When it comes to success in buying or selling real estate, you can’t discount the value of the client-Realtor relationship. That’s something Alecia Aquino, a director of strategy at RBC, quickly realized when working with Matt and Madalin to buy a larger condo and then sell her smaller one.
“They’re probably one of the most trusted advisors that I’ve engaged from a professional standpoint,” Alecia says. “I trusted their advice, they were very active listeners. They paid attention to what your wants were, what you didn’t want. They were very approachable, very warm and welcoming. At one point I didn’t really feel like I was dealing with a real estate agent, I was dealing with a friend.”
And that relationship – and friendship – has continued well beyond the transaction.
When Alecia was hunting for a move-up condo two years ago, she wasn’t prepared when the perfect unit came up. She had been casually checking MLS listings for several months, gauging inventory for her wish list, which was specific: a two-bedroom-plus-den in her downtown neighbourhood.
“Those were really hard to find at a reasonable price point at that time.”
She knew she would have to be patient, and that was OK. But she didn’t have an agent and she hadn’t got pre-approved for a mortgage, so when a loft condo came up that she fell in love with, she wasn’t ready. Still, she wanted to put in an offer.
A friend recommended Matt. Within 24 hours they had connected, met and put in the offer. While it wasn’t accepted (she wasn’t prepared to raise her price or waive a condition on financing), the relationship had begun.
“My first impression upon meeting Matt, I felt we could work together, even though I hadn’t known him,” Alecia says. “I had a strong referral and recommendation.” She appreciated how Matt reassured her about her decisions. “He wasn’t pushing me in one direction just to get the purchase.”
Finding the ONE!
Alecia loved the building that first unit was in so much that she was prepared to wait for another unit in the building to be listed. In the meantime, Matt did find other condos for her to look at that were in her area, in her budget and met her space needs.
And when, a month later, another loft unit in her favourite building came up, they pounced.
“Matt was fantastic,” Alecia says. “He already had the offer pre-drafted even before I came to see it."
“We were first in and we won the offer!” Alecia says. The condo is perfect for her and fiancé Sean. It’s just a block and a half away from her old place and within walking distance of work for both of them.
“It’s really built for entertaining,” she says. That was important as they host frequent parties. It offers a large open space with a big kitchen, office & collectibles space for Sean, a separate dining room, high ceilings and two bathrooms. They’ve also increased their living space to about 1,000 square feet, versus the 750 or so at Alecia’s old condo.
And that old place?
When it came to that previous condo, Matt and Madalin were able to make quick work of getting it sold. The condo was in good shape, but Matt recommended decluttering, staging and a few repairs. “Whether it was getting a contractor or fixing it himself, he went above and beyond what was expected from a real estate agent,” Alecia says. And that effort paid off: the condo sold within 24 hours.
Be ready: “As spontaneous as it is, when you’re looking for a home, it is really important to get your ducks in a row,” like getting mortgage pre-approval, Alecia says. “If there’s something you really want, you want to be able to minimize those conditions on your offer.”
Ask questions: “Ask your real estate agent questions if you’re not clear,” she says. “As a consumer I think it’s important to ask questions and not just rely on your real estate agent to have it covered; not to say that Matt didn’t – he did – but I needed to ask those questions just to be clear on what was expected and what to anticipate.”
Get a referral: “There’s value when looking for a real estate agent in consulting with your family and friends for references versus potentially going with a listing agent or just looking someone up,” Alecia says. “There’s long-term value as well as the transaction value of working with someone who you can trust and who is going to act in your best interest.”
The trust that Matt and Madalin instilled, right from the beginning, has resulted in a strong business relationship and friendship today. Alecia doesn’t hesitate to recommend them to her family and friends and they continue to stay in touch and get together.
“They do maintain such a level of client contact that your client experience with them extends beyond once you buy your house or sell your house,” she says. “Matt and Madalin’s personalities just give you that level of comfort.”