Real estate agents as neighbourhood specialists to help buy and sell a home

by Todd Lewys

When you’re looking to buy a home or condominium in a specific neighbourhood, you can take either the shotgun or rifle approach.

Taking the shotgun approach entails hiring a REALTOR® who routinely sells city-wide to help you find a home in the area you desire to live in — say, Fort Garry or Wolseley.

Or, you can hire a Realtor who specializes in selling a certain neighbourhood or product.

And although all Realtors are knowledgeable about the local market, some — due to the time they’ve spent in learning the nuances and landscape of a neighbourhood or the condo market — can help both buyers and sellers focus in and achieve their goals in more efficient fashion.

One of those Realtors is Cole Castelane, who’s been helping people buy and sell homes in the Fort Garry/Wildwood area for 38 years.

“I was born and raised in the area (on Crane Avenue), and over the years, I fell in love with Fort Garry and Wildwood,” he said. “So when I got into real estate with my dad in 1977, I started banging on doors because back then, I didn’t have the gas money. Because I knew and loved the area, it was just natural to help people buy and sell homes there.”

Fellow Realtor Eric Neumann, who specializes in marketing homes in the Wolseley area, said his story is similar to Castelane’s.

“I’ve been in the business for seven years, but really started to focus on Wolseley four or five years ago,” he said. “I just fell in love with the older homes there — the architecture, interior designs, their overall character.

“Eventually, I bought a home there, and now, I can use my knowledge of the homes and neighbourhood to connect with fellow Wolseley lovers to help them find a home, or help them market their home properly,” he added.

Realtor Ken Clark, who specializes in condo sales, said his background in concrete construction literally paved the way for a career in selling condominiums.

 “With my background, I had good insight into how buildings were put together,” he recalled. “So in the late 1980’s, the developers I was involved with as a consultant thought it was natural for me to use that knowledge to sell them.

“From there, I eventually got involved with two big developers and got involved in all aspects of the business from sales, to marketing to design. That’s been my focus for over 25 years.”

In turn, both buyers and sellers can rely on specialists such as Castelane, Neumann and Clark to help them find the right home, or market their current home so it sells quickly, and for a tidy profit.

“I think it makes sense,” Neumann said. “I live in Wolseley. I walk my dog there, volunteer in the community. Because I love the area, I take an interest in learning more about the homes.

“I’m familiar with little nuances like knob-and-tube wiring or galvanized plumbing, and have developed a network of contractors and architects who can help people maintain and renovate their homes.”

Castelane agreed.

“Today, I live on South Drive, and I’m constantly going through the area,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve sold about 2,800 homes in Fort Garry and Wildwood, 20 of those homes four times each.

“I know the area — the great biking trails along the river, how the communities are nestled between two golf courses (Wildwood and Crescent Drive) — and the history of many of the homes. I can tell you about the homes, and the people I’ve helped in buying or selling a home.”

Likewise, Clark added that he uses his extensive experience to guide clients to the right condo, or to help them sell theirs as quickly as possible.

“It’s my job to help people understand what they’re getting into,” he said. “In resale buildings, I do a demographic study to help buyers pick a building with a group of people they fit in with in terms of lifestyle and the condo board they’ll be dealing with. The process takes a bit longer, but it’s worth the time because it helps make sure we’re going in the right direction so people are happy in the long run.”

If you’re in the market for a home or condo in a specific area, consider hiring a Realtor who specializes in that area. Their experience will be invaluable in helping you find the right home or to sell your home quickly in today’s ultra-competitive housing market.