The first thing Sarah Baikie has to do when she is selling a house, is to sell Campbell River.
“People come from the Mainland over here, and they are shopping up and down the Island, you have to talk with them about what Campbell River has to offer,” she said.
Fortunately it is an easy task. Baikie absolutely loves Campbell River.
She sells the ocean, access to the islands, the mountains and the lakes. She sells the amenities and community facilities, to which she has lots of exposure because she has two elementary aged school children. The new hospital is a fantastic draw card and, according to Baikie, Campbell River has the best value on the Island.
“For the same house it costs less, our land is cheaper, our houses are cheaper, it’s all relative,” she said.
At the moment the average price to buy a house in Campbell River is $360,000. The further down-Island you go, the higher the price. Baikie said the average in the Comox Valley is $420,000 and once you get to Qualicum and Parksville that goes up to $460,000.
Baikie is a realtor with Re/Max Check Realty. Soon she will be celebrating her 10-year anniversary selling houses in Campbell River. She got into the business right before the market crash in 2008. She said it was four and a half years after that before the market picked up again, and during that time she was often paying to be a realtor at the end of the month instead of making money. But she took it in stride, learning that the key to being successful is to treat clients like gold. During that time she also fostered relationships with developers in town and has been listing homes for them and helping clients pick out floor plans ever since.
In that way she has her hands in the growth and development of the city.
“I don’t want to do the same house plan over and over again,” she said.
Though Baikie advertises and makes sure her website is easy to find, attractive and easy to use, she relies on satisfied clients recommending her.
She works hard for those recommendations. She treats her clients like family, meeting face to face as often as possible instead of talking via email. She also believes that both the buying and selling process should be as painless as possible, a good experience.
“My theory is I don’t go to them with a problem, I go to them with a solution,” she said.
Depsite the ups and downs of the market, Baikie has stuck with the job.
“I adore every moment of it because I love new challenges and everyday I learn a new thing, every day,” she said.
Not only that, Baikie feels she is in a good place because of her relationships with contractors. She said that she, and every other realtor on the Island, is at critically low inventory, not very many houses are going on the market and there is an unending demand. So she and her contractor friends are building houses as fast as they can.
She is also optimistic that the bubble won’t burst. Originally from Australia, Baikie said that during the downturn there, her family, which is also involved in realty, didn’t see much of a housing market downturn. Foreign investors were coming in and buying properties and locals were selling for large amounts of money and moving to more rural locations. Baikie sees the same thing happening here and she doesn’t think it will slow down anytime soon.
Which is good for Baikie, because she is high energy and the busier she is, the happier she is.
As well as raising a family, Baikie sits on the promotional committee at Re/Max. All of the realtors contribute money every year and the committee uses it to fund community projects and sponsor athletes.
“The more balls I’m juggling in a given moment or a given day, the happier I am,” she said. “Just throw another one at me. I’ll take it.”