How to buy a cool, architecturally interesting home in Essex County
Here are our top tips and strategies for discovering unique, architecturally interesting homes in Essex County amid a sea of mediocre listings.
1. Share Your Preferences Openly:
Don’t hesitate to share the details of your ideal home with everyone you talk to. Keeping your preferences a secret may prevent you from connecting with potential sellers who may know of suitable properties.
2. Leverage Off-Market Opportunities with a Skilled Agent:
Work with a real estate agent experienced in handling off-market opportunities. They can effectively approach off-market sellers, increasing your chances of success, especially when dealing with homeowners who may be skittish about letting go of something they’ve owned and maintained for many years.
3. Consider Direct Mail Campaigns:
We’ve all seen those photocopied letters circulating asking homeowners to sell their houses off-market, and surprisingly, they CAN work — that’s why people send them. Bear in mind that an agent with a trustworthy name, using their recognizable branding, will have higher response rates than you sending a generic letter.
4. Don’t Disregard “Bad” Listings:
Architecturally attractive homes may be represented by ‘old-school’ agents with less appealing marketing. Savvy buyers should recognize the opportunity in un-staged listings with less polished images, as they often sell for lower prices. Book showings for properties that catch your interest, even if their initial presentation is not visually appealing.
5. Expand your Online Search Beyond Realtor.ca:
Explore online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Reddit, and local neighbourhood pages/groups for homeowners selling their properties directly. If you can look past the cringe-y grammatical errors, these properties are frequently incorrectly priced and can be hidden gems worth investigating.
6. Connect with Historical Preservation Organizations:
Engage with local historic preservation organizations like the ACO to learn about potential sellers and gain insights into the terminology and neighbourhoods associated with the type of home you seek. If you’re looking for a Mid-century Modern ranch, you’re more likely to find one in a suburb like South Windsor. Whereas Craftsman-style bungalows are more prevalent in Walkerville and Olde Riverside.
7. Network with Architects and Municipal Employees:
Attend public meetings and workshops organized by the municipality. Visit studio open houses and follow architects on social media and LinkedIn. Volunteer for local initiatives and visit municipal offices. But, be mindful of respecting professionals’ time and focus on building relationships rather than seeking immediate benefits.
8. Become a Local Regular:
Frequent cafes, bars, bookstores, and retail stores in the neighbourhoods you’re interested in. Engaging in conversations with locals can uncover potential opportunities through word-of-mouth.
9. Attend Open Houses with Similar Aesthetics:
Visit public open houses that align with the architectural aesthetics you’re looking for (just be honest if an agent already represents you). Even if you aren’t interested in a specific listing, attending open houses can provide valuable insights and potentially lead to information about similar off-market properties.
10. Collaborate with a Creative Real Estate Agency like BCL:
Want to spend less of your free time turning over rocks in the real estate world? Luckily for our clients, this is our passion! We’ve spent the last decade becoming experts in architectural properties with our ever-growing local network of business owners, municipal employees, librarians, architectural preservation organizations and like-minded homeowners. We’ve already done a lot of the hard work for you!
Finding a home of interest is just one important part of the home-buying process. Click here to learn more about working with us.