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Meet 100 women who are shaping the future of the real estate industry PRICE LOW, SELL HIGH

Could this counterintuitive strategy work in your market?


The president of the Toronto Real Estate Board gets real about the city’s housing market


5 improvements that will have a big impact on a property’s desirability

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ISSUE 2.02

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UPFRONT 02 Editorial

If you can’t beat the disruptors, join ‘em

04 Head to head





An unconventional pricing strategy pays off in the suddenly hot Hamilton market



08 News analysis

Is there a silver lining for Fort McMurray?

13 Opinion

Why real estate agents need to have skin in the game

Six strategies for getting the team you want

REP shines the spotlight on 100 of the brightest and most innovative women in the real estate industry

TREB president Mark McLean goes bat for Toronto’s homebuyers

A look at the latest facts on foreign ownership

43 Build the right team



06 Statistics




Does CMHC’s data on foreign buyers go far enough?


ORCHESTRATING SOLUTIONS A new program helps fill a crucial gap in sales manager training

46 How appraisers work with Realtors

Why an unbiased market value is more important than ever

52 Three reasons you should partner with a mortgage broker How a strategic partnership can help drive leads


50 Agent profile

The secrets behind Brady Thrasher’s meteoric rise




Generating more interest in a property can be as simple as making a few exterior upgrades

55 Career path

Natalka Falcomer lays down the law

56 Other life

Maureen Smith’s musical journey





Can’t win a fight against change


nce overuse strips them of their novelty, buzzwords are quickly revealed for what they are: synonyms dressed up as ideas to keep people awake at meetings. Today’s word is ‘disruption,’ which is nothing more than change you didn’t see coming. In Toronto, we’ve seen a lot of pushback against supposedly disruptive technologies, from Uber to food trucks, and in every case, public opinion has fallen heavily on the side of the consumer. “What’s the big deal?” they say. “Give us what we want.” What they want is greater influence over their choices, and increasingly, that means improved access to data. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Canadian Competition Tribunal recently ruled against the Toronto Real Estate Board [TREB], stating that its refusal to make public its MLS data is monopolistic and anti-competitive.

What makes you indispensable is not access to MLS data – it is your insight, your ability to see past the numbers If consumers are allowed to research toasters and shoes before they buy, how can you prevent them from knowing as much as they can about what is arguably the most important purchase of their lives? ‘Knowledge is power’ gets disproven as a maxim every day, but knowledge does make people feel more powerful – and less liable to be taken advantage of. It’s not as if Realtors are currently looked at as beacons of the community. In this light, fighting transparency may not be the best move. Lest we be misunderstood, REP loves Realtors. But what makes you indispensable is not access to MLS data – it is your insight, your ability to see past the numbers. Buyers and sellers need you, especially in overheated markets where comparables offer very little guidance (this month’s Done Deal is a prime example). Opening up TREB’s data to the public may convince the inexperienced (or the crooked) that they now have the power to compete with you – but clients, if they’re smart, will grow more wary of this assumed invasion and be more liable to turn to Realtors for guidance. Anyone involved in housing knows that not all walls are load-bearing; tearing this particular one down may actually improve the flow of the industry. ‘Disruption’ may be just another vapid buzzword, but there are worse phrases to be associated with. One that comes to mind is ‘old-fashioned.’ SUMMER 2O16 EDITORIAL Writers Clay Jarvis Justin da Rosa Joe Rosengarten Libby Macdonald Copy Editor Clare Alexander

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How can we get a better picture of foreign ownership? Some feel CMHC’s recent report on foreign buyers of Canadian real estate isn’t enough – but what data should be collected?

Paul Therien

Christian Twomey Realtor Re/Max Landan Real Estate

Manager/owner Royal LePage Turner Realty

“The data recently released by CMHC concerning foreign ownership is, in my opinion, not enough or accurate. CMHC primarily looks at insured business, and much of the data they collected is anecdotal; as a result, it does not provide a clear picture. The only sure way to determine the levels of foreign ownership is by obtaining proof of citizenship or perma­ nent resi­dency. This would require cooperation between taxation authorities and lenders to obtain this data and report to a centralized body such as CMHC. The issue then becomes that you would be required to collect this data from all homeowners.”

“The information produced appears to be ‘window dressing’ in an effort to calm the impression that foreign investment is taking over the country. The reality is, in a free market, the buyer with the highest price and most agreeable terms will purchase the home. The government appears to be making efforts to not jump in with new rules and regulations, which may ultimately reduce the value of homes. One may argue that in communities like Toronto and Vancouver, these controls are warranted. However, elsewhere in the country, foreign investment is highly desired. From a Calgary perspective, I personally welcome foreign investment.”

“I believe the information on foreign ownership is being collected through the Fintrac individual identification information record and is currently sitting in files in real estate offices across the country. An online database should be created to collect this information so that it can be compiled and put to use. We spent a considerable amount of time collecting this information, and it should be complied into a usable database instead of just getting put into the file and forgotten about until an audit. It would create one more thing we would have to do, but at least we would have some valuable information we could use.”

Vice president of operations Centum Financial Group

Mike Turner

TRACKING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP Foreign ownership of Canadian real estate is a hot topic, especially in the most active of markets – but it’s also a vaguely defined one. On the heels of the latest report from CMHC, which pinpointed both areas where foreign buyers are clustered and properties that are most likely to attract foreign investors, even the agency itself admits that currently there is no means of conclusively determining the proportion of foreign investment in local markets. With no legal requirement to disclose citizenship, foreign buyers often remain under the radar, leaving even industry experts to rely on anecdotal evidence and poor data.




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The facts on foreign buyers CMHC is working to collect more comprehensive data on foreign buyers of Canadian real estate – but what do we know now? MANY HAVE applauded the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s initiative to collect more comprehensive data on offshore buyers of real estate, which would help determine just how much influence they have on the market. Karine LeBlanc, a spokesperson for CMHC, told REP sister site that “reliable data collected on foreign owners will be published to support informed decision-making.” In April, CMHC released its latest report on foreign ownership of condominiums, which

revealed what many already suspected – that foreign buyers of condos are particularly targeting the increasingly expensive Vancouver and Toronto markets. “At this time, no existing tool can provide a definitive measure of the level of foreign investment in Canada’s housing markets,” the organization said in a press release. “That said, CMHC regularly engages in discussions internally, as well as with industry experts, as part of its continued efforts to develop a program of work that would better capture data on foreign buyers.”

FOREIGN OWNERSHIP ACROSS CANADA Canada’s hottest real estate markets – Vancouver and Toronto – have the largest numbers of foreign owners of condominiums, but other cities across the country have experienced their own surge of foreign buyers as well.


3.5% Victoria

1.0% Kelowna


The year CMHC started tracking foreign ownership through its Condominium Vacancy Survey


Highest proportion of foreign ownership, in condos built after 2010 in Toronto Centre


Number of CMAs that saw an increase in foreign condo ownership from 2014 to 2015



While foreign purchases of condos represent a relatively low proportion of the overall market, they are clearly increasing – six metropolitan centres across Canada saw a jump in foreign ownership of at least one percentage point between 2014 and 2015.

Centre West East North



Within Canada’s three largest cities, certain neighbourhoods definitely appeal to a larger percentage of foreign buyers.

Burrard Peninsula* Westside* Eastside Suburban Vancouver



Downtown and Nuns’ Island Pericentre West of Island of Montreal East of Island of Montreal

5.8% 1.5% 1.1%

3.5 2.6% 5.8%


2.5 2.0



3.4% 4.9% 1.4% 0.9% 0.4%

2014 2015


1.0 0.5 0.0

*2014 figures

Source: CMHC Housing Market Insight, December 2015



Number of CMAs that saw a decrease in foreign ownership during the same period


Greater Toronto




Source: CMHC Housing Market Insight, December 2015




1.1% Gatineau



0.5% Greater Toronto




Winnipeg Calgary



Quebec City





0.2% Source: CMHC Housing Market Insight, April 2016



CMHC’s latest report parsed foreign ownership data based on the age of the condo building, finding that, by and large, foreign buyers are purchasing units Before 1990 in buildings constructed within the past five years.

Canada is hardly the only country struggling with this issue; many others have introduced roadblocks to curb foreign real estate purchases.

Toronto 1.2% 1.4% Vancouver 1.4%



Calgary 1.9% 0.6% 0.7%



6% Edmonton 1.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2%

1990–1999 2000–2009 After 2010

Montreal 1.1% 1.2% 1.6% 1.3% Victoria 1.2% 1.1% 2.3% 0.5% Source: CMHC Housing Market Insight, April 2016

Australia Charges a $5,000 fee to make an offer on real estate over $1 million

Mexico Forbids foreigners from buying property within 50 kilometres of the coast

UK Collects a 28% capital gains tax when foreign owners sell a property

China Adds a 15% surcharge to homes purchased in Hong Kong by non-residents

Switzerland Limits the number of foreign investors who can buy property and prohibits reselling within a fixed period of time (up to 10 years in some cases)

Source: CBC News




Fort Mac’s post-wildfire prospects The full impact of the wildfire that destroyed a great deal of Fort McMurray’s housing has not yet been felt – but some industry pros are suggesting it will eventually provide an economic boost to struggling Alberta

THE WILDFIRE burning in Fort McMurray is already the costliest national disaster for Canadian insurers, and it will take years to fully restore the city to its former glory. And while initial sentiment was that Fort McMurray’s economy would take a massive hit, some real estate industry professionals are arguing the disaster could actually help kickstart the economy, which has been struggling for the last several months. “I don’t know what the long-term effects will be. It seems there is going to be a construction boom, which will tide a lot of people over until oil recovers,” says David Niven, managing director of Dominion

“It will be interesting to see what happens there,” says Michael Cameron, president and CEO of Axiom Mortgage. “The jobs and things that were there aren’t going away. This may actually be a kickstart to the economy, given the amount of money that will flow back in there to rebuild. “That’s always a question mark,” he continues. “But people are there for a reason in the first place. We have a lot of folks who do a substantial amount of business, and they love the community.” Of course, the immediate focus in Fort McMurray is on managing the fire and ensuring everyone’s safety.

“This may actually be a kickstart to the economy, given the amount of money that will flow back in there to rebuild” Michael Cameron, Axiom Mortgage Lending Centres Mortgage Mentors. “The hope is that it will spur the economy by providing jobs to people sitting at home waiting for oil to rebound.” It’s an opinion shared by one leading mortgage veteran.


“Obviously they need to take care of their immediate needs,” Cameron says. “Then it’s just a matter of working with their home insurer and their lender to find out what their options are. Obviously lenders and insurers are working to help out when they can.

Everyone is working as best they can to find solutions. It’s really a matter of getting in touch with your insurer and lenders.” The fire, which started on May 1, is considered the largest evacuation due to fire in Alberta’s history. At press time, the fire conditions remained extreme – a total of 15 wildfires were burning, covering an area of 284,214 hectares, and three were considered to be out of control. “Last week, five conditions were identified that need to be in place for the safe re-entry of Fort McMurray residents,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a release on May 16. “Work has been progressing on all these fronts, in some cases faster than expected. But this remains an active fire zone, with significant


air-quality concerns that may delay recovery work and a return to the community. Public safety remains our first priority.”

money and rebuild elsewhere. Niven argues that most will choose to stick around. “If they rebuild, the insurance will only be

“The hope is that it will spur the economy by providing jobs to people sitting at home waiting for oil to rebound” David Niven, Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Mentors It is estimated that around 2,400 homes and buildings have been destroyed. That’s a lot of misplaced families, leading many to wonder whether those impacted will choose to return to Fort McMurray or to take their insurance

for replacement value,” he says. “I would suggest that, more than likely, they’re only going to be able to rebuild. Otherwise, they’ll be underwater. That’s a concern.” However, others feel that this could give

September 21, 2010 Hurricane Igor Newfoundland Damage: $200 million

May 15, 2011 Slave Lake fire Alberta Damage: $750 million

June 2011 Assiniboine River flood Manitoba Damage: $1 billion+

August 21, 2011 Goderich tornado Ontario Damage: $130 million

June 20–July 12, 2013 Alberta floods Calgary Damage: $5 billion

May 1, 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire Alberta Damage: $9 billion+ (estimated)

residents the impetus they’ve been looking for to get out of the beleaguered province. “People won’t want to come back,” says Tim Mangat, a Calgary-based Realtor with CIR Realty. “There was a huge number of people already trying to sell their homes, and prices were already going down.” As the fire continues to burn, it remains to be seen how the housing market will be impacted – and how other surrounding markets will be affected. “We’re still pretty early on in it,” Niven says. “Everyone has questions about how it will impact Edmonton. I would suggest a bit of a bubble in Edmonton – [it will] push the rental market in Edmonton, [and] sales as well.” REP




A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN As a broker, manager and current president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Mark McLean demonstrates that creativity and compassion will always have a place in the industry

WHEN YOU picture the president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, you probably don’t envision a budding artist whose seven-year-old daughter inspired him to take up the guitar, or a 16-year old kid who sold his grandfather’s house for a commission of $50, or a sunburned 25-year-old racing 14-foot boats off the coast of Japan. You might, however, picture an avowed advocate for the rights – and the futures – of Toronto homebuyers. Mark McLean, TREB’s current president and manager/broker of the highly respected Bosley Real Estate, can best be described as a highly congenial iconoclast, one who has both an appreciation for the complexities of his industry and a bottomless enthusiasm for making it better. His thirst for knowledge and eye for unique opportunities have proven invaluable for both Bosley and TREB. Under his leadership, the former has been able to consistently attract some of the sharpest agents in the industry, while the latter has become a trusted resource for buyers and sellers in Canada’s largest housing market.

Bosley’s boss Walking into Bosley’s office on Queen Street West, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally walked into a cutting-edge bistro or provocative art space. It’s eclectic and quirky, but also soothing in its free-spiritedness.


According to McLean, the effect is no accident. “I wanted agents to feel like it was a place they wanted to come,” he says. The office’s unquestionable cool was also devised to be comforting to potential clients. “It’s such a stressful transaction when you’re buying or selling a house. You want to set them at ease.” Like a number of McLean’s professional endeavours, the Bosley environment reflects

McLean got his start in 1989 at Darrell Kent, which, at the time, was one of Toronto’s hottest agencies. Darrell Kent was a smaller boutique agency, not unlike Bosley, which appealed to McLean’s anti-establishment streak. While McLean was able to surround himself with top players, he distinctly remembers the lack of training he received as a young agent. “When people start in business, one of the

“When people start in business, one of the things that stops their success is that they don’t get trained properly. They don’t learn the best habits. If you get off on the wrong path, you really are in trouble” the percolating energy he has been cultivating since he started with Bosley in 2010. McLean says he consciously searches out other creative types and currently employs classically trained musicians, actors and graphic designers. “Those are the people who have a vision of what the end result is,” he says. “They also have the means of getting there because they realize there’s no shortcut to this. Just like in real estate – there are no shortcuts.”

things that stops their success is that they don’t get trained properly. They don’t learn the best habits,” he says. “And that would have been my problem, too. If I could have gone back, I probably would have gone to a bigger firm that had better training. If you get off on the wrong path, you really are in trouble.” McLean talks with pride about Bosley’s extensive training program. While he considers the training offered by the Ontario Real Estate

PROFILE Name: Mark McLean Title: President/broker and manager Company: Toronto Real Estate Board/Bosley Real Estate Years in the industry: 26 Fast fact: McLean has been a member of the Toronto Real Estate board for 25 years; prior to becoming president, he served on the Condominium Committee, the VOW Task Force and the Leadership Committee




Association to be adequate, he likens an agent fed a steady diet of real estate classes to someone “going to a gun battle with a pen knife.” Bosley’s program, which McLean feels provides employees the equivalent of two years of experience, includes best practice advice from seasoned agents, role-playing exercises that touch on every aspect of buying and selling, and the actual pricing of a home. “I want my Realtors to be the smartest ones

has only increased his love of the industry. “You get into that inner circle of TREB, and it’s an absolutely fascinating experience.“ His excitement for the work the board does for Toronto’s market is undeniable. “They want to make it better. I think that’s such an honourable mission. They’re not just there for the free food,” he laughs, “because it’s not that good.” Asked which TREB initiatives he is most proud of, McLean lists the rebranding of

“TREB wants to make Toronto’s housing market better. I think that’s such an honourable mission. They’re not just there for the free food – because it’s not that good” on the street,” McLean says. He encourages agents to know as much as they can about every aspect of the economy, from oil prices to fluctuations in the dollar to what is happening south of the border. While expertise is a critical factor in establishing trusting relationships, McLean has never lost sight of the humanity at the heart of home buying. “I don’t know who said it, but I love the quote: ‘The only thing better than high-tech is high-touch.’” McLean believes open conversations and supportive coaching are still the foundations of the industry, and without them, “you’ve got nothing.”

A view from the top From 2010 to 2012, McLean was a member of OREA’s education board, his first behind-thescenes look at how Toronto’s mammoth market operates. McLean soon found himself enamoured of the industry’s complexity and the passion and collaboration that were needed to keep it functioning. When he was asked to join TREB, there was only one answer. After two years as a director at large, McLean served a year as president-elect before assuming his current duties as president, which


the organization as a first-choice knowledge base for Toronto’s housing sector, the board’s recently completed Outlook Report – a culmination of months of research and communication across several industries – and his appearance at City Hall in Toronto as TREB fought against the city’s land transfer tax. “Being on that top level and watching that unfold – it gives me goosebumps. It’s super exciting,” he says, adding that TREB is setting its sights on the upcoming battle over mandatory home energy audits, which could add thousands to the cost of a home in Toronto. McLean’s role as an advocate might have been unexpected, but it has led to his belief that Toronto’s Realtors should be willing to raise their voices – not only in dissent, but in praise as well. “This is where Realtors can really shine,” he says. “We’re ambassadors to the city.” McLean speaks so effusively about Toronto that it’s clear why he does what he does. He may be fascinated by the inner workings of the industry, but McLean’s real love is for the city he grew up in, and every step TREB or Bosley makes toward making homeownership more rewarding is simply a way of making people feel as at home here as he does. REP

MCLEAN ON THE MARKET On the recent Competition Tribunal decision that TREB’s control of MLS data is monopolistic “Nothing is as constant as change, but within that, TREB will continue to fight for the rights of homeowners and support Realtors in their day-to-day business” On joining a real estate team “The person who benefits the most is the team leader” On foreign investment in Toronto “It’s a small number. I think we’re talking less than 10%. But people who are buying those condos are renting them” On the inability of Realtors to incorporate “If a lawyer can incorporate and if an accountant can incorporate, why can’t a Realtor?” On Fintrac “When I became a Realtor, I never knew that I would have to be an informant for the government” On the future of the Toronto market “There’s plenty of runway left in this market. No one solitary thing is going to slow our market down”




Own what you sell It’s not tech, or the economy, or even reduced commissions we should be worrying about, writes Stephen Young – it’s this

THE BIGGEST obstacle facing the real estate industry – and the factor most likely to disrupt the industry once and for all – might surprise you. It’s not technology, or the latest app, or discount brokers, or FSBOs. It’s not the economy or financing, or reduced commissions or increased costs. It boils down to a simple fact: the Realtor’s own ability to competently and ethically manage not only their own finances, but their business finances as well. Yes, you are running a business – you are not an employee, you don’t have benefits, and there certainly isn’t a retirement income you work toward getting for the rest of your life. So what does this have to do with the industry in general? The National Association of Realtors did a study in 2015 called DANGER – Definitive Analysis of Negative Game-changers Emerging in Real estate (try saying that five times fast). This was, and remains, the biggest study to ever occur in the US and Canada specifically for the real estate industry. The report concluded that the real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry, and will most likely lead to the destruction of the industry. So what does all this mean to you as a Realtor? Even if you are not marginal or incompetent – I get that; neither am I – more than 70% of the business is, and that

does affect the non-marginal and competent agents. The by-product makes you marginal and incompetent. Sorry to burst your bubble. The number-one factor affecting real estate, and leading to the labelling of Realtors as marginal and incompetent, is the fact that they do not own real estate –

could competently invest the money for you, because you wouldn’t want someone investing your money who couldn’t do it for themselves. Of course, every single stockbroker on the planet owns stocks, just as every insurance broker owns insurance, car salespeople own cars, computer salespeople own computers, and any other salesperson in any industry you can think of is a consumer of what they sell – except for the real estate industry. I have been in the real estate sales business now for over a decade, and I have sold more than $1 billion worth of real estate, yet all of my wealth comes from investing in real estate. Selling real estate pays the bills, but the investing gives me the life of my dreams. More importantly, I have become a better salesperson because of my experience in the ownership of real estate. This simple and obvious solution to the number-one problem facing the real estate industry is so easy to correct. If you are going to sell something, make sure you own it. The average Realtor doesn’t even own

“The number-one factor leading to the labelling of Realtors as marginal and incompetent is the fact that they do not own real estate” either because they don’t know how to, or worse, they can’t afford to. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine you have $100,000 gifted to you, and you wanted to invest in the stock market. You do what most of the population does: Go out to find a stockbroker, most likely a referral from a friend, someone you can trust to keep your investment safe and who can guide you through the process. You find the perfect match, you give them your money, and just before you leave the office, you ask one very important question: “Just out of curiosity, what stocks do you own?” The stockbroker turns to you and says, “I don’t own stocks; I don’t know how to buy stocks, and I can’t afford to buy stocks.” Knowing this, you would politely ask for your $100,000 back, then turn and run as fast as you could to find someone who

their own home, let alone a second or third investment property, yet Realtors marketing themselves as ‘experts’ are trying to sell real estate to people without any real-world knowledge of it. The buyers and sellers are not privy to this information. My solution would be to require all Realtors to disclose all of their real estate holdings to their prospective clients before any transaction occurs. It would eliminate 70% of the industry because no one on the planet will work with someone who doesn’t own the product they are selling. REP

Stephen Young has spent more than a decade investing in real estate; he is also the broker of record at Young Realty Brokerage in Toronto.




Price low, sell high An everyday deal shows the power of competitive pricing – even in a hot market like Hamilton’s

TORONTO’S HOUSING madness has spread like wildfire throughout the Golden Horseshoe. It long ago engulfed Mississauga and Oakville and is currently scorching Burlington. The heat is even being felt as far away as Guelph and Oshawa, where decreasing supply and affordability are helping to fan the flames. Hamilton, long an afterthought for Ontario investors, is also sizzling. An influx of buyers from the GTA, lured by the city’s low prices and increasingly ambitious development plans, is driving up prices at astonishing rates. “It’s getting crazier by the minute,” says Michael St. Jean of St. Jean Realty. “The areas where you were looking at an average of $229,000 six to eight months ago are getting offers of $350,000. People are fist-


fighting for these things.” Why then, in such a surging market, did St. Jean find himself approaching one family about lowering their asking price – twice? And how did lowering that price lead to St. Jean getting the sellers virtually the same amount they wanted in the first place?

desired sweet spot is no longer applicable. That traditional haggler’s logic might work on the street, but in a world where savvy buyers can actually view the anemic activity an overpriced property is generating, stigma sets in and buyers stay away. “Buyers are very well-conditioned to the market. Every buyer out there is watching,” St. Jean says, adding that if a house in Hamilton hasn’t sold by its offer date or within 48 hours of its listing launch, buyers often view it as flawed or overpriced. “Buyers are almost afraid to make an offer on a property that doesn’t have other offers.” St. Jean says the key is generating competition and allowing buyers’ emotions to do the rest. “You need to drag them into the mousetrap.” He suggests an attractively low price as bait. “In the end, when emotion kicks in and there are 10 offers on the table, they know that if they want it, they have to come with their best dollar. That competitive spirit really kicks in, and then people start putting up dollars that they never would have imagined they’d put up.” Or, in more concrete terms: “You’re a seller. You want $300,000. My recommendation to you is go $249,900. We get 15 offers on the table, and you end up getting $330,000.”

A reluctant seller comes around Baiting the trap In a hot market like Ontario’s, where demand continually trumps logic, the traditional way of basing a price on comparables has gone mostly out the window. “Looking at past sales is a bit of a barometer,” St. Jean says. “It can help you a bit, but it’s not about that anymore.” Because most homes in Hamilton are now going into competition, the concept of sellers pricing higher than what they want and hoping negotiations will land them at their

In this case, St. Jean’s clients were ready for an upgrade. Their 1.5-storey home on London Street North had served them well, and the improvements they had made over the years – stainless steel appliances, new flooring, and an espresso kitchen and backsplash – had them feeling confident that they would be able to get close to their $299,900 asking price. “A house like this,” St. Jean says, “drop it in Mississauga and that’s probably $700,000. In Toronto, that’s over a million.” But the home’s


ADDRESS 94 London Street North Hamilton, ON

DOM 21

LISTING DATE April 11, 2016


SOLD DATE May 2, 2016

SOLD PRICE $280,094

STYLE 1.5-storey single-family home with backyard



advanced age and location near Hamilton’s waterfront – an area still suffering from a blighted reputation – meant its price tag was too high to generate the frenzy needed to drive prices up. St. Jean had discussed his pricing strategy with his clients, but they believed the market would prove them right. “In sellers’ minds, they’re always making compromises. Initially, they felt they were even compromising at that first number. With the market the way it is, I guess they just expect things to go for more than is even achievable.” So St. Jean agreed to stick with their desired price. The result? “Zero action. No offers. Nothing.” They then agreed to drop their price by $10,000. After another grim week of no activity, they finally got on board with St. Jean’s plan and knocked the price down to $249,900. Within 24 hours, they had received multiple offers. “We got it back up to $280,000, which was a number they would have been happy to get off the bat.” Suggesting a drop in the asking price is a tough sell, but St. Jean says it’s a conversation that needs to be had sooner rather than later. “Statistically, the longer a home is for sale, the less you’re probably going to achieve. Every day that ticks by, things are working against us.” He says that a decision to drop a price can safely be made within three to four days of a house going on the market. “We were lucky enough that we were able to roll it back a little later in the game and have it still work out.” Based on the severe lack of developable




Average price


Average price

Hamilton West





Hamilton East





Hamilton Centre





Hamilton Mountain




















land left in the region, St. Jean says the shift from consulting comparables to letting the market dictate what a home is worth could be a permanent one. If so, the next step for agents will be to convince the next generation of sellers of the seemingly counterintuitive success of aggressive pricing. “A list price doesn’t mean anything,” he says. “It’s a conversation that you’re opening up to potential buyers.” The evidence for St. Jean’s strategy is piling up. The night before he spoke with REP, he had just sold a property in Binbrook for an unprecedented amount. “The debate was, ‘Do we list it at $289,900, get $280,000 and call it a day?’ That’s what they wanted to do.” St. Jean convinced the sellers to drop their price to $269,000. In a matter of hours, it was sold – for $312,000. “There was no logic behind why that should have gone for $312,000,” he says. “The last two sales were way below. But I guarantee that, had we listed for $289,900, we would still be sitting here right now saying, ‘Where is everybody?’” REP

Source: April 2016 stats, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington




REP and its readers select 100 women whose achievements are advancing the real estate industry TO SAY that this year’s crop of Elite Women covers a wide swath of the Canadian real estate industry would be an understatement. From the wilds of British Columbia to the urban jungle of downtown Toronto, from major national franchises to independent agencies, from commercial superstars to small-town heroes, the 100


women on this list represent the best the industry has to offer. These innovators, thought leaders and advocates are not only transforming a formerly male-dominated industry, but also driving it and strengthening it. Their success is everyone’s, and we at REP are honoured to share it with you.





Aburaneh, Tahani


Tahani International/Tahani Development

Koltun, Petrina


Royal LePage Kelowna

Albert, Mylene


Creativ Realty

Lamant, Krystel


Royal LePage Du Quartier


Century 21 Immo-Plus

Alexander, Pamela


Re/Max Integra

Langtry, Angela

Archambault, Regan


Century 21 Advanced Realty

Lanser, Sharon


Sutton Seafair Realty

Aunger, Pauline


Royal LePage Advantage Brokerage

LaRocque, Darci


Darci Talks/Swirl Solutions

Bain, Debra


Re/Max Hallmark Realty Brokerage

Lawlor, Barbara


Baker Real Estate

Barsoum, Dalia


Centum Streetwise Mortgages

Le Roux, Candace


Real Estate Institute of Canada

Bartram, Tracy


Charlwood Pacific Group

LeValley, Suzanne


Longley Condominium Services

Beierback, Gemma


Calgary Real Estate Board

Lork, K.J.


Keller Williams Advantage Realty

Bien-Aime, Audrey


Re/Max Platine

Lyall, Corinne


Royal LePage Benchmark

Black, Kathleen


Kathleen Speaks Coaching and Consulting

Magallanes, Lorena


Stomp Realty

Boivin, Isabelle


Century 21 21 Innovation

Mak, Tina


Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty

Boutros, Manal


Re/Max Aboutowne Realty

Masri, Wafaa


W. Masri Notary Corporation

Bowlen, Marg


Century 21 Trident Realty

McGavigan, Alison


Colliers International

Brookes, Samantha


Mortgages of Canada

McKean, Heather


Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt

Browne, Carla


Century 21 Dome Realty

McLaren, Maura


Real Estate Institute of Canada

Brunet, Christine


Oak Realty

Mills, Sue


Royal LePage Signature Realty



Burjaw, Brenda


Alterna Savings and Credit Union

Milsom, Sherilynn

Cadeau, Lily


Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Centre

Mirza, Annie


Mortgage Intelligence

Carlson, Lindsay


NOW Real Estate Group

Mitchell, Linda


Royal LePage NL Realty

Cartwright, Dianna


Main Street Realty

Nedaie, Bev


Re/Max Real Estate Central

Cartwright, Wende


Savira Cultural & Capital Projects

Newton, Mandy


Adera Development Corporation

Cayer, Breanna


Cayer Investments

Nori, Sue


Royal LePage Real Estate Services

Chamberlain, Jennifer


Royal LePage Team Realty

Paint, Marie-Yvonne


Royal LePage Heritage


Century 21 Assurance Realty

Charlton, Melissa


Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty

Park, Myrna

Cheng, Carolyn


Royal LePage

Paron, Joyce


EXIT Realty

Corcoran, Sharon


Re/Max Fairlane Realty

Pittner, Linda


Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Corrado, Carmela



Rae, Christine


Certified Staging Professionals International Business Training Academy

Cosic, Debbie


In2ition Realty

Reich, Jeannette


Re/Max Landan Real Estate

de Aguiar, Cintia


Re/Max Ultimate Realty

Remillard, Louise


Profusion Realty

Dean, Brenda


Re/Max Mayne-Pender

Riddall, Gloria


Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty

Doak, Pam


EXIT Realty Advantage

Risi, Vivian


Royal LePage Your Community Realty

Elliott, Sarah


Hanlon Realty

Shortt, Sharon


EXIT Realty Group Brokerage

Evans, Joanne


Century 21 Millennium

Smith, Erica


Stomp Realty

Falcomer, Natalka



Smith, Maureen


Women's Millionaire/White Eagle Properties

Foat, KaraLee


Century 21 Summit Realty

Fowler, Ericka


Century 21

Spencer-Brown, Shanan


Royal LePage Shelter Foundation

Frodsham, Natalie


EXIT Ottawa Valley Real Estate

Spurgeon, Gail


Colliers International

Gardiner Thompson, Donna


Royal LePage Gardiner Realty

St. Jean, Teresa


St. Jean Realty

Stevens, Sarah


Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty Brokerage

Gering, Cindy


Royal LePage West Real Estate Services

Stone, Katrina


Royal LePage Parkway Realty

Grafton, Allison


Rockwood Custom Homes

Tetreault, Geneva


Century 21 Vantage Realty

Hackett, Merrily


Sutton Group – West Coast Realty

Toor, Jasmean


Edgar Development

Hanlon, Debbie


Debbie Hanlon Realty

Venuto, Enza


Centum Streetwise Mortgages

Heddle, Sue


Century 21 Miller

Walters, Lori


Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Heffner, Laura


Re/Max of Lloydminster

Westrheim, Amanda


Century 21 Assurance Realty

Hilchuk, Jacqueline


I Finance Construction

Wilkins, Stephanie


Royal LePage Connect Realty

Hiscock, Linda


Century 21 Seller's Choice

Wyant, Sandra


Re/Max LifeStyles Realty

Jacobs, Melissa


Bentall Kennedy

Yerxa, Jessie


EXIT Realty Advantage

Jacobson, Larissa


Bentall Kennedy

Yu, Morning


Metro Edge Realty

King, Anna


EXIT Real Estate Professionals

Zenker, Martha


Lisgar Commercial Real Estate

CHRISTINE BRUNET Oak Realty Elliot Lake, ON

For three years running, Christine Brunet has been one of the top 10 agents in Sault Ste. Marie. A longtime resident of neighbouring Elliot Lake, where she has been deeply involved in providing activities for the community’s youth since 1989, Brunet attributes her success to desire and honesty. “People know work ethic when they see it,” she says. “If you do customer service right, the commission will follow.” Brunet is committed to broadening her expertise, ensuring future success for both her and her clients.

PAULINE AUNGER Royal LePage Advantage Brokerage Smiths Falls, ON

Pauline Aunger was raised in a family where devoting your time and energy to others was a given. The qualities she developed while volunteering alongside her father – compassion and diligence – have served her well as broker of record at Royal LePage Advantage. Aunger continues to shape the industry as the immediate past president of the Canadian Real Estate Association, and the lives of others through her continued efforts to improve the cultural and educational landscape of Smiths Falls.



COVER STORY: ELITE WOMEN SUZANNE LEVALLEY Longley Condominium Services Calgary, AB

When Suzanne LeValley founded Longley Condominium Services in 2001, the company had in its charge one property and a total of 144 units. Now, due largely to LeValley’s leadership, the company manages 25 properties and more than 2,200 units. In addition to her duties at Longley, LeValley is a certified instructor at the Institute of Real Estate Management and served as President of REIC from 2011 to 2013. Two years later, the organization presented LeValley with its prestigious Emeritus Award.

ANGELA LANGTRY GEMMA BEIERBACK Calgary Real Estate Board Calgary, AB

To call Gemma Beierback an inspiration would be an understatement. After immigrating to Canada from England, her family soon faced financial ruin, but through resiliency and innovative thinking, Beierback’s father founded a successful business, instilling in his daughter the idea that adversity is just another form of opportunity. “If we become too attached to the idea of success, we risk becoming failure-averse,” she says, “and it is only through taking chances and being willing to fail that we can truly drive change and improvement.” Change has been central to Beierback’s tenure as manager of member practice at the Calgary Real Estate Board. By focusing her energy on professional development and rules compliance, Beierback hopes to increase the integrity and compassion associated with her industry. “Keeping in touch with your clients and being genuinely focused on their best interest is a fundamental principle of success in real estate,” she says. “The bottom line, though, is you need to sleep at night. There is no amount of money or accolade that can replace the feeling you get when you know you didn’t behave ethically.”


Century 21 Immo-Plus Montreal, QC

The lessons in honesty and independence Angela Langtry received while growing up in Ottawa have served her well in Montreal’s highly competitive market. (A French immersion education didn’t hurt either.) Wildly popular with her clients, Langtry says maintaining contact with past customers is a key component of her success. Her personable and giving approach to real estate is reflected in her charity work with both Easter Seals and Ride For Dad, an annual motorcycle ride that raises funds for prostate cancer. A fountain of wisdom and advice, Langtry encourages young brokers to find a mentor and stay on top of technological changes to the industry. Her most important piece of advice? “Love your job.”

DEBRA BAIN Re/Max Hallmark Realty Brokerage Toronto, ON

Debra Bain’s enthusiasm and savvy have taken her to the top of Toronto’s real estate market. Under her leadership, Re/Max Hallmark has grown to become Canada’s largest Re/Max franchise, spanning 12 locations – including Muskoka and Ottawa – and staffed by a force of more than 1,000 Realtors. But Bain feels there is more to success than expansion. “Our vision is not about the numbers, but the quality of people we hire,” she says. “I am focused on the agents’ training, production, performance and the overall quality that drives the business.” Support is a common theme with Bain. “I was lucky enough to have many mentors along the way who encouraged me,” she says. The first was her father, who enrolled her in the real estate course that started her career at the age of 21. The culture of encouragement she has been a part of in her years at Re/Max has been integral to her success – first as a top-producing Realtor, then as manager and now as owner. “A culture of support allows you to attract and develop top-producing agents,” she says. “It brings everyone’s game to a whole new level.” Bain attributes Re/Max Hallmark’s success to her policy of treating sales associates as independent businesspeople rather than employees, encouraging them to be both self-sufficient and accountable. “Their commitment and their passion for the business is essential,” she says. “If someone is passionate about the business and has the necessary discipline, sales skills will follow.” In addition to her staff’s growing list of accomplish­ ments, Bain is also proud of their contributions to the community, including the $1.6 million they have donated to Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.




After 30 unsatisfying years in accounting, an unforeseen company shakeup put Linda Mitchell on the road to real estate. “It was the best thing that could have happened,” she says, “because I am now doing what I love to do.” Mitchell’s focus on providing exemplary customer service has resulted in impressive sales every year for Royal LePage, but the high number of repeat clients she boasts is perhaps the more telling figure.

Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate Saskatoon, SK

As Royal LePage Saskatoon’s top agent since 2001, Linda Pittner has come a long way from her childhood in rural Quebec. Her 30 years of continued success in real estate are a testament to her strong work ethic and refusal to take anything for granted. When not contributing to her reputation as one of Saskatchewan’s top-producing agents, Pittner dedicates herself to stopping the abuse of women, and contributes to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Mortgage Intelligence Mississauga, ON

In her six years as broker at Mortgage Intelligence, Annie Mirza has moved the company to the forefront of Ontario’s mortgage industry. One of Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine’s Young Guns in 2015, Mirza’s integrity and focus on relationship-building have resulted in her establishing ties with more than 50 lenders across Canada. Mirza’s profile is on the rise, and she is quickly becoming a go-to expert for young mortgage professionals looking for mentorship and advice.


Groundworks Toronto, ON

The irony of Natalka Falcomer’s success is that she places so little emphasis on it. “It seems like this elusive goal that can never be attained because there is just so much to do and so many things to accomplish,” she says. “I don’t encourage anyone to obsess about working towards success, because you’ll always be waiting and feeling inadequate.” And yet, perhaps due to this approach, Falcomer has already achieved considerable acclaim. Her recently founded firm, Groundworks, offers inclusive, ‘plain English’ commercial real estate leasing services. She also provides free legal advice as host and producer of Toronto Speaks on Rogers TV and is an educational consultant for the Real Estate Institute of Canada.




BREANNA CAYER Cayer Investments Lethbridge, AB

For Breanna Cayer, real estate is all about freedom – freedom from routine, freedom from others’ expectations and the freedom to follow your dreams. Watching her father accumulate success as a Realtor made that freedom even more appealing. “I learned if I invested in myself by going to courses and reading books, I had the ability to become more than I ever imagined.” Cayer’s early success – including being recognized with a Top Investor Award nomination for Best Newcomer in 2015 – has inspired her even further. Her advice for investors looking for the same level of success: “Do something every day that brings you closer to where you want to be.”

LOUISE REMILLARD Profusion Realty Westmount, QC

Good luck finding another Realtor in Canada with the experience and wisdom of Louise Remillard. Raised by parents who were themselves innovative, passionate entrepreneurs, Remillard is a driving force in Montreal’s luxury real estate market, and carries on her family’s dual traditions of unconventional thinking and unfettered success. Formerly a teacher – but still very much an educator – Remillard discovered her true nature as a businesswoman after taking on a casual role at a local travel agency. Two years later, she was owner and president of two independent travel agencies. Seeing in 1994 the effect the internet was about to have on the travel industry, Remillard sold both agencies and turned her eye to real estate. Savvy, timely moves have characterized Remillard’s career and have brought her levels of acclaim and respect few people would imagine for themselves. Profusion Realty, the agency she founded in 2008, now controls five branches and was Christie’s International’s Affiliate of the Year in 2011. Despite her dealings with executive clients and exclusive properties, Remillard makes sure to give back. Every Profusion agent’s contract includes a clause that makes community involvement a condition of employment. That sense of generosity inspires Remillard’s professional decisions, too. “To succeed in real estate,” she says, “you need to give more. More training, more employee programs, more marketing tools, more sharing of ideas, more team-building activities, more international networks.”



Rockwood Custom Homes

EXIT Realty Advantage

Calgary, AB

Fredericton, NB

A product of the unique, self-sufficient culture of the Maritimes, Jessie Yerxa’s approach to real estate – one she calls “real estate reinvented” – is a mix of modern thinking and old-fashioned empathy. In her duties for EXIT Realty Advantage, Yerxa strives for impeccable client care and creative, out-of-the-box strategies. “Real estate is a business that can be worked in so many different ways,” she says, “so personalize your business to your taste, and it will become the reason you wake up happy.” One of Yerxa’s proudest innovations is Pawsitive Property, a fundraising initiative that sees $100 from every sale go to a local animal shelter. In just over a year, she has already generated $10,000, an unquestionable sign that “real estate reinvented” is taking hold.

LILY CADEAU Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Centre Barrie, ON

Lily Cadeau is not the only member this list to come from a human resources background. “Developing relationships built on trust was key,” she says. “When dealing with people, there is a personal element. Because of this, the transition into my real estate career was natural and even more satisfying.” A proud and generous resident of Oro-Medonte, Cadeau has devoted her time to both the Royal Victoria Hospital and the MacLaren Art Centre, where she was on the board of directors.

After 13 years of success in finance and venture capitalism, Allison Grafton started Rockwood in 2009 to marry her business acumen to the experience she gained building and renovating 10 unique properties. She has grown Rockwood from a boutique construction and renovation company into a multiple-award-winning firm that has already completed a number of exclusive developments and more than 65 custom homes. Grafton herself has also been recognized multiple times for her leadership, winning the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneurs’ Momentum Award in 2015 and the Business in Calgary Leaders of Tomorrow Award in 2014, as well as being named an Entrepreneur of the Year by both CIBC and Ernst & Young.




Real estate agents aren’t generally described as generous or selfless, but Jeannette Reich is helping to change that perception. Prior to her life in the real estate industry, Reich was a registered operating room nurse, specializing in cardiac and thoracic surgery. While she might have left behind the stress and life-or-death drama of the OR, her desire to help others has only grown stronger over time. Working alongside her son in the tumultuous Calgary market, Reich’s priority is the satisfaction of her clients. “The clients need to come first,” she says, “not money. Yes, the financial reward is there – I just don’t believe it can be your priority if you want to be truly successful.” The long hours, extended strategy sessions and never-ending open houses are taxing, but Reich feels they are just the happily paid cost of finding the perfect home. Reich’s success has greatly helped in her support of Rescue Mission, a charitable organization helping at-risk groups in Cambodia. “I believe this is extremely important,” she says. “Not because I feel good about it, though I do, but because we are so blessed in Canada.”

LINDA HISCOCK Century 21 Seller’s Choice St. John’s, NL

CANDACE LE ROUX Real Estate Institute of Canada Vancouver, BC

As president of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Candace Le Roux is in the ideal position to inspire and lead the industry to new heights of integrity. Her goals for the REIC include increasing the relevance and timeliness of the education provided to its members and promoting the multiple designations within the profession. As a human resources expert, Le Roux understands the value of attracting good people to the industry. “People are your biggest asset,” she says. “Treat them with respect and ensure they are held accountable.”


The growth experienced by Century 21 Seller’s Choice in St. John’s over the past 18 years is largely due to Linda Hiscock. As director of customer appreciation, Hiscock is responsible for ensuring the satisfaction of the brokerage’s clients and cultivating lasting relationships with them. “We work together every day, helping our office grow,” she says of the business she manages with her husband. Hiscock also pours a great deal of effort into raising money for Easter Seals, for whom she has been a top fundraiser. “It is truly amazing what these kids can accomplish with a little help from us.”

LARISSA JACOBSON Bentall Kennedy Vancouver, BC

As both the director of leasing at Bentall Kennedy and the board director and immediate past president of Commercial Real Estate Women Vancouver, Larissa Jacobson garners a lot of respect. Her leasing experience is vast and has taken her from Calgary to Toronto to her current home of Vancouver. Jacobson grew up in a small town as part of a family that she says did not value education, a situation that inspired a hunger for bigger and better things, so her leading role at CREW comes as no surprise. For women hoping to reach higher levels of success and influence in the Canadian real estate industry, Jacobson says positivity is key. “You have to believe you can make it and never, ever give up.”



Tahani International/Tahani Development

Bentall Kennedy

Cambridge, ON

Toronto, ON

Growing up in the unspoiled beauty of Thunder Bay cultivated in Melissa Jacobs a strong connection to her surroundings. The resulting desire to preserve the natural environment led her to Toronto and a career in sustainability, which has so far seen her establish the World Green Building Council Secretariat and manage sustainability efforts for both Sears Canada and Bentall Kennedy, her current employer. “The work that I do means something to me and has a tangible, positive impact on the environment,” she says. “It keeps me motivated to continuously improve.” Outside of her work for Bentall Kennedy, Jacobs has been an active supporter of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, raising money and awareness for the organization by twice climbing the CN Tower and participating in February’s bone-chilling Polar Dip. She also has led a vigorous fundraising initiative for the WWF Canada at Bentall Kennedy, raising more than $67,000 for the organization and helping Bentall Kennedy become the charity’s Living Planet @ Work Company of the Year for 2014 and 2015.

KRYSTEL LAMANT Royal LePage Du Quartier Montreal, QC

MARG BOWLEN Century 21 Trident Realty Dartmouth, NS

For Krystel Lamant, evolution is key to success. “In Montreal, my partners and I noticed a lack of structure, support, coaching and training,” she says. “At Royal LePage Du Quartier, we developed an integrated continuous learning program to allow brokers to upgrade their knowledge in a multi-faceted learning environment.” Well on her way to becoming one of the top brokers in a highly competitive Quebec market, Lamant’s dedication to education and improvement – both her own and that of her colleagues – is inspiring.

Marg Bowlen has been a fixture of Dartmouth’s real estate scene since 1980. In talking about her career, a common theme with Bowlen is respect. “Hard work and long hours are definitely a big part, but I believe that one has to treat people with respect and genuinely care about them – not just care about what they give back to you.” Bowlen’s ethics also inspire her work with Easter Seals and her Friday morning ritual for the past eight years – cooking breakfast for the students of a local elementary school.

Tahani Aburaneh would be a credit to any industry, but thankfully for readers of REP, she has chosen real estate. A true survivor and humanitarian, Aburaneh’s story is one of struggle, courage and compassion. Few would have expected Aburaneh, born in a Jordanian refugee camp and married at 15 to a man she had never seen, to achieve such astounding levels of success. Aburaneh is the face, heart and soul of a flourishing real estate empire that includes elite brokerage services, best-selling books, sold-out speaking engagements and will soon include condo design and development. Aburaneh’s voice has become a vital component of any conversation about North American real estate. In addition to sharing her knowledge with investors and inspiring them to follow her path of innovation and intensity, Aburaneh channels much of her energy to assisting women in need: 100% of her book royalties are donated to charity, including CARE. org and Daughters For Life, a scholarship program for women from the Middle East. She has also started a partnership aimed at developing a nonprofit organization that will help women in the third world. “It is about them and never about you,” Aburaneh says in regard to her clients, but her philosophy of selflessness and humility clearly extends to everyone lucky enough to find themselves crossing her path.





Keller Williams Advantage Realty Toronto, ON

K.J. Lork’s love for her city has helped make her a leader at Keller Williams Advantage. “I love all the different pockets that make up our great city,” Lork says of Toronto. “Being exposed to so many cultures and ethnic backgrounds helps shape who we are.” In addition to putting her clients at the forefront of her work, Lork has given back to Toronto by participating in various charitable events, including Spin For Kids, the CN Tower Climb, the Canadian Women’s Foundation 5K and the Sporting Life 10K. “If your friends don’t laugh at your goals,” she says, “you’re not thinking big enough.”

BRENDA BURJAW Alterna Savings and Credit Union Toronto, ON

Brenda Burjaw seemed destined for a life in real estate. From childhood, when her favourite hobby was building cities, to university, when she was convinced by a professor to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning, there had always been a pull toward property. Now, as senior account manager of commercial services at Alterna Savings and Credit Union, Burjaw combines her social, creative and even mathematical prowess to better serve the commercial real estate community in Toronto. “Success in this industry comes from setting realistic goals, making connections and continuing to learn from those around you,” she says. “Get involved.”

Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Oakville, ON

Raised in Alexandria, Egypt, Manal Boutros spent years working with the United Nations and World Health Organization to prevent the spread of AIDS in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Her transition to real estate might surprise most people, but for Boutros, it’s just another way of helping people meet their needs. While Boutros is used to dealing with luxury properties and elite clientele, she attributes her success to honesty, humility and respect. “I like to treat people like they are family to me,” she says. Having witnessed both the best and the worst of what the world can dish out, Boutros’ advice to other brokers is simple: “Love the people you serve, and amazing results will follow you everywhere you go.”

PAM DOAK EXIT Realty Advantage Fredericton, NB

“Before becoming a Realtor, I had a variety of work experiences, but they all had one common denominator – customer service,” says Pam Doak of EXIT Realty Advantage. “I learned at an early age the importance of truly listening to people and then delivering.” Doak got her start in real estate when she was 18, but her desire to improve the lot of those around her has been with her from a much earlier age, the product of her father’s entrepreneurial drive and her mother’s tireless volunteer work. An unquestionable producer and a dedicated humanitarian, Doak’s energy is astounding. She comes across as a tornado made of hugs. It’s difficult to do justice to Doak’s philanthropy. She founded the Fredericton Women’s Executive as a way to help at-risk young women continue their education. She is currently helping the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital raise $2.2 million to renovate its pediatric unit. She also supports local homeless initiatives and spent time in Haiti helping communities cope with the devastation of the 2010 earthquake. Doak’s future is set to be dizzyingly busy – a new subdivision project, a return to Haiti to drill a well – but she’s also looking forward to some much-needed family time. “One of life’s most simple pleasures is spending time with those we love,” she says, “and I think I have earned it.”


ALISON MCGAVIGAN Colliers International Edmonton, AB

Growing up in St. Albert, Alberta, with an urban planner father is what first sparked Alison McGavigan’s love of real estate. As a senior associate with Colliers International in Edmonton, McGavigan’s broadening experience, which now includes development land, office buildings, industrial and investment hospitality properties, is bringing her closer to her dream of establishing her own development company. McGavigan hopes to redevelop and revitalize older properties important to Edmonton’s history and culture, bringing together the city’s history with her own.



Royal LePage Kelowna

Century 21 Assurance Realty

Kelowna, BC

Kelowna, BC

Petrina Koltun’s life as a Saskatchewan Roughriders cheerleader may be long behind her, but the enthusiasm, energy and dedication she showed as a dancer for the Green and White are as prevalent as ever. In her nearly eight years as a Realtor at Royal LePage Kelowna, Koltun has found not just success, but balance. “I attribute my love affair and happiness with real estate to balance,” she says. “I believe it takes love and support from family, brokers, mentors and coaches to allow someone to balance a very busy life like mine.” Between the current boom in Kelowna’s market and her growing profile as a public speaker, Koltun will have ample opportunity to test that balance.

It’s hard to find anyone as in love with her job as Amanda Westrheim. “I was 6 years old when I knew I wanted to be a Realtor when I grew up,” she says. “I would always tour visitors through our home, pointing out the features. Trick-or-treating as a kid, I remember caring less about the candy and more about peering into other people’s homes. Before real estate, I was in high school. It’s all I’ve ever done.” Westrheim’s enthusiasm is crucial to her lasting success in Kelowna’s now-booming market. “It takes years of commitment and perseverance to find balance in real estate, but that will come,” she says. In 2016, she began The Westrheim Group, a venture that will allow young Realtors working alongside Westrheim to develop the same skills and habits that have made her one of the region’s top producers and savviest investors.



Charlwood Pacific Group

Royal LePage Shelter Foundation

Vancouver, BC

Toronto, ON

Tracy Bartram has been with the Charlwood Pacific Group since 1982, and her extensive experience has made her an integral part of the company’s executive team. She is not only Charlwood’s CFO, overseeing legal affairs, accounting and HR, but she is also senior vice-president and CFO of Century 21, leading the company’s financial, legal and administrative departments.

As the head of Royal LePage’s charitable organization, Shanan Spencer-Brown is responsible for turning good intentions into tangible results. In 2015, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation raised $2.3 million to fight domestic violence. “Royal LePagers know that a house is only truly a home if the people who live there feel safe and loved,” she says. “Sadly, that’s not the case for thousands of Canadian women and children living with abuse.” While the Shelter Foundation has been doing fantastic work, Spencer-Brown wants to do more, such as increasing support for healthy relationship education at schools across Canada and doubling the annual amount the organization raises. “We have such an amazing group of supporters that I’m sure we can do it!” she says.



COVER STORY: ELITE WOMEN JOANNE EVANS Century 21 Millennium Collingwood, ON

Joanne Evans got into real estate in 1986 as a way of providing for her four children. Thirty years later, she oversees a staff of 180 as the broker of record and co-owner of one of the top 10 Century 21 firms in Canada. Evans uses her success to support several charitable initiatives, including Caring for Kids, the My Friends’ House women’s shelter and TenderFeet.

ISABELLE BOIVIN Century 21 21 Innovation Montreal, QC

MYLENE ALBERT Creativ Realty Dieppe, NB

Mylene Albert’s large, tight-knit family taught her the value of loyalty. “I apply that every day in my business,” she says. “Surround yourself with like-minded people with the same values you have. Be honest and honourable in every transaction.” A supportive team player, Albert hopes to provide mentorship and out-ofthe-box solutions to smaller brokerages by bringing them into the Creativ Reality fold. “We want to offer franchises to small but elite teams so that everyone can and will accomplish more for those who matter the most – their clients.”

Isabelle Boivin is one of Montreal real estate’s brightest lights. The owner of two thriving agencies – one of which, Century 21, has won the Centurion Office Award every year since 2012 – Boivin currently oversees six offices and 75 agents throughout the City of Saints. She is a tireless philanthropist who has contributed her resources to a number of causes, including the fights against multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and autism.

LORRI WALTERS Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate Saskatoon, SK

Coming from Saskatchewan, it’s no surprise that Lorri Walters maintains a realistic, respectful approach toward her customers and her profession. “I treat others as I wish to be treated,” she says, noting that her reliability and availability are what clients appreciate most about her. Like a number of Royal LePage employees, Walters is involved in her company’s Shelter Foundation, but she is also an avid supporter of the Saskatoon Diversity Network and OutSaskatoon. “Everyone deserves to feel safe,” she says.

BARBARA LAWLOR Baker Real Estate Toronto, ON

After 30 years of experience in the Toronto condominium market, Barbara Lawlor could rightly be considered the city’s Condo Queen. The president and CEO of Baker Real Estate, Lawlor’s career comes down to three words: “People are everything.” A former entertainer, Lawlor has always been adept at capturing the interest of others. But turning that interest into results takes more than just charisma; it takes credibility and caring as well. Lawlor attributes her success to another influential woman, the founder of the company that bears her name. “My leadership style is inspired by Pat Baker,” she says. “She set the example of caring about each other, our clients and their buyers. Like Pat, I engage people in teamwork and collaboration, and I listen to the suggestions of my team members. I care what they think, and I consider everything they say when I make decisions.”


GAIL SPURGEON Colliers International Vancouver, BC

After a career in advertising, Gail Spurgeon has spent the past 10 years managing commercial properties in the Greater Vancouver area. “I was offered a shopping centre manager job before I realized shopping centres had managers,” she says. The lessons learned over the course of a successful battle with breast cancer have made Spurgeon a leader in male-dominated sector of the industry. “Commercial real estate is still a man’s world, so be ready to fight for what you want and never give up on the job expectations you have.”

DIANNA CARTWRIGHT Main Street Realty Newmarket, ON

Currently managing 120 agents at Main Street Realty, Dianna Cartwright chalks her success up to 20 years of professional development. “You need to educate yourself consistently with professional training,” she says. Raised by a single mother alongside five siblings, Cartwright started her life with a strong role model who taught her the value of hard work, sacrifice and generosity, qualities that shine through in both her career and her work with the Women’s Shelter of York Region, the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital and York Region Bereaved Families. “I believe in giving back to the community that has given to me for so many years,” she says.





Debbie Hanlon Real Estate

W. Masri Notary Corporation

St. John’s, NL

Vancouver, BC

“Work smart, not hard,” says Debbie Hanlon. “When I got into the industry, it was very much an old boys’ club with characters who lived from sale to sale without much thought or planning. I developed systems for all the areas of real estate work my agents

The fact that Wafaa Masri is the only notary public on this year’s list should tell you a lot about her popularity in the Vancouver market. Aside from providing a wealth of critical services, including transfers, sales, lines of credit and leases, Masri says she hopes to make a difference in the lives of her clients. Following a law career

and I did.” Hanlon’s organized approach to business has served her well: She is both a successful real estate agent and certified mortgage broker, and has been named to a number of prestigious lists, including Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs.

that included a position at the attorney general’s office in Phoenix, Arizona, Masri relocated to Vancouver in 2001 and has never looked back.

DALIA BARSOUM Centum Streetwise Mortgages Woodbridge, ON

Raised in Kuwait by parents who were both medical professionals, Dalia Barsoum’s family “was as far away from entrepreneurship as it gets. Both my parents were career employees. While very successful, they didn’t see the allure of starting one’s own business.” Ironically, Barsoum’s parents’ focus on hard work, education and the importance of fulfilling client needs has been the key to her success at Centum Streetwise Mortgages. After years as an investor, Barsoum turned her attention to the industry full-time following the market crash in 2008. “To me it was the best of both worlds – the ability to build a business, and in an industry that I love.” A computer science valedictorian who formerly managed billions as a wealth management specialist, Barsoum has proven herself a master of the dynamic rigours of real estate financing. Barsoum says providing extra value to clients is crucial to success. “I think anyone can give the ‘best rate’,” she says. “My team and I work very hard to share our knowledge of investing with our clients, educating them and helping them build long-term real estate investment plans that go far beyond the scope of a few mortgage applications.” Barsoum also encourages other lenders to serve a niche market and become the very best at it. “By helping our clients, they continue to come to us for knowledge and advice, and that is ultimately the key to future success.”


SHARON LANSER Sutton Seafair Realty Richmond, BC

Sharon Lanser grew up on a farm in southern Alberta, caring for four older brothers and a chronically ill mother. Although her childhood was one of uncertainty, Lanser says it shaped who she is. “I would not change a thing, with the exception of my mother’s health.” Prior to her life in real estate, Lanser worked as a restaurant manager, a lab technician and a flight attendant. Her growing success as a sales rep at Sutton Seafair Realty is allowing her to devote more of her resources to helping sick children in remote areas of BC. “Hang out with the people who share your values,” she says. “It is what is changing my future.”

CARMELA CORRADO Metrolinx Toronto, ON

Carmela Corrado’s family taught her the rewards of hard work. Judging by the success she is having as senior property manager at Metrolinx, the lesson was well learned. While Corrado was initially unsure whether real estate was the right career for her, a move from residential to commercial property changed her mind and strengthened her resolve. “I put my heart and soul into it,” she says. “It makes me happy to have happy customers. It means I did something right.”




Re/Max LifeStyles Realty

EXIT Ottawa Valley Real Estate

Centum Streetwise Mortgages

Maple Ridge, BC

Pembroke, ON

Woodbridge, ON

A 25-year industry veteran, Sandra Wyant is proudly carrying on a family tradition started by her father. “My dad said he was never in the sales business; he was only involved in developing relationships,” Wyant says. Adopting her father’s perspective has made Wyant exceedingly popular in Maple Ridge. “Most of my work comes

Self-awareness and an openness are qualities Natalie Frodsham considers to be crucial to success in real estate. “Be open to change and others’ ideas,” she says. “Know your strengths and weaknesses.” After spending eight years as a stay-at-home mom, Frodsham knew it was time to re-enter the workforce. Wanting a career where she could leverage her natural drive and fearlessness, she chose real estate. Judging by the success she has experienced in her time with EXIT Ottawa Valley Real Estate, Frodsham clearly has chosen wisely.

Growing up in an immigrant household taught Enza Venuto that success can only be preceded by hard work. It also fostered a strong appreciation for the challenges all families go through, which has shaped her work at Centum Streetwise Mortgages. “I know the value of being part of a community,” she says. “I enjoy working hand

from referrals and past clients,” she says, “which is a great blessing.” Wyant shows her gratitude by providing school supplies to children in Costa Rica and by being a member of the Ridge Meadows Salvation Army community council.

in hand with the people in the community who require our time and care.” Venuto hopes to pass the passion she feels for her work onto her sons, and looks forward to the day when she can “help them become more successful than me.”

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Teresa St. Jean has helped build St. Jean Realty into one of the most successful brokerages in Hamilton, and her leadership has the company poised to reap the benefits of one of the hottest housing markets in Canada. A masterful negotiator and builder of relationships, St. Jean is available to her sales representatives at all hours, ready to provide training, encouragement and her services as broker of record. Her generosity also includes 30 years of sponsoring foster children through World Vision. “I am driven to be the best at what I do,” she says. “I want to create one of the best sales teams in the country.”

WENDE CARTWRIGHT Savira Cultural & Capital Projects Toronto, ON

MANDY NEWTON Adera Development Corporation Vancouver, BC

“Real estate can be a very competitive and challenging career,” says Mandy Newton, “but at the end of the day, it is very relationship- and knowledge-based.” Newton’s emphasis on maximizing her own knowledge has been central to her rise at Adera, where she is currently VP of shared services. As current president of Commercial Real Estate Women in Vancouver, facilitating relationships for women in the industry is a top priority. “My CREW network is invaluable,” she says. “I know I can pick up the phone and be connected to the best in the business at any aspect of the industry in just about any market across North America.”


Melding the power of culture, architecture and technology, Wende Cartwright has long been considered one of the most forward-thinking women of our time. As the president and CEO of the innovative Savira Cultural + Capital Projects, Cartwright facilitates remarkable capital projects. Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, the upcoming Globe and Mail Centre and Boston’s Symphony Hall all carry the Savira stamp. Cartwright is also deeply involved in the arts. She served as director of performing arts for the Vancouver Olympics and is currently executive director/producer at Roy Thomson and Massey Hall.

REGAN ARCHAMBAULT Century 21 Advanced Realty Winnipeg, MB

Regan Archambault joined her husband, Geoff, at Century 21 Advanced in 2008. “It was a scary step,” she says. “In this business we start every year at zero, with no idea how much income to expect.” But by cultivating deep ties to their community, the Archambaults have become the go-to Realtors in their segment of the Winnipeg market, and have been awarded the Century 21 Centurion Team Award every year since joining forces. The couple’s team approach also has allowed them to devote a considerable amount of energy to charity. Displayed prominently on Archambaults’ website are links to the scholarship they fund and the charities they contribute a portion of every sale to, including the North End Family Centre. “As Realtors, we all know that you don’t just buy four walls and a roof when you buy a home,” Archambault says. “You invest into a community.”

SUE NORI Royal LePage Real Estate Services Oakville, ON

As a former physiotherapist turned real estate mogul, Sue Nori knows a thing or two about pivoting. “If you have a desire to keep learning in your field of interest, then you know you are in the right career. If you feel stagnant and uninspired, it is time to switch gears and try something new.” After years of transforming bargain purchases into valuable investment properties, Nori’s “something new” became a full-time job in real estate in 2014. Currently thriving in the OakvilleBurlington market, Nori is also the owner of an up-and-coming pre-sale preparation business.


As president and founder of QDHomeQuest, Sherilynn Milsom has gone from being the owner of a handful of rental properties to the top of Alberta’s growing rent-to-own industry. “I have a long way to go to get there,” she says about the level of success and freedom she envisions for herself, “but exciting opportunities to work with new investors are coming my way.” Real estate, with its fluid and dynamic nature, appeals to Milsom’s sense of adventure and desire to learn. “If you never try something new, never step outside your comfort zone, you’ll always live in that limited world housed within it.”



COVER STORY: ELITE WOMEN CHRISTINE RAE Certified Staging Professionals International Business Training Academy

EXIT Realty Group Brokerage Belleville, ON

St. Catharines, ON

Not many people can say they are shaping an entire industry, but Christine Rae is one of them. Widely considered to be the leading expert in real estate staging, Rae and her company, Certified Staging Professionals, have provided more than 5,000 entrepreneurs with the training, tools and credibility necessary to begin their own staging businesses. Rae, also the successful author of the bestseller Home Staging for Dummies, has received numerous awards for her work, including the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Real Estate Staging Association.

Sharon Shortt’s own first experience dealing with a Realtor was far from positive. “I thought, if he can do as well as he does and not have integrity, imagine what I could be if I truly cared about the well-being of all my clients.” Shortt has made empathy a priority in her office; as a result, she has been one of Belleville’s top Realtors for the past 30 years.



Re/Max Real Estate Central

Metro Edge Realty

Calgary, AB

Richmond, BC

Bev Nedaie left her life as a biochemist behind when she moved with her new husband to Calgary. “I was investigating what I should do so that I can be of service to my fellow human beings, make a good living and love my work,” she says. She settled on real estate, which she says has been her most rewarding career thus far. Nedaie believes in setting big goals – and whether it’s continuing to produce for one of the most successful Re/Max agencies in Canada or following through on her desire to construct a school in Africa, there’s no evidence to suggest she won’t succeed.

Metro Edge knew they were adding a winner to their team when they brought Morning Yu on board earlier this year. Greater Vancouver’s number-seven agent in 2015, Yu has been on an upward trajectory ever since she switched careers from insurance to real estate in 2010. Prior to joining Metro Edge, Yu had led her team to become New Coast Realty’s most successful team and was named the company’s Salesperson of the Year in 2012. Yu also won the BC Outstanding Chinese Women Award in 2011.

STEPHANIE WILKINS Royal LePage Connect Realty Toronto, ON

Stephanie Wilkins was a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor prior to joining forces with Royal LePage Connect in 2011, and she has brought that same intensity for wealth creation to her new career. With a broad skill set that extends from first-time buyers to investment properties, Wilkins is a true asset to her clients, who continue to benefit from her tactical thinking and customized strategies.



ERICKA FOWLER Century 21 Brandon, MB

Ericka Fowler works in the smallest market of all our Elite Women, but that doesn’t diminish the impact she has had on buyers and sellers alike. Beloved by her clients, Fowler had once contemplated a life in horticulture, but the search for more stability for her family inspired her to change course, much to the town of Brandon’s benefit. Her motto? “Work hard, learn from your mistakes and don’t sweat the small stuff!”



Royal LePage Parkway Realty

Stomp Realty

Peterborough, ON

Toronto, ON

Katrina Stone established herself in Taiwan as the founder and director of Aegis Financial Services, where her expertise was the catalyst for a number of the company’s high-reward institutional investments. Upon relocating to Canada in 2007, Stone went to work as a broker for Royal LePage, where she facilitates strategic investment by bringing together her clients and global investors. Dedicated not only to her own success and that of Royal LePage Parkway, Stone is a member of M&A Source, an organization focused on advancing professional development training for merger & acquisition professionals.

As the broker of record for Stomp Realty and the founder of its sister company, Condo Chicks, Erica Smith is well aware of the issues facing young women trying to make their mark on real estate. She says she wants to “encourage more women to have the confidence to succeed in male-driven industries. We as women have a naturally nurturing side that is a great asset when dealing with clients. It brings a bit of ‘heart’ back to the industry.” The success of Smith’s fresh, feminist approach to the Toronto real estate market makes it seem both savvy and long overdue.

JENNIFER CHAMBERLAIN Royal LePage Team Realty Kanata, ON

One night, out wandering and contemplating a career change that would put her in more rewarding and challenging situations, Jennifer Chamberlain saw a Career Night sign hanging outside a real estate brokerage. Five months later, she had her licence. In the years since, Chamberlain has been growing her business at Royal LePage Team Realty by investing in people and building relationships, which she sees as a smarter investment than bulk advertising. “Much higher rewards,” she says, “and everyone benefits.”

PAMELA ALEXANDER Re/Max Integra Mississauga, ON

Pamela Alexander was 12 years old when she started answering phones in the office that employed her father. She’s now the CEO of Re/Max Integra and managing director for three regions in the US and Canada, and oversees more than 10,000 sales associates. Alexander says all real estate professionals have a duty to represent the industry well, something she puts into practice both professionally and in her charity work for Plan Canada, which awarded her the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for the more than $500,000 she has donated to the organization.

JASMEAN TOOR Edgar Development Vancouver, BC

As the VP of Real Estate Finance for Edgar Development, Jasmean Toor has been guiding some of Vancouver’s most exciting and profitable properties for the past five years. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Commercial Real Estate Women Vancouver. “Not only has CREW expanded my network,” she says, “but it has also provided me with mentors who I can count on and learn from.”

SARAH J. STEVENS Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty Brokerage Barrie, ON

A 2016 Top Investor finalist for Multi-Family Investor of the Year, Sarah Stevens was already managing a spectacular portfolio of properties long before she obtained her real estate licence in 2010. Now, as a Realtor for Century 21 in Barrie, Stevens is putting both her real estate and financial expertise (she was deeply involved in commercial banking and corporate risk management prior to her real estate career) to work for her clients, often surprising them with the results. “To me,” she says, “that is success – being able to help someone when they think it is impossible.”




MAURA MCLAREN Real Estate Institute of Canada

Mortgages of Canada

Toronto, ON

Toronto, ON

A former stuntwoman, Samantha Brookes knows a thing or two about dealing with risk, which may be why she has been so successful at helping her clients navigate the challenges and potential pitfalls of real estate financing. At Mortgages of Canada, the company she founded in 2014, Brookes leverages her 14 years of experience to simplify and streamline the mortgage process for her growing list of clients. Brookes is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and can be seen on BNN sharing her insights on the Canadian housing market. Looking ahead to new opportunities as an author and motivational speaker, Brookes says, “I have always wanted more for myself.”

As executive director and CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Maura McLaren has been responsible for developing REIC’s objectives and policies since 2004. She is, without question, one of the most influential women in Canadian real estate. Currently battling cancer, McLaren is still selflessly dedicated to her duties with REIC. “My goals are aligned with those for REIC,” she says. “To see more brokers and sales representatives get the education and professional development that will assist them in achieving their goals. To see higher levels of professionalism and ethics in our industry, which will build customer trust and loyalty.” Having been an executive for almost 37 years, McLaren has many lessons to impart. Her advice for real estate professionals – and a critical factor in her own success – is to commit to lifelong learning. “I would strongly recommend that they continue their education and consider attaining a designation to further their knowledge and differentiate themselves in the very competitive environment where they work. And of course, always make sure that you are having fun!”

MAUREEN SMITH Women’s Millionaire/White Eagle Properties Toronto, ON

After 20 years as a teacher, and a lifetime spent making her voice heard in the music industry, Maureen Smith felt that it was time to establish herself in a new arena. She has poured herself into her new career, channelling the considerable profits of her land development company, White Eagle Properties, into Women’s Millionaire, her real estate consultancy/business coaching firm. Smith is a contributor to the United Way and Musicounts, which provides funding for music programs to underfunded communities and schools in Canada.

CINTIA DE AGUIAR Re/Max Ultimate Realty Toronto, ON

When Cintia de Aguiar’s family left Rio de Janeiro for Toronto, she was nine years old. But even at that young age, she saw her new home as a place of growth and development. “There was just so much joy in everything I did,” she says. As a high school student, she participated in a co-op program at a Re/ Max Home Centre, which sold her on selling. As far back as 2009, de Aguiar’s expanding client base made the creation of her own office seem inevitable. In 2014, after being the number-one team for Re/Max Ultimate for eight years, de Aguiar and the two agents working beneath her opened up their first office at College and Dufferin. While focused on growing her team and expanding its areas of expertise, de Aguiar is also in the process of establishing her own charitable foundation. “You only have one life to live,” she says. “Make sure you live it with purpose.”


MARIE-YVONNE PAINT Royal LePage Heritage Montreal, QC

Marie-Yvonne Paint’s career has been awe-inspiring. She has won more than 120 awards and has the distinction of selling the most expensive property in the history of Quebec, a $13.2 million slice of paradise in Magog. Paint’s success would be astounding enough on its own, but it is truly miraculous when her upbringing in war-era Vietnam is factored in. Paint has become the go-to agent for exclusive sales in the Montreal area – she was even called in to sell Brian Mulroney’s former home – but her modesty and generosity are still very much intact.

LORENA MAGALLANES Stomp Realty Toronto, ON

Lorena Magallanes is not the only member of Stomp Realty/Condo Chicks to make this list, which speaks volumes about the success these vibrant young companies are having. Magallanes has been involved in real estate since she was 16 and working as the assistant to a Realtor. In her early 20s, the combined impact of her urban development studies and a job at a condo sales center solidified her love for the industry and armed her with the expertise needed to excel in the explosive Toronto condo market. “If you work hard, are good to people and are motivated,” she says, “great things do come your way.”




CINDY GERING Royal LePage West Real Estate Services Coquitlam, BC

One of the top Realtors at Royal LePage West, Cindy Gering is used to giving her all to her clients. It’s a habit she established in her previous career as a social worker, where she provided counselling and crisis intervention support for British Columbia’s abused and mentally challenged. Despite the demands of the busy Coquitlam market, Gering still finds time to support a number of causes, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and Adopt-a-Village Laos.


Re/Max Fairlane Realty

Royal LePage Signature Realty

Truro, NS

Toronto, ON

Sharon Corcoran was inducted into Re/ Max’s Hall of Fame after only five years with the company, and she has since received both the Platinum Club and the 100% Club awards. In the business since 1979, Corcoran is considered the ‘rock’ of the RE/MAX Fairlane family – she’s the firm’s owner, broker and Realtor – and she is valued by colleagues and clients alike for her straightforward, energetic style. Corcoran is also one of the leaders of the Colchester East Hants Hospice Society, which provides support and services for Truro residents who have been touched by tragedy.

Sue Mills left the stability of a job at IBM to pursue her passion for real estate. ”I always knew I wanted to help families,” she says. Mills spent much of her childhood accompanying her father as he researched properties or held open houses, and learned from him the skills that have made her one of the top reps at Royal LePage Signature: expertise, honesty and relationship-building. Mills’ team takes pride in its charity work, sponsoring a number of children’s charities, including Upper Canada Choristers, Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, and Future Possibilities for Kids.

MYRNA PARK Century 21 Assurance Realty Kelowna, BC

As a child, Myrna Park was fascinated by seeing her initials, MLS, on For Sale signs around Edmonton. After joining the industry at age 24, Park got an inside look at real estate and liked what she saw. “What I liked about real estate then – and still do – is how the industry makes my brain fire on all cylinders.” Her role as managing broker of a very young staff is a challenging one, but her credentials in behavioural and motivational psychology have helped Park’s relatively small team of 55 agents become one of Century 21’s top agencies in Canada. “I like to think of myself as a mirror,” she says, “being able to reflect the greatness of those I encounter each day.”



EXIT Realty

Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty

Mississauga, ON

Milton, ON

Joyce Paron has been the president of EXIT’s Canadian division since 2001. Under Paron’s leadership, EXIT’s brokerages have seen their market shares skyrocket, putting the company on pace to reach its goal of 340 franchised offices and 18,000 professionals working under the EXIT banner. Recognized as one of Swanepoel’s 100 Most Influential Women in Real Estate, Paron has also been the recipient of a number of awards.



“If you are the smartest person in the room,” says Melissa Charlton, “you are in the wrong room.” A devout believer in emulating the habits of successful people, Charlton is now in the position to be that model for a new generation of agents, often exchanging tips and insight for donations to the Milton Food Bank. After 10 years of success in Milton, Charlton is now devising plans for meeting her goal of 500 deals in a single year by 2020.

CORINNE LYALL Royal LePage Benchmark Calgary, AB

Corinne Lyall has been helping build Royal LePage Benchmark since 1997. In that time, she has performed every conceivable duty at the agency, accumulating the experience and expertise that led to her becoming manager in 2004 and owner/president in 2007. As the immediate past president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, Lyall continues to devote much of her time to maintaining the vitality and integrity of her beloved city’s real estate industry.

GLORIA RIDDALL Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty Mississauga, ON

Gloria Riddall was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at a very young age, pounding the pavement as both a papergirl and a door-to-door saleswoman before she finished elementary school. The satisfaction she derived from growing her first business established a lifelong pattern of setting and exceeding her own high expectations. Riddall flourished as a seller for 23 years, eventually becoming the co-owner of her own brokerage in 2003. Now, as broker of record for Royal LePage Meadowtowne, Riddall manages and nurtures a group of 280 salespeople in five locations.

MERRILY HACKETT Sutton Group – West Coast Realty Vancouver, BC

Merrily Hackett is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in Canadian real estate. In her role as managing partner and general manager of West Coast Realty’s Sutton Group, Hackett oversees a stable of 25 offices and 1,700 representatives, one that was responsible for generating an extraordinary $11 billion in sales in 2014. When she was 19 and on the verge of entering the University of British Columbia, Hackett decided to act on the advice of her brother, who was already having success as an investor, and acquired her real estate licence. By the time she was 25, Hackett was already averaging more than 120 sales per year and found herself in possession of her own brokerage and roster of 125 agents. She continuously expanded her operations, culminating in the 2008 merger of five Sutton Group offices. Always searching for exceptional results, over the next six years, she acquired 20 more offices. By facilitating a culture of ongoing mutual support at her offices, Hackett has been able to attract some of the brightest minds in BC real estate to Sutton Group, ensuring that her legacy of perseverance and constant improvement lives on.

BRENDA DEAN Re/Max Mayne-Pender Mayne Island, BC

While relatively new to the real estate game, Brenda Dean is already making a name for herself in the crowded world of British Columbia real estate. Dean’s territory is the Southern Gulf Islands, one of the most idyllic markets in all of Canada; it is also one of the smallest, which has allowed Dean to have a big impact. A longtime retail entrepreneur who started investing in property at the age of 19, Dean brings both experience and small-town charm to her dealings with the Mayne-Pender region. Popular, awardwinning and positive, Dean has laid the groundwork for a fabulous career.



COVER STORY: ELITE WOMEN VIVIAN RISI Royal LePage Your Community Realty Toronto, ON

In a remarkably short period of time, Vivian Risi has taken a small office of about 40 agents and built it into Royal LePage’s number-one independently owned franchise in Canada. Risi oversees 12 offices and a team of more than 1,000 agents who, under her leadership, have been at the top of Toronto’s York market for 10 consecutive years. Risi is also a devoted community leader and philanthropist. She spearheaded the fundraising campaign that led to the building of a second Yellow Brick House women’s shelter in York, and in 2015 was awarded the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association’s Community Leader Award.

KATHLEEN BLACK Kathleen Speaks Coaching and Consulting

DEBBIE COSIC In2ition Realty Toronto, ON

In2ition Realty, with its all-female management team and flexible schedules that adhere to the demands of ambitious working mothers, is the innovative brainchild of Debbie Cosic. As In2ition’s founder and CEO, Cosic has overseen the sales and marketing of more than $15 billion worth of real estate, an amazing feat for anyone, let alone the child of immigrants who spent their first night in Canada huddled on a park bench. A firm believer in fostering and rewarding in-house talent, Cosic’s generous and supportive approach has led to motivation and cohesion among her team that has made In2ition a force to be reckoned with.

ANNA KING EXIT Real Estate Professionals Lower Sackville, NS

Anna King’s direct and low-key approach has served her and her clients well. “I do not need a three-piece suit to prove I am a hard-working, honest, friendly and trusting real estate professional,” she says. King’s simple upbringing on Nova Scotia’s South Shore fostered her empathy and sense of community, which have strengthened both her ethics and her already strong desire to provide assistance to Nova Scotians who have fallen on hard times. “Being a single mom before being involved in real estate, I know just how hard it is to get by,” she says. “I enjoy helping the less fortunate when they need it most.”


Oshawa, ON

Kathleen Black has never done things the easy way. As a real estate coach, speaker and performance strategist, she has provided insightful, life-changing advice for thousands of clients, but her road to becoming one of the leaders of her industry has been a rocky one. A tumultuous childhood culminated in Black leaving home while still in high school. She self-funded her university education, completed it as a new mother and, after starting a vibrant investment empire with her husband, never looked back. A master of creative problem-solving, Black’s success poses the question to us all: “Why have a job when you can leave a legacy?”

HEATHER MCKEAN Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt Toronto, ON

In her 34 years practicing law at one of Canada’s leading commercial real estate firms, Heather McKean has risen to become both partner and national chair of the real estate practice group at Osler. An expert in real estate and debt financing transactions, McKean is also the author of Purchasing Real Estate in Canada and The International Comparative Legal Guide to Real Estate. She has been a member of Commercial Real Estate Women Toronto’s board of directors and Canada’s delegate to the US-based CREW network.

SUE HEDDLE Century 21 Miller Oakville, ON

Sue Heddle left a 23-year career as a news editor at the CBC to dive full-time into real estate. “It was scary leaving a secure government job with a steady pay cheque and benefits,” she says. But judging by her success as a sales representative for Century 21 Miller – she is a multiple award winner and among the top 1% of Century 21 producers in Canada – the decision was clearly a wise one. Heddle has also carved out a niche as a home staging expert. Sue Heddie Homes provides free home staging services to all clients. Heddle’s staff is composed solely of stay-at-home mothers, and their 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. schedules allow them to both care for their families and receive valuable real estate experience.




Growing up poor in Calgary gave Jacqueline Hilchuk the toughness and desire to survive in the highly competitive Ontario mortgage industry – and being one of seven children might have sharpened her negotiating skills, too. “It’s really rewarding helping my clients to be successful and complete amazing projects,” she says. Hilchuk encourages anyone choosing to follow her path as a mortgage broker to concentrate on a single market, like she has done with construction financing. “Find a niche market, and be the expert on that market.”

TINA MAK Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty Burnaby, BC

Having grown up in the high-pressure, business-conscious environment of Hong Kong, Tina Mak left for England – and eventually the white-hot British Columbia property market – armed with self-discipline, confidence and a desire to succeed. Twenty-five years since arriving in BC, Mak is not only the top female sales representative at Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty, but is also a sought-after public speaker, author and host of a weekly radio show that helps listeners better understand the market.

DARCI LAROCQUE Darci Talks/Swirl Solutions Vancouver, BC

Real estate is still very much an old-fashioned industry, where many agents and brokers hold on for dear life to traditional, often inefficient business practices. Through her companies Darci Speaks and Swirl Solutions, Darci LaRocque brings Realtors into the modern age. LaRocque’s focus is on technology, specifically automation and how it can deepen the agent-client relationship. “I see this over and over again,” she says. “Once the deal is over, the agent doesn’t keep in touch. Why? Because they have no system in place to do so. It is so much easier to get referrals from clients who know, like and trust you than to find new ones!”


LAURA HEFFNER Re/Max of Lloydminster Lloydminster, AB

Laura Heffner co-founded RE/MAX of Lloydminster in 1991 and has spent the last 26 years building an ethical, motivated office, one that has grown to become the city’s most successful. A 35-year resident of Lloydminster, Heffner knows the Alberta border town as well as anyone, and is motivated to help its residents, even those not fortunate enough to be involved in buying and selling. Heffner and her associates are avid supporters of Lloydminster’s Handivan Society and the SPCA, for which they have raised more than $130,000 over the past 10 years. “Allowing your conscience to be your guide is of vital importance in this industry,” she says.

GENEVA TETREAULT Century 21 Vantage Realty Edmonton, AB

Geneva Tetreault was once a fashion and design student whose interest was most piqued by her business courses. Working as a Realtor’s assistant during university, Tetreault was exposed to the challenges and dynamism of real estate. “I enjoyed the different work flow each day, and it didn’t take long for me to decide to get my licence,” she says. “After a couple years, I decided that I could bring more value by opening a brokerage and working to build a team of professionals with a passion for their clients and the industry.” As the owner of Century 21 Vantage Realty, that’s exactly what she’s done. Tetreault is also the president and past chair of the Realtor’s Association of Edmonton, where she leverages her position to provide valuable leadership to one of Canada’s largest real estate markets.

KARALEE FOAT Century 21 Summit Realty Calgary, AB

On the verge of starting a career that would changer her life, KaraLee Foat knew she was making the right choice. “I saw real estate as more than selling,” she says. “It was coaching, teaching, guiding and caring for my clients – all the things that fed my soul and made me excited to get up in the morning.” Foat, the current owner and broker of record for Summit Realty, had a former life as a basketball coach and professor of sport and recreational leadership at Rocky Mountain College, where she honed her ability to establish relationships and cultivate a team culture. Already exceeding the goals she has set for Summit and herself, Foat is ready for more. “I really feel like I’m just getting started.”

LINDSAY CARLSON NOW Real Estate Group Sherwood Park, AB

AUDREY BIEN-AIME Re/Max Platine St. Constant, QC

Alongside her partner, Francis Lavoie, Audrey Bien-Aime has built Re/Max Platine into a real estate juggernaut that has been number one on Montreal’s South Shore, number four in Quebec, in the top 25 among Re/ Max franchises in Canada and in the top 60 worldwide. A busy working mom, Bien-Aime is also an ardent supporter of Opération Enfants Soleil, which helps provide high quality pediatric care to the children of Quebec.

Saskatchewan to Alberta may not be an epic journey, but Lindsay Carlson’s independence and resilience have taken her a long way. Raised in a sheltered rural community, Carlson has always hungered for more – from herself and from life. Following a move to Edmonton, and looking to better support her two teenage children, Carlson transitioned out of teaching into a new role at a cabinet manufacturing company, soon becoming the company’s first female branch manager. Her desire for more autonomy, plus the knowledge of home construction she had gained, made real estate an obvious choice. Carlson began acquiring designations through the Real Estate Institute of Canada, whose board of directors she now sits on. She also serves on the board of directors for the Realtors Association of Edmonton and is the chair of that organization’s Government Political Action Committee. “I have a passion for how our industry is looked at from the political side of things,” she says. Carlson is preparing to complete two more real estate designations, and will be influencing both REIC and RAE for at least two more years. Never satisfied with the status quo, Carlson continues to push herself and her industry forward.





Royal LePage Gardiner Realty

Oakville, ON

Fredericton, NB

After finding love in Toronto, Donna Gardiner Thompson returned with her husband to New Brunswick to carry on her family’s real estate tradition. “It clicked from day one, and I have not looked back,” she says. Proactive and confident, Gardiner Thompson has built her career through referrals. “Clients gravitate towards people who can facilitate the solution and mirror the way they want to do business.” As the founder of 100 Women Who Care Fredericton, she has also raised more than $100,000 for local charities.

Lisgar Commercial Real Estate

In founding Lisgar Commercial Real Estate in 1956, Martha Zenker became the first woman to build homes commercially in Canada. A true pioneer, Zenker has been behind the construction of more than 400 homes, a townhouse complex and numerous semi-detached properties. As the president and founder of Lisgar, Zenker has been instrumental in establishing the firm’s an unshakable reputation for quality and reliability: In 60 years, the company has never missed a completion date.

CAROLYN CHENG Royal LePage Toronto, ON

As Royal LePage’s recently appointed COO, Carolyn Cheng is helping rethink the way the company engages with customers, increasing the trust and intimacy they experience when dealing with a Royal LePage broker. A tenacious executive with 20-plus years of experience, Cheng says much of her satisfaction comes from “leading in a collaborative environment, with positive people, to solve complex problems.” Having learned from her parents at an early age the value of work-life balance, Cheng says, “I’m a person who works hard and accomplishes a large breadth of work as efficiently as possible, but likes to balance that with travel, hiking, photography and relaxing with friends.”

SARAH ELLIOTT Hanlon Realty St. John’s, NL

CARLA BROWNE Century 21 Dome Realty Regina, SK

Carla Browne began her career doing accounting for a real estate agency, and she quickly fell in love with the excitement inherent in the industry. “In real estate, no two days are ever alike,” she says, “and I love that.” Now a partner at Century 21 Dome Realty in Regina, Brown is a model for what ongoing education and determination can do for an agent’s career. “But never lose sight of those working with you,” she says. “A team effort will always be stronger than a solo effort.”


Sarah Elliott had her priorities shaped at a young age. As a teenager, she was a single mother walking for hours to get to her minimum-wage job; in 2001, she tragically lost a younger brother. A model of what the right mix of ambition and compassion can do for an agency, Elliott is now one of the stars of Newfoundland real estate. No stranger to accolades, Elliott has been racking them up since she broke into the industry in 2004. Prior to becoming one of Hanlon Realty’s top producers, she was a top 10 agent for Coldwell Banker and a member of the Re/Max 100% Club. “Being successful is not something we do alone,” she says. “You have to invest in people, believe in yourself and build relationships.”



Build the right team, the right way In the first part of an exclusive three-part series, team-building expert Kathleen Black lays out 6 strategies that can help make an agency a fortune

VICTOR FRANKL, the author of Man’s Search For Meaning, said, “If we take man as he really is, we make him worse. But if we overestimate him … we promote him to what he really can be.” The best real estate teams are almost naively optimistic about the potential of others – but make no mistake, they are experienced realists in what is possible overall, and have the power to create environments that encourage greatness in those lucky enough to join. In the traditionally individualistic world of real estate, we often lack or consciously avoid an objective, third-party approach to professional development, which causes many a strong agent to go awry. The best teams engender in their agents the confidence and mastery required to become top achievers, as well as a collaborative, compassionate outlook that can only improve agent-client relationships. Here are six steps successful real estate teams must take on their journey toward shared success.


Avoid hiring licensed people

They are entrepreneurs and want to build their own businesses. Before leaving to become your competition, they often want to benefit from your skills, training, mentoring and opportunities. Find people you can influence and build loyal relationships with.


Seek out a team training specialist

Leverage experienced help with a proven training track record – or risk compromising results.


Learn to differentiate between skill and personality

You can train skill, but you can rarely affect someone’s inherent talents, values or workplace motivators; attempting to do so is often an uphill battle that you may want to skip.


Realize that pay is not the only form of compensation

Performers seek environments of learning, excellence and growth. They seek to be paid fairly, but once money is off the table, they stay so they can grow, thrive, and master themselves and their craft. Overpaying to recruit or retain will not attract the people you want long-term.

Decide whether you want to be the top producer or the team leader

Envision the business as you want it to be and work backward


Do not build your team to suit the applicants you attract – build it instead to its ultimate capability. Thinking this way will help you avoid regrouping and re-staffing, which will save you time, energy and money. There is simply no competing with a group of unified individuals helping each other master every step of their chosen game. Once established, a supportive, energetic environment like that generates its own momentum, which generates success, which generates more momentum. At that point, team leaders have started the fire. They just need to fan the flames. REP

“The best teams engender in their agents the confidence and mastery required to become top achievers, as well as a collaborative, compassionate outlook that can only improve agent-client relationships”


These are two very different roles, and the transition to the latter requires change, risk and development. Choosing to build a team on the side while you only focus on selling is not fair to your team members, and it will sabotage your team growth.

Kathleen Black is the CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, Canada’s leading real estate coaching, consulting and training firm. Black’s broad experience in all aspects of real estate business development has allowed her to successfully coach hundreds of top-producing teams. For more information, visit




Orchestrating solutions Cecelia Chott explains how LeadingRE’s talent assessment tool and MAESTRO leadership program can help firms develop top-notch sales managers

where to recruit agents, where do they find good sales managers? The industry lacks resources for identifying high-potential candidates for the essential role of sales manager. Smart brokers do not want to take top producers away from sales, nor do top sales associates want to earn less or be constrained by the structure inherent in a managerial role. A few brokers have hired experienced sales managers from outside the real estate industry, but such managers may struggle to earn respect from agents.

Leadership talent assessment

REAL ESTATE careers epitomize the entrepreneur’s dream – those willing to work hard can build success and reap significant financial rewards. A key component in making this dream a reality is remaining committed to learning and professional development opportunities. The best agents seek a brokerage that


offers an environ-ment with a winning culture, knowledgeable support staff and resources to help them build their independent business, including training and technology. In many multi-office companies, it is the responsibility of the sales manager to lead these efforts. While most brokers understand how and

Real estate sales managers are our industry’s frontline supervisors, but there are insufficient development resources and a lack of training for these managers who play such a critical role. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World [LeadingRE], a global real estate community of 550 premier independent real

tion. Use of the assessment tool has doubled in less than a year.

MAESTRO Leadership Certification

estate brokerages, recognized that identifying and hiring high-performing sales managers was a significant, ongoing challenge and set out to find better ways to address this serious and growing need. In partnership with The Staver Group, LeadingRE conducted a performance benchmark study to create a tool for identifying, coaching and developing top sales managers. The first step was creating a focus group to develop trait criteria and to engage a sample group to validate the criteria. The focus group included brokers of all sizes who built consensus on performance criteria. The Harrison Group, an expert assessment developer, scrubbed the data collected, validated it and generated the results. The main criteria identified for great real estate leadership surround three key pillars: culture, people development and financial growth. LeadingRE tested nearly 300 real estate sales managers at 60 companies from three

performance groups, identifying traits with a significant relationship to sales manager job performance. The Harrison Group validated these essential traits and created a ‘suitability score,’ which identifies a potential level or fit for the sales manager role. LeadingRE brokers have access to this exclusive assessment tool as part of the hiring/selection process and as a development/training tool. LeadingRE staff has been trained to interpret, communicate and coach on assessment results. The assessment has shifted the way participating brokers develop and recruit leadership talent. Immediately, numerous brokers ordered assessments for everyone on their senior management teams as a way to gauge if the “right people are on the bus and in the right seats.” Numerous companies pre-purchased bulk assessments to use in hiring and selecting new sales managers, and 100% are reporting significant improvement in hiring ‘right’ with less early attri-

LeadingRE took what it learned a step further, using the study results to create a new sales manager development program, the MAESTRO Leadership Certification, which was piloted with 25 sales managers from June to December 2015. MAESTRO consists of three in-person, interactive three-day workshops covering the three ‘pillars’ of great real estate leadership – culture, people development and financial growth – with a robust, relevant agenda. Taught by a diverse team of real estate industry leaders, led by LeadingRE’s chief learning officer and leadership coach, Mike Staver, the six-month program includes the behavioural assessment tailored for sales managers, homework and interim webinars between sessions, pairing with an ‘accountability partner,’ and extensive reference materials, all designed to empower participants to apply what they learn to create effective, tangible outcomes. Attendees of the pilot program regularly post stories about what they are doing differently now and their results via a closed group on Facebook. LeadingRE collected key performance indicators from the pilot attendees and will compile year-over-year comparisons in the third quarter of 2016 to measure the longterm impact of the training. To meet demand, LeadingRE is offering two MAESTRO programs in 2016 for managers, which include an applicant approval process. By focusing on a universal professional development need and creating multiple solutions based on a targeted research set, LeadingRE has created a vital tool that has been a welcome addition to the full-service brokerage solutions available to its member brokerages. REP Cecelia Chott , CRB, CRP, GMS, is the executive director of institute content services for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. For more information on the MAESTRO Leadership Certification program and other resources available to members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, visit, or contact Sheila Barr at or 312-361-8632.




How appraisers work with Realtors As the housing market continues to heat up, the benefits of an independent home appraisal have never been more apparent THANKS IN PART to a feverish housing market, the role of appraisers has shifted in recent years. As Realtors, homeowners and buyers increasingly look for objective, independent perspectives on the market value of their properties, appraisers are becoming as much a part of the home buying and selling process as lawyers, Realtors and home inspectors.

institutions and other lenders will not allow a homebuyer to borrow an amount larger than the appraised value. For example, if the purchase price is $750,000, but the appraised value is $700,000, the buyers will need to make up the difference between the mortgage advance and the sale price in order to close the sale. Appraisers can also assist in non-salesrelated financing, such as determining the value

“It takes the emotion out of a transaction, which helps clients feel comfortable that they aren’t paying too much when buying a property or asking too little when selling one” Keith Lancastle, Appraisal Institute of Canada According to Keith Lancastle, CEO of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, an appraisal completed by a qualified, unbiased appraiser is a critical tool for Realtors looking to help their clients make a sound investment decision. “It takes the emotion out of a transaction,” Lancastle says, “which helps clients feel comfortable that they aren’t paying too much when buying a property or asking too little when selling one.”

What appraisers do The role of an appraiser is to give an indepen­ dent, unbiased opinion of a home’s value at a specific point in time. Generally an appraiser is hired to conduct an appraisal for mortgage financing after negotiations on the purchase price of a property have been completed. It is important to remember that financial


of potential renovations; this allows a home­ owner and a lender to determine the amount of a loan for improvements. In addition, appraisers can assist property owners who are undertaking estate planning, dealing with questions around property tax and any other area where a market value is required.

Understanding market value To provide Realtors, property owners and lenders with realistic and reliable figures, appraisers base their opinions of value on comprehensive research on the subject prop­ erty and the market. Gathering past sales data and other key sources of real estate information is one of a professional appraiser’s key responsibilities. To form a full, informed opinion, appraisers will rely on a number of data sources, including

MLS and private sales. Being highly qualified to interpret and analyze this data, appraisers are in a unique position to leverage it and identify a reliable and unbiased market value for clients. “AIC-designated appraisers utilize a rigorous methodology,” Lancastle says. “They consider a number of factors, such as sales data of comparable properties sold within a particular timeframe.” Other key considerations taken into account are the size, configuration and condition of similar homes sold in the area; the state of the property and its surrounding neighbourhood; comparable properties that are currently for sale; and current market conditions. “A typical buyer will consider many features of a house before making a purchase,” Lancastle says. “An appraiser will take those features into account to determine the value of the property.”

A trusted advisor Homeowners and buyers are becoming savvier when it comes to the housing market, and Lancastle says the demand for professional appraisers is increasing. “People are becoming more informed about the marketplace,” he says. “Realtors can engage appraisers and give their clients – both buyers and sellers – the information they need to make a sound decision about the value of a property. It makes good business sense.” REP

For more detailed information about the various methodologies used in real estate appraisals, please view the Appraisal Institute of Canada’s Industry Guide to Understanding the Fundamentals of Real Estate Appraisal at

“With the high degree of quality in their marketing and technology, and their strong international presence, Engel & Völkers will allow me to do more for the sellers and buyers I represent.” Melissa Bradbury, Advisor & Broker, Engel & Völkers Collingwood Muskoka

Only the best in the business join our brand. With years of experience as a marketer and graphic designer, Melissa Bradbury possesses a sharp eye for quality when it comes to brands. As a real estate professional, she has always applied her specialized knowledge to bring a fresh and innovative approach to the way she marketed Muskoka properties. It was

the distinct style and international appeal that drew her to Engel & Völkers as a compatible brand. Today, as

the first Engel & Völkers advisor in Muskoka, she has the experience, skills and tools to meet the demands of the growing international clientele to the market.

Engel & Völkers Canada “It takes the emotion out of a transaction, 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 700 · Toronto · ON M4W 3RI · Phone +1 416-323-1100 · which helps clients fe el comfortable that they aren’t paying too much when buying a property or asking too little when selling one”

Keith Lancastle, Appraisal Institute of Canada ©2016 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. This advertisement is not an offering of a franchise, and where required by law, an offering can only be made 14 days after delivery of the applicable franchise disclosure document.




The power of curb appeal Buyers grow savvier every day, which means sellers need to do all they can to make their homes stand out. A few simple updates – and even a few basic chores – can make all the difference

IF YOU encounter first-time sellers in a healthy market, you may have met one or two who feel that they’ll be able to sell their home as-is for well over asking. That may be the case in Toronto or Vancouver, where desperation leads to tunnel vision and hasty decisions, but in a market where buyers have time to look closely at a property and consider everything they’ve seen during a viewing, flaws and overlooked upkeep can turn them off. There is no such thing as a small imperfection when people are making the biggest purchase of their lives.

A welcoming entrance The first interaction most buyers have with a potential new home is walking up to the door for the first time. The more pleasant this experience is, the more likely they’ll be to picture themselves going through that door every day. • Repaint your front door and update hardware to give it a fresh look. Make sure any damaged or sagging screens are repaired or replaced. • Update your house numbers to give your entrance some style. • Add or update the light fixtures by your entrance. Bronze finishes complement traditional homes, while brushed nickel accents are best suited for contemporary/ modern homes.


• Don’t neglect your driveway. Make sure to rinse or sweep it regularly, and reseal holes, cracks and potholes that may have accumulated over time. Clean up any fluid leaks or spills as soon as they occur.

Perfect the surroundings In a paved world, a little well-maintained greenery goes a long way toward making a home feel more like a haven. Neglected landscaping can make a property look cheap and unloved, two words that no buyer wants to associate with their new home. • Trim any overgrown greenery, remove weeds and tidy up planting areas. • Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, and don’t be afraid to plant bright, colourful shrubs and flowers to increase appeal. Add some garden boxes or large, decorative pots. • Add landscape lighting. It will add nighttime ambiance, improve the yard’s overall appearance and increase safety.

Look up – way up The roof of a property is not just one of its most structurally important aspects, but it can also one of the largest and most visible. Buyers will think one of two things when they see a damaged or poorly maintained roof: “That’s going to be a problem” and “Gross.”

• Check your roof at least twice a year for missing, badly curled or damaged shingles that need to be replaced. • In general, asphalt shingles need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. • The national median cost of a 2,000square-foot asphalt shingle roof is approximately $8,000. • Clear all gutters and downspouts of any debris that may have accumulated from the previous season.

Not necessarily white picket … We’ve all had our opinions of a property immediately diminished by a sad, saggy

fence. As the outermost segment of a property, a fence can sometimes be the first thing buyers see, in which case all care should be taken to make sure that first impression is a good one. • Inspect the fencing around your home, especially if any components may have moved over the winter. Check all latches and gates to ensure they are working properly. • The national average cost of a four-foot chain-link fence is approximately $11 to $16 per linear foot. For a five-foot wood cedar fence, the cost is approximately $16 to $27 per linear foot.

Cleanliness is next to sold-liness This may seem like the most obvious suggestion of all, but that may be why some sellers forget to follow it. Cleaning is the simplest and easiest way to spruce up the appearance of a house. • Wash everything – the windows, the front door, porch and garage doors. A bucket of soapy water, a cloth and a soft-bristled brush are all you’ll need for external siding. • Rent or buy a pressure washer to get rid of accumulated dirt and grime on your walkways and flagstone. • Do it regularly. You may not be selling

your home now, but you never know who’s walking past. It could be the future occupant of your home, and it’s doubtful they’ll be saying, “Hey, honey! Can’t you just picture us living in that pigsty?” A little time and investment will spruce up the exterior of your house and ensure you are always one step ahead of the growing competition – impressing the neighbours and, more important, your prospective buyers. REP For more information about increasing the salability of your properties, contact the experts at Pillar To Post Home Inspectors at




The start of something special Brady Thrasher combined old-fashioned values with modern marketing strategies to become one of Re/Max’s top young agents

BRADY THRASHER is celebrating an astonishing first five years in the industry, a time he describes as “the most rewarding five years of my life.” Thrasher has been named one of Re/Max’s Top 30 Under 30 for the past two years – most recently taking the fifth spot – and is currently leading one of the highest-producing teams in WindsorEssex, Ontario. “I met so many amazing people that I built lifelong friendships with,” he says. “I’m very happy to say that I only work with people I truly mesh with who I know I can help.” One of the areas where Thrasher has been able to differentiate himself, and assist both clients and colleagues, is in his aggressive and creative approach to marketing. Prior to entering real estate, Thrasher was a fundraiser and event promoter, and the valuable lessons he learned around crosspromotion and brand ambassadorship – especially how these strategies can reduce marketing costs – have been critical to his rapid ascension. One such approach – inviting other local professionals to share his existing advertising commitments – has helped him establish a continuous stream of referrals. Rather than dive straight into real estate


at what he thought was far too young an age, Thrasher used his years as a promoter to lay the groundwork for his next career. “I did a lot of self-marketing, so when I got in, my online presence was really good,” he says. “I was able to combine all my online platforms and take those contacts and educate them that I was in the business. I built a plan to utilize my sphere of influence and earn business – not just go out and assume that I get business, but always acting as an asset to people and not looking for anything in return, just simply looking for an opportunity to satisfy somebody.” In addition to vigilant marketing and prospecting, Thrasher says another major part of his success was building his own team in 2015. “I was close to doing a hundred units in

one year by myself. It got to the point where I was just overwhelmed in every way, and I had to make a transition to grow a team or get some sort of support because the systems I had in place were basically setting me up to fail.” The success of his team has provided Thrasher with more than just numbers and accolades. “The good thing about my team is that it allows me to have more quality time with my family, so making that move was the best decision I ever made,” he says. Another defining decision was beginning his career with Re/Max Preferred. “Our office is just a bunch of juggernauts,” he says. “It’s very motivating going to work and having that competition, because then you understand that you have to make things happen. You have to be different to make a difference.”

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Brady Thrasher was exposed to the horrors of serious illness at a young age, when he lost his father to cancer after a 25-year struggle with MS. Thrasher spent much of his childhood raising money to fight both diseases and even created a clothing brand, Affected, as a way for other charities to raise money to carry on their own battles. Thrasher became well known for his efforts, and was named the Amherstburg Optimist Club’s Citizen of the Year in 2007, making him the third member of his family to win the award.


“Some people will take what they can get, but at the end of the day, if you’re not going to be able to perform and you’re not going to be able to get the job done, why let people down?”

HOMETOWN Amherstburg, Ontario


MARKET Windsor-Essex



Thrasher’s upcoming projects should make those colleagues excited – and proud. His marketing prowess has begun attracting a number of unique, highly lucrative projects, from a $1 million teardown in Windsor’s prestigious Russell Woods to a $62 million greenhouse to a number of upcoming opportunities on exclusive Bob-Lo Island.

But Thrasher is also currently listing a trailer for $19,000. “As long as we find that we’re able to market it and we’re confident about being the best agent for the job, we take it,” he says. “Some people will take what they can get, but at the end of the day, if you’re not going to be able to perform and you’re not going to be able to get the job done, why let people down?” REP






Three reasons you should partner with a mortgage broker More value for clients, more leads, more business ¬– these are just a few of the reasons why mortgage brokers are a Realtor’s best friend

YOU’VE WATCHED countless times as clients entrusted mortgage brokers with their home purchases, refinances and debt consolidations. So, can a Realtor tap into the benefits of their services as well? Yes, and here’s why you should consider it. Your clients already know the benefits of using a mortgage broker • Mortgage professionals are more accessible than banks. • They have access to a broader network of lenders and keep consumers up-to-date throughout the entire transaction. • They offer well-rounded, personalized advice that’s based on a client’s financial situation. • Mortgage professionals can explore trad-



itional and innovative mortgage options and can seek out the best lender package to suit your clients’ specific situations, whether it’s with a chartered bank, trust company or lending institution. You can effortlessly increase your leads and offer mortgage pre-qualifications in less than 15 minutes Who doesn’t want more serious, qualified clients? Imagine knowing the range of homes you can show a client before you even contact them. The 15 Minute Mortgage tool, exclusive to CENTUM, is designed to drive leads not only to mortgage professionals, but to their Realtor partners as well. Centum Financial Group spent two years working with insurers, lenders and tech-


nology partners to develop this proprietary technology. You can add this revolutionary lead-generation tool right to your website and provide clients with mortgage pre-qualification in minutes. How does it work? The 15 Minute Mortgage takes a consumer’s application and underwrites it according to insurer and lender guidelines to determine if they qualify for a mortgage. The lead’s information is received within minutes by both the mortgage professional and the Realtor. The email includes vital consumer information that


Founded in 2002, Centum Financial Group is a network of independently owned and operated mortgage broker firms located across Canada. Our mission is to continue to be the leading mortgage brokerage operation in Canada, setting the standard in the industry for professionalism, dependability and reliability for customers. CENTUM mortgage professionals are independently trained and licensed and take great pride in the service and solutions they provide. At CENTUM, we’re always “looking out for your best interest.” CENTUM is the only organization in the industry that is a member of the Canadian Franchise Association [CFA]. Unlike any other Canadian mortgage company, CENTUM Canada is steered by one of the world’s most successful and recognized franchise development leaders: the Charlwood Pacific Group [CPG]. U. Gary Charlwood, founder, chairman and CEO of the family-owned CPG, was nationally recognized with the CFA Hall of Fame Award in early 2016. CPG owns the franchise rights to leading brands in real estate, travel, property management and financial services. Within the brands, CPG has franchised more than 1,600 outlets with 21,000 employees in 64 countries.

helps define the prospective client’s needs. These leads are potential customers that you otherwise may have never known were on your website. In 2015 alone, the 15 Minute Mortgage generated more than 6,000 leads. The best part is, these leads are free. World-class marketing is done for you CENTUM mortgage professionals also have the technology to deliver co-branded marketing pieces to your clients. They can prepare modern, attractive materials, such


as rate sheets or detailed feature sheets for your listings, which are valuable consumer takeaways at your open houses that give them something useful to remember you by. Imagine handing visitors a detailed listing sheet with current market rates showing what they can expect to pay on a mortgage, along with multiple down payment options. Your marketing becomes even more valuable and effortless when you partner with a CENTUM mortgage professional.

But how does CENTUM boost your personal image? CENTUM Canada has delivered the best rate for tens of thousands of satisfied clients, funding more than $50 billion in mortgages in just 14 years. Currently, it has over 200 franchised mortgage centres with more than 2,200 mortgage professionals to partner with you nationally. Our mortgage professionals are specifically selected for their high professional standards and their reputation, as well as their depth of experience in the mortgage industry. REP


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ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD If there’s one strand that runs through real estate lawyer Natalka Falcomer’s life, it’s the motivation to keep pushing forward




GETS A LEGAL EDUCATION Although her time in law school included many prizes, Falcomer remembers it as a difficult period – albeit one that continues to pay dividends for her real estate career

“Law school taught me a lot. It taught me how to deal with not being perfect all the time and how to get back up after being kicked” 2011

PUBLISHES A COOKBOOK After a lifetime of food allergies left Falcomer feeling excluded, she decided to spend her spare time working on a cookbook that describes in detail how to make various substitutions to avoid many allergies “I want to give tools to people at home so they can still make their dish, nobody feels excluded, and no plans need to be changed”


LAUNCHES HER OWN SHOW ON ROGERS TV Falcomer’s frustration with the limitations of her volunteer work gave rise to Toronto Speaks: Legal Advice, her show on Rogers TV, in which an expert responds to queries from callers “in plain English rather than jargon” “I asked myself, what’s consistent about all of the people coming in [to the legal clinics]? They all have a television – and they all just want five minutes to speak to a lawyer”

Falcomer owes much of her outlook to her heritage: Her great grandfather was the best-known real estate agent in Northern Italy. When Falcomer’s father immigrated to Canada, “he vowed that the first thing he would do was buy land – and he did” “He said, ‘Invest in real estate, buy real estate, understand real estate,’ and that is something I’ve always remembered. I feel as if it almost runs through my veins. I can’t run from it”


HAS AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE While studying at Osgoode, Falcomer volunteered at women’s shelters and legal clinics, where she became disheartened by the “paranoia” among lawyers who were afraid of offering even minor advice “Half of these people didn’t have English as a first language – and we’re going to throw them a bunch of resources to interpret and apply to their own facts? After you see such desperation, you realize things are broken”

2012 GETS INTO THE REAL ESTATE GAME After receiving her real estate licence, Falcomer had the opportunity to work for a startup REIT, Mohawk Medical Growth Partners “I really got a good smack in the face on what entrepreneurship is all about and how to merge practical with legal”

2015 FOUNDS GROUNDWORKS Falcomer’s most recent attempt to cut through legal red tape has been the creation of Groundworks, an online legal outsourcing firm for commercial leasing clients. It’s already been so popular that Falcomer has brokered a partnership to act as the exclusive legal provider for Royal LePage “The legal process for commercial leasing is totally out of step. My goal is to get the lawyers’ hands off the process when they’re not required”





A LIFE IN MUSIC Don’t be fooled by Maureen Smith’s many real estaterelated interests; it’s music that has her heart MAUREEN SMITH’S musical life started early; she was put in lessons after she was spotted playing the family piano by ear at age four – and, she says, “I stayed in music the rest of my life!” While the piano is Smith’s main instrument, the founder of White Eagle Properties also plays guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, drums and violin. Backstopped by a degree in music education, a diploma from the University of Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and the pianoteaching gig she began at the tender age of 16, Smith’s formal music teaching career spanned two decades. But, she says, “my greatest love is my performing.” It was this love that inspired her to leave her teaching career in 2003 to produce an album (Spirit) that took her around the world. These days, Smith is busy composing and recording a second original album, as well as two more albums of jazz and pop covers, while also playing regular gigs at corporate events, shows and private functions.


Number of years Smith has been playing the piano



Number of years she’s been offering private music lessons


Number of cover tunes in Smith’s repertoire



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Elite Women: REP shines the spotlight on 100 of the brightest and most innovative women in the real estate industry

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Elite Women: REP shines the spotlight on 100 of the brightest and most innovative women in the real estate industry