Century 21 expands into district

Heather Latter

Kenora-based Century 21 Reynard Real Estate Ltd. has expanded to Rainy River District, with local broker Chad Jack and local sales rep Wanda Huitikka-Wipf joining its team.
“It’s an exciting time to be with the Century 21 system as we increase our market presence in Fort Frances and Rainy River District,” said broker of record/owner Bill Scribilo of Century 21 in Kenora.
Scribilo explained the expansion took place when Jack determined he needed a change in the way he did business.
“He was looking for something a little more advanced in terms of technology, Internet presence, and brand recognition to throw his net wider and be more recognized from elsewhere, not just locally,” he noted.
“He looked at some options and, I think, he found in Century 21 the tools that he felt were important for the market he worked in.”
Scribilo said one of the major advantages they bring is their investment in a strong Internet presence and marketing plan.
“In excess of 90 percent of people shopping for real estate start online,” he remarked.
“The Century 21 website really makes the consumers experience far better from a buyers’ perspective and is a great tool for a seller when you want to get exposure for yourself.”
Jack and Huitikka-Wipf both agree a unique feature of Century 21 is its technology.
“When we list a home, there are four or five different websites that we post our clients’ homes on,” said Huitikka-Wipf, noting they are posted on the agent’s personal site, the Fort Frances site, Century 21 Kenora, and Century 21.ca
As well, the homeowner gets their own website (a URL associated with their home).
“So there is a huge amount of promotion,” she stressed, adding the websites all feature 21 full-size photos of the home.
“We can’t list anything unless we have our 21 photos—even if it’s vacant land,” Huitikka-Wipf remarked. “Anything listed with us will have 21 photos.
“And the fact that you can enlarge the photos is huge,” she added. “So when we post our photos on Century 21, you can click on them and they can enlarge to be full-screen, high-definition photos.
“So it gives you a good visual of what the house is going to look like before you step foot in the door.”
Huitikka-Wipf said she and Jack also can monitor the traffic on the website.
“[We can] see how many people are looking at the homes, what pages they are looking at, and see if we are doing our job of marketing the house correctly,” she explained, adding that the technology also is very easy to use.
“We can spend more time with our clients and less time fumbling around doing computer work because we have access to so much quick marketing,” she enthused.
Huitikka-Wipf said Century 21 also has apps for iPhones since people are looking for homes on their mobile devices.
They also are connected with Facebook, so people can promote their home on their Facebook page.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring the brand name to the area,” echoed Jack. “Being one of the most recognized names in real estate, I thought it would be a great fit for here.
“I feel that there is a need for the brand name, especially for any out-of-town buyers and sellers.”
And although some people might be worried about the local economy, Jack assured the real estate market is strong.
“I’ve been at it six years and it’s just been getting better and better every year,” he remarked.
“People always buy and sell.”
“As with anything, markets change and evolve,” conceded Scribilo. “[Century 21] puts them in a position to work within that change and offer clients better exposure and more opportunity.”
He said according to statistics for Fort Frances versus other communities, the local community seems to be holding its own.
“In terms of the volume of sales, they seem to be on par with the rest of the region,” Scribilo noted, adding the Fort Frances market seems far more stable than Kenora or Winnipeg.
Jack and Huitikka-Wipf initially will work from their home office.
“In our business, with a laptop and a cellphone you can work primarily mobile,” Scribilo said. “The nature of our business is that our product is always at a person’s home.
“You can virtually take your office with you in your briefcase wherever you go.”
Scribilo added the local agents now will be a part of the larger organization.
“In Canada, there’s 400 offices, 8,000 agents, so the referral opportunities back and forth to show the appeal of Fort Frances and the Rainy River District to other parts of the world—that’s something that a large company such as ours can be a part of,” he explained.
He noted Century 21 Canada is partnered with Century 21 International, and has 8,000 world-wide offices, in 73 countries, and 100,000 real estate agents all under the same banner.
As well, Century 21 Reynard Real Estate Ltd. is an Air Miles Reward Program participating office.
“I’m just super-excited,” Huitikka-Wipf enthused. “It’s nice to be able to offer the people in this area another option.”
She’s hoping to tie in her “Ready for Real Estate” staging business in educating home owners on what their homes should look like when brought to the market—and how that’s going to benefit them in the long run.
Huitikka-Wipf can be contacted at 276-7991 while Jack can be reached at 275-7678.