Buying Toronto Real Estate Without an Agent

Cameron Weir and I are asked all the time, “Do I need to have my own real estate agent to purchase a house or condo?” or “Should I have a realtor represent me when buying a house or pre-construction condo”. The answer is almost always, absolutely yes, especially for first-time buyers.

The path to purchasing a house or condo, whether a new-build or resale… whether a semi-detached house in Leslieville… or a detached bungalow in Topham Park … or a beautiful family home in Pickering, Ajax or Whitby, you need to have a realtor looking out for your best interests. And whether or not you immediately sign buyer’s representation agreement, sometimes called a buyer rep agreement, or BRA, you should at least get the ball rolling and start interviewing or meeting realtors that you will want to help guide you to the perfect house or condo purchase in the Greater Toronto Area.

Regularly I encounter clients who confide in me that their family or colleagues tell them to just go directly to the listing agent and they’ll get a great deal on the purchase. That may sometimes “work” in smaller markets… but in GTA Real Estate which continues to be a very strong seller’s market, buyers need proper representation and protection. Real estate sellers in Toronto, Durham Region and beyond are in the driver’s seat. They call the shots. Those real estate sellers and their listing agents are not interested in giving you a deal.

If you do think you’re getting a deal, then chances are the house is already over-priced or there’s something wrong with the house and no one else wants it.

Be very careful with this, especially if you are a first-time buyer.

It should at least take several weeks to a couple of months alongside an experienced realtor who has made sure you see numerous options, neighbourhoods, price ranges and past actual selling prices.

No two real estate transactions in Toronto, Leslieville, Riverdale, East York, Pickering, Ajax or anywhere in the GTA are the same. Every real estate purchase or sale comes with its own set of factors and there are always things either side is unaware of. Only a seasoned realtor with experience both buying and selling can walk into a situation and understand what it likely going on and what might happen based on gut instincts of past experiences.

As a real estate buyer’s representative I can walk into a house and know within a second or two how well cared for this house was or what future problems may be around the corner for my clients. At the same time I can walk into a condo lobby and know the type of building, management and potential issues my buyer could be facing in this building. The carpet, the ceiling tiles, the elevator, the rude or wonderful concierge speak volumes. First time buyers likely won’t pick up on much of these signals.

The duties of an excellent buying agent are long, often tedious, but critical to the successful purchase of a house or condo. There is much more than just booking the showings and finding the key in a lockbox. And our skills need to be much more than a chauffeur, project manager, psychiatrist, and expert negotiator. (Although those are all extremely important).

The confidence for buyers when offering on their dream house can only come once they’ve built up the trust with their agent who helped to guide them to that perfect property.

The joy of helping my buyers find the ideal place is one of the best things about my job. Knowing that I expertly helped them wade through their many questions and made it as enjoyable as possible is truly a great feeling. (Not to mention the great feeling of knowing what an excellent financial investment they made).

So is a buyer’s agent necessary? I think it’d be like getting on a plane to an unknown destination without a pilot in the captain’s chair. You wouldn’t get anywhere fast.

So when isn’t it necessary to have a realtor represent you for your purchase? Usually only when you, as a buyer, are experienced enough to deal with all of the many issues and problems that can arise. The Weir Team works with numerous seasoned buyers, many who are builders, who know how to negotiate their own price and terms and deal with any fallout. But those buyers are few and far between.

The Weir Team also has many buyers approach us when we are acting as listing agents. They are unrepresented and expect a significant “deal” when buying a property directly from us. This scenario is called Multiple Representation. (One realtor represents the seller and then suddenly also must help or represent the buyer of the property.) While this can happen from time to time, especially if the property is not popular nor drawing multiple offers, it is not recommended if you are uncertain about the process or property… or more importantly, are uncertain about the realtor.

We’ve even had our own clients “disappear” after competing agents convinced them that it is best to use that competing agent to get a “deal” on the house of their dreams. We’ve then watched helplessly as some pretty great folks have been tricked by not-so-honest realtors who only wanted to earn possibly double the commission on a house they were selling. Although multiple representation and “double-ending” a real estate transaction can be perfectly legal and honest, there are unfortunately times when it is not.

We can’t stress enough that you be sure that you have established a relationship with a realtor who is truly putting you first. Sadly we hear far too often from new clients about their past realtors who were not, shall we say, up to par.

If you choose not to work with The Weir Team to purchase a property, please make sure you are working with a realtor who comes highly recommended and that your gut is not doubting the intentions of that realtor.

As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative with a long list of happy clients, it’s my first duty to ensure you are making the best choices for you and that you are aware of all of your options and possible outcomes. Every real estate transaction is different and comes with a completely new set of potential problems and issues. Every seller is different. Every buyer is different. Every property is different. It’s only from my experience with handling countless experiences that I can confidently guide my clients through an often confusing minefield of concerns.

Although there are rarely guarantees with real estate, I can assure my clients that I will be looking several steps ahead to ensure the journey is a smooth and enjoyable as possible. And then of course, in the end, very profitable for my buyers. If you’re still unsure of whether or not Scott Hanton or Cameron Weir would be the best choice as your buyer’s agent, just ask and we’d be happy to put you in touch with some recent past clients.

And as for our experience as buyer’s agents, click here to see a list of properties that Scott Hanton and Cameron Weir have successfully helped buyers to purchase. It’s quite an extensive list of houses and condos throughout Toronto, Pickering and Ajax.

So to answer the question, “Do I need a realtor to purchase a property?” Without a doubt, yes. But make sure you find the right buyer’s agent and make sure you choose wisely.

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