The Problem with Using Realtor.ca to Find a Home in Toronto
If you’ve searched for a new home in the last few years, you’ve probably found yourself on the RECO-endorsed website, Realtor.ca. Realtor.ca is unique listing website in that it pulls information straight from MLS (multiple listing service.) This means that any listing being put onto MLS by a Realtor® will appear on Realtor.ca automatically.
This sounds wonderfully convenient, and to an extent, it is. But in quick-moving and crowded markets like Toronto, Realtor.ca can actually be relatively misleading for the average homebuyer. In this article we’ll point out a couple of the website’s failings, and encourage you to rely on a registered real estate salesperson to help you find appropriate listings and speed up the process to purchasing your dream home.
Postings are Delayed
While information does feed straight from MLS, it can often take from 24 to 48 hours for those listings to make it to the platform. While that may not seem like a huge deal, in Toronto, well-priced and well-placed listings can sell in under a day. Every moment counts when it comes to snagging the right property.
Limited Search Functions
When you’re looking for your Toronto dream home, you probably have a bit more in mind than a city and the number of rooms you like. Realtor.ca does not allow for much specification when putting in your search terms. MLS will allow you to search for anything from average square foot, to balcony style, to available building amenities, parking styles, and even exterior finishes. Especially helpful for those looking for rentals, as you can search for your preferred occupancy date. Experienced Realtors® are proficient in working the system to find exactly what you’re looking for from a sea of almost-there posts.
All of these little issues sound like minor inconveniences so far, but this next one is just plain frustrating. In real estate there is a common listing status called “Sold Conditionally.” It means that an offer has been accepted by the seller, but they are still working through conditions in the offer, like confirming the buyer’s mortgage viability or waiting for a home inspection. This most likely means the property is not going to be available for anyone else to place an offer on unless the current buyers are found wanting. This listing status is not one that shows up on Realtor.ca. While you may be looking through pages of fresh-looking listings, it’s most likely that upwards of 75% of them are sold conditionally, rendering the process a waste of time.
Many real estate salespeople, upon beginning a relationship with a client, will be sent lists of links to Realtor.ca listings only to come back to them apologizing that they are all sold conditionally. This can lead to buyers feeling hopeless in their search, as they are consistently let down.
Lack of Details
On top of not showing you the true status of a listing, there are a number of other details that Realtor.ca leaves out that your real estate salesperson will be able to easily identify. One of the most important details, to a particularly enthusiastic buyer, at least, is whether or not the owner is holding offers. This means that the owner has decided they are only taking offers by a specific date, usually to prompt a bidding war of sorts. Realtor.ca will not show you this information, which could cause you to lose out on a crucial date if you’re buying on your own. Held offers are very common in Toronto real estate, where supply is lower than demand.
Another crucial piece of information that Realtor.ca does not make readily available is the amount of days a property has been on the market. If you don’t specify that you want your listing to be a relatively recent, you can accidentally start fawning over a listing that has been sitting on MLS for months and has certainly sold just a handful of days in. The average days on market for any property in Toronto- from newly posted to sold firm – is about 21 days. Some less scrupulous real estate salespeople will leave an old listings up in order to drum up more attention from Realtor.ca, despite it being against RECO regulation.
Why You Should Work with a Realtor®
Realtors® do more than just help with the paperwork – though they are essential for that part of the process as well. They have access directly into MLS and its myriad of search functions. This includes functionality such as prospect searches and a relatively new system called Collab which is a curated experience that can notify you every time a listing with your criteria hits the market.
Realtors® also have the experience to know if properties are priced appropriately, and how to negotiate to get you the best price. In Toronto, with condos being so common, this can be a little tougher and can break down as far as calculating the price per square foot of equivalent units that share a myriad of specific attributes. The average person will participate in just a handful of real estate transactions in their life, whereas Realtors do them daily. It’s always a safe bet to trust experience when it comes to such important decisions.
We hope that this information will encourage you to take a deeper look into how you go about your real estate experience. As always, if you have any questions – or if you want to see just how we can help you find your perfect property – feel free to contact us! Good luck on your search.