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When clients are buying, or selling a home, they put a lot of trust in their REALTOR. But when someone is making a purchase from 4,200km away, that trust takes on a whole new meaning. BREL agent Lisa Bednarski helped her client secure the perfect condo through phone calls and Facetime proving being out of town doesn’t mean being out of touch.

Moss Park Toronto the BREL team

Here’s Lisa’s story

It takes a certain client

I’ve had several first-time buyer clients looking from out-of-town and have done a number of ‘showings’ by Facetime. This particular client was a savvy young woman with managed expectations and savings. She had researched the market and was looking to balance an excellent place to live with a good investment. And she was smart in her approach. She visited Toronto for a weekend with her parents to tour different condos in different areas, so she had a sense of what you could buy for how much and where. Then she trusted the process.

Making a meaningful connection

I admired my client’s sense of adventure. She was born and raised in California but because she had dual citizenship (Canada and U.S.) had taken a job in Toronto for the experience. Her sense of adventure extended to buying the condo — which she only saw via Facetime before she moved in. This client was consistent in what she liked and in her feedback to different properties. This gave me confidence being her ‘eyes’ on some of the places. Success happens when there are trust and confidence on both sides.

House hunting from afar has ups and downs

Low inventory, particularly over the winter months, was a challenge. It forced us to act quickly to make decisions when we saw a place, recognizing the time difference between the west and east coasts. That is a lot of pressure on both parties.

Searching for a condo through someone else’s eyes

Open communication is key as is having a client who is very clear-minded about what they want. While I have had several experiences with Facetime showings, they work best when the client is clear with themselves and with you about what they want and ready to pull the trigger when they see it.

“The One” stuck with me because of the layout and view. Everything else we’d seen was “nice but this….” As soon as I walked in, I knew that all the ‘buts’ were off the table.

Downtown Toronto Rooftop Condo

Coming home again, and for the first time

The first time she saw her condo was after the deal had already closed. I think it was equally terrifying for both of us. She moved here with her dog, and I met her to walk her through it for the first time. I’m not sure who was more nervous about whether she’d like it or not.

Making a big day better, the BREL way

On this day that we looked at the condo together for the first time, it had been vacant a while. It was dusty, and the stagnant water in the toilets smelled. We did not want anything to take the excitement out of this important day, so we arranged for cleaners to go in and give it a once-over within 12 hours, even before her furniture arrived.

For Sale the BREL team

The dollars and cents of cross-border buying

Buying a home from outside of Canada comes with some unique financing and closing requirements. In this case, my client is a Canadian citizen with an existing bank account here. She was also buying a condo assignment, which is, in itself a little different. Because of this, she was able to avoid some of the hoops buyers sometimes need to jump through and wire the deposit. You can read more about the financing/legal requirements here.

The real deal

My client did a lot of research, asked a lot of questions and trusted the process. She made decisions based on logic and rationale as opposed to emotion.

The winning property ended up being an assignment sale, which has a lot of quirks outside the typical selling process. Based on our BREL team resources, we got top-notch legal advice that protected my client’s interests but also ensured a winning bid. This kind of transaction stands out because of the deep level of trust clients put in you, and the innovative ways you continue to earn it by providing excellent service.


Lisa Bednarski has been a member of the BREL team since 2017. A recovering veteran of agency marketing public relations, she brings 25+ years communications and client management experience to a role that was once her hobby and is now her career. When she’s not real estating, you’ll find Lisa dog parenting, aunting and Blue Jays cheerleading.

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