TRESA And Blind Bidding

Phase II of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) rolled out on December 1st. TRESA replaces REBBA 2002, the previous legislation. There have been some substantial changes that you should know about if you are buying or selling a home in the province of Ontario. Blind bidding, the client and agent relationship, and multiple representation are all impacted.

For sellers, open bidding is now an option if the client chooses this format, or they can continue using the blind bidding process that many Ontarians are already familiar with. With open bidding, details like offer price and conditions are visible to everyone bidding on a particular property. Sellers can choose exactly how much information will be divulged and can change their minds about this as the offer process unfolds. Buyers and sellers have to agree to participate with regard to divulging information.

There have been changes to representation as well. Under REBBA you could be either a client or a customer of the brokerage. Clients would receive fiduciary guidance whereas customers were left mostly to their own devices aside from the basics like completing paperwork. With TRESA, you are either a client or you are considered self represented. RECO has put out a 16 page brochure outlining the risks of being self represented and the benefits of working with a Realtor instead.

Lastly, multiple representation has changed. Under REBBA, a buyer agent who was working to purchase one of his brokerage’s listings would be engaging in multiple representation. The assumption was that the list and buyer agents were colluding to the benefit of the brokerage. With TRESA, a buyer can choose to work with their agent who will act as a designated buyers representative on their behalf. This codifies into law the need to act in the client’s best interest.

Multiple representation is still allowed if a buyer and seller agree and wish to work with the same agent. Personally this is something I don’t engage in and will pass on any prospective buyers to another agent in my office. Simply put, it’s hard to serve two masters.

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