When buying, selling or renting a property, you may decide to ask an estate agent to help you. An estate agent is a licensed person who must hold a current Fidelity Fund Certificate and should follow your instructions, or "mandate" to:
Market your home and find you a willing and financially able buyer or tenant;
Find you a home to rent or buy
Estate agents must follow a strict Code of Conduct while carrying out your mandate, and they should only claim their fee, or "commission", when a deal has reached a successful end - not in advance or when a sale or lease agreement is first signed.
You should never deal with an "agent" who does not hold a current Fidelity Fund Certificate from The Estate Agency Affairs Board.
Whether you buy or lease a home, you will usually have to pay a deposit. You should always:
Insist on a receipt, whether you pay in cash or by cheque; and
Make all payments only at an estate agency office, or an attorney's office.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board has full powers to help and protect you in your dealings with estate agents. It can:
Fine or put out of business any estate agent who breaks the ethical rules in the Code of Conduct; and
Refund a deposit or other payment to you if it has been stolen by an estate agent.