House and Home

Toronto housing continues to provide opportunities for buyers and sellers, says Larry Weltman

A report released this month by RE/MAX of Ontario–Atlantic Canada indicates that housing values in the Toronto area were extremely resilient during the first six months of 2020. According to the company’s 2020 Hot Pocket Communities Report, which was published in July, single-family detached homes appreciated in value in 95 percent of Greater Toronto real estate districts during the first half of the year, with 55 percent of them appreciating by double-digit values.

“This is great news,” says Larry Weltman, an accountant by training who serves as a customer service representative at AccessEasyFunds, a Toronto company that helps real estate agents maintain positive cash flow by providing them with advances on their commissions at a reasonable rate.

Larry Weltman notes that, “Toronto building and selling were doing extremely well last year and at the beginning of this one. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and, with it, restrictions on how business could be conducted. This created problems for the real estate industry as potential buyers began putting their plans on hold and building and selling slowed to a crawl.”

Since the pandemic restrictions began lifting, though, he says that real estate prices, especially in the desirable Toronto market, are again going through the proverbial roof.

The RE/MAX report looks at real estate trends and developments across all 65 Toronto Regional Real Estate Board districts. According to the report, a steep decline in the number of homes listed for sale during Ontario’s State of Emergency contributed to a notable uptick in single-detached housing values. In June, about 14,000 active listings were on the market as of June. This, says RE/MAX, represented the lowest level for the month since June of 2016.

Often, a drop in home sales is followed by a significant upswing in the number of homes listed for sale. That didn’t happen this time, since buying and selling slowed in April as COVID-19 cases were on the increase, but home-buying did start to resume as COVID-19 cases began declining and local economies became reactivated.

Larry Weltman says that his company is buzzing with activity again. Agents are excited about the revived activity as Toronto continues to attract potential homebuyers. Long a preferred destination, the city beckons new residents from around the world on an ongoing basis. As a result, many professionals enter the real estate industry hoping to cash in on opportunities.

The opportunities are there, but he advises potential agents to learn the industry and the market thoroughly before jumping in. Toronto is a huge city with a number of complexities. It’s essential to understand the lay of the land and how people are buying. Once in, though, there are ways to maximize your earning potential if the boom continues as expected.

For example, instead of specializing in one neighborhood or part of the city, research and study adjacent areas so you can begin to offer your services there. Also, consider asking your existing clients to introduce you to friends and family members who live nearby who may be interested in selling. Networking and word of mouth are excellent ways to get your name out there and to continue building potentially profitable relationships.

As your client list grows, you can also expand into the real estate referral business. This means that you simply access the real estate databases to which you already subscribe and generate a list or a specific referral for your client based on predetermined criteria; for example,  the prospective realtor’s history, standing and status with local real estate boards and associations. You’d then match the buyer with the suitable agent and earn a portion of the sales commission fee, which is roughly 20 to 30 percent.

Finally, you could apply for a brokerage license, which would allow you to open your own real estate office and collect commissions from agents who work out of your brokerage. Like opening a referral business, brokers also earn a percentage of the realtor’s commission, anywhere from 5 to 50 percent.

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