Since opening our doors in 1978 we have seen first hand how the real estate industry has changed and grown. Over the past 40 years Whistler has expanded, properties have been built and taken down, and technology has advanced at an ever-increasing pace.
As we continue our WREC at 40 series, we take a look at how real estate in Whistler has developed.
An expanding client base
In the early days of the resort, the majority of people coming to live in Whistler were from the surrounding region. While this is largely still the case, with the majority of buyers located in the lower mainland, Whistler now sees visitors from all over the world.
With the increasing ease of travel and awareness of destinations such as Whistler, we now deal with clients from every continent. This expanding interest has also meant that what was formerly a very small mountain town, has developed into a much larger resort getaway.
In the past, real estate agents found themselves cold-calling, knocking on doors, and answering enquiries over the phone. They were by far the most valuable source of information when it came to buying a property.
Clients would look to Realtors for information about neighbourhoods, property types, square footage, and budget. With the arrival of the Internet and the digital age everyone is an “expert” in every field!
Information about the market, current trends, prices, budget, and more, is readily available for those looking to find it. This is by far the biggest change in the industry as clients now have access to the majority of information that used to set real estate agents apart.
This has meant that our role as agents has also changed. What was once the position of a salesperson is now a personal advisor and risk manager, providing insight and assistance at every stage of the transaction.
With information more readily available and business operating a faster speeds, the process has actually become more complicated and there is more risk involved. It can also become a situation of too much information and too many opinions, which can often create confusion in the process.
When we first began business, marketing was done primarily through print media, networking, and calling. As Whistler still remains a smaller market in the grand scheme of things, print media is still a useful tool. However, as with our industry as a whole, the Internet has become the biggest asset.
From Realtor websites, to the MLS and now social media, the Internet provides a platform to market properties to almost everyone in the world. Targeted campaigns can pinpoint specific audiences and analytics provide useful insights for clients into the effectiveness of our work.
Even more than ever Realtors are accountable for their work and must create stand-out campaigns for each property. As the market saturates the agent’s task becomes more difficult and it takes a lot of hard work to make it within the industry.
Completing real estate transactions
While technology has changed the role of the Realtor, provided more tools, and in some cases made the job harder, that is not the case when it comes to completing a transaction.
Gone are the days of multi-sheet templates separated by carbon paper! Documents can now be signed digitally and there is no need for faxing of huge contracts. In the early days of the resort, negotiating required significant travel to and from Vancouver, whereas now it is conducted via phone and email.
One change we are seeing more and more is the increased use of text communication and video calls. Properties can be shown via video, terms negotiated via text, and documents signed online – all without the client even needing to leave the house!
It is safe to say that the industry has changed a lot, but we are still here and our goals remain the same. We are here to show you why Whistler is such an amazing place, and to assist you with all of your real estate needs, and we will continue to do so for the next 40 years!