Opening a Brokerage
To open a new brokerage in Nova Scotia, follow the steps outlined below:
Step 1: Meet the initial eligibility requirements
- Have a broker licence or plan to hire a licensed broker to manage the brokerage; and
- Have a service address in Nova Scotia.
Step 2: Choose a brokerage name and obtain the Registrar’s approval
Brokers must use the Commission’s naming conventions when naming their brokerage. The brokerage name must not be:
- the same as another brokerage;
- immoral, obscene or scandalous;
- capable of leading someone to falsely believe that the business is a non-profit group;
- capable of leading someone to falsely believe that the business is or is connected to a public authority;
- capable of leading someone to falsely believe that the business is connected to another (for example, affiliated);
- identical to or easily confused with the name of another business; or
- misleading (for example, it must accurately describe the business’s activities).
The Registrar must approve all new brokerage names and brokerage signage (office and for sale/ for lease signage). To do so, email the Registrar your brokerage’s name and digital mock of signage, with “Brokerage Name/Signage for Approval” in the subject line.
In the case of franchising, you must obtain written permission from an authorized representative of the franchiser regarding the use of names and trademarks. This written authorization does not exempt you from registering the name with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies or obtaining approval from the Registrar.
Keep a few practical aspects in mind when selecting a brokerage name. The Commission recommends that the name is not too long, as under the Act, all advertising must include the full brokerage name as it appears on the brokerage licence. All licensees must also include the full brokerage name in all advertising (including, for example, for sale/ for lease signs).
Step 3: Register with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies
Upon approval of the brokerage name by the Registrar, register the brokerage with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies. The company name registered with Joint Stock Companies must be the same as the brokerage name approved by the Registrar.
Step 4: Establish an interest-bearing trust account
Every brokerage must maintain an interest-bearing trust account in a Nova Scotia financial institution. The trust account must be in the brokerage’s name, followed by the words "Real Estate Trust Account". This name must appear on all trust account records including, but not limited to, deposit books and cheques. The Commission requires proof that the brokerage has an interest-bearing trust account. This can be in the format of a letter from the bank or a bank statement and must be submitted with the Brokerage Licence Application. The bank must also be instructed to remit the interest earned on trust monies to the Commission semi-annually through the completion and use of the Interest Bearing Trust Account Form.
Step 5: Review and complete the Brokerage Licence Application. Provide the application, the required supporting documents and fee payment to the Commission
Carefully review and complete the licence application and assemble together the required documents. Incomplete packages will not be accepted and will be returned.
Application Supporting Document Requirements
- Proof of registration with Registry of Joint Stock Companies
- Proof of Franchise Agreement (if applicable)
- A letter from a financial institution confirming an interest-bearing trust account for the brokerage has been set up.
- A completed Brokerage Licence Application
- A completed Schedule A
- Payment in cash, cheque, money order, debit, Visa, MasterCard or American Express.