**Real estate agents caught breaking the rules onMarketplace’s hidden camera **
Regulator says findings raise ‘grave concern’ **
Real estate agents breaking the rules: Marketplace hidden camerainvestigation
Attempting to buy a home in a red-hot market can make it feel like thedeck is already stacked against you. But if a real estate agent is behavingunethically, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars — even the house ofyour dreams.
An investigation by CBC Marketplace reveals some real estateagents are breaking the rules in an effort to double their sales commission.
Using hidden cameras, Marketplace documented how some of the topreal estate agents in the Greater Toronto Area breached ethical and legal rulesaimed at protecting consumers.
The investigation looked at so-called “double-ended” deals,meaning the same agent represents both the buyer and the seller. Marketplacefound some agents would break the rules by offering unfair advantages topotential clients in an effort to secure both ends of a deal.
When an agent uses inside knowledge to tip the scales in favour of theirclients, it’s against the code of ethics established under the Real Estateand Business Brokers Act (REBBA), which requires that real estate agents actfairly and in the best interests of their clients.
The investigation looked at so-called ‘double-ended’ deals, meaning thesame agent represents both the buyer and the seller. (CBC)
But with bids kept secret, it’s hard to catch.
“There’s a lot of money at stake and corruption is just all overthe place,” says Josie Stern, a real estate agent who has practised inToronto for more than 25 years.
The typical amount an agent with double commission would earn, based onthe average Toronto home price, would be about $40,000.
- Watch the Marketplace investigation for more hidden camera footage at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on Friday, Nov. 4 on TV and online.
In the housing market, sellers and buyers are usually represented byseparate agents: a listing agent and a buying agent.
Throughout most of Canada, the same agent is allowed torepresent and negotiate on behalf of both parties, as long as it’sdisclosed to all parties involved in the transaction. The practice is calledmultiple representation or double-ending.
Alberta is the exception. While agents there can represent both sides ofthe deal, they are not allowed to negotiate for either side.
The problem? This creates the potential for conflict of interest,especially if the sale results in a bidding war.