''We live on the lake and have the tools required to service buyers and sellers properly.''
An Interview with Ben Imrie
Luxury Realtor, iMuskoka Properties
Our special interview on Productivity with BEN IMRIE, Luxury Realtor of iMuskoka Properties at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, reveals the splendour of the cottage-lined lakes in the exclusive location of Muskoka, Canada, as Executive Global charts the success behind one of Port Carling’s most distinguished luxury real estate specialists offering properties in one Canada’s most sought-after waterfront locations..
Executive Global: What are the archetypical characteristics you find about (The Muskoka’s) Lake Muskoka that appeal to the rich and famous that have earned it the name The Hamptons of the North?
Ben Imrie: It is a quiet Cappuccino on the dock while hearing loons sing out, BBQ dinner parties with friends you ceremoniously see a few times a year, a round of golf at our world renowned courses; Muskoka is anything you want it to be. Business, sports and Hollywood A-Listers alike enjoy the anonymity of blending in with the locals while sporting flip flops and a T-shirt and getting not more than a friendly wave and a smile in return. The absence of gawkers and paparazzi is a testament to the laid-back Canadian spirit. A idyllic retreat from city hustle and bustle, easily reached through Toronto (YYZ), many cottagers will charter a sea plane to their dock, some fly their own helicopter, or simply drive the less than 2 hours to the back door.
EG: Being as exclusive as the Hamptons or Malibu and as one of the most expensive lakes to buy a home in Canada, what impact does the continued influx of A-List celebrities, investors and famous people have on real estate value?
BI: In this sought-after region, the demand for properties far exceeds the available supply, resulting in a scarcity of products. As a consequence, property values have steadily risen and proved resistant to downturns. The area’s allure lies in its pristine beauty, boasting crystal-clear water and spring-fed lakes, embraced by the majestic Canadian Shield rock and pine terrain. Conservative Canadian values allow owners, whether local or foreign, to relish the opportunity to bask in tranquility without disruptions, enjoying a stable political and banking environment. Additionally, the advantage of a favourable dollar disparity makes this destination even more appealing to international buyers.
EG: Having personally spent many summers living on the Muskoka lakes, what advantages does your personal understanding and life experience with family cottaging (should we use another word, I know the British meaning) on Acton Island, offer to new clients?
BI: I was fortunate enough to spend many of my summers on the lake, growing up with variety of waterfront homes on the Big 3 Muskoka Lakes (Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau & Lake Joseph). I have experienced the joys of family time growing up swimming in the lake, water skiing, tubing, surfing, hanging around camp fires, eating s’mores and watching spectacular sunsets with friends and family. A knowledge of the area and what it offers comes naturally, and allows me to share what Muskoka could mean to you.
EG: Can you identify three key productive moments in the past where your career really started to take off, along with the factors that could be attributed to your success?
BI: 1. My brother and myself both started selling Muskoka Real Estate in 1999. We were both around 20 years old, and it took a few years to prove that we had the knowledge and hard working tenacity to provide a top tier of service that our clients demand, and deserve.
2. As technology began to advance, we found ourselves benefiting from the abilities it provided us, and began developing our own bespoke web design equipped with analytical metrics to help Buyers and Sellers make more informed decisions.
3. Improved marketing mediums combined with our new age Technology has taken us to the forefront of our highly competitive market place. We are now entering a new phase of building a team that is going to take our services to a higher level, and maintain a level of excellence for decades to come.
EG: Lake Muskoka is surrounded by cottages, but tell us about some of the private islands you have for sale?
BI: There are many special properties on the lakes, all very unique with their own ‘feel’. Bass Island is one in particular that I have boated by my entire life and admired. It is one of the few large islands left that are solely owned by one family. Many islands have been subdivided and sold to others, and the privilege of owning the entire island gets lost. But not here, Bass Island remains whole and has been approved to be developed with up to 4 properties, 4 cottages, 4 boathouses, a compound worthy of exceptional further expansion if one wishes.
EG: With over two decades of experience selling real estate in Lake Muskoka, what kind of productive experience can wealthy clients expect when being represented by you?
BI: I Experience = knowledge. We live on the lake and have the tools required to service Buyers and Sellers properly. Getting around by boats, jet skis, and by snowmobile is the reality of our mobility in Muskoka, and Canada. If you don’t live the cottage lifestyle, you don’t get it. We adapt to changing technology, and we innovate. EG