If you’re looking to invest in Toronto real estate, one of the first things you’ll need to do is hire a REALTOR. But buying or selling an investment property is VERY different from buying or selling your own home, so it stands to reason that the personal qualities, experience and wrap-around services and support you’ll need from your agent will be different too. Here’s what we think is important:
- Agents who help investors aren’t afraid of the numbers. Whether that’s helping you understand and calculate potential ROI, cash flow or cap rates, it’s critical that your agent is able to see properties through a financial lens. REALTORS spend much of their time helping their residential clients assess properties from a lifestyle and affordability perspective, but to successfully build a real estate portfolio – even if it’s just a second property – you’ll need someone who can guide you through the financials.
- They’ll tell you the truth and help you focus on what’s important. It can be hard for new real estate investors to focus on the right things – it’s so easy to get distracted by a sexy kitchen or bathroom, which were very relevant when you bought the home you live in. A good investor REALTOR won’t be afraid to tell you when you that need to refocus and can be the unemotional voice of reason if you accidentally fall in love with the wrong property.
- The best investor REALTORS understand your investment options and their respective benefits and drawbacks. There are so many ways to invest in properties in Toronto: you can buy pre-construction condos, you can flip houses, you can be a condo landlord, you can buy an income property house, you can buy a mixed-use residential/commercial property, you can buy a property for short-term rentals. Understanding the risks and work required of each is critical to making the right decision.
- They’ve helped other investors and understand their unique goals and priorities. Yes, experience matters. You don’t want your REALTOR learning the ins and outs of investing while you’re making a huge financial decision. Hire someone who has successfully helped other investors like you and has the support of a team of pros. Bonus if they’ve owned an investment opportunity themselves.
- REALTORS who understand investment properties can connect you to the right financing and taxation specialists to set you up for success. Agents aren’t accountants or mortgage brokers, but the right ones can connect you with the professionals who can make sure you’re set up for success.
- They are actively working in the market where you want to invest. The GTA real estate market moves fast, so make sure that you hire someone who is living and breathing it every day. If you’re looking to invest outside of the city, hire someone local. Your Toronto agent should not be the person who helps you buy an investment property in Hamilton or Prince Edward County. And vice versa.
- They can help you identify and analyze great investment opportunities. The right agent for an investor is obsessed with finding great opportunities – they aren’t just waiting for you to bring them properties.
- They can spot trends before it’s too late. It was a great time to invest in a short term rental in Toronto in 2012; it was a great time to buy a pre-construction condo in 2015. Where are the opportunities for investors right now? What’s next?
- They can help you understand your obligations as a Landlord and answer ongoing questions while you own the home. Being a landlord is a J-O-B and it’s important that you understand how to do it successfully. Great investor agents can show you the way.
- They can help you find a tenant and/or a property manager If you’re new to investing in real estate, you’ll want all the help you can get. Great agents will provide wraparound services or have partners that can help.
Pro Tip: The REALTOR who helped you buy the home you live in may or may not be the right REALTOR to help you become a real estate investor. Ask lots of questions before you commit.