How to Find a Real Estate Agent in Canada

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Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, or maybe you’re a first-time home buyer or downsizing for retirement, a real estate agent can help you save money or secure a higher selling price for your home. This page will take a look at how to find a real estate agent in Canada, and tips and tricks when deciding how to choose the right real estate agent.

What You Should Know

  • You can find real estate agents through referrals, from ads, other agents, looking at active listings, and from online platforms like WOWA.ca
  • Once you have a few agents in mind, choosing a real estate agent means looking at their local knowledge, experience, commission, and having good chemistry
  • WOWA.ca makes it easy to find a real estate agent by comparing numerous agents based on their experience, reviews, and commission
  • If you’re a buyer, it’s better to get your finances in order first by getting a mortgage pre-approval and having a down payment ready before searching for an agent

Finding a Real Estate Agent

Listing Agent vs Selling Agent

Listing agents represent home sellers. Listing agents help with pricing a home, staging and listing the home, and finding buyers for the home. This can involve marketing, conducting home showings and open houses, and handling negotiations.

Selling agents, also known as buyer’s agents, represent home buyers. It’s important to note that a seller’s agent (listing agent) is different from a selling agent (buyer’s agent). Selling agents help home buyers in their home search, scheduling home showings, and throughout the home buying process.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Now that you’re ready to start your search for a real estate agent, it’s time to start looking! When looking for a real estate agent, it’s important to check to see if they are licensed. Real estate agents in Canada are licensed provincially. You might also decide to only look for licensed real estate professionals that are also members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Here’s five ways that you can find real estate agents in Canada:

  1. Referrals

    Referrals is one of the most common ways to find a real estate agent. Recommendations from friends and family can point you in the direction of agents that have served them well in the past. They will also be able to let you know their first-hand experience with the agent, whether it be positive or negative.

    Just like how a real estate agent can refer you to mortgage brokers, lawyers, and other real estate services, a real estate agent can refer you to another agent. When a real estate agent does this, they’re called a referral agent. You might ask a local real estate agent for a referral if you’re planning on buying a home in a different area that you’re not so familiar with. The referral agent can use their connections and network to help you find an agent in that new area.

    • Advantage of Finding Agents from Referrals:
      • You’ll hear first-hand experience from previous clients
    • Disadvantage of Finding Agents from Referrals:
      • You might only be referred to one or two agents, which limits your options and ability to compare agents
  2. Advertising

    You’ve probably already seen numerous ads for real estate agents, from billboards to newspapers to TV and radio ads. Instead of having to search for an agent, real estate ads bring agents right to your attention. Flashy and expensive ads might suggest that the agent has a strong marketing team, but it might not necessarily mean that your home listing will get the same treatment. If you choose an agent that you have found through ads, you should still ask for references or read reviews from their previous clients.

    • Advantage of Finding Agents from Advertising:
      • No effort on your part needed as ads push agent options to you
    • Disadvantage of Finding Agents from Advertising:
      • Lack of information and reviews, with the information you do get being biased in favour of the agent
  3. Active Listings

    Maybe you’ve attended an open house and thought that the agent would be a great fit for your transaction. Or maybe you’ve been looking at listings online and you liked the way an agent has staged the home and made the listing. If you like what you see, you can always ask a real estate agent from an unrelated listing to be your real estate agent for your transaction.

    • Advantage of Finding Agents from Active Listings:
      • You can see with your own eyes the work that the agent does in practice
    • Disadvantage of Finding Agents from Active Listings:
      • Limited information is available about the agent which you can’t get from just looking at a listing or attending an open house
  4. Online Platforms

    Online platforms, such as WOWA.ca, Realtor.ca, Fivewalls, and LinkedIn, are websites that you can go to that allows you to easily search for real estate agents. However, not all online platforms are the same. For example, WOWA.ca not only lets you search for real estate agents near you based on neighbourhood expertise, reviews, years of experience, and cashback, but it also lets you read previous customer reviews to see what others think about their service. Plus, you can get to know the agents better through unique profile questions and answers as well as contact them directly with any questions that you have.

    • Advantage of Finding Agents from Online Platforms:
      • Incorporates the best of the other agent sources, including reading about client’s first-hand experience with the agent along with unbiased information such as years of experience and number of transactions
    ReferralsAdvertisingActive ListingsOnline Platforms (WOWA.ca)
    Gone Through a Vetting Process✔️
    See Previous Transactions✔️
    Matches and Recommends Agents that Fit Your Criteria✔️
    Client Reviews✔️✔️
    Learn About Agent’s Personalit✔️✔️
    Unbiased InformationDepends✔️
    Number of Agents AvailableVery FewFewFewMany

How WOWA.ca Compares

What makes WOWA.ca the best way to find a real estate agent in Canada? It starts with a strict vetting process to ensure that only the best agents are shown on the platform. This includes a minimum number of transactions in a year. Once on the platform, agents submit their own personalized profile which allows users to get to know their agent better and gives some insight into their personality. This is important, as having the right chemistry with your agent is crucial.

WOWA.ca also makes finding an agent easy by using a special algorithm to sort agents by experience, reviews, and commission. You’re matched with top real estate agents in your local area based on the criteria that you feel is most important and relevant to your transaction. No more sorting through long lists and having to manually sift through agents. Instead, the best options appear immediately!

The large number of agents available on WOWA.ca and the unbiased information displayed lets you find and choose real estate agents with no effort required. Best of all: it’s free to use! To start looking for a real estate agent today, simply visit WOWA.ca.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

You should try to short-list a couple of real estate agents that seem like good candidates. Once you have a list of potential agents, it’s time to choose the best one for you. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a real estate agent:

  1. Knowledge on the Local Real Estate Market

    Having a real estate agent that is knowledgeable about the local market can help you out if you’re buying or might know about local quirks when it comes to selling. Is a neighbourhood safe, or does it have a bad reputation? Is the location close to schools and stores? Having a local real estate agent can even help you find out about trends in the local market, such as potential future development or changes that might affect your home value. For listing agents, they might have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work for your local market.

  2. Years of Experience

    Experience comes hand-in-hand with knowledge of the real estate market, but it doesn’t always mean that they’re knowledgeable in a certain neighbourhood or area. Even so, having more years of experience would generally be a safer bet compared to choosing a real estate agent with no experience at all. You’ll also want to take a look at the number of transactions that the agent has completed. The number of transactions that the agent has completed is also important. Having many years of experience might not be as impressive if the agent has only completed a few transactions. Transactions help to build experience, and for those looking for an agent, the number of transactions particularly in your local neighborhood is something that you should keep an eye out for.

  3. Commission

    Home buyers don’t need to worry about commissions as much as home sellers, since buyers don’t directly pay real estate commissions. If you’re selling your home, you will need to pay for real estate commissions based on the sold price of your home. Real estate commissions can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, so it's something that you should keep in the back of your mind when looking for listing agents.

    The commission is negotiable, so it might be worth it to try to negotiate it to a lower rate. Even so, many services that a listing agent provides can be tied to the commission. If the agent agrees to a lower commission, they might not offer some services, such as professional photography or staging. Also, if a listing agent can’t negotiate a higher commission for themselves, what does it mean for them negotiating your home’s sale price?

  4. Chemistry and Trust

    You will be working with your real estate agent for possibly a significant amount of time, so it’s important to have good chemistry. If you’re not on the same wavelength, or your personalities clash, it might not foster an effective working relationship. Along the same lines, you’re putting a lot of trust into your agent, and so you will want to be able to trust them and be comfortable with them.

  5. Availability

    You will want to have an agent that is available and can focus their time on you. A busy agent might mean that they are successful at attracting business, but the quality of service provided to you may suffer if they have to juggle multiple clients at once. Not all agents work full-time either. Part-time agents might have limited availability, and this can be a disadvantage in hot housing markets where time can be of the essence when submitting offers.

  6. Commitment

    Your real estate agent should be committed to you. If they don’t seem to be able to answer your calls or reply to your emails in a timely manner, it might suggest that they are already overstretched in their workload. You’ll also want to know who you will actually be working with. If you found your agent from an ad, it might have been advertising the best performing agent in a real estate team, but you might be handed off to another member on the team.

  7. Marketing Skills

    Marketing is crucial for home sellers to have their listings attract buyers. An easy way to check their marketing skills is to have a look at their current listings. Do their listing photos and description entice you into wanting to learn more about the property and make an offer? If not, your future listing might not be attractive to other prospective buyers either. Having an agent that can not only make a strong listing but market it will bring a lot of value to sellers. This includes digital marketing for real estate, such as paid online ads and an active social media presence. A buyer’s agent that is tech-savvy can also scour the market for listings that much quicker.

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Now that you know what to look out for when choosing a real estate agent, it’s time to finally choose one! Interviewing a few of your short-listed candidates is one way to see if they’re suitable and fill out all of your checkmarks. Asking for references from past clients is also a way to make sure that the agent is good in practice, and not just good on paper.

There are ways for you to find agents while also giving you tools to choose the best agent for you. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, WOWA.ca can help match you to the best real estate agent based on your location, property type, and other criteria.

For example, you can read reviews left by previous clients and base your decision based on their testimonies. You can see the agent’s transaction history to see their track record and number of sales. You can even get to know them better through their personalized profile and question and answers section, plus get in touch with them directly.

Finding a real estate agent is the first step in starting your home buying or home selling journey. Now that you know how to find a local real estate agent and how to choose the right one for you, it’s time to get started!

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