It can be difficult to choose a real estate agency when looking to buy your dream home, sell up, or get on the property investment ladder. What criteria should you look at? Real estate agents’ backgrounds? Success rates? Customer feedback? Coverage? Specialties? Our intention is to take some of the hard work out of the equation for you by focusing on a hand-picked few of the top real estate agencies in Canada.

1. Buttonwood – Toronto

Tipped as Toronto’s best-rated agency, Buttonwood puts a heavy focus on its twelve-step approach to finding premium investment properties in Canada. You’ve no doubt heard that location is key when buying a property, and the Buttonwood team back this up by focusing on the neighborhood authority and type, for example, is the neighborhood established or speculative?

They also place a heavy focus on:

  • property size, and the difference in sizes between houses and condos
  • ideal layouts
  • Views – for example, park and ravine views for houses, and balcony views of the water or city for condos
  • school districts, and proximity to hospitals – especially considering baby boomers
  • property conditions – are any renovations required?
  • community facilities – e.g. major parks and infrastructure
  • demographic statistics – type and maturity of residents
  • neighborhood safety
  • walk score – how easy to live in the area without a car
  • proximity to local amenities – highways, grocery stores, shopping etc.
  • proximity to the city – the closer the better

The owners of Buttonwood are passionate about Toronto, being settled in the city with a young family and possessing a strong background in property investment, which is now their focus. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, a retiree or someone looking to establish long-term legacy wealth, you’re in very capable hands with their team, as is backed up by their testimonials, with one customer stating how they were very happy with their services and the time and care throughout the process.

2. Sutton WestCoast Realty – British Columbia

The Sutton group of real estate has been voted as the top real estate brokerage in Canada for a number of years. Its west coast derivative spans across the main areas of Vancouver, Surrey Burnaby, and Richmond.

The employees seem to take the time out to connect you with a realtor that fits your requirements perfectly, rather than you just falling in line with the next available one or the one that happens to pick up the phone. The extensive list of agents is easily navigated on their website with an impressive 24 offices to choose from.

One thing that does jump out about Sutton WestCoast is its interactive real estate map showing you all the currently available properties in specific areas on the west coast of Canada and their distance from WestCoast’s nearest real estate office.

3. RE/MAX Realtron – Markham, Ontario

The RE/MAX group of real estate agencies is another popular choice among Canadians. This Realtron company was started by Richard and Alex Pilarski, quickly growing due to their targeted and focused training of their sales representatives, consistently trying to push themselves and their business forward.

Their belief seems to be that, in order to service their clients effectively, there has to be a focus on their real estate agents, first and foremost. Without this, they don’t believe that the company can grow and that their high expectations of themselves won’t transfer into excellent customer service, premium real estate properties and a strong focus on their clients.

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell you should be able to find a property that fits your needs in the Greater Toronto Area with the help of their hundreds of sales reps.

4. Royal LePage Team Realty – Ottawa

Royal Lepage Team Realty’s owner, Kent Browne, takes it upon himself to be the first point of contact in helping you find the property of your dreams, which is a nice touch. He then personally puts you in contact with the right real estate sales rep for you. Chances are you’ll find a decent sales rep and property since the company has a bank of 550 realtors over 22 offices serving Ottawa and it’s surrounding communities.

If you haven’t heard of Royal LePage, the short of it is that it’s massive—established in 1913, it’s pushing a total of 18,000 real estate agents throughout Canada. So even if Ottawa isn’t your focus, the Royal LePage group should have something for you in your region.

5. Macdonald Realty – Vancouver

Self-labeled as Western Canada’s largest integrated real estate firm, Macdonald Realty has been helping the public for over 70 years, being established in 1944. It emphasizes that its focus is on customer service and detailed analysis and guidance of properties in British Columbia.

If you’re interested in property statistics and the real estate market, then the blog is updated every month with the latest stats and trends, which, if you’re a property investor, could be something that catches your eye.

Something to note is Macdonald Realty’s community focus, being sponsors of charities such as Arthritis Research Canada, Inspire Health, and the Vancouver Hospice Society. This is a nice touch, and is something you don’t often see as being a heavy focus for a real estate company.

Final thoughts

These are only a top selection based on consumer rankings. You could almost get dizzy with having to choose your own broker—your best bet is to review these top five we’ve selected, ask your friends and family for their personal experiences and recommendations, post on social media and ask what your connections believe to be the top real estate agencies in Canada, and find one perhaps that is niche-specific to the area in which you’re looking to buy or sell.

For example, smaller agencies such as Buttonwood, when compared to ones like RE/MAX, which will have many more offices and sales reps, may provide you with a more personalized and localized touch. Conversely, the larger agencies could help you in spreading your investment portfolio across Canada.

The important thing to do is to do your research and don’t make a rushed decision. Good luck!

Chris McdonaldBusiness
It can be difficult to choose a real estate agency when looking to buy your dream home, sell up, or get on the property investment ladder. What criteria should you look at? Real estate agents’ backgrounds? Success rates? Customer feedback? Coverage? Specialties? Our intention is to take some of the hard work out...