By Sohini Bhattacharya

Arthur Kozlowski
Arthur Kozlowski

In 2018, British Columbia passed legislation to restrict dual agency – a practice that allows a single agent to represent both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, or two agents from one brokerage to represent the buyer and seller. In Ontario, it’s still legal.

When asked if it’s a conflict of interest for an agent to represent both a buyer and seller in the same sale, Arthur Kozlowski, broker of record at Toronto’s Green Hedge Realty, says, “That conflict of interest is eliminated by me having to ask the client if they’re okay with it and also by rules that I have to follow when representing both clients.”



His company says that by using their brokerage to both sell and buy, “Homeowners can break even on commission fees, effectively pay nothing, even if the new house costs less.”

Kozlowski admitted that if he were a client, he “wouldn’t want the same agent to also represent the other side. That’s why they have a choice and can say no.” Agents are obligated to ask a seller for permission to represent the buyer as well.

“And most of the time they say yes,” says Kozlowski.

In a press release, he announced that Green Hedge Realty is a brokerage that helps Ontario homeowners to “trade houses without spending money on commission.” What this means, he clarifies, is that the brokerage charges “0.7 per cent whether we’re working with sellers or buyers. In the case of sellers, this would be a fee for the listing services. For the co-operating commission they can choose their own commission as long as it’s 0.7 per cent or higher.”

For buyers, the company “keeps 0.7 per cent of any co-operating commission offered on MLS and pays the rest back to the buyer” as a cash-back rebate.

Many factors affect the sale of a house – the listing price being, perhaps, the most important. In Kozlowski’s opinion, “If you’re not paying a high commission, you have the freedom to adjust your listing price a lot more than if you’re with a traditional brokerage where you pay a higher commission.”

He says he has worked with this model of commissions his entire career, since he got licensed in 2006. What motivated Kozlowski to follow this method, he says, is “the ease with which it’s possible to get listings. I don’t have to be an expert in a certain area, and I can still beat out local agents to get the listings.”

When listing with Green Hedge Realty, homeowners are assured of standard services such as photography of their property, a lawn sign, open houses and help with negotiations.

What they are not assured of is staging. According to a 2019 report by the National Association of Realtors Research Group, a quarter of buyers’ agents agreed that a staged home increased the dollar value offered between one and five per cent, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.

But Kozlowski does not agree. “My impression of staging is that a lot of agents are just adding it to their own services to justify their high prices, but really in most cases the seller just has to clean their house or their apartment,” he says.

The company’s somewhat controversial model of business has earned the ire of other agents. “We do get some comments from agents that don’t like the commission. But for every agent that has a comment like that, there are nine agents who are totally professional and they know how to talk to their own clients about their commission, and how to make offers on properties where the commission doesn’t meet their expectations.”

Sandra Mifsud
Sandra Mifsud

Kozlowski is joined by broker Sandra Mifsud in running their two-person brokerage, which even in slow market conditions like those when the pandemic first hit, has yielded listings for the company.

“If it’s a slow market, it’s going to be slow for everyone, not just for those offering a lower co-op commission,” says Kozlowski.

“It seems like every time I go online, there are always listings that offer more than the traditional commission, like three per cent or 3 1/2 per cent, or even four per cent. And those listings can still be on the market for 120 days, 150 days or longer,” he says, adding that many other factors affect the sale of a property.

“There are a lot of people out there who are having trouble with affordability and our services are a good way to make affordability a little better,” says Kozlowski.

20 COMMENTS

  1. At that rate of commission, you might not even be able to pay your deductible if taken to court. Sounds like a lot of work for little pay and high risk.

  2. I don’t take a listing and I don’t help buyers in an area I don’t know. Clients should not have to pay us to get experience and to learn. They pay for our acquired expertise and, like for other experts, there is a price to pay for that expertise.

    I heard before “Like with many things, you often get what you pay for”.

    • You can’t become an expert without learning, and you can’t learn if you don’t take listings in unfamiliar areas.

      We are experts at representing clients in real estate transactions because we have a lot of past experience. Experience we were able to gather because we charge less for our services and get a lot of work as a result.

      Clients can pay for whatever service they need. We serve those who prefer a fairly priced service offered by REALTORS who learn and work in this field every day.

  3. Regarding the very first paragraph in this article, British Columbia has a system called designated agency which allows independent agents in the same brokerage to handle opposite ends of a transaction. It is not illegal and it is not banned, it actually works rather well. Please don’t suggest that the disappearance of dual agency in BC completely prevents a single brokerage from being involved in both ends of a transaction.

  4. “Kozlowski admitted that if he were a client, he “wouldn’t want the same agent to also represent the other side.”

    As a broker you admit that DUAL AGENCY is not in the consumers best interests so …
    If you are a TRUE professional Realtor represent your clients 100% of the time. Buyers and sellers do not understand how DUAL AGENCY can disadvantage them in a real estate transaction. The only ones winning in a DUAL AGENCY situation are the Realtors. Why are Realtors creating real estate models that are based strictly on saving consumers money? Why would a seller agree to dual agency? With your model the only advantage is that the seller MAY believe they are getting a better deal or saving a few dollars on the commission? Are buyers making an informed decision based on their limited understanding of DUAL AGENCY . Most Realtors don’t understand DUAL AGENCY so why would a REALTOR expect consumers to be able to make an informed consent for Dual Agency. Be different, create a model that offers the best service for consumers and 100% representation. Maybe offer EXCLUSIVE BUYER BROKERAGE SERVICES and work for only one side of the real estate transaction like a TRUE professional. Obviously by your remarks you understand that Dual Agency is not in the consumers best interest so why continue to mislead consumers with your real estate model. You owe clients your TRUST and LOYALTY 100% of the time NOT 50% of the time.

    • In Ontario a Brokerage may represent both the Buyer and the Seller in a transaction with permission from both parties.

      The Listing Brokerage may enter into a Buyer Representation Agreement with the Buyer and
      represent the interests of the Seller and the Buyer, with their consent, for the transaction in question.

      The Listing Brokerage must be impartial and
      equally protect the interests of the Seller and the Buyer in the transaction. The Listing Brokerage has a duty of full disclosure to both
      the Seller and the Buyer, including a requirement to disclose all factual information about the property known to the Listing Brokerage.

      However, the Listing Brokerage shall not disclose:
      • That the Seller may or will accept less than the listed price, unless otherwise instructed in writing by the Seller;
      • That the Buyer may or will pay more than the offered price, unless otherwise instructed in writing by the Buyer;
      • The motivation of or personal information about the Seller or Buyer, unless otherwise instructed in writing by the party to which the
      information applies, or unless failure to disclose would constitute fraudulent, unlawful or unethical practice;
      • The price the Buyer should offer or the price the Seller should accept;
      • And; the Listing Brokerage shall not disclose to the Buyer the terms of any other offer.

      However, it is understood that factual market information about comparable properties and information known to the Listing Brokerage
      concerning potential uses for the property will be disclosed to both Seller and Buyer to assist them to come to their own conclusions.

  5. “you don’t have to be an expert in an area” this is a disgraceful practice. -how is that keeping the best interests of your clients?? I know nothing about your area but I will charge you bottom dollar. Realtors should be held to higher standards.

    • Many sellers and buyers are already experts because of the information they’re able to access on the internet, and we have enough expertise to be able to fill in the blanks for them.

      REALTORS are held to a high standard already because of licensing and continuing education courses they have to take. We are no different.

      Are you saying you wouldn’t take a listing in an area that was new to you? Were you an expert when you got your first listing?

      I may get a listing despite a lack of direct expertise in an area, but that doesn’t mean I will never learn anything about the property type or area before we go live.

      What’s in the best interest of a seller or buyer is subjective.
      We interview with clients and listen to their requirements. If we’re the right fit for them, then we get the job. The fees we charge are only part of the equation.

    • That was my first thought when I read that, too. For this guy, it seems like it’s all about getting the listing – the best interest of the clients isn’t even part of the thought process.

      • The interests of our clients are not just part of our thought process. They are at the core of who we are.
        Buyers and sellers want to use REALTOR services, but they don’t want to pay the high fees that are typically charged. We listen to what they want and that’s why we provide full traditional MLS services at low non-traditional prices.

      • Clearly I misunderstood the REM article. I thought it was about BC, not realizing Mr. Kozlowski is in Toronto serving Mississauga area; says office is open 24 hrs at website. It’s all rather confusing.

        For years I was laughed at out loud and considered an office anomaly as a brand new agent in a brand new city because when initially I was told I had to participate in office rotating duty time organized by the office admin, I spent that time reading and studying MLS tear sheets and old MLS catalogs, and preparing charts and graphs and building my own system having no clue what I was really doing. I knew nothing about the city or local properties. NADA!

        Incoming calls and walk-Ins were diverted to office admin favourites. So duty-time didn’t produce any direct business anyhow. I didn’t find that out for a long time. We were meant to spend duty time cold-calling. I still have no idea how offices decide who gets leads. After four decades. No one ever talks about it. But I digress.

        Part of having an outrageously successful career was my “studying” endlessly and acquiring specific area-related knowledge about the area because the whole city was new to me and I was newly licenced. It was like being thrown to the wolves, terrified of making a mistake. I soon discovered where the most homeownership turnover activity happened and decided to farm that area. I had never heard the term farming in any courses.

        And I didn’t like how I saw other agents operating. I was all ears. I had a voracious / insatiable need to learn all I could. Learned a lot by attending seminars. After four decades, I still believe agents should (area) specialize. That doesn’t mean only working within and farming a defined geographical area, but could mean “product-specific” knowledge such as condos or farms (cows and horses require different living arrangements); that’s the extent of my farm knowledge learned by having been invited to list a local farm and simultaneously being invited to list a mega million dollar famous race horse farm in 1981. Sadly I had to decline. I had sense enough not to endanger the public or myself. But the invitation was a big ego boost.

        I love Tom Peters’ advice: “Stick to the knitting” meaning concentrate on what you know and ultra-success will find you. You won’t even have to go looking for it. Or put the public or your career in jeopardy. Study. Be prepared to work long hours. Become a real estate evangelist. Attend ALL meetings. Don’t be afraid to seek expert assistance outside the industry. Don’t ever be afraid to say: I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you promptly. And don’t be afraid to walk away in the best interest of the public and your licence, if you intend to be forever in the industry.

        Seems the REM story-referenced agent has been 15 years in the business in Toronto and adjacent cities if I read his site info right. Must be working for him. Different strokes for different folks. There’s a lid for every pot?

        Carolyne L 🍁

        • Green Hedge Realty serves all cities in the GTA and surrounding areas, but more importantly it serves the city of Toronto where we are located.

          If you are a REALTOR working outside of this area in Ontario, and you’d like to be busier doing what you love, we’d be happy to hear from you.

          Real Estate business is changing and REALTORS who charge non-traditional fees are in high demand.
          It’s not unheard of for someone charging less, to do 50-100 deals in a year on their own.

          Learning continuously is important. Being able to listen is even more important. Many consumers want to use REALTOR services but they don’t want to pay the high fees that are typically charged. We listen and provide services to these consumers.

          We work every day, and often outside of typical working hours. Any agent who has ever had to stay up late into the night to finish an offer negotiation, shouldn’t find this confusing. Our office building is accessible 24/7, and it’s not uncommon for one of us to be here late into the night, or early in the morning working.

    • I completely agree with you Tracy, I was shocked to read this article, from dual agency to not having to be an expert. This brokerage is nothing more than a Meere Posting. why charge the clients anything, they can just sell it themselves. Truly a very poor Brokerage indeed

      • Green Hedge Realty Inc., Brokerage is a full service Real Estate Brokerage offering traditional MLS REALTOR representation services at reduced commission rates.

        All REALTORS at our centrally located Toronto office are licensed as Brokers, have decades worth of combined Real Estate sales experience, and work full time expertly representing the best interests of our clients.

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