Spring has sprung and you’re in the mood for… a new home?


It is a truth universally acknowledged that, with the onset of that particularly stimulating warmish trend known as ‘spring’, a single man, a single woman, a married couple or a family, whether or not in the possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a new home.

At least, that’s what Jane Austen might say if she were to witness the intensely active Ontario real estate market each spring season.

This year is no exception. The weather is warm and home sales are hot. To help navigate the frenetic pace of real estate listings, offers and closings, many Canadians wisely choose to work with a real estate professional.

Finding a real estate professional is not difficult. Finding the right real estate professional, however? The one you completely trust will get the best price for selling the home into which you have poured years of money and love? The one who understands the je ne sais quoi you are looking for in your next home? The one who not only calls you back, but also has your back? (And of course, the one who has their real estate licence!) Like any relationship, it can be tough to find just the right fit.

Maybe you have already met a representative and are wondering… Could this be the one? Or perhaps you are shuffling through a stack of business cards trying to decide whom to call first (it can be so nerve-wracking!). We’ve compiled a list of 10 factors to consider in your quest to find a real estate relationship that will make your heart sing.

10 steps to finding the real estate relationship of your dreams

  1. Get the formalities out of the way.The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) offers a unique, online database where you can look up any real estate professional and confirm they are in good standing. RECO wants to make your due diligence easier, and their real estate professional search service makes it a breeze.
  2. May I speak with your exes?Of course we mean former clients! Referrals are the lifeblood of a real estate professional. Many people rely on their friends to recommend someone, but if you are considering working with a real estate professional with whom you don’t know someone in common, ask for a list of references to call. Who better than a past client to tell you how responsive, accessible and successful in meeting their needs this representative was – and could be for you?
  • That something extra.While all real estate professionals must meet educational requirements and continue their education to remain registered, each representative brings his or her own set of skills and personal interests. If you’re looking to purchase a brand new home, someone who specializes in property developments might be helpful. Or, if you’re looking to sell your house, you might want to find someone with a flair for home staging.
  • Who will you really work with?Some representatives work as part of a team, so the person you first meet with, the one whose name goes on the sign, may not end up being your day-to-day contact. It is helpful to understand the facts and fictions of the real estate market, including everyone’s roles and how you connect with them.
  • Who else are you seeing? You might ask how many clients the representative tends to work with at one time. On one hand you want someone who is busy and popular with clients, but you also want to ensure he or she has enough time to dedicate to you.
  • What is your specialty?Whether it is working in the condo market, or with recreational homes, income properties or homes within a certain price range – it is ideal to find a representative well versed in buying and selling your kind of place.
  • Neighbourhood intelligence.Someone with a history of working within the neighbourhood where you plan to buy or sell will have valuable knowledge to add to the process. There is always background behind the numbers and when it comes to getting the full story, there are often details that can only be learned by knowing the neighbours.
  • Show them the money.Are you willing to pay for a professional relationship? Like anyone, a real estate representative appreciates getting fairly paid for his or her work. In Ontario, commissions can be a flat fee, a percentage of the sale price or a combination of both. As in most situations, the cheapest rate is not always the best option.
  • Get what you pay for. The specific services a representative will offer depend on large part what their firm can provide and the services that are important to you. Some brokerages create elaborate websites and videos, while others advertise in the national newspaper. Some include home staging and photography in their fees, while others charge extra for each option. Think about what you are willing to spend in return for marketing efforts.
  • Setting expectations. The most important part of establishing a relationship is making sure both parties have the same expectations. Ask potential representatives to give you a comparative market assessment (CMA). This is will give you their opinion on a price range, a comparison against other recent sales and an idea of how long a sale could take. As a buyer, you also need your representative to give you their views on the market, along with sales histories and price comparisons in the neighbourhood where you would like to live.
  • Change is in the air

    There are scientific reasons why Cupid’s arrows fly in the spring and it isn’t all about romance! Let Mother Nature, with her energizing sunshine and her inspiration of sprouting new life, help you to find a dream real estate relationship that will ultimately lead you to your new dream home. After all, like finding any great partner, it’s all about timing. Happy Spring!