I’m ready to sell my cottage but live in the GTA. Given open houses are off the table, I would like to have a brokerage near the cottage conduct private showings, and handle the sale as needed, but I don’t really know any real estate salespersons in that area. Can my local salesperson recommend a brokerage near my cottage to list my property?

Last month, I shared some advice for buying or selling a cottage during the COVID-19 pandemic and reminded readers that the current ban on brokerages and salespersons hosting open houses remains in place across the province. Again, I remind all Toronto Star readers that the ban is an important precautionary measure put in place by the government of Ontario, in consultation with health officials, to protect everyone from virus transmission by physical distancing and preventing group gatherings. Thank you for giving this your careful consideration as you plan to bring your property to market.

As for your question about your GTA salesperson recommending a brokerage or salesperson local to your cottage, yes this can occur and is quite common. Salespeople do regularly ‘refer’ buyers and sellers to other salespersons within their professional network. Typically, the referring salesperson will receive a ‘referral’ fee for doing this, so your local salesperson will likely receive some form of compensation for this service or they may have an existing referral program. Typically, the referral fee is negotiated and paid directly between the salespersons’ brokerages, so there should be no upfront cost to you.

This can be an effective way for a buyer or seller to secure a salesperson to represent them for the reasons you’ve expressed or should a select set of expertise be required, that is to say, the sale of a property with dual residential and commercial zoning or farmlands.

Local salespersons can offer the value-added local knowledge you want when selling a cottage and it can be a ‘win-win’ for you. Since you trust your local salesperson, and based on their referral, you will benefit from the expertise of a local salesperson that handles cottage properties in that area as part of their regular business.

In your case, this sounds like what you want to consider given you are an ‘out-of-town’ seller, selling a cottage property. There are many special considerations surrounding cottage properties, like rights and access to roads or shorelines, the existence and condition of a septic system, and things like zoning, surveys, and access to municipal emergency services. In some cases, that local value-add benefit may provide you with a salesperson that is plugged-in to ‘local’ information like marinas, restaurants, and any upcoming developments that may impact property values in the area.

Best of luck with the sale, and I am confident that the salesperson you get will be able to assist you. Even though the marketing strategy will not include ‘live’ open houses, it can feature other alternative strategies like virtual and on-line promotion, and the salesperson can navigate the best way to handle the private viewings, while respecting the safety recommendations of provincial health authorities.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.


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Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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