Tortoise and Hare

By: Lindsay Smith

Tortoise and Hare


real estate, buyselllovedurham, oshawa real estate, durham region, market trends, COVID-19, spring real estate, summer real estate, sellers market, buyers market, whitby, clarington, house closing, condo, holding offers, fast and slow

Sometimes by slowing down, you get more than you dreamed of.

Last week we had a very interesting story unfold. We placed a property on the market at an asking price of $850,000. The same model had sold for $820,000 at the end of 2022, so with the market a bit higher currently our target range was around $830,000, allowing for some room for negotiation. This was an apartment-style condo and bidding wars are not as common with this type of property.

We asked for 2 full days when an offer was submitted to allow the elderly owner to consult with their children prior to making their decision.

Two days after we began showings an agent called with an offer, wanting to present it immediately. We honoured our strategy to wait for 2 days and the agent, on a Friday evening, said his client would wait until the following Monday. On Monday we had an offer come in from a different agent. It was perfect - $830,000 with a very fast (desirable) closing date.

At this point, I will slow down and ask you what you would do if you were the agent representing the Seller. Would you jump at it? The price was exactly what your client had hoped for; it was a very clean offer with a fast-closing date.

I chose to hold off. We had two days to decide. In the interim, we continued to have showings and a 2nd offer was submitted. Then the original agent submitted offer #3.

In the end, one of the offers came up to $95,000 over what we had hoped to sell for! It was a firm offer with a great closing date.

Looking back, I contemplated why I felt that by holding off the results would be better. Other than relying on a “gut feel,” my first thought is that I know the condo building and saw value in it, along with knowing the building, the condo we were selling was in great condition and in a prized location with a westerly view. Secondly, seeing how much activity we were having, I felt that by holding out we might get more than the expected $830,000, given there were no other condos available at the time. By holding off, we ended up netting the Seller a windfall. Additionally, 11 days after we sold this property the same model sold with another brokerage for $55,000 less than our sale.

If I did not know the building the way I do, having sold over 14 condos over the past few years, I would not have the confidence to advise the Seller on how to navigate the negotiations. I am often asked what the difference between using a local Agent and one from Toronto is, and the answer is in this story. Local representation is a “game-changer” bringing with it an Agent who knows the neighbourhoods, what the community offers and most importantly, has a feel for what is happening with pricing trends. Furthermore, not all local agents are as up-to-date on the trends as others are. The tricky part is interviewing several Agents prior to selling and choosing to work with the one you feel best knows the local market and how to market your property.

In 2022 there were over 72,000 agents on the Toronto Real Estate Board, and a total of 75,000 property sales for the entire year, working out to just over 1 sale per agent… for all of 2022! Finding an experienced Agent, one would guess is easy, however with so many agents, and a mix of full and part-time Realtors, sifting through the crowded field is a challenging task.

Here are some Agent interview questions if you are looking for a Realtor:

  1. How long have you been a Full-Time Realtor? Are you employed elsewhere along with selling Real Estate?
  2. What have you sold in my area?
  3. Where is your office located and how many agents are working, inside your particular office?
  4. What is the list-to-sale ratio locally and what is your average list-to-sale ratio?
  5. How many Google 5 Star Reviews do you have?
  6. Share your local marketing strategy and how you will market to Buyers from Toronto and Mississauga.
  7. Will you be the one negotiating my sale, or will someone else have that role?
  8. Can you show me examples of online advertising you are currently running in my area?

If you are interviewing Agents, I would love to sit with you and show you how using a local, full-time, experienced agent can help better the chances…. of netting you $55,000 more than another property sells for. I can be reached at or 905-743-5555.

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