Luxury Real Estate vs Regular Real Estate in Toronto – 5 Ways it’s Different

The real estate industry isn’t as black and white as it used to be in regards to what qualifies as luxury real estate or not. In the past, there would be a small percentage of elite properties, with the rest falling in the “regular” category even though prices would vary a great deal.

Fast forward to today, and with extremely high house prices in Toronto and the suburbs, it seems as if every 3rd house for sale is marketed as “Luxury Real Estate”. Now while it’s true that most houses in Toronto are way more expensive than they used to be, there’s still a distinction between true Luxury Homes and simply premium homes.

In this article I’ll go over 5 ways the top 1% of luxury homes in the Greater Toronto Area are different, and how shopping for Luxury real estate in Toronto is different.

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Diane Gardiner
Diane Gardiner
I had a great experience working with Jeff and his team in selling my home! I was overwhelmed in where to start and Jeff relieved my stress from our first connection. My house needed some work and he guided me through every step, from the in depth research and understanding of my area, renovation options, staging and showcasing his ethical negotiation skills, providing exceptional results above my expectations. His team went above and beyond staging my home to showcase its true value. I would highly recommend Jeff if you are looking for exceptional service, prompt communication and incredible results!
Victoria Jablonski
Victoria Jablonski
As first-time home sellers we came into the process with many questions. Jeff was extremely patient, professional, ethical and always shared his knowledge to help us make the right decisions along the way. Stephanie came in to stage our home, and did a beautiful job, even recommending/facilitating affordable improvements like paint & lighting to make our house that much more attractive. The O'Leary's are clearly passionate about what they do and got us the result we were looking for quickly! We wouldn't hesitate to recommend their services.
Robin Prosper
Robin Prosper
Jeff helped my husband and I with the purchase of our first home. Before working with Jeff, the process seemed daunting and overwhelming, but he made it so simple. Not only did he find us the perfect home, but he negotiated a better price for us than we ever thought possible. Jeff really knows his stuff, and I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a realtor.
Drew Kulig
Drew Kulig
We have nothing but great things to say about Jeff; his attention to detail, his attitude, and his commitment to his client by far exceeded our expectations. He is everything you would want your realtor to be and more. He was always available when we had questions, gave us a good understanding of the market, and made the whole real estate process easy. Jeff sold our house well over asking, and we could not be happier! Right from the get go, the day we listed our house, his marketing strategies took over and were (within just an hour) on multiple websites, ads and social media platforms. We had bookings for house visits as early as 2 hours from listing. During negotiation, Jeff was well organized, and provided us with great advice throughout. Ultimately, he got us a much higher price than we were expecting. We certainly recommend Jeff O'Leary for all your real estate needs!
Claudio Saldivia
Claudio Saldivia
There's so much to say...Jeff is AMAZING!!! He is extremely knowledgable, personable, professional. He will always be recommended to my friends and family. Selling and/or buying a home is the most personal of transactions. Jeff and his wonderful wife Stephanie did an outstanding job in the the staging and final sale of our property, exceeding all our expectations. When we were ready to buy, Jeff's knowledge of the market and focusing his search on our must-haves, helped us find the perfect home for our family. He never overpromised and certainly never under delivered. We have our broker for life. Thanks so much again Jeff!!!
John Cianfarani
John Cianfarani
Absolute rock star to work with! Jeff helped focus our random house hunting searches to the specific areas that would best fit our needs, lifestyle and budget. That quickly led us to find and purchase our second home. I have enjoyed his approach to appraising property and strategy for bidding which both ended up saving us a significant amount. He has always been quick to get ahold of via call, text or email for any and all questions we have had. All that said I think what I appreciated the most is his ability to consistently following through on his commitments to communication, information/research and paperwork.
Shahzad Raza
Shahzad Raza
Jeff has been remarkable to work with in finding us our first home. He is incredibly knowledgeable, honest and professional and I appreciated his insights every step of the way. He was very supportive and patient during our search which lasted well over a year and was always early for our scheduled viewings. He has a keen eye for stories that minute details about a house might tell. We put in a few offers with him during our search for a home and he gave us good advice on how we should position ourselves each time. Once we had a successful offer, he made sure we understood all the documentation we were signing and was very responsive in responding to our requests. I'm glad we had him in our corner throughout this process!
r s
r s
I cant say enough good things about Jeff. He was extremely knowledgeable, guided me every single step of the way. He answered my questions before I even had to ask. Kept in touch, and always updated me. I would highly recommend Jeff for purchase or sale of any property. The process was made so easy on me, so much less stressful, all thanks to him
I feel lucky to have stumbled on Jeff’s page while looking for brokers online. As a first-time home buyer, I was nervous and not sure what to expect. I liked that Jeff mentioned on his page that he provided a complete experience for the customer - exactly what I needed! Jeff was extremely knowledgeable and patient, and I’m grateful that he never pushed me but sought to understand my needs. He never tried to show me properties that were out of my price range but really respected my choices while providing valuable guidance and answering my numerous questions. I would recommend Jeff to anyone on the property market. Thank you so much, Jeff, for demystifying the whole process for me 🙂
Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh
We used Jeff to purchase our home in 2015 at that time we found him to be very knowledgeable and helpful and he found us a great home and negotiated a great price, under asking! Because of this we knew we would use Jeff again if our living situation ever changed. When we decide to sell our home, (May 2020) Jeff was awesome as always. Jeff did a great job marketing our home and it sold better and faster than we could have ever imagined. 30k over asking in 3 days!!! We are currently using Jeff to purchase our next home and even with all the extra work involved due to the coronavirus, Jeff has been able to book all the properties we want to see, while keeping us safe. We will continue to work with Jeff as long as he is in the business. Thank you Jeff!!!

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1. Listing Agents are Normally Present for Buyer Showings

The first sign that you’ve entered into the luxury real estate market is that the listing agent will most likely attend your home showing, even though you’ve hired your own luxury realtor. For home buyers new to the luxury market, this can be a surprise and maybe a little uncomfortable as it’s hard to have an objective conversation about the pros and cons of a property.

If the listing agent is present when you visit the home, let them lead the tour. They should be knowledgeable about the home and be able to answer many of your questions. Sure, they’re there to assess your suitability for the home, but you can use this to your advantage. Let them talk and listen carefully.

As for being objective about the home you’re looking at, save the important conversation with your realtor for after the guided tour. At this time the listing agent should give you and your agent some space once they’ve gone over the features of the home.  As a practice, I recommend discussing anything to do with price or negation outside the property, to ensure the conversation remains private.

2. Luxury Real Estate is More Emotional

What can I say, except most homes in the luxury segment will be impressive!

However, real estate at this level is more emotional and less essential. Let’s face it, no one needs a 15,000+ square foot mansion, so marketing a luxury home is based on wants, prestige and luxury.

In some cases, prices are based not on comparable sales, but on cost of replacement or the seller’s opinion as to how much the home is worth. While the same underlying fundamentals still apply to valuing luxury homes as they do with regular homes, due to the amount of upgrades there’s a greater need to understand the cost of replacement method as opposed to relying only on the comparison method.

Expect that there will be features and upgrades worth a lot of money. That’s why it’s even more important to get as much detail on what’s included with the home and to also spend more time investigating the property.

Check out this video on 5 Tips Every Home Buyer Needs to Know.

3. The Luxury Real Estate Game in Canada

Have you ever bought a luxury car? Have you noticed that everything is set up to get you to believe there’s little or no room for negotiation, and that people who buy luxury cars don’t worry about the small details like price?

As a luxury home buyer there can be more pressure to “act the part” and not question what in some cases is overpriced. Again, this comes down to knowing the numbers, understanding the comparable sales and what they are selling for. Don’t make the mistake of assuming every home is priced correctly.

4. The Paradox of Choice in the Toronto Luxury Real Estate Market

It can be difficult choosing the right home when all the homes are unique and most are done to a very high quality. From cutting edge floor plans to amenities such as pools, spas and the trendiest décor, differentiating from homes can be challenging.

In order to stay on track and make sure you are getting what you really want in a house, you have to stick to a plan. That means doing work ahead of time to narrow down properties based on what you must have, would like to have and can’t have in a property.

We do this exercise with all of our clients, and it’s included in my buyers booklet. Feel free to download it here.

5. Don’t be Impressed With Things That Aren’t Important to You

Related to the last point, it’s easy to get distracted by all the features and upgrades that come standard in luxury homes. My advice is don’t be swayed by things that don’t matter to you…

The value of real estate still falls in this order: Location, land, square footage and then upgrades. Make sure to account for everything in the proper order of importance in order to make an informed decision on determining home value.

Final Thoughts on Shopping For Luxury Estates in Canada

If you’ve never done it before, shopping for a luxury home can be a fun and eye opening experience. While the price may be higher, remember that the fundamentals of real estate still remain the same. Below are the 2 most important rules to remember when it comes to real estate.

Do your homework, use logic to negotiate and buy the house and emotion to sell it.

If you remember these 2 rules you’ll always do well!

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