From Financial Planner to Luxury Real Estate Agent: Steve Haid Finds Success in Muskoka

Steve Haid

Today, Steve Haid spends a sizable portion of his working hours creating virtual tours of luxurious Muskoka properties for clients worldwide. He spends his spare time the way many of his fellow Muskoka district neighbors spend – on the water or near it, enjoying nature and the cottage country lifestyle. It sounds like a dream come true, and for Steve, it is. To get to it, however, he had to make a couple of sharp turns in his life that eventually led him to become the go-to real estate agent for the Muskoka Lakes area.

The first sharp turn had Haid change his profession. “I was a financial planner for one of the major banks in Toronto for seven years,” he says. “I was selling investment funds, mutual funds, stocks, bonds.” At one point in his career, however, he started thinking that a real estate boom was brewing right there in front of him, and his current job wasn’t letting him participate.

“When you work for the bank, you’re a little restricted on what you can do. You’re not working for yourself,” Haid explains. “But I saw these massive condos start going up in the city, and I’ve always had a fondness for real estate, both in terms of investment and something I’d play a part in selling.”

That’s the point when Steve Haid decided to get his license and set sail on the waters of real estate as an agent. He worked in and around Toronto a lot, but he’s always had his eye on Muskoka. A central part of Ontario’s cottage country, Muskoka is a trendy spot for people from Toronto, but its appeal is much broader than that. Anyone from international celebrities to the wealthiest people in Canada loves to visit Muskoka, giving the district the nickname The Hamptons of the North.

Haid’s been aware of Muskoka for most of his life, but it wasn’t until he spent a couple of years working in real estate in Toronto that he decided to purchase a lake house on Lake Muskoka. “My house was built in 1896 – it’ll turn 130 in a couple of years,” he says. “It’s a real Muskoka house – from Summer to Winter, we are actively engaged in all that Muskoka has to offer. Boating, swimming, hiking, festivals, concerts, fishing, sports, fine dining, and even in the winter, I walk on the ice with my dog when the lake freezes over. It’s a lifestyle!”

It wasn’t long before he decided to take the second sharp turn and move to Muskoka full-time. There were plenty of reasons to do it. For one, Haid didn’t have to give up working with real estate in Toronto or anywhere else – he just switched his focus more on Muskoka. That proved rewarding as the district’s real estate market is rife with incredible opportunities, and his connection to the city demonstrates well-selling waterfront properties.

Steve Haid

The lifestyle and the natural surroundings eventually helped him make a choice. Every part of the year draws on the lake – the summer with its water sports, fall with its colors and festivals, and winter with its sports and ice fishing. Every season looks different, too – the fall colors alone would be enough to make anyone fall in love with the place. So, he became a full-time Muskoka resident and a small business owner.

“I am the managing partner for our brokerage here now, and we have several experienced agents working under us and expanding,” he says. “The type of real estate we work with is often luxurious waterfront properties, and we’ve tailored our service to match those types of clients those properties attract.” The type of service he refers to is white-glove real estate service, which sees the agent, or the broker go the extra mile in helping their client secure a property. This could include conducting a virtual tour with overseas or far away clients to determine how this decision affects them financially, including a detailed analysis. “Our clients are in great hands as we guide them through the entire process, whether selling or buying real estate.”

“I’m not just in the business of selling people property,” Steve Haid explains. “I like to be there for my clients, almost like a friend, and see them through such an important situation in life as buying or selling an expensive property. I can say that most of my clients see me as their friend now.”

With the Muskoka district, as with the rest of Canada, the problem with real estate is that the inventory is relatively limited. The country is failing to develop enough property to match the influx of migrants and demand alone, let alone deal with other pressures on the stock of real estate it already has. The lack of property and an unprecedented demand during COVID restrictions led to nationwide price increases that hit Muskoka drastically, too.

“Prices were up fifty, sixty, even seventy percent – and they went up incredibly quick,” he said. “We expect a more balanced market next year, with favorable price increases. Thanks to a much-needed price decline, however, this fall and winter, possibly even the spring next year, might be the perfect time to purchase real estate in Muskoka.” The many colors of Muskoka await, as does Steve Haid’s brokerage.

Written in partnership with Luke Lintz

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