Chances are that, somewhere in your circle of friends and family, you could easily find one or two real estate agents. However, when you are looking at making a major purchase or investment – particularly in Ontario where most of the housing market is well above half-a-million dollars – can you trust making your decision based on the closest real estate agent you know? When looking to buy and sell real estate or invest in property, which Ontario real estate agent is right for you? Read on to understand a few different factors you should consider before taking the leap.
Where do you want to buy and sell?
Most practicing real estate agents in Ontario practice as part of “organized real estate,” meaning they are part of associations that have been formed to protect and represent REALTORs interests. There are 38 local real estate boards across Ontario. While the largest board in Ontario by far is the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), there are also other boards that real estate salespeople can join depending on their geographic area. If you are based out of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), your likely safe with a TREB-registered REALTOR, but if you are looking at property out of the Kawarthas, Ottawa or any other area outside of the GTA, you will most definitely want to work with a REALTOR that is part of the respective board for the area.
Real estate agents also regularly practice something called “Geographic Farming.” No, this does not have anything to do with the agricultural business. Instead, it’s a term that refers to agents establishing their brand by centralizing listings and sales in one geographic area. The properties in this geographic area are then considered part of the REALTOR’s “farm” and the agent works to build up their presence and expertise specific to this area. If you are interested in real estate in a specific market, you might be better served by determining who the REALTOR is that is “farming” that neighbourhood and connect with him or her. Chances are that this real estate agent will have a wealth of knowledge and useful connections in the area that will come in handy in future trades.
What do you want to buy and sell?
While real estate agents are technically able to deal with all types of properties, certain agents are more experienced with specific property types. For example, there are specific nuances related to deals for commercial property, vacant land, and rentals that are unique to these types of trades and not found in regular residential deals. If you know that you want to get into rental properties for investments, make sure you’re not signing an agreement with Cousin Joe – the realtor – just because he’s your cousin without knowing if he’s experienced in rental agreements first.
How do you want to buy and sell?
REALTORs are people, just like you and I. As such, each one has their own unique work style. Do you want daily updates or do you want to be briefed only when major updates are available? Do you like communicating via phone or text, or do you like in-person meetings? What level of detail do you enjoy? Certain work styles come more easily to people than others. Furthermore, where does your target market live? Do you need an agent that can network in person or online? Do you need an agent that can provide you with digital marketing or overseas marketing services? These are all important skills and working styles to consider.
What is your agent’s experience?
All real estate agents need to start somewhere, but it’s important to understand what your real estate agent’s level of experience and education is before you start trading with them and what kind of skills they will bring to the table. You want an agent who is upfront with you about their experience with the types of deals you are looking to make, their contacts, and their comfort level with going out there and getting you what you want and need. Will your agent provide you with a proper listing presentation? Is your agent able and willing to get you the best in digital or print marketing, depending on what your property needs? What level of customer service can your agent provide? These are all important things to consider before signing with an agent.
Who do you want to work with?
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget that there are subjective factors to consider when selecting a real estate agent. Your relationship with your real estate agent is a very important factor. There are certain people that you can just “jive” with more. If you’re building your real estate empire, you want people in your court that get you and that you work well with. There are lots of agents out there, and there’s no need for you to settle with one that you don’t flow with.
Hopefully this article shows you just a few of the major things to consider when choosing your Ontario real estate agent. Are there any other factors that I might have missed? Do you have any questions about what might have been covered in this post? If so, drop a line in the comments below!