REPMAG.CA ISSUE 6.01
TOP AGENTS Discover the perfect real estate partner for your investment team
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TOP AGENTS 2020 This year’s Top Agents prove that no matter what the market has in store, a combination of professionalism, innovation and compassion is still a can’t-miss recipe for success
THE PAST year was no walk in the park for Canada’s real estate agents. Some markets stagnated, others exploded, and agents in both environments were forced to improve their strategies, adjust their attitudes and recalibrate their clients’ expectations. But for the best agents in the business,
getting better is not an undertaking reserved for when the market shifts. It’s something you do every day. For them, excellence isn’t a goal – it’s a process that never ends. This year’s crop of Top Agents includes elite performers raised by the heat of fiery markets in Ottawa, Montreal and Windsor, but it also
includes standout agents in Fort McMurray, Prince Albert and Edmonton – communities where sales have dragged for years. It just goes to show that elite agents don’t let the market dictate their fortunes. They make their own luck – by being ready, by being smart, by being better than they were yesterday.
ABOUT THE SPONSOR Established in 1998 by founder and CEO Richard Robbins, RRI’s customized methodology recognizes the importance of surpassing sales and business goals without compromising quality of life. In our 22 years of providing elite coaching services, we have helped more than 10,000 real estate professionals exceed expectations for both themselves and their clients. It is an honour to participate in this issue of Real Estate Professional and celebrate the accomplishments of the top agents in Canada. These individuals have achieved greatness – they have developed exemplary sales and business practices and maintain a laser-sharp focus on putting the needs of their clients first and foremost. RRI congratulates all of this year’s Top Agents for their consistent, world-class performance.
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TOP AGENTS ROB LONGO Coldwell Banker Southwest Realty Sarnia, ON
Rob Longo had a big year in 2019, as he celebrated the opening of his and his partner Steve Park’s new brokerage, Coldwell Banker Southwest. In launching the brokerage, Longo says he wanted to offer “a more collaborative team approach while trying to offer more back-end services to the other agents in the office.” Although managing an office has required some serious adjustments, Longo has enjoyed navigating the challenges posed by such a momentous year. Sarnia’s market has proven to be quite strong, and Longo’s work ethic and love for his job will undoubtedly keep him one step ahead of it.
Century 21 Innovative Realty Scarborough, ON
Only four years into his career as an agent, Riyaz Rauf is already the top producer among Century 21 Innovative Realty’s 250-plus salespeople. “It’s been extremely satisfying and rewarding,” Rauf says of the first stage of his career. “I wish I had started much earlier.” A confident and creative agent, Rauf has made investment properties his specialty. By providing richly detailed insight – aided by an uncanny ability to predict the market – he has helped numerous clients launch their portfolios.
MATTHEW ABLAKAN Millennial’s Choice Realty Toronto, ON
As the owner and founder of investor-focused Millennial’s Choice Realty, Matthew Ablakan is all about education. In addition to his real estate, mortgage broker and life insurance licences, he also has a bachelor of education and an honorary law degree, ensuring his clients receive comprehensive information not only about their next property, but about their potential mortgages and leases as well. “We teach clients how to leverage their assets to create more wealth,” Ablakan says. “Our clients love the fact that they are able to process their real estate, mortgage and insurance transactions from one convenient location.”
DAN PLOWMAN Dan Plowman Team Realty
Royal LePage Parkwood Realty Bathurst, NS
A serious car accident forced Angela Boyle to spend much of 2019 recuperating and then reintegrating herself into a demanding work schedule. But Boyle, a beloved local fixture with more than 25 years of experience, soldiered on with the support of her husband and her community, picking up right where she left off. Never one for hyping her own success, Boyle says her proudest accomplishment was contributing as much as she did to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which raised more than $1.1 million for women and children in need in 2019.
After more than a quarter century of success, it’s not uncommon for agents to look back on their careers and wonder what advice they would have given their younger selves. For Dan Plowman, one of Ontario’s top Realtors and one of Canada’s most respected business coaches, that advice is simple. “If you want to be successful, you need to surround yourself with success – those who are actually doing the do, day in and day out,” he says. “If someone’s teaching about business and not currently doing it themselves, you are learning the past, not the future.”
LORRAINE O’QUINN Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty Trenton, ON
Lorraine O’Quinn has been a fixture in Ontario’s real estate game for more than 20 years. Thanks to her down-to-earth personality and inability to take no for an answer, O’Quinn earns most of her business from client referrals. Her dedication to clients and extreme level of honesty ensure that every client is well taken care of. As a testament to her success, O’Quinn has been in the top 1% of Royal LePage agents for 10 years running and has earned Lifetime Member status in the Royal LePage National Chairman’s Club.
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ROGER LEBLANC Re/Max Avante Moncton, NB
Now in his fourth decade as a Realtor, Roger LeBlanc proves “you can teach an old dog new tricks,” as he puts it. Moncton’s market had a dynamite 2019, requiring a new approach from agents used to the city’s molasses-like pace. LeBlanc calls it “a year of education for Realtors – a year of watching the markets and understanding and interpreting the data so we’d be well equipped to deliver the right information to our buyers and sellers.” Delivering that information accurately and honestly is the hallmark of a Roger LeBlanc transaction.
TRAVIS BOUGHNER Keller Williams Energy Real Estate
SEAN GILLIS Re/Max Grande Prairie Grande Prairie, AB
Realtors in Grande Prairie have been dealing with a soft market for years, and 2019 was no different. But Sean Gillis has approached the unfavourable market conditions as an opportunity to improve his systems, the service he provides and his market share. Gillis spent a significant portion of last year recovering from brain surgery, but the recipient of Re/Max’s Titan and Hall of Fame awards hasn’t lost a step. “I always wanted to be in real estate,” Gillis says. “I love my job. It’s rewarding, challenging, and a way to stay mentally and physically active.”
JOEL MILLARD Re/Max Rise Executives
When Travis Boughner first started in real estate five years ago, he was entering an industry where educated consumers were already questioning the value of working with a Realtor. He responded by providing a fresh, expectation-shattering approach to the industry. One of Keller Williams’ Double Platinum agents, Boughner encourages his peers to follow their joy if they want to be truly successful. “If you love hosting open houses, there should be nobody better than you,” he says. “If you love door-knocking, no one should be hitting the pavement as often as you. When you love what you do and commit yourself, success is inevitable.”
A recent addition to Re/Max’s Chairman’s Club after recording his best year as an agent, Joel Millard has spent every day of the last 15 years getting better – no small feat when you’re already one of your market’s top producers. “Elite agents are never not moving forward,” he says. “They are constantly improving their techniques, processes and predictions.” One key adjustment Millard made was preparing beforehand for the surge in activity he knew Kingston would experience. His gut was right: Millard rocketed from approximately 50 listing sales in 2018 to well over 100 in 2019.
Royal LePage Parksville Qualicum Beach Realty Qualicum Beach, BC
As a principal of the Nicklen | Roy Marketing Group, Aaron Nicklen’s skill at creating effective marketing strategies has only been surpassed by his ability to develop strong and lasting relationships with all of his clients. This resulted in Nicklen’s team being named the top producers for Coast Realty from 2010 to 2014. He has been a Royal LePage Chairman’s Club Award recipient every year since 2015.
MARTIN ROULEAU Engel & Völkers Montreal Montreal, QC
Since the moment he started selling, Martin Rouleau has distinguished himself as a leader in Montreal’s high-end residential sector. With more than 1,250 transactions completed to date, Rouleau has clearly earned the trust of his clients, who turn to him with the confidence that he’ll be able to secure them the ultimate price. Known for his dynamism, enthusiasm and expertise in all facets of his highly specialized market, Rouleau unquestionably lives up to his motto: “Excellence through passion.”
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TOP AGENTS LISA HARTIGAN
Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray Fort McMurray, AB
After 18 years a Realtor, Lisa Hartigan knows that what goes up must come down. Since 2014, when Fort McMurray’s market was turned upside down by plummeting oil prices, Hartigan has had to rethink her approach to real estate. Doing so has paid serious dividends: She sold $40 million worth of properties in 2019, a year when most observers feared the worst for the city, and is Coldwell Banker’s number-one agent in both Alberta and Canada. “I kept my head up, staying positive with clients and on my social media streams,” Hartigan says. “My attitude stood out from the rest.”
PATRICK PINSONNEAULT Royal LePage Peifer Realty Chatham-Kent, ON
After 32 years in the business, Patrick Pinsonneault had the most rewarding year of his career in 2019. He not only achieved Chairman’s Club status, placing him in Royal LePage’s top 1% nationally, but he also ranked third within the company for units sold in Ontario. Pinsonneault credits a strong coaching and mentorship program and the efforts of his full-time client care manager for keeping him accountable, motivated and on task. “It’s all about the client experience – before, during and after the sale,” he says. “It’s not only what you say or what you do, it’s how you make them feel.”
MIKE BOYCHUK Boychuk Realty Saskatoon, SK
Mike Boychuk attributes his success to continual improvement, putting efficient systems in place for every part of the real estate process and getting the best business coaching available. Since 2005, he has sold more than 800 homes; in 2019, he started selling them for his own independent brokerage, where he looks forward to helping other agents achieve their own success. Known for his humble nature, Boychuk says his biggest asset is his “team of people, both behind the scenes and on the front lines.” A portion of every commission he earns is donated to Hands On Outreach, a Saskatoon charity that helps inner-city kids.
Coldwell Banker Signature Prince Albert, SK
Jesse Honch had one of the most challenging years of his 10-year career in 2019, when the mortgage stress test and a weakened Western Canadian economy teamed up to create a brutal market for sellers in Prince Albert. Honch, however, did what all elite agents do in a soft market: He doubled down on his reputation as a local expert and thrived, despite being largely out of commission with a leg injury for six months. “Don’t listen to anyone telling you that you’re not going to make it,” he advises fellow agents. “I was told that I was too young, too honest and too inexperienced to make it when I started. I was a top agent within three years.”
JENNIFER QUEEN Re/Max Professionals Winnipeg, MB
For Jennifer Queen, getting to the top has meant hard work, sticking to a productive routine and putting others before herself. “Being selfless isn’t enough, though,” she says. “You have to know how to communicate your value effectively.” That clearly hasn’t been a problem for Queen, whose communication and marketing strategies have earned her spots in both the top 1% of Winnipeg Realtors and the Re/Max Hall of Fame. “The sky really is the limit,” Queen says. “So far I have grown a small team, which is comfortable for me. But nobody has ever grown while living in their comfort zone, so stay tuned.”
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Royal LePage Vallée de L’Outaouais Gatineau, QC
Francis Vallée spent 10 years working for Loto-Québec before deciding to sell real estate for a living. It’s a gamble that has clearly paid off. “The customer service I was able to give to my clients at Loto-Québec was highly personalized,” Vallée says. “That’s what attracted me first to real estate. I now have the chance to serve, to help people realize their dreams, to make a difference in their lives.” Like many of this year’s Top Agents, Vallée says his success has been shaped by sincere empathy for his clients. “I always keep in mind to serve my clients as I would have them serve me,” he says. “The key to my success is putting myself in my clients’ shoes and exceeding their expectations in a way that I would want mine to be exceeded.”
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TOP AGENTS STÉPHANE BISSON Keller Williams Distinction Gatineau, QC
HUNNY GAWRI Re/Max Real Estate Centre Toronto, ON
Armed with the kind of knowledge and commitment that only a decade of elite service can provide, Hunny Gawri continues to deliver astonishing results for Toronto homebuyers. “When clients are faced with obstacles due to stricter mortgage rules and rising prices, I make it my mission to leave no stone unturned in providing my clients with all available options,” he says. Gawri’s proudest moment from 2019 came when he realized he was generating more business but spending less time in the office. “I had reached another one of my goals – during what was one of the most challenging years,” he says.
Stéphane Bisson has built his 31-year real estate career around the concept of clarity, embarking on a clearly defined mission with steadfast values. “This is a very effective way to keep your focus on a daily basis,” he says. “But most importantly, you must communicate it to your customers, as well as your team members.” In 2019, Bisson tallied the highest GCI of his career, but he’s aiming even higher in 2020. “Agents shouldn’t be afraid to establish high goals,” he says. “Being competitive and having high expectations of myself and the people I choose to work with has made me a better person.”
CRAIG FINNMAN Re/Max Elite
Sherwood Park, AB
No matter how much experience agents rack up or how many awards they collect, there’s always more to learn. Craig Finnman, who has already taken home Chairman’s Club, Platinum Club and Hall of Fame honours from Re/Max, knows that even the best can get better. “I’m a voracious learner, and I’m always either listening to a good coach, taking a course or going to conferences to improve my skills,” he says. In addition, Finnman donates a portion of every transaction to the Realtor Community Foundation and contributes to a Shelter Canada project to provide housing in El Salvador.
CHASE OLSEN Re/Max First
Royal LePage Real Estate Professionals Insider Condos Toronto, ON
Eugene Mezini has done what it takes to make it in Toronto’s cutthroat condo market. In addition to constructing hundreds of deals, he has built a tremendous client database and established rock-solid relationships with some of the nation’s top builders. “They put their trust in me to help them launch some of their biggest projects,” he says, “and without fail, we have grown a great market with repeat clients.” While some agents desire work-life balance, Mezini believes success means being available at all times. “You need to be willing to take that call at any point and drive to an appointment, or someone else will do it,” he says.
‘Perfection’ isn’t a word most people associate with the Calgary market these days, but Chase Olsen believes it takes a certain level of flawlessness to succeed. “Buyers are being extremely patient, picky and price-sensitive, making it imperative for Realtors to prepare their listings accordingly in order to deliver the ‘perfect’ property,” he says. “If it isn’t perfect, it isn’t selling.” Olsen, however, maintains a robust faith in the city’s fortunes. “Calgary is a world-class city, and our real estate sector has a very bright future,” he says.
Re/Max North Country Baumgartner Realty Haliburton, ON
After 32 years in the business and thousands of transactions, Linda Baumgartner’s level of expertise in Ontario’s Haliburton region is rivalled only by the love she has for her profession. “Many of my clients have said they can tell that I love what I do,” she says. “I’m heart-centred, not ego-driven.” Baumgartner’s tireless marketing and high visibility in Haliburton ensure that her clients’ homes will continue to receive the attention they deserve.
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MANJINDER SINGH Homelife Superstars Real Estate Brampton, ON
After becoming a top 10 Realtor at his former brokerage in London, Ontario, Manjinder Singh decided to try his luck in the GTA, where he has spent the last nine years selling his way to the top of Brampton’s ultra-competitive market. A hard-working agent who prides himself on his openness, Singh says he provides his clients with “honest and non-judgmental services while assisting them in arriving at the best outcome for each transaction.”
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TOP AGENTS ADIL DINANI
Royal LePage West Real Estate Services Burnaby, BC
Adil Dinani has spent the last 15 years absorbing knowledge, providing value and improving the service he provides his clients, firmly ensconcing himself in the top tier of agents working in one of the most lucrative real estate markets in the world. “In an industry that is becoming more consumer-focused, a constant push to create a culture of excellence and innovation is essential to our growth,” he says. “It’s true what they say: If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.” Dinani’s performance hit new heights in 2019: He ranked seventh out 14,000 agents servicing his real estate board.
LORRAINE JORDAN Keller Williams Experience Realty Midland, ON
There are great agents, and then there are good agents – the ones who get into the industry for the right reason. Both terms apply to 31-year industry veteran Lorraine Jordan. “Helping people achieve their goals and build financial security through real estate is my true passion,” she says. “It brings me great joy to use my skills and knowledge to benefit another person.” Jordan was first bitten by the real estate bug when she was 18; thankfully for the homebuyers in Midland, she’s never recovered. “Real estate combines the things I love most: opportunities for entrepreneurship and giving back to the community I work and live in,” she says.
SABRINA STAUNTON Faris Team Barrie, ON
Sabrina Staunton believes agents should always practice what they preach. She doesn’t just tell clients that buying real estate is one of the smartest investments out there; she lives it, having completed more than 25 transactions since buying her first home. Staunton has a knack for relating to people and understands the buyer and seller experiences not just as a broker, but on a personal level. Passionate about learning and keeping up with changes in the industry, she has completed multiple real estate designations, including Certified International Property Specialist.
BRADY THRASHER Re/Max Preferred Realty Amherstburg, ON
FAISAL SUSIWALA Re/Max Twin City – Faisal Susiwala Cambridge, ON
Faisal Susiwala’s 31 years as an agent have resulted in a stunning list of accolades. In 2018, he sold the most homes in Canada of any Re/Max agent, without the help of a team. He has been a Diamond Award winner every year since 2005. In a company with tens of thousands of agents, Susiwala is one of the few to be named a Re/Max Luminary of Distinction. Because of the burden placed on the southwestern Ontario market by government regulations and the mortgage stress test, Susiwala shifted his focus in 2019 to thriving market segments such as new construction and investment properties. The results speak for themselves.
Brady Thrasher has grown over the past eight years from enterprising upstart to local real estate kingpin to the owner of two brokerages in Florida. His ascent has been both impressive and steady, fuelled by relentless ambition and a desire to do right by his clients. “I don’t work to make a specific amount of money – I just work to help people,” he says. A Re/Max Diamond Award winner in 2019, Thrasher knows that improvement as an agent often means seeking advice. “Shadow great agents,” he advises those just starting out. “Identify their strengths, learn from them and ask questions.”
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TOP AGENTS SHANNON STONE
Re/Max Kelowna – Stone Sisters Group Kelowna, BC
RON ANTALEK Re/Max Lifestyles Realty Maple Ridge, BC
Don’t let Ron Antalek’s unassuming demeanour fool you. He is one of the undisputed kings of the BC real estate industry. Antalek has been Re/Max’s number-one agent in Canada for units sold four times and has been the company’s top producer in BC an astonishing 15 times. Antalek’s passion for real estate, on full display for three decades, is rivalled only by his desire to help his community. He is the president/chair of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and has been involved with its board for a decade. “I have a passion for youth, seniors, and mental and psychical health,” he says. “The RMHF is a way for me to make a difference.”
Royal LePage Binder Real Estate
Kelowna’s market was a different beast in 2019, brimming with listings and anxious sellers. How did Shannon Stone handle it? “We embraced it!” she says. “The administrative staff grew, we created new systems to ensure communication was more frequent and consistent, and we became more innovative with our marketing strategies’ targets.” The changes have paid off handsomely for Stone, who now runs of one of Re/Max’s most exciting boutique brokerages alongside her sister, Tamara. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day,” she says. “But in an industry that is ever-changing, you need to remain optimistic and eager at all times.”
MARCEL GLADU Re/Max Crown Realty (1989) Sudbury, ON
Marcel Gladu is nothing if not consistent: Every year since 2006, he has been a member of either Re/Max’s Chairman’s Club or Platinum Club. “An elite real estate agent always puts his clients’ best interests above all else,” Gladu says. “At the end of the day, it isn’t about cashing another commission cheque, but rather creating a lasting impression and meaningful client-Realtor relationship.” Although he’s at the top of his game, Gladu is always looking for new ways to increase awareness. He recently started a What’s Cooking in Real Estate? video series, where he showcases clients’ homes while cooking in their kitchens.
Joe Conlon has come a long way since entering the industry at age 22, fresh off a stint selling cell phones. “I didn’t know what to expect and had very little fear of failure, which I believe helped me grind it out to where I am today,” he says. Conlon is now one of Windsor’s hottest Realtors, having closed more than 140 deals in each of the last two years. “You need to put on your blinders and just focus on you and your clients,” he advises fellow agents. “Don’t pay attention to the noise. Show up, work hard and take care of your people.”
COURTNEY LEVERT Exit Realty Twin Bridges Sarnia, ON
Exit Realty’s Courtney Levert had a banner year in 2019, becoming the first agent in her office to receive the company’s coveted Gold Award. In addition to the hustle she brings to the job every day, Levert says humility and an appreciation for those around her have created an atmosphere that inspires people to work with her. “You can’t only appreciate clients; [you also have to appreciate] those who helped you along the way,” she says. Levert donates $100 from every transaction to the local SPCA as part of her Pawsitive Properties campaign. Considering the number of houses she sells, Sarnia should be some to some very happy puppies.
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ALKET KULLA Re/Max Eastern Realty Peterborough, ON
A talented agent and savvy real estate investor, Alket Kulla knows the power of finding the right property for his clients. “I feel amazing when I have clients come back to me and say they have the financial freedom to do their own thing,” he says. “That is one of the things that makes me love what I do.” A Chairman’s Club, Titan Club and Hall of Fame award winner with Re/Max, Kulla is preparing for another busy year ahead. “I’m beginning to set my goals now,” he says. “I am ready to crush it again.”
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TOP AGENTS TOM POBOJEWSKI Royal LePage Signature Realty Mississauga, ON
STACEY CHAVES Re/Max Twin City Realty
A believer in the maxim that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward, Tom Pobojewski used 2019 to make adjustments that helped keep him in Royal LePage’s top 1%: concentrating on a specific niche in the marketplace – in this case, investment properties – and finding a coach. “I sought out coaching for the areas I felt were missing,” he says. “In the beginning, I was not very good at qualifying potential clients and ensuring they were a good fit. This became critical to being productive.”
Stacey Chaves has been riding a hectic Cambridge market to new heights, but it was her time as a young agent, struggling to cover her expenses, that forged the Re/ Max Hall of Famer’s view of what it takes to survive. “The point is to push through the high times and low times,” she says. “Life happens, and it’s your job to create a way to be successful.” Chaves absolutely crushed her personal goals in 2019. Not only did she finally purchase her first few investment properties, but she also hit her annual sales goal halfway through the year.
STACEY GALLAGHER Century 21 PowerRealty.ca Drumheller, AB
When the average sale price in your market is between $150,000 and $200,000, you have to sell a lot of homes to make a decent living. That’s exactly what Stacey Gallagher does, year in, year out. While Gallagher chooses not to describe herself as elite (“I’m just a regular person helping regular people achieve their goals,” she says), a decade of consistency in a soft market, not to mention multiple Centurion Awards, deserves to be called what it is.
DEREK GILLETTE eXp Realty Nanaimo, BC
MARK A. EUGENI
Manor Windsor Realty Windsor, ON
Mark Eugeni’s background in law has served his clients well. For the past 17 years, Windsor-area buyers and sellers have been relying on Eugeni’s detailoriented approach and impeccable negotiation skills to get them the homes they want. “I love helping people,” Eugeni says. “Making their dreams come true exceeds any expectations I had when I became a Realtor.” Eugeni finds other ways to help his community, too, by supporting Manor Windsor Realty’s Keys of Hope campaign, as well as several local charities and sports teams.
A 27-year veteran of the real estate industry and one of Canada’s top Re/Max agents, Derek Gillette recently made the bold move of jumping to upstart brokerage eXp Realty. He says the fresh start has finally gotten him off the “transaction treadmill” he had been stuck on for years. “If you’re not having fun in your business and are constantly adapting to change it, that makes success so much harder,” he says. “I’m now able to create a positive impact to those around me in a way that was not possible before.”
AGNES CHAITAS Royal LePage Terrequity Realty Toronto, ON
Agnes Chaitas’ enviable work ethic, dedication and passion have earned her countless accolades, including Royal LePage Terrequity’s coveted Top Agent Award for more than 10 consecutive years. Chaitas is an established, highly sought-after leader in the industry, as well as a trusted advisor to her clients, whose needs she invariably puts first. Her recipe for success is simple, yet it remains seemingly difficult for many agents to follow: “Always govern with integrity, professionalism and kindness,” she says.
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Re/Max Hallmark Realty Toronto, ON
With more than 30 years of industry experience and billions of dollars’ worth of sales to his name, Daryl King remains a step ahead of the competition. His commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, state-of-the-art lead generation technology and cutting-edge business training help King get the best results for his clients. “With the support of our customer-centric admin staff and full-time marketing crew, we hit the ground running every day,” he says. “Our clients are number one in our world.”
ANDREW RUSSELL Re/Max Real Estate Central Alberta Red Deer, AB
Royal LePage Your Community Realty Toronto, ON
Brandon Wasser says agents looking to create success should focus on two key areas: company culture and technological innovation. “My belief continues to be that if we can work collectively to achieve our common goals, success will follow,” he says, adding that quickly adapting old approaches and adopting new ones has improved the real estate experience for his growing list of clients. In 2019, Wasser was one of Royal LePage’s top 50 agents in Canada.
LAYNE GARDNER Re/Max Northern Realty Peace River, AB
A Re/Max Platinum and Hall of Fame award winner, Layne Gardner believes in the old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground way of connecting with people through community involvement. It’s an approach that has turned Gardner into the face of real estate in Peace River. He’s also the vice-president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, the past president of the Peace River Rotary Club and an avid supporter of local sports groups like minor hockey. “Not only do I have the opportunity to connect with my community,” Gardner says, “but most importantly, I get to give back.”
CHRIS PENNYCOOK Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate Winnipeg, MB
Chris Pennycook has a reputation for providing superior results that speak for themselves. Since he began his career in 1985, his commitment to clients’ needs, his outstanding negotiating skills and his unparalleled market knowledge have given him a clear advantage in the Winnipeg market. Pennycook has ranked in the top 1% of Royal LePage agents in Canada for the past 14 years and has run the company’s top team in Winnipeg for nine years in a row.
Andrew Russell has been the top individual residential Re/Max agent in Central Alberta since 2015. He also leads the region’s number-one Re/Max team. Russell has received both the Diamond and Lifetime Achievement awards from Re/Max and is regularly ranked among its top 100 Realtors. “Success in our industry is about relationships,” he says. “While marketing and industry competency are important for high levels of success, it all comes down to relationships. Technology is removing the personal aspects of a transaction, so we’ve gone old-school and are spending more time face-to-face with our clients to build those quality relationships.”
Century 21 Creekside Realty Chilliwack, BC
“Results that move you” isn’t just Sarah Toop’s tagline – it’s a fact. Known for her unwavering tenacity, tactical negotiations and top-notch marketing, Toop has consistently been the top agent in her city, and BC’s Lower Mainland, since 2016. In 2018, after only five full years as a Realtor, Toop was named Century 21’s number-one agent in Canada for GCC and number 16 worldwide.
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TOP AGENTS MICHAEL JAWANDA Re/Max Real Estate Centre Toronto, ON
TRACY FOGTMANN Re/Max Ocean Pacific Realty
“An elite agent doesn’t talk about wanting to be the best,” says Re/Max’s Michael Jawanda. “They fuel themselves with the necessary ingredients, both professionally and personally, in order to execute efficiently.” Jawanda’s focus on Toronto’s pre-construction condo scene requires a balance of discipline and market know-how – two things his growing client base has come to expect. “What you put in is what you get out of it,” he says. “I’m about results and growth, for both myself and for my clients.”
Tracy Fogtmann has an ace up her sleeve too many agents seem to be missing: She genuinely likes people. Her ability to listen and forge lasting relationships with her clients has helped put her on top of the Comox Valley market. Behind the scenes, Fogtmann has achieved an efficient workflow at her office. “My assistant and I have great communication with each other,” she says, adding that “time management and delegating are key.” Fogtmann is a proud member of her local 100 Women Who Care group, which gathers four times a year to raise $10,000 for a chosen local charity.
JONATHAN POPOWICH Re/Max iRealty Innovations Calgary, AB
One of the top 10 agents in an area of more than a million people, Jonathan Popowich became a Realtor after 13 years as a professional firefighter. Needless to say, he’s well accustomed to high-stress environments – good experience to have when dealing with Calgary’s market malaise. “A challenging market presents the greatest opportunity to stand out and demonstrate excellence to your clients,” says Popowich, who has received Re/Max’s Diamond Award multiple times. “When only one-fifth of listings are selling, you need to be doing things that no one else is.”
JOEL FARIS Faris Team Barrie, ON
RICHARD BENNEIAN Deerbrook Realty Windsor, ON
When he broke into the industry at age 18, Richard Benneian was the new kid on the block. Now, almost 40 years later, it’s Benneian’s experience that sets him apart. “I’ve seen every kind of market you can imagine, from the days of interest rates over 20% to our current multiple-offer climate,” he says. “With that experience comes the knowledge of how to guide my clients through any scenario.” Benneian was recently recognized by his brokerage for selling more than $5 million in volume in one month, which is believed to be a local record.
No matter what changes in real estate, one thing remains constant: the good feeling Joel Faris gets when helping people buy or sell a home. A Faris Team top Realtor for nine years, Faris’ professionalism, dedication, skill and genuine enthusiasm for guiding people toward achieving their real estate goals are just a few of the reasons why clients love working with him. They particularly appreciate his keen eye, the natural byproduct selling more than 950 homes during the course of his career.
KATE BRODDICK Sutton Team Realty Brantford, ON
For Kate Broddick, 2019 marked five consecutive years of being the number-one Realtor in Brantford, Ontario, where she’s known for getting clients’ attention. “Our out-of-the-box marketing strategies have caused waves in our area,” she says. “We reinvent ourselves daily to be innovative, unique and deliver the highest-quality content and local knowledge to our clients. We use social media to its fullest capacity to market our clients’ homes.” As a result, her team’s social media accounts have garnered the largest following in the area.
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ELSIE TOMMASINI Re/Max First Choice Realty Thunder Bay, ON
After a successful career as an entrepreneur, real estate investor and landlord, Elsie Tommasini set herself apart in her first full year as a Realtor in 2019. Quickly achieving industry milestones, Tommasini clinched the Re/Max Platinum Award – a clear testament to her dedication, comprehensive industry knowledge and versatility as a leading Realtor who prioritizes the satisfaction and needs of her clients. Tommasini’s achievements leave no doubt about her stellar ability and knowledge of the industry, not to mention her willingness to work diligently to build strong relationships with her clients and offer them unprecedented value. “My philosophy is to pursue only the highest standards for my clients in everything I do,” she says. “There is no end of the day, no closing time; this is my job 24/7. I love waking up every day knowing I can make a positive difference in the lives of others while constantly being challenged in a diverse, fast-paced industry.” Tommasini emphasizes that her ultimate aim is to provide elite and unrivalled professional real estate services that will always exceed her clients’ expectations.
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TOP AGENTS MICHAEL ST. JEAN St. Jean Realty Hamilton, ON
SARA KEYES Royal LePage Atlantic
For Michael St. Jean, 2019 will be remembered as a year of broken records. Whether it was his hometown’s unstoppable growth or his team’s sky-high sales, each month brought a new reason to celebrate – and he’s not done yet. “As a born-and-raised Hamiltonian, there’s nothing I want more than to see our city thrive,” St. Jean says. “From selling out the city’s most exciting new developments to guiding individuals through life-changing transactions, I’ll be there to help Hamilton grow even bigger and better in 2020.”
Ask Sara Keyes what’s most important in her career and her first answer will be “relationships.” Keyes dedicates her time to providing honest, trustworthy and dependable service to her clients, and in turn generates the majority of her business from referrals and repeat clients who trust her expertise. “Working a small town during a seller’s market has its challenges, but finding the perfect home for first-time homebuyers is something I pride myself on,” Keyes says. She’s a constant presence in Royal LePage Atlantic’s top 10 and has repeatedly taken home the company’s Diamond Award.
ANITA SHARMA TURNER Re/Max Associates Winnipeg, MB
Anita Sharma Turner has been one of the leading Realtors at Re/Max Associates since 2008. In 2012, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Business Owners of Manitoba. Since then, she has continued to make her mark in the real estate industry, most recently receiving the Re/Max Chairman Award for 2019. Along with being a successful agent and a mentor to her office’s new staff members, Turner co-created The Essential, a conference that brings together a small yet powerful group of women who are using their creativity and passion to craft meaningful careers.
GURCHARAN BHAURA Century 21 President Realty
MITCHELL DESLIPPE Re/Max Preferred Realty Windsor, ON
Mitchell Deslippe spent 2019 setting new performance standards for himself, establishing a new personal best for monthly sales volume and collecting another Diamond Award from Re/Max. His ability to adapt to Windsor’s freewheeling market has translated into life-changing outcomes for his clients. “Things are progressing at such a fast pace that it’s crucial to be up to date with market conditions to best serve your customers and client base,” he says. “You always have to be willing to learn more and push yourself past your comfort zone.”
Gurcharan (Garry) Bhaura recently finished a productive term as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. Known across the GTA as a top Realtor and philanthropist, Bhaura was also a recipient of one of RBC’s Top 75 Canadian Immigrant Awards in 2019. Bhaura says that in all things, business included, he does his best then “leaves the rest,” trusting that things will end positively. Although Bhaura’s time as TREB president is over, he’s still advocating for homeowners. “It’s time for the stress test to be revisited by the government,” he says. “I believe they are listening.”
KEN HEALEY Re/Max Elite Beaumont, AB
Over the course of his 13 years as an agent, Ken Healey has risen to the elite level. In addition to creating exceptional experiences for every family he helps, Healey also gives back to his community, mentors his fellow agents and compares strategies with the country’s top producers. In 2020, Healey says he expects to be dealing with another buyer’s market, but he’s up to the challenge. “I am always looking at finding new ways to bring value and an unfair advantage to our clients,” he says.
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Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty Ottawa, ON
Raymond Chin has spent the last 10 years as the number-one agent at Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty. He credits his persistence and remarkable consistency to excellent time management skills, a drive to never stop learning, and a stringent three-hour morning routine that prepares his mind for the chaos of the Ottawa market. Chin’s 2019 highlight came when he sold a property that had been languishing on the MLS for two years. “We listed the property and created a customized marketing plan that resulted in multiple offers and a sale over asking,” he says. “Who you work with matters.”
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TOP AGENTS RAE LIU
Paul Rushforth Real Estate Ottawa, ON
NAS KLAYME Re/Max Nova
Rae Liu has spent the last eight years leveraging her professionalism and boundless knowledge of the home-buying process into success for both her and her clients. “My commitment to details and providing top-notch information makes me a top asset,” she says. Ottawa’s historically low inventory levels forced Liu to try new strategies in 2019, including a focus on networking. “I network with other top producers and brokerages in the area regularly to share resources and coming-soon listings,” she says. “This is a win-win for all parties: before-market exposure for sellers and first in the door for buyers.”
Halifax is humming these days. Success for an agent there means understanding client desires, staying on top of new listings and presenting timely, well-crafted offers – three things Nas Klayme is known for. “My clients know that I can always be relied on for great service and in-depth followthrough,” he says. “I genuinely care about my clients and work to understand what is important to them.” Klayme expects 2020 to be another big year for Halifax. He says he’s gearing up by educating his buyers and sellers, ensuring they will be ready to move when the right moment strikes.
Keller Williams Experience Realty Midland, ON
Only three years into life as an agent, Eric Beutler has already established a reputation for being ethical, caring and straightforward. “I want people to hear the truth,” he says. Beutler had an unquestionably strong 2019, but his proudest moment came from not selling a home, one that had been in a client’s family for 70 years. “They didn’t want to sell but felt they had no other choice,” Beutler says. “I helped them find a way to keep the property and set them up for financial success down the road.”
PAUL GERMANESE Royal LePage Binder Real Estate Windsor, ON
STEVE BANCROFT Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate Madoc, ON
After his 16-year professional hockey career ended in 2006, Steve Bancroft followed his father into a new career as a Realtor. “Being ready to talk real estate or hockey with anybody helps break the ice,” Bancroft says. Despite selling in a rural community where a boat or ATV is sometimes required to get to his clients, Bancroft has left an indelible mark on Century 21. He has been a fixture in the company’s top 21 for Canada since 2015 and has been a Double Centurion producer four times.
“Work hard and truly care” is Paul Germanese’s recipe for real estate success. “The first part is cut-and-dried; the second can be more difficult for some,” he says. “But your clients can tell if you don’t truly care.” That hasn’t been an issue for Germanese, who has spent the past 13 years earning the trust of Windsor’s homebuyers and steadily increasing his market share. In 2019, not only did he open a stand-alone office to better serve his clients, he also qualified for Chairman’s Club status with Royal LePage for both units and GCI.
SARAH JUSTASON Re/Max East Coast Elite Realty Fredericton, NB
For Sarah Justason, making it as a top agent means being everything for her clients: advisor, educator, counsellor. “Put relationships first and be a good communicator,” she advises. “Clients can feel real relationships.” Justason encourages fellow agents to focus on a niche market to set themselves apart. As Fredericton’s go-to relocation specialist, she has tailored her services to specifically meet the unique needs and stringent timelines of this distinct clientele.
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DIMITRIOS KALOGEROPOULOS Royal LePage Team Realty Ottawa, ON
Born into financial hardship, Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos has earned every iota of his Top Agent status the hard way: through sheer grit and determination. This unwavering dedication has resulted in an avalanche of accolades for ‘Agent DK,’ including a place in Royal LePage’s top 1% and ranking number 41 out of 18,500 agents nationwide for units sold. He has also been a member of the company’s National Chairman’s Club for five consecutive years. “We have made customer service our number-one priority since day one,” Kalogeropoulos says. “I believe that the level of success you achieve is in direct proportion to the level of customer service you provide.”
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TOP AGENTS SHAN HASAN Re/Max Capital Diamond Windsor, ON
Re/Max Hallmark Peggy Hill Group Realty Barrie, ON
Peggy Hill faced 2019’s uncertain market head-on, using it as an opportunity to educate her clients about the new real estate reality and keep the lines of communication open. “We always try to educate and empower our clients so that they have an awareness of what is happening in the market,” she says. Hill entered real estate after receiving less than stellar service on her own home sale. “I knew there had to be a better way to service clients,” she says. “I focus on giving without any expectations of getting anything back.”
In just five years in the business, Shan Hasan has wasted no time earning his place among the top Realtors in the nation. Before partnering to launch Re/Max Capital Diamond Realty, Hasan was one of Royal LePage’s top 1% agents nationwide. Hasan’s savvy and trendsetting marketing style continues to raise the bar and energize the Windsor real estate market. “Our company’s pillars are people, property and passion,” he says.
JEANNINE GAUTHIER JALBERT Riviera Real Estate Edmundston, NB
Eighteen years ago, Jeannine Gauthier Jalbert’s sister-in-law inspired her to get started in the real estate business. “Looking back, I never expected to be as successful as I am today,” Jalbert says. “I realized quickly that I wasn’t really working, because for me, all I did was help people find their forever home.” With that goal firmly in mind, Jalbert’s professional and friendly approach has allowed her to shine. “Hopefully, and with the trust of my clients, the next few years will only get better and better,” she says.
MARIO LEMIEUX Re/Max Core Realty
Grassroots Realty Group Grande Prairie, AB
Yuri Smith’s dreams of making his independent brokerage a staple in Alberta real estate are already coming true. After establishing successful brokerages in Grande Prairie and Calgary, Smith is itching to expand. (See you in 2020, Edmonton.) Between selling, marketing and overseeing the growth of both the brokerage and its property management division, Smith has an exceedingly full plate. “My mentality is to stay adaptable and foster a culture that embraces change and continued education while supporting local business as much as possible,” he says.
Mario Lemieux had a big year in 2019. In addition to celebrating his first decade as a Realtor, he also sold his first home priced above $1 million and racked up $30 million in volume. Topping a performance like that won’t be easy, but Lemieux’s consistency, perseverance and robust social network have him poised for another drastic leap in productivity. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” he says.
Re/Max Real Estate Centre Mississauga, ON
Mani Batoo has worked tirelessly to attain his elite status amongst GTA agents. His reputation with the area’s builders, developers, investors and clients, bolstered by an ever-growing collection of achievements and accolades, is unmatched in Mississauga’s highly competitive market. Batoo encourages his fellow Realtors to find a mentor, stay focused on the bigger picture and not be derailed by minor setbacks. “There’s no deadline to achieve success,” he says, “so just keep going and you will reach the finish line.”
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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
What’s the real secret to success? Richard Robbins outlines the five activities agents and team leaders need to prioritize to be successful HAVE YOU ever found yourself looking at the successful people around you and thinking, “Do they know something I don’t?” If you answered yes to this question, rest assured you’re not alone. As head of RRI, Canada’s leading real estate learning academy, I’ve had the privilege of coaching and training hundreds of thousands of real estate professionals at every production level. After two decades in this industry, I can say with enormous certainty that top producers don’t always know more. They are, however, almost always willing to do more of what most real estate
professionals won’t. At RRI, we know success is more than just knowing what to do – it is doing more of what we already know.
responding to text messages, checking email, reacting to requests as soon as they arise or surfing the internet for the latest and greatest app.
Success is more than just knowing what to do – it is doing more of what we already know Busyness versus business Being busy in real estate is rarely a challenge. In fact, hours can seem to fly by like minutes while we’re scrolling through social feeds,
Unfortunately, this kind of ‘busy’ is the trap that has ensnared many agents and derailed countless real estate careers. Being productive is what we refer to as ‘good busy.’
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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RRI’S SERVICES? Whether you’re looking for innovative new real estate sales and business ideas or considering a deeper dive into your real estate business, RRI has a solution that’s right for you. Join us at a complimentary Training Academy near you, book a coaching assessment or call to find out exactly how RRI can help. Call us at 800-298-9587, visit us online at richardrobbins.com or email info@ richardrobbins.com anytime. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s the one secret that all top producers know. Top producers have mastered the ability to focus at least 75% of their time on key productive activities – activities that will have the biggest impact on moving them closer to achieving their goals. They resist the temptation of ‘busy’ work and know exactly what they need to do each day to achieve their goals. At RRI, we have developed two Big 5 Activity lists to help agents identify what their productive activities should be.
A HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE AGENT’S BIG 5 ACTIVITIES
Business generation/ prospecting
Top producers spend at least two hours a day generating new business. The goal is to find someone interested in buying or selling a home and then get face-to-face with them. Real estate is a contact sport, and top producers know that the most effective use of their time is finding leads and getting face-to-face with them.
Second only to generating new business, top producers practice consistent lead follow-up daily with a laser-sharp focus on converting leads to a face-to-face appointment.
What’s the difference between business generation and lead follow-up? • Business generation (prospecting) is finding a lead. • Lead follow-up is converting that lead to a face-to-face appointment.
As a result of their businessgenerating and lead follow-up efforts, top producers’ next highly productive activity is getting face-to-face with qualified sellers or buyers for a consultation.
Getting face-to-face with qualified buyers is a key activity for many top producers. The key word here is ‘qualified’ – top producers do not spend time with unqualified buyers or sellers.
Top producers are masterful negotiators, and when they’re not generating business or meeting clients, they are negotiating offers and contracts. The Big 5 Activity list for team leaders is somewhat different.
A HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE TEAM LEADER’S BIG 5 ACTIVITIES
Business generation/strategy Team leaders are highly skilled lead-
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A FEW WORDS FROM RRI’S COACHING MEMBERS Tom Storey RRI coaching member since 2016 Top 1%, Royal LePage Canada Toronto, ON
“RRI is the best in the business. I’m really thankful I found a company like this so early in my real estate career. Rich and his team really care about what they do, which makes me feel lucky to be part of their membership. Joining the RRI coaching program is the best business decision I’ve ever made.” Peter Papousek RRI coaching member since 2010 #1 team in Mississauga #14 in Re/Max Canada #34 in Re/Max Worldwide Mississauga, ON
generation and marketing strategists. As such, they lead the charge on growth strategies, in conjunction with their senior team members. Execution of these strategies is disbursed among team members, including the team leader. Lead follow-up is also a key strategy for teams.
Productive team leaders attend listing presentations with their associate agents, as well as on their own. Buyer presentations and property showings are activities typically reserved for associate agents on the team rather than the team leader. That said, some team leaders maintain a small book of buyers to stay current on buyer trends.
Leading/developing the team
Productive team leaders focus on not only growing the team in numbers, but also on developing the skill set of each team member to increase team production and overall effectiveness.
Top team leaders are also masterful negotiators, and when they’re not crafting
“I have been coaching with the organization for the last 10 years and have had an amazing experience. They have shown me how to succeed in my business and personal life.” Kim Heizmann RRI coaching member since 2018 Top 1%, Century 21 Canada Vernon, BC “RRI, my coach, the other members and all the staff have had an incredibly positive influence in my life over the past year and a half! From business to personal, I feel like my growth in all areas of my life has exceeded any expectations I might have had. I am excited to continue to build amazing relationships within this organization.”
strategies, meeting clients or leading their team, they are negotiating offers and contracts and sharing their wisdom and experience with their team to help them become expert negotiators as well.
Team leaders and sales professionals alike are entrepreneurs who have made a conscious decision to risk the security of a steady pay cheque in pursuit of financial and temporal freedom. The financial health of the business/ team is the top priority for team leaders. To
achieve this, they must focus on key financial metrics and performance benchmarks that measure success and reveal inefficiencies. At RRI, our mission is to deliver the most impactful, innovative real estate training and coaching services to our clients, with a relentless commitment to helping them build great businesses and great lives. It’s a goal that continues to strike a chord with our fellow professionals in the real estate industry, who have helped us garner more than 10,000 coaching graduates and 300,000 RRI event attendees thus far.
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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
How to win in a multiple-offer situation When markets heat up, clients are faced with a highly competitive buying environment. Richard Robbins shares his strategies for securing the ultimate outcome AS A real estate professional, you’re on the front lines of what are likely the most expensive, stressful and exhilarating moments of a client’s life. Buying a house isn’t something most of us forget, so it’s important that you help make the experience as seamless, relaxed and enjoyable as possible for your buyers. How do you do this when you’re faced with a multiple-offer situation? In a hot seller’s market, there’s not always time for regular protocols. Plans unravel, strategy gets thrown out the window, and emotion can trump reason as your buyers try to navigate these stressful waters. Before your buyers abandon their dream home or bid way above their budget, here are five practices we recommend at Richard Robbins International for winning a multipleoffer situation. These ideas might just give you and your buyers (who we’ll assume are always pre-qualified) a competitive advantage.
Manage your buyers’ expectations from the start. Create a buyer
CMA that is tailored to fit your buyers’ specific needs: budget, desired geographic location and type of home. Show them the most recent sales that fit their specifications and tell them how much over asking price, on average, their desired property is selling for.
PRO TIP: Prepare your buyers to have a deposit ready when they make an offer. A big deposit takes away the worry from the seller and will help you stand out from others who don’t have one.
If possible, submit an unconditional offer. The chance of the seller
taking a conditional offer during a multipleoffer situation is slim. The seller will usually take the path of least resistance, which will be the offer without conditions.
PRO TIP: Have the building inspection done beforehand. If your clients are adamant that an inspection is necessary, don’t make it a condition. Do it prior to the offer to maintain confidence on your client’s side and ease on the seller’s side.
Have your buyers create a personalized message for the sellers.
Homeowners are emotionally attached to their homes. They take great pride in every room, every upgrade and feature, and they want their home to go to someone who will love it just as much as they do.
PRO TIP: Have your buyers write a letter (including a photo) or, even better, create a short video explaining how much they want the home and why it’s their dream home. Appeal to the seller’s emotional side and help the sellers get to know your buyers. People want to sell to people they like.
Present your offer in person. We
live in an online world, but when it comes to winning a home, make your offer in person. Presenting the offer in person allows for a candid, flexible and fast conversation that can lead to you winning the home.
PRO TIP: Have your buyers on site. This will allow you to go back and forth at a moment’s notice, allowing for more flexible and faster negotiations.
Know your buyers’ ‘no regrets’ number. A candid conversation with
your buyers will establish an important number: What’s the highest amount you’re willing to pay for this property with no regrets? Knowing your buyers’ top dollar bid is crucial. Losing out on a home for an amount your buyers would have been comfortable with is a surefire path to disappointment, distrust and negativity.
PRO TIP: Run these numbers by the bank. Will the bank support you going 104% over asking price? Use these five ideas, and I promise, when you find yourself in a bidding war, you’ll have all the artillery needed to win the battle.
JOIN THE RRI TRIBE For real-time real estate solutions, innovative marketing ideas, downloadable tools, training videos and more direct to your inbox, sign up today at richardrobbins.com.
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Join the most inspired community of top producing agents in Canada. Book your complimentary coaching assessment today. Call Toll Free 1.800.298.9587 or visit www.richardrobbins.com
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The Price is Right Unlock in-depth and exclusive local market insights with the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) and validate your comparative market analysis with confidence. Learn more at CREA.ca/HPI. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
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