Client VS Customer

As a Buyer working with a real estate sales representative, you may enter into one of two types of agreements with the sales representative and their brokerage. One is a Buyer Representation Agreement whereby you become the client of the Real Estate Company, and the second is a Customer Service Agreement whereby you become a Customer of the Real Estate Company. Both are considered legally binding agreements, but the two agreements may be confusing as to which one to pick.

There are two significant differences between the sales representative and their real Estate Company’s obligations to a Client versus a Customer.


FIRST, if you are a client, the sales representative and the real estate company have an important obligation to you called Fiduciary Duty; they must promote and protect your best interests in the real estate transaction.

Fiduciary means faithful servant, and a sales representative and their brokerage are fiduciary to the client.


  • Accounting: The sales rep must account for all funds entrusted to them and not co-mingle (combine) client/customer funds with their personal and/or business funds.
  • Care: The sales rep must use all of their skills to the best of their ability on behalf of the client.
  • Confidentiality: The sales rep must keep confidential any information given to them by their client, especially information that may damage the client in a negotiation.
  • Disclosure: The sales rep must disclose to the client any information they receive that may benefit the client’s position in a negotiation.
  • Loyalty: The sales rep owes undivided loyalty to the client and puts the client’s interests above their own.
  • Obedience: The sales rep must obey all lawful orders that the client gives them.


  • If you are a customer, the sales representative and real estate company does not have a fiduciary duty to promote or protect your best interests. However, they are obligated to treat you with fairness, honesty and integrity and to provide you with conscientious and competent service.
  • If you are a customer, the salesperson only has to disclose the material facts they already know or ought to know, and they are not required to take further steps.
  • Customer status means that your salesperson may help you prepare the paperwork for an offer, but you are on your own when you decide upon your offer strategy. If the seller is the salesperson’s client, the salesperson is obligated to share whatever they know with the seller. You will have to decide if sharing information would help or hinder your negotiation goals.
  • If you are a customer, the sales representative In this scenario, the sales representative is obligated to get the best deal possible for their seller client, but not for you. Suppose you advise the salesperson that you need fast possession of the home. In that case, it is reasonable to expect this information to be relayed to the seller, especially if this knowledge is advantageous to the seller during negotiations.

Choosing Client vs Customer Service is very complicated… so it is important to understand the relationship options and weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully before making your decision.

Your sales representative can help with any questions regarding Client vs Customer Representation.

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.