11. AFFORDABILITY – we live in a region where a single person just starting out can buy a condo for $120,000. Or a young couple can buy a sweet little bungalow for $145,000. Or an elderly couple can buy a condo apartment for $210,000 (or $150,000). Or a single parent can buy a townhome near the lake for $150,000. Or a couple with a growing family can buy a 2,400 sq.ft. 2 storey for $325,000. Or the retiree couple can buy a home on or near the water for less than the ‘average’ price of a home in some GTA markets is. You probably get the idea…

10. WE’RE NOT TOO BIG, NOT TOO SMALL – in a market like ours, it is reasonable to get a really good handle on a wide geographical area. The experienced REALTOR will know when subdivision ‘x’ was built or what area of town will most likely suit a buyer. We can book an appointment to show a home in the next city over and not need to book off the entire day for travel! But, one drive around our region and you’ll know the landscape is quite beautiful with something for everyone.

9. MARKET VOLATILITY – our l’il old Niagara market moves in slow, steady steps without any major swings one way or the other (in general). While some markets see price increases of 15 or 20% on an annual basis, we live in the single digit range, quite often at or just above the rate of inflation. Frankly, we are quite happy to see the average price of a home increase by only 3 or 6%. Volatility breeds major shifts which results in stress, anxiety, fear and too many ‘what if’ scenarios. And it beats up on #11 on this list.

8. CO-OPERATION IS KEY – the best REALTORS in our area get it. They are willing to share knowledge, experience and tools with the understanding that the more we grow and learn as an industry, the better we perform as individuals. And guess who wins in that scenario…the consumer! When REALTOR A asks REALTOR B about a listing or brings an offer, our job is to facilitate, communicate and treat all those involved fairly. When REALTOR B brings the “at all costs, I am going to win and you’re going to lose” approach to the table, deals suffer. And luckily in our market, we generally deal with the co-operative, big-picture REALTORS more often than not.

7. THE GTA BUYER – we love them! What our market doesn’t realize yet is the effect that this buyer is having on our region. They sell their home for 600k or 800k or 1.2M. Then come down here to settle into a townhome or retirement bungalow while they shop for their condo in the sunny south. Geographically, it is a really interesting phenomenon. Factors such as being a border town, wine region, oversupplied with great golf courses and having an escarpment influenced climate all go towards raising our appeal. And there’s also #11 on our list again.

6. BIDDING WARS – or lack thereof. No one likes stress and anxiety. Buying a home comes with its own bag of emotions which are only amplified in a bidding war. Luckily, we are generally not in a market that pre-assembles the listing in order to create a bidding war scenario. Buyers have more than a nano-second to make a decision. As a result, buyer fatigue is lessened, bad transactions avoided and most people can move in and live happily ever after. Unless you’re the seller…then you are probably fairly fond of the buyer battle.

5. LACK OF GRIDLOCK – I have a friend who used to work the east side of Toronto but quite often found himself in the heart of Hogtown. Client calls to see a condo. He drives 25 to 40 minute. Pays $10 or 15 and parks. Meets his client, gets to the condo and within 2 minutes of being inside, his buyer says “nope, this won’t work for us”. Back downstairs, get into traffic and battle east to get back to his office. Over 2 hours later the appointment is done. Not so much here.

4. DEALS GO TOGETHER & STAY TOGETHER – looking back over the last few years, I have a hard time remembering even 1 deal that didn’t close. Maybe its luck, maybe it’s the process we go through with a client, maybe its Maybelline. (sorry…had to). Either way, the lack of dramatics in our area with closings and the associated process is a pleasure. For some international perspective, check out our bLOG : PERSPECTIVE FROM ACROSS THE POND.

3. MOVEABLE WEEKENDS – we are humans too so a little recreation mixed into the hectic life of a REALTOR is always a good thing. So, we just have to block off a Wednesday morning or Thursday afternoon to get out and take it all in. With access to a huge number of great golf courses, we simple golf when everyone else isn’t! When we can squeeze a round in that is…

2. COMPETING BUT NOT – the core of our business is entrepreneurship. We are independent contractors sent out to hunt. Find clients. Work hard for them, thrill them with our knowledge and ability to get their dream home purchased or sold. We could do that at the expense of the REALTOR on the other side. The brutal, knuckle-dragging approach is luckily few and far between in Niagara. I count many, many REALTORS as friends. People you can share a laugh, coffee or game of golf with. Make no mistake…when a negotiation starts, we are still battling for our client but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of those on the other side of the table. So yes, while we want to grow our business, we want top dollar for our client’s home or to get the best deal for our buyer, we do it in an environment of mutual respect.

canal in fall1. NIAGARA – locals often forget to look around at their surroundings. Forget to take advantage of what is within a 20 minute drive of their front door. Whether it’s the wineries, golf courses, hiking trails (ie: waterfront, Short Hills or otherwise), waterfront (you’d be amazed where you can go when you hop in a canoe!), concerts, music festivals, races (equine or automotive), climate, air quality, Welland canal (boring or inconvenient to us yet fascinating to visitors), Niagara Falls and the list goes on. All of this in the safety and security of beautiful Canada. We REALTORS are always on the run, scheduling, showing, calling, emailing, texting and trying to keep up. We should all pause, slow down and take a look around us this weekend. And next week. And the week after that…

Best wishes and thanks for visiting!

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