They’ll arrange showings, set up negotiations with the seller’s agent, and even pick you up from the airport.
It’s the kind of pitch a real estate agent might make.
But no – this is the work of an unlicensed foreign agent working in B.C.
A Globe and Mail investigation by Bejing correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe found foreign agents are taking advantage of a regulatory gap in B.C., selling homes without provincial licensing.
Speaking on the Jon McComb Show, VanderKippe says in New York, foreign agents are held civilly liable.
“In B.C., that is not necessarily the case. If you have an agent that lives abroad, who is working with you abroad in B.C. real estate, that person is not necessarily liable under the regulatory and legal regimes in B.C., and that is where this is an issue.”
VanderKlippe says developers are even partnering with the company “Vanfun” to capitalize on foreign money in Vancouver real estate.
It’s a loophole that needs to be closed according to the general counsel for the Society of Notaries Public of BC, previously a member of an independent advisory group that investigated the practice of shadow flipping.
Ron Usher says unlicensed foreign real estate agents continue to do business here.
“These foreign agents they may well be out of the country but they’re doing deals here and that requires transactions to happen here.”
The B.C. Ministry of Finance said it “strongly encourages” buyers and sellers to use licensed real estate services.
“Legislation is clear”
But the Ministry of Finance is pushing back against allegations unlicensed agents are doing deals in B.C.
In a statement, the ministry says it is aware of Vanfun, and has recently fined two licensees for collaborating with the company, and censured two others.
It adds B.C.’s “legislation is clear” that anyone providing real estate services in the province must be licensed through the Real Estate Council.
“Providing or facilitating the provision of unlicensed real estate services is prohibited in BC. It is incorrect to suggest that a person licensed in another jurisdiction, or unlicensed all-together, can provide services in BC.”
It says regulators are “actively pursuing and disciplining” people who violate this rule.