After interviewing three different realtors, I decided to hire Stephen Taylor & Thelma Jarvis from Royal LePage, Lakes of Muskoka Realty to sell our family cottage. Their contacts and experience in the Muskoka Lakes market definitely played a role, but the most deciding factor was the speed at they which they were able to get the cottage listed on the market place.
At the initial interview with Stephen and Thelma, they presented a full color brochure of our cottage which was very impressive. No other realtor did this. Within two hours of signing the listing contract, we had the cottage staged, photos taken and the listing went live the following morning.
They were also very proactive in dealing with issues that could have jeopardized the sale of the cottage. For example, we had a fuel tank for the boats. Stephen brought in a specialist, with our approval, to look at the fuel tank and fuel line to recommend actions that were needed to bring the system up to code.
Without being asked, Stephen provided quick feedback from the families who viewed the cottage. I never had to prod Stephen for feedback or issues to improve the ‘salability’ of the cottage. Our family found them to be agreeable and a pleasant to work with.
We have worked with the Jarvis Group over the past year and can recommend them without hesitation as consummate professionals in Muskoka area real estate. Some key qualities which contribute to this assessment are as follows:
Local area knowledge is extensive and broad ranging: Whether it is regarding the history of a property, comparative values of listings past and present, the workings of septic and water systems, building rules in various districts, or simply the name and contact information of a local trade person, they possess an encyclopedic knowledge of Muskoka. If an answer was not immediately given it was supplied within 24 hours.
Continuous availability and follow up: We would describe ourselves as “high maintenance” clients. They responded to every call, e-mail and request promptly and with grace and humour. Thelma even sent us Muskoka “factoids” over the winter when there were no new listings to look at.
Focus on value: They ensured we were aware of the resale value implications of all the properties we saw and pointed out potential changes (positive or negative) which could impact value after the purchase. The value they added to our ultimate purchase far exceeded the fee they received.
Reality check: They kept us focused on the things that were most important to us and kept us grounded in the price range we were comfortable with. When we would react emotionally to a property, Thelma would gently but firmly present the facts until she was sure we were considering all of the salient factors.
Professionalism: Through the search, offer, negotiation and closing processes, their intimate knowledge of the legal, practical and relationship aspects of cottage country real estate was invaluable. Links to associated professionals (eg. Planners, Builders, Lawyers, ect.) were provided instantly as needed. We could never have done this on our own.
Passion: They not only sell Muskoka, they are passionate about the Muskoka lifestyle and love to introduce people to all aspects of it. That passion comes through in everything they do and makes the process of cottage hunting a joy.
Ultimately, Thelma helped us find the right property for now and for the future. Throughout our search, we always felt that they were genuinely more interested in finding us a property we would love than just selling us a cottage. We would not hesitate to work with them again and in fact, would never work with anyone else for real estate needs in the Muskoka region.
After an unsatisfactory experience with another realtor, I decided to hire Stephen Taylor & Thelma Jarvis from Royal LePage, Lakes of Muskoka Realty to sell my home/cottage on Lake Rosseau. The difference was immediately apparent as Steve and Thelma quickly developed high quality materials to market my property, advertised in both traditional and social media and took a proactive and creative approach to finding a buyer. Their knowledge of the Muskoka marketplace and the complexities of cottage country bylaws, waterfront usage rules and building requirements was invaluable.
After the property was listed, they were extremely conscientious about keeping me posted on all developments, both positive and negative and went beyond my expectations in terms of personal service and commitment to a sale. This translated into many more showings than the previous listing and ultimately, Steve brought a buyer to the table who was a perfect match for the unique qualities of my property. During negotiations, Steve worked with both sides to ensure we reached an agreement that was truly a win/win and allowed both parties to achieve their objectives. At one point, when it looked like the deal was in jeopardy, he was able to find a creative solution that satisfied all stakeholders.
After the sale was firm, Steve continued to provide service by ensuring all my questions were answered, that my lawyer had all the documentation he required to close the transaction and that the transfer to the new owners went smoothly. Throughout the entire process, I felt my best interests were being served and that I was getting straight, honest feedback about what needed to be done. I have already recommended Steve and Thelma to friends and family with real estate needs in Muskoka and will not hesitate to continue to do so in the future.
I have had the pleasure of working with Steve Taylor and Thelma Jarvis this summer. It was a wonderful experience for a first time buyer. They are very well versed in the real estate market. Steve goes out of his way to put his client’s needs first and kept me informed and explained each step of the process. He always had a big smile. I would highly recommend Steve and Thelma as an agents.
In August of 2010, we enlisted the services of Thelma Jarvis to help us sell our family home / business in Muskoka, and we are pleased to provide a well-deserved reference for Thelma.
From the beginning, Thelma walked into a difficult situation. Our property was an estate sale, with four siblings involved in making decisions. Since this had been our family home, it was often difficult for us to objectively discuss the sale of our place. Thelma handled those tender situations with grace and understanding, while at the same time striking a balance between being kind and proceeding with the job she needed to do.
Our property was unique in that it had both a business and a residential component. Thelma is very knowledgeable when it comes to selling cottages in Muskoka and we appreciated her advice. When we had questions that Thelma couldn’t answer, particularly regarding the business end of things, Thelma was more than willing to do the necessary research and come back to us with a prompt response. She has numerous professional contacts in the area who can answer her questions.
Our house was not a typical cottage, in that it had some very attractive qualities, such as hand-crafted stonework and a large log living room, but it was also being sold unfinished, in “as is” condition. We were pleased that Thelma looked beyond the unfinished part of the house and had a vision for what it could become. She had a positive and optimistic attitude, and a respect for the unique features that our father had built into the house. She was careful to show the best side of the property, both in her marketing brochures, in her communication with other realtors and with potential buyers. She also provided us with a wide variety of opinions and strong market information to help us decide on a price.
While Thelma was always very professional in her dealings with us, she also had a personal side that we appreciated. In particular, she was very patient with us. She was realistic about the extra time that was needed for communication and decision-making to happen among four siblings. She took the time to answer our many questions and work through the aspects of real estate with which we were unfamiliar. Thelma often provided examples from her previous experiences to help us in understanding a given concept. She also walked us through the terms of the offer in great detail. Thelma provided honest feedback and objective opinions, without pressuring us to decide a certain way.
During negotiations, Thelma skilfully represented our interests. She was wise in how she chose to present information to the other parties; she knew when to apply some pressure and when to hold back and give them some time and space.
Thelma remained in regular correspondence with us, both by phone and by email, over the course of the year. She kept us informed of showings that had taken place, and her updates kept us optimistic that the right person would come along. When there was time-sensitive, important information to pass along, Thelma persisted in trying to reach us. She consistently provided responses to our queries within 24 hours, and she was available to us when we needed to get in touch with her, including late in the evening and on weekends.
We were very pleased with our decision to have Thelma as our real estate agent, and would highly recommend her services to others. Thank you, Thelma!
John and Margaret Jamieson
I just wanted to drop you a line to Thank You for all the hard work you did on our behalf in our purchase of the Cottage at the Cliffs.
You certainly made the process of purchasing a Muskoka Cottage property an enjoyable event for us.
Although we were somewhat familiar with the area and surroundings, the additional information and knowledge you provided to us concerning my questions regarding building and zoning bylaws, the lot survey, boat dockage as well as specifics concerning the septic and drilled well on the property was extremely helpful.
You were always available to answer any of our questions, and if you did not have the answer, you always responded in a timely manner with all the answers.
Your knowledge of the Muskoka Lakes was also appreciated, as we have never owned a property on these big lakes before.
We felt very comfortable in dealing with you, as you always had our best interests in mind, and we especially appreciated you bringing to our attention some potential issues concerning the property which you recommended to be identified in our conditional offer to purchase. These recommendations, as it turned out, were paramount in bringing the deal to a successful completion.
Your insight into the current market circumstances in the Muskoka Cottage area made our “leap” to cottage purchase on the “Big Lakes” that much easier, once understanding the value position of the property.
I would certainly recommend your services to anyone we know who would be interested in exploring a Muskoka Property purchase.
Again, Thank You for all your work. You made our cottage purchase an enjoyable endeavor, and I feel we made some new Friends on Lake Rosseau!
Over the past month I have been working with Royal LePage real estate agent Thelma Jarvis. My first contact with Thelma was at a preliminary meeting in which she discussed the process whereby she would promote the sale of a cottage property. She outlined the methods she would use to advertise and show the property. She provided plans for photograph samples of how the property would be shown to advantage. She had prepared ahead of time several comparable listings from which a realistic listing price for our property could be established. She explained to us how location on the Muskoka Lakes influenced the property’s value.
Upon deciding to enlist Thelma’s services, she produced actual materials that were an excellent representation of the property’s assets. The online listing was clear and inviting. She anticipated the likely outcome of the sale and provided prospective buyers with a visualization of the property’s potential. Thelma is connected with other professionals in the area and through them could offer information and possibilities to us and to prospective buyers.
Thelma familiarized herself with our unique situation as sellers and made every attempt to accommodate our needs. From the day the property was listed to the day it was sold Thelma kept in regular contact with us informing us of showings, agents’ comments and the possibilities of offers. She was always accessible and returned phone calls promptly.
Thelma researched the particulars of our property and was extremely knowledgeable about the peculiarities of waterfront property regulations. When we were unable to provide her with necessary information she quickly found the source that could. She explained her findings to us in detail.
Upon receiving offers Thelma explained the details and advised us about an individual offer’s potential. Because as the seller I could not be onsite Thelma patiently walked me through the response process. Her assistance allowed me to confidently complete the paperwork. Her attention to detail enabled me to understand each step in the selling process. Through the negotiation process she gently guided but never pressured me to respond in a specific direction.
I have no reservations about highly recommending Thelma Jarvis’ real estate services. She always went the extra mile professionally and graciously. Her involvement in the sale of our property was extremely positive and made the entire process pleasant and ultimately successful.
Kate and Jeff
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thelma for the wonderful job she did for us in finding our new cottage. Unfamiliar with cottage country, any worries or concerns we had were immediately gone upon our first meeting. It was obvious that we were in good hands and that Thelma’s incredible knowledge and her resources would see us through our search. After viewing several properties and keeping up with area transactions, she found a property that was just perfect for our family – it had everything we had been looking for and we went ahead and purchased our first cottage. An exciting time punctuated with care and attention from Thelma who was readily available to answer every question big and small, no detail was overlooked. We took possession very quickly, but her care and attention didn’t stop there as she has been able to put us in contact with service providers and neighbours both to help us settle in and begin our new life as a cottage family. Working for Royal LePage ourselves, we still knew that we needed someone to represent our interests and Thelma went above and beyond our expectations. Thelma truly is a “realtor’s realtor”. Thank you!
As we sit on our dock on this incredible summer morning, we’re so appreciative of Thelma and all her efforts on our behalf to find a cottage that is perfect for our family. We would highly recommend her to family and friends, without any hesitation whatsoever. From the moment we first contacted Thelma, she was very helpful, sharing her insight about specific properties and the Muskoka real estate market in general. She really made the effort to understand what our cottage needs and desires were and throughout the process she regularly circled back to make sure that she was on the right track in terms of showing us properties that met our needs.
As we narrowed our search and focused on one cottage, before making an offer, Thelma encouraged us to speak and meet with contractors to help us get a better idea about the additional costs associated with the updating projects we had in mind. Preparing the offer she was very thorough helping us identify the conditions that we may want to include in the offer. Throughout the offer process she was in regular contact with us, letting us know how things were progressing. After our offer was accepted Thelma continued to help us by taking water samples in for testing and meeting with the surveyors when we couldn’t be there. Thelma really went out of her way to assist us from start to finish.
Being new to the Muskoka area, Thelma put us in touch with a wide range of service people including contractors, surveyors, the Municipal Planner, boat mechanics, home inspectors, lawyers and electricians. I won’t hesitate to call Thelma the next time I need someone. I’m absolutely confident that if she doesn’t have the contact I need, she’ll do her research and find one.
Hi Thelma, wanted to say a BIG thanks for all your help in getting our cottage sold so quickly this year. After dealing with you for just the last couple months I feel like we lost a whole year trying to sell it before…. but anyways, I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. From the moment I met you I felt so comfortable discussing everything, including that it was time to change our price to be more in line with the market after you presented several properties that were also priced too high and explained the current market. You are a very kind person and that certainly came across as we dealt with you over the last couple months.
I loved the package you put together on our cottage, which showed all the best aspects of it. The write up certainly was a great addition and I’m sure made potential new buyers just imagine themselves sitting on the dock
I was very impressed in how you assisted us and prepared all the information required so you were ready to present the cottage to any potential buyers eg: having the water tested for us since we couldn’t make it up there during the week, contacting contractors for minor upgrades in the cottage to make it more appealing to new buyers, talking to the planning dept. in Port Carling to better understand what could be done in the future etc.
Keeping us up to date on all the happenings was important to us and you certainly didn’t let us down, it was fantastic to hear from you either live or via email very frequently.
I believe the buyers were the first people you actually showed it to so I have to say your communication and negotiations skills are excellent and everything went so quick from that point to close a firm deal and including the house inspection within 4 days.
In closing I want to thank you very much for making what is a sad experience for me, with selling a cottage that we truly enjoyed for the last 13 years, a quick and pleasant experience.
I wish you and John all the best of luck in the future, both personal and in your real estate business.
Olga & Peter
It is with great pleasure that we write to recommend the real estate services of Thelma Jarvis! Despite the fact that we reside outside of Muskoka, the process of buying our cottage went very quickly and smoothly, mainly due to Thelma’s efforts. She listened to what we wanted and did not pressure us in any way. She offered excellent insight and advice based on her vast, valuable knowledge and experience.
This was a very important asset for us as buying a cottage brings with it numerous issues we were not adequately familiar with She is honest, professional, thorough, kind, very responsive and a great negotiator. She knows a muttitude of wonderful resources in the area that we were able to tap into which was invaluable. Thelma has also been so helpful in offering us reputable contacts for a variety of cottage projects we will be undertaking soon.
This has saved us an immense amount of time, research and follow up! Any one that buys or sells property in Muskoka with Thelma Jarvis can be assured a wonderful experience. We highly recommend her.
I LOVE the timelines document. It is really helpful, clear and straightforward. Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
Your website is an absolute must for anyone that is buying or building a cottage in Muskoka. It has been invaluable to us and our cottage construction project. Thank you.
Chris & Cathy
As we began the process of both selling our current cottage and purchasing a new one, we had the obvious concerns any buyer or seller would have about a realtor, the biggest of which was whether the realtor we selected would truly have our best interests in mind?
Thelma Jarvis far exceeded all of our expectations in what a realtor should be! She always seemed to be available for us. Her follow up on any issue, no matter how small, was tremendous. When we had questions she was either able to answer them immediately or was able to get the answers for us in a very timely fashion. Thelma really understood the Muskoka cottage market, whether it was with regards to a properties worth, the regulations within the various township’s, what we should be looking for in either selling or buying a property or who she would recommend we contact in Muskoka for professional services that we required. She was a true professional with nothing but the highest standards in all that she did!
But most importantly, Thelma took the time to understand what we were looking for in both selling our cottage and in purchasing a new place! Throughout the entire process, we did not once feel that Thelma did not have our best interests in mind! If we ever decide to do it all again, we would not hesitate to use Thelma again, or hesitate to recommend her to any potential buyer or seller!
In closing, we just would like to say thanks Thelma. You made a difficult journey a great experience!
Kate & Jeff
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thelma for the wonderful job she did for us in finding our new cottage. Unfamiliar with cottage country, any worries or concerns we had were immediately gone upon our first meeting. It was obvious that we were in good hands and that Thelma’s incredible knowledge and her resources would see us through our search. After viewing several properties and keeping up with area transactions, she found a property that was just perfect for our family – it had everything we had been looking for and we went ahead and purchased our first cottage.
An exciting time punctuated with care and attention from Thelma who was readily available to answer every question big and small, no detail was overlooked. We took possession very quickly, but her care and attention didn’t stop there as she has been able to put us in contact with service providers and neighbours both to help us settle in and begin our new life as a cottage family. Working for Royal LePage ourselves, we still knew that we needed someone to represent our interests and Thelma went above and beyond our expectations. Thelma truly is a “realtor’s realtor”. Thank you!
Thanks Thelma . It certainly was an interesting experience. Thank you for all your hard work and professionalism . Brad also expressed to us that you were instrumental in bringing the deal to a close . He told us that without you it would not have happened.
Just a short note to thank you for everything you have done for Harvey and me over the past two months.
Your warmth, generosity of spirit, advice, constant encouragement, and willingness to share experience have done so much to facilitate the complex and challenging issues involved in purchasing a cottage property in Muskoka.
From your advice on boats to the selection of property managers, your guidance has been invaluable, particularly given our absolute lack of experience and knowledge of the realities of cottage ownership and the arcane processes of Muskoka Township.
Again you have our heartfelt thanks. We were fortunate to find you and consider it a privilege to now have you in our lives.
With warmest affection, Suzanne.