When it comes to buying or selling your home, you want to make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who is not only experienced but has your best interests at heart. This is the biggest transaction of your life and with over 50,000 Toronto real estate agents to choose from, how do you know you’re hiring the best agent for the job?
1. ASK YOUR FRIENDS FOR REFERRALS
The best place to start looking for the best real estate agent in Toronto is by asking your friends who they’ve worked with. They’ll give you the honest truth about their experience. If they didn’t have a good experience with their agent, they’ll surely tell you. Hopefully you can get some positive referrals and move on to step two.
2. CHECK THEIR REVIEWS
As with most products or services, read the reviews real estate agents get — and not just the ones they’ve curated on their own website. Google, Facebook, and Yelp are all great places to start.
For real estate agents in Toronto specifically, see how they rank on Rank My Agent. Rank My Agent is a third party platform that verifies the authenticity of each review posted by cross-checking it with the transaction affiliated with the review. No friends or uncles leaving fake reviews here!
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH
After you’ve narrowed your search down to a few Toronto realtors, be sure to do your own research. Visit their website: what’s your first impression? Is it professional or a cookie-cutter website likely provided by their brokerage? Ask yourself if this is someone you’d want to be represented by.
Look at their transaction history: have they done many sales? An agent’s transaction record is a key indicator as to how well they’re doing professionally. To put this in perspective, a report that came out earlier this year covering transaction data for 2017 claimed that of the 50,000 Toronto realtors:
• 34% of them did zero transactions
• 51.3% of them did one or fewer transactions
• 10% of them did ten or more transactions
• 2.5% of them did twenty or more transactions
• 0.3% of them did fifty or more transactions
Keep this in mind when you’re looking for the best real estate agent in Toronto, we’d recommend looking for agents that have done at least ten transactions in the last year. Also, see if they post their sales data with their listings. We want to be completely transparent about our sales so we always post both the list and sale price of each property we sell.
4. HIRE LOCAL
Toronto is a big city and many real estate agents will specialize in certain neighbourhoods or territories. I’m sure you’ll have noticed that in your neighbourhood you often see the same names on for sale signs. The same is often true for condo buildings too, just less obvious. So if your neighbour just listed their condo, ask who they used.
An agent that has sold multiple listings in a particular condo building or neighbourhood will be able to strategically price your property or prepare an offer because they know how listings have been performing there in the past. If your friend is a real estate agent in Whitby, for instance, and they want to help you sell your condo downtown, you’re better off hiring an agent who is well versed in the Toronto real estate market.
5. MAKE SURE THEY HAVE SUPPORT
See what types of services an agent offers when you list with them. Some agents will simply do the paperwork and list it for you on MLS. You need an agent who has a marketing team, offers staging and can present you with a pricing strategy tailored to your property. Some realtors will try and do it all themselves but as we all know, you can’t be really great at all facets of the real estate process, you need a team to help you.
6. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
If you’re looking for a discount agent so you can save on commission fees, what you “save” on fees may be reflected in the sale price you get for your property. The best Toronto real estate agents are worth their weight in gold.
Ask your agent what services they provide for their commission. Do they offer free staging? Will they have your listing professional photographed? What type of marketing campaign do they execute and how in-depth is their pricing strategy? A professional agent won’t discount their commission because they know the value of their expertise and service.
7. TRUST YOUR GUT
Beyond all other factors, you’ve got to trust your gut. Make sure they have your best interests at heart. A good real estate agent will be invested in you, not just the transaction. A good indication on whether or not your real estate agent is fully invested in you is if they’re asking about your finances, your future, and your goals. Their experience in the industry means they know to ask you about your five year plan, not just what you want or need right now.
You want to feel comfortable with your agent. If you’re feeling pressured by them, they clearly don’t have your best interests in mind. They should be confident and upfront about their strategy and be available to you whenever you have questions.
Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your agent so even beyond their expertise, make sure the chemistry is right. This is the biggest transaction of your life, so hire the best real estate agent for the job. You’ll be grateful you did!