 David Lee on 06.09.14 at 1:01 am

Trickle down from here:

“The massive distortions created by the Fed’s interest rate manipulations will be with us for far longer than most analysts anticipate … Why? Because the United States is still in the midst of the Great Recession.”

#78 dave c on 06.09.14 at 1:05 am

Sorry folks, just like you need an agent to use the MLS, all the agents will REQUIRE you sign a BRA before they agree to represent you. If you decline, you are SOL in getting an agent as ALL AGENTS will be requiring this document.

So you can sit at your computer saying how tough you will be telling the agent to shove it but in REALITY, you won’t be able to get your house onto the MLS without signing one.

Agents need to protect themselves from unscrupulous buyers!

#79 Nemesis on 06.09.14 at 2:23 am


#80 Buy? Curious? on 06.09.14 at 2:40 am

Wait! Did I miss something? Where does it say the real estate agent held a gun to their heads? Where does it say they were forced to sign? This is the problem with people. They don’t understand the consequences of their actions then complain. I laugh in their faces! Great post, Garth! Anymore comments about female anal hygenie?

#81 Nemesis on 06.09.14 at 2:44 am

#JustForOldMan. #Ain’tGotTimeToTakeNoFastTrain. #BackSoonSaltyDogz. #Promise. #LydiaPurple.

#82 jackman on 06.09.14 at 3:47 am

BRA= Another way to sucker the consumer.

BTW, What’s with all of these feminist, NDP and misandry posts? Have the commies invaded Ontario?!

Prior to the 2000s, I didn’t take feminists seriously, but as for now, I forgot that the government caters to feminists, and whenever feminists, commies, NDP Marxists tend to post their propaganda, one must be cautious of these commies.

Lieberals have wrecked the economy of Ontario, and the far right Harper government is trying to enforce internet surveillance on his dissents.

So what if these feminists are bragging about their wages or exaggerating their protected victim status? The bigger picture is that males will end up as second class citizens while the state expands & redistributes the wealth to feminists.

Male unemployment might increase over time if feminists have it their way. The feminists are already given a free pass in the Canadian justice system. Soon, with Harper or Lieberals in charge, online criticism of a feminist might be criminalized.

#83 Castaway on 06.09.14 at 6:44 am

Since the real estate industry wants to make BRAs standard practice why not have mandatory procedure that agent has to ask “have you signed a BRA with any other realtor lately” and explain the consequences before taking them on? Problem solved.

But then again if you are about to enter into an arrangement to invest, on a leveraged basis, 6 or 7 times your annual salary and you don’t have a lawyer review what you are signing BEFORE YOU SIGHN IT you probably get what you deserve.

#84 stomper on 06.09.14 at 6:48 am

I’ve bought many house in my lifetime – never needed a Realtors assistance – why would anyone need to pay for a negligible service????

You don’t pay. And the service can be most beneficial. — Garth

#85 Sean on 06.09.14 at 7:36 am

Is there no concept of fiduciary duty in real estate transactions? In example after example, this BRA being probably the worst, we see not only a breach of fiduciary duty… it’s more of a hostile attack on the financial well being of the client. At least in the brokerage industry, lip service is paid to this duty.

I think the whole industry needs to come under rather vicious attack, legally. An overwhelming case load, with media coverage, of every single slip up and misdeed on the part of realtors. The whole thing has gotten out of control.

#86 the jaguar on 06.09.14 at 7:53 am

Ottawa Mike: has your ex searched the title to her house? Maybe the realtor registered a lien in order to ensure she repays her contractural obligation. When she sells that house he will get paid.
As for ‘Mighty Ontario’, it’s been “Mighty Alberta” for quite a few years now.

#87 nobody on 06.09.14 at 7:57 am

Seriously, skip the buyers agent. The selling agent too if you can. Most agents are failed used car salesmen. Hire a lawyer and let him/her do the paperwork, you’ll have to have one regardless to close. Adds little to your bill. Around here (Windsor area) all the agents will offer to send you listings, then maybe half will send you a couple MLS listings (for which you’re already aware) then disappear. You want to sign a BRA and pay THESE people a commission. I don’ think so.

As for the Ontario election, for for Nobody.

#88 jess on 06.09.14 at 8:13 am

…”by classifying the internet as a “common carrier,” or in other words, a public utility. Such a distinction would allow the FCC to demand that internet service providers, like Comcast or Verizon, are not allowed to create internet slow lanes and fast lanes.”

Hilarious look at the issue of common carrier
From the former Daily Show fake-newscaster and comedian John Oliver, who now helms his own show on HBO, Last Week Tonight.

…Broadband for America’s most recent tax filing shows that it retained the DCI Group, an infamous lobbying firm that specializes in creating fake citizen groups on behalf of corporate campaigns.

..”The DCI Group calls itself a “strategic public affairs consulting firm” and boasts that it handles corporate issues like political campaigns. ” wiki

#89 The Man From Nantucket on 06.09.14 at 8:18 am

#78 dave c on 06.09.14 at 1:05 am
…….. in REALITY, you won’t be able to get your house onto the MLS without signing one……

You have a good explanation as to why I would be signing a BUYER’S representation agreement to get my home onto the MLS?

May not be very tough, but, most of us may be smarter, or at least more diligent in reading.

#90 Mr. Frugal on 06.09.14 at 8:34 am

*** TRUE STORY ***

A couple of years ago, my wife and I had a nasty run-in with a realtor over a BRA. At the time, we didn’t have an agent and were just starting to look at houses. So we called the listing agent to view a house we were interested in. After a quick look, we decided it wasn’t what we were looking for. But, to be polite, we told the lady that we would think about it. Then she tells us that we have to sign this document because we looked at the house. I asked her what this was all about and why we had to sign it. She wouldn’t give us any details or explain what it was for. She just insisted that because she had showed us the house we had to sign it. It turned out to be a BRA. We told her that we were leaving and we weren’t signing anything. At this point, she basically flipped out and got really mad. She made it sound like we were breaking the law by refusing to sign the BRA. I was fully expecting to get a call from a lawyer. Seriously!

#91 frank le skank on 06.09.14 at 9:11 am

Can you use the BRA to specify a reduction in realtor fees?

#92 Ray Skunk on 06.09.14 at 9:20 am

I wonder what would the take would be if I sign a BRA contingent on the Realtor signing an SRA; an agreement for the Realtor to only work with me and no other buyer/seller for the duration of however long it takes for me to buy a property.

I’d just be protecting my interests – having my Realtor exclusive to me, being ready to go at a moments notice for a viewing, unhindered or distracted by having to deal with other clients.

Don’t think it would go down too well, somehow.

#93 Holy Crap wheres The Tylenol on 06.09.14 at 9:28 am

#70 Angus on 06.08.14 at 11:27 pm

A very interesting look at Detroit in time lapse


Scary as hell, back in the early seventies I had a great opportunity to work for a high end defense company using at the time what was know as LSI circuity for components. We moved to Balmoral Drive at Woodward and Eight Mile. Albeit the area was very nice then and the last time I checked was still beautiful. However the areas around the old home have steadily declined and are closing in. Technically we lived in Northern Detroit within the boundaries but at the extreme end. Much like Smoking Man lives in Long Branch right next to Mississauga. This has to be the saddest thing to see when I’m sure back in the 50’s and 60’s these old homes were quite nice. I remember going on the cruise with my neighbors in our old muscle cars on Woodward on a Saturday night, good times! Sad, really sad that this area is lost!

#94 bigrider on 06.09.14 at 9:28 am

Shocking to me that in spite of the low level of educational acumen required to become a real estate agent and in light of the BRA, just one more black mark on an already archaic industry, Garth continues to recommend using one.

Seriously, all you need is a good lawyer to buy or sell and yes I have done both without the use of an RE agent.

#95 omg on 06.09.14 at 9:33 am


So part of the rationale for the obscenely high commissions that agents get is that they are never sure if their work will result in a sale. So each time they show a house, make an offer, etc. they are taking a risk that the sale will never go through and they will never get paid for their work.

Seems to me that the BRAs greatly improve the likelihood that the agent will eventually get something for their work. Therefore they should be willing to take a lower commission.

So when the BRA is trotted out for you to sign suggest that the agents commission on any sale be reduced a few thousand.

Good luck on that one.

#96 omg on 06.09.14 at 9:40 am

78 Dave C

“Sorry folks, just like you need an agent to use the MLS, all the agents will REQUIRE you sign a BRA before they agree to represent you. If you decline, you are SOL in getting an agent as ALL AGENTS will be requiring this document.”

I am not sure if the provincial boards will make them mandatory. My experience in Sask. a few years back is that they were not mandatory.

There were some very good agents that made it a selling feature of their service that they did not lock you in. Their pitch was that they were so good that you would use them voluntarily to complete a deal rather than be forced to use them.

Certainly worked for the agent that we ended up using – he did three deals for us and at least 6 other deals based on our recommendations to other family/friends.

#97 Dupcheck on 06.09.14 at 9:58 am

People shop for tomatoes longer than when they shop for a RE agent or think twice before signing an important document. RE agents know this, and they take advantage of people that trust them. This is why RE agents should be liable for their actions. The agents should also explain everything to the buyer not just hand them a document with more small font than the body of the letter to be signed under pressure in one minute or less…

#98 TO Renter on 06.09.14 at 9:59 am

Treat everyone ethically and fairly and things have a better chance of moving smoothly (both agent with buyer and buyer with agent). But that trust is strained by a few bad apples on each side.

Even if you don’t sign a BRA, there is still legal recourse for the brokerage/agency who did work for you and got stiffed on commissions. See Stoicevski v. Nelson, 2007 CarswellOnt 8606.

Review what you are signing, understand it, negotiate the terms, come to a meeting of minds. What is fair and reasonable for everyone. An agreement should ideally protect all parties by making their roles and responsibilities clear.

Different agents/brokers will work with you as a buyer on customizing a BRA. Or write up a release of liability.

All in all, a good real estate lawyer reviewing and advising one every step of the way seems to be money extra well spent today. That was one invoice I saw the value and hours behind, and there is a standard law society rate scale they use. The 5% flat one (seller position) was a lot harder to swallow in direct comparison.

And to think I never used to like lawyers much…

#99 Duncan herbert on 06.09.14 at 10:11 am

BSQ to the bra nonesense. These types of contracts have no legality in any other industry. If this is the crap consumers are still dealing with in the 21 st century, let the whole industry go bankrupt and start again from the ashes. Even drug dealers don’t have servitude this good.

#100 Smoking Man on 06.09.14 at 10:20 am

Moody’s, credit downgrade for Ontario imminent.

Translation, two gas plants worth of extra interest…..

But the tree huggers oblivious for what awaits them…

We need serious cuts to waste… More than who-daht proposing..

#101 Granny Annie on 06.09.14 at 10:30 am

In (West) Germany, the buyer and seller would pay the agent’s commission (split 3%/3%). There was no MLS, no for sale signs on the lawn, and it was all exlusive listings. You had to go to each individual agent’s office. It may be different now, with the internet. But again, they never did have the housing hype most of the rest of the world had.

#102 Daisy Mae on 06.09.14 at 10:34 am

#56 Hawk: “… buyer should bear the whole commission if the seller is unable or unwilling to pay their share.”


‘Unable’ or ‘unwilling’? There’s a slow change happening before our eyes — the future may hold that buyers pay the full commissions and not the sellers.

#103 Doug in London on 06.09.14 at 10:54 am

@Robbie, post #13;
It’s good that there are at least some honest people out there in this under regulated, everyone for themselves business of real estate. The moral of the story is ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT! If you don’t understand what the fine print means, then ask. If Bea Ware, or any other agent, insist you sign the BRA then find another agent of look at FSBOs.

#104 Ralph Cramdown on 06.09.14 at 11:04 am

#102 Daisy Mae — “[T]he future may hold that buyers pay the full commissions and not the sellers.”

Ain’t never going to happen. With the current pay structure, the buyer effectively rolls the commission payment into the mortgage and pays it off over 25 years. If the buyer paid, the amount couldn’t be considered part of the house’s value, so he’d have to pay it in cash… The equivalent of increasing the downpayment requirement from 5% to 10%. Agents like the current system just fine.

#105 Mixed Bag on 06.09.14 at 11:17 am

#92 Ray Skunk on 06.09.14 at 9:20 am


#106 nobody on 06.09.14 at 11:20 am

The solution is for sellers to stop using agents to sell their houses, and do reasonable promotion of their property (maybe hire some PR help for that). Unfortunately, around here, people who do try to sell on their own make very stupid mistakes, the worst being leaving out an asking price THEN saying “Serious inquires only”. Then those who don’t give an address and don’t responded when asked for one. These people always end up with an agent in the end. Until we abandon the RE industry, their only going to find new and more creative ways to abuse us.

#107 John Prine on 06.09.14 at 11:22 am

BRA. Just don’t sign, lots of realtors will work without them, in BC anyway. First papers to sign is when you make an offer to purchase….Never before, this is like blaming banksters for one being in debt, bottom line is you are in control of your own financial well being. If one realtor insists on having a BRA signed just find another one….

#108 ponerology on 06.09.14 at 11:26 am

If real estate agents were really concerned about “fairness” wouldn’t it make more sense for the BRA to be phrased in such a way that it would only apply (within a time period) to properties shown to the purchases by that agent? IE if an agent showed me a property I couldn’t go to a different agent immediately after and purchase the same property through them after the first agent did all the work, but if I went to a different agent to show me a different property there would be no issue?
Just saying..

#109 Jan on 06.09.14 at 12:27 pm

I was in commission sales for many years. I would spend hours working out a quote. On occasion after presenting the quote to the client they would purchase the same product somewhere else. I always took that that somehow I failed. My salesmanship lacked. If they found a reason to use another person for the same product I in fact did not sell myself enough to the client. The fear of loosing the sale kept me on my toes. If we had these BRA agreement in my industry I guarantee service would go in the toilet. Why bother trying to do your best? You have the sale anyways. I think the agents are scared. They know its going down. Its going to get ugly inside the remax staff lunch room. Any successful agent with any amount of pride in his skills would be ashamed to present this document to be signed. You don’t need it of you spent the time building up a trusting relationship with your client. Next they will be putting a disclaimer on thier business cards that reads ” by accepting my business card you have entered into a legally binding agreement which you will only buy real estate through me”

#110 Buy? Curious? on 06.09.14 at 12:35 pm


#111 Bandito_Member_LP on 06.09.14 at 12:42 pm

#14 Oldman — You are required to pay us (Banditos) the sum of Fifteen Thousand Three Hundred Sixty Five dollars and thirty three cents for the use of our trade mark name.

This fee in part covers all costs pertaining to, but not limited to, knuckle fees and kicking fees that provide services for;beating(also covers bitch-slapping),
chocking,hacking,chopping,digging,tying and may or may not limit the use of swearing, spitting,hissing,
screaming,grunting and any other activity herein-to not described in this agreement.

We will be patiently awaiting your payment where upon no payment will automatically require us to dispatch Joe (the hammer) to collect payment and thus will also generate an extra fee of Forty Five Hundred and Eighty Nine dollars to be added to your initial fee.


#112 nonsense abounds on 06.09.14 at 12:53 pm

Crack Shack or Mansion is back in East Vancouver.

#113 lol on 06.09.14 at 1:13 pm

@Nobody “Most agents are failed used car salesmen”

haha-haaa…ahhh, that’s gotta be a new low for name-calling RE agents.

#114 rob in munich on 06.09.14 at 1:19 pm

#102 Daisy Mae — “[T]he future may hold that buyers pay the full commissions and not the sellers.”

this is the way it works in Germany, even worse landlords often use agents to rent properties out, cost to the rentor, 2.5 months rent, plus 2-3 months deposit

If you’re lucky it will have a kitchen if not you do that.


#115 DM in C on 06.09.14 at 1:30 pm

#78 dave c.

” but in REALITY, you won’t be able to get your house onto the MLS without signing one.”

A BRA is a BUYER’s document. You’d think a well-educated realtor such as yourself would be able to comprehend the difference between a buyer’s agreement and selling by posting on MLS.

Great example though. Really. Excellent representation of your profession.

#116 AfterTheHouseSold on 06.09.14 at 1:42 pm

Give them enough rope…they will be the author of their own demise.
FSBO is growing fast. Property Guys will become the site of choice, outgrowing mls. The lawyer handles all the paperwork anyway. Have sold four properties myself. Easy.

#117 Say What??? on 06.09.14 at 2:01 pm


How do I go about explaining to the wife that I’m looking for a real estate agent that doesn’t believe in BRAs?

#118 devore on 06.09.14 at 2:17 pm

#104 Ralph Cramdown

Bingo. Making the commission “invisible” and part of the mortgage is the only reason it can clock in at 5%. As with all things cash, when it’s your own money flying out of your pocket, people suddenly get much more cost conscious.

It is total BS that if the selling agent “chooses” (apparently it’s up to them? Have they not heard of contracts?) not to pay the buyer’s agent commission, the buyers agent sues his client to pay twice? How does this work again? Is this opposite day? This seems like a matter between the agents and their brokerages.

#119 happity on 06.09.14 at 2:29 pm

Europe is hooped.

Even Japan doesn’t have negative interest rates.

Don’t worry that will never happen in Canada…

Europe recovered from the Black Death and two World Wars. I think they’re gonna be fine this time. — Garth

#120 Josh in Calgary on 06.09.14 at 2:30 pm

Here’s the thing about BRA’s. Usually when you sign an agreement you expect to get some benefit out of the agreement, why else would you do it? duh. So in this case the “benefit” is that the realtor would presumably not represent you otherwise, so you “benefit” by getting to work with that lovely person. However, since there are many reputable realtors willing to work without this entrapment agreement it’s really no leverage at all. So the worst that can happen if you don’t sign the agreement is you have to find a new realtor. Small price to pay indeed.

I get that realters have probably all been burned by a slime bag client who used the realtors services and then did a back door deal on a property the realtor should have collected a commission on. But it shouldn’t be used to allow the realtor to collect commision on a property they had nothing to do with. If it was me I’d fire the realtor on the spot for even bringing up the BRA.

#121 Angela on 06.09.14 at 2:32 pm

Obviously, Garth will dismiss this HAM proof.

There is also a similar report from the Boston Consulting Group – Riding a Wave of Growth: Global Wealth 2014

No HAM…No HAM…Keep telling this to yourself.

A commercial real estate company report? Seriously? — Garth

#122 TimeForSteeleOnYourSide on 06.09.14 at 2:56 pm

Jim and Cindy really need to give this national media exposure.

#123 Oceanside on 06.09.14 at 3:07 pm

#116 AfterTheHouseSold on 06.09.14 at 1:42 pm
Give them enough rope…they will be the author of their own demise.
FSBO is growing fast. Property Guys will become the site of choice, outgrowing mls. The lawyer handles all the paperwork anyway. Have sold four properties myself. Easy.

If you have good, well priced properties and are aware of the liabilities of selling yourself it can work, we have done both but do like the national exposure you get from the conventional companies, we sold our BC home to people from Ottawa who looked at it on the MLS out there.

I hate selling houses, cars or anything so prefer to pay the commission and just let them do all the advertising, showings, organize the home inspection people, get financing arranged for some buyers etc..

A lot of the FSBO homes out west are priced so high they will never sell as the owners often have a distorted idea of what their property is worth “Everybody likes gold faucets and pink bathtubs”

Another interesting development in BC is there was 1% realty, 2% realty and now we are seeing 3% signs starting to show up, don’t think there is enough money in these to make all the work and advertising worth the bother

#124 devore on 06.09.14 at 3:16 pm

#121 Angela

Obviously, Garth will dismiss this HAM proof.

A 2 page glossy spread from a commercial real estate management company about investing into commercial real estate in “US, Europe and Australia”?

You’re not even grasping at straws here, that’s just plain desperation now.

#125 Hell's Angels Helicopter Services Inc. on 06.09.14 at 4:05 pm

Salut, bonjour Garth dude!!

As a professional courtesy to a fellow bearded cool guy with a Harley, we offer you our assistance if needed, no charge. (We’ll talk about some things a little later, tho..)

So if you happen to be having a special “training session” with the Amazons, maybe near Mt. Tremblant, and Dorothy catches wind of it and is racing up to the lodge…… just give us a call (Number sent to your email)

We’ll be there in a flash and lift you right out of there, no one the wiser. We’ve even got our own inflight service, beats the crap out of Porter.

We’re reliable, we’ve been practising lately, and you won’t believe what we can get away with, bro!!

And this used to be such a useful blog… — Garth

#126 DreamingInTechnicolour on 06.09.14 at 4:10 pm

With the aging demographic – finding a place to retire that is affordable will become more and more important to many:

#127 eddy on 06.09.14 at 4:24 pm

#116 AfterTheHouseSold on 06.09.14 at 1:42 pm

Give them enough rope…they will be the author of their own demise.
FSBO is growing fast. Property Guys will become the site of choice, outgrowing mls.

Impossible! Property Guys is really a small niche service . When the market tanks so will Property Guys. Selling houses in a crappy market requires brains, skill, salesmanship and hard work.

#128 Hillbilly on 06.09.14 at 4:54 pm

The fact that such an agreement as a BRA even exists, let alone be proposed to a buyer, shows what a choke hold CREA and the local RE associations has on residential RE sales in Canada and what disdain they have for their “clients”.

That things have gotten this far out of whack when dealing with the largest transaction of most peoples’ lives is prima facie evidence of a full blown mania.

#129 Flawed on 06.09.14 at 5:12 pm

Obviously, Garth will dismiss this HAM proof.

There is also a similar report from the Boston Consulting Group – Riding a Wave of Growth: Global Wealth 2014

No HAM…No HAM…Keep telling this to yourself.

A commercial real estate company report? Seriously? — Garth


Your loyal readers post and post and post proof all the time but you continue to say there is “no proof”. Care to enlighten all us dummies who keep posting proof how there is “no proof”? Can 30,000 cancelled HAM applications to come to HAMcouver be “no proof” of Asia influence for example? As in from Asia not Canadians.

Offshore money is not responsible for $1 million Van Specials. Meanwhile the ‘proof’ above is laughable. — Garth

#130 Teacher's Ass-istant on 06.09.14 at 6:11 pm

So typically the seller’s agent and byer’s agent would split the commission but if the first agent says pound salt the buyer then has to pay for the other clown’s dishonour?
I find it hard to believe anyone would sign something so broad and over reaching that seems to provide no benefit to one party of the agreement.
It’s also hard to believe that if this were to become something demanded so frequently that it would not been seen as being signed under duress by a court. The BRA, as explained, seems fraught with legal loopholes. For instance the term of the agreement is ninety days however there is a holdover period of ninety days so really it’s six months but you’re not going to sign it if I tell you that.
When sales eventually evaporate I’ll bet things will be whipped out alot at first and then be left in the bottom of the briefcase as desperation sets in.
It’s for certain no lawyer would advise anybody to sign such a one sided, overly broad, dishonest document.
Real estate agents are commissioned sales people, by defintion that means they get paid when THEY make a sale. If people simply refuse to sign things on mass they will disappear.

#131 Vangrrl on 06.09.14 at 8:14 pm

Oh please. One comment from an unhinged person (I still doubt it was actually a woman) and suddenly there are a slew of misandrists (sp?) here? You have NO clue what a feminist is, so stay away from that one. Madeline got about 40 reactions- as, I’m sure, was intended. I have lost track of the # of times I’ve called someone on a comment that puts women down. I’m usually the only one who calls it- maybe one other person.

#132 maxx on 06.09.14 at 9:34 pm

BRAs were not, until fairly recently, a real issue. Commission levels must be dropping. Significantly.
So sorry :)

NEVER, EVER sign these- either have them modified to your precise specs (time limited), or crossed out altogether. Make sure that you retain your copy.

Quel culot!

#133 straight six on 06.10.14 at 9:43 am

There was a time in the hot not distant RE past when retaining a buyer’s agent simply meant.. tell the listing agent I sent you! so they could get their cut w/o having to show up.

and in a full disclosure conscience clearing attempt by the RE board, BRA could also mean.. Beware of Realtors ‘eh’.

#134 straight six on 06.10.14 at 1:39 pm


#135 big rig on 06.10.14 at 4:59 pm

All the money a buyer’s agent will receive from a potential purchase is sitting in the potential purchaser’s bank account. In my book, when money starts off in my bank account and ends up in someone else’s- that called “paying” that person.