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Manoj and Shalini, both excited about their move to Canada began to look online for possible places to rent, but where to start so many thousands of kilometers away?  Manoj started doing some investigating and it wasn’t long before he landed on some sites that offered interesting information.  “Look!” he said to Shalini as she poured them both tea.  “Look at these condominiums, aren’t they amazing?”  Shalini being the more skeptical was quick to point out that looking for a place in a new country without the guidance of a trusted professional was not wise.

In reality, real estate agents are the best qualified to help find not only the right home to buy, but also to rent.  The little known secret is that some agents shy away from working with clients in helping them find suitable rental accommodations because the compensation is a small fraction of that to buy a home.  This is short sited on behalf of those select few real estate agents that decide to avoid this type of business since studies have shown that although the majority of recent immigrants tend to rent a place right away, more than half go on to buy their home within the first 5 years of arriving in Canada.  So as with selecting any service provider whether it be your new doctor or new lawyer in Canada, so it is in selecting the right real estate agent that is not only experienced and professional, but patient and aware of the extra guidance needed in showing recent immigrants the preferred neighbourhoods and the ways of conducting business in Canada.

Real estate agents use a national database of properties referred to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and have the ability to set their clients up with automatic emails sent every morning with any and all new properties added to the database meeting the clients search parameters as to location, type of home, rental rate, and so on.  And it’s absolutely free! The larger and more established real estate brokerages include Re/Max, Royal LePage, Century 21 and Keller Williams.

Real estate agents are the best qualified to help find not only the right home to buy, but also to rent.

Alternative sources that can also yield good finds include viewit.ca which is a dedicated rental site.  kijiji.ca and Craigslist.ca are also very good sources although they are not just property specific, but do have a wide selection.  The renter has to exercise a bit more caution with these sites because the properties are being offered directly by the owner and so there isn’t an intermediary to assist with any problems or issues that might arise.  This is one of the many benefits of using a real estate agent.

Manoj joked with Shalini and agreed that looking at the alternative sites were a great way to get a feel of what was available, but that engaging a real estate agent even before arriving in Canada would be a great way to establish a relationship and start receiving trusted advice on their search.

Ed Frezza


Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto.  He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.  His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio.  His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership.  This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.

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Renting your first home in Canada