Welcome to Meet the Agent, an ongoing series profiling real estate agents from across Canada. With more than 150,000 agents, brokers, and salespeople working in 75 different boards and associations across the country, we thought it was about time they had a place to properly introduce themselves. If you or someone you know deserves the same chance, email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Name: Kelly Fallis
Brokerage: Chestnut Park Real Estate
Personal website: lakemuskokarealtor.com
Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram
Years of agent experience: 6 years
Areas of focus: South Muskoka (Bracebridge/Gravenhurst/Port Carling/Bala/Baysville/Mactier/Port Sandfield/Minett/Rosseau) + Lake Muskoka islands.
Where did you grow up?
The tiny town of Durham, ON (north of Guelph, south of Owen Sound, west of Beaver Valley).
What neighbourhood do you live in now?
Gravenhurst, Muskoka in winter; island on Lake Muskoka in summer.
What made you want to become a real estate agent?
It allows me to utilize all skill sets from my past careers – finance, investments, sales, trading, staging, renovation, design, e-commerce, furnishings, fulfillment and procurement, logistics, data, and digital marketing. My husband and I started our company, RS Muskoka in 2015, building and renovating waterfront cottages on Lake Muskoka. Becoming a realtor was a natural extension and a long-time goal. I am passionate about Muskoka — as a lifelong cottager, now turned resident — and helping others enjoy the same family experience I have been so lucky to have had, is incredible. Real estate is now my 24/7.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?
Inventory! COVID introduced eyeballs to Muskoka. It’s close to major cities like Toronto, but also a place many return to from abroad. However, there is only so much room on each lake, and vacant lakefront properties are almost impossible to find. Many lots were bought by grandparents and passed down, so the land is long paid off. During COVID, prices went to a whole new level, but ‘pricing for the stars’ has mostly burned off and values are holding. Generally, properties only come to market due to aging out (particularly off islands) or 'family drama.'
What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?Forget what your neighbour or friend sold for! There are no two cottages alike; every property has different aspects (landscape, location, ease of access, services available). I’m deep into spreadsheets constantly, but comparing one 4-bed cottage to another is ridiculous. ‘Comparables’ are, by far, the most difficult thing to come by in cottage country. The days of bidding wars driving the price up and places selling in one day are gone. Pricing correctly is crucial in order to get eyes on your property and bodies through the door. The more realistic you are, the better your odds.
What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?
I will be the first to tell you, I only trade in Muskoka. It’s what I know best. Realtors who sell all over Ontario can't be doing you the best service. Gravenhurst alone has 46 lakes. Being 'all things to all people' does no one any good. One of my sellers wrote, “Kelly's knowledge of Muskoka is borderline insane.” I focus on south Muskoka. I tell my buyers I’m likely to unsell them 10 places before I sell them one, it’s not about me it’s about their legacies. I also walk the talk.
What’s the best thing a realtor can invest in for their brand (a bus bench ad, a solid Instagram strategy, etc.)?
Themselves! I think social media is critical. But I also think it's really important to stay in touch with the people you've worked with in the past, and the people you're currently working with. Make sure that you're communicating with them and that you're not just sending them any listings or telling them about how great you are, but you're actually offering them some value about: what's going on in the market, what strategies they might deploy for selling, what they should be looking for nearby, and the pitfalls to watch for.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
I'm fascinated by the Muskoka cottage market “players” and how this group operates. I’m grateful to be among their company, and I value every relationship as 'it takes a village'! Some have been at this a very long time and others, like myself, are newer. With so much change – from technology to real estate rules, and COVID forever changing how business is done, I'm so grateful to be able to contact any of them and know I’ll get solid ‘been there done that’ solution-style advice. It’s a like a little big family.
Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?I think what realtors actually do for clients is often very underplayed and misunderstood. It is like the duck gliding along with its feet going crazy underwater. From the moment you agree to work with a realtor, whether selling or buying, you become their daily 'to-do list'. And we are always available, whether it's for counselling when a sale falls through, or for advice on local bylaws or handymen. Our job is to wear so many different hats, and get the deal done at the same time.
Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.
There have been many, but the most fun ones are the ones you don’t think have a hope in hell of going anywhere. It’s usually a lowball opener to get parties on paper, and a move or two so things really amp up. Of course, it’s always after-hours, late night, and there's a pile of twists and turns — and inevitably tech fails, so it just adds to the crazy.
What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?
Efficient. Tireless. Knowledgeable.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?
This interview may have been edited for both length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of STOREYS.
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