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5 things to consider when choosing a real estate agent in cottage country

Blog by Susan Brown | May 28th, 2017

Just as no two properties are alike, so too is it true that no two locations are alike. And while it may seem easier to work with the agent who looked after your urban property purchase, there are important things to consider when choosing an agent for a real estate transaction in cottage country.


Consider the following important things before you choose an agent in cottage country.

Waterfront Properties Have Specific Issues:

You Need an Agent with Specific Knowledge

Having a home close to the water can often provide building and maintenance challenges. A waterfront property means winter ice build up and the potential for spring flooding, both of which can cause structural concerns for your home, boathouse, and outbuildings.

An experienced local agent will be well versed in those seasonal concerns and will be on the look out for potential property snares. A good local agent will also insist on a full and detailed property inspection to determine the current state of the home and whether any past issues have been dealt with appropriately.


Professional Conduct Matters:

You Need an Agent with Integrity

Do you know that many real estate transactions in cottage country can end up in legal straights? Property issues can be complicated in rural areas and a wise consumer would be prudent to ask a an agent they are considering working with: “Have you ever been involved in any lawsuits?”

Check in with the Professional Standards Committee at the local real estate board to see if any complaints have been filed. You want to know you are working with an honest and trustworthy agent. Better yet, do some research and find an agent who has served on the Professional Standards Committee; it is a position that needs an invitation and the appointment speaks volumes for an agent’s integrity.
“I believe that trust and respect are earned—having those is the way to have repeat business and referrals, but it’s also just a great way to live life.” —Susan Brown, Chestnut Park Real Estate Agent, Huntsville, Ontario



Cottage Country Has it’s Own Vibe:
You Need an Agent Who Lives the Lifestyle

Different lakes have different personalities. It may sound odd, but what happens when your teenagers adore jet skis, tubing, and wake boarding, and you’ve chosen the one lake for miles that treasures its unwritten rule of no motorized water craft? A cottage country agent will know the personality of the lakes and will ensure you avoid any dreaded mistakes.

It is easy to know where to buy provisions in the summer or how to access your cottage when the roads are clear, but a savvy local agent will know which stores and services remain open in the off-season and if your private-access road can be ploughed in the dead of winter. Knowing these details can greatly affect your enjoyment of your cottage country property.



Ready to Purchase in Cottage Country?
You Need An Agent with High Standards

Does the agent you are considering have any supplementary real estate accreditations? Why not look for an agent who has gone the extra mile in training and professional development, so your real estate experience is a highly skilled one. Designations like the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) or a Certificate in Negotiation training can be extremely valuable.

Talented local agents will also have a dependable local professional network to call upon, such as a trusted real estate lawyer. Find an agent who has solid relationships with people they have done business with for years. Issues like securing clear access and title will be a speciality and they will be primed to look out for any irregularities in that area.



Cottage Country Purchases are a long term investment:
You Need an Agent with Experience

It is wise to choose an agent who has weathered several cycles of the real estate market. These seasoned agents provide a wealth of knowledge that can’t be achieved overnight. Newer-to-the-business agents can also be great, but make sure they are with an established brokerage or that they are under the wing of a reputable mentor—someone who can offer guidance should any issues arise.

With inside knowledge of regional issues and county concerns, a good local agent will also know your surrounding community. A confident agent will provide references and suggest you chat with the neighbours. Find out if your agent has remained on friendly terms with past clients, if they have become a valued and trusted friend to your cottage country neighbours. Sustaining relationships with past clients is an excellent indication of how well a real estate transaction went.