By Mike Baker
There will soon be a new face at the helm of Century21 Granite Realty Group in Haliburton, and it’s one you just might recognize.
Brandon Nimigon, and his wife Megan, will take ownership of the local brokerage in the new year, purchasing the business from Andrew and Anne Hodgson. Brandon has been an agent with the firm since 2015, and has long harboured ambitions of leading his own agency. When he was approached by Andrew earlier this year with a view to taking over, it was an opportunity he simply could not pass up.
While he himself has around five years of on-the-job experience, Brandon has been around the real estate industry for most of his life. His mother, Karen, has been an agent in the Haliburton area for more than 20 years. He remembers the days when he would attend open houses, help to put up real estate signs and mark property lines.
“I’ve always kind of been entrenched in the business a little bit. When I first started out my career, I was doing broadcast and digital sales. My wife and I moved around a little bit, but decided a few years ago that we wanted to move back home, back to Haliburton,” Brandon said. “When we did that, I took stock of my career and decided that the real estate business was where I wanted to be.”
Upon joining Century21, Brandon sat down with Andrew to discuss long-term goals and narrow down on what he wanted to do, and where his focus would be. Even at that early stage, Brandon knew he wanted to go into business for himself.
It was that kind of attitude that set him apart, and made him the ideal choice to take over the brokerage once the Hodgsons decided it was time to pass the torch.
Having owned the firm for 11 years, purchasing from Derrell and Kim Stamp back in 2009, the Hodgsons were adamant they would only sell the business if they had an appropriate succession plan in place. While Andrew will stay on as an agent, he’s happy to be handing the managerial reins over to someone he trusts.
“For us, it’s just the right time [to sell]. This is a good succession plan – I get to stay on, and will keep selling, and we provide an opportunity to someone young and hungry to take over,” Andrew said. “I’m involved in a lot of different committees in Haliburton, and the one thing I hear at every table is how we want to retain our youth. Well, this is a young family here that has decided they want to raise their family, live and work here. This is what we talk about all the time, about how we want to have our younger people stay in our communities. This is how you do it.”
For Anne, she said the important thing for her was ensuring the brokerage remained locally-owned.
“We wanted to make sure whoever took over loves the community just as much as we do. Ethics was a really important consideration for us as well. We know Brandon and Megan will be strong leaders going forward for us,” Anne said.
To say that Brandon and Megan are excited about this new adventure would be an understatement. They don’t plan on changing much, if anything at all, in the short-term, with Brandon saying he just wants to maintain the fine work that has gone on at Century21 since he joined the firm five years ago.
Looking ahead though, he feels it’s imperative the agency keeps up with the times and adapts as new technologies become available.
“Our business really has changed dramatically over the past ten years. As more tech comes into our line of work, we need to adapt so that we stay relevant to our clients. My main goal moving forward will be to stay relevant, and keep the awesome team we have here in place,” Brandon said. “We all get along so well. I want to keep the same working environment going, continue to grow the business and really just take things to the next level.”
That mentality falls right in line with the way things are going in Haliburton County right now. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, the local real estate market has taken off, with houses in the area disappearing off the market within days of being listed. It’s quickly become the norm for bidding wars amongst multiple potential buyers to drive the final price on a home well beyond asking.
While Brandon admits 2020 has been an unprecedented year for the local real estate market, it’s something he says he saw coming.
“Everyone has said how crazy, how different this year has been for real estate in Haliburton County, but we’ve been pretty crazy up here for the past five years,” Brandon said. “Looking back to 2017, we were in a very similar market, where there were multiple offers on properties, limited inventory and prices going through the roof. This year I think just kicked things into that next level. With a lot of people not working out of their office anymore, they’re taking advantage by selling their small downtown apartment and buying a beautiful cottage.”
Brandon says he sees the trend continuing, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“If a [downtown Toronto] business can save $100,000 [a month] on rent, and have their staff work from home, most likely they’re going to do it. So, I can see this continuing for a little while at least,” Brandon added. “While it does continue, I believe it’s going to lead to a really strong market up here.”
For more information, or to view real estate listings in the area, visit graniterealtygroup.c21.ca.