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Toronto Real Estate - is it luck or the agent?

I often hear in my random passings in life (be it at Yoga, walking down the street or even from my own clients) “I was so LUCKY that I scored this house” or “I just got lucky with the right buyers at the right time at the right price”

It got me to thinking: “Is it luck that guides the outcomes, or is it the finesse of the real estate agent that charts the course?”

Before you think I might be biased on this topic, I will openly share that I can see both sides and I don’t sit firmly in either camp.

Let's play a little game, (if you know me you know I love games). I’ll give 2 examples of situations and you share whether you think it’s luck or the agent:

Example #1:

Buyers LOVE a house. There is an offer day. Come offer day there is a big snow storm. The buyer’s agent, having been in these situations before, knows this is where opportunities lie. The buyer’s agent had:

  1. Seen the house right when it came on the market (vs waiting to the day of the offers)

  2. Prepared their clients by reviewing all the details, asking them to get the deposit cheque ready and signing all documents electronically

  3. Been in communication with the listing agent to stay abreast of the situation

There would normally have been 10 offers on this particular kind of house, but because of the ‘snow storm’, last minute showings were canceled, other clients couldn’t get out of work early enough to get all the final details ready etc. so there ends up being 2 offers and these particular buyers win!

Was the snowstorm luck? Or was the agent’s experience with snow storms what sealed the deal?

Example #2 (this actually happened to me so I will use my name to make things easier to follow)

I saw a new listing come out for my buyers. My gut told me it would be right for them. I did the initial visit without them as they weren’t sure, and then the wife came to see it and agreed it was amazing. The market was hot, and the listing agent was expecting 5 offers. It ended up being 2. Us and the other buyers. After 6 hours of negotiation, the other buyers won the house. Before signing the final paperwork, they said they had to go pick up their child at daycare and would be back in 20 mins. Knowing that a deal is never done until it’s all signed, I called the agent and said “look, if anything happens, we are here, my clients are in the city and I have the deposit cheque that I can get to you in 20 mins”

The listing agent calls me back 1.5 hrs later and says “They still haven’t returned, they decided to take their child for dinner, my clients are annoyed, do your buyers want the house and can they sign the paperwork right now?”

“Yes of course” I said. And my clients got the house.

Luck that the other buyers disappeared to pick up their child?

Or agent skill?

I believe that both sides could be argued in both of those examples. And I have seen so many more examples over my 17 years of business where sometimes I say “damn that was lucky” or “that worked out just as I hoped”

I have also seen an equal number of deals fall apart because the agent representing the buyer had literally NO idea what was happening, how to be prepared or worse, filled out the legal paperwork incorrectly. Which is really just sad for their clients.

While I do feel there is luck that sweeps through real estate transactions, it’s not luck that dictates the agent you work with. Lucily (no pun intended) buyers and sellers have the choice, and can interview agents and choose to work with someone that they believe is skilled enough to handle the constantly changing market. So why not let ‘luck’ be the cherry on top of a situation and decide to make your agent the ‘sure thing’.

I hope you have enjoyed playing along with me. And if you are ever wondering about the best way to pick your agent, just send me an email and I will forward along some interview questions that you can use when making your selection.

Happy Real Estating Toronto!


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