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Real estate sale: what are the real estate agent's obligations?

Verified 23 septembre 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

In the context of a real estate sale, a real estate agent must fulfill several obligations. He must have a written order from the seller. He is required to inform consumers about his status as a real estate agent, his rates and the goods sold. Finally, he has a duty to advise his clients.

Before offering for sale a property, the real estate agent must have a written, signed and valid warrant.

The sales mandate shall include the following information:

  • Subject matter and term of office (usually 3 months)
  • Designation of owner(s) in case of division
  • Agent contact information and business card number
  • Fees (agency fees), as well as who will be responsible for them
  • Conditions for handling funds and accountability
  • Means used by the agent to realize the sale
  • Number of registration of the mandate in the agency's register of mandates

There are several types of mandates:

  • The single mandate allows the owner to entrust the sale to several agencies and to sell his own property.
  • The semi-exclusive mandate is signed with only one agency and the owner can sell his property himself.
  • The exclusive mandate is signed with an agency, only to be able to sell the property.

In all places where he receives his clients, the real estate agent must display the following elements, highlighted:

  • Business card number
  • Financial guarantee amount
  • Guarantor address

If it receives funds during real estate transactions, the poster shows the following information:

  • Bank and account number where payments and remittances are to be made
  • Mandatory payment methods.

It is also specified that the real estate agent must issue a receipt, a duplicate of which is kept in a receipt book.

The real estate agent is required to display the prices of his services all taxes included (including VAT).

The fee schedule is displayed in a legible and visible manner at the entrance of the establishments receiving customers. When the establishment has a window, it must be perfectly visible from the outside. Prices are displayed in the same format and location as the one normally reserved for real estate ads.

The schedule must be accessible on the trader's website. Prices are also given on other sites or are referred to information.

Where the proportional fees vary according to the price ranges of the sale of the property, the real estate agent must specify in a very visible and intelligible way whether these are cumulative between them.

The poster must also indicate who is responsible for paying for each benefit.

The fees displayed must be effectively charged at the end of the transactions carried out through the trader.

The professional must provide the following information when writing an advertisement:

  • Sale price of the property sold
  • All taxes (including VAT) amount expressed as a percentage
  • Payment of fees by buyer or seller

If the fees are paid by the purchaser, the selling price is expressed as fees included and excluded. The included fee price must appear in larger characters. The amount, including VAT, of the fees payable by the purchaser shall be preceded by the « Fees » and is expressed as a percentage of the value of the non-fee property.

If the fees are the sole responsibility of the seller, only the selling price excluding the fees must be mentioned.

Where the proportional fees vary according to the price ranges of the sale of the property, the real estate agent must specify in a very visible and intelligible way whether these are cumulative between them.

Real estate listings also display the energy performance diagnosis (DPE), which allows to estimate the energy consumption of a house and its greenhouse gas emission rate.

This information must be easily accessible whatever the medium used by the professional for advertising (shop windows, website...).

Announcements about a condominium sale must indicate:

  • Property subject to condominium status
  • Number of condominium lots in the building
  • Average annual amount of charges paid by the seller
  • Procedure in progress due to difficulties encountered by co-ownership (preventive measures, backup plan...)

The real estate agent is required to advise. It shall verify the regularity of the transaction and transmit to the parties all the necessary technical information. In order to do so, it shall verify in particular the following:

  • Title of ownership of the seller (in case of indivision, all owners must accept the sale of the property)
  • Statute and minutes of the general meeting that authorizes the sale, for a civil real estate company (SCI)
  • Characteristics of the goods supplied by the seller (surface, existence of easements, mandatory real estate diagnostics,...)
  • Solvency of the acquirer by requesting, for example, his personal contribution