22 Questions To Ask A Realtor In Toronto [Buying Or Selling]

Questions to ask a realtor before buying or selling in toronto


For most people, completing a real estate transaction – be it buying a home or selling one – is a huge deal. Every real estate transaction is unique. All require their own strategies and tactics, depending on the client’s goals, current market conditions, and competition. If you find the entire process stressful or overwhelming, consider working with a real estate agent. I’d go one step further and suggest that you look for an experienced agent familiar with the local market.

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Unfortunately, choosing the right agent is not as simple as picking your favourite cereal from the supermarket. There are over 160,000 real estate agents in Canada and over 70,000+ of them in Toronto. Finding a good agent here is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You need somebody who can think and act like a ship’s captain capable of navigating the deepest of waters. 

When you hire me or somebody from my team, our goal is to use our combined local market knowledge to help you get the best deal in Toronto’s real estate market. We have a full-service team of real estate professionals who work tirelessly behind to scenes to see that your needs are met. In case you’re currently in the market, actively looking for agents to meet and interview – meet our team or you can book a call at your convenience!

Coming back to the task at hand. Whether you’re looking for a buyers agent or a sellers agent, you must schedule an interview after your first meeting to truly understand the agent. You probably have some questions – be sure to get them across first. In addition to that, in this blog post, I’ll be sharing 22 questions that I feel are very important from a client’s point of view.

By the end of the interview, you should be able to separate the good agents from the best agents.


How To Use 20 Questions To Pick The Right Realtor


The process of finding a good real estate agent is not necessarily fun. But what if you slightly gamify the process? Think ‘20 Questions’.

I have compiled about 22 questions (+2 bonus questions) to help you extract all the useful intel from a real estate agent – before hiring one. Feel free to be inspired by these questions, add your own questions to them, and perhaps your next interview will be a game of 20 Questions! I love this approach as it prevents information overload. While 20 questions might still be too many, hopefully, by the 10th one you’ve found the right agent and had some fun along the way!

Related: How to find the best real estate agent in Toronto? [Buying & Selling]

6 Questions To Ask Before Hiring Any Realtor


How many years have you been working as a realtor?

Experience counts, it always counts – especially when you talk about Toronto’s real estate market. In fact, the market is in such a mess today – with misleading headlines and new predictions coming out every week – it’s become that much more important to find a cool head who truly understands the local market. Having somebody who has been there and done that for past clients can feel very comforting. An experienced agent is also better attuned to the question around price – again, owing to their years of experience that enables them to filter through all the cyclical market trends.

Note: A senior real estate agent has over 8+ years of experience in the industry. I personally have over 15+ years of experience in the industry facilitating over half a billion dollars in real estate transactions. Here’s more information on my clients’ returns!

On average, how many clients do you work with?

This is a tricky one – unfortunately, there’s no right answer here. It depends on the situation and context. The premise behind this question is simple: you want a real estate agent with the resources and time to serve you efficiently. On average, one real estate agent may work with 10-20 clients in a year. Top-producing agents will be backed by a team (our team offers concierge-level services), and with this support, they are able to take on more clients.

Bottom line: the agent you pick must be able to give you their all – nothing else is acceptable.

What do you specialize in as a realtor? [types of property & neighbourhoods]

Most agents today choose to specialize in something – a type of property, a neighbourhood, or maybe even a trade (like buying or selling). For example, I now focus my time on luxury real estate and investment opportunities in some of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods east to west. I believe that a specialist is usually better than a generalist. Regardless, it’s important for you to clearly understand the strengths and weaknesses of a realtor by neighbourhood.

Bottom line: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each agent by neighbourhood to make a more informed decision

What is the scope of your services? (part-time/full-time; buyers, sellers, or both)

In Toronto, you have real estate agents that work part-time and those that work full-time. There are buyers agents and sellers agents. There are real estate agents who help with both: buying and selling. Some real estate brokers offer complementary home inspection and staging.

Common sense dictates that full-time professionals are a safe bet for large real estate transactions. Even otherwise, I feel they are the better option as they are passionate, knowledgeable individuals who end up spending countless hours, day in and day out, studying all the ups and downs in Toronto’s real estate market. There are buyers agents and sellers agents in the markets – specialists in their own trade. It may be worth working with a team of real estate professionals that offer all real estate services needed to complete a transaction. All decisions centralized and made by one team ensure a smooth process throughout.

Bottom line: understand how your real estate agent works and what services he/she offers before making your final decision

Could you please share a list of your references?

Most real estate agents will be delighted to share this list with you. References can be extremely useful proof of concepts highlighting the proficiency of an agent. On the other hand, it can also be a list full of empty promises. I think it’s wise to read the references with a pinch of salt but don’t ignore them. Remember the ones that strike you as important and try to find ways to validate the reference sometime during your interview with the real estate broker.

Bottom line: References are important but trying to find ways to validate them is more important.

What is your communication style like?

Every client has a different preference when it comes to communication style. Some people prefer to text on the phone, while others prefer to jump on a call. You need to work with somebody that’s accommodating and understanding. With our team, we work hard to ensure that each client is taken care of and feels special. Whatever may be your specific requirements, know that when you list with us you get the highest level of service. You’ll also gain access to our amazing network of professionals from contractors and home inspectors to mortgage brokers and lawyers in Toronto. Our team is here to assist you with all of your real estate-related needs, from the beginning to a successful closure. 

Bottom line: find a real estate agent that you ‘vibe’ with who is always understanding and empathetic to your situation.

8 Questions To Ask A Realtor When Buying A House


What neighbourhoods do you recommend?

This is a tricky question with no right answers as it depends on the person. To me, it’s also one of the most important questions that you could ask a realtor. There are a number of features that make a neighbourhood attractive: access to public transit systems, access to education and recreational facilities, the neighbours themselves, the value of sold homes in the past, and the existing market value of similar properties in the vicinity. Identify what’s important to you and come up with a list of ‘must-haves’ to help you shortlist certain neighbourhoods.

The best agents have a treasure trove of data and real-world testimonials to support their predictions. Most agents specialize in certain neighbourhoods. If you’ve already identified your neighbourhood, it might make sense to work with a local specialist.

Bottom line: Share your must-haves with an experienced agent to find the best neighbourhood for yourself

Related: Toronto’s Neighbourhood Map

What are all the expenses associated with buying a home?

Buying a house includes multiple expenses that you may have just forgotten about. Ask your realtor well in advance what are all the costs associated with buying that property. Generally, your expenses include: a down payment, home inspection costs, and closing costs (legal expenses and land transfer tax). I always tell my clients to keep some extra money aside for emergencies – also known as the ‘Oh Sh*t Fund’.

Bottom line: understand all the costs associated with the purchase of a property before making your final decision to avoid any surprises.

Related: Cost of buying and owning a house in Toronto [Neighbourhood Breakdown]

What would the yearly maintenance costs amount to?

As a rule of thumb, many agents use the 1% or 2% rule to arrive at an estimated annual maintenance amount for a property. To apply this rule, you need to set aside 1% or 2% of the purchase price and use that amount for annual maintenance expenses. Your realtor may also choose to just ask the seller or use historical data to arrive at a figure. Trust an experienced agent’s judgment here and be sure to account for these annual maintenance expenses when buying a property.

Bottom line: set aside some money for annual maintenance and don’t overlook these costs when evaluating houses

Related: A guide to condo maintenance fees in Toronto in 2023

How many times has the house been sold?

Often overlooked, to me, this is a really important question. Because a house that’s sold multiple times tells me that there’s some underlying problem with the property or location – not the tenant. In case the property that you’re eyeing fits this bill – just beware, double-check the reason behind all the sales so that you are not caught off guard if you do finally purchase the property.

Bottom line: be curious, and get to the root cause of the sales.

How much is the house worth?

Most likely, you already have this question on your list without reading it here. But just to reiterate – make sure to find out how much the house that you’re interested in is actually worth today and compare it with the sellers asking price. While you’re at it, ask your realtor about the history of the neighbourhood. What prices do other similar properties in the neighbourhood command? Is the trend upward or downward? You can take all the information that you gather and use that to come up with a winning offer strategy.

Bottom line: before making an offer, gather all the information that you can to help you ascertain the present and future value of the property

Related: Find out how much your home is worth today!

What does the selling price include?

A ‘fixture’ in the real estate world refers to all the items that come with buying a house. It’s basically anything that’s attached to the walls by cement, nuts, bolts, or something else. For example, a window treatment or a chandelier. But not everything fixed to a wall is defined as a ‘fixture’. And not all fixtures are included in the selling price. Before you come up with your final offer, you must be 100% certain of all that you’re paying for.

Bottom line: double-check the listing and make sure that you get all that you pay for

How long has the house been on the market?

The duration the property has been on the market often dictates your negotiating power during the offer phase. For a property that’s been on the market for a long time, attracting fewer offers – your odds to negotiate the asking price or any other contingencies are high. On the other hand, in case the property has been on the market for a short period of time, attracting multiple offers – brace yourself for a real estate bidding war.

Bottom line: the longer a property has been on the market, the better your odds to negotiate.

Related: Art Of Winning Real Estate Bidding Wars In Toronto

Are there any issues with the house? (maintenance, repairs, or other)

According to the rules, it’s the seller’s duty to disclose any issues with the property at the time of listing itself. But doing your due diligence never hurts. I strongly recommend that you question your realtor to find out if there are any issues with the property – before you buy it. Your real estate agent should be able to connect you to a home inspector. Get a report that assesses the overall health of the property. In Toronto, it’s quite common to offer ‘firm’ on a property and for the sellers to hire a home inspector to produce a report prior to going live with the listing. In this case, it’s important to thoroughly review the report beforehand.

Bottom line: you are trying to anticipate any future costs associated with the purchase while also trying to improve your position on the negotiation table.

8 Questions To Ask A Realtor When Selling Your House 


Are you a realtor that frequently represents both: the buyer and seller?

When an agent represents both parties in a real estate transaction: the buyer & seller, they are entitled to the entire commission set aside for the transaction. Fundamentally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, if an agent repeatedly or consistently does this – it could mean that they are looking to make a bigger buck, maybe sometimes at the expense of one of their clients.

Bottom line: real estate agents can represent both: buyers and sellers; however ideally, that should not make up the bulk of their business.

What are the selling features of my home?

Selling features can be looked at as characteristics of your property that make it attractive to certain buyers or in select market conditions. For example, if you’re staying close to the public transit lines in Toronto, that’s a selling feature. Easy access to schools & colleges is another popular one. Basically, every home has something attractive about it that can be presented as a feature. Good agents get this, while other realtors ignore it. The agent may request some time to review the property once again before sharing their thoughts – I think that’s okay. I’d give brownie points to anybody who answers me right then and there as that’d mean that they did their homework prior to the interview. Which means they care, right?

Bottom line: find somebody who recognizes your property for what it is and is able to market the right selling features to the right target audience.

Related: How To Increase The Value Of Your House Before Selling [Staging & Home Renovations]

What steps do you take to vet interested buyers?

Many real estate transactions fall through at the last minute due to one reason or another. Unqualified buyers waste time and resources. You want a real estate agent that knows how to reach qualified buyers – not unqualified. One of the most common reasons why a deal breaks off is due to financial constraints. This can easily be avoided through a simple vetting process. Agents that vet buyers are able to sell more homes faster. Find out how the agent vets prospects – the answer will give you important clues about their capability.

Bottom line: find out how the agent separates qualified from unqualified buyers to make sure that interested buyers are being vetted.

What is your track record for selling homes like ours?

When you’re in the market, looking for a real estate agent it’s important to consider how much they have sold – and for how long. A realtor who has sold thousands of homes and been through different sale cycles comes with experience and insight that’s unique to them. In addition to checking the agents’ overall track record – check how they perform in the neighbourhood that you’re interested in and their experience dealing with property types similar to the one that you’re interested in buying.

Risking repetition, I would like to remind you that I have over 15 years experience selling homes within the GTA and have facilitated over 500 million dollars in real estate transactions. I sell properties ranging from luxury homes, condos, and investments. When you work with us my experience selling different types of real estate across Toronto will be your competitive advantage in the market. I’m able to give guidance on each and every step of your transaction so the experience is seamless and stress-free.

Bottom line: a real estate agent’s track record is a fine indicator of the quality of their services, look for experienced agents familiar with the neighbourhood and property type

How much do you think we should list our house for?

Often, when you’re selling a house in Toronto, they typically sell for over the asking price. Regardless, when it comes to actually setting the listing price for a house, there’s no one size fits all strategy. To get to the price, your real estate agent will have to analyze the type of property you’re looking at, what the market is like at that exact time, what and how much competition is there, and the history of home sales in the neighbourhood. Don’t just go by what your realtor is saying – ask him/her to show you some statistics and data to validate their suggestions.

What’s the right price today, may be wrong tomorrow. Depending on your competitors, what’s recently sold in your area, and how many people you are competing with – all come into play when deciding the best strategy for your home to get the highest price. No two properties are identical and neither should their pricing or selling strategies. Be wary of an agent who overpromises on the sale price, you may end up getting burned.

Bottom line: don’t just believe what the realtor’s gut is saying, look for proof in the numbers and data to validate their suggestions while watching for the BS.

Related: Understanding real estate pricing strategies

How much will it cost to sell my home?

In addition to the agents’ commission (generally a 3%-5% split between the buyers’ agent and sellers’ agent), selling a home does have some additional costs attached to it. Examples of some additional costs include: home maintenance and repairs, home inspection, staging expenses, legal fees, and moving fees. You may not have to pay for all of this – some might be included as a value-add service by the realtor themselves. Find out precisely what’s essential and how much it costs to arrive at your total selling cost. The total cost that you arrive at should be used as the cost for any ROI calculation.

Bottom line: a sale includes expenses in addition to the agent’s commission, find out what your total expenses are for an accurate return on investment

Related: How much does it cost to sell a house or condo in Toronto?

What tactics will you use when selling our home?

Our primary job is to help you get the most amount of money for your property, and any mishap can cost lots of money. There’s a selling strategy for every goal – and we know all the tricks in the playbook. I am an expert in pricing, which is a nuanced skill that can help maximize the value of your property. I am constantly entrenched in the market and selling homes with a proven track record of getting top dollar.

When you list your home with us we offer complimentary staging that will help increase the value of your home. Staging will make a substantial difference and can sell your faster and for more money.

How long does a realtor typically take to sell a home in Toronto?

The length of time it takes to sell a home in Toronto can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location, price point, and condition of the home. Our team will work with you to develop a realistic timeline for selling your home based on your specific situation. We will also provide you with regular updates throughout the selling process to keep you informed every step of the way.

Related: How long will it take to sell my house or condo in Toronto?

Final Words


Most of these questions are really basic. In my experience, I have dealt with a lot of clients that just skip the basics. Instead, they ask me questions about technical metrics like debt-to-income ratio, list price ratio, and a bunch of other metrics. Not saying they aren’t helpful but they are helpful in context when you really understand the market. If you’re good with numbers great! Get statistical and geeky with your realtor. That’s a great litmus test to see if the agent truly knows the subject.

If you’re sick and tired of looking for a good agent, you’re in the right place. When you hire me or somebody from my team, our goal is to use our combined local market knowledge to help you get the best deal in Toronto’s real estate market. We have a full-service team of real estate professionals who work tirelessly behind to scenes to see that your needs are met. If you’re a seller, that would mean getting you the most amount of money for your property while seamlessly taking care of every aspect of your listing. On the other hand, if you’re a potential buyer, we’d help you buy the property that’s just perfect for you. Book a call and let us know how we can help you!