Moving to a new home in Toronto and selling your old one can be a stressful process, especially if you’ve never done it before. But, working with the best real estate agent in Toronto for your needs can help alleviate some of this stress. A real estate agent can not only help you find the perfect home, but also help you find the perfect buyer for yours. The important thing to consider is: how can you find the top real estate agents in Toronto? Keep reading to find out!
Find The Best Real Estate Agent In Toronto
The Toronto Real Estate Market
The first hurdle you need to cross when looking for a real estate agent is to first understand the current Toronto real estate market yourself. If you don’t know what the current market is like, you won’t have any information to give your agent. To name a few, you need to decide what area you want to live in, what your budget is, and what kind of features you want in your home.
Understanding the real estate market can be complicated, especially in Toronto since it is ever-changing. As of 2019, the Toronto real estate market is balanced. This means that there is a strong demand for properties, but there are also a lot of properties available.
This is good for both buyers and sellers, so excellent news for you if you’re planning on selling your current home for a new one. The average price of real estate in the Greater Toronto Area for 2019 was $819,319. Properties only spent an average of 23 days on the market and sellers received 99% of their asking price.
The average price of properties went up 4.1% in 2019 compared to 2018 and experts believe prices will continue to increase as much as 7.8% throughout 2020. This is not surprising though as the price of real estate consistently grows most years, especially in Toronto, making it a safe investment.
As Toronto is a big city with limited space, most new real estate in the city is condominiums or apartment buildings. When buying a condo or apartment, you are buying the individual unit in the building. This means that you have ownership of the unit, but not any common space or land. Typically, residents will be charged a condo fee monthly to maintain these common, shared spaces.
To buy a condo in Downtown Toronto will set you back around $1000 per square foot. An average-sized unit is 647 square feet, so depending on the neighbourhood, it will be $647,000. As the average price of a condo has increased by 20% from 2017 to 2019, prices are not likely to drop much in the future, if at all.
If you decide you want a house in Toronto instead, expect to pay more. Houses are also not as readily available in Downtown Toronto unless they are older. For a detached house in Downtown Toronto, the average price in 2019 was $1.37 million, double the price of a condo in the same area. Even if you don’t want to live downtown, houses around Toronto are still on average $929,633 throughout the Greater Toronto Area. This brings us to the next step in your real estate journey, choosing a neighbourhood.
Toronto is known for being multi-cultural and the various neighbourhoods that exist throughout the city exemplify this. With such a variety of neighbourhoods though, it can be hard to choose one. So, if you want to stay in the city, here are some of the most popular neighbourhoods.
Kensington Market is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city so it has plenty of history and culture. It is a quaint neighbourhood featuring markets, restaurants, bars, cafes, thrift shops and book stores. This makes Kensington Market a great place for students, young adults and couples with the thriving nightlife and plenty to do during the day. It is more of a walking neighbourhood as the streets are narrow. This also makes it a great neighbourhood for cyclists as the Downtown core is within walking distance.
West Queen West is a great, upscale neighbourhood. It even made it to Vogue’s list of coolest neighbourhoods in 2014. Queen Street West is covered in interesting stores, some franchises and many smaller, independent stores as well. There are boutiques, vintage stores, record stores and plenty of art galleries. The neighbourhood is perfect for artists as West Queen West is home to the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and Graffiti Alley, a street where graffiti is legal and encouraged.
St. Clair is another great neighbourhood but is in the midtown area of the city. Unlike the last two, St. Clair is popular amongst families and professionals as it is a fairly quiet and affordable neighbourhood. As it is not as central, St. Clair is a great place to enjoy a peaceful walk around the neighbourhood or park as it is very safe.
Scarborough, though a bit further out of Downtown Toronto is one of the cheapest suburbs in the city. This makes Scarborough popular among new citizens looking to settle down. Though Scarborough has had a reputation of being unsafe, the crime rate is the lowest in Scarborough compared to the rest of Toronto, again making it the perfect neighbourhoods for families. Although it is further out, Scarborough is well-connected to Downtown Toronto with extensive public transport.
If you’re a young adult looking to settle down somewhere affordable in Toronto, look no further then Roncesvalles. Roncesvalles has a big Polish community, but more recently, millennials have been moving in. Roncesvalles hosts many young, creative people as the rent is quite low compared to other parts of Toronto. As it is a cheaper neighbourhood, it is further out like Scarborough. With public transport, however, it is worth the commute.
Bloor West village is sometimes described as the perfect neighbourhood in Toronto. That is because it is located near the downtown core, but not close enough to be overwhelming and noisy. It is also a classy neighbourhood but is still affordable. There are plenty of older houses available, some even for less than $1 million, making it a good place for families as well. It is a safe and accessible neighbourhood as there are multiple subway stations throughout.
Toronto hosts over one hundred different neighbourhoods, so these are only a few of the great ones you could pick from. Once you have a neighbourhood in mind, you can now look for one of the best real estate agents in Toronto. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing a real estate agent.
Choosing A Real Estate Agent In Toronto
We have a simple form above that connects you to a top real estate agent in Toronto specifically for your needs at no cost. In case you want to find a real estate agent another way here are some tips before choosing an agent:
1. Talk to a lender or mortgage broker first
Before we delve into finding the best real estate agent in Toronto, it is important to know what your budget is. Most people will not be able to pay for a home in its entirety upfront, so they will need to take out a mortgage. This is where a lender or mortgage broker can help you.
A lender or mortgage broker in Toronto will help you find out your budget based on how much you will be allowed to loan. This can be done by applying for a mortgage beforehand and getting preapproved. Your preapproval will tell you the maximum amount of money you can borrow to put down on your future home. Your real estate agent will then use this information to only show you homes in that price range.
2. Ask around for referrals of real estate agents
If you’re the first one in your friend group to move out and buy a home, this may be a hard step for you. But, if you know someone in your friend group, family, or even neighbourhood that has bought or sold a home in Toronto, start by asking them which real estate agent they worked with if they had a good experience.
Your friend or family member will likely be honest about how well or poor their real estate agent did. So, this is a good way to find a real estate agent without having to do much research. This is not to be confused with hiring your own friend or family member to be your real estate agent. Working with friends or family can be complicated, so it is best to avoid it if you can in order to save your relationships.
3. Meet with multiple real estate agents
If you can’t find a real estate agent through word of mouth, you will have to go searching for one yourself. Choosing a real estate agent will be similar to choosing your home, you will have to meet and see many agents before you find the right one. Real estate agents will be more than willing to meet with you in the hopes that you will become their client, so book a few meetings and interview potential real estate agents before committing to one.
You could treat the interview as an informal one and just get to know the real estate agent over coffee to see if your personalities align. You will be spending a lot of time with your real estate agent so it is important that you actually like each other.
You could also treat the interview more formally and have a list of questions you would like to ask. Questions to do with the real estate agent’s job history are good ways to gauge their experience and work style.
Talking to your potential real estate agent’s past clients are also a great way to get to know them. Past clients will be able to tell you about their experience working with the agent. Real estate agents should be willing to give you a few references, if they aren’t that may be a sign to keep looking. Many real estate agents will also have reviews of them online on Yelp, Facebook or their own website, so this is another good place to check for references.
Once you’ve met with a few real estate agents, you will have a better understanding of what each agent can offer. This will let you make an informed decision to choose a real estate agent who has your best interests in mind.
4. Make sure your real estate agent is local
We’ve already discussed how diverse and vast Toronto really is, so finding a local real estate agent is your best bet in working with a first-hand expert on the Toronto real estate market. While anyone can learn about the local market, finding a local agent who has lived and worked in Toronto their entire life will likely make them more knowledgeable.
Similarly, a local real estate agent may know neighbourhoods that you’ve never even heard of as they tend to work all over the city. If you let your real estate agent know your criteria for a home and neighbourhood, they can narrow down the search better than an agent who is not local. This will help you find a home in an area that meets all your needs.
5. Look around your neighbourhood
If you drive or walk around your neighbourhood in Toronto often, you may have noticed that some homes or buildings have “for sale” or “sold” signs in their yards. The signs will typically have a picture of the real estate agent with their contact information. This is a great marketing technique and can help you find your new real estate agent.
As real estate agents typically specialize in certain neighbourhoods, walk or drive around the neighbourhood in Toronto that you want to move to and see what local real estate agents have signs. If you see a real estate agent with plenty of sold signs, this is (no pun intended) a good sign. This means they are a successful real estate agent, in the neighbourhood you want to move to no less. If you see a real estate agent with plenty of “for sale” signs, this is not a great sign as they may not have sold many yet.
Ultimately, using for sale and sold signs are a great way to meet and get in touch with real estate agents initially, saving judgement for when you actually talk to them.
6. Attend open houses
An open house is quite literally when a house is open for anyone to view. Potential sellers will have their real estate agent host an open house to get multiple potential clients in to view the property. Potential buyers typically don’t need an appointment and can even go in without their own real estate agent.
As you don’t need your own agent to go into an open house, this is a great way not only to see a property, but to see a potential real estate agent in action. You can meet and talk to a potential real estate agent in an environment that they will be comfortable in, thus putting less pressure on both of you.
You don’t even need to tell the real estate agent at the time that you’re in the market for a new agent, just take their business card and contact them afterwards if you’re interested in their services.
7. Higher quality work often means a higher pay
Have you ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”? Well, it even applies to finding and hiring a real estate agent. Real estate agents earn money based on commission fees. Each real estate agents’ fees are different, so make sure you discuss them beforehand.
If you go for a real estate agent with a lower commission fee, it is likely because they offer less or are less experienced. While this is nothing wrong with hiring a newer real estate agent if you felt a strong connection to them, just remember that you get what you pay for. If you want your real estate agent to have your best interests in mind, you need to have their best interest in mind as well and come to an agreeance on a fair commission.
Ultimately, it is possible to buy or sell a home without an agent, it is significantly harder. In 2019, homes advertised as “for sale by owner” sold for an average of $65,000. That is a huge amount, especially when a real estate agent typically only takes 5-6%. So, a real estate agent may even end up making you more money.
Real estate agents are also great for helping you find listings that may not have even been advertised to the public, meaning you would never see it without an agent. As they are experts in the real estate market in Toronto, they will know the best place to look for listings that suit your needs. If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, don’t hesitate to start searching for one of the top real estate agents in Toronto.