If you ever thought you’d be great at selling any one of Toronto’s many luxury properties (or just want a job where you can oogle jaw-dropping homes all day), then becoming a luxury real estate agent may be the thing for you.
But getting into the luxury real estate game can seem difficult and confusing, especially for anyone with no experience in the field. So, Daily Hive asked two experts, Naz Sala, broker for Royal LePage Terrequity, and Bryan Nunes, co-owner of ListingsTO and sales representative at Right at Home Realty, to share their insights on how to break into the industry.
With everything from qualifications, to finding jobs, to how much you can make, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a luxury real estate agent in Toronto.
Do you need a specific background to get into luxury real estate?
In short, no, but Sala says having an interest in and excitement for luxury real estate will be key to being successful in the industry.
“It really starts with your interest in luxury homes and lifestyle,” Sala said. “Connecting that passion within you first and then creating a plan to find affluent people who share the same excitement you have.”
What education and certifications do you need?
Before starting any certifications, the first thing you need to have is a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and English language skills. After that, the first step is to take the courses required to become registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). These give an introduction to the real estate world and teach you about both residential and commercial transactions.
“The pre-registration phase is made up of five online courses, two one-week-long in-person simulation sessions, and several exams,” Nunes said. “Humber College is the only college where you can study to become a real estate professional and register with RECO.”
The program costs $4,160 and must be completed within two years but can take as little as nine months. Once you pass the course, you can register with RECO, the Canadian Real Estate Association, the Ontario Real Estate Association, and your local real estate board. It’s important to note that all of these registrations can cost over $3,000, Nunes says.
After registration, the work isn’t done quite yet. There are another three post-registration courses that agents must complete; however, these typically take just a couple of months to finish.
How do you find jobs?
Once you’re all registered, you’ll want to apply and interview with different luxury brokerages so that you can start getting hands-on real estate experience. There is also the option to work independently under the guidance of a mentor.
“You really want to be knowledgeable and aware of the local market trends and really understand luxury properties,” Sala said. “Getting to know the clientele is very important too — this will all play a role in how the home is marketed. It’s important to have competency as a real state professional, knowledge and expertise of the luxury market, […] and proof of sales in the luxury market to really help set yourself up as a luxury agent.”
Any aspiring luxury real estate agent will want to spend this time networking and branding themselves as a luxury agent. Then, after having a number of transactions under your belt, you’ll want to obtain the Certified Luxury Homes Marketing Specialist certification.
“For this specific designation, you must complete a luxury marketing course, be a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, and submit your application with property transactions that meet sales requirements of being a luxury real estate agent,” Sala said.
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What are the main job difference between a luxury agent and a regular agent?
When it comes to trading in luxury real estate, one of the main differences is that you won’t be selling as many properties as other real estate agents might.
“You may be closing fewer transactions and having to spend more on marketing materials, so if the sale does not end up going through, all that hard work could potentially have been for nothing,” Sala said. “But with high risks come high rewards, and all that hard work will definitely pay off in the end.”
Nunes also notes that it’s important to keep in mind that luxury properties typically aren’t valued in the same cost-per-sq-ft way that average homes are.
“Luxury real estate is valued by the unique features the home provides, such as incredible architecture, spas, secret movie theatres, or even being the highest suspended residence in a bridge,” he said.
How much does a luxury real estate agent make in Toronto?
The most important question of all is how much you can expect to make selling luxury homes. The answer is that it can be quite a lot, but it will take time.
“Your first year or two as a realtor will be focused on gaining experience as a new agent and networking with potential clients,” Nunes said.
An agent who has opted to join a luxury real estate team can get paid a salary to help with administrative tasks while gaining experience. Nunes says this can range anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000. Another option is to work independently, the salary for which will be entirely dependent on sales. But once you get selling, the typical commission on a home is 2.5%, although it can vary.
“If you find a client who agrees to sell or purchase a luxury home for $3,000,000, you can earn as much as $75,000 from the one deal alone,” Nunes said. “Commission on leases are normally a half month’s rent to both the landlord’s agent and renter’s agent. On a $2,000 monthly lease, you will earn about $1,000.”
“New agents usually start with lease deals and possibly a home sale. This can bring their first-year income anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 all the way up to $80,000+ if they land clients that purchase or sell a home.”
And once you’re a seasoned luxury agent, Nunes says you can be closing anywhere from five to 20 deals per year, earning anywhere from $250,000 up to well over $1 million per year.