The Personal Touch in a Digital Age
The Internet is a truly marvellous creature. It has opened us up to a whole wide world—one that we can explore with a touch of a finger on a mobile device, from anywhere at any time. As a result, we have experienced a paradigm shift in how we conduct our business, socialize with family and friends, and do our research. Even young children are comfortable pecking out messages or creating photo galleries and amateur videos.
Realtor Paul Crammond has noticed the effects among his clientele. “I really welcome the chance to work with an informed consumer,” he comments. “They can do their homework online —checking listings, nearby amenities, and lake characteristics—and choosing which realtors to interview.” Would be cottage buyers can even go a step further than that. “You can survey the MLS descriptions, do your own searches, and set up your own viewings online if you want to,” he says. But are you sure that you want to?
A Question of Balance
Paul cautions against exclusive reliance on digital tools when making big decisions: decisions like purchasing a cottage in Muskoka. Akin to the focus on a healthy work/life balance, our new digital tools also need to be complemented by hands-on
experience to achieve the best outcomes. “A trusted agent plays an important role in realty transactions,” Paul explains. “It’s really in your best interests.”
A local realtor understands the bylaws and issues regarding septic systems and wells, terrain and access routes, and neighbourhood cultures. It can be complicated. For instance, if you are looking to buy a cottage on the Muskoka lakes, there are four separate municipalities with differing bylaws to consider. This influences what you can do with boathouses, docks, property setbacks, bunkies, and expansion. “If you’re planning to have two or three generations sharing the property, you’ll likely need multiple buildings, and the local bylaws can impact that,” he points out.
Paul has witnessed some unfortunate consequences for do-it-yourself buyers who were unaware of municipal restrictions, and he likens it to the self-diagnoses that the medical community encounters. “If you have a health issue, the Internet can be a wonderful place to start educating yourself about it,” he says. “But you may be misled by a great deal of misinformation and could draw erroneous conclusions about your condition if you don’t consult a professional as well.”
A trusted realtor brings an objective point of view to the properties that are shown, indicating the positive and negative features and relating them to each client’s particular needs, both short- and long-term. A professional who is familiar with the area can tell you about the amenities that work with your particular lifestyle—proximity to golf clubs, for instance, or the type of traffic on a lake. Their years of experience give them insider knowledge about the region that a newcomer can’t find online.
A History of Trust
Paul gives an example of the strong relationship that can develop between a client and a realtor. Sixteen years ago, he
represented a family with young children who wanted to buy a Muskoka cottage. Paul found a new build on Lake Joseph, with four bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms, which suited their needs of the time.
The deal was finalized and the family acquired the cottage. But their contact with Paul didn’t end there. He continued to help guide them as the children grew and their activities evolved. The kiddie toys gave way to a sports court, gym, and sauna. A two storey boathouse with two bedrooms and a sitting room was built, and a guest wing was added to the main cottage to accommodate the friends of their teenaged children.
And now time has played its hand again. The children have grown up, and their parents would like to spend their summers travelling. They made the decision to sell the cottage, which has now expanded to include seven bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms. And who better to represent them than the man who sold it to them? “Even though I have a 16-year relationship with these people,” Paul says, “I don’t rest on my laurels. It’s my responsibility to carry out my job in a professional way and do the best I can for them.”
Obviously, Paul is very familiar withthis property, in terms of its structure, amenities, history, privacy, and locale. “It is on the north side of the lake,” he says, “which is the least busy part of Lake Joseph, and I know where to focus my marketing efforts.”
Paul’s passion for the property—and, indeed, for every property that he chooses to represent —brings insight and expertise to the process. CCH
Photos: Robert Nelson
Paul Crammond, M.B.A.
Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage
110 Medora Street, Box 444
Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0