In a bit of housecleaning, the regulatory body for Nova Scotia’s realtors is now making it mandatory for more real estate buyers in this province to enter into buyer brokerage agreements.

The change came into effect Jan. 1.

Brokerage agreements have been standard practice for sellers, but the rule change by the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission means those looking to purchase a home as a client of a brokerage will also have to sign a brokerage agreement.

“Buyers won’t see a change in the relationship they have with the brokerage they work with,” Robert Wambolt, chairman of the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission, said in a statement. “We feel as a regulator that buyers should have elements of this relationship in writing for their own protection.”

Brokerage agreements are legal contracts between a real estate brokerage and their clients which outline the roles and responsibilities of both parties, including the services owed, obligations, the duration of the working relationship, the use and distribution of the clients’ information, and how much the brokerage will be compensated for their work.

“Having an agreement in place between a buyer and the brokerage they are working with increases protection for that consumer,” said Wambolt

“Brokerage agreements generate dialogue between the licensee and the consumer on each other’s roles and responsibilities, and in turn creates a more informed consumer.”