Founded in 1881 by Canadians George and William Chaffey, Ontario, CA was once an agricultural community that is now evolving into a city of light industry and business. Still, you’ll find much that harkens to it’s past. In Ontario’s downtown area, buildings have pre-approved styles, which take you back to its gravity mule car days. When you walk along downtown, expect to see buildings with Mediterranean Revival Period, Victorian Period, and Mid-Century Modern styles.
Known for its warm climate and vineyards, Ontario, CA is a suburb of 50 square miles and 185,000 people. It is easily accessible by routes I-10, I-15, Pomona Freeway, and State Route 83. Here, residents are only 35 km away from the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles and a short drive from tourist destinations such as Disneyland, Palm Springs, Big Bear Lake, and Arrowhead Provincial Park. The city even has its own airport, the Ontario International Airport.
Homes and Communities in Ontario, CA
Away from the business centers, homes for sale in Ontario, CA are usually owned by single families and usually cost around $424,000. Though quite an investment, homes in this area are 26% lower than California’s median property price and include great amenities like large master suites, energy-efficient solar panels, walk-in closets, and quartz countertops.
The city has a family-oriented community in the works called Ontario Ranch, with plans for parks, walking trails, new schools, independent water sources, and a strong fiber optic network. At 8,000 acres and 13 square miles, Ontario Ranch is the largest master-planned community in Southern California. There are already 11,000 single-family homes taking shape in this walkable town.
Besides single-family homes, Ontario hosts a variety of condo options that you can rent out before buying a property of your own. If you already have a house and are ready to move into your dream home, the city also has seven-figure luxury real estate options.
But before you start sending in inquiries and booking home viewings, make sure you have a trusted real estate agent by your side.
What is a real estate agent?
Also known as real estate associates or real estate salespeople, real estate agents are people who are licensed to help you buy, sell, or rent a property. To become a licensed real estate agent a person has to meet at least these requirements:
- They must be of legal age.
- They are legal residents of the United States.
- They have taken their state’s pre-licensing classes.
- They have taken and passed their real estate licensure exam.
- They have passed a background check.
- They are sponsored by a real estate broker.
- They continue to take skills training seminars to maintain their license.
While buyer’s agents and listing agents have different tasks based on their clients’ goals, they do have work in common. From documentation to marketing, here are the usual duties of a real estate agent:
Behind a desk, real estate agents process paperwork, answer inquiries, and schedule meetings. They also take the time to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) of their area’s local real estate market to either price their client’s home competitively or to make sure their client makes an enticing offer on a home for sale.
Meetings and tours
Whether they are working for buyers or sellers, real estate agents stay updated on new listings and their prices. They also tour homes listed in multiple listing services (MLS) to preview homes you may want to buy, or to scope out your competition on the market. Doing this will help you narrow down your choices as a buyer or help you plan a competitive price for your home as a seller.
As a real estate seller or listing agent, an agent’s task is to ensure you get the best price for your property. Their job can include but not limited to:
- Setting listing prices
- Entering new listings into an MLS
- Coordinating real estate photography
- Conducting a home assessment for repairs and improvements
- Staging a home to make it presentable to potential buyers
- Hosting open houses
- Vetting buyers
- Negotiating sales
As a buyer’s representative, a real estate agent searches for homes that suit your needs. They know the area and its housing market, so they should be able to direct you to a community that fits your lifestyle and budget.
When you are a buyer, your agent’s tasks include but are not limited to:
- Searching several MLSs for suitable listings
- Touring you around different properties before you choose one
- Appraising and inspecting possible homes for you.
- Helping you make a competitive offer on your chosen home
- Ensuring you can get a mortgage on your home
- Helping you through all the paperwork needed in buying a home.
- Being there when you need their expertise.
Once you start shopping around for real estate agents, you might see the word “broker” popping up in your search results. This is a different real estate professional and should not be confused with an agent.
What is a real estate broker?
Unlike agents, real estate brokers can work on their own. With a broker’s license, they can run a brokerage and hire other real estate agents to work for them. Similar to agents, real estate brokers can represent buyers or sellers.
Check out this table to see the different tasks of a buyer’s broker and a seller’s broker:
If you choose to work with a real estate broker, make sure you know what kind of broker they are. There are three types:
Though licensed, associate brokers have chosen to work with another broker. They do not supervise other real estate agents.
Managing brokers monitor a brokerage’s transactions and operations. Unlike associate brokers, they can hire and train real estate agents.
This is the main broker. They are in charge of the real estate office and agents and represent the brokerage in professional associations. Their job is to ensure their team follows state and national real estate laws.
As you continue your research, another term that will pop up in your search is “realtor.” You may wonder: Is a realtor a broker or a real estate agent, or is that another job altogether?
What is a REALTOR®?
A realtor is a real estate agent or broker who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Founded in 1908, NAR’s goal is to work for their client’s best interests. One of its members, Charles N. Chadbourn, coined the term “realtor” in 1916, and the words “REALTORS” and “REALTOR” became registered trademarks in 1949 and 1950, respectively.
Only active NAR members can call themselves a realtor and use the registered trademark “REALTOR®” in their name. Apart from agents and brokers, realtors can also be:
- Property managers
To be a realtor, a real estate professional must meet the NAR’s following requirements:
- They must have a valid and active real estate license.
- They must not have a record of official sanctions for unprofessional behavior.
- They must not have a recent or pending application for bankruptcy.
- They must abide by the NAR’s Code of Ethics.
- They must be a member of their local NAR real estate association.
- They must pay a one-time application fee.
- They must pay NAR’s annual membership dues.
As of July 2021, the NAR has 1,534,008 members with a median of eight years’ experience. Sixty-eight percent of these members are sales agents, 20% are brokers and 13% are associate brokers. The NAR also welcomes international real estate professionals to join their association, allowing listings to reach markets worldwide.
The code of ethics
Whether real estate professionals are from the United States or abroad, registered realtors are bound by the NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. Over a century old and, this code has 17 article and requires realtors to:
- Be truthful in their communications, advertising, and marketing
- Show the whole truthful picture of a property—no hidden agendas, no exaggeration
- Protect and promote the client’s best interests
The NAR updated their Code in November 2020, making their rules applicable to all of a realtor’s activities, not just for real estate transactions. They also strengthened their rules against discriminatory speech and behavior. This means a realtor may be sanctioned if they are found to have used hurtful language (for example, in social media) or denied their services “based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” They may also be expelled if it is proven they were discriminatory in their real estate activities and transactions.
When you are dealing with a realtor, you are working with someone held to the highest standards in the industry.
What are the advantages of hiring a real estate agent?
A real estate agent will cost around 5% to 6% of a home’s selling price. If this makes you want to navigate the real estate market on your own, consider all this work you will need to do on top of your day job:
- Fixing up your home for sale or looking for the best home to buy
- Completing the paperwork that comes with selling and buying a house
- Researching the best price to put on your house
- Negotiating the best price for a house you want to buy
- Handling inquiries, even on weekends, and holidays
- Organizing open houses
These are all tasks a real estate agent is trained to do. And consider the pros:
- Real estate agents have a larger sales network – They know the area by heart and have databases of past clients, access to MLSs, their own website, colleagues, and marketing skills to either sell a home or find the right one for you.
- Real estate agents provide unbiased service – Instead of being emotionally attached to a home or to a sales price, these professionals have the expertise to know when it is time to sell or buy, or when you should wait for a better offer.
- Real estate agents can help you negotiate – For sellers, a real estate agent will know what your house needs to be competitive in the current real estate market. For buyers, a real estate agent will know what fees you need to pay and what the sellers should cover. Whether you are selling or buying, a real estate agent ensures you get the fair price.
- Real estate agents can save you from trouble – An agent can help you avoid headaches by making sure you have all your documents laid out and signed at closing. They can help a seller avoid a lawsuit by making the right disclosures about a property. On the other hand, buyer’s agents can help a client spot flaws in a house (leaks, pests, building code violations) before they sign a contract.
Working with a real estate agent most often pays for itself, but you will need to know how to pick the right one.
How do I choose the best real estate agent?
Whether they represent a homebuyer or home seller, great real estate agents have these top four qualities:
- They know the neighborhood by heart – When looking for a real estate agent, make sure they are experts on not just their state or city but also their locality. This will be helpful once you start marketing your property or narrowing down neighborhoods you want to move into.
- They communicate well – Your chosen real estate agent will be working with you for months so make sure you check out their responsiveness. How quickly do they respond to you or your prospective buyers’ inquiries? Look at their social media profiles and see how they engage with customers. Review how they spread the word about an available listing and generate interest in a property before it even hits the market.
- They are experienced – The best real estate agents have at least three years’ experience under their belt. This means they have already closed a number of sales that you can review. This also shows they have an established network of clients and service providers they can coordinate with to facilitate a sale or organize paperwork.
- They have good reviews – A great real estate agent provides great service, and this shows in their client reviews. Do past clients recommend this agent? What did they say about their work ethic? Do clients say this agent follows through on their promises? Former clients would say “yes” to all these questions.
Once you have narrowed down your choices to at least three agents, set a meeting with each and conduct an interview. Make sure you ask the following questions:
Whether you are a home buyer or seller, you should also check the following:
- Does the agent work for a reputable company and broker?
- Is this agent a full-time real estate professional or is this just a hobby?
- What are the agent’s working hours?
Top real estate agent in Ontario, CA
Here in Ontario, Julian Lopez has 20 years’ worth of negotiating experience and has been a top 1% producing real estate professional for over a decade. Together with his team, Julian offers competitive commission rates, professional photography and 3D walk-through services, and stellar social media marketing, helping clients successfully maneuver the real estate market not only in sunny Ontario but also in neighborhoods like Chino, Chino Hills, and the luxurious Rancho Cucamonga.
A quick read through reviews shows that Julian has consistently helped clients list, sell, and buy homes. An example of what clients think of Julian’s team shows why it’s important to work with good real estate agents, “Turns out there’s a lot to selling a home,” said client Velasco Morse, “Julian guided us through all the steps.”