Quite often realtors are asked to help their clients find a good real estate lawyer, home inspector and mortgage broker.
Unless you buy and sell houses regularly or know someone who is one of the three, how many of us have one in our phone contacts?
One thing you should remember - in Alberta at least - is that when providing recommendations, your realtor is obligated to give you a list of at least three professionals that they either have worked with in the past or know to be very good based on a recommendation by a colleague. They can tell you what they know about each and you decide.
I'm writing this today because there may be some confusion out there in Calgary real estate land about the practice of realtors secretly accepting fees from these professionals to steer business in their direction. It's a no-no. If you are getting just one name from your realtor, ask for more.
Also ask them pointedly if they are getting a referral fee from that person. We are not allowed to accept a fee without disclosing it to you first. I'd be a bit suspicious if my realtor was pushing one person on me and I'd likely try to find someone else myself.
This issue is actually covered in clause 8.9 of a buyer representation agreement so if they have accepted a fee or gift without first telling you, you can file a complaint with the Real Estate Council of Alberta.
Here's the clause verbatim:
"We must not accept any other fees including finder's fees, referral fees, bonuses or gifts directly or indirectly related to the agreement, unless we first tell you in writing everything relevant about the payment and you consent in writing to the payment."