Tips For Buyers & Sellers

5 Reasons To Work With A Local REALTOR®

For my first blog post, I wanted to write about something ‘unique’. I struggled for quite some time to figure out what that was, remaining committed to the idea of writing about something that will benefit my existing and future clients, and more generally anyone with an interest in real estate living in the area.

Many local REALTORS® that dabble in blogging tend to focus on topics like market updates, and community events (which is totally fine!). However, this type of information is available from countless sources across the web, which — in my humble opinion — makes it less valuable to prospective buyers and sellers looking to make a move in the local real estate market.

Relocating to Flesherton from Owen Sound nearly 8 years ago, I’ve witnessed firsthand the dramatic changes that have taken place in our local market, and throughout Grey and Bruce. What once encompassed a collection of sleepy, quaint towns and villages untouched by modern developments, our region is now one of the busiest and most competitive markets in the province. The beauty of our area, compounded by the influence of COVID-19 on remote working, has greatly accelerated this trend over the past 2 years — look no further than the average selling price of residential properties across Grey and Bruce. What was originally a gradual upward trend between 2015 and 2019, the average price of homes across Grey and Bruce has climbed rapidly since the onset of COVID. 

As a relatively new local REALTOR®, rapidly gaining experience in a fast-paced and exciting market, it didn’t take long for me to realize that being a member of the community I serve offers considerable benefit to my clients. We’ve all noticed the increasing number of “For Sale” signs from out-of-territory real estate brokerages and realtors, many whose offices are 1.5 to 2 hours driving distance away (more on that subject below).

Now, I realize A LOT of thought goes into deciding who you’d like to sell your home or property with. It’s a very personal decision, and I completely respect that. That said, in the ever-growing number of dealings I have with out-of-market agents, I’ve found some consistencies. 

SO… without further ado, let’s get to it!

Reason #1: Accessibility and Responsiveness

Picture this: 

You’ve recently made the decision to put your Grey County home up for sale; in hopes of attracting a buyer from the city with deep pockets, you made the decision to list your largest asset with a REALTOR® from the Toronto area (eek). The ‘For Sale’ sign is firmly planted on your front lawn where it’s guaranteed to grab the attention of passerbyers. 

On the first day, an interested party drives past, sees the sign and pulls over. They call the (city agent) phone number on the sign — they’re motivated, and eager to buy! They want to book a showing on your property YESTERDAY. The agent picks up the phone, and informs the caller that they won’t be able to make that appointment happen; it’s already 2PM, and they have a showing confirmed on another property in the city at 4PM — there’s just no way they can make the 2 hour drive North for the showing, and return to the city in time to show their client through the apartment they’re interested in renting. To make matters worse, they have a full day of showings booked the following day. WOMP WOMP.

The Reality

This may sound a little dramatic, but this actually happened to me recently. A woman from the Blue Mountains area was interested in purchasing a home here in Grey Highlands. On a chilly January morning, a home hit the market that was almost perfect! Not yet working with a REALTOR® from the area, she contacted the listing agent to request that they show her the property that afternoon, and… well, you get the drift. Fortunately, she reached out to me later that day and we were able to book her a showing for the very next day. After all, travel wasn’t a factor the property was less than 5 minutes away from my office!

In today’s real estate market, things move quickly. As a seller, you want your REALTOR® to represent you as effectively as possible, selling your home quickly while getting you top dollar. As a buyer, you (should) expect that when you reach out directly to the listing agent of a home or property, they’ll be able to accommodate your request to view the property within a reasonable amount of time, and negotiate successfully on your behalf. By working with a local REALTOR® to buy real estate or sell your home or property, you can feel confident that she will be highly accessible, accommodating of your needs and schedule, and respond to your requests in a timely manner.

Reason #2: Knowledge of Rural Living

This one is important. Again, not to throw shade at the agents from larger cities, but this is a topic that has come up in 2 negotiations recently where I was representing the buyer, the seller having listed their home with a brokerage in the GTA.

In Flesherton, just like any rural property beyond the boundary lines of towns similar in size or larger than Markdale, we do not have municipal water. We have wells, which can be dug (less common) or drilled. If you’re reading this and you don’t have a clue what that means, no, we do not all have the old-school pitcher-style pumps you’d see outside the front door of century-old farmhouses, requiring us to venture outside in our pyjamas in the middle of January to literally pump water by hand in order to fill buckets so we can have a bath.

All joking aside, rural water and its associated equipment is quite different from public water systems found in cities and larger towns. Being familiar with well types, submersible well pumps, pressure tanks, softener systems, etc. is essential when buying a rural home or property. By hiring a local REALTOR®, you can rest easy knowing that to them this stuff isn’t completely unfamiliar.

Don’t forget about other utilities and appliances that are more common in rural markets:

  • That old fireplace in the home you’re interested in buying is totally awesome to look at, but has it passed, or will it pass a WETT inspection? There aren’t many wood-burning appliances in city homes. Here in Grey and Bruce they’re very common, and local realtors can help you understand what’s required to operate a wood fireplace or furnace safely (and legally)
  • Propane that smelly stuff in the white metal tanks, maybe under your BBQ at the cottage, or if you live in the country, maybe the fuel that’s used to heat your entire home. Thousands of properties across Grey and Bruce use propane as a primary fuel source. A local real estate professional can help answer any questions you might have about propane, and if unsure, point you toward a local certified gas technician that would be happy to have your business
  • Solar energy is becoming increasingly common in our region. Understanding the benefits and potential drawbacks of buying a home with a solar energy system is crucial to making an informed decision

Reason #3: We Care About Our Community

Community is a huge part of small town living. Though to some the idea of walking through the hardware store on a Saturday morning, knowing the cashier by name, and running into an old friend and striking up a 10 minute conversation may sound like a scene from a sitcom, in small towns like Flesherton, Markdale, and Durham, this happens more than you’d expect!

If you’re looking to buy real estate in the area and solicit the assistance of a real estate professional, a local REALTOR® will automatically treat you with the same respect and kindness they extend to their neighbours. After all, if you move ahead and purchase a home here, you become a member of our community. We (people throughout Grey and Bruce) care a great deal about what’s happening in our local communities and the individuals and families that live here. As local realtors, we are always eager to show potential buyers what this amazing area has to offer, and that starts with offering personalized smalltown service. 

Reason #4: Local REALTOR® Network

Here’s a scenario: You’re almost ready to sell, but it turns out that a portion of your roof needs to be replaced. Sure, you could sell your home in its current condition, leaving the roof untouched, but you feel that in order to attract serious offers quickly, you should make the necessary repairs before listing. Fortunately, the local REALTOR® you’ve hired to help you with the sale of your home has an extensive list of trusted, local contractors including roofers. She’s able to make a timely referral, and before you know it, your house is ready to hit the market.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients that have decided to make Grey Highlands their new home. When showing them properties, questions often arise about making improvements or updates to the home or property kitchen or bathroom renovations, driveway paving, you name it. Not being from the area, they’re unsure where to turn and who to trust to perform the job to their satisfaction. 

A local REALTOR® has a large network of local contractors that are just a phone call away. We can confidently recommend someone to get the job done, so that you can focus on big picture things, like drinking margaritas or an ice cold brew on your new deck while the sun shines down on a hot summer’s afternoon 😉

Reason #5: Demand From Local Buyers

Though there’s no denying the fact that many families are buying real estate in our region in exchange for the hustle and bustle of the city life, there is huge demand locally from first-time and seasoned buyers alike for quality real estate. With supply levels at an all-time low, things have become unprecedentedly competitive in our little corner of the world. 

Many aspiring buyers in this area have secured representation from a local REALTOR® (woohoo!) to keep them informed when new listings that meet their criteria hit the market.  

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Every real estate brokerage, and each realtor, is part of a “real estate board” which oversees real estate listings within a specified geographic region. In some cases, a brokerage may be a member of more than one real estate board, but for the most part, the office has membership with the board in which their physical office resides. In my case, I’m a member of RAGBOS (REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound) and TRREB (Toronto Regional Real Estate Board).

If you choose to list your home or property with a REALTOR® that is not a member of RAGBOS (our local real estate association), fellow local real estate professionals that are working hard to find local buyers a home will not see the listing “go live” on our dashboards. 

Why is that an issue?

Well, if you’ve listed your home with a city-based agent, oftentimes they do not interboard the listing meaning that your home is not placed on the local real estate board, only the board that the city agent’s brokerage is a member of.

So… unless we local real estate agents are making a point of touring every map-dot village and town, and backroad in the area on a daily basis, we aren’t likely going to see your listing right away. In a seller’s market, that’s a concern! Of course, this situation can be overcome by those agents, like myself, with a bit of extra diligence and effort. has become one of my best friends specifically for this reason. On average I check my local board every 45 minutes to ensure I find new properties as soon as they hit the market; like many local real estate agents, I have client’s that are actively searching and keen to find their perfect home. But, if you’re listed with an out of town agent who doesn’t interboard their listings, your listing will not show up when I perform my search on, or when I check my local real estate board for fresh listings. Bummer.


Choosing a REALTOR® to buy or sell your home with is not an easy task. There are many factors to consider: experience, personality compatibility, work ethic, and so on. 

Hopefully, after reading this post, you’re also aware of the benefits of working with a local real estate agent, versus a professional that’s from a market other than our own.