My best advice to home buyers I mentioned above. Get into the market as soon as you can. You'll thank me in 5 years and give me hugs and kisses in 10, when you see how much you've gained from simply living in your lace, rather than renting someone else's. For home sellers, I would say interview a few agents before deciding who to work with, and don't just assume that the self-professed "#1 agent" is the best choice. In my experience, they tend to be the agents that simply want to get a deal done ad provide very little service. Any time I've negotiated what I consider a good deal for my buyers is when the "top agent", is representing the home sellers. They always seem to be in a rush to get the offer signed, and don't do much in terms of negotiating and standing firm with their list prices.
My most memorable moment was helping a young person buy their first condo in downtown Toronto. I negotiated hard and saved her $30,000 off the list price. 2 months later, once the property had closed and I got paid, I received a letter from another brokerage stating that my client was under contract to them and they were taking me to the real estate ethics council for the commissions. That day in the real estate council changed my view of the industry. I lost the case even though my client provided emails from the other agent telling her she should just rent a place rather than buy, because she won't find anything in her price range. I couldn't believe it. I had to pay the other company all of the commission I had earned, all because their agent had a contract that they decided they didn't want to fulfill with my client, and told her so. To this day it leaves me bitter towards most other agents, and is the main reason why I do business the way I do today. I will never be that agent. Pure sleaze.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me as an agent, happened in The Junction. The Junction was not a good place back in 2007, and I had an appointment to look through a house prior to bringing my client through because it was a fixer-upper. The agent needed to be there to open the door and let me in rather than leave a lock-box. It was raining hard that day and the agent arrived on the TTC. When the door was opened for me, the agent stayed outside, under his umbrella. I told him he was more than welcome to come in as I was only previewing it, but he said he was ok waiting outside. The house was a dump. It had disgusting mattresses everywhere, stains on the ceilings, that I hoped were not blood, and it stunk like burnt hair and wet dog. I was inside for maybe two minutes. I didn't even bother going to the basement (I was too afraid to be honest). I thanked the agent, got in my car, and left. As I was heading home, I thought I saw something small jump onto my dashboard. I thought it was one of those tiny jumping spiders, so I didn't worry. Then I felt an itch on my inner thigh. Then another on my ankle. I looked down and saw many tiny things jumping. Fleas! Luckily my wife was home, and I had her meet me outside with a garbage bag. I stripped down on the front porch (didn't care who saw), threw my clothes in the bag, and ran upstairs in the shower. I will never forget that day.