Assembling Your Real Estate Team

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So I bought a condo, we actually took possession a few days ago. Surprised I didn’t mention it? It happened pretty quickly, but buying a home has been something my wife and I had been discussing for a while.

As exciting as buying a home is, the financial commitment is, well, A LOT! My maintenance fees, property tax, utilities, and mortgage interest will cost more than what I was paying in rent. Sure, you could argue I’m now building equity and prices could keep going up, but from a straight financial standpoint, I’m not convinced my return on my investment will end up positive – well not anytime soon.

So why buy? My wife and I were ready to move on to the next stage of our lives. We had a substantial down payment, and we set a limit on how much would spend on our home. The amount we borrowed wouldn’t affect our retirement savings, taking vacations, or any future financial emergencies so we felt comfortable buying. In the end, having the right real estate team in place made it easier for me to find a home.

real estate team

Mortgage broker

Using a mortgage broker isn’t mandatory but why wouldn’t you want to work with someone that can help you find the lowest rate possible? Instead of working with a single lender, mortgage brokers work with multiple ones. They’ll find you the best price for the type of mortgage that suits you best. There’s no need to shop around.

Getting the best rate is obviously important, but mortgage brokers are also there to answer questions you may have about the borrowing process. Don’t forget to get pre-approved so you know exactly how much home you (just don’t max out your limit). I worked with Michael Capobianco at CanWise Financial and the was able to secure me a 5 year fixed rate at 2.39% which was lower than any posted rate I found online.


This should be obvious, but having the right realtor is absolutely paramount when purchasing a home – what brokerage they work for is just as important. I decided to work with TheRedPin, I had done some business with them in the past, and I admit their offer of 15% cash back on the commission was very appealing, but it was the services they offered in general that really set them apart from other brokerages. They have a team of insider agents who are fully licensed realtors that provide various professional services at no charge. When you’re ready to go out and actually see properties, they’ll connect you with one of their full-time realtors who have experience in the neighbourhoods that you’re looking at.

TheRedPin has really gone to a lot of effort to making the home buying experience better for the public. One obvious advantage is their map search. The layout and filters are much more user-friendly compared to – you can even screen for pre-construction listings. Dan Levi was the realtor who helped us find out home while Jane Beharriell provided invaluable backend support. When working with a realtor, you need someone that clicks with you.

Real estate lawyer

Having a real estate lawyer before you start your property search isn’t mandatory, but you absolutely want to have one when you’re ready to make an offer. Real estate lawyers will be able to go through all the legal matters that relate to your potential new home and can give you unbiased information. It would be a huge mistake to purchase a home without the assistance of a real estate lawyer considering they’ll be able to save you from situations you may have not even thought of yet. Jennie Lin was the real estate lawyer I used to help me with all my legal matters.

Final word

It’s foolish to simply rush out there and buy a home, this will most likely be the most expensive purchase you ever make, so you want to make sure you have a real estate team assembled that can help you with your decisions.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Sarah @ Couple of Sense on June 6, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Congrats on the new home. It’s important to have a team to support and glad you are taking this next step that you are comfortable with. We ended up purchasing directly from a builder so we didn’t go with a realtor. I can imagine there would still be use for a realtor with a new home however we purchased the day the houses were released to the public so there wasn’t a lot of time to do back and forth negotiating. I would add to the list a family member or friend who has purchased a house before if this is your first time purchase. Someone you trust to support you even if it’s just for a second opinion. That extra support is helpful even if it’s just to tell you what finish your paint colours should be.

    • Barry Choi on June 6, 2016 at 11:05 AM

      Hey Sarah,

      Yes having some family support can be good, but they can definitely drive you nuts at times. Everyone has an opinion about real estate right?

  2. Stephanie on June 6, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    Congrats on the new home! Having the right team definitely makes a huge difference. I unfortunately didn’t have the right realtor when I bought my condo. I am now selling it and will be looking at other properties.

    • Barry Choi on June 6, 2016 at 11:42 AM


      Thanks! Besides my lawyer, everyone else I used were referrals. It probably helps that I write about personal finance so all the companies I contacted sent me their best people =D.

  3. Jordann on June 6, 2016 at 1:10 PM

    Congrats on the new home Barry! I have no doubt that this purchase won’t hinder your financial future in the slightest. I’m just getting to the point now of researching my realtor and mortgage broker, maybe you could write a blog post on the selection process you used to choose your team?

  4. Barry Choi on June 6, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Thanks Jordann!

    Since you know all about mortgages already, which broker you use probably isn’t as important. I never met mine, everything was done over the phone / e-mail. I can check if they work with clients in other provinces if you want.

    As for you realtor, I would be a bit more pickier. I used a realtor who does it full-time and had plenty of experience in the areas I was looking at.

  5. Not Without My Passport on June 16, 2016 at 12:17 AM

    Congrats on your new home! And holy cow, TheRedPin is awesome! Love how it shows preconstruction condos. So glad I read your post. 🙂

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