Toronto’s real estate market is very competitive, but does that mean you should cheat to get what you want? Absolutely not. That is never the answer. But you should know that you’re competing against people who are willing to do anything.
When you’re looking to find a realtor in Toronto, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who is on the up-and-up. There are some very specific questions you can ask, and there are some equally specific answers that should worry you. Here are 4 of them.
“You Have to Bend the Rules in Toronto Real Estate Because Everyone Else is”
Or, They may say, “I can help you do a little bit more if you’re willing to pay a bit more.” This is a blanket statement that always should tell you, “Danger. Danger.” It doesn’t matter how they frame it. Whatever they say next is probably going to be illegal, no matter how gray the area sounds.
When you’re looking for a Realtor in Toronto, they know how badly you want a place of your own. So shady Realtors are able to turn that want into desperation.
If your Realtor is suggesting anything but solid and proven tactics (like presenting an offer in person), or anything they suggest makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to walk away.
“I Can Block Other Bids”
This sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to take out the competition before their offer even gets to the seller? But this is too good to be true, and it’s almost always illegal.
The most common way Realtors do this is by representing more than one party in a bidding war, and favor one over the other. Sometimes, they won’t even bring one of the party’s bid to the table. This is your nightmare when you’re trying to find a Realtor: finding one that’s lying to you.
It is actually perfectly legal for a Realtor to represent more than one party in bidding wars. BUT, this needs to be expressed in no uncertain terms and even agreed to in writing ahead of time. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, one poor party is having their bid “blocked” by the Realtor they hired to represent their best interests.
“I Guarantee That You Will Get This House”
Really, you do? How? Whatever the answer is, it’s probably illegal. Realtors can make lots of guarantees, but saying for absolute certain you’re going to win a bidding war shouldn’t be one of them. They can guarantee they will present the best possible offer, in the most professional way possible. They can say you have excellent chances or that your bid appears to be better than the rest. But they still can’t guarantee an outcome. If they do, something isn’t right.
If they do offer a guarantee, chances are good they’re up to something shady, like the bid blocking practices we mentioned above.
There are no guarantees in life, and there are especially none in Toronto real estate.
“I Know For a Fact What the Highest Bid Is”
Again, how do they know? Because they did something shady. A listing agent is not supposed to give this information to a buyer’s agent.
Shawn Lackie, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker RMR Real Estate, recently told The Toronto Star that giving that information would be incredibly unethical and his firm has a zero tolerance policy for such information exchanges.
“Anybody that does something like that is out the door. There are no second chances.”
So when you’re trying to find a Realtor in Toronto, feel free to ask them directly, “Can you find out what the highest big is?” Or ask them, “Can you block bids from getting to the seller?”
If they say yes to either, you need to find another Realtor.