Torontoism is a renowned real estate agency in Toronto under the umbrella of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, headed by Senior Vice President Richard Silver and his team of realtors.
Our properties receive exposure in prestigious publications such as The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Our listings appear on both national and international Sotheby’s websites. We are frequently ranked high in Google search results thanks to quality content published on the site, strong social media presence and also thanks to targeted Google ads.
With recent statistics indicating that Toronto is the safest and most reputable city in North America, it has never been a better time to buy or sell real estate here. But there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes at Torontoism than most buyers are aware.
We are unique in comparison to our competitors. A blend of conventional and cutting-edge marketing strategies have enabled us to gain a reputation as one of the most innovative real estate agencies.
Here's a sneak peek of what it looks like behind the scenes.
Let's have a look at our marketing and the technology we use to promote our clients' listings.
In the office, the team uses gold-standard software such as Follow Up Boss, a specialized lead management system. Leads from over 200 sources appear in the database, at which point Richard receives a notification. He then assigns the lead to the most suitable employee. Follow Up Boss is widely used in the industry, due to the flexibility it allows—not only are leads easily accessible, everyone on the team can view them and the team leader can track the process in the system.
The process of listing a property
When a property is soon to be listed, the team has a great deal of work to do behind the scenes, much of which is not seen by the general public. Before Richard can arrange a listing presentation, the team must compile as much information about the property and the Sotheby’s brand as possible.
Tania Bettencourt has expertise in comparative market analysis (CMA), and as such, she is typically the team member in charge of doing CMA for a new property, and then preparing a report of comparative properties in the area. The CMA examines the rates at which similar homes have recently sold, and provides the seller with an approximation of the current market value.
Once Richard’s presentation is complete, Tania and Celia Alves follow up with the client on a personal level by sending out a handwritten letter thanking them for their business.
When the client has chosen to list their property, Tania and Celia continue to remain in contact with them through every stage of the process, sending out an introductory email explaining what their roles are.
At this stage in the process, many sellers are intimidated by just how much they have to do to prepare for their open house—but Tania and Celia eliminate much of the stress involved in the process, arranging for photographers and floor plan video tours. In some cases, cleaners and contractors are hired as well.
Mailing is still in!
We strongly believe in the value of good marketing, be it through photography, videography, staging, email blasts, social media, or more traditional strategies.
One of the more old-fashioned methods we use to reach out to the public is through "Just Listed" postcards, which we mail out to 2000 homes surrounding the listed property, tapping into the power of what is known as "neighbour marketing."
Meanwhile, Richard sends over the necessary paperwork to be signed through DocuSign—or in person, if possible. Once this is completed, the property is listed on MLS, making it official.
If you’re unfamiliar with MLS, it’s a standard professional listing service provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association which stands for "Multiple Listing Service." The MLS trademark effectively puts a stamp of approval on the listing, legitimizing it. It also adds the listing to the Sotheby’s portal, giving it much more widespread exposure.
Once a listing goes live on MLS, things move pretty quickly. "For example, if a home is listed on MLS on a Tuesday," Tania explains, "the following day we do an agents’ open house."
We are currently the only Canadian Sotheby’s team using ListGlobally, an agency that shares Toronto listings all over the world. With a record number of immigrants making Toronto their home in 2017, this is a must.
Preparing the Open House
While open houses are statistically only one of the marketing strategies realtors used in today’s market, there is no denying that agents’ open houses are especially important.
Prospective buyers often can’t visualize themselves in a home unless it appeals to them aesthetically on the day of the open house. Thus, one of the most valuable assets to any realtor is having a close partnership with an expert in design. Richard works very closely with a home stager to prepare properties for open houses and ensure they look picture-perfect.
We also send out out carefully curated email blasts to all local realtors, letting them know that the property has recently been listed. On the day of the event, the team arranges for catering, providing wraps and sandwiches for visiting agents.
Next is the public open house, which is what most people typically think of when they hear the term "open house." These are slightly more formal events, occurring on Saturdays only and running between the hours of 2 and 4 PM.
What happens from the Torontoism team’s perspective on the day of a public open house? According to Tania and Celia, "it really depends." No open house is exactly alike and they cannot possibly prepare for every possible circumstance.
However, they are always very strategic with the placement of a few crucial documents: detailed floor plans and glossy Sotheby’s brochures. In addition, "there is always a realtor standing by to answer any questions."
Though Tania and Celia are involved more in the day-to-day administrative tasks in the office, they make a point of attending agents’ open houses so they can familiarize themselves with the properties.
At the end of the day, Tania and Celia send out emails to the seller and inform them how the open house went. If there were any prospects, they also reach out to them and start a dialogue to see if they are still interested.
Once a sale has gone through, Tania and Celia’s primary job is to complete all the required paperwork. They also send out "Just Sold" postcards, reaching a wide range of people in the immediate area, and use social media blasts to announce that the property has been sold.
To ensure that we gain close, long-term relationships with our clients, we send out cards on the anniversary of their closure every year. We also congratulate clients personally when they purchase a new home.
Bolstering their relationship with clients, both old and new, is easier by using social media. Torontoism's presence is very strong on a couple of social media channels. They have a big following on Facebook, Twitter and lastly, on Instagram. Big following is a result of posting to social media on a daily basis and posting both content related to Toronto real estate as well as interesting news from the Toronto area.
A brief glance at any of our social media accounts indicates active, constant engagement—and that’s no accident. With a large number of millennials buying their first homes, we have found that Instagram is a great social network to use for promoting our listings, in addition to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
This is just a small number of things that happen behind the scenes at Torontoism. We are working hard on each listing we have to provide the best possible service to our clients. Buying selling or renting real estate is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Toronto real estate market, like the city itself is incredibly competitive, fast-paced and difficult to predict. So we have compiled a list of 7 promises that we have commited to delivering to every one of our clients.
We are prepared to work hard making sure that your needs are met and that the result is more than you were hoping for. Nothing gives us more pleasure than your success and being with you through major life changes.