Team Burke – Selling the Cottage Life in Huntsville
By Kim Kerr-Dearsley
Sue Burke and her daughter Britt Burke-Brenn certainly know a thing or two about team work.
Based in the heart of Ontario’s beautiful cottage country, this mother / daughter duo are not only living the Muskoka dream, they’re also working it, too. Known as ‘Team Burke’, Sue and Britt are realtors with Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty in Huntsville, covering not just their home town, but surrounding lakes and communities including Lake of Bays and the Almaguin Highlands.
And they certainly know what they’re selling. Sue’s a full-time resident of Huntsville with a waterfront home on beautiful Lake Vernon, one of the four main lakes that together form an impressive 40-miles of boating. And as a boating enthusiast, her skills at the helm not only ensure she can provide her clients with the scoop on some of the best boating in Muskoka, but also means she can show waterfront properties from the lake, ensuring prospective purchasers get a chance to fully appreciate what they’re buying.
Muskoka’s Mother and Daughter Real Estate Team
And when you add to this Sue’s more than 30 years’ experience in real estate, there’s little wonder that daughter Britt wanted to join forces with her mother after deciding to enter the profession herself.
Although born and bred in Huntsville, Britt did venture south when it came time to further her education. But after graduating from the University of Toronto (with Honours) and spending a little time living downtown, the urge to return home to Muskoka was just too strong to resist. And having already made a decision to enter the world of real estate, partnering with her mom was an easy decision to make.
“Team Burke evolved after Britt, with two levels of real state training under her belt, called and said, ‘Mom, I want to come work for you’,” says Sue. “Growing up in the area has certainly made her truly grateful for all Muskoka has to offer. Whether it’s swimming in 30 degree weather or snowshoeing when it’s -30, it’s wonderful to see how important the area continues to be for her.”
Team Burke: Working Together for Their Clients
After working together for the past few years, Sue’s also gained a deep respect for Britt’s abilities.
“Britt certainly understands just how important real estate transactions are for each and every one of our clients,” she adds. “She’s not only a hardworking professional, she really values her clients and is really very passionate about nurturing every relationship.”
That, along with her daughter’s problem solving skills, her tenacity, and her constant striving to provide the best outcome in all situations has proven a real asset for Team Burke.
And as Britt says, it’s certainly a two-way street.
“I’ve learned from the very best in the business, and am so excited to be able to follow in my mom’s footsteps,” she says. “And I never imagined having this much fun and loving what I do. We work every day together and provide good client care as we take the time to know exactly what they’re looking for, whether it’s home staging, professional photos, guided tours, or even aerial views of specific lakes and cottages for sale. Above all, it really is a lot of fun working together as a team.”
Great Customer Service Runs in the Family
While working together as mother and daughter has certainly helped set Team Burke apart in the Muskoka real estate market, the fact that both Sue and Britt bring their individual talents and strengths to the job is a big factor.
Sue prides herself with not just a deep knowledge of Muskoka, but also uses her keen awareness and experience in listing cottages for sale in Huntsville and the surrounding area to ensure the needs of her clients are met (and then some). In fact, when asked, she’s quick to point out that she herself benefited a great deal from the experiences of her father, Murray Burke.
“Dad was also a very successful real estate agent after retiring from executive life in Toronto,” says Sue. “Like me, he also focussed on the north Muskoka market. So what that really means for our clients is that they’re dealing not just with a second generation of successful real estate entrepreneurs, but in Britt, the third generation, too. It’s almost like a tradition!”
The Team Burke Muskoka Real Estate Strategy
More than 30 years and well over a thousand transactions later, what’s the future strategy for Team Burke and their clients?
“We want to be sure that our expertise can be used to benefit both buyers and sellers, whether they’re looking for a luxury waterfront cottage or an affordable home in town,” says Sue. “And it’s not just the technical aspects of buying and selling. There’s also making sure our clients benefit from our in-depth knowledge of the Huntsville lakes and neighbourhoods to help them find the perfect fit.”
“Britt certainly brings a freshness to the business,” she adds. “We’re a lot alike in so many ways, especially when it comes to real estate. Britt has a real sense of professionalism, enthusiasm, and integrity. She’s intensely honest. She knows how to treat people. And in our line of business, that’s so very important.”
Together, this mother / daughter team have certainly raised the bar in the Muskoka real estate market not just when it comes to service… but attitude, too.
Kim Kerr-Dearsley is a Muskoka-based freelance writer who specializes in luxury travel and lifestyles.