It can be easy to find fault with the Toronto real estate market.  High prices, tons of competition, not enough supply – it can be a challenging market for sure.

We don’t often talk about what Toronto gets right, so let’s focus on that for a change.  Within our team we regularly work with buyers outside of Toronto proper and there are somethings that we wish were more commonplace in these markets.

Here’s our list of what Toronto does right in real estate.

Here’s the copy of the home inspection report.

Within the freehold Toronto real estate market, it is very common for sellers to have a pre-list home inspection report done.  This document contains a review of the property, and the home inspector typically looks at mechanicals, plumbing, electrical, structural and other elements with the house.

This is a cost for the seller (typically around the $500 mark) but well worth it for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, such an inspection report can provided necessary information to a buyer to make them feel comfortable with submitting an offer on the home.  Many buyers understandably want to be sure that the home doesn’t have any major issues that will cost lots of money to repair in the future.  While a home inspection is not a guarantee, it is a third party review of the home and it lets a potential buyer know all sorts of helpful information.  The more comfortable buyers are with the home, the more likely they are to submit an offer, which often translates into a higher sale price.

The second reason we consider pre-list home inspection reports so valuable is that they also provide the seller with the necessary information to make sure they aren’t misrepresenting any aspect of the property and causing trouble for themselves down the line.  While a seller could simply say “I don’t know” to any and all questions about the home (such as the age of the roof, when the AC unit was installed, etc.), they often give their best answers to the question.  If, however, a seller was misinformed or mistaken and the buyer relies on that information, there are potential repercussions down the line.  Rather than guessing, a pre-list home inspection allows sellers to share what the inspector discovered, confident that it is current and (likely) accurate.

Outside of Toronto, we often find that pre-list home inspection reports are not done by sellers.  When the market is hot (as we’re currently experiencing in many parts of the GTA), you have buyers being pushed into situations where they have to offer on a home without any understanding of the condition of the home.  The home may still sell firm, but make no mistake, it is risky for both the buyer and the seller if something comes up later.

Here’s some marketing material to take home as you consider the property.

The second thing that Toronto gets right is that by and large, listing agents prepare useful marketing packages that potential buyers can bring home with them.  Photos, neighbourhood and school information, floorplans, surveys – it is not uncommon in Toronto to have a package like this that buyers get to take home and read and consider buying the home.

This is a cost that is paid for by the listing agent and it seems strange that in lots of other parts of the GTA, there are little to no marketing efforts made within homes for sale.  In times gone past, it may have been fair in that the price point was considerably lower and agents made lower commissions.  With the marked increase in average price in most parts of the GTA, it is amazing how many million dollar listings skip the in house marketing completely.

Just like with pre-list home inspection reports, a big benefit of such material is that it can result in additional offers and a higher sale price.  Many buyer see a number of properties on a showing tour and being able to sit down and review a well-presented pitch for your home is crucial for them deciding to move forward with an offer.

Can you let me know what you thought?

The final thing we’ve noted with listings outside Toronto is that the listing agents tend to not be interested in feedback from purchasing agents as to how the home showed or what our clients thought about it.

This isn’t the case with all listings, but we do notice a considerable difference in how agents in the GTA follow up versus how agents in Toronto follow up.  While automated email surveys are common for pretty much every property, we typically receive phone calls from about two-thirds of the Toronto agents whose properties we viewed the day before.  When we show homes outside of the city, that number drops considerably, to about one out of every five properties.

We don’t have a ready answer as to why this is different in Toronto versus other municipalities.  There are definitely some agents who consider such feedback crucial, regardless of where they are working.  For some reason, Toronto agents are more likely to actually reach out to the agents who show their listings to have a conversation about how it went and whether their buyer might come to the table.

Without a doubt, such outreach is hugely helpful in answering any questions, addressing potential concerns, and encouraging offers to come to the table.  Perhaps one reason that Toronto has such high real estate prices is that agents do all they can to encourage multiple offers and push the sale price up!

While the Toronto real estate market is often maligned, it’s worth noting that there are a few things that it does get right when it comes to listing properties for sale.  It will be interesting to see whether some markets in the GTA start to adopt similar practices as prices – and competition – continue to grow.  If you’re looking to buy or sell, make sure you work with agents who understand and implement the best practices to get you the results you need.  If that sounds appealing, get in touch.