Everybody knows “somebody” who is in Real Estate. A family member, close friend, friend of a friend, referral, etc. And a lot of the times we feel obligated to use these contacts. We did the same thing. We bought our first house with a Realtor who was referred to us by our friends! But now that I am in Real Estate, I look back and realize how silly it was to use a Realtor from the city we lived in to purchase a house in a different town. The major reason being…he didn’t know much about the area where we wanted to live. He was happy to show us the houses, and informed us of a few busy streets, but that was all he could offer us. He couldn’t tell us about the community, good areas, bad areas, places that would be ideal for us as first time home buyers about to start a family, etc. And of course being out of town first time home buyers, we didn’t have any contacts in the town we were moving to, nor did we know that our Realtor could have referred us to a local agent who could have informed us about our new surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the home we bought, but just after we moved in, I realized that I may have liked to live in a different part of town.
I can’t stress enough the importance of using a LOCAL realtor when buying or selling your home. When you work, live and play in the same community, you have inside knowledge that most out of town agents don’t have. We know the parks, schools, and arenas. We know the established areas and the new developments. We know the history of houses and streets, and are aware of future development plans. We are also up to date on current buying and selling trends…which is good news for our clients. We don’t have to rely solely on looking up “data” for comparable properties. Telling a client that a house in the neighbourhood they are looking to buy in had four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood floors and a finished basement isn’t a good enough comparable. There is much more to look at when finding comparable properties, and since MLS only gives you 9 photos you are not getting the full picture. Local agents are able to elaborate through personal experience. We have walked through the properties and can provide more insight as to why a property sold for the price it did, why it is listed at the price it is, or what it should sell for in the current market. Every day we view more properties and gain more inside market experience, which is a valuable service we provide to our clients.
You, as a client, are relying on your Realtors “Expertise” and this shouldn’t just relate to the Number of Years in the Industry. Every Real Estate market is different and your Realtor’s expertise should extend to how well they know the community you are wishing to buy or sell in. Milton, for instance, is a very unique Real Estate Market! It cannot be compared with Mississauga, Burlington, Brampton or Toronto. It is the youngest and the fastest growing town in Ontario, and is a highly sought after place to live. It is a safe and friendly community which makes it a terrific place to raise a family…and those points alone add a “value” that other communities do not have. You don’t want to lose out on the property you love, or sit stagnant on the market, just because your Realtor wasn’t up to date with the local market and didn’t understand the “value” that that community brings to the table! Think of it this way, when on vacation, how well do you know the destination you are visiting? When in a foreign country, you rely on local expert guides who are knowledgeable and familiar with what that country has to offer, which makes your vacation a pleasurable experience…real estate is no different ;)
I am in no way suggesting that you snub your family member, friend, or referred Realtor. You can still contact them, but ask for a referral to a LOCAL Realtor in whatever community you are choosing to buy or sell in. You will get top dollar service and local knowledge, and your Realtor will get paid a Referral fee! Sounds like a win-win to me!