How far should your REALTOR® Go?

I’m curious to know why Homebuyers and Sellers hire a REALTOR® from outside of the area to represent them. Why would a consumer not leverage all advantages in their favour?

If you’ve ever heard, read or seen, a report on the Canadian real estate market, you’ll know that it is not necessarily reflective of what is happening locally in your neck of the woods. The micro looks different from the macro.

All real estate is local and always has been. Should your REALTOR® also be local?

As a neighbourhood specialist who brings value to the table, offering Buyers and sellers definite advantages, it’s great to have a niche, and focus, rather than be all over the place.

Being familiar with the area in which I live, work and intimately know, really makes a difference because communities have different customs, demographics and personalities. Community events and civic involvement are just two of the many ways I interact to gain the inside track.

Whether it’s familiarity with up and coming subdivisions or revitalization, the Official Community Plan, municipal regulations, bylaws effecting suites, flood plains or mudslides, etc., there is an inherent advantage for the Buyer or Seller to leverage in their real estate transaction. Knowledge of schools, daycare, churches, parks, golf courses, commute routes, transit, or a community centre, etc., just adds to the information available.

From experience, my sellers prefer an area specialist with a network at their disposal, which includes prospects, and occasionally they’ll luck out because the Buyer relying on an “Everywhere” specialist (from out-of-town) will tend to pay a higher price.

From my experience, Buyers like an area specialist who can blow carpetbaggers away; just check out the stunned look when you ask them a question that they don’t have any clue about.

How can some REALTORS® claim to be experts no matter where they’re working; an “Everywhere” specialist?  Although I’m sure there’ll be areas where they’re considered very special…

Does anyone really think that just by having access to the MLS and tax records you are now a local expert?

It seems that online resources of the Internet has made anyone who can keyboard, an “Everywhere” specialist. One of the problems with this reliance on the Internet is that many listings are inaccurate or incomplete, often requiring some first-hand knowledge for adjustments in preparing a Comparative Market Analysis.

Significant differences in just a couple of blocks can lead to over or under stated pricing, and let’s be honest, you don’t know what you don’t know.

What we all do know however is that tax assessment information is also unreliable, and certainly cannot be used for estimating market value.

Seeing product and maps through the MLS or Google Earth already allows the public to do much of their own research, and without a REALTOR®, if they wish. Like in real estate, most information available to a doctor is also available on the Internet to the public, if they wish.

What could be more valuable than the in-home experience of your hyper local REALTOR® who has listed and sold many homes in a specific neighbourhood over the years? Knowing the subtle nuances of, why some homes sell and some don’t, strata bylaws, etc., is of value to the Buyer and Seller.

As a Seller’s representative, my job is to educate the Buyer’s representative about what is so great about the home and the neighbourhood. The Buyer’s representative may have some idea already, but I had better be able to fill in any gap.

Acting as a Buyer’s representative, I have an obligation to know what neighbourhoods fit my client’s needs and lifestyle.

Then there’s the matter of, how much service can you give from afar?

Just covering an area with a diameter of 10 km (6 or 7 miles) represents more than 80 square kilometers!

Living and breathing the core area in which I have lived (Tri-Cities) for over twenty years gives me a comfort level I don’t feel when I venture too far. The only times I have done this is when a close friend has asked for my help.

I’ve handled listings on the outskirts from where I’m located (North-East Sector of Metro Vancouver), like Maple Ridge, and even as far as White Rock, but only with help from another REALTOR® more familiar with the area. When in doubt I will err on the side of caution; this is a dense area after all.

Many times I’ve referred the client to another REALTOR®, especially for Downtown Vancouver business, which is an animal unto itself, and a market I prefer not to participate in.

Even if someone is looking for a REALTOR® just to help with the contract and negotiations, intimate knowledge of the local area could be critical.

Hopefully Buyers and Sellers will consider these points seriously in their decision-making process.

This is a reblog of a post I originally did just over two years ago; I hope you find it useful.

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