| Buying

We’re always thrilled to meet new clients moving to Toronto. To us, there really isn’t a better place to call home. As Torontonians, we’re maybe a little biased about our hometown, but it’s just because there are so many pluses about living here. However, we also know that moving to a city like Toronto is an overwhelming prospect for newcomers.  To make that transition easier, it helps to have a trusty real estate agent by your side. Want to find the best real estate agent in Toronto for your relocation? Here’s how. 

Research Reviews and Testimonials

Today finding a real estate agent is easier thanks to online reviews and testimonials. Reviews give you a glimpse into the volume of transactions an agent has while allowing you to learn more about them. Your research provides a short list of the agents you’d like to meet so you can start the interview process. 

For example, not to brag, but when you enter The Christine Cowern Team, you’ll see us pop up with a five-star Google rating. You can also read our Google reviews and explore real-life customer testimonials on our website. This is what you want to see when choosing your agent.   

Speaking of testimonials, read some of our client testimonials right here.

Bank on Experience

Even if a real estate agent tells you they’ve lived here all their life, without actual real estate experience, they’re not the best choice. Although we always give points for enthusiasm, the truth is you need someone who understands the ins and outs of Toronto real estate. We’re not talking about someone who knows the areas with the best bars or places to shop, but someone who also understands the many steps involved in finding and buying a home. 

Here’s what to ask:

  • How many clients have you helped relocate to Toronto? 
  • What services do you offer to simplify the process?
  • What types of properties do you specialize in?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many years have you been a real estate agent? 
  • How many of those years were in Toronto?
  • How many transactions do you complete each year?
  • When was the last time you completed a home-buying transaction?
  • Can you recommend some short-term rental options or extended-stay hotels in the area? (This might be necessary in some cases)

These questions will help zero in on just how much experience they have in Toronto real estate. 

Make Sure They Ask Questions

Your real estate agent should ask some questions of their own. They can’t do their job if they don’t understand your needs. So don’t be surprised if they ask:

  • Do you have kids? Pets?
  • Are you living alone, with a spouse, or roommate?
  • What types of amenities are important to you?
  • Do you drive and need parking?
  • Are you working/going to school, and if so, where?
  • What’s your budget? 
  • Are you renting or buying? Are you sure this is the best option?
  • What home type do you want, ideally?
  • Do you need temporary housing while we look? 

A good “fit” is essential for you and your agent. You want someone who understands your needs and they want to make sure they can meet them. Otherwise, it won’t work. 

Helping with Budget

Your real estate agent should be concerned about your budget. As a new Torontonian, you might view housing costs differently. Your agent should help you decide if buying or renting is best, taking time to share the following: 

  • The average costs for renting vs. owning
  • The mortgage pre-approval process
  • Common household expenses and costs in Toronto
  • Common element fees (for condos) 
  • Reviewing downpayment requirements and mortgage options
  • An “all in” overview of the costs of buying and renting 
  • Closing costs 

A good agent ensures you can manage your living costs before advising on the best option.

Local Knowledge

Experienced real estate agents know Toronto is all about micro-neighbourhoods. They have intimate knowledge about these niche opportunities to help you find the perfect match for your lifestyle and budget. They balance your needs and wants with neighbourhoods that offer the most for your budget. They’re more likely to say, “You know, we love The Beach, but it tends to be pretty pricey. We’ve found some fantastic homes for clients in Birch Cliff. It’s got the same vibe without the high price tag.”  A less knowledgeable agent won’t suggest alternatives to meet your needs.   

Help feel out their knowledge with a few questions:

  • Can you provide a map of the area so I can take a look around? 
  • What should I focus on when visiting the area? 
  • What’s the best way to get there by car/TTC?  (Depending on how you’re getting around town)
  • Can you recommend a good spot for lunch, coffee, shopping, etc.? 
  • What are the schools like in the area? (Even if you don’t have kids, schools say a lot about a neighbourhood)

Knowledgeable real estate agents share Toronto’s secrets, making you feel like a local out for a stroll instead of a tourist exploring the sights.   

Read this post next to find out how you can find the best schools in Toronto.

Crime Knowledge

Even if you think you know the best areas in Toronto, there are pockets or even specific buildings that have less than glowing reputations. It’s the same in any city. So, to us, local knowledge means understanding the best and worst niche areas. 

Get to the nitty gritty of the area’s safety by asking:

  • What is the crime rate in this area?
  • Are there any buildings in this area to avoid?
  • What condos have the best reputation?
  • Are there any streets you would recommend we avoid?
  • What areas are the safest and most dangerous?

A good agent has their fingers on the city’s pulse and won’t skirt the safety issue. If they say, “Safety? All of Toronto is safe,” we don’t want to say they’re lying BUT let’s just say they’re selling, not helping. 

Knowledge of the Process

Buying a home involves tons of steps. Your real estate agent should walk you through their proven process, which tells you they’re organized and focused on smooth transactions. They should provide the following:

  • A buying/closing checklist to keep track of everything  
  • Contact information to reach them via your preferred method, i.e., text, phone, email, direct messaging, etc. 

You want to feel confident that they will always be there when you need them. 

Looking for more tips to find the best Toronto real estate team for you? Read this post next.

Legal Partners

Skilled agents understand the legal process of real estate transactions. Their job is to protect your best interests, which also means referring you to a trusted lawyer to represent you during the closing process. Lawyers dot the i’s and cross the t’s, with a thorough background check ensuring it’s safe to move forward with the purchase.  

Full-Service Agency

An established real estate agent has an entire network of professionals to make your life easier. In fact, they’ll have a team that ensures everything goes smoothly even once the closing is complete. They don’t consider their job done until you’re settled in nicely and all of your questions are answered. 

One last word of advice: trust your gut. You want an agent who gets you and will find a Toronto home that’s spot-on for your personality and lifestyle. It’s important to feel comfortable with them as you’ll likely spend a lot of time together. If they stand up to the standards we’ve laid out here, AND pass your gut check, you’ve found the best agent for your relocation.  

If you’re looking for the best Toronto real estate team to guide you through the relocation process, call The Christine Cowern team at 416.291.7372 or email us at hello@christinecowern.com. We’d love to work with you!