You’ve seen Real Estate Specialist ads where a Real Estate Agent claims to “Specialize” in an area.
But can a Real Estate Agent really “specialize” in a geographic area, or it is just B.S.?
And/or is it possible for a Realtor to even be a “Specialist”?
The short answer is NO a Toronto Real Estate Agent can’t technically specialize in a geographic area.
And YES a Realtor CAN be a Real Estate Specialist at something specific.
To understand this further you must consider the definition of the word “specialize”.
If you check the dictionary it will say “concentrate on and become expert in a particular subject or skill.”
I’m so glad that’s what I found in the dictionary because it’s a great lead-in to what I’m about to discuss next.
But first, let me quickly explain why some people still have the false belief that there is such a thing as an area specialist.
Years ago (as in the 1970’s ) there was no Internet. There was no MLS as we have and know today.
In fact Real Estate Agents in Toronto had to “specialize” in a certain area or have specific knowledge of the product in that area because they actually had their listings printed out in a binder with them. There was a limit to how much territory they could have knowledge & data about.
These days with data readily available and easily accessible, any Realtor with good comprehension, good analytical skills, and good marketing & negotiating skills, can get data on an area they’ve never worked in and apply their skills to get the same results for their client as they would elsewhere, or as any local agent might.
Yes, some agents are popular in an area or predominantly work in that area.
But that’s because they’ve chosen to market to that area, or they know a lot of people in that area, or they know a lot of people in that area and have become popular in that area, or they live in that area themselves.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT saying Real Estate Agents who work predominantly in one geographic area, or who have become popular in an area aren’t good agents or highly skills.
That’s NOT what what I’m saying at all.
What I AM saying is that you shouldn’t confuse the word “Specialist” for someone who is popular, a member of the community, or good at marketing.
And all the more reason to understand the word “Specialist” for when you interview & hire a Realtor.
Just to illustrate my point I’ll share two quick examples.
Two years ago I was referred to a client selling their home in Milton.
I had never sold a home in Milton as of that time.
A Realtor who worked predominantly in the area of the property might have been more familiar than I was.
But within 30 minutes at my computer I determined the pricing trends, the cycles, the price ranges, and they different types of properties.
The end result was I had never sold in that area yet and I sold my clients house for a record high price in their sub-division, in a multiple-offer situation and got them more money than they originally told me they hoped to get for the home.
The same thing happened around the same time Whitby.
It was the first time I’d had the pleasure of working in Whitby. I did my homework and my analysis.
I listed the home and sold it in 2 days for more than the comparable in the area and more than my client said she thought she’d get.
So the point here is that a real estate agent with specialized skills can produce the same results in an area they haven’t marketed to as a Realtor who you might think specializes in the area.
Actually, last month I was referred to a potential client. She told me she would only consider an agent who “specializes in her area”,
Admittedly, I haven’t done much work in her specific community.
I didn’t want to be mean but I did want to make a point that would give her something to think about.
I asked her to take some time to consider one important point.
I asked her what would happen if she hired an agent who’s popular in her area, but then an agent like me who is a highly trained negotiator with other specialized knowledge & skills brought a buyer to make an offer on her home, and what if I could out-negotiate her local agent?
I asked her to consider what is more important … the real estate agent who is popular in the area or the real estate agent who has the specialized skills to put the most money in her pocket?
In case you’re wondering she was totally silent. Which is good because she thought about it.
Or in other words, she hadn’t thought about it until I prompted her.
Now if you go back to the definition I just provided above, to specialize means to have a particular skill or particular knowledge on a specific subject that others in the same profession might not have.
So, while Realtors don’t “specialize” in a geographic area, there are Toronto Real Estate agents who definitely specialize in particular subjects, skills or categories of real estate.
Here are just some examples:
Buyer Specialists: Some real estate agents who typically focus on listings & sales have no idea how to win in bidding wars. They don’t strategize on how to help a Buyer find the perfect house without running around in circles. So the good Seller Agents will “specialize” in marketing, showing, and negotiating the sale of a property and then have their Buyer Specialist on their team and when they sell a home they’ll have their Buyer Specialist help the client find their next home.
Seller Specialists: Basically what I just said when describing Buyer Specialists.
Investment Specialists: Any Realtor can help you write an offer to buy an investment property. But are your buying a good investment?
Ask a real estate agent who does NOT specialize in investment properties what a “Cap Rate” is, or what a “Gross Rent Multiplier” is, or can the gross rent multiplier be used to estimate the price you should pay for a property?
Ask a Realtor who doesn’t specialize in investment properties what is “cash-on-cash return” or would be an ideal “cash-on-cash return” to expect from a property, and watch their reaction.
It doesn’t mean they’re a bad Realtor. It means they don’t “specialize” in investment properties while other Realtors do.
Real Estate Divorce Specialists: Many people including Realtors, Lawyers, and Home Owners don’t realize the many many possible hurdles & obstacles that can arise when selling a matrimonial home in divorce.
In fact, depending on the situation and circumstances there are different ways to market the property, stage the property, show the property to prospective buyers, and systems in place with the real estate team to ensure; a) fair and equal treatment to both sellers, b) a smooth and successful sale.
At this point very few real estate agents in Toronto have the specialized knowledge & training as a Real Estate Divorce Specialist however that will soon change.
As Ontario’s first Real Estate Divorce Specialist I’m constantly training & mentoring other Realtors to meet the needs and unique requirements of couples selling their home in a divorce.
Luxury Real Estate Specialists: It’s safe to say that any experienced and successful Realtor can sell a property in the entry level price category.
But not all Realtors have the knowledge, experience, and skill to market and sell multi-million dollar luxury real estate.
For more on this category be sure to check out my post called “CAN ALL REALTORS DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING”.
And of course Relocation Specialists: These are the real estate agents who specialize in a niche market
(ie. athletes, actors, or corporate executives who are relocating due to employment and have unique requirements & circumstances).
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and want to talk more about the best plan of action for you . or if you need a certain type of Real Estate Specialist … I’m happy to chat.
So please don’t hesitate to email or call me any time.
Just get in touch with me by email or phone.