There are a lot of real estate agents in Canada.
To put it in perspective, there are approximately 110,000 agents, meaning one for every 245 Canadians over the age of 19. In Toronto, there is an even denser population of agents—nearly 40,000, or one for every 140 people in the GTA.
So, how do you choose one to help you with one of the most important purchases of your life?
Real estate agents can get a bad rap, but not always with good reason. It’s true that there are inexperienced, shady, or neglectful agents out there, but that’s true for people in most fields. There are plenty of agents that know their stuff and are a pleasure to work with, so it’s your job to find the perfect agent. (Check out the linked article for our breakdown on how to first find an agent.)
There are lots of things top real estate agents do that others don’t. Once you have an agent you like, here’s how to know you should keep them:
You’re impressed with how they represent you and themselves
Are you arriving at a showing and are embarrassed by the way your agent is behaving? Is she too abrasive? Is he poorly groomed?
Your agent’s continued behaviour is paramount to your success finding a home or selling your property. You want someone that is going to connect with potential buyers and sellers, not be off-putting from the get-go.
That said, if the agent has an amazing record, maybe his aggression is warranted and get things done. If you’re not getting results, consider their demeanour with other key players.
You notice your agent has many connections
A well-networked agent is a successful agent. If at any point, you notice your agent has a pre-existing connection with another agent, that’s a great sign.
If the selling agent knows your agent, for example, they could be more inclined to give you information first or benefit you as buyers. Anything that can get you a slight edge could mean the difference between landing the home and having it snatched up under you.
You can tell your agent understands the neighbourhood
Agents don’t need to live in the neighbourhood you’re looking through, but they should be extremely familiar with it or have researched it thoroughly. They should be able to list recent sales nearby and local amenities. Essentially, if they’re trying to get you to buy in this area, there should be a reason.
Your agent is being honest and forthright
The most limiting thing that could happen during your house hunt or selling your property is knowing your agent isn’t being honest with you.
If you feel like your agent is hiding something from you to make a sale or is keeping any information from you, that’s a clear sign you should be working with someone else. There’s nothing about your home or your future home that you shouldn’t know—stay informed or it could come back to bite you.
You’re not working as hard as your agent
This may seem obvious, but you should not be working as hard as your agent to find a home. Look through listings, research neighbourhoods, and yes, do your due diligence, but your agent should be kicking serious butt, sending you stuff at weird hours and getting the job done. Consistent communication is a good indicator that your agent is working as hard as possible.