It has been a couple of years since I semi-retired and set up my own independent brokerage that doesn’t belong to organized real estate.
Location, location, location has been the mantra for buying real estate since time began, but the key importance of “location” used to be where there was economic activity. People bought near their work and near family services. But technology has now enabled people to be anywhere and still be at the centre of economic activity and social services. Highways have shortened long trips while congesting cities with commuters.
I anticipate that working from home could become a viable option for increasing numbers of people. This opens the door to people choosing their homes based upon lifestyle criteria rather than location. I much prefer to work from my ski chalet rather than my city home. My brother-in-law bought a lovely property with a trout stream running through it in a hamlet 60 minutes from Toronto. A highway extension is about to cut this time to 40 minutes. There is no doubt that retiring baby boomers will move to more lifestyle oriented properties as they approach their semi-retirements.
A problem that organized real estate faces is that their property search websites are useless for finding these delightful lifestyle properties scattered outside the mega-cities and larger towns. Most people wouldn’t even know these locations exist nor how to even search for them. They are like “precious needles in haystacks”.
I’ve registered a lifestyle domain real estate property website, but it may be quite some time before I actually launch it.
During the past 25 years I’ve worked on helping client friends sell and buy a few isolated or recreational properties. The marketing of such properties is still awkward for local Realtors or their city associates. Bringing buyers to sellers is almost impossible under present search criteria. After all, how do you look for something you don’t even know exists?
I am confident the market for unique properties will grow at a healthy pace. People don’t like living in 700 sq. ft. boxes in the sky if they don’t have to. They won’t have to in the future so now is the time to develop innovative programs to service this new emerging market.
The secret to success and happiness in real estate is not to sell, sell, sell but to service, service, service!
Jim Reid B.A., M.B.A., Broker
Jim Reid Realty, Brokerage