Do you remember riding the escalator in the middle of Woolworth’s in Collingwood? Today in its place, you’ll find the Admiral Building, which is home to a flagship LCBO along with other shops and services. In the 18 plus years that I’ve been practicing real estate, just about everything has changed.
Back then we typed offers using carbon paper for copies and white-out to make corrections. Our daily MLS® data came from paper spewed out from a little ticker-type box. We’d copy, cut and paste listings and pop them in the mail to be received a week or so later by our out-of-area clients.
Actually, we didn’t really have Buyer clients in those days. Our job was to almost always represent Sellers since Buyer Agency http://www.collingwood-bluemountain.com/yourAgent.htm was unheard of. Offers were usually presented in person as we drove hours to see people because faxed contracts were not yet legal. Few REALTORS® had computers let alone email, voice mail, cell phones or Blackberrys. Very few had assistants or home offices and the mandatory continuing education requirements of today didn’t exist.
Insurance companies didn’t worry about oil tanks or 60 amp electrical services as they do today. GST didn’t exist! Mortgage interest rates were double digits and everyone needed at least 10% down to buy a property. Privacy legislation hadn’t been introduced, grow houses didn’t exist and we didn’t yet have any idea of what a prolonged recession could actually do to real estate prices.
Eighteen years ago, Collingwood had not annexed part of Nottawasaga, Clearview Township didn’t exist and Meaford was just a town. Almost all condominiums in the area were in Cranberry Village and Lighthouse Point hadn’t been built. The Niagara Escarpment and the Conservation Authorities had a whole different set of rules and since then, every municipality has changed its Official Plans and zoning by-laws more than twice. There was no Village at Blue http://www.villageatblue.com
and the concept of luxury real estate was not even a notion in this area.
Today, the delivery of real estate information is as quick as the click of a mouse and listings or offers can be sent by email. Buyers can instantly search MLS® listings online (http://www.mls.ca) and homes for sale are often showcased with virtual tours. Real estate consumers are better protected than ever by changes in legislation and by improved education for REALTORS®. Interest rates are under 6% and you can buy a house with no money down. Choices abound with numerous opportunities to buy condominiums, single family homes or luxury custom homes in prestige neighbourhoods. There are land-lease and fractional ownership developments and, recreational investment options.
Today, South Georgian Bay is a different place. We can grab a coffee at Espresso Post or Starbucks and alternative libations at Zencha tea bar. We can golf on a world class course or spend a day at an exclusive spa. There are numerous exquisite choices for fine dining and blessedly, a choice of chocolate and candy shops. There are clubs for networking, learning and lectures, outstanding local theatre and a thriving arts community. You can get the inside scoop by reading local blogs ( http://blog.collingwood-bluemountain.com) and websites like mycollingwood.ca.
Is change a good thing? In the case of real estate and South Georgian Bay, I’d have to say a resounding yes. It’s been a helluva ride and I can’t help but wonder what the next eighteen years will bring.
Marg Scheben-Edey, Broker