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POWERFUL MARKETING VIDEOS Six of the most effective marketing video concepts BIG BULLY How to muscle your way into a deal in a heated market

30 UNDER 30 The future of the real estate industry is here, and it’s a bright one


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ISSUE 2.04

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CONTENTS

twitter.com/REPMagCA plus.google.com/+RepmagCanada facebook.com/REPmagCA

UPFRONT 02 Editorial

The feedback is in and the future of the industry looks bright

04 Head to head

30 UNDER 30

16

14

FEATURES

DONE DEAL

How to bully your way to a deal in a heated market

30 Agents on brokerages

REP readers weigh in and critique the companies that employ them. And, no, it’s not a bloodbath!

41 Building on technology

The future of the real estate industry is a bright one thanks to these young, talented agents who are quickly and definitively making their mark NEWS ANALYSIS

8

YES OR NO

The pros and the cons of the amalgamation of British Columbia’s real estate boards

Daryl King on his 30 years at the top

10

The fallout from Vancouver’s tax on foreign homebuyers. Should Toronto follow suit?

FEATURES

30 UNDER 30

INDUSTRY ICON

06 Statistics

13 Opinion

Crunching the numbers on an accurate valuation paid off for young realtor Amir Ahmadi

COVER STORY

PEOPLE

What will be the effects of the new mortgage regulations?

How to use technology efficiently while retaining the human connection

44 Marketing videos

If a picture’s worth 1000 words, then moving pictures are priceless

PEOPLE

42 Agent profile

Toronto lease specialist Deanna Parrell

46 Career path

Windsor broker Goran Todorovic’s people skills have helped him rise to the top of his profession

48 Other life

FEATURES

40

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE What your clients need to know about post-sale inspections

Tripping the light fantastic with realtor and dance teacher Petrina Koltun

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1  


UPFRONT

EDITORIAL

www.repmag.ca WINTER 2O16 EDITORIAL

In good hands

W

hat a year 2016 has been. From market hysteria to agent misconduct to desperate government intervention, the real estate industry has had an exhilarating, if bruising, 12 months. And realtors in Canada’s busiest and most volatile markets have enjoyed the thrill of swelling commissions. When we sent out a call for nominations for our first 30 Under 30 feature, we were swamped with deserving nominees – hundreds and hundreds of them. The numbers Canada’s youngest agents are putting up are astounding, and when we started getting to know our finalists, we encountered levels of insight and maturity we were truly not prepared for. The industry is in very good hands. The real surprise, however, was the extreme level of satisfaction expressed in our Agents on Brokerages feature. As a publication, we were not-so-secretly hoping for some incendiary, gnawing-the-hand-that-feeds vitriol, but it turns out that real estate agents, if our many respondents are any indication to go by, are a relatively happy bunch. This bodes well for both the industry and future clients. A satisfied agent, one who feels supported and valued, respected and inspired, is less likely to cut corners or bend rules; they will treat their customers the way they themselves are treated by their brokerages. As much as real estate is based on individual performance – as our industry icon Daryl King puts it, “It’s You Inc at the end of the day” – no one goes it alone. Young agents require training and mentorship just as badly as experienced agents require fairness and appreciation. These reciprocal relationships may not be witnessed by clients, but they are affected by them all the same. Thank you to our sponsors, contributors and all the professionals who have shared their insights with us this year. Without you, there is no REP. All the best in 2017.

The team at Real Estate Professional

Writers Clay Jarvis Justin da Rosa Joe Rosengarten Libby Macdonald Copy Editor Bruce Pitchers

CONTRIBUTORS Jeff Kennedy Marcus Seeger

ART & PRODUCTION Design Manager Daniel Williams Designer Martin Cosme Production Manager Alicia Salvati Traffic Manager Kay Valdez

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CORPORATE President & CEO Tim Duce Office/Traffic Manager Marni Parker Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil

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Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss

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©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. All numbers, figures, statements, and presented information in this document reflect the total system growth and not individual shop performance or increases and are based on data collected by Engel & Völkers between January, 2014 and September 2016. No claims in this advertisement are intended as a promise or guarantee of profitability or any particular income level or particular licensee experience.


UPFRONT

HEAD TO HEAD

Purchasing power under stress How are the new mortgage regulations likely to affect the industry in general and realtors in particular?

Cliff Iverson

President The Canadian Real Estate Association

Roy Singh

Jerry Wang

Real Estate Broker CENTURY21 Home Realty

Real Estate Advisor Macdonald Realty

When mortgage regulations are tightened, the law of unintended consequences leads to some degree of collateral damage. Past experience suggests sales may fall in the near-term, as some first-timers move to the sidelines to either amass a larger down payment or rethink how much home they can afford. Buyers not directly impacted by the changes may also step back temporarily to assess the impact of the changes. That said, our experience is that once a consumer has decided to purchase a home, they eventually do. Those sales will likely reappear down the line, some potentially at lower price points.

The reason the federal government cites for its recent drastic changes to mortgage rules is to protect buyers from overreaching. Perhaps it would have been better to apply the qualifying rate but extend the amortization to 40 years. The buyers would know that they can afford a higher interest rate but buying a home would be kept affordable, especially for firsttime buyers. East will move west. We are already seeing GTA buyers coming to our area (Waterloo Region), where homes are more affordable. This trend will continue and will put pressure on house prices in our region.

We will see a decrease in purchasing power, especially among first-time buyers. This will lead to greater demand in the rental market, which will cause problems in Vancouver, given the city’s already low vacancy rate. Homebuyers that were considering upsizing before will opt for smaller houses or townhouses – there are not enough of these to satisfy this increase in demand. The changes will cause a shift in demand to lower priced products in the Greater Vancouver market. As a result, realtors will likely be working with more transactions on multifamily homes, both for investment and for living.

STRESSING THE STRESS TEST Newly introduced mortgage rules compelling insured homebuyers to qualify at the five-year fixed posted rate set by the Bank of Canada (currently 4.64%) – designed to curb consumer overextension in a market shaped by soaring prices and historically low interest rates – seem certain to erode consumer purchasing power for those with down payments below the 20% threshold. Under one model, a theoretical buyer whose income, down payment, and credit score would have allowed for a purchase of up to $500,000 prior to the introduction of the tightened regulations, sees their buying power drop to $415,000 in the wake of the changed regulations.

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QUALITY CONNECTIONS ™ INDEPENDENCE

WE’RE LOCAL. WE’RE GLOBAL.® LEADING REAL ESTATE COMPANIES OF THE WORLD is a selective global community of the highest quality local independent real estate companies. We exist to make our members better – with an international referral network, marketing and technology resources, professional development programs, unique events, and connections to opportunities and people worldwide. ®

If you are a leader of an independent company, we invite you to learn more about the value of aligning with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World . Please contact Sheila Barr: sbarr@LeadingRE.com or 1.312.361.8632. ®

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UPFRONT

STATISTICS

To tax or not to tax?

HOME PRICES RISING OVERALL According to data compiled from 53 of the country’s real estate markets, the price of a home in Canada rose 12% year-over-year in the third quarter of the year. Even with the major decline in sales seen in Vancouver in September, prices in the city were still up 30% year-over-year.

A new poll shows that three in four Torontonians favour following in Vancouver’s footsteps with a 15% tax on foreign homebuyers

Average home price Q3 2015

WHILE CANADA’S residential real estate market continued to grow in the third quarter of the year, Vancouver – the city that for so long led the country’s housing boom – faltered. The August introduction of a 15% tax on foreign buyers had a major impact on September’s figures, most notably a 33% year-over-year drop in home sales. The dampening effect of the new tax on Vancouver’s already cooling market has caused

a flurry of activity in other markets as offshore investors apparently make a break for the nation’s other major cities – particularly Toronto, where September activity spiked 21.5% year-over-year. Unsurprisingly, Ontario’s provincial legislators are openly mulling the prospect of introducing a similar tax ahead of the next election. According to at least one study, such a move would be overwhelmingly popular with residents of Canada’s largest city.

Q3 2016 Year-over-year % change

Greater Vancouver $914,705 $1,194,653 30.6%

Victoria

$1.53m

The average price of a detached home in Vancouver in September

15.7%

90%

Drop in the average Vancouver home price since April

Percentage of Vancouver residents who supported a tax on foreign purchases, according to a July survey

$1,091,817 $1,464,507 34.1%

20.4%

The average increase in a Toronto property’s selling price since last year

Sources: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver; Angus Reid Institute survey, July 2016; Toronto Real Estate Board

TORONTO WANTS TAX

VACANT PROPERTY CONUNDRUM

More than three-quarters of GTA respondents to a survey by the Angus Reid Institute said they support a Vancouver-style tax in their city.

According to the same survey, almost 70% of Torontonians would stand behind the decision to levy a tax on vacant homes in the GTA; almost a third of respondents reported strong support for such a proposal.

Moderately oppose

Strongly oppose

12% 11%

37% Moderately support

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32%

Moderately support

40%

Moderately oppose Strongly support

Source: Angus Reid Institute survey, September 2016

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Strongly support

Strongly oppose

37% 17% 14% Source: Angus Reid Institute survey, September 2016


Charlottetown Edmonton

$219,243 $224,219 2.3%

Fredericton

$386,829 $374,712 -3.1%

$239,777 $246,696 2.9%

Quebec City St John’s

$271,085 $274,877 1.4%

Saskatoon $392,734 $384,909 -2%

$343,587 $332,597 -3.2%

Greater Montreal Area $336,327 $352,798 4.9%

Greater Toronto Area

Winnipeg

$610,308 $693,154 13.6%

$284,991 $291,426 2.3%

Halifax

Calgary

$305,682 $308,017 0.8%

Regina

$464,707 $457,044 -1.6%

Ottawa

$330,545 $332,540 0.6%

$397,161 $411,654 3.6% Source: Royal LePage National House Price Composite, October 2016

NO DOWNSIDE FOR RESIDENTS?

BEING DRIVEN OUT

Few Toronto residents perceive any disadvantage to the introduction of a tax. In answer to a question asking how such a change would affect them personally, two in five respondents thought the tax would be good news for them.

In a survey taken last year, almost two in every five respondents (39%) reported considering leaving the area due to the high price of homes; this sentiment was strongest among under-35s, almost half of whom had given it serious thought.

50%

45%

40%

31%

30% 20% 10% 0%

21%

55+

21%

39%

Two in every five respondents

7% Really Good news for me, Neither good Bad news for me, excellent news but it won’t have a nor bad news but it won’t have for me big impact for me a big impact

18-34

6% Disastrous news for me

Source: Angus Reid Institute survey, September 2016

45%

40% 35-54

Source: Angus Reid Institute survey, September 2015

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UPFRONT

NEWS ANALYSIS

Yes or no The realtors governed by six of British Columbia’s 11 real estate boards have a choice before them: amalgamate into a single body or maintain the status quo. On December 6, they decide AS CANADA’S third-largest province, British Columbia is bound to possess some serious regional differences. Its economic drivers vary widely, from forestry in the north to the tech boom currently invigorating Victoria; its populations are equally diverse, ranging from largely Caucasian and aboriginal communities to the melting pots of Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The province’s real estate industry also possesses a surprising amount of discontinuity. BC’s realtors are governed by 11 different real estate boards – in addition to the British Columbia Real Estate Association. These governing bodies maintain their own strategies for ensuring professional conduct and resolving conflicts, make use of their own MLS systems and raise and manage their own funds. Selling outside the borders of an agent’s home board can be challenging, and the lack of consistency gives consumers even more reason to question

a unified MLS system, significantly lower operating costs, improved professional conduct – but not all agents are buying in. Five of the province’s boards have chosen not to participate in the amalgamation process, one of which is the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB). According to its president, Mike Nugent, the board’s decision to eschew amalgamation has less to do with the process’ supposed benefits than it does with its opacity. “There’s a number of high-level goals that are not followed up with any specifics,” he says. One key sticking point for Nugent is Realtors of BC’s promise to increase efficiencies by replacing board offices with a handful of branches – without explaining where the new offices will be located. By amalgamating, all real estate boards in the province would be required to sign over the entirety of their resources: land, buildings and their contingency funds. Handing that over in

“We’ll always consider what’s going on in light of a full comparable, but we are not willing to give up our local say at this point based on the proposal we have seen” Mike Nugent each board’s integrity. The improvements promised by Realtors of BC, the body created to take the place of the competing boards, are many:

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exchange for theoretical rather than practical outcomes is not something Nugent is comfortable with. “It’s a big ask. What will we get for that?”

An argument against amalgamation is that realtors in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley – accounting for roughly 16,000 of the province’s 21,000 agents – will control the organization, and that the push for amalgamation was sparked by issues in those two areas. “I don’t mean to say Lower Mainland problems aren’t significant, but they’re concerned about fixing the problems that happen there,” Nugent says. If amalgamation becomes a reality, Nugent says VREB has not ruled out opting in sometime in the future, although that process is also far from clear. “We’ll always consider what’s going on in light of a full comparable, but we are not willing to give up our local say at this point based on the


THE ALLURE OF AMALGAMATION Realtors of BC is promising a wide range of benefits if the amalgamation of BC’s real estate boards occurs after the December 6 vote. Among them:

Savings – by centralizing support functions, the organization hopes to save over $9.3m a year

Single MLS System – it is hoped a single listing service would lead to more consistent rules and processes

Improved Professional Conduct – transparent and consistent standards, as well as new arbitration processes, should help the tarnished reputation of BC’s realtors

Political Action – the group’s unified and organized voice would be leveraged for increased political advocacy

proposal we have seen.” Amanda Westrheim of Century 21 Assurance Realty in Kelowna has decided

“I can drive 20 minutes to Summerland or Penticton and not be able to show their properties,” she says. “Having different real

“Having different real estate boards, different lock-box systems and different MLS systems within such a close proximity doesn’t make any sense” Amanda Westrheim strongly in favour of amalgamation. For her, amalgamation would have a positive impact on agents selling in communities governed by neighbouring boards.

estate boards, different lock-box systems and different MLS systems within such a close proximity doesn’t make any sense.” Westrheim also believes in the benefits of

centralized service, saying she looks forward to “having one head office with the best support staff available that can help us more readily”. When asked about the vote, Westrheim is concerned amalgamation may not pass. “There’s a lot of pushback,” she says, much of it coming from older agents who are wary of learning a new MLS system. “They’re terrified of using new technology.” Westrheim feels amalgamation will alleviate future headaches. As BC’s cities expand, competing boards will grow closer and closer, leading to more conflict and more confusion. A single real estate board would mirror the realities of borderless cities. “That’s how a consumer looks at it,” Westrheim says. REP

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PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

IT’S GOOD TO BE KING Daryl King’s unshakeable belief in himself has led to the life most agents dream of

IN AN ISSUE of REP dedicated to showcasing some of the top young talents in the industry, it only makes sense that we feature someone who embodies the principles and practices that any agent needs in order to succeed. In over 30 years in the business, Daryl King has made a habit of fulfilling dreams – both his clients’ and his own – by tapping into a bottomless energy and an unwavering self-belief. But even now, with King’s legacy established and billions of dollars in sales behind him, his Royal LePage Your Community team remains one of the most dominant in the Toronto market, motivated by the desire to help clients navigate one of the most stressful events of their lives. “ T h e r e’s n o t h i n g b e tt e r,” K i n g says, “than calling someone up to say, ‘Congratulations. We sold your home.’”

You Inc When King first went full-time with Royal LePage at age 21, his strategy was simple: make 100 contacts every day. “I used to grab the telephone book and just call,” he says. “There weren’t too many people at that young age doing what I did. I used to wear a moustache back then to look older.”

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Once King persuaded his clients he was the agent for them, he went all out. He managed two open houses on Saturdays, two on Sundays and squeezed in showings before and after. “I made a commitment at a very young age. I still make a commitment at a very old age.” Prior to life as a realtor, King had flirted

Although King had instant success with Royal LePage, becoming the top agent in his office in his first year, he attributes his steady rise to constant training with the best real estate and business coaches in the world. King says he has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to trainers such as Mike Ferry, Floyd Wickman, Brian Tracy

“If you don’t know anything, and you don’t go learn anything, you’re only going to know what you already knew – which is nothing. You need to learn somewhere” with the idea of making medical research his career. But his time at Connaught Laboratories, testing pancreas glands as part of an insulin research program, primarily taught him what he would be deprived of by a career spent in a lab. “They don’t give you enough freedom to accomplish what you want to accomplish,” King says. “And I’m a free spirit. By being able to do what I do freely, I help a lot of people.”

and Tony Robbins, and that the expense is justified for any realtors trying to differentiate themselves. “It’s You Inc at the end of the day,” King says. “If you don’t know anything, and you don’t go learn anything, you’re only going to know what you already knew – which is nothing. You need to learn somewhere. You can learn on the job, but if you make a mistake it can be very costly.” After several years of personal and


PROFILE Name: Daryl King Title: Sales representative Company: Royal LePage Your Community Realty Years in the industry: 31 Fast fact: King has won virtually every award available to a realtor. One of the most prestigious was the 2014 Pinnacle Award, presented by Keller Williams, which recognizes agents who rank first across 20 different categories in their respective territories for that particular year

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PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

professional evolution with Royal LePage, King made the switch to RE/MAX and entered the darkest period of his life.

Dreams and nightmares King changed brokerages in 1991, just as a catastrophic downturn was laying waste to the Toronto housing market. Offices were shuttered, countless agents saw their careers demolished and desperate brokers

work with his childhood friend and owner of the Your Community franchise, Vivian Risi. The partnership has been a fruitful one and an integral part of King having become one of the most recognizable and sought-after personalities in Canadian real estate. “All this exposure I get helps my clients. It helps them sell their house because you’re just attracting more and more

“It’s going that extra mile – that extra ten miles if necessary. A lot of people give up way too soon. I don’t believe in ever giving up” were caught with their hands in the till; one of whom was King’s boss at RE/MAX Town & Country. “They owed me a lot of money in taxes and income,” he says. “And they got their doors locked. [The broker] took my taxes for three years – it was about $366,000 or something like that – and he never paid the government.” As the top agent in the office, King took on the responsibility to fight for his fellow agents and clients. He took his broker all the way to the Supreme Court. King says he and another sales rep “spent seven years in court trying to fight for real estate agents. That’s why they have the commission trust agreement, because of my court case.” Despite the elongated struggle with his former broker, King remained loyal to RE/MAX, working for three more of the company’s brokerages. “I’m not picking on RE/MAX,” King says. “It’s not a knock on the company. It was just the time and the economy. Real estate was not easy then.” King returned to the Royal LePage fold in 1997, when the opportunity arose to

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people, so I always go out of my way to look to be involved in things.” What King calls “things” are what most people would consider once-in-a-lifetime achievements. In September of 2015, King spoke to a crowd of 6,000 at the International Centre in Toronto as part of a Tony Robbins training conference. “It was one of the most memorable days I’ll ever have,” he says. King, an avid baseball fan since childhood, also threw out the opening pitch in front of a full house at the Rogers Centre in August. “That was also a great honour,” he says. Although the Blue Jays lost 5-3 to the Houston Astros that day, King insists his pitch was a strike. That confidence – present at 21, critical during his years-long court battle, apparent in every transaction – has been the basis of King’s three decades at the top. “It’s going that extra mile – that extra ten miles if necessary; never being able to stop because just on the other side there’s gold. A lot of people give up way too soon. I don’t believe in ever giving up.” REP

DARYL KING’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE Charles King My father taught me to treat others the way you want to be treated – with respect, with honesty, with integrity. That’s been the basis of my business. Mike Ferry He taught me about numbers. Anybody can do something once, but can you continue to do it every single day? Michael Vance He used to be Walt Disney’s right-hand man. I had training and coaching with him also. He taught me if you can dream it you can do it. Tony Robbins I remember seeing him – he talked for ten hours in a day. I was so awestruck of this giant of a man. Ten hours later you’re still standing on your feet, pumped up and looking for more. Vivian Risi She’s amazing to have as my broker and as a partner. She started as a small-time agent herself. She has one of the largest real estate companies in the world today.


UPFRONT

OPINION

GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email repmag@kmimedia.ca

Bullying your way in In a heated market buyers are moved to take bold action to get what they want, writes Ahmet Ahmet

IN THE current real estate market, the average listing is added to the MLS for a certain number of days before the seller will accept offers. This is a tactic we use to instigate bidding wars; it is one of the main causes of the currently inflated real estate market. When numerous people have had the opportunity to drool over a home for a few days, then they are all thrown into a cage to fight to the death over who comes out the victor – sometimes rash decisions result. How can your clients avoid waiting, or being thrown into the cage to fight it out? Bully their way in! When your client wants to make an offer on a property, do it; you’re not required to wait. The instructions on the listing are typically a suggestion, not part of the contract between the seller and their representative. Unless there are express written instructions from the seller that they’re not willing to entertain any pre-emptive offers, they will most likely at least consider them. Although it seems simple enough, there’s more to know. In this sort of heated real estate market, sellers are feeling extra confident that their home will sell, and sell for a good price. As a buyer, you’ll need to be ready to act aggressively, and not waste any time in doing so. When a home catches your eye, do your due diligence prior to submitting your offer. Most sellers won’t be interested in removing their home from a possible bidding war

situation unless they’re presented with an offer that is especially enticing. To make a bully offer that stands out, remember what sellers want to see: • Money! You will not be able to bully the owner of a property that has been on the market less

catching a few of the other buyers off guard and unprepared. If you act fast, perhaps you won’t have as many buyers to compete with in the end. Bully offers are the response that buyers have had to come up with in order to avoid waiting until even more people want what they want, thus making them fight all the harder for it. The buyer is taking a risk in doing this sort of offer. To lessen the risk, I recommend getting a pre-emptive home inspection prior to submitting your bully offer, and ensuring that financing is comfortably secured before taking this sort of step. For my part, I think if sellers could not hold off on offers it would help stabilize our real estate market, and perhaps avoid some of the bidding wars and overspending we see every day. I’ve spent most of the past year telling my buyers they SHOULDN’T get involved in these types of purchases which is, to say the least, unusual for a salesperson. I strongly believe that this minor change in how we

In this sort of heated real estate market, as a buyer you’ll need to be ready to act aggressively, and not waste any time in doing so than a day into accepting $10,000 below asking. • A firm offer! Sellers will not be interested in removing themselves from the possibility of a bidding war for a sale that may not firm up. • Money! It bears repeating, sellers will not risk missing out on a bidding war for someone kicking tires; make your offer count. This is the gist of how it works: you make your offer, submit it to the seller’s representative, and let them know they have until a specific time to get back to you. The seller’s representative is then required to let all those who have viewed the property know of this impending bully offer. They will also typically notify any future appointments of your offer. The bully offer tactic exists in hope of

handle offers would have a great impact in our market overall. When things begin getting unreasonable, sometimes we need to help guide buyers back to reality. We’re here to help, not just make a sale. This tiny difference in how we deal with offers would have a large impact on our real estate market, and bring pricing in the housing market back down to a much more manageable level of growth. Perhaps then we would see fewer media accounts of Canada’s impending doom, and predicting how the bubble will soon burst. Why not just take this simple approach and police the issue ourselves? REP Ahmet Ahmet is a sales representative for Accsell Realty, Brokerage; he was ranked in the top 1.5% of units sold for 2015 (as per TREB)

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13


FEATURES

DONE DEAL

Top notch, bottom line A surgically precise valuation helped Amir Ahmadi turn the biggest commercial deal of his career into one of the smoothest transactions any agent could hope for McMaster University’s former property at the Ancaster Business Park

“I HAD DONE commercial deals before, but this was the biggest one I’d done.” Prior to starting his career at Royal LePage State Realty in 2012, Amir Ahmadi had, like many recent university graduates, paid his dues in retail. While the work was less than stimulating, Ahmadi made some key, lasting contacts with owners of commercial developments that have helped shape his early career. “When I got into the business, I always thought about residential,” he says, “but I had some contacts in the commercial industry.” Ahmadi said his associates encouraged him to consider the opportunities inherent to selling commercial real estate, “so I educated myself and got into it.” Still only 28, Ahmadi has a transaction

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record that includes a number of commercial deals – evidence of his growing expertise in the field – none bigger than the one he conducted for McMaster University in March of 2016. It may be a while before he closes another deal of this magnitude, but the ease with which Ahmadi was able to facilitate the sale would indicate that more are on the way.

The building in question was 14,000 square feet of commercial/industrial space on a valuable acre of land; but McMaster also owned an adjacent, undeveloped acre, doubling the property’s potential. While the space had once been used by McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering and still housed an impressive array of aging machinery, its usefulness had run out. “They had a new facility,” says Ahmadi, “so it was just standing there, costing them money.” Although a small number of university staff and students occasionally made use of the building and its resources, it was essentially 14,000 square feet of storage. “It was at one point a beautiful building – just sitting there. It was kind of a shame it wasn’t being utilized.” The university knew it was sitting on a potential goldmine. “It’s a very sought-after area in Ancaster,” Ahmadi says. “Hardly anything ever comes up for sale there.” But in order to turn that space into revenue that would directly impact its 30,000 students, McMaster had to find an agent who could get them the price they were after.

An empty space full of potential McMaster’s property was located in the Ancaster Business Park (ABP). While its 660 acres is modest compared to some of Hamilton’s other business and industrial spaces, ABP’s position on Wilson Street, one of Hamilton’s busiest arteries, makes it a prime location for not only industrial and warehouse space, but also commercial, research and retail.

An invaluable valuation As an agent who advertises as an expert in both commercial and residential real estate, Ahmadi was invited to participate in the interview process that would find McMaster their ideal realtor. Despite his confidence, Ahmadi wanted to guarantee the university that they would have


Royal LePage’s full arsenal at their disposal. “I came in with a senior commercial broker in my office,” says Ahmadi. “He’s awesome. He’s taught me a lot. We presented our package, our proposal, our marketing plan and our strategy and they chose us.” Ahmadi feels he knows exactly why McMaster went with him and his colleague. “We were bang on with our evaluation. We took a lot of time to research the area, which is hard because there weren’t too many comparables. We took the approach where we found out what the building is worth alone and what each acre of land is worth in that area.” Despite presenting McMaster with a number close to what they wanted, Ahmadi still had to negotiate an asking price. “The board of directors was representing the students, so they wanted a little bit more,” he says. Because the building would require extensive renovations and the vacant lot millions in development funds, Ahmadi says it was critical that he kept “the pricing attractive. It had to be under $2m.” McMaster agreed to list the property at $1.99m. It was off the market in four days.

QUICK LOOK

ADDRESS 1276 Sandhill Drive, Ancaster

DOM 4

LISTING DATE 5 March, 2016

SOLD DATE 9 March, 2016

SOLD PRICE $1.9m

STYLE Commercial office/industrial with adjacent 1-acre parcel of land suitable for development

Satisfaction all around “We didn’t even get a chance to go through with our marketing plan,” Ahmadi says. After listing the property on MLS, ICX and Realtor.ca on a Thursday, Ahmadi set up showings for that Saturday. Two potential

DOWNTOWN CLASS A OFFICE SPACE, SECOND QUARTER 2016 Space Under Construction (sq ft)

Vacancy Rate

Toronto

3,555,358

7.3%

Calgary

2,361,753

15.5%

Montreal

1,102,200

9.2%

Vancouver

473,141

10.2%

The Ancaster Business Park in Hamilton, ON

buyers toured the property – and they both made offers. “They wanted to submit their offers right away, but we couldn’t get in with the McMaster University faculty members who were handling the sale until Monday,” says Ahmadi. The faculty members met on Tuesday and selected the winning bid. Although the final price came down to $1.915m after issues were found with the property’s HVAC unit, the university was more than satisfied. Ahmadi, too, walked away content “If there are any McMaster students reading this article, they should be advised that the people we worked with had one thing in their minds, and that was to get the most money for the students.” Ahmadi says the university was adamant about the transaction being carried out ethically and honestly. “They were awesome. I wish we could work with more organizations like that.” Ahmadi says a great deal of satisfaction can be taken from commercial deals, despite the fact they lack some of the emotion associated with residential sales. “As the agent it can be more enjoyable, because if you price it correctly, you know where to target the property and you can look at it from an investor’s point of view, you know they will go for it.” Ahmadi’s focus on the bottom line – and the hours he dedicated to crafting an accurate, attractive valuation – were critical to the deal’s speed and overwhelming success. “Every dollar has to be accounted for,” he says. “Otherwise it doesn’t make sense – and the buyer won’t buy.” REP

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30

30 UNDER 30 The future of the real estate industry is a bright one. Here are 30 of its leading lights

THEY SAY that youth is wasted on the young, but “they” tend to say a lot of things that turn out to be untrue. We, on the other hand, have found ample evidence that the young are wasting nothing, except maybe their competition. Our first 30 Under 30 feature has been as eye-opening and insightful as any piece we’ve run. We expected energy, idealism and passion. What is youth without these things? But we were taken aback again and again by the wisdom and understanding demonstrated by these rising stars.

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Many of these agents are already well-established, respected professionals who have sold scores, if not hundreds, of properties. They are trusted members of the community, mothers, fathers and leaders. They have reputations to protect, clients to look out for and legacies to establish. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on the present, where the following 30 agents are quickly and definitively making their mark.


INDEX BY LAST NAME

SPONSOR PROFILE

BROKER

OFFICE

BASE CITY

PAGE

Ackerman, Shayla

Royal LePage Regina Realty

Regina, SK

27

Behroyan, Nazanin

RE/MAX Masters Realty

West Vancouver, BC

24

Behroyan, Shahin

RE/MAX Masters Realty

West Vancouver, BC

22

Busch, Matt

Royal LePage Realty Plus

Mississauga, ON

26

Fiacco, Vince

RE/MAX Real Estate

Edmonton, AB

26

Kaplun, Eugene

RE/MAX Infinite

Richmond Hill, ON

20

Khan, Ali

Royal LePage Sussex

Gibsons, BC

27

Kitchen, Jeff

RE/MAX Professionals

Saint John, NB

22

Laidler, Bill

RE/MAX Sabre Realty

Port Coquitlam, BC

18

Mezini, Eugene

Royal LePage Professionals

Markham, ON

26

Michael Doiron,

Exit Realty Associates

Moncton, NB

22

Mohr, Megan

RE/MAX Elite

Sherwood Park, AB

18

O’Reilly, Luke

Royal LePage State Realty

Ancaster, ON

25

Pilarski, Stephanie

RE/MAX Realtron Realty

Thornhill, ON

26

Place, Samantha

Macdonald Realty

Vancouver, BC

19

Pontaletta, Vince

RE/MAX Treeland Realty

Langley, BC

22

Russell, Andrew

RE/MAX Real Estate Central Alberta

Red Deer, AB

23

Seligman, Corbin

Harvey Kalles Real Estate

Toronto, ON

18

Shymkiw, Chase

Royal LePage Brookside Realty

Maple Ridge, BC

27

Strom, Lindsay

Royal LePage North York Realty Newmarket, ON

19

Tahririha, Shawn

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty

Toronto, ON

20

Tang, Evan

RE/MAX Crossroads Realty

Markham, ON

24

Thrasher, Brady

RE/MAX Preferred Realty

Amherstburg, ON

19

Van Klei, Cameron

Century 21 Creekside Realty

Chilliwack, BC

24

Volker, Tyler

Royal LePage Sussex

West Vancouver, BC

23

Wang, Jerry

Macdonald Realty

Vancouver, BC

25

Westrheim, Amanda

Century 21 Assurance Realty

Kelowna, BC

23

Yu, Daniel

RE/MAX Real Estate Services

Vancouver, BC

18

Zhan, Walter

RE/MAX Condos Plus

Toronto, ON

25

Ziegler, Jennifer

RE/MAX Real Estate Centre

Kitchener, ON

24

RE/MAX Infinite is proud to sponsor IN I N I T E REP’s first 30 Under 30. As a thriving brokerage where most of our agents and management are under the age of 35, we know how much effort and dedication is needed for young agents to succeed. We value the energy and dynamism our younger agents bring to our clients and our brokerage. At RE/MAX Infinite, we deal with vibrant new ideas brought forward each day by the new generation of agents; it is truly a breath of fresh air that yields positive results. RE/MAX Infinite never forgets that our agents are our clients. Our commitment and dedication are therefore to better serve our agents. We have become the fastest growing brokerage in the GTA, growing in record numbers year after year, and have sold over half a billion dollars of real estate in 2016. The key to our continued growth and success is finding talented, loyal, like-minded agents – dedicated and honest men and women who don’t just look for commissions, but for the satisfaction of a job well done, a family-like environment offering the support of new friends and the infinite potential for personal and professional growth which gives our brokerage its name. The RE/MAX Infinite family would like to congratulate everyone selected by REP for 30 Under 30. You are all an inspiration to your peers and we congratulate you for choosing an incredible career. This is just the beginning of your successes, as the possibilities in this business are infinite. BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30 MEGAN MOHR

DANIEL YU

RE/MAX Elite

RE/MAX Real Estate Services

Sherwood Park, AB

It has been a long time since Megan Mohr was scampering around her hometown of Sherwood Park hawking Girl Guide cookies, but her love of selling has remained intact. “I feel blessed to have found my passion so early in my life,” she says. REP can’t speak to Mohr’s cookie-slinging success, but she has been averaging a sale per week for the last two years in a soft Edmonton market. In a highly competitive industry, Mohr has an attitude to her competition that is Zen-like. “There is always enough business for everyone, so never be afraid to share your ideas with fellow realtors,” she says. “One of my most influential mentors told me early on: ‘You cannot lose what’s meant to be yours.’” Mohr’s down-to-earth approach has been central to her success in generating referrals, which account for over 80% of her business. “Our industry is engulfed with ego,” she says, “but I checked mine at the door in 2007.”

BILL LAIDLER RE/MAX Sabre Realty

Port Coquitlam, BC

Despite his youth, Bill Laidler is as traditional a realtor as you’re likely to meet. He is a man of few words who has no illusions about what has helped make him one of the top young agents in BC’s Lower Mainland. “I show up early every work day and follow a strict schedule,” he says. Laidler came to real estate in 2012 after having had his fill of administrative tedium. He wanted a business of his own, one that would allow his natural sales ability to shine. He says those skills are “the best way to help my clients and to grow my business”. Laidler actively avoids internet leads and the pressures to use social media, basing his business on the basics: customer service, knowledge and integrity.

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Vancouver, BC

Daniel Yu’s parents turned him down when he asked them for a loan that would get him started investing in real estate. Well aware of his entrepreneurial spirit, they told him instead to invest in himself, to learn about the industry and build relationships with professionals. Yu’s fruitful dealings with talented realtors inspired him to get his real estate licence. Yu’s success has led to his evolution as a person. “I learned about flaws in myself through my interactions with others, whether it’s clients or colleagues, and how to improve on my mindset and personality to be a betterrounded person that everyone likes to work with,” he says. Yu feels the industry has made him more resourceful, creative and, most of all, persistent. “Rejections are just things I need to weave through to find business.”

CORBIN SELIGMAN Harvey Kalles Real Estate Toronto, ON

Corbin Seligman has been steeping himself in real estate for most of his life. As a kid, he sought out architects and dragged his parents to open houses; as a student at McGill he studied urban planning; after graduation he immediately started working with a Toronto builder. His multiple layers of experience have become the bedrock for what has already been a successful career. “I strike a balance between offering personalized, attentive service and a business-like approach to selling real estate,” he says. “Too many in this industry – particularly industry veterans – fly by the seat of their pants, while I run a business. That is my competitive advantage.” Even though Seligman’s dedication to professionalism and his reliance on processes help mitigate some of the daily insanity of being an agent, he is still adapting to the dynamic nature of the industry. ”Trying to predict how a transaction will play out only sets you up for disappointment. This is still a daily struggle for me as I like to be in control, but I’m learning to roll with the punches.”


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LINDSAY STROM

Royal LePage North York Realty Newmarket, ON

“We wake up every day unemployed.” In her five years in the industry, Lindsay Strom has come to live by a rule too many agents remain oblivious to: a sale does not guarantee a referral. “I’ve walked dogs to get them out of the house for a showing, dropped off gingerbread houses at Christmas to clients, helped an elderly client pack her condo to make her life easier in her downsize. Whatever it takes to help. These little things are so appreciated by clients and help make you unforgettable. Who’s going to forget their real estate agent/dog walker?” Strom is known by clients and colleagues for her high energy, a quality much needed in her role as a new mom. As she balances her many responsibilities, Strom is also trying to build credibility in an old-school industry. “No one is hungrier or more willing to work hard to earn business than someone new. It’s about taking the challenges you are faced with and using them to help build and sell yourself.”

BRADY THRASHER RE/MAX Preferred Realty Amherstburg, ON

Brady Thrasher is the oldest member of our group – he turned 30 just after we closed our nomination process. But this grizzled old geezer still has some gas in the tank, some lessons to teach the kids. Not only has Thrasher been one of Amherstburg’s top realtors for years, he is also one of its community leaders. His multiple fundraising efforts, cross-industry marketing initiatives and successes as an event promoter have made him one of the city’s most recognizable and respected young residents. He was named Citizen of the Year by Amherstburg’s Optimist Club at age 20. Thrasher may have started in real estate because of the freedom and unpredictability promised by each day, but the results have actually led to increased stability: for his wife and two kids, for his thriving business and for the city he calls home.

SAMANTHA PLACE Macdonald Realty Vancouver, BC

The concept of “home” figures heavily in Samantha Place’s relationship with real estate. Whether it was one of the luxury homes pictured in the magazines on display in the real estate office managed by her mother, the properties she has helped her many clients find, or the ineffable feeling the word conjures up in all of us, “home” has always been front of mind for Place. Finding her clients the right home has meant taking on a number of roles: therapist, confidante, tour guide and market expert. “I work for all my clients as if they were close family members or friends,” she says, “and treat them as such.” “The best feeling is finding a property that makes my clients feel as if they are at home,” she says. For agents like Samantha Place, her clients’ happiness is her own.

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30

IN

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SHAWN TAHRIRIHA RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Toronto, ON

EUGENE KAPLUN RE/MAX Infinite Richmond Hill, ON

As the head of his own remarkably successful team, Eugene Kaplun has learned that the most valuable tool in an agent’s arsenal is a strong supporting cast. “I think that’s the biggest challenge for anyone young who gets into the business – trying to fight the battles on your own. The biggest part of success comes from the support that you as a leader get from people around you. The Chinese have a saying that you should never be afraid of the competition, but you should be afraid of weak or poorly managed team members.” Kaplun and his team have been leveraging a number of cutting-edge marketing strategies and sales techniques to help provide greater exposure for their clients’ properties. They have also contracted a small army of interior designers, stagers, movers and contractors in order to provide another layer of customer service. Already a multiple award winner, Kaplun hopes to expand his team and the services they provide. “At the end of the day,” he says, “your clients will look at what you have sold – and how you sold it.”

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As with many of our 30 Under 30s, being young has never stood in the way of success for Shawn Tahririha. “In some instances,” he says, “it has been an advantage. People’s perception of a person tend to be what that same person has put out. Maintaining a pristine reputation in the community is all that is required to gain the public’s trust.” Tahririha was originally encouraged to join the industry by his mother, who works in the financing side of the business. “She pushed me to aim for a career in real estate, and she was right!” he says. Tahririha’s focus and ability to move forward despite setbacks have made him a vital part of the RE/MAX Hallmark team. As he moves into his 30s, Tahririha hopes to share his experience and insight with younger, less experienced agents. “The community, along with the business, has given me more than I can ask for,” he says. “I plan on giving back. The right information can completely change a person’s life.”


Canada’s Online News Source and IN INITE Community for Real Estate Professionals BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED

SIGN UP FOR YOUR KMI MARKETING FREE E-NEWSLETTER! HOUSE Industry-leading Special Reports & Analysis Read up on trends and economic events that affect your business Expert Advice and Strategy Insights Learn about what makes a success-driven practice from the best and brightest minds in the industry Up-close and Personal Gain access to exclusive interviews with Canada’s top real estate professionals and discover their strategies in enhancing their business Real-time Content Delivery Keep informed with daily market updates and regulatory news delivered straight to your inbox

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30 JEFF KITCHEN RE/MAX Professionals Saint John, NB

Jeff Kitchen is living proof that you don’t need to be in a big market to put up big numbers. Kitchen has been able to increase his sales each year in a continually soft Saint John market. This admirable feat can be traced back to his ability to give clients what he calls a “big picture approach to their investment”. Kitchen’s degree in construction management and the work he has done with Vantage Build, the construction company he founded, provides clients with a level of insight into both home buying and home building they wouldn’t get with most agents. “It’s a unique service and perspective we’re able to provide,” he says. Kitchen is currently working towards building his own niche real estate brand, where future clients will be sure to receive the same solid advice and thoughtful service that has already made him a fixture in the New Brunswick real estate industry.

MICHAEL DOIRON Exit Realty Associates Moncton, NB

SHAHIN BEHROYAN RE/MAX Masters Realty West Vancouver, BC

REP was caught off guard when we saw two Behroyans pop up in our 30 Under 30 research, but after looking at both Shahin and Nazanin Behroyan’s sales figures, we knew we had to make room for both. Shahin originally got involved in the industry to assist his family in their own real estate matters, but before long his tenacity and persistence had turned him into one of the leading agents in the highly competitive Vancouver market. He describes himself as more of “an information provider rather than a sales person”, an approach that helped him sell over $200m worth of real estate in 2015. The awards have started piling up for Behroyan, and he has already been listed among the top five commercial/residential RE/MAX agents worldwide. Not bad for someone who never considered becoming a realtor.

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After three years working in sales for Telus, Michael Doiron had experienced a tantalizing taste of commissions, but what satisfied him most about the position was something more. “I enjoyed working with people and filling their needs and wants,” he says. One day, when an agent he was assisting told Doiron, “You would make a great realtor,” Doiron wisely decided to follow his advice. Six years later, Doiron says he has “seen a lot of agents come and go. Being a young agent can be difficult starting out and making a name for yourself.” But Doiron’s commitment to customer satisfaction, honesty and energy have allowed him to build a solid reputation in the Moncton market. “I’ve learned that to be a successful realtor, or successful entrepreneur of any kind, you need to be your own boss – hire yourself and constantly be improving.”

VINCE PONTALETTA RE/MAX Treeland Realty Langley, BC

Vince Pontaletta was 19 when he first got involved in real estate. By the time he was a licensed agent at 20, he had fallen hard for the industry. “I would lose track of the hours that I put in,” he says. “I eventually stopped counting them and focused on productivity. The enjoyment I felt after finding my clients’ dream home or selling their biggest asset was addictive. That’s when selling real estate went from being a job to being a lifestyle.” Balancing that lifestyle with the demands of being a father has taught Pontaletta a critical lesson about productivity: “Aside from communication, the biggest thing in this industry is time management. If you can allocate your time for different aspects of your business and eliminate tunnel vision you will be able to see your success.”


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TYLER VOLKER Royal LePage Sussex West Vancouver, BC

A lot of agents describe themselves as “hands on”. Tyler Volker might be better described as “hands in”. Volker first started doing commercial and residential renovations when he was a teenager, and his extensive, intimate building knowledge has given him an undeniable competitive advantage. “When I list a home I find any problems and fix them first,” he says. “And when buying, I help by finding issues and solutions before my client spends money on an inspector or repairs – or gets stuck with a lemon. I go outside the typical job scope by getting dirty and doing grunt work, such as painting, power washing, grouting, drywall repairs, plumbing repairs, etc.” Volker’s intense attention to detail extends to his marketing efforts as well. “Instead of sticking an ugly, lopsided metal sign frame by the curb, I build my own one-ofa-kind cedar signposts, so the for-sale sign not only catches your eye but also creates a strong first impression. It shows that I care about every detail – big or small.”

AMANDA WESTRHEIM

Century 21 Assurance Realty Kelowna, BC

Amanda Westrheim’s time in real estate can be summed up by one word: passion. “I eat, sleep and breathe real estate,” she says. “It’s everything to me. In all that I do, it’s my primary focus.” Westrheim has been devoted to the industry since she was a kid. She says she knew she was going to be a realtor when she was six years old. “Trick or treating, I cared more about what the house looked like than the candy. My parents still don’t know where that came from.” Westrheim has already made a name for herself at Century 21. She is currently the top performer in her office and has cracked the company’s nationwide Top 50. “I have been fortunate not to have ever been asked my age,” she says, “which I think comes from confidence.”

ANDREW RUSSELL

RE/MAX Real Estate Central Alberta Red Deer, AB

Among the lessons that all agents learn in the trenches, one of the most important often gets pushed to the periphery. “Take care of yourself,” says Andrew Russell. “This business can totally consume you if you let it. I’m much more protective of my time off now than I ever used to be, because I learned what burnout can do to your health and mental wellness.” Part of that wellness is a commitment to constant learning and self-improvement. “I never stop learning,” he says. “I read non-stop. I attend multiple training seminars yearly. I have a business coach. I want to acquire as much knowledge as I can; and because I’m constantly striving to be better personally, my business gets better.” Russell also attributes his success to his membership of a real estate mastermind group. “It’s an amazing support group of people who face a lot of the same problems on a daily basis, and this has been a huge contributing factor to my success in this industry. I’m incredibly grateful to have these people in my life.”

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30 JENNIFER ZIEGLER RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Kitchener, ON

For Jennifer Ziegler, the ideal agent is a mixture of both fortitude and fun, strength and sunshine. “You need to be tough,” she says, “and to always stay honest and true to yourself. Not everyone is the perfect client for you – so if they aren’t, let them go.” But clients who make Ziegler their realtor immediately see the gleaming other side of the coin. “I try to make everything fun. I don’t sell my clients a house and then forget about them. I love to plan parties and other events to let them know they are always top of my mind. My clients mean the world to me – and I always miss them after they buy or sell.” Ziegler’s affection for her clients is rivalled only by the love she has for her home town. “I love Kitchener-Waterloo,” she says. “We have grown so much. I still get excited when people buy or invest here.”

EVAN TANG

RE/MAX Crossroads Realty Markham, ON

It didn’t take long for Evan Tang to develop an intense hatred for his old job in Toronto’s Financial District. The regimented schedule and soulless cubicle confines were bad enough; but what Tang really felt he was surrendering was his individuality, something that has become central to his success. “You don’t have to be another Barry Cohen; you don’t have to be another Frank Leo. You just have to be you,” he says. “Follow your heart and focus on what you are good at. Find your own way to do real estate and master it.” Tang says he has eschewed some of the traditional real estate trappings. “I don’t believe in paper advertisement, hate door knocking and don’t like to send cheesy notes on clients’ birthdays,” he says. Instead, he chooses to focus on tactics he is comfortable with, the ones he can make work. And they are working. Tang became the youngest and fastest recipient of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame award in his brokerage’s 35-year history. It took him 14 months.

CAMERON VAN KLEI Century 21 Creekside Realty Chilliwack, BC

Cameron Van Klei looked up from the trench he was digging on a rainy November morning to see a stunning new car come to a stop in the driveway nearby. A sharply dressed, not to mention warm and dry, realtor stepped out and walked crisply past, preparing to show the home. “At that moment,” says Van Klei, “I thought, ‘That’s what I should be doing.’ And I haven’t looked back since.” While Van Klei’s positivity and pressure-free approach have been a big part of becoming one of Century 21’s top agents nationwide, he says organizational skills have been critical to his success. “You must be organized and build systems to follow when work becomes overwhelmingly busy. I like to start early and organize my day through checklists and goals before the phone gets busy.” Van Klei is currently running his own brokerage, where he has happily taken on the responsibilities of coach, teacher and boss. “It’s really fun being a part of other people’s success,” he says.

NAZANIN BEHROYAN RE/MAX Masters Realty West Vancouver, BC

Part of Nazanin Behroyan’s success has been her ability to remain calm and collected while at the centre of Vancouver’s hysterical market. “The space you surround yourself with has so much to do with your ultimate happiness and your peace of mind,” she says. Her sensitive and gregarious nature has not only helped satisfy her list of clients, it’s also allowed her to build a large, professional network that helps to keep the list growing. She likes to think that once she and her clients have joined forces, they’ve found more than a realtor. “The best way to serve my clients is not to only be their agent, but to be their friend, to listen to their deepest concerns – whether it be financial or a feature that they want in their house. The best thing I have learned is to be an active listener.”

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JERRY WANG Macdonald Realty Vancouver, BC

Some people are just born for real estate. Jerry Wang’s natural entrepreneurialism, the influence of his real-estate investor parents and his bilingual abilities have proven to be a lethal combination in the Vancouver market. But nature needs to be nurtured, and Wang knows that constant development is key to any agent’s continued success. “The more time I spend in the business, the more I appreciate the learning aspect,” he says. “During my early career, I had the privilege to work with and learn from many experienced realtors, bankers, lawyers, accountants, etc. “I became more detail orientated with my paperwork, more disciplined with my schedule, more adaptive to different personalities and more responsible for my words and actions.” But some lessons take longer to learn than others. “Sometimes I can be emotional when dealing with clients. I sometimes take things personally. Emotional intelligence is a big success factor in this business and it does take time to learn. There are always tough times in this business. I’m glad I can go through them when I’m still young.”

WALTER ZHAN RE/MAX Condos Plus Toronto, ON

In a post-Breaking Bad world, life as a chemist named Walter might seem like an exciting one, but not for Walter Zhan. Zhan exchanged a career combining molecules for one in which he brings together clients and their dream homes. He stepped fully into real estate only two years ago, achieving instant success. In Zhan’s short time in the industry, he has learned a number of valuable lessons: find your niche, act quickly when those rare undervalued properties pop up and, most importantly, stick to your guns. “I was a little hesitant trying to convince some clients of my parents’ age, so that they could get the property they really wanted by paying a little extra or going slightly higher than they were willing to pay.” Despite the challenges that come along with a new career, Zhan’s experiment with real estate has been a fruitful one. “The barrier to entry is low, but it is very difficult to succeed,” he says.

LUKE O’REILLY

Royal LePage State Realty Ancaster, ON

Few people outside the industry think of mental toughness when they picture the stereotypical real estate agent. For Luke O’Reilly, developing a thick skin has been key to his success. “I was only 23 when I started trading real estate and I also looked very young,” he says. “Over the years, I have noticed that agents have attempted to take advantage of my youth by bullying me during negotiations, and I have noticed that clients were a little reluctant to work with me at first. As a result, I have had to get tough with colleagues on occasion, and it gave me the motivation to go above and beyond for my clients in order to earn their trust.” O’Reilly’s determination through those early days proved to be the basis for what have so far been six years of growing success. He has been awarded Royal LePage’s Diamond Award the past three years. “It has been the best six years of my life,” he says. “I love what I do.”

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30 VINCE FIACCO RE/MAX Real Estate Edmonton, AB

The endless potential for both earnings and personal development are what first attracted Vince Fiacco to real estate. “There’s no limit to the opportunities in this business,” he says. “I’m always wanting more. I’m never satisfied with being average.” Fiacco’s dedication to constant growth has led to some key insights about how to effectively expand business. “The biggest growth opportunities don’t come from new initiatives, but rather from taking what we do that already works and doing them more effectively,” he says. “Small improvements made in a few key areas can result in huge growth to the business as a whole.” But Fiacco says even the most clever adjustments are no substitute for old-fashioned hard work. “In the market that we are faced with today, you have to work twice as hard to prove that age is just a number. Maturity and experience far succeed any doubts about age.”

MATT BUSCH

EUGENE MEZINI

STEPHANIE PILARSKI

Mississauga, ON

Markham, ON

Thornhill, ON

Even though he ended up at the same brokerage once owned by his grandparents, Matt Busch never expected a free ride. “I was never going to get a deal from any family members,” he says. “We all work very separately, but it has been very helpful to have a vast group with great knowledge and experience close to me.” Busch has learned that getting access to that experience is a reciprocal process, one that can improve the strength of a brokerage. “Helping the more traditional agents in your office with everything from social networking to finding the most up-to-date apps for hosting great open houses and capturing meaningful leads is a sure way to get them to share,” he says. While Busch’s tech smarts have brought him a long way, he knows what is at the heart of the industry: “Selling will never change. Face-to-face contact and meaningful relationships are the only way to build a lasting business.”

“So many people don’t make it,” says Eugene Mezini of the industry he has grown to love. “Your drive, your hustle and your attitude are the only things that will help you overcome all the obstacles and rejection that you will face on a daily basis.” Rejection seems to be a thing of the past for Mezini, who has targeted the GTA condo market with laser precision, moving hundreds of them in a few short years. His condo expertise has also made him a go-to specialist for investors. “This is the side of the business that I’m best at,” he says. “The emotional side is not there as much as a regular sale. How much does it cost? What will I make? Where is the best place to invest? The only emotion is money.” With an ever-growing number of satisfied clients in his database, Mezini’s goal is to surpass 200 deals in 2017. “There is no ceiling, so think big,” he says.

A lot of people grow up in a real estate family, but not all of them start taking their real estate courses while in high school. When York University’s Sculich School of Business went on strike in 2008, Stephanie Pilarski was already in a position to start selling. “It was the best summer job I ever had!” she says. Starting with zero potential clients, Pilarski had to do things the hard way – cold calls. But she leveraged an old tactic into new business almost instantly. “When I got to the front door, many prospective clients, more than I could count, commented on how young I looked, but since I was already at their house with an appointment, I was able to get through the door. Once I was in and they heard me discuss real estate they could tell the experience was there.” Pilarski’s cold-calling days are long behind her, but the knowledge and enthusiasm that she used to get her foot in the door are still at the heart of her success.

Royal LePage Realty Plus

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Royal LePage Professionals

RE/MAX Realtron Realty


IN

INITE BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED

CHASE SHYMKIW Royal LePage Brookside Realty Maple Ridge, BC

Chase Shymkiw is realistic about life as an agent. When he moved into the industry at the age of 20, he was already preparing for a life of hard work and considerable sacrifice. “Nothing comes easy in this business,” he says. “I always respected how hard realtors had to work for their clients.” Shymkiw’s efforts are paying off, but he knows that success is based on continual development. “You need to be on top of your game at all times, as it takes tremendous energy to coordinate, strategize, negotiate and continually update your knowledge of rules, legislation and mortgages.” Shymkiw is on a constant lookout for mentors who can help shape both his knowledge and the experience of his customers. “The better I am at my job, the happier my client is,” he says. “It is sometimes daunting and exhausting, but I am always available, seven days a week.”

SHAYLA ACKERMAN Royal LePage Regina Realty

ALI KHAN Royal LePage Sussex

Regina, SK Gibsons, BC

As someone who needs to be busy to be happy, Shayla Ackerman chose her profession wisely. She is currently one of the most successful realtors in Regina, selling properties at a lightning quick pace despite the economic malaise that has settled over Saskatchewan. Ackerman started her career in 2012, worried that her gender and age would impede her success. “I remember thinking: ‘Try to dress in a way that you appear older’ or ‘Make sure that you have done your research so that they realize how knowledgeable you are’,” she says. “As the years have gone by, I realize that these two challenges don’t follow me today.” Ackerman’s dedication to being the most informed person in the room has served her well. She has earned the respect of her peers and the trust of her growing list of clients. “My life is busy,” she says, “but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Being a realtor is not about being a sales person,” says Ali Khan. “It’s about being a trusted advisor. Clients look to us as they do doctors, lawyers and accountants. They come to us for our knowledge and experience.” Now in his tenth year as an agent, Khan has an abundance of both. Khan is also in possession of seemingly limitless energy, which he taps into in order to make his home on the Sunshine Coast a better place. He has been involved with the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society, the Sechelt Food Bank, the Sunshine Coast Lions Club and that organization’s housing society. “I love the Sunshine Coast,” he says. “It truly has become home.” Khan has already been the recipient of a number of awards, including a Royal LePage Diamond Award in 2015. If Khan continues in his commitment to both client and community, more will surely be on the way.

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FEATURES

COVER STORY: 30 UNDER 30

LEVON NAZARIAN RE/MAX Infinite Toronto, ON

LEVON NAZARIAN knows what it’s like to be young while trying to get your footing in real estate. Entering the industry at 21, Nazarian opened RE/MAX Infinite at 28, and just four years later he is the broker of record at one of Toronto’s most powerful real estate brokerages. In 2015, Nazarian was named RE/MAX’s No.1 commercial agent in all of Canada. He has amassed a wealth of experience that he uses to drive his dynamic team into the upper echelons of the GTA market.

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Over 80% of his agents earn over $100,000 a year, putting them far ahead in an industry where only 5% of agents crack the six-figure threshold. When asked how RE/MAX Infinite elicits such impressive performances from its agents, Nazarian says the answer is simple. “The biggest advantage of our brokerage is that we simply care about our agents,” he says. “It’s a family environment in the office. As a brokerage, we stand behind our agents 100% of the way and give the utmost support

to all our agents, above and beyond any other brokerage. “The office environment also plays a crucial role in the success of our agents, as they are inspired to greatness by working alongside some of the brightest minds and top producers in the industry.” Nazarian also comes from a development background, being a builder/developer throughout Ontario and California. Whether it’s construction, investment opportunities, commercial transactions or legal knowledge,


IN

INITE BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED

Nazarian gladly shares and educates his brokerage with the knowledge and connections he has gained. Although Nazarian is looking to expand his team, he says RE/MAX Infinite is highly selective in its choosing of new agents, exercising a level of selectivity that often seems lacking in the industry. “We don’t let just anyone join us. We might be like a family, but we choose that family very carefully. We need to know that our agents are there to seek the clients’ best interest. If they’re dedicated, dynamic, hard-working and loyal, the brokerage will give them anything they need.” Nazarian’s approach to business has been integral to the success of his office. One of Infinite’s rising stars is Eugene Kaplun, one of REP’s 30 Under 30. Ambitious, hard-working and loyal, Kaplun has been with Infinite from the beginning, starting his career from scratch as RE/MAX Infinite’s very first agent. His success over the years has only been growing and shows no signs of slowing down. During this time, Kaplun has been able to establish a successful team with John Sun and Orkhan Raguimov. “I commend Eugene on his recent success; he’s truly a success story and is fortunate to have such a great and deserving team. They

“It’s a family environment in the office. As a brokerage, we stand behind our agents 100% and give the utmost support to all our agents, above and beyond any other brokerage” share a high degree of loyalty towards one another, and that’s the quality I admire the most,” says Nazarian. He adds that he has a number of other young professionals on staff deserving of recognition, too. “Where to begin?” he says. “Along with Eugene, whose team has racked up over $1m in commissions this year, there is also Ferro Payman and Omid Feizarbabi. “Ferro is only 24 and is already in line to receive the Chairman Club from RE/MAX for making over $500,000 in commission. Having only been an agent for a few years, Ferro was quickly able to utilize the direction given to him from Infinite to excel in his career. Ferro is also on his way to establishing a successful team of his own. “Omid, 30, is also a success story. He’ll be receiving the Platinum Award (for achieving over $250,000 in commissions) this year. He

is an architect by trade, and builds some of the most modern and beautiful custom homes I have ever seen.” Nazarian saves his highest gratitude for his administration manager, Nazgol Ravaei, 28, who runs the brokerage’s back office. “All the success we have achieved, I owe to her hard work, enthusiasm and loyalty. We make an incredible team. Not only is she a committed employee, but she’s an incredible friend and the agents love her,” he says. Looking to build on RE/MAX Infinite’s profound success, Nazarian is currently overseeing the construction of a new 20,000 square foot office facility with a rooftop terrace, private banquet hall and underground parking for all its agents and clients. “It’s not important for us to be young,” Nazarian says when asked for advice for REP’s 30 Under 30s. “It’s important for us to be persistent, honest and loyal.”


FEATURES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES REP asked readers to weigh in on the companies that employ them. The responses were overwhelming – and surprising

2016 SAW a spike in the number of people weighing in on the state of the real estate industry, from government officials and millennials addressing the affordability crisis to buyers and sellers assessing the behaviour of their agents. While politics and economics are unavoidable when it comes to discussing the industry, any true evaluation of it has to start with the realtors themselves. Just as debates about education tend to boil down to the treatment of teachers, the health of the real estate industry can be somewhat gauged by the overall satisfaction of its realtors. An agent who is content with how they are treated by

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their employer is more likely to provide impeccable service, while one who feels slighted and unappreciated is generally more prone to lapses in professionalism. With that in mind, REP sent out a survey to our readership in the hope of gaining some insight into which companies are doing the best job of satisfying their employees. We were expecting – and, as storytellers, hoping for – a certain level of negativity, but the responses were surprisingly positive. If REP’s logic is sound, and agent satisfaction is indeed the linchpin of a healthy real estate industry, Canadian clients are in good hands.


THE RESPONDENTS REP’s survey was sent out to thousands of agents. When the responses started flowing, it was clear we would be receiving input from across the industry, which is precisely what we were hoping for. Responses came from every major brokerage and from every level of experience. REP wants to thank all of the agents who took the time to fill out our survey. As we’ve said before, we’re nothing without you; your participation in features like these make them what they are.

Regional breakdown

8%

Atlantic Canada

1% – QC

Respondents’ brokerages

26%

29%

Other

RE/MAX

Level of experience

0-4 years

14% 5-10 years

52%

24%

ON 11-15 years

14% 19% AB, SK and MB

20% BC

20%

22%

Century 21

Royal LePage

Over 15 years

48%

3% Coldwell Banker 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

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50%

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FEATURES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES

AGENT SUCCESS Agents live and die by the sale. Those who can string together consistent success will last; those who cannot will fade away, quickly to be replaced. Looking at our respondents’ answers, it would seem as if Canada’s realtors will be in it for the long haul. In comparing sales figures by brokerage, the numbers are strikingly similar. Among the three major brokerages, however, one major difference is in the percentage of

Value of property sold per agent

high earners, and RE/MAX falls somewhat behind. Smaller brokerages fared less positively in this part of the survey, as 70% of their agents sold $10m worth of property or less. When it comes to the number of properties sold, it was Royal LePage that came up short. More of that company’s agents sold fewer than 10 properties, and fewer of its agents sold more than 25 properties in the past year, even when compared to smaller brokerages.

10%

15% 28%

29%

20%

35%

TOP COMMENTS

19%

19%

“All business I generate is from my sources, not the brokerage.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario

“We have a very open communication culture in our office, which breeds trust among the agents and allows us to work well together, be supportive of each other, and have fun, all while being relatively successful.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario

70%

53%

52%

Royal LePage

Century 21

50%

“The commission formula and sponsoring bonus system is unmatched, giving the agents the potential for higher income and continuing support into retirement.” – Agent from major brokerage in Prince Edward Island

“Splits are too high for the amount of support we receive.” – Agent from major brokerage in Newfoundland

RE/MAX

$0–$10m More than $20m

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$11m–$20m

Other Brokerages


Sales volume by agent

10% Fewer than 10

28% Fewer than 10

RE/MAX

36% More than 25

Royal LePage

48% 10 to 25

25% More than 25

47% 10 to 25

21% Fewer than 10

32% Fewer than 10

Century 21

31% More than 25

Other brokerages

48% 10 to 25

28% More than 25

40% 10 to 25

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FEATURES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES

AGENT SATISFACTION Comparing the tenures of our respondents, we see a great deal of loyalty, and most agents at the big three companies stay with their companies for seven years or more. RE/MAX came out well ahead when it came to agents who have spent over a decade with their current companies. When it comes to overall satisfaction, at least 75% of respondents said they were satisfied with their current company; only very few registered extreme dissatisfaction. Century 21 came out on top: the company’s

agents showed the highest level of satisfaction and the lowest level of dissatisfaction. When asked about their current real estate offices, our respondents were a little more critical, and the number of satisfied agents took a hit. Companies outside the big three fared better in this section, and the number of highly dissatisfied respondents zeroed out. The comments from respondents in this section of the survey tended to be a little more raw, and a number of agents felt let down by their brokers.

Length of agent tenure at current company

21% 29% 38%

52%

TOP COMMENTS

33%

26%

“All companies have saturated the market with too many agents.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “The trust factor is very low. New owners don’t follow protocols and don’t seek the knowledge they require to run an office. You can’t depend on them to give you the correct information on new issues. There’s very low morale in the office.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “I feel they are trying to expand the number of agents working in the office rather than supporting the ones they already have. I understand the need for a larger group, but the brand suffers when there are too many part-time realtors at a branch.” – Agent from major brokerage in BC

18%

12% 11% 13%

26% 39% 31%

“Best brokerage in Muskoka. Educates their agents and has highest ethics.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “I never intended to be an independent island under the facsimile of a good corporate image.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “We are in a satellite office. The office itself has leaks in the roof and is damp with mould – not a healthy building.” – Agent from major brokerage in Newfoundland

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7%

33%

10%

RE/MAX 0-3 years 7-10 years

Royal LePage

Century 21

4-6 years Over 10 years

Other brokerages


Satisfaction with current real estate company 2%

4% 6%

14%

17%

19%

19% Royal LePage

RE/MAX

75%

81%

Satisfied or very satisfied

Neutral or dissatisfied

Other brokerages

Century 21

77%

86%

Very dissatisfied

Satisfaction with current real estate office 5% 6%

24%

18%

21%

22% Royal LePage

RE/MAX

72%

71%

Satisfied or very satisfied

Neutral or dissatisfied

Other brokerages

Century 21

79%

82%

Very dissatisfied

Likelihood of agents recommending their current real estate company to others

RE/MAX

79% 21%

Royal LePage

81%

Other Century 21 brokerages

19% 86% 14% 86% 14%

0%

10% Likely or extremely likely

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

100%

Unlikely or extremely unlikely

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FEATURES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES

KEY CHARACTERISTICS Brokerages sell themselves to agents based on what they can help them achieve. Judging by our respondents, the promises of brand recognition, training and overall support made by most brokerages are being fulfilled.

Management and leadership

Aside from a few key categories, where RE/ MAX and Royal LePage dominated, the smaller brokerages fared exceptionally well, ranking at or near the top in management, training and, somewhat surprisingly, earning potential.

5%

6%

9%

3% 13%

19%

7%

12%

21%

11% 33%

TOP COMMENTS 19% 43%

“The effort that is being made by the owner on professional development is considerably more than any other place I know.” – Agent from major brokerage in Alberta 67%

“The help they provided in growing our business and taking our branding to the next level has been super exciting. The business coach has been wonderful.” – Agent from major brokerage in Manitoba

55%

48%

29%

“They absorb way more of my day-to-day operating costs than my previous broker, so I get to enjoy the largesse from my efforts more now.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario RE/MAX

“Royal LePage always provides extensive education and training for their agents.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario

Excellent

48%

50%

Royal LePage Good

Century 21 Average

Other brokerages

Poor

Very poor

Training, education and mentorship 47% 43%

40% 30%

36% 32%

31%

29%

28%

21%

20%

16%

12% 10%

25%

0%

0%

RE/MAX

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Good

Average

Royal LePage Poor

9%

5%

2%

Excellent

14%

Very poor

0%

Century 21

2%

0%

Other brokerages


Reputation and brand recognition 3%

2%

5%

7%

9%

7%

24%

14% RE/MAX

Royal LePage

25%

63%

71%

Excellent

Good

39% Century 21

Other 44% brokerages

54%

33%

Average

Poor

Very poor

Earning potential 2%

4%

2%

9% 9%

26%

Royal LePage

RE/MAX 72%

48%

16%

21%

21%

Century 21 23%

Other brokerages

59%

34% 50%

Excellent

Good

Average

Poor

Very poor

Technology and innovation

13%

36% 0%

21%

4%

39% 14%

0% 0% 0%

10% Excellent

RE/MAX

39%

Good

20% Average

30% Poor

40% Very poor

47%

50%

Royal LePage

9%

47%

28%

Other Century 21 brokerages

Other Century 21 brokerages

19%

0%

3%

43%

33%

5%

Royal LePage

RE/MAX

Company culture

21% 0%

3%

51% 25% 28%

0%

38%

28%

6%

33% 0%

10% Excellent

Good

48%

28%

12%

5% 7% 0%

46%

14%

7%

20% Average

30% Poor

40%

50%

Very poor

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FEATURES

AGENTS ON BROKERAGES

SWITCHING SIDES Despite the loyalty displayed in some of the earlier sections of the survey, moving on to another company is still very much a consideration for most agents. Not only have a number of respondents already switched brokerages but the majority of them also have in mind the company they would work for should the opportunity to jump ship arise. Interestingly, agents who have changed companies in the last 12 months don’t appear to have had their expectations of greener pastures met. Agents who joined Royal LePage and Century 21 were the most disappointed, while those who started working with smaller brokerages displayed the highest levels of

satisfaction. Independent brokerages also came out on top when agents were asked where they would most like to work if they left their current companies. Switching companies also involves the efforts of the brokerages themselves. Actively and continually searching out fresh talent is crucial for the health of a company. According to our findings, the company with the biggest market share, RE/MAX, is doing the most recruiting/ poaching, but smaller companies, such as Keller Williams and Sutton Group, are not far behind Century 21 and Royal LePage, illustrating a strong desire to capture more of the market by attracting other companies’ heavy hitters.

What company would agents leave their current companies for?

4%

Sutton Group

5%

Coldwell Banker

9%

Century 21

13%

Royal LePage

TOP COMMENTS “The broker is more of a recruiter than a trainer.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario

25% RE/MAX

“Re/Max was once a great company, but their standards have fallen. The office I’m in is the reason I stay.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “These days it would appear that management is encouraging each sales person to be totally independent and self-sufficient without reducing fees to account for their reduction in services.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “I have personally recruited a dozen agents from my old office to make the switch to Sutton.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario “I think our brand is classier than our competition. Our marketplace is dominated by Re/Max and I am much more proud of how we Century 21 agents conduct ourselves than our competition. It’s brutal out there.” – Agent from major brokerage in Ontario

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35%

Other/Independent


Satisfying the expectations of agents who have switched brokerages

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50%

71%

71%

40%

59%

59%

Royal LePage

Century 21

30% 20% 10% 0%

RE/MAX

Other brokerages

Agents approached by competing real estate companies

RE/MAX

40% Century 21

22% Keller Williams

24% Royal LePage

26% Sutton Group

18% Other

16% 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

STRATEGY

It is never too late Buyers who find themselves in a now-or-never situation don’t need to miss out on the benefits of a home inspection

IT’S EASY for clients to get swept away in hot real estate markets where the inventory is low, the bidding is ferocious, and buyers are desperate to seize their dream home. In a

their chances of getting the house they want. Many first-time buyers don’t know that even if an offer has been accepted or the sale has closed, there is always an opportunity to

“No matter what part of the home buying process clients find themselves in, it is critical for them to learn all they can about their new home” situation like that, when time is of the essence, buyers may feel that having a home inspection is not an option, that it may delay or decrease

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learn more about what they’ve just purchased. Agents need to impress upon them that it is never too late to achieve peace of mind as

they move into the next phase of their lives. Here are four reasons why your clients should protect their investments with a home inspection: 1. Get informed – No matter what part of the home buying process clients find themselves in, it is critical for them to learn all they can about their new home. A home inspector can provide a thorough, unbiased assessment of a home’s current condition, enabling clients to make informed decisions about future upgrades and repairs. This way, they can plan and budget for them as they move into their new home, rather than being taken by surprise further down the road. 2. Keep your family safe – Any buyers will want to find out what areas of the home might pose a problem for them and their families. A home inspector will inspect the roof, key systems and appliances, electrical panels, etc and ensure everything is functioning properly and safely. They can also suggest experienced tradespersons who can assist in improving the living environment. 3. Home maintenance – A home inspector can help identify all major shut-offs (water, gas, electrical) for emergency safety. A seasonal maintenance checklist, generally completed in spring and fall, is also a handy guide for home owners to understand how to properly care for their homes and keep them in good condition. 4. Additional services – In addition to a post-purchase home inspection, buyers can also have the option of services such as radon testing, pool and spa inspection, rodent inspection, mould testing or air quality, which is very useful for family members with allergies or respiratory concerns. Be sure your clients know their home inspector can perform these services as well. It is never too late for clients to learn about their new homes and how to take care of them. Not only will this help them enjoy their investment for many years to come, it will also let them know that their chosen realtor has their best interests in mind. REP To book an inspection or any of the other services discussed in this article, contact the Pillar To Post home inspection experts at www.pillartopost.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE

STRATEGY

Technology: building block or road block? Jeff Kennedy of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World encourages agents to question whether or not the technology they are using actually improves their relationships with clients THE USE of real estate technology has exploded exponentially over the past ten years, and most would agree it can help you work faster, be more thorough and operate more efficiently. However, even as our industry has evolved, the customer’s desire for a human connection is as strong as ever. Using the influx of new tech, most successful agents leverage multiple products for lead generation: CRM, post-transaction marketing and more. Technology is heavily used because agents are busy, and these tools allow them to do more in less time. However, therein lies the potential problem. In an effort to be as efficient as possible, an agent could be tempted to let technology take over the critical job of building relationships, and that could be a costly mistake. What’s the problem with leaning too heavily on technology? One word: connection. It takes interactions to build new relationships, which are usually the natural result of repeated human connection. If used incorrectly, technology can act as a barrier to truly connecting with someone. Here’s some sage advice from a past mentor: “All things being equal, people like to do business with their friends. All things not being equal, people still want to do business with their friends.” In my experience, people will choose to do business with you because they like you, even if another product they’re considering is cheaper. How can you safeguard against losing that essential personal connection when using technology to stay in touch with your clients? Here are some dos and don’ts for using technology in a way that actually strengthens your relationships:

Don’t: Choose efficient over effective Do: Build relationship capital Have you sent computer-signed holiday cards and automated birthday emails? If so, you may be fooling yourself into believing that you are using technology to be efficient. Do you find it compelling when you get those types of communications? At what point does the value of efficiency devalue the effectiveness of the communication? Instead of sending computer-signed birthday cards, just pick up the phone and leave a happy birthday message or, if you really want to make them smile, try singing that birthday greeting. Which one will make a bigger impact? Which one builds a stronger relationship?

Don’t: Be reactive with data requests Do: Be proactive and give data freely The best way to build trust is to offer value first, second and third. Rather than pushing your agenda of wanting to sell someone’s house, give something of value and expect nothing in return. Send data on market trends and other community news that you think would be pertinent to the client — even before they ask for it. Use a tool to provide automated valuations and information on surrounding listings, sales, forecasts and trends. Your clients and prospects may not need you right now, but by offering this type of essential data, you are cementing your position as their real estate expert.

Don’t: Send generic emails Do: Be an original You can detect a canned email, and rest assured that your clients can, too. Spend the extra time to

give it your personal touch, even if it is just a quick paragraph at the top. With that in mind, try using a program like BombBomb, which allows you to send quick videos of yourself, in lieu of a standard email. A video message allows the client to read your face, hear your words (with the intended tone) and appreciate the undoubted twinkle in your eye. A delivery like this is a differentiator and therefore will make you memorable – even with something as mundane as email. Being memorable and connected is what builds a referral network that will propel you to success. The challenge for most real estate professionals is using technology to its full potential, while staying true to the one thing that computers and technology will never master: creating real connections with real people. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World understands the value of relationships and how important connecting is. It’s one of the reasons we have members in over 60 countries worldwide. Through these connections, our network receives an incoming referral every four minutes, on average. Real estate is often called a people business, and there is no question that relationships are what fuels the industry. Keeping this in mind, the key to evaluating any new technology is to ask yourself whether it helps you strengthen relationships and/or create new ones. If the answer is yes, it warrants your attention. REP Jeff Kennedy is global business development manager at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Learn more about the company at www.LeadingRE.com

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PEOPLE

AGENT PROFILE

A lease on life By adeptly navigating Toronto’s condo market, Deanna Parrell has already made a name for herself as a lease specialist. Her success has laid the foundation for a long and fruitful career

AT A RECENT staff meeting, Deanna Parrell’s colleagues congratulated her for completing her second year in the industry. In that short time, Parrell has become her brokerage’s go-to lease expert, a role she never envisioned but one she has filled, both happily and effectively. “It’s one of those things I fell into because of my client base,” says Parrell, whose roster is predominantly made up of millennials, many of whom are priced out of Toronto’s singlefamily market and are forced to rent in a city with a microscopic vacancy rate. “Because it’s almost like the housing market, where we’re seeing bidding wars and we’re seeing crazy prices for rentals, people are deciding, ‘Okay, I can’t do this by myself any more.’ ” Parrell says the lower commissions generated by lease transactions shouldn’t dissuade agents from following in her footsteps. “This business is about putting your time in and establishing those relationships over years-long periods,” she says. By providing her lease clients honest, painless transactions, Parrell is planting the seeds for future business. “Tons of these clients are going to end up being first-time buyers within the next year or two, so I think it’s definitely going to pay off in

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the next couple of years, when people go from renting that condo to buying that condo. I’ve already worked with several buyer clients and sale clients that have come about because of one of my lease clients.” Parrell is one of a growing number of young agents who have chosen to start their careers with a boutique agency, Bosley Real Estate. She says working with a small, respected firm has been integral to her growth as an agent. “I find myself calling managers – it could be a Sunday night at 10pm and they’re still going to pick up and they’re still going to give me that same level of service,” she says. “Being a new agent and getting out of the courses, you’re still finding your way. Having them to turn to is amazing.” Choosing that first brokerage is a critical decision for agents of any age, as a company’s reputation, philosophy and training practices

can have an indelible effect on a realtor’s career. Parrell is emphatic in her praise for Bosley, and says choosing the company as her first brokerage was an easy call. Parrell grew up in Leaside, near Bosley’s main office in Davisville. “I saw the signs everywhere,” she says. “That was always a name that stuck in my head when I started the interview process. I ended up seeing four or five brokerages; the moment I sat down with Bosley I knew it was going to be the one I was going to go with.” Parrell says the company’s approach to her was a deciding factor. “I felt way more like a human being that they were trying to get to know, rather than just a number that was going to make them money, which I really enjoyed. “They were interviewing me as much as I was interviewing them, when other

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Deanna Parrell is currently helping organize Special Olympics Canada’s motionball, the 2017 instalment of the charity’s annual fundraising gala. Parrell and her family have been involved with Special Olympics for years, allowing her to make early, lasting connections with a number of Olympians. “Now they’re friends of mine,” she says. Parrell’s commitment to the charity will extend far beyond motionball, scheduled for 3 February at Toronto’s Liberty Grand. “It’s something I can’t see myself not doing,” Parrell says. “It’s something I’m going to do until I die.”


DEANNA PARRELL FAST FACTS

“I felt way more like a human being that they were trying to get to know, rather than just a number that was going to make them money”

HOMETOWN Toronto, ON

AGE 26

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY 2

MARKET Downtown Toronto

DEALS CLOSED IN 2015 28* companies I was going to would have just taken anybody.” In hiring Parrell, Bosley locked down an agent whose love for all things real estate was established long before she joined the industry. Parrell says she was obsessed with the original wave of real estate TV shows, which sparked an interest in properties, prices and comparisons; the intensity of the Toronto market promised the excitement lacking from

her earlier forays into marketing and dance. “While all my friends were starting to get into the first and second years of their careers, I just felt I wasn’t on that same path.” But she is now. Parrell’s business is growing, and her referrals – some coming from her earliest clients – are already paying off in the form of increased home sales. “It’s really nice that they’re still thinking of me and passing my name along.” REP

DEALS CLOSED AS OF 1 NOVEMBER, 2016 27** *includes 2 sales ** includes 4 sales

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FEATURES

MARKETING

6 powerful marketing videos to grow your business If a picture tells a thousand words, then video is priceless! Marcus Seeger presents six of the most powerful and effective marketing video concepts that have been proven to create a steady stream of leads and profitable sales for businesses just like yours

1

Promotional video

The promotional video is the most common and powerful video and is typically on the homepage of your website. If you only make one video, then this is the one most people will make. A promotional video is a fantastic opportunity to present your unique selling proposition, or USP. Often, the first contact a customer has with your business is your website’s homepage. Ninety per cent of customers who land on your site will prefer to watch your video rather than read text. The key to making your promotional video successful is to engage your audience, and this can be done with a story. Let them know who you are and how you best serve your customers. Consider this message as coming from a customer’s perspective, and avoid the

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words: me, mine, I and we – it’s not about you. By simply focusing on how your customers can benefit from your product or service, you will increase your promotional video’s effectiveness. The promotional video can be quite broad; it gives your customers a general overview.

2

Products and services video

In this video, it’s important to start to drill down and provide more specific information about the benefits of your products and services. The success of this video is largely determined by how well you can communicate the “what’s in it for me” information. Again, approach this video from your customer’s perspective. It is very common for us, as experts in our field, to overcomplicate information. Keep your

video as simple as possible, and focus on the benefits rather than what your products or services are.

3

About-us video

4

Testimonial video

Typically, a website will have an about-us page that is full of text and only talks about themselves. What a waste of time. If your competitors are doing this, then you’re in luck; I encourage you to start working on your about-us video right away. The about-us video is actually not about you at all, but is about the customer. The trick with a successful about-us video is to focus 100% on reinforcing and clearly demonstrating your USP. It is important to move as far away as possible from talking about yourself and focus instead on the benefits your valued customers receive when they do business with you.

We all know that testimonials are valuable, and they do help potential buyers arrive at the decision that you’re a safe,


reliable and trusted business. However, what we’ve seen to date is mainly text-based testimonials, sometimes with a photograph, which makes them a little bit more believable, but most people these days are quite skeptical about the authenticity of these testimonials. If you replace these with video testimonials of live people, then it’s going to be extremely powerful for you. Your customers are far more likely to believe these testimonials and see them as valued sources of information, and they will positively impact their buying decision.

5

Social video

Have you noticed a steady increase in video content on popular social media sites? This is considered by many to be the year of social video, so it’s a good time to take advantage of this trend. For example, Facebook is rapidly growing its video capabilities. According to the company, since June 2014, there have been more than 1 billion video views on Facebook every day, on average.

Your customers are far more likely to believe video testimonials and see them as valued sources of information, and they will positively impact their buying decision With the auto-play feature, videos are now even more engaging. You could consider posting Facebook video ads, publishing videos to engage your fans or perhaps even creating user-generated content by running online competitions.

6

Video email

The statistics around video emails are compelling. For example, simply using the word video in an email subject line can boost open rates by 18.5%, click-through rates by 65% and reduce unsubscribes by 26%. Instead of sending a lengthy sales email in response to an inquiry, you can send a single video or a series of informative videos that add value and position you as

somebody with whom your new lead would like to do business. It is quite likely that very few of your competitors are investing in video emails, and by doing so yourself, you will stand out from the crowd, and your customers will see you as being innovative. Of course, I would encourage you to attempt to create all six types of videos for accelerated results. REP

Marcus Seeger is the No.1 Amazon bestselling author of Video Marketing for Profit: 14 Proven Strategies for Accelerated Business Growth. Seeger is managing director of the video marketing and production agency Video Experts.

www.mortgagebrokernews.ca

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PEOPLE

CAREER PATH

PEOPLE SKILLS A talent with people has brought Windsor broker Goran Todorovic a long way

1976

COMES TO CANADA

1984

DISCOVERS ENTREPRENEURIALISM At the age of 16, Goran becomes a member of the Junior Achievement non-profit youth community organization – which aims to give young Canadians some experience of free enterprise – and discovers a passion for business that is complemented by his people skills.

“Even as a child I could speak to anyone without shyness, without reserve. I always had a passion for being a leader and training and supporting the people working under me.” 2008

BETS ON A DOWN MARKET Marriage and a baby on the way lead to an uptick in devotion to the business. In a bold move, during the down market of 2008 he ups the advertising budget. “Everyone said I was crazy; everyone was cutting back on advertising. We upped our marketing and doubled sales. That’s when the Concord took off.”

2012 BECOMES CHAIR CCR Goran becomes the chairman of the RE/MAX Cross Canada Referrals Group, a group of independent top producing RE/MAX real estate agents within Canada, a position he continues to hold. “Success is never achieved alone. The people with whom I have learned and collaborated with have given me inspiration and support that has added immeasurable value to my business.” 46

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Goran immigrates at the age of 8 with his parents, who go on to work in the auto industry. “I draw strength from that experience, from my parents. They didn’t know the language, but came for the betterment of their children. They taught me hard work, and to be proud of who you are.”

1988

GOES INTO REAL ESTATE Goran goes into real estate immediately after high school at the urging of a teacher who had noticed his people skills and his abilities as a natural salesman. Within his first couple of months in the industry, he is the top producer in his office. “I hadn’t even thought of it; it just hadn’t occurred to me. I was 20 years old. I would wear suits to work every day to try to look older.”

2010 LAUNCHES TEAM GORAN The first full-time employee joins the office, as does the first team member; a rebrand to Team Goran follows. “At that time a team wasn’t a thing in Windsor – there were some partnerships, but there was never a team model with a team leader. It was a thing in other markets, like the GTA – we took that model.”

2016 RECOGNIZED FOR RE/MAX DIAMOND AWARD After 28 years in the industry, Goran is honoured with the RE/MAX Diamond Award, an accolade that recognizes the achievement of a sales goal won by few other agents in the market. “Our team is amazing and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. We set this goal for ourselves, and have reached it. All of our hard work, training, systems and marketing have come together at the perfect time to take advantage of a hot market.”


PEOPLE

OTHER LIFE

TINY DANCERS Petrina Koltun is passionate about passing on her love of dance to the next generation

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email repmag@kmimedia.ca

PETRINA KOLTUN has a specific vision for the Kelowna-area dance studio she opened in 2001 where students can be as young as three. “It’s about friendship and teamwork, and having fun so they can enjoy dance for a lifetime.” Among other measures, Petrina – who has been teaching since she was a teen herself – doesn’t demand students put in multiple hours per week, thus allowing for other interests. “I believe that children should be able to do many different activities. When little ones can only do one thing they fall out of love with it.”

30

the age of the school’s youngest ever student, in months

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27

number of years Petrina has been a teacher

And Petrina’s students do seem to remain in love with dance, perhaps no one more than one of her earliest students, who started as a 12-year-old when the school was new, and continues to dance with DreaMotion as a 27-year-old, her own little ones in tow. But for Petrina, perhaps the greatest measure of success comes from witnessing the burgeoning confidence in students who start off shy but “gain the confidence to feel good about their movements. I tend to have students who do well at school and that’s because they have the confidence to get on stage in front of their class.”

100

number of students enrolled at the DreaMotion Dance Studio

12,960

estimated number of dance classes Petrina has taught


Regional Opportunities

PEOPLE

OTHER LIFE

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE E-mail: repmag@kmimedia.ca

NOW AVAILABLE ACROSS CANADA For Those Who See A Much Bigger Picture! AVAILABLE! South Western Ontario Western Canada

Toronto GTA Quebec

SOLD! Eastern Ontario Northern Ontario

TREMENDOUS MOMENTUM IN FRANCHISE GROWTH!

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Call Tami Bonnell, CEO, for info. 1-877-253-3948 (Toll free)


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