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Realtor options broaden
Adrian Bell officially opens Yellowknife branch of Century 21 Greenway Realty

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The city's real estate market just got broader with the opening of a Century 21 Greenway Realty office in Yellowknife.

NNSL photo/graphic

Real estate agent Adrian Bell, pictured here in front of a Williams Avenue property up for sale, has officially opened the Yellowknife branch of Century 21 Greenway Realty. - Thandiwe Vela/NNSL photo

With lifelong Yellowknifer Adrian Bell at the helm, Greenway's debut brings further competition into the market, which now has three operating real estate agencies, including HomeLife Sunrise Real Estate (2008) Ltd., and Coldwell Banker - opened in 1983 - which has dominated the market for several years.

Bell, 36, said Greenway - the Hay River company owned by Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen, which recently became a Century 21 brokerage - brings new energy to an industry "that really hasn't changed very much over the years.

"I think our focus is going to be on providing service," Bell said. "I think people need to see the variety of services that we can provide and I think they'll be surprised.

"We want to bring a southern standard to the North, to kind of raise the bar."

As a small business owner, Bell, who is now listing both residential and commercial properties, has been involved in the purchase and sale of several businesses in town, including the sale of his own restaurants - Mainstreet Pizza, and Javaroma in 2009 - and third-party commercial property sales through his consulting business, Pathfinder Research and Communications Ltd.

A longtime promoter of Yellowknife, Bell, who brought the Long John Jamboree to town this year, also hopes to establish himself as a realtor who works for people outside of town trying to move to Yellowknife.

"I want to be there to smooth out the wrinkles in that process," he said.

The introduction of Greenway is the latest shake-up of the Yk real estate industry since the emergence of online real estate marketing service Property Guys, last year.

While Property Guys provided an "important option" for homeowners, "they are not realtors," Bell said.

"The realty industry is a highly-regulated profession," said Bell, who is licenced through the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.

"And there's reason for that; things go wrong when people are selling a home. We, as realtors, take on that risk for people," Bell said. "It's our job to make sure that we de-risk the buying and selling process."

To that end, Bell is also interested in practising buyer agency - representing the interests of Yellowknifers looking to buy a home, even with listing agents of another company.

The Yellowknife Property Guys franchise declined comment on the new Yk real estate agency.

While evidence of a considerable dent in the Yk home-selling market made by Property Guys can be seen through signs posted across the city, Coldwell still makes up a "substantial" share of real estate sold through the Yellowknife Real Estate Board, said Ken Pearman, Coldwell realtor and president of the real estate board.

Pearman welcomed Greenway into the market.

"Welcome to Yellowknife," Pearman said, adding, "competition could only be good.

"I think it'll enhance it," he said.

Greenway is now a member of the Yellowknife Real Estate Board, with the ability to list properties on the nationwide Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

While Bell sees Yellowknife as a hot market, he realizes it is a difficult time for realtors in this city, and "hard to break in," so he declined to disclose any sales goals at this time.

"My focus is on becoming the best realtor I can possibly be," he said. "I want to be raising the bar, that's my goal. I want to raise the bar for providing services both to locals and the people that are trying to move to Yellowknife. I see an opportunity there to work very hard, learn a lot, and deliver results for my clients."

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