Words are important. Words convey the intentions of our thoughts, the force of our feelings and are the only way to truly communicate detailed information. Although my interpretive dance is a little rusty, I don’t believe anyone wants to watch me communicate any of my practice advice in dance, painting, or even macaroni art without words or at least word equivalence (nod to my sign language friends). For this reason, the assembly of words in a real estate contract is incredibly important to all parties involved so let’s think through the value and use of the forms produced by AREA.
The making of
The Alberta Real Estate Association is the organization responsible for the creation, maintenance, and revision of all the real estate forms that Alberta REALTORS® use every day. This includes both buyer and seller representation agreements, purchase contracts, amendments, addendums, schedules and more rounding out a catalogue of almost 140 forms!
This is not the work of a single staffer, but a combined effort of staff at the direction of a Forms and Practice Committee at AREA that discusses market changes, legislative requirements, and member rules that potentially affect the forms and resulting practice for Alberta members. Because of the variability of our members’ practices, the committee is made up of members from different regions, specializing in different property types and disciplines, and both brokers and associates. In addition, two lawyers bring both transaction and litigation perspectives to any potential discussion as well. All of these professionals carefully weigh the variables of making changes to any forms, when necessary, but never capriciously.
The distribution of
The forms catalog doesn’t do anyone any good if they can’t find it, so AREA works actively with third party providers to distribute forms cohesively. In the complexities of a full real estate transaction, the REALTOR® needs to be able to find the necessary forms and rely on the fact that they are current to ensure the transactions they build for their clients are clear and legally enforceable. These third-party suppliers work hard to have forms that are fillable and offer various features to members for convenient use, but always within the confines of the licensing agreement with AREA to be certain they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
The protection of
All this expense and effort poured into the AREA standard forms catalog must be protected from unauthorized use. The forms themselves are created for REALTOR® members only and exclusively, and as an organization controlled by the REALTOR® community themselves, the standard forms are specifically designed for transactions that anticipate a REALTOR® member involved in helping the public with the transaction. The protection of these assets of the association comes in the way of a registered copyright on all the forms in the catalog and any unauthorized use or reproduction of the forms is a violation of that copyright under the law. Because of the danger of a member of the public obtaining and using a document they have not been trained on and are not competent to use, AREA takes all reported violations seriously and pursues unauthorized use with legal force.
The use of
For all the reasons I have discussed above the REALTOR® is the only individual who is legally able to use the AREA standard forms in Alberta for the expressed purpose of helping consumers trade in real estate. This right to use does not extend to a right to display or distribute the forms in any way outside of that purpose including:
This prohibition extends to other professionals as well such as lawyers, mortgage brokers, etc. who may see the forms in their daily practice but are not permitted to use or distribute them.
As I mentioned the words are important, and their masterful assembly into documents that help facilitate the trade of real estate in Alberta is not a light task. All REALTORS® and their clients need to understand that they have been built for a specific use and should never be used without the aid of a REALTOR® member to guide the conversation and bring their experience to bear upon the transaction.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: email@example.comPhone: 403-209-3619