Client VS Self-Represented Party

Agents in Ontario must be registered, which requires completing the necessary education and carrying consumer deposit insurance and professional liability insurance.

Real estate agents provide valuable information, advice, and guidance to buyers and sellers as they navigate the complexities of real estate transactions.


You will also benefit from the duties the brokerage and agent owe to you as a client

  • Undivided loyalty: Your best interests are promoted and protected by the brokerage or agent representing you. As a client, your interests take priority over the interests of the brokerage, its agents, and any other party.
  • Disclosure: They must tell you everything they know about the transaction or your client relationship that could have an impact on any decisions you make.
  • Confidentiality: Your confidential information cannot be shared with anyone outside of the brokerage without your written consent, except where required by law, even after your client relationship ends. This includes, for example, your motivation for buying or selling, and the amount you would be willing to pay or accept.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest: They must avoid any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests. If a conflict arises, they must disclose it to you and cannot provide any additional services to you unless you agree in writing to continue receiving services.

You have responsibilities as a client

You need to:

  • be clear about what you want and don’t want and make sure you share all information that might be relevant (for example, you might want zoning that permits your intended use, maybe a home office or another specific use, or you might not want a property where there has been a violent crime);
  • respond to your agent’s questions quickly;
  • understand the terms of your agreement with the brokerage; and,
  • pay the fees you have agreed on, even if an agreement to buy or sell later falls through because of your default or neglect.

Self-Represented Party

If you are involved in a real estate transaction and are not a client of a real estate brokerage, you are considered a self-represented party. This means that you have chosen to represent yourself, which has different rights and responsibilities. Very few buyers or sellers make this choice.

There are significant risks to representing yourself in a real estate transaction if you do not have the knowledge and expertise required to navigate the transaction on your own. You will be dealing with a seller or buyer who is benefitting from the services, opinions, and advice of an experienced real estate agent.

RECO recommends that you seek independent professional advice before you proceed as a self-represented party.

If you choose not to work with a real estate agent, it will be your responsibility to look after your own best interests and protect yourself. This may include things like:

  • making inquiries about zoning, permitted property use, or any other aspect of the property;
  • determining what you believe to be the value of the property you are buying or selling;
  • determining how much you are willing to offer or accept;
  • navigating competing offer situations;
  • deciding what terms you want to include in an offer or agreement of purchase and sale; and,
  • preparing all documents.

The real estate agent is working for another party in the transaction

It’s important to be aware that the agent has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the person on the other side of the transaction. If you are a buyer or even just inquiring about the property, for example, and the agent is working for the seller — the agent has a duty to do what’s best for their seller client.

Be aware that the agent is obligated to share anything you tell them with their client, which might not be in your best interests to tell them, including:

  • your motivation for buying or selling the property;
  • the minimum or maximum price you are willing to offer or accept; and,
  • your preferred terms or conditions for an agreement of purchase and sale.

The agent cannot:

  • provide you with any services, opinions, or advice;
  • do anything that would encourage you to rely on their knowledge, skill, or judgement; or,
  • encourage you to represent yourself or discourage you from working with another real estate agent or brokerage.

Any assistance the agent offers you: 

  • is a service to their client, not you;
  • is in the best interests of their client, not you; and,
  • is to help their client sell or buy a property.

The agent must give you RECO’s Information and Disclosure to Self-represented Party form and walk you through it before they can provide you any assistance. You will be asked to confirm you received it and understand what it means to be a self-represented party.

You have the right to change your mind

If you’re concerned about completing a transaction on your own, or you need advice from a real estate agent, you can choose to become a client of a real estate brokerage at any point during the transaction.

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.