We have learned a good many things over the years involving service to real estate clients in Muskoka. This is an area where experience certainly weighs in! One particular transaction comes to mind involving a Realtor from out of Town. This Blog is not common argument  for using a Realtor’s services (this would be a few pages long). This post presents a sampling of why  the use of a LOCAL REALTOR’s professional services is invaluable. 

Muskoka is a special place and those of us who live here fully understand the intricacies of living in smaller and somewhat geographically complicated communities. The frantic hustle and bustle of the city is left behind at the rock cut in Severn Bridge. There is an audible decompression in your breathing as you make your way north to small towns, country settings and waterfront paradise. The distinctive aspects of living in Muskoka expand to working here as well.

A professional Realtor represents his or her clients with experience and skill and is adept at dealing with colleagues representing other parties in a real estate transaction.  There are established relationships and a cooperative understanding generated by local realtors where professionalism, respect, integrity and face value are elements of the transaction. The good realtors here in Muskoka achieve their clients' best interests with grace, strong negotiating skills, and outstanding competency and knowledge of territory and local issues. (We hold ourselves in that court as we strive to be outstanding for our clients!) Professionalism is vital to achieve a smooth and successful end result.

On occasion we interact with a Realtor whose Brokerage is out of town and not local.  In Ontario, Realtors are licensed to work anywhere in the Province however, our code of ethics must be called upon. We represent both Seller and Buyer Clients under contract promising to uphold fiduciary duties:  loyalty, obedience, confidentiality, accountability, competency, disclosure of facts, and reasonable care. There is usually an audible groan when a call comes in to book a showing by a Realtor who works in Brampton, or Ajax or any of the bigger cities south of Muskoka. It has become more commonplace since the market is strong in southern areas and competition is fierce amongst them. Realtors who live and work in other communities are travelling outside of their area of knowledge to work. We would not fathom representing a client with competency or knowledge in Toronto and we call to question those realtors who cross the boundaries here - literally. Skill is not the question - KNOWLEDGE  is!  It boggles the mind.   (I reserve blogging the joys of representation by a Part Time Realtor for a future rant!) 

I once had a property listed and showed it to a lovely young couple.  They brought in a cousin from the city who wrote up an offer with inappropriate clauses as he had no understanding of septic systems or wells. He did not understand the intricacies of our planning departments and building departments and transferred issues from bigger cities that did not apply to our area. The realtor in question did not even set foot on the property! Ultimately his lack of knowledge and exposure to our local issues thwarted the buyers attempt at the purchase. The offer was also not reflective of market value and his lack of local sales data and hard ball tactics pushed the Seller to refuse to further negotiate.  My heart went out to the young couple as I understood how much they liked the property and had lost their opportunity due to the incompetence and ill advice of their agency representative. 

One question herein lies, how was this Realtor able to provide competent services or reasonable care if he did not even set foot on the property? How could he protect the interests of his Buyer Clients from afar? How did he have any understanding of our local market, sales data or history in order to guide his buyer clients forward in a successful purchase? What did he know of local development, improvements, zoning, or potential issues that affect value?

Muskoka is geographically and operationally complicated when dealing with real estate.  The planning and building departments in the three towns and three townships require a big understanding of how they co-exist.  It takes years to amass an understanding of the territory and bylaws as they relate to shore road allowances on lakes, rights of ways, access and private roads or island properties - (mainland parking can be a serious issue!).  Property boundary issues, easements, drinking water sources,  septic systems, seasonal structures, winterization, cottage associations... the list is extensive and the experienced LOCAL REALTOR is imperative!

We encounter similar issues on the Selling Side. There is tremendous leg work involved prior to and during a listing launch. The number of visits to the property following the original client meetings, the marketing support and placement of print materials,  replenishing brochures, the checking on the state of the property if vacant, pre-sale title and survey searches, investigation of septic use permits, well records, ensuring proper signage, the professional photographer, videography, face-to-face meetings with clients. Providing current market sales and data only accessible by our board members, showing the property spontaneously, the realtor open houses, etc... How on earth can a listing Realtor living in a far away community, with no proximity to property or understanding of our local marketplace be the least bit competent or provide hands on attention or reasonable care to the Seller?

“Buyer beware” as this is usually the case;  a seller who lists with an out-of-town Brokerage is often a Seller who would not listen to a local professional and will overprice a property.   Using an out of area Relator can not only be frustrating for the client, it can be costly. Prolonged time to sell, lack of proper representation and missed opportunities, are real Seller costs. 

Local Real Estate professionals offer services that are invaluable to both  Sellers and  Buyers in Muskoka.   If you are considering a real estate transaction make sure to investigate local Realtor options and interview a few choice candidates.  Strongly consider who has the experience,  knowledge and work ethic to  best represent your interests in your Muskoka Real Estate transaction be it residential or waterfront property. for contact information or further blog articles.