“The biggest challenge in Muskoka is that we have agents from the city coming up and trying to sell properties, but they don’t know anything about septic systems, they’re not attuned to actual values,” says Re/Max Realtor Ross McLean. “It creates a challenge.”
Realtors have an obligation to their clients to provide them with the best information possible, and selling in Canada’s cottage country is no different. McLean says agents need to know about a property’s septic systems, and often be able to explain it to a client; whether the property’s water source is via the lake or from a well. Agents also need to understand the lot coverage, the zoning bylaws and any restrictions by the township.
“They ought to know about waterfront issues and often they don’t,” McLean says. “So they provide misinformation to clients.”
McLean points to a listing that he currently has; the current owner used a city agent who didn’t know better and advised the client to overpay for the property.
“Now he’s stuck with the property and he has to come to terms with that. He paid probably $150,000 too much,” McLean says. “That’s why it’s important to use a Realtor who understands the values [of waterfront properties].”
Don’t be that real estate agent. McLean says that Realtors who want to broaden their knowledge base should spend some time in Muskoka, learning the waterfront and all the regulations that go along with owning a property on the lake. Develop a good network and don’t be afraid to refer business, because McLean says that’s a two-way street
One Muskoka-focused real estate agent is cautioning city-dwelling Realtors who think selling an urban condo is the same as selling a waterfront cottage.