The Power of a Good Buyer Agent

Thursday May 30th, 2019


It’s May 30th 2019, and I’m doing what I often do, scrolling through the new listing activity and sold stats on the Toronto Real Estate Board.  Like many days, there are some nice new listings at reasonable prices and some nice new listings at ridiculous prices.  Today it’s a sold listing that caught my eye.  A mid-range townhome complex in Erin Mills that has historically had sales in the mid to high $500’s over the last year or so.  This townhome was arguably priced $100,000 too high when listed.  It is renovated, but not to an excessively high degree or with incredibly expensive materials - standard at best, with laminate floors and a big-box store kitchen and baths.  The unreal thing in this case is the Seller got the money they were asking.  Great job to the Listing agent and Seller!  An absolute SHAME ON YOU to the Buyer’s agent who sold this townhome to their client at a price approximately $90,000 more than anything in this complex over the last two years.  I’m sure some people in our business won’t want me calling out an agent who so brutally F#$%ed up, but someone has to… It’s about time these part-timers (yes I looked them up on Linkedin and they have a 2nd or 1st job! Not sure which is which) are challenged for their inexperience and unprofessionalism.  

When you hire a Buyer Agent to represent you through a Buyer’s Representation Agreement, the Real Estate Salesperson owes you a fiduciary duty to protect you and all of your best interests in the transaction.  This means they owe you the responsibility of providing comparable properties and statistics on recently sold homes in the area or complex so that you as the Buyer are informed.  When a Buyer is paying a nearly 16% premium over the next most recent sale, do you think the agent gave them adequate advice?  The advice is not supposed to be "Buy high - sell low".  Maybe the Agent deserves the benefit of the doubt and the Buyer happened to fall in love with a mediocre renovated unit in a not-so-great complex and couldn't be talked out of spending an extra $90-100k?  Hmmm maybe not.

Keep in mind, we are no longer in a frenzy market like that of early 2017.  People generally have a little more time to educate and contemplate (within reason smiley).  Prices have stabilized and in general the market is more balanced than it was 2 years ago.

Moral of the story.  Hire someone who you trust or that comes highly recommended for their skill and professionalism. In the very least, as a Buyer, follow the following basic protocols when purchasing:

  1. Always ask for comparables – don’t assume that just because you paid less than asking that you’re getting a good deal
  2. Become an educated Buyer – know what units are selling for in complexes on average when purchasing in a townhome or condo development or when purchasing detached or semi’s be aware of neighbourhood sold stats and what positively and negatively affects value in that area
  3. Have an agent looking out for YOUR best interest, if they are not prepared to walk away from a potential sale because it doesn’t make financial sense for YOU the Buyer, then they are not the right agent to have representing you.

There is no hard and fast rule that part-time agents are not professional or are not qualified, there are without question good part-time agents in the business.  Having said that, there are many, many bad ones.  Choose wisely, beware of inexperience and everything should work out well. 


Tim Bishop has been an award wining professional full-time Realtor with Re/Max for 17 years.

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