Should I list with a Toronto agent?


We have more Toronto agents than we used to, but my sense is that their effect on the market is being blown way out of proportion.

Dear David,

My friend and I were discussing whether he should list his Kitchener home with a Toronto agent, or with someone local. He has heard that most “high offers” are coming from Toronto and feels he may be better off listing with a Toronto company. His opinion was that “they are going to sell it anyway.” What is your take on this? – OPEN TO DEBATE

DEAR OPEN: I would always recommend listing a Kitchener home with a local Realtor. A selling agent needs to know their market inside and out, no matter where the buyer is coming from.

Occasionally, when a buyer spends too much on a local property, it makes the news. These occurrences make for juicy headlines, and if nothing else, they drive home the importance of having an agent who understands the local market, whether you’re buying or selling.

I’m struck by the fact that your friend feels his home will be sold by a Toronto agent. This is possible, but I don’t feel it’s particularly likely. There are probably some misconceptions about the actual volume of homes being sold to agents from the GTA. We have more Toronto agents than we used to, but my sense is that their effect on the market is being blown way out of proportion.

Waterloo Region has long been a hub of real estate activity. In any given year, we welcome over ten thousand new residents, and some of them come from the GTA. The migration of people towards more affordable real estate is nothing new: as property values rise, Toronto folks flow here, and we flow towards smaller centers (and create similar frustrations for those in neighbouring communities). Around here, we’re looking for someone to blame for high prices and steep competition, and Toronto buyers are an easy scapegoat.

My sense is that our heavily skewed seller’s market has less to do with Toronto buyers specifically, and more to do with our stark lack of inventory. Currently, the K-W real estate board has less than half the number of listings we would typically see at this time of year. In this highly competitive environment, most of the winning offers are still coming from agents in our area. If you’re selling a local home, it’s likely to be purchased by a local buyer, despite the illusion being created by the media (social and otherwise).

Sellers who want to get the best results in today’s marketplace need an agent who understands the environment and can cover the necessary bases by posting their listing as widely as possible. The K-W real estate board is a great help in this regard, as they collaborate with over 20 other boards across Ontario. Personally, I pay for membership on the Toronto board as well, as it allows me to post my listings throughout the GTA.  

PRO TIP: Here in Waterloo Region, I hear a lot of talk about the Toronto market, even though it is considerably different from ours. While the GTA takes up a lot of bandwidth in the rumour mill, local Realtors still land the vast majority of sales. #AskDavid #Advice