I smiled when I read the REM article, Leave it to the local sales reps, urges broker Marion de Wever.
I have 30 years of experience in the business. I visited Marion’s office a few weeks back and sat on one of her nice couches. Stratford (population 32,000) is 60 km away from my office, and I have a residential listing there.

In the last little while I have also had listings in Bayfield, 83 km away (a vacant building lot); Port Stanley, 40 km away (a house and some land); Arkona, 56 km away (builder’s new houses and lots); and a little while back a farm in Port Glasow, 74 km away.

I also unsuccessfully tried to sell a wrecking yard in Lucan 27 km away and a hot dog shack on the beach in Port Bruce, 60 km away. I like working with all types of people and I drive a Jetta that is good on gas. It has a CD player and cup holders.

When I do Sunday afternoon open houses on my listing in Stratford, people often thank me for doing Sunday open houses. I get good traffic and that time seems to work well for all the people who are out looking.



Let me tell you the types of people that I often talk to at these open houses:

  1. Retiring farmers from the surrounding areas.
  2. Techies from the Waterloo area.
  3. Professors from Western University in London.
  4. Film directors in Land Rovers.
  5. School teachers from St. Marys who work in Kitchener and want to be closer to work.
  6. GTA people who are thinking of buying condos here as second homes.
  7. People from Windsor and Chatham who have come to enjoy the plays here in the summer.
  8. People moving back from out west who like old houses and who have grandchildren living in Toronto.

The list goes on and on.

Am I doing my seller a disservice by not necessarily knowing all of the distances to all of the schools or when garbage day is? Not really and I would like to go on record and say that I do know many of the comparable sales because I had a big one sell here on the MLS down the street two summers ago.

I also smiled when the article referenced the notion that some websites about real estate put out information that is not quite true. Watch for the spring launch of my condo website for Stratford that I think will show lots of great information.

I am happy that my business gets me out the door and away from sitting behind a desk.

Peter Daoust
Broker
Re/Max Advantage Realty
London, Ont.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Glad to see RECO step up and address this issue in RECOnnect (Spring Edition)

    RECO informs consumers that they “could” be better served by a local experienced registrant. Of course RECO does not need to say “should” because as the Regulator their advice needs no direct instructions to be rendered. Simply suggesting what a better alternative might be is enough.

    Interesting RECO now uses the term real estate professional all over it’s website which includes a broad range of professionals that do not trade in real estate. Funny how RECO can call you something you yourself cannot.

  2. If an agent is in the business a long time and makes their clients happy, they will always continue using them, even if their changing lives take them outside the realtor’s home city. As most property information is now online, both the realtor and client can easily look up almost everything pertaining to a specific property and its neighbourhood. All it takes is a little extra research, and any agent can successfully represent both buyers and sellers in any city.

  3. I think a great agent from out-of-town in some cases can be a better option than a mediocre local agent. However a great, local agent is always the best option.

  4. This response sounds like someone who is rationalizing to justify just making a commission wherever they can. When I was first starting out I remember foolishly taking a listing in Jamaica! How ridiculous is that? A local agent knows most of the other agents he’s working with, the culture and standard of practice his local real estate community expects and much more. A local agent knows which homes in the area were previously a grow op or had some former traumatic event such as a murder or suicide occur. They actually might have knowledge of the local schools quality or focus on education, which churches were near by and what sports facilities were available. They could probably recommend good contacts in tradesmen,lawyers, insurance providers etc. Don’t forget the benefits of being able to hop over In a few minutes to do a showing or present an offer to better service your clients. Did I mention how much your family and the ecology might appreciate you working locally and being available to them should they need you if an emergency should occur. In the end I discovered I earned more money by building good referral partners in neighbouring communities, working in my sweet spot around people who new me and enjoying a better quality of family life. What’s wrong with that!

  5. Your job as a fiduciary advisor to your client is to ensure they remember to investigate every relevant issue, including those they may not think of on their own. So, if they hadn’t thought about distance to schools, you need to make sure they look into the distance to schools if it’s an issue for them. And you can help them look into it too. Do you add more value by “already knowing” the distance to schools? No. In fact, I’ve encountered more than enough complacency or reliance on historic rather than current information by neighbourhood “experts” that I sometimes wonder if playing in a small sandbox is more of a detriment than a benefit.

  6. When you read together both articles, this one and the one linked in the first sentence, the question that needs to be answered is:
    Are you providing the best possible service to your client or only the service you are capable of?

    • In my opinion, the best service an agent can give their seller clients is to get more local agents not only willing to show the property but to actually sell the benefits of the property. More showings and especially selling the benefits of the property increases the chance of multiple offers and therefore the highest offers.

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