Buying or selling a home? Here’s how to find the right real estate professional.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is encouraging home buyers and sellers to get informed before going through the biggest transaction of their lives

May 12, 2015 (Toronto, ON) – How do Ontarians find a real estate professional? Word-of-mouth from friends and family is the number one source, according to a survey from RECO. Thirty-four percent of homeowners who have used a real estate professional had that person recommended to them, while 25 per cent worked with a friend or family member who is a registered real estate professional.

Other findings from the survey:

    • 11 per cent responded to an advertisement (e.g., a flier, an ad in a real estate magazine, lawn advertising, etc.).
    • 9 per cent researched and interviewed several professionals before choosing one.
    • 5 per cent selected the first real estate professional they spoke to.
    • 3 per cent went to a brokerage office and were assigned a broker or salesperson.

“Asking friends and family for recommendations is a great way to begin the process of choosing a real estate professional,” says Joseph Richer, registrar of RECO. “But keep in mind, your needs and preferences may be different from those of your family or friends, so it’s a good idea to take the time to interview several representatives to see who is a good fit for you and your needs.”

This study of Ontario home owners was hosted on the Angus Reid Forum for RECO as part of the province-wide public-education campaign.

Additional findings about people that have used a real estate professional included:

    • Those ages 18-34 were more likely to use a representative who was recommended to them (45%) than any other age group.
    • Homeowners ages 35-54 were more likely to respond to an advertisement (13%) compared to younger homeowners (6%).
    • First-time buyers were more likely to select the first representative they spoke to (8%) compared to other buyers (2%).

Richer adds: “Whether it’s homes within a certain price range, income properties, condos or cottages, it’s smart to find a representative experienced in buying and selling your kind of place.”

But with nearly 66,000 real estate salespersons and brokers registered in Ontario, how can home buyers and sellers find the real estate professional that is right for them?

RECO’s tips for selecting the right real estate professional for you

When you’re ready to meet with a few representatives, RECO recommends asking these questions:

1. What is your experience? Experience is about more than how many years someone has been in business. Take the time to learn about the types of properties they typically work with, which cities or areas they work in, and how many homes they helped buy or sell in the past year.

2. What is your approach to the buying or selling process? If you’re buying, how will the representative search for suitable properties and what is their approach to negotiations? If you’re selling, how will your home be marketed to help attract prospective buyers? By understanding their approach, you’ll know what to expect and will be able to determine which representative’s philosophy and methods align with your preferences.

3. What services will be included? Discuss your particular needs and expectations with prospective representatives to ensure they are able to provide the services you expect. For example, when selling, will the representative have professional photos taken of your home? Will they host open houses? What about advertising? Understanding exactly what services will be provided, and later documenting them in your written contract, will help avoid misunderstandings later on.

4. What are the commissions or fees that I will need to pay? Commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for the services provided, so be sure to understand what will be provided and what it will cost. Keep in mind that, as with most things, the cheapest deal is not necessarily the best one.

5. Do you have references? As with most job interviews, getting in touch with references is an important step before hiring someone. So, speaking with past clients is a great way to learn more. Were past clients pleased with their experience? Was the representative responsive and easy to get in touch with? Would they recommend them to others?

“Registered real estate professionals can provide a great deal of knowledge and expertise about the buying and selling process,” says Richer. “Being upfront about your needs and expectations will help you find the right representative to guide you as you buy or sell a home. You know best what you like and don’t like. Be clear and specific when you explain this to your representative.”

Is your real estate professional registered with RECO?
All real estate salespersons and brokers in Ontario must be registered with RECO. To confirm if a real estate professional is registered with the provincial regulator, consumers can visit to search an online database of brokerages, brokers and salespersons. By using a registered real estate professional, Ontarians not only receive important and objective information that will help them make informed decisions, they are also assured that their representative is following strict professional standards.

About the survey:
From October 10th to October 14th 2014 an online survey was conducted among 1043 randomly selected Ontario adults who own their home and who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.3%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted on age, gender, region and income.

About RECO:
RECO regulates the real estate profession in Ontario. RECO is responsible for administering the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002) and associated regulations on behalf of the provincial government. In order to trade in real estate in Ontario, brokers and salespersons must be registered under REBBA 2002. RECO’s mission is excellence in the delivery of regulatory services that protect the public interest and enhance consumer confidence in the real estate profession.

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