A sister – or any family member – can represent a home seller, as long as they are registered to trade in real estate.


I recently learned that the seller of a property I would like to buy is the seller’s sister. Is this allowed?

The short answer is yes. It is not uncommon for a buyer or seller to hire someone they know, or even a relative, to represent them in a transaction.

With over 80,000 professionals registered to trade in real estate across Ontario, it’s no surprise that a buyer or seller relies on a relative to represent their interests. This is permitted, provided they follow the rules of the Real Estate Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), the legislation that governs the real estate brokerage industry.

When a real estate professional, or someone related to him or her, has an interest – such as an equity or other financial interest – in the property, he or she is required to disclose the relationship in writing to all other parties. involved in the transaction before an offer is made.

REBBA defines what loved ones should be disclosed, but sellers typically disclose beyond these when there is some type of family connection.

In addition to disclosing and documenting their relationship, the broker or seller must follow the same rules of professional conduct as if representing a non-relative.

For readers who are considering hiring a trusted family member or friend to buy or sell a home, this can be a good approach, but it’s important to establish and set expectations in advance. I suggest buyers and sellers go through the same verification process when considering hiring a friend or relative as if they were considering hiring a non-relative. As always, you want to be sure that your seller is experienced in buying or selling the type of property at hand, that they know the area in which you are buying or selling, and that they will employ marketing tactics that will meet your expectations.

By making sure everyone is on the same page, you are much more likely to have a positive experience.

It’s also important to understand that no matter what pre-existing relationship you may have with your seller, they should always follow the rules set by the Ontario government to protect consumers. One of the most important provisions requires brokers and sellers to provide conscientious and competent service to the buyers and sellers they represent. In addition, they must treat everyone with whom they deal in a real estate transaction with fairness, honesty and integrity.

Visit reco.on.ca for a full list of things to keep in mind when considering hiring a friend or relative to represent you in a transaction.

If you have a question about the process of buying or selling a home, please email information@reco.on.ca.

Joe Richer is Registrar of the Ontario Real Estate Council (RECO) and Contributor to The Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelp


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