Working with a Realtor: Client V.S. Customer

Every time you meet an agent today you have to sign a Working with a Realtor brochure, and then you have to choose whether you want to receive Customer or Client service. Many Buyers choose Customer Service. They want to be a free agent with no commitment to any one Realtor.

So what’s the problem?

Client and Customer Definitions


"A 'client' relationship creates the highest form of obligation for a REALTOR® to a consumer. The brokerage must protect the interests of the client and do what is best for the client. A brokerage must strive for the benefit of the client and must not disclose a client's confidential information to others. The brokerage must also make reasonable efforts to determine any material facts relating to the transaction and would be of interest to the client and must inform the client of those facts."


A buyer or seller may not wish to be under contract as a client with the brokerage but would rather be treated as a customer. A REALTOR® is obligated to treat every person in a real estate transaction with honesty, fairness, and integrity, but unlike a client, provides a customer with a restricted level of service. Services provided to a customer may include showing the property or properties, drafting the offer, presenting the offer, ect.

 When you choose customer service you have to find properties on your own and when you find them the Realtor only has to present the facts. They can’t offer opinions on what to pay for, whether it’s a good or bad choice, or what to look out for. You are left to decide based only on the listing information. In this market, with a shortage of listings, what would a Realtor do when they come across a great property? Show it to their clients first? They have to. However, with a customer they don’t have to show it to them at all. Or maybe they show it only after all their clients pass on it. It’s something like getting the leftovers. When buying a property what would you like, first choice or the leftovers?

That’s the difference between Customer and Client Service.

Want to stay up to date on our monthly market reports?


Want to Impress Your Friends with Your Real Estate Market Knowledge?

Sign up to Receive our Monthly Market Report

Receive monthly market updates on Toronto's sales and rental market as well as an in-depth look at every area in Toronto!


* indicates required

  • Toronto Condo Market Report March-April 2017

    Sales Commentary February sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board were up by 5.7% over February of last year – a slower increase than any month in almost a year. Is this a sign of a slowdown in buyers? No. The problem is a continued lack of listings to buy. At January month end, we had 5,000 ‘active listings’ and by month end for February we were at 5,400. When you factor out those listings that will never sell and you look at 12,000 buyers per month for the spring market, you see a problem. Continued price increases that show ...

  • Conditional Clauses when Buying a Property

    Every offer usually has some sort of conditions and they're all written for the benefit of the buyer. Take financing for instance, why is it written as "financing satisfactory to the buyer"? What does that mean, a 0% interest rate or 100% financing? No, the clause should state what type of financing is being arranged, not a clause that's open ended for the buyer to change their mind and walk away. What about a status certificate? It usually reads "to be approved by the sole option of the Lawyer". You know, most Lawyers can't even read a Status Certificate. I ...

  • What's In Store for Toronto's Crazy Real Estate Market?

    Everyone is talking about our crazy real estate market, and in particular prices, they're up 20% in just 4 months. You know I've been in this business for over 30 years (can't you tell) and I've never seen anything like this. But, I'm not alarmed about the level of today's prices, rather the rate of increase. Toronto prices are not out of line with other major cities in the world. Will prices level off? Yes, they always do. Will prices fall? No. The only time prices fall are when people are forced to sell when they can't afford their ...

  • How to Compete and Win in a Bidding War

    Today's market is dominated with multiple offer sales. Many people have to make 6-8 offers to finally land that property. So, how do you compete and win in this market. Here are 5 easy steps to follow. 1.Market Analysis First, realize that many properties are under priced to attract multiple offers. You should first do a market analysis to determine the market price of the property. 2. No Conditions Secondly, you need to go in with no conditions. Get a home inspection or status certificate ahead of time. Make sure you have financing for the price you want to pay ...

  • Market Report February-March 2017

    Sales Commentary The Toronto Real Estate Board no longer publishes mid-month sales numbers hence we are forced to guess the market going forward, based only on January results. In January, overall sales were ahead by 12% over January of 2016, but active listings were 49% lower than the 2016 number. We are starting to see all listings sell at over the list price. Some by as much as $200,000 which is scary! In terms of the downtown condo market, January sales were up 23% over the same month last year but ‘active listings’ were down by 57% from last year ...

  • Buying & Selling Assignments

    The Assignment market for condos is making a big come back. There are two reasons for this: First, there is a lack of resale condos to buy, forcing many people to look at the assignment market. Secondly, with tougher mortgage qualifications, many investors who bought pre-construction condos 3 to 4 years ago may not be able to close and will want to sell. While the opportunities are great and you can probably avoid the multiple offer scenario, the market is hard to track. Assignments are not usually found on MLS but are exclusive and the contracts can be difficult. Assignments ...

  • Can You Believe How Few Sales Most Agents Do?

    When the public tries to negotiate the commission down or tries to get a buyer rebate, their assumption is that all agents are the same. If all Agents were the same, then picking the agent who agreed to your request would net you the most money, but they are not! Did you know in 2016, there were 48,000 agents in the Toronto Real Estate Board? Did you know almost 13,000 agents did not do even a single sales end? And, there are two sales ends to ever sale, a list end and a buyer end. Did you know 25,000 agents ...

  • The Perfect Market for that Less than Perfect Condo

    Never have I seen a market with such little market inventory - properties for sale. Many owners, myself included, have said 'If you don't need to sell, sit on it", the market is still rising. But, this is also the best time to unload what I call, 'less desirable properties' and put them up for sale. In a normal market, these properties are difficult to sell and they sell at a discount. However, in today's market, they will sell at full value and quickly. So what do I mean by less desirable properties? Sell that condo on the second floor ...

  • 2017 Toronto Real Estate Market Forecast

      Share of Total Condo Apartment Sales  By Bedroom Type (All Areas) Source: Toronto Real Estate Board Q3 Many forecasters or pundits get bogged down in irrelevant statistics. Past experience has shown that the view from ‘the street’ has been more accurate than the ‘view from the executive floor’. In real estate, lower sales do not automatically translate into lower prices. And the average price to average income ratio for valuing property prices over a number of years is also of little value when you consider the impact of immigrants, non-residents, and self- employed buyers in today’s market. If you ...

  • 3 Predictions for Toronto Real Estate in 2017

    With 2016 drawing to a close, everyone wants to talk about the Toronto market for 2017. So here are my preliminary thoughts; Lower Sales than in 2016 We predict lower sales than we've seen in 2016. Why? There is no product available and listings are way down. Secondly, the new mortgage rules will make it harder to qualify for everyone. For first-time Buyers, many will not even qualify at all, which will put a drag on the move-up market as well. Prices will not be falling No, prices will not be falling, but don't expect price increases of 20% for ...