How Important Is Your Agent Really?
You may not realize it, but choosing the wrong agent can make your whole real estate experience a nightmare.
I think most of you know by now that I haven't been a Realtor forever. Actually, I just celebrated my 3-year anniversary of being licensed last month. Celebrated is probably an over-exaggeration, especially since it didn't really cross my mind until I starting writing this ;) If you were curious, I spent 12+ years as an IT consultant after graduating from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Computer Engineering. I actually still wear my iron ring (I feel like I earned the right to rock it for at least a few more years). So I guess it's safe to say that I can appreciate the perception that agents have from both sides of the fence. I've used agents before I was an agent myself and now that I'm on the other side, I know what it's like having to deal with other agents directly.
Three years isn't that long, but after completing 80+ transactions in that time, working with buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, and all of their respective agents, I think I've met and worked with enough folks to know what to expect when I have to deal with another agent about a potential deal. Given how many licensed Realtors there are in Toronto, I'm not surprised that I've almost never done a deal with the same one twice....I think I can think of two instances. Which means I'm calling or receiving a lot of calls from people I've never met or spoken to before. That alone is a big part of being an agent. I didn't realize how many "strangers" (ie, other agents) I'd have to deal with on a daily basis, and it's not something everyone enjoys. So when those initial interactions don't go smoothly, it can mean a rocky deal right from the start.
Your agent represents YOU. Not only in the context of negotiating on your behalf, which is a big part of their job, but also in the context that the agent is an extension of you, as a buyer/seller/renter/landlord. If the agent I'm dealing with on a transaction is difficult, rude, non-responsive, etc, then that reflects on their clients as well. I mean, why would a perfectly responsible, polite client work with a jerk-of-an-agent, right?
Maybe you're thinking "I want an aggressive, rude agent representing me because he'll get the job done!"
And maybe that's what people think they want in an agent.
But real estate is a personal business. It's about people. Not only the buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords, but it's even more so about the agents who are dealing with late night emails, phone calls, and texts, trying desperately to shield their clients from the barrage of crap that comes with any real estate transaction. And when the two agents responsible for making a deal come together are at odds with each other, don't get along, don't like talking to each other, or even dealing with each other, how can they put together a smooth deal for their clients? You'd be amazed at how much goes on behind the scenes on any real estate deal and how much agents have to work with each other just to keep the transaction smooth in the eyes of their clients. That's why they call it "co-operating".
Now let's forget about the personal aspect of agents for a minute.
Apart from negotiating the deal, the next most important (and arguably the most crucial part of any real estate transaction) is the paperwork.
I can't tell you how many sloppy, incomplete, inaccurate offers I've dealt with in the past three years from agents who either don't know what they are doing or just don't think it's important. If the offer paperwork itself is not complete or does not accurately reflects what the deal is about, it will jeopardize the deal. Period. I've told seller clients not to work with offers with major mistakes in them (and not even counter them) because if the other side can't even get the paperwork right, what else is going to go wrong before closing?
I once had an agent send me an offer via email using a fillable PDF that was not protected. Some of you may not know what that means but basically I was able to edit the PDF myself. I could change the closing date, the conditions, and - you guessed it - the price!! Not to mention the condo corporation was incorrect, as was the legal description of the unit he was buying. Oh, he also sent me the offer at 9am with an irrevocable of 11am that same morning (even after I clearly stated in the listing that my seller travels for work and cannot be reached on short notice), but he soon realized he meant to put 11pm and asked if I could just change that on my side on the PDF before I presented it. Yup, this happens folks. Boggles my mind.
The poor buyer who was being represented by this guy. His agent nearly cost him the condo of his dreams because this agent either didn't know what he was doing or care enough. This buyer is now a neighbour of mine and he later told me that the agent was a friend of his dad's and he was obligated to use him. Needless to say, this buyer now refers a ton of clients to me and not his dad's friend.
For you renters out there, your agent can also literally be the reason you do or don't get a place. Renting in Toronto is hyper-competitive and not having the right documents, right reference, right credit, etc can mean you'll be looking for a very long time. I represent a ton of renters and landlords and I can tell you this - if an offer for a unit I'm representing for a landlord doesn't have all the necessary documents, or is incomplete or suspect in any way, it doesn't get my recommendation for the landlord to accept.
Every agent out there knows what is expected of a tenant when they are applying for a rental, and if they don't, it's all laid out on most listings, so if the agent still can't pull together the right documents on behalf of their client, I just assume their client is equally as disorganized. So imagine losing a place you love because your agent didn't bother to explain to you what is required, or just decided it wasn't that important and "not to worry about it". Renting is a lot of work for agents, and the commission isn't that great, so I fully appreciate the ones who make sure their client's are prepared when offering on a rental, because that preparation is a big part of whether or not a renter's offer is accepted.
This post isn't meant to be a jab at other Realtors. I mean, I'm sure a lot of agents out there don't like my style either. But it's meant to help open the eyes of the folks out there who may not necessarily appreciate how important it is to work with the right agent, because they really can make or break a deal for you.
Your Toronto condo lover,
iPro Realty Ltd, Brokerage
Direct: 647-223-1679 (call/text)