Kitchener, Ontario

Why It’s Best to Use a Local Agent

You have an agent you like and trust, but what happens if you decide to move to a new city or locale outside of that agent’s area? Do you stick with the person you know or find someone local to where you want to go?

There are certainly pros and cons to both options. I mean, a house is a house, right?

By the title of this post, you know which option I favour. So, let’s get into why.

Yes, a house is a house from a physical structure point of view. But there are many other factors that go into buying a home that a local agent has an advantage over. Let’s look at some of the main ones:

  1. Market conditions. Not all housing markets are the same, especially in today’s pandemic. Local conditions play a major role in the housing market and a local Realtor® will be aware of all the influencing factors to ensure you are getting the best value. While the bigger markets tend to get the focus in the media, what’s happening in Toronto isn’t necessarily what’s happening in smaller markets. To that point, I believe non-local agents have contributed to rising prices in our local market simply because they have been “acting” as if they are competing in their own market. And we are seeing this rippling out to even smaller communities with the same effect.

  2. Lifestyle/vibe. Unless you know the area you are moving to, finding a neighbourhood to suit your lifestyle is something only a local agent can help with. They’ll have intimate knowledge of up-and-coming neighbourhoods, ones that are transitioning, areas that are good for children, where the best schools are, etc. Our Kitchener downtown core, for example, is going through a massive revitalization that wasn’t there just a few short years ago. It’s now the place to be!

  3. Environment/geography. A house is a house, right? But what if that house is in a flood-prone area or near an old landfill? Knowing that a house might flood or have mold damage is critical information you may not know to look for if you’re not familiar with the area. As is the potential for contamination or methane exposure from an old landfill. Consider homes along the Nith River that experience flooding every spring. Only a local agent knows which homes are most susceptible, and if you are buying a home in the driest part of summer, you or your out-of-town agent may never know to inquire.

  4. Local by-laws. Knowing what you can and cannot do with a property is important such as building an addition, having a fire pit, a chicken coop or parking on the street. Some cities or communities may have an obscure by-law that prevents you from doing what you want and you don’t want to find this out after the fact. Again, a local agent can alert you to this whereas an outside agent may not even think to ask. One good example in my own area, is that one part of the city allows on-street overnight parking and another forbids it.  And if you live near our hospital – as a homeowner you receive a parking permit for street parking, otherwise you will be fined. If you are moving to these areas, you need to know these by-laws.

  5. Connections. Finally, when you move to a new and unfamiliar area, having someone local to show you around and connect you to the right people is extremely helpful. Need a good electrician or handyperson (I’ve got the perfect one!)? Looking for the best day care or dentist? A local agent will have the connections to get you settled into your new home. My favourite requests are when a client asks me who my hairdresser is, or who I recommend to have a room painted, or even what churches are in the area.

When clients of mine are looking to buy out of my geographic area I will refer them to a local agent to ensure they find the right home within the right community. I will interview a number of agents and go through a vetting process to ensure I find the agent that fits best. After all, I want them to have an outstanding experience!

Interested in Waterloo Region? Call me today!

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