GREAT EXPECTATIONS How to advise clients when the market takes a plunge
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HOUSEHOLD NAME Elton Ash on building the RE/MAX brand in Canada MORTGAGE MATTERS What the latest regulations could mean for buyers
TOP TEAMS Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading real estate teams outline the keys to achieving collective success
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UPFRONT 04 Editorial
OSFI becomes the latest regulator to punish prospective buyers
How does an agent manage client expectations in a down market? A recent GTA sale provides a veritable master class
THE NEXT STEP
The transition from agent to team leader can be challenging. Three Engel & Völkers brokers offer advice for those making the switch
10 News analysis
Industry players weigh in on the latest round of mortgage rule changes
51 Clearing the air
Arm yourself with the facts about radon
52 When is the right time to ask for referrals? Hint: It’s probably not when you think
53 The lap of luxury
A new study reveals what luxury buyers really want
Learning from early mistakes put Richard Pilarski on the road to success
From a stint in international development to his current career in real estate, Josh Klein has made helping people his business
Why true professionals will embrace a plunging market
55 Career path
Three nearly invisible problems your clients should have checked out
What does it take to build and run a successful real estate team? Seventy of the best-performing teams from across Canada reveal their secrets
Part of RE/MAX since its early days in Canada, Elton Ash has helped transform the brand into a household name
Assessing the value of proposed changes to agent education
50 Hidden dangers
TOP TEAMS 2017
08 Head to head
Does a September dip in house prices portend a larger trend?
56 Other life
When he’s not selling houses, Ilan Joseph is building them
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www.repmag.ca WINTER 2O17
ere at REP, we like to take our shots when we need to – and that’s never more the case than when new policy poses a threat to Canadian homebuyers. Although REP is an industry magazine, we are still very much on the side of consumers – especially when they find themselves unfairly targeted by new government policies. On October 17, Canada’s banking regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions [OSFI], unveiled yet another hurdle for potential buyers to clear in order to secure a mortgage. This new measure, which will come into effect on January 1, 2018, requires all Canadian borrowers to qualify for financing at either the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or at a rate 2% higher than the original contractual rate offered by their chosen lender, whichever is higher. OSFI said the measures were put in place to reduce the risk of mortgage defaults at a time when household debt in Canada is at an all-time high, but that ignores the fact that other forms of debt, such as credit cards and car loans, are far more common, far easier to secure and, in the case of credit cards, possibly more harmful to the overall financial health of a household. Maybe
By trying to keep a lid on prices in two markets, these new measures could asphyxiate others, especially those that are balanced, soft or recovering Canada’s debt-to-income ratio would be slightly less atrocious if credit cards weren’t handed out like incoherently racist t-shirts at a Trump rally. The fact that the new stress test applies to buyers who have actually saved a 20% down payment is also galling. If a household in the GTA or Vancouver – two cities where the higher cost of living makes short work of a paycheck – can save between $100,000 and $200,000 for a down payment on a property, how are those people a risk to themselves or the greater economy? Most unfortunate is the fact that while these measures were clearly inspired by price levels in Toronto and Vancouver – the only two overvalued markets in the country – they will affect every Canadian hoping to buy a property. It’s true that these two regions represent a large part of our population, but Canada is a vast, regionally diverse country. By trying to keep a lid on prices in two markets, these new measures could asphyxiate others, especially those that are balanced, soft or recovering – which, again, is virtually all of them. For better or worse, Canada has put most of its eggs in the real estate basket. But by tending to two of those eggs at the expense of the others, the OSFI risks scrambling them all.
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From “Secret Agent Expired-Chasers” to Multi-Millionaire Business Owners REAL SUCCESS in any business means not only healthy earnings, but also time off to enjoy life. The fact is, however, that most Canadian real estate agents sacrifice their entire lifestyle in pursuit of success and, ironically, instead of gaining more freedom, they become slaves to their real estate business. If you don’t have a real business system, you don’t really have a business at all. What you have instead is a “job”, and for most real estate agents, it’s a really horrible job: one that consumes your time, keeps you away from friends and family, and doesn’t pay very well. The fact is that agents leave our industry in droves, not because they’re not great at working with clients, but because they simply can’t make the business work. They don’t have enough leads, they don’t find enough time to properly follow up and thus convert their leads, they don’t know exactly why they win or lose a listing. Even though they work very hard, too much is
left to chance. Trying to “do it all” without a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t ultimately sows the seeds of failure for many agents. A profitable and “real” business MUST be based on solid systems. In real estate, that means a system to generate leads, a system to convert those leads, and a system to convert qualified prospects into paying clients. Every successful business in the world, from McDonalds to Amazon to FedEx, is based on proven and duplicatable “systems”, and the agents who achieve success in our industry have done so on the strength of solid, proven, efficient business systems. As revealed in the profile of Milton, Ontario agents Domenic and Jody Manchisi, below, and of multiple other agents you can read about at CopyMillionaireAgents.com creating a highly profitable real estate business is certainly possible, regardless of whether you’re a brand new agent or have been in real estate for years, whether you’re a man
Read More About Millionaire Agents Like Domenic and Jody at CopyMillionaireAgents.com by Domenic & Jody Manchisi, began building a team, first hiring a buyer’s agent, Milton, ON then the administrator and adding on as we grew For us it all began in 2004 and needed more help. with the Craig Proctor System. As a result, we’ve had great success in our Domenic was licensed in 1996 and career, being number 1 in Canada 2008-2011 with was an expired chaser and I was Prudential. Hall of Fame, Top 100, Top 1% for Re/ the administrator/Buyers Agent. Max 2012-2016. In Canada, the Privacy Act was enforced in 2004 In 2014 our net income was $830,000. In which would not allow us to contact a person who 2015, after doubling down on our implementation had expired, suspended or cancelled on our Real Esof the system, our net income was $1,300,000 and tate Board as the prospect’s information was deemed we had sold 124 homes – a 60% increase. “private”. Needless to say, this disabled our ability to In 2016 we sold 176 homes and earned do business. We did not advertise ourselves anywhere. $1,834,000 in net income – a 42% increase! WOW Our entire business model was expired/off market listCurrently in 2017 our team consists of 3 full ings and cold calling. time administrators, 6 OSAs, and 1 ISA. Jody is the At this time, we did not brand or market ouroffice manager, Domenic is also ISA and also goes selves - we were known as the secret agents! We were on appointments of his choosing. We concentrate selling on average 80 homes a year and working 24/7 and focus on training our team to understand what just the two of us. each person’s role on the team is and we are finding The only logical next step was to learn about marketing. With no hesitation, Domenic “There was only one logical next step, said we needed to call Craig Proctor. As impaand it changed our lives forever.” tient as he is, Domenic called Craig directly, and Craig called back! Giving Craig our story he said, this has been a crucial part of each agent’s develop“Dom, have you been to a SuperConference?” Well, ment. Tracking more precisely to ensure marketing no, we hadn’t yet. A month later Dom attended his is working, and working with our coach to fill any first SuperConference in Phoenix and our lives were holes in the business! forever changed. We can really attribute our success to the We worked the system, testing ads etc. and it Craig Proctor System. The members we have changed our world. Leads were coming in, Dom was become friends with, all the program has to offer perfecting the call back script and I was implementing and the Craig Proctor coaches for their continued the systems and follow up. Coaching was key at this support and astute coaching. point for us, keeping us accountable and staying on Our goal for 2017 is $2,500,000 in net track as the systems were supposed to be done. We income and 234 home sales.
MILLIONAIRE AGENT-MAKER DISCOVERY DAY: Responsible for the Biggest Success Stories in the Industry
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or a woman, a solo agent or team, whether you live in the U.S. or Canada, and regardless of which franchise you’re with. Each of the agents profiled credits the same real estate system as being responsible for their success: The Ultimate Real Estate Success System pioneered by Canadian Real Estate Coach Craig Proctor. Craig Proctor’s Real Estate Success System has created more Millionaire Agents than any other real estate system in the world. Craig Proctor was a highly successful AGENT himself, right here in Canada, for more than 20 years. In fact, no agent in Canada has sold more homes than Proctor has, and by sharing the system he used to achieve his own success, he’s been able to help over 30,000 agents worldwide to transform their real estate jobs into highly lucrative real estate businesses that don’t come at the expense of high lifestyle costs. This is the same system Proctor used himself in his own highly successful real estate career right here in Canada. As you may know, he was twice named the #1 RE/ MAX Agent in the world and was in the top 10 for RE/MAX International for 15 years. If you do not have a clear, detailed business system (key word, system) that you are using to move methodically to your goals…a plan you could show a banker or investor or new partner or key associate…a plan you have reasoned, complete confidence in, then why wouldn’t you examine Proctor’s Ultimate Real Estate Success System - free? For a limited time, you can have a “sneak peek” at what your real estate business could look like by attending Proctor’s upcoming Free Discovery Day (see CopyMillionaireAgents.com for details). Yes, Craig Proctor will openly share with you how he became Canada’s top agent. Learn from a real doer, not a talker. Unlike most real estate trainers that have never successfully sold real estate and have zero practical experience doing what they teach you, Craig Proctor is a doer, not a pretender, fake or fraud. Craig will share “real Canadian real estate strategies” with you that actually work. No theory, ideas or motivational hype. At this 3 hour meeting Craig Proctor will spill the beans and share with you exactly what to do and what it takes to be a Super-Successful Real Estate agent in Canada. For more information, visit: CopyMillionaireAgents.com
The sevenyear ditch
THE MARKET’S UPS AND DOWNS September’s House Price Index decline of 0.8% was largely attributable to Toronto, where house prices fell by 2.7% month-over-month. Four other markets (Quebec City, Hamilton, Halifax and Winnipeg) also contributed to the drop, while the rest of Canada’s urban centres saw moderate gains.
September saw the largest drop in an index of Canadian house prices in seven years WHILE ONTARIO’S spiralling house prices have driven the overall upward momentum of Canada’s housing market over the past several years, it seems that’s no longer the case. In September, the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index – which represents the weighted average of prices in 11 metropolitan areas – notched a decline of 0.8%. That’s the index’s largest month-tomonth drop since September 2010 and the
Last decline in the national House Price Index in January 2016
first time it’s gone down since January 2016. The organization attributed the slackening to recent government interventions in the Toronto market, where the index has dropped a cumulative 7.5% since July – a trajectory similar to the temporary drop seen in Vancouver as a result of its own market-cooling measures. But while September’s monthly decline marked the second month of deceleration, it wasn’t enough to send the year’s annual gains into the red.
Year-to-date increase in the national House Price Index
Cumulative decline in the Toronto House Price Index since July
KEY Month-over-month change Year-over-year change
+0.1% +14.7% Vancouver
Aggregate value of occupied dwellings in the metropolitan areas included in the index
Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index, September 2017; 2011 Statistics Canada Census
NOT SINCE 2010
After a peak in June, growth in the National Composite House Price Index started slowing in July as the market felt the after-effects of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan.
Over the past seven years, Canada’s urban markets have been through plenty of challenges, but the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index has remained relatively steady; its 0.8% drop in September was the largest since 2010. MONTH-OVER-MONTH CHANGE
MONTH-OVER-MONTH CHANGE 3.0%
2.0% 1.5% 1.0%
Mar. 2017 Apr. 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 Aug. 2017 Sept. 2017 Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index
9.0% 7.5% 6.0% 4.5% 3.0% 1.5% 0% -1.5% -3.0% -4.5% -6.0% -7.5% -9.0% 2010
Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index, September 2017
Overall composite index
-2.3% +1.1% Halifax
-0.4% +0.4% Montreal
+0.3% +5.0% Winnipeg
Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index, September 2017
THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE SUFFERS
THE BEGINNING OF DECELERATION?
Despite a few small bumps, the overall trend of the National House Price Index has been a steady rise since the 2008 recession. Only time will tell whether the recent decline is merely another blip or the start of a longer-term downard trajectory. 12-month change
National Composite House Price Index
Of the major markets tracked by Teranet-National Bank but not included in the composite index, those that recorded the greatest declines in house prices were located in Ontario, particularly in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. MONTH-OVER-MONTH CHANGE 2.0% 1.0%
0% -1.0% -2.0%
Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index, September 2017
-6.0% Peterborough Brantford
Source: Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index, September 2017
HEAD TO HEAD
How do you feel about the proposed RECO changes? Agents weigh in on the OREA’s demand for the educating body to tighten its professional development standards
Broker Chestnut Park Real Estate
Broker Century 21 Leading Edge Realty
Marketing and training manager Apostrophe Solutions Corp.
“RECO’s response to industry pressure to update continuing education programs for Realtors and brokers is met with open arms. Providing accredited education programs through boards, colleges and universities will encourage Realtors to specialize in the segments of the markets for which they trade, thus differentiating themselves. I hope that RECO is sufficiently flexible to pre-approve courses offered by third-party providers. Additionally, the testing of the mandated new materials for Realtors should contain sections beyond multiple-choice answers. Perhaps a section for case-study questions would allow registrants to demonstrate a more thorough grasp of concepts.”
“I agree that comprehensive continuing eduction is an investment in professionalism and consumer protection, but not with all of OREA’s recommendations. I don’t agree that the program is failing professionals and consumers. For those who keep current with industry issues, the RECO continuing education program works fine. I prefer the online format, and it’s less expensive than when OREA was running the program. However, given the recent rise in the number of new registrants, it may be necessary to tweak the program. A combination of in-class and online courses may be the solution. My preference is for in-house CE to keep costs down.”
“OREA’s initiative to raise the bar on continuing education is of great value. However, some areas need to be addressed with greater emphasis, including realizing the important function of a brokerage as an everyday classroom with the brokers and senior peers as instructors. Also, the focus should be shifted to providing Realtors with broad knowledge, rendering them as trustworthy industry experts, knowing that liberation of data is inevitable. In certain areas (e.g. technology), institutions lack the flexibility required to keep up; third parties can play a vital role in keeping Realtors at pace with everchanging markets through the proposed PDP program.”
A TOUCH OF CLASS(ROOM) In a recent white paper on the subject of continuing education, the Ontario Real Estate Association called for a tightening of professional development training standards, including more classroom time and the administering of exams at a testing centre rather than online. OREA recommended a model similar to that used by other provinces, which includes both web-based and classroom teaching. “Continuing education is an important part of maintaining high professional standards in the real estate industry,” OREA president Ettore Cardarelli wrote in the paper. “The current system is failing Realtors. It’s time for a new vision.”
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What sets the successful apart? It’s in the midst of uncertain markets and changing times that the true professional shines, writes Giuditta Gareri AS A professional broker, manager, real estate coach and trainer for the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with thousands of real estate agents and have noticed one major difference between those who will be successful and those who probably will not. Successful players in the game of real estate burn their boats from the start. They have no other options – they’re not testing the waters or trying it out. They’re in it for the long haul. For them, there’s no such thing as quitting. When these people enter the profession, they give it more than 100%. These people behave distinctly. They consider themselves true professionals in the same way a lawyer, doctor, dentist, accountant or engineer might. They act as if they belong in the realm of professionals who went to university and specialized in the industry. Their reputation is everything to them, and they stand behind it. They are not confused or unclear – they are clear about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and they are prepared to give it all they’ve got. They are willing to invest time, money and their complete focus into their profession and treat it like a long-term business, rather than a short-term sales career they’re willing to drop if things don’t work out. The most interesting thing I’ve witnessed is that even if they don’t have the qualities that
a salesperson is expected to possess in order to succeed, they flourish nonetheless, because the depth of their commitment and the level of their professionalism ensures they can learn and develop any required skills.
these markets because there’s a perception that it’s easy money and anyone can do it. In extremely hot markets, sellers are more likely to hire a friend or family member in an effort to reduce the commission payable since the value of the profession is much less apparent. The great thing about a normalized or cooling market is that uncommitted people are weeded out of the market once it becomes clear that professional skills are necessary. Also, buyers and sellers become aware of the fact that they need the help of a true industry professional who is committed long-term, knows the business and is able to use their expertise to their advantage. Finally, the public remembers that they can’t just have anyone helping them buy or sell their most valuable asset – and this realization is great news for real estate professionals. Here’s some more good news: Anyone taking the time to read an industry publication already falls into this category. Even if you don’t realize it, you’re going the extra mile. If you are wholly committed to this industry, you can thrive in uncertain market conditions. We
“The great thing about a normalized or cooling market is that uncommitted people are weeded out of the market once it becomes clear that professional skills are necessary” And perhaps most important of all, these are the people who actually thrive in a difficult market. We have recently seen some major and unexpected changes in the industry at both the national and provincial level. This is the time when consumers will be crying out for someone who is a true professional: a representative who is in the industry long-term, takes their business seriously and holds themselves to the highest standards. In a hot market, when properties routinely sell within hours of listing, the public doesn’t value real estate professionals. This vibrant setting creates the perception that properties sell themselves; it’s little wonder that our importance is reduced in the public’s mind. More people enter the profession during
are likely entering a growth period for true professionals, because they are finally going to be valued the way they deserve to be. Times like these represent an exciting opportunity as both buyers and sellers come to the belated realization that not just anyone can do this. Fear and doubt often accompany changing times; use this to your advantage. That same fear and doubt will have the public seeking you out and respecting you for the true professional you are. It’s your time to shine! REP
Giuditta Gareri has more than 20 years of experience working in real estate as a broker/ owner, manager, coach, trainer and speaker. She currently works at Chestnut Park in Toronto.
Another round of changes While not unexpected, OSFI’s decision to require a stress test for uninsured mortgages has left the industry reeling once again CANADIAN HOMEBUYERS – and their real estate agents – are undoubtedly beginning to feel a lot like Sisyphus, the mythical Greek king doomed to forever push a boulder up a steep hill, only to have it roll down again when he’s nearly reached the top. Each time buyers scrape closer to qualifying for a home, the government introduces a new impediment that forces them to start all over again – pushing them farther away from the homeownership dream. In October, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions [OSFI] made official its update to Guideline B-20, which includes a new stipulation that will require a stress test for uninsured mortgages. Under the new guideline, the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages must be the greater of either the Bank of Canada’s fiveyear benchmark rate or the contractual mortgage rate plus 2%.
has very little to do with prudence. “In the last six months, Ontario’s real estate market has borne the brunt of government intervention after intervention,” says Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “From a new stress test to an increase in land-transfer taxes, rising interest rates and Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, governments at all levels are piling on new regulation and taxes to try and cool the market. While Realtors support a sensibly regulated real estate market, OSFI’s new stress test for uninsured mortgages is overkill. These changes will hurt middle-class families and punish careful savers the most, forcing them to take on more debt and higher interest payments.” This latest announcement follows new regulations introduced last fall, which required insured mortgage holders to qualify at the Bank of Canada posted rate – a stress test meant to ensure buyers can handle an
“These changes will hurt middle-class families and punish careful savers the most, forcing them to take on more debt” Tim Hudak, Ontario Real Estate Association “These revisions to Guideline B-20 reinforce a strong and prudent regulatory regime for residential mortgage underwriting in Canada,” OSFI superintendent Jeremy Rudin said. However, industry players argue the move
increase in mortgage rates. However, that rule change was questioned at the time as well, as it forced homebuyers to flock to the big banks for their mortgages. “The bottom line is, the government is solving a problem that really doesn’t exist,” Dr.
Sherry Cooper, chief economist with Dominion Lending Centres, said at the DLC National Sales Conference in Palm Springs in September. “I got a call from the Department of Finance with a lot of specific questions [about the October 2016 rule changes]. The economists there that were working on these specific rule changes didn’t understand really what the implications would be and didn’t understand how it would be so negative for the non-bank alternative lenders, or even for the non-Big Five Canadian bank lenders, period.” Some insiders do see one positive in this latest announcement: It will re-level the playing field between the big banks and mortgage channel lenders. “We have some concerns that the stress test will push some borrowers to nonfederally regulated lenders, which will shift
THE INDUSTRY REACTS MortgageBrokerNews.ca asked readers how they felt about the OSFI’s newest regulations. Here’s what they said.
IS THE OSFI OVERREACHING WITH ITS LATEST POLICY?
Undecided risk outside of the regulated space,” Neil Parmenter, CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association, told the Financial Post after OSFI’s latest announcement.
people who are going to want to go into the qualifying process ahead of that. I expect we’ll see a great deal of activity between now and December 31, and then after that, I think the
“I think the major markets can ... withstand this kind of policy. Other marketplaces, not so much” Dianne Usher, Johnston and Daniel But what about homebuyers – what impact will it have for them? “In the short-term, what I think it’s going to do is spur on the market,” says real estate agent Dianne Usher, senior vice-president of Johnston and Daniel. “The measures take effect January 1, so there are
major markets can absorb these changes. They can withstand this kind of policy. Other marketplaces, not so much. “I also feel that it’s not going to have a particular impact on first-time homebuyers,” Usher continues. “Most of them have less
than 20% to put down, so they’d already be subject to the stress test. It will impact move-up buyers – the typical move-up buyer moving up from a condo to a townhouse or a townhouse to a detached or semi-detached. They won’t be able to qualify for as much home as they previously could.” While Usher admits she wasn’t surprised by the latest rule change, she also questions policymakers’ knowledge of the housing market and just how much macroprudential policy might affect it. “In my view, our policymakers – regardless of whether it’s municipal, federal or provincial – are paying a lot of attention to real estate these days,” Usher says. “[The policy is based on] their interpretation of the marketplace, and they are just soldiering on. I’m very concerned.” REP
BLESSED IN THE WEST When Elton Ash first joined RE/MAX as an agent in the mid-1980s, the company was virtually unknown in his native Saskatoon. Now, as the company’s regional executive vice-president for Western Canada, Ash is one of the key reasons behind the brand’s explosive growth ELTON ASH, like so many prairie boys before him, was once destined to carry on the traditions of the family farm. Born in Saskatoon to a family of successful cattle ranchers in 1956, Ash was set to take the reins after completing his studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 1977, but crashing cattle prices left the family no choice but to sell in 1980 the land they had owned for generations. The bad breaks didn’t end there. After investing his earnings from the farm sale into commercial real estate – he had owned 640 acres that had tripled in value prior to selling them off – Ash saw his portfolio destroyed by the debilitating recession of 1981. Tired of having his fortunes dictated by external forces, Ash decided to make his own luck and took a job selling real estate for McClocklin Real Estate Corp. “It was a very tough market,” he says, “which was a good time to start because you learned good work habits. You had to work your butt off to make any sales.” Three years later, despite brutal economic conditions and 21% interest rates, Ash was one of Saskatoon’s top agents. “I tell everybody when they’re thinking of getting into real estate that it’s a threeyear apprenticeship program,” Ash says.
“The first year, you won’t make any money. The second year, hopefully, if you’ve done the right things in the first year, you’ll break even. And the third year, you’ll earn above the amount of money you had to subsidize the first year. The fourth year, it’s full steam ahead.”
really liked that,” he says. Ash and three other top earners from his firm joined RE/MAX as a team and never looked back. “It was a great experience in those early days,” he says. But by the end of the 80s, Ash was itching to own his own franchise. RE/MAX’s
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s real estate, restaurants, travel agencies or housing – in every industry with franchising, there’s a system. If you don’t follow the system ... you’re less likely to be successful” Building a brand Ash’s own fourth year would take him to a little-known company that had only 17 offices in all of western Canada. “No one knew what RE/MAX was,” Ash says, “especially in Saskatoon. It had just opened a year before, so people were like, “What’s a ‘remack?’” Ash says he was drawn to the company by its entrepreneurial spirit, where agents were 100% responsible for their own success. “They were doing things differently, and I
Saskatoon operation had grown too successful for him to afford, so he went searching for an underperforming franchise with an owner looking to move on. In 1990, he purchased his first RE/MAX franchise in Penticton, British Columbia. Turning around a struggling business provided Ash with invaluable insight into why so many real estate franchises fail – knowledge he relies on heavily in his current position with the company. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real estate,
PROFILE Name: Elton Ash Title: Regional executive vice-president Company: RE/MAX of Western Canada Years in the industry: 36 Fast fact: Ash oversees 276 offices and more than 7,000 agents spread out over 35 million square miles of territory
restaurants, travel agencies or housing – in every industry with franchising, there’s a system. If you don’t follow the system the franchisor provides, you’re less likely to be successful,” he says, adding that most broker/owners neglect to do “the dull, productive things that need to be done to build business.” By 1993, Ash was in charge of two offices and 24 agents, and had the number-one franchise in the market. He hoped to sell the franchise at a premium and then buy another underperforming franchise in a
those days, but it gave him credibility in the eyes of sales associates and brokers. In 2000, after a two-year stint as the head of RE/MAX’s North American commercial business, Ash became the company’s regional vice-president for Western Canada. During his tenure, the number of agents employed by the company has almost doubled – to 7,000 – and its market share has continued to climb. Key to that growth has been the overall health of RE/MAX’s franchises, evidenced by a churn rate of less than 12%.
“Real estate is substantially different from a typical retail franchise in that your assets walk out the door every night. Hopefully they come back in the door the next morning” major western city. “It didn’t really matter where it was,” he says, “so long as there was the potential to grow.” Ash was invited to Kelowna by the late Bob Cherot, founder of RE/MAX of Western Canada, to discuss his plans for the future. Cherot told Ash there were no franchises available for sale, but he mentioned that he was looking for a director of broker services. “I told Bob, ‘That’s great. I’ve never had a real job in my whole life,’” Ash recalls. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You’ll know what to do. You go do it and tell me about it from time to time.’”
Keeping the bar high Ash’s new position didn’t actually come with a job description, but he saw it as an opportunity to work with broker/owners to make their businesses as successful as possible. He says his experience as an agent wasn’t critical to his success as an executive in
“Real estate is substantially different from a typical retail franchise in that your assets walk out the door every night,” Ash says. “Hopefully they come back in the door the next morning.” Through training and technology initiatives, Ash has been instrumental in making the company a destination for top earners, but when a franchise does falter, he has the unenviable task of righting the ship. In such cases, Ash examines the business’s entire operations, “from how the office looks from the sidewalk to the receptionist to training systems to the financial side of it.” Over the years, he’s racked up a success rate of 80%. Ever the farm boy, Ash compares franchise management to driving a team of horses. “You flick a rein from time to time and get maximum efficiency from that stagecoach,” he says. “It’s the same with franchisees. Sometimes you need a gentle reminder about how to improve.” REP
FIRE AND WATER In 2003, Elton Ash’s family was one of almost 270 who lost their homes in the devastating wildfire that engulfed Kelowna, BC. After coming to grips with the loss and enduring the secondary stress of dealing with insurance agents, an exhausted Ash happily accepted a friend’s invitation to spend some time at his property in Antigua. It was there that he fell in love with sailing.
“It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and when you’re sailing, your mind can’t be on a dozen other things,” he says. “It’s a true break from the stresses of the day.” In 2004, Ash purchased a sailboat and began taking lessons. He was eventually certified for off-shore operation and joined a racing team. He now owns a Benetos 32 S5 racing hull that requires a six-person crew and returns to Antigua every year to race.
“Everyone has a job,” he says. “We all work together to get the maximum performance out of that yacht and hopefully come across the finish line first.”
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A bump in the road Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan threw the Toronto market into a tailspin. This Leaside sale proves that when the market hits the skids, the only things worth holding onto are facts and experience It was up to Rocca to act as its interpreter. Rocca and his clients agreed on an initial asking price of just under $1.7 million, which Rocca felt was a fair price based on the new market reality. His clients, however, were still living in the past. “I think they still had an expectation of getting significantly more than their asking,” he says, “and I was saying to them when they listed that that might not happen. I had to prepare them for that. And it didn’t happen.”
Languishing in Leaside
FOR MOST Canadians, summer is the most exciting time of the year. We’re warm, energized and hopeful. Adventures are planned, carried out and relished in what seems like a single bursting instant. What’s not to love? If you were a real estate agent in Toronto during the summer of 2017, plenty. When the Ontario government unveiled its Fair Housing Plan in April, Toronto’s runaway housing market was instantly hobbled. Sales plummeted, and by the time summer – already a time of decreased activity – rolled around, homeowners looking to sell found themselves adrift in a stagnant market, attempting to reach the shore using paddles cobbled together out of media speculation and their own outdated perceptions of what their homes were worth.
When clients are panicking and home values are falling, what’s an agent to do? “Our responsibility is to tell the truth,” says Bosley Real Estate’s Patrick Rocca. “It’s our job to explain to sellers, ‘Listen, the numbers that you were seeing in March don’t apply now.’ Some sellers understand that. Some sellers don’t and are still living in the past.” In mid-July, when the GTA market downturn was reaching its nadir, Rocca took on the role of listing agent for a family looking to sell its charming three-bedroom home in Leaside, a lovely property in move-in condition on an exquisite lot. Three months earlier, the home likely would have sold in a matter of days, and Rocca’s clients would have been moving into their new home north of the city, worry-free. But by that point, the market had spoken.
When the house hit the market, the flurry of activity Rocca’s clients were quietly hoping for didn’t materialize. Open houses during the first two weeks soon gave way to appointment-only viewings. Even though no offers were forthcoming, Rocca was far from despairing. “I don’t think I ever got worried because I know the market,” he says. “I was perplexed, not worried. This was a good house. It was the best house, value-wise, in Leaside. It was perplexing to see it sitting there not selling when there was other stuff that was garbage that was selling.” With August burning away and September on the horizon, Rocca approached his clients about changing their price. Aware of the slower pace of the summer market, they were hoping to hold out for a more active fall buying season. “My concern was that if we waded into the fall market,” Rocca says, “more product would come on that would be in competition, and they might be in even more trouble.”
Expertise rules the day Once Labour Day came around, so did Rocca’s clients. Listing activity was picking up across the GTA, and, not wanting to be the victims
LOCATION Leacrest Road, Toronto
ORIGINAL LISTING DATE July 17, 2017
ORIGINAL LISTING PRICE $1,699,000
RELISTING DATE September 14, 2017
RELISTING PRICE $1,599,000
SOLD DATE September 21, 2017
SOLD PRICE $1,725,000
of the heightened competition Rocca had predicted, they agreed to lower their asking price by $100,000. “They were very intelligent people, very cooperative,” he says. “They understood what was going on, and they were rational. That doesn’t always happen.” On September 14, the home was relisted. A week later, two offers had been made, and the house sold for over the original asking price. “My clients were very happy and very relieved,” Rocca says. “The buyer was ecstatic.” Rocca says he was lucky in this case to deal with clients willing to defer to his expertise. In a cultural climate where knowledge is constantly drowned out by opinion, and ‘fake news’ is a catch-all phrase used to discount facts people don’t want to believe, will agents face more uphill battles when educating consumers about market realities? Rocca’s late-September encounter with a stubborn potential buyer would seem to indicate they will. “I had a couple from out of town at my open house on the weekend,” he says. “I was talking to them about the market and where it’s been and where I see it heading. The wife was adamant that I was wrong and that was not what she was reading. I said, ‘What you’re reading is press, it’s sensationalism. What I’m telling you is what’s real in the market. I’m telling you what I see.’ Some people just don’t get it.” Such encounters can frustrate even the
TORONTO’S SINGLE-FAMILY MARKET BOUNCES BACK 416 area code
915 area code
most seasoned Realtor. What are agents who don’t have Rocca’s level of experience to do in similar situations? “You have to be patient,” he says. “You have to show people why you’re suggesting what you’re suggesting. Show them the comparables, show them the stats, the trends, the activity.” That kind of composure can be hard to come by for young agents working their first down market. Fortunately for agents who survived the summer of 2017, things in the GTA are looking sunnier now than at any point in July or August. Rocca says his recent open houses have been swamped and that multipleoffer situations are once again becoming the norm – the exact result most agents predicted when sales began receding in April. “Summer’s always a quieter market, and then you add in the press, the media,” Rocca says. “When you read a lot of that stuff, it scares buyers. There are still buyers out there who think the market’s falling – and it’s not.” Rising interest rates and stricter lending guidelines, however, could make 2018 another bumpy year for Toronto real estate. Sales will almost certainly be down, as will the Canadian economy, which should inspire plenty of bubble talk. It will be a year ripe for anxiety, but the facts needed to mitigate runaway panic will continue to be there, in the hands – and the heads – of the agents who know the market best. REP
Source: Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch, August and September 2017
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SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
TOP TEAMS 2017 Despite the long hours and individual effort, real estate is still very much a team game. REP went in search of the 100 top-performing real estate teams in Canada to find out what makes them unique and how they’ve leveraged this increasingly popular concept into blistering success
TOP TEAMS 2017 INDEX TEAM NAME
Amy Assaad Team
Dan Gemus Real Estate Team
The Agent DK Team
Dan Plowman Team Realty
The Amy Flowers Team
Danny & Claudio
Maple Ridge, BC
Angie Goulet and Associates
Daryl King Team
The Avis Team
Defeo & Associates
Port Moody, BC
The Dianna Mandzuk Team
The Bailey Group
Doris Gee & Phil Moore
Doris Gee and Phil Moore
Benczik Team Realty
Bennett Property Shop Realty
Équipe Roger Leblanc Team
BGM Real Estate Team
Équipe Sirois Simard
Fernande Sirois and Martin Simard
Bo Knows Homes/Desrosiers Cook
Équipe Smith-Dumontier Laforest
Quebec City, QC
Boyes Group Realty
Eugene Kaplun Real Estate Team
Brent MacIntosh Real Estate Group
The Extra Mile Team
Radium Hot Springs, BC
Bryan Grant Realty
St. Catharines, ON
The Faris Team
Century 21 Neville Realty
The Charlton Advantage Real Estate Team
The Galvin Team
The Chilton Team
Lance Chilton and Anne Chilton
Geoff & Bobbie McGowan Team
Chin Realty Group
The GoWylde Team
The Chris Messecar Team
The Heaps Estrin Team
Cailey Heaps Estrin
The Cindy Cody Team
The Heddle Group
Connect Asset Management
Matt Elkind and Ryan Coyle
Hocking Homes Team
Cooper McLintock & Associates
Home Sweet Home Team
The Cottage Country Team
Hripko Nelson & Partners
Dan Cooper Group
The Craig Adam Real Estate Team
Katrina & The Team
IN REP TALKS a lot about “expanding your business,” which is a convenient, slightly more lyrical stand-in for “selling more real estate.” But there comes a point in the life of every successful real estate agent when expansion becomes quite literal: You’ve cracked the code, clients are seeking you out at an intensifying pace, and to maintain the level of service that made you so in-demand, it’s time to build a team. But not all teams are successful. Some agents have trouble transitioning into a leader-
ship role, coming up short when attempting to train and motivate their team members. Some hire poorly, assembling a disparate group of personalities that fails to synergize. Some simply find that they were more comfortable when someone else was in charge of making the most critical back-end decisions. Reaching a point in your career where starting a team is necessary is a fine accomplishment, but turning that team into an equally successful entity is even more impressive. That’s
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
why REP has dedicated this issue’s cover feature to Canada’s top real estate teams. The ability of these teams to achieve their goals year in and year out speaks not only to the mentorship and vision of their leaders, but also to the skill and commitment of the indispensable agents and support staff working to build their team’s brand and increase its market share. No one goes it alone, even in real estate. Looking at the inspiring performances of REP’s Top Teams, why would you want to?
ABOUT THE SPONSOR RE/MAX Infinite is a thriving, diverse brokerage growing in numbers year after year. We adhere to the premise that our agents are our clients. We are committed to ensuring that they receive consistent, excellent service and support at every level, from our broker of record, Levon Nazarian, who makes himself available to all agents whenever they have a question or require help with their deals, to a top-notch administrative staff that is among the best IN I N I T E in the business – knowledgeable, friendly and always willing to go above and beyond to assist our agents with all of their business needs. The RE/MAX Infinite team is family. We have developed a strong sense of community, and we are very proud of the dedicated, supportive and selfless environment within our brokerage. We aim to improve our business with the latest tools and technologies available, with a strong emphasis on continuing education and awareness. Weekly meetings to discuss the latest developments in the industry, as well as technical tutorials and occasional guest speakers, serve to equip not only new agents but also seasoned top producers with everything they need to develop and grow their business. We are currently in the process of opening a new 20,000-square-foot facility in York Region that will incorporate many essential services. We believe the new office will transform the way our agents conduct their business and will allow for more well rounded service for all of our clients. BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
The Kirsten Mason Team
RE/MAX Realtron Polsinello Realty
The Kuula Team
Steven W. Kuula
The Lino Arci Team
The Rick Dhillon Team
The Lisa Fayle Team
The Roman Grocholsky Team
Loretta Phinney Team
The Ron Antalek Team
Maple Ridge, BC
Mark Ruttan & The People Team
Wasaga Beach, ON
Royal LePage Turner Realty
MetroCity Property Group
Tarek El Attar and Steve Alexopoulos
Save Max Real Estate
Michelle Fraser Team
The Selling Fort Erie Team
Fort Erie, ON
Monica Thapar Team
Sims Real Estate Group
Moore Decker Dunn
St. John's, NL
St. Jean Realty
Michael St. Jean
My Investment Brokers
Michael Jawanda and Hunny Gawri
Stone Sisters Group
Tamara Stone and Shannon Stone
The Neal Estate Team
The Sylvia Morris Team
North Group Real Estate
Toronto , ON
Team Béatrice Baudinet
The OP Team
St. John’s, NL
Ohs Marketing Team
Qualicum Beach, BC
Sarah and Chris Logue
The Patricia Begley Team
Team Tim Campbell
Paul Rushforth Real Estate Team
The Pike Group
The TurnKey Group
Ashley Turner and Heather Kehoe
The Platinum Team
Doug Peterson and Judi Rufo
Rick and Rochelle DeClute, Melanie and Lindsey Wright
Pobojewski Real Estate Team
Verge Real Estate Team
Prime Real Estate Team
Justin Myer and Jen Brodoway
The Property Source Group
Gino Dal Ponte
The Wilton Team
Penny Wilton and Elliot Wilton
The Pulla Team
YC Real Estate Team
RE/MAX Escarpment Golfi Realty
The Yerxa Team
RE/MAX Hallmark Pilon Group Realty
Your Team PEI
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 PRIME REAL ESTATE TEAM – RE/MAX CAMOSUN – OAK BAY Victoria, BC
Team leader: Tony Joe
Even in a hot market, patience is a virtue. Tony Joe, leader of the Prime Real Estate Team, says agents looking to start a team need to establish themselves as more than just great salespeople before taking the next step. “Ensure you have a good reputation within your local industry,” he says. “It’s hard to recruit when you don’t have a solid reputation or background. And if you do [hire new agents], it will be short-term.” Joe also encourages team leaders to take their time and refrain from forcing growth at an unjustified pace. “Each team member needs to find their own footing before adding a new one,” he says. “This also reduces the threat of competition within the team, since you should be taking new members on to complement the production of the existing members.” In addition to being one of Victoria’s top real estate teams, Joe’s squad is actively involved in the community, from Habitat for Humanity and the Telus Community Board to a number of hospice and affordable housing initiatives.
TEAM TIM CAMPBELL – RE/MAX PREFERRED REALTY Windsor, ON
Team leader: Tim Campbell
Clear and constant communication that encourages input from every team member has contributed heavily to Team Tim Campbell’s sustained excellence. Recently relocated to its own space and fresh off a year of closing more than 200 deals, Campbell says his team’s culture is thriving, enabling each member to “blow through our sales, professional and personal goals.” That momentum should only intensify in 2018, which will see the team selling a number of housing developments in Windsor.
RE/MAX HALLMARK PILON GROUP REALTY Ottawa, ON
Team leader: Jason Pilon
Having recently led Pilon Group Realty to the top spot among Ottawa RE/MAX teams, Jason Pilon clearly knows a thing or two about hiring the right agents. “Most agents beginning the hiring process for the first time try to sell themselves to new hires and end up making costly mistakes hiring the wrong people,” he says. “Our interview process can take months, but in the end it’s worth the effort to get someone great.” Having a team of focused agents has provided Pilon a greater dose of that most precious of assets: time. “What team leaders do with that time will determine their success,” he says.
THE CINDY CODY TEAM – RE/MAX TWIN CITY REALTY Kitchener, ON
Team leader: Cindy Cody
Cindy Cody has been leading her RE/MAX team for most of her 33 years in the business. In that time, she has seen her role evolve from an agent who needed help with admin and buyers to a mentor and master trainer for 11 agents. As the glue that holds the team together, Cody is still intimately involved with matching her agents to the right leads and running them through weekly training programs. Cody takes a long-range view of her business, which she says is a philosophy agents looking to start a team should consider. By looking at their teams in terms of where they want them to be in two years’ time, Cody says team leaders can bring clarity to their most important decisions, especially those that involve staffing. “The biggest advice I can give is to hire good people – team players and people you would like to be around for the next 20 years,” Cody says, adding that the right hiring choices have resulted in the respect, harmony, happiness and laughter that her team runs on.
OHS MARKETING TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE PARKSVILLEQUALICUM BEACH REALTY Qualicum Beach, BC Team leader: Rob Ohs
Starting a team has allowed Rob Ohs to achieve more than he ever thought possible as an individual Realtor. “It has made me think of running a team as less of a job and more of a business that includes leadership, mentorship and constant analysis,” Ohs says. “By leveraging talented people and modelling systems and best practices, we have been able to achieve growth each year.” Ohs says staff retention is the biggest challenge a leader faces when attempting to keep a team on track. While financial compensation plays an outsized role, Ohs says finding intangible methods of showing team members they are appreciated is something prospective team leaders need to consider. “To be honest, I didn’t manage that very well in the early years of the team,” he says. “But reviewing compensation packages annually, having close communication with every member of the team and really getting to know their personalities helps me understand what they need to be happy, contributing members of the team.”
THE CHARLTON ADVANTAGE REAL ESTATE TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE MEADOWTOWNE REALTY Milton, ON
Team leader: Melissa Charlton
When building a team, Royal LePage’s Melissa Charlton advises agents to create an environment they themselves would thrive in. “Treat your teammates as an extension of you, not as ‘junior’ agents,” she says. “When you’re team leader, your teammates become your clients. Their success is your success, so it’s important that you spend time with them, train them and be their mentor.” Charlton says that in the early days of her leadership, she would often take it upon herself to step in and help her agents hit their sales targets. But she has learned that leadership is about meeting agents at the finish line, not carrying them across it. “People need to have a degree of self-motivation,” she says. “My role as team leader is to give them all the tools they’ll need to hit their goals, tell them the habits and actions they need to take in order to achieve those goals, and keep them accountable. But ultimately it’s up to them.”
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ST. JEAN REALTY Ancaster, ON
Team leader: Michael St. Jean
In the last year, Michael St. Jean’s team has sold almost 500 homes, launched three new development projects and unveiled a major mass media marketing plan. While the rewards have been considerable, St. Jean says his focus is on running a strong business his agents can depend on. “This is no longer about me; it’s about the team,” he says. St. Jean is now preparing himself for a year of 500-plus sales. It’s a position he may not have dreamed possible when he first started out, but he says uncertainty is to be expected when forming a team. “There is no businessbuilding or team-building playbook. You have to create your own path and learn along the way. Failure is going to occur, but you must learn from it and move forward.”
ROYAL LEPAGE TURNER REALTY Gander, NL
Team leader: Michael Turner
Working in a rural area of Newfoundland hasn’t stopped Michael Turner’s Royal LePage team from becoming one of the company’s top performers in Atlantic Canada. One of the reasons behind the team’s success has been Turner’s approach to hiring, which he does based on the geographic areas he wants serviced. “I wouldn’t want too many people fighting over the same piece of pie,” he says. “It’s much better to expand your scope and make the pie bigger.” Going paperless has had a major impact on his team’s efficiency, but Turner says the modernization process was carried out at a deliberately slow pace. “I spent a year going paperless. I spent another year hiring and training. You can’t jump into starting a team and try to do everything at once.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 COOPER MCLINTOCK & ASSOCIATES – RE/MAX OF NANAIMO Nanaimo, BC
Team leader: John Cooper
For John Cooper, whose expertise lies in problem-solving, business growth and mentoring, running a team allows him to spend time leveraging his strengths. Considering the small mountain of awards his RE/MAX team has accumulated over the years, his strengths clearly aren’t the only ones on display at Cooper McLintock & Associates. The last 12 months have been crucial to the group’s evolution. Not only did Cooper’s six-agent team rack up an astonishing 220 sales, they also load-tested their new team model and solidified their company culture. “This has helped us identify precisely where we can increase value to our defined target markets,” Cooper says. “Nobody cares about how big your team is or how many homes you have sold if you can’t help them achieve their goals impressively.” Cooper’s belief in well defined roles, structure and accountability has been instrumental in leading his team to the top of a scorching Nanaimo market. “Running a ‘joe do-it-all’ real estate business is totally different than running a team,” Cooper says. “Don’t get it twisted.”
RE/MAX REALTRON POLSINELLO REALTY Newmarket, ON Team leader: Frank Polsinello
Frank Polsinello has the dual pleasure of running one of RE/MAX’s most powerful teams and working alongside his son. “Brandon and I have created a very scalable and duplicable business model that we are now expanding into other markets in Ontario,” Polsinello says. His team’s success has allowed it to more than double in size in the last year, and resources like one-on-one coaching, a 24-hour support program, multiple lead sources and a simplified selling system have allowed it to close in on its goal of completing 400 transactions in 2017.
BO KNOWS HOMES/ DESROSIERS-COOK – CENTURY 21 ASSURANCE REALTY Kelowna, BC
Team leader: Dean Desrosiers
Bo Knows Homes/Desrosiers-Cook is, like many of today’s teams, a partnership. Dean Desrosiers says having four successful agents, each with their own ideas and skill sets, running the show can lead to the right kind of problems. “It’s a challenge to stay focused on simple plans,” he says. “The hardest part for us is fast decision-making, which is perhaps a benefit.” Desrosiers says profitability is about more than just staying busy, and that many agents can realize their personal goals by simply hiring an assistant or apprentice. “If you aren’t careful,” he says, “you’ll be so busy you stop making money.” That shouldn’t be a concern for Desrosiers and his team. They were ranked 11th among Century 21 teams in Canada in 2016 and are on pace to be near the top again in 2017.
BRENT MACINTOSH REAL ESTATE GROUP – RE/MAX RIVER CITY Edmonton, AB
Team leader: Brent MacIntosh
Despite an Edmonton market that has grown progressively slower over the past three years, Brent MacIntosh’s RE/MAX team has managed to keep increasing its sales. MacIntosh attributes this continued improvement in performance to keeping his staff accountable, organized and immersed in a supportive culture. “I would like to think we have created an environment that allows our team members not only to succeed, but also to enjoy the business,” MacIntosh says. “We all celebrate the good days, and we are there for one another on the bad ones. This business can be a lonely one for individuals who are on their own.” With a goal of improving production by 20% in 2018, MacIntosh says communication between team members will be key. Quarterly meetings, cloud storage and instant messaging have already improved the quality of service and level of customer satisfaction his team provides, and will play even larger roles going forward.
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
EUGENE KAPLUN REAL ESTATE TEAM – RE/MAX INFINITE Richmond Hill, ON
Team leader: Eugene Kaplun
Eugene Kaplun says starting a team has had a number of benefits, but the most important has been the ability to turn team-wide knowledge into insightful, forward-thinking advice for clients. “The biggest accomplishment for our team was to be able to be on top of market trends and to predict the market shifting ahead of time,” he says, “allocating the time to quickly and effectively educate our clients accordingly to avoid setting false expectations.”
Still young enough to have been one of REP’s 2017 Young Guns, Kaplun says one of the early mistakes he made was hiring team members who weren’t willing to cooperate. “Every team member has to be supportive,” he says, “so if your team does not consist of supportive team members, perhaps the team leader has to change the players in the team in order for it to be successful. A team member always has to give back to the team and not just expect to take.”
As Kaplun’s team’s sales increase, so do the services it provides. Clients now have access to in-house staging, moving and contracting experts. The team has also invested significant time and energy into cultivating relationships with different communities in the GTA, particularly the city’s growing Chinese population. “Having people who cater to different nationalities in an extremely vibrant and multicultural city has been one of the keys to our success,” Kaplun says.
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 DAN GEMUS REAL ESTATE TEAM Amherstberg, ON
Team leader: Dan Gemus
VERGE REAL ESTATE TEAM – VISION REALTY WINDSOR
After closing more than 300 deals in 2017, the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team was recently ranked the top team by ends in WindsorEssex, outperforming its closest competitor by 40%. It’s the culmination of four years of rapid growth that has seen Gemus’ team triple in size. “With the team in place, we have the ability to master different roles,” Gemus says. “Our clients have seen a huge increase in service level.” In the midst of this growth, Gemus says one important lesson he’s learned is to not lure new staff by promising them bigger paychecks. “If I were to pick one thing that any new team leader should really be careful with, it would be to make sure to not overpay your sales partners,” he says. “If your team doesn’t have the necessary funds to operate, you’ll be stuck before you start.”
BOYES GROUP REALTY
Team leader: Isaac Verge
Often when an agent begins building a team, there’s a choice between creating a dictatorship or a partnership. For Isaac Verge, the latter was the only real option. “It may be called the Verge Real Estate Team, but the idea wasn’t to set up a team with a name on it and then pass clients off,” he says. “We are a group of equals, constantly collaborating to find new ways to get the work done more effectively and more profitably for our clients.” With their year-over-year sales showing an increase of over 12%, Verge and his team have to make a concerted effort to find much-needed personal time. “We all want to be 100% there for our clients – and each other,” Verge says, “but it’s healthy to have balance and take time to regroup.”
Team leader: Jordan Boyes
Having worked on teams before, Jordan Boyes was well prepared to launch his own, which enabled him to get off to an excellent start in spite of the soft Saskatoon market. But Boyes admits that jumping in too soon and not properly laying out expectations might have slowed the company’s initial growth. “That’s why it’s so critical that everyone be on the same page from the start,” says Boyes, who recently hired his brother. “In the past we always had different goals, and once we started working together, we wanted different things. Knowing this from the start would have prevented a lot of issues.” Those issues appear to be a thing of the past. Boyes, whose relentless work ethic and market knowledge are legendary among Saskatoon homebuyers, has been the city’s top real estate agent since 2014.
ANGIE GOULET AND ASSOCIATES – RE/MAX PREFERRED REALTY Windsor, ON
Team leader: Angie Goulet
Part of running a successful team is helping agents stay on top of changing market conditions. It’s something Angie Goulet has had to dedicate a significant amount of time to over the past year as the Windsor-Essex market has experienced a massive surge in demand. “Developing systems and strategies that help all team players move forward ahead of a changing marketplace has been a challenge,” Goulet says, adding that the team’s weekly meetings address the most relevant questions facing their market: Where are the buyers coming from? Statistically, what is changing from month to month? “Using all our ideas and brainstorming as a team has kept us focused and on top of an ever-changing market.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
THE SELLING FORT ERIE TEAM – RE/MAX NIAGARA REALTY Fort Erie, ON
Team leader: Ray Rosettani
THE FARIS TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE FIRST CONTACT REALTY Barrie, ON
Team leader: Mark Faris
Mark Faris accepted long ago that to succeed as a leader, he would need to be responsible for more than just himself. “You are responsible for each of your team members’ success and livelihood,” he says. “By always keeping this in perspective, it is very motivating and ensures you are giving 100% to the team.” Faris’ motivation is hard to question. His team has been Royal LePage’s number-one team in Canada since 2015 and was ranked 131st on the most recent Profit 500 ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies. The team’s constant pursuit of excellence should result in another year of off-the-carts success in 2018. “We are all on the same page,” Faris says, “and we’re all focused on our mission to go full out for our clients and provide the best real estate experience in the world.”
Ray Rosettani started expanding his team five years ago, when he had so many leads he was unable to handle them all. It’s a problem any team leader would love to have, but one not every leader would be able to turn into a RE/MAX Titan Award. The Selling Fort Erie Team’s success has also allowed it to give back to its community. “We are very community-based and have many events throughout the year that bring people together,” Rosettani says, pointing to the team’s recent Corporate Challenge event as an example. “We want to stand out, not for just being successful, but for truly caring about our town.”
SAVE MAX REAL ESTATE Brampton, ON
Team leader: Raman Dua
With the help of his Save Max team members, Raman Dua has been able to transform a productive independent business into one of the GTA’s top real estate brands. With a focus on communication and keeping his agents motivated, Dua led Save Max to more than $500 million in sales volume and over 1,000 transactions in the last year. Building on those phenomenal numbers is the goal for 2018, when Dua hopes his business plan – and a $2 million ad budget – will result in more than 1,500 transactions. Dua says one crucial mistake team leaders often make is chasing numbers rather than nurturing their employees. “People focus more on doing deals rather than developing team members,” he says. “It’s all about growing every single individual of the team. If all team members are growing individually, the team will grow automatically.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 THE PIKE GROUP – ROYAL LEPAGE ATLANTIC
Team leader: Sandra Pike
THE GOWYLDE TEAM – RE/MAX REAL ESTATE CENTRE Guelph, ON
Team leader: Mary Wylde
Even though the Guelph market has tightened significantly in the last 12 months, the GoWylde Team has increased both its sales volume and transaction totals. Mary Wylde attributes her team’s solid performance to its members’ wide range of specialties. “I’m lucky in that all my team members have strengths,” she says. “One has amazing sales skills. One is excellent at prospecting. One is a definite cheerleader. One seems to be able to handle a hundred tasks at once. We are all pretty different, and I love that about my team.” Wylde’s considerable investments into staging and marketing have been gamechangers – “We outshine our competition in these two areas,” she says – and hiring a full-time runner has been a key step in the team’s evolution. “As your team grows, it makes sense to make some of the outside roles internal,” she says.
TEAM ZOLD – ROYAL LEPAGE YOUR COMMUNITY REALTY
Teams are often only as good as the systems they’re built on. Sandra Pike, who leads Royal LePage’s top team in Nova Scotia, says getting agents to believe in those systems is critical to success. “From the day I list to how I list to how I close a deal, each component I created and adapted is all about making life easier,” Pike says. “The team’s belief starts when they see their GCIs increase.” Given that Pike’s team completed more than 150 transactions by mid-October in a flat Halifax market, the effectiveness of her systems is hard to deny. She advises leaders to build systems into the fabric of the team from the very beginning, adding that the first hire should always be on the admin side.
THE KIRSTEN MASON TEAM – CENTURY 21 DESERT HILLS REALTY Kamloops, BC
Team leader: Kirsten Mason
Team leader: Shawn Zigelstein
Despite the downturn in the Toronto market earlier this year, Shawn Zigelstein’s Team Zold has had its best year to date. Zigelstein chalks up his group’s accomplishments to market expertise and optimism. “By keeping ourselves in a positive frame of mind, it helps our clients stay stress-free and relaxed as well,” he says. As a market changes, so must a team’s approach to selling. Zigelstein says increased mentoring opportunities, an evolving team culture and improved information-gathering technology are all bearing significant fruit.
By providing specialized, expectationshattering service to its clients, the Kirsten Mason Team had already broken its annual sales record of 320 transactions by the end of October. While Mason’s crew of Realtors continues to smash targets, she says the foundation of any successful team, especially at the outset, is a strong administrative staff. “Before any licensed agents join the team, get a great unlicensed staff member who can keep the ship afloat,” Mason advises. “That person can help the leader develop systems, and when new agents are added to the team, it will be seamless. Then the agents can go do what they are trained to do – sell real estate.” Mason’s well-oiled machine has not only helped increase sales, it has also increased the pleasure she derives from her work. “I really enjoy having team members I can trust,” she says. “We can work together to problem-solve, brainstorm and support each other without worrying about how the business will be affected.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
BENNETT PROPERTY SHOP REALTY Ottawa, ON
Team leader: Marnie Bennett
“When you find a group of people who work so well together and create a positive culture and environment for success, the joy and sense of accomplishment is incredible,” says Marnie Bennett. “You feel unstoppable.” Bennett’s success has indeed been hard to contain. Before launching her own independent brand, Bennett Property Shop Realty, she led Keller-Williams’ top worldwide team in both 2010 and 2011, selling close to 1,000 homes in just two years. Those early triumphs put Bennett on the map, allowing her to attract some of
Ottawa’s best agents. But she says agent retention is still one of her most pressing issues, despite hers earning 250% more than the average Realtor. “Agents move from brokerage to brokerage, thinking the grass is greener on the other side, or they are fooled by a fast-talking salesman who convinces them things will be so much better [at a different company],” she says. “In my experience, the agents who leave our team usually quit the profession within 18 months.” In her efforts to remain an exemplary leader, Bennett is constantly finding new
ways to keep her agents motivated, and she continues to educate herself on creating and maintaining an optimal team culture. But studying is not the same as experience, something she feels many team leaders are lacking. “Most team leaders are less than three years in the business,” she says. “I think that’s far too early, and frankly, it’s unfair to the agents on the team. Agents are relying on you to educate them, to provide the best technology and marketing systems, so you need a solid foundation of knowledge, education and money to be effective.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 MARK RUTTAN & THE PEOPLE TEAM – RE/MAX OF WASAGA BEACH Wasaga Beach, ON
Team leader: Mark Ruttan
When you’ve been in the business as long as Mark Ruttan, finding team members with a similarly comprehensive approach to clients can be difficult. “The biggest challenge is making sure team members who have not been in the business very long are representing me and handling clients the same way I would,” he says. “This includes acting professionally and ethically and treating clients as I have successfully over the past 28 years.” Ruttan says team leaders should never assume that a new team member is going to understand the sense of duty to the business they have built successfully for years. “Anyone can take the course and excel at that aspect, but proper vetting of a prospective team member’s personality is crucial,” he says. “I cannot stress enough that the team members represent you and all you have worked to build.”
L’ÉQUIPE BÉRUBÉ – ROYAL LEPAGE EVOLUTION Sherbrooke, QC
Team leader: Jean-François Bérubé
Under the guidance of Jean-François Bérubé, L’Équipe Bérubé has received Royal LePage’s Diamond Award 10 years in a row. Bérubé’s 20 years of experience have taught him that, especially in a competitive market like Sherbrooke, agents can only be productive if they’re happy. “We want our team to feel respected and to equally enjoy our success,” he says. Bérubé hopes 2018 will see increased activity for his agents – to the tune of 15 active listings at all times. “That way, we keep the work going,” he says. “We will always have a large inventory and multiple options we can suggest to our clients.”
VIEWLETHBRIDGE.COM Lethbridge, AB
Team leaders: Justin Myer and Jennifer Brodoway
ViewLethbridge.com has earned its spot as Lethbridge’s top real estate team by keeping its agents focused, organized and, most importantly, busy with clients. “We have built up a successful system where no one on the team is struggling to get a lead or struggling to know what to do in a day,” says co-leader Justin Myer. “Selling almost a house a day means there is always something for someone to be doing.” After undergoing a serious revamping in the last year, ViewLethbridge.com has been able to capture about 10% of the Lethbridge market. “We essentially broke down a good team and built up a much better one,” Myer says. “We had to cut away from a few different Realtors and focus on a core group to help us grow into the machine we are now.”
THE HEAPS ESTRIN TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES Toronto, ON
Team leader: Cailey Heaps Estrin
In a hot market like Toronto, where an agent’s day can be filled from sunrise to well beyond sunset with client concerns, communication between team members can break down. Cailey Heaps Estrin, leader of the Heaps Estrin Team, says team leaders cannot allow a full schedule to interfere with meaningful dialogue. “It’s not always easy to take time out of a busy day to communicate as effectively as one should,” Heaps Estrin says. “I think it is also challenging in busy markets to step back and take a minute to properly praise and reward everyone for their efforts. It’s important to check in with team members to see how they are taking proactive steps to achieve their goals.” After increasing sales by more than 40% in 2017, Heaps Estrin’s team has set a high bar for itself in 2018. By focusing on training, lead generation and marketing, Heaps Estrin hopes the coming year will be another one of phenomenal growth.
PAUL RUSHFORTH REAL ESTATE TEAM
STONE SISTERS GROUP – RE/MAX KELOWNA Kelowna, BC
Team leaders: Tamara and Shannon Stone
Starting a team is often a way for leaders to claw back some of their time, but for Tamara Stone, co-leader of the Stone Sisters Group, it’s also about providing the same perks for her agents. “We have loved helping agents go from low production to high production while keeping a great quality of life,” says Stone, who runs the team with her sister, Shannon. “All of our team members have families and hobbies, and they love what they do, but it doesn’t consume their entire existence.” Stone says leaders need to establish firm, clearly laid-out expectations for their agents around scheduling, prospecting and representing the team’s culture with clients, even if that means giving them scripts to work off of. “Salespeople tend to be very free-spirited,” she says, “and helping them become successful means implementing systems and programs.”
DAN PLOWMAN TEAM REALTY Whitby, ON
Team leader: Dan Plowman
A top agent as well as a highly respected sales coach, Dan Plowman’s knowledge of the ins and outs of running a team is unparallelled. He says that while many agents might feel they are ready to motivate and manage a team, few understand the scope of the financial commitment running a team requires. “If an agent is getting ready to start a team,” he says, “it’s very important that they understand the investment required as a team leader – not only from the leadership and personal growth side of things, but also financially. It’s a huge responsibility.” It’s no surprise that constantly evolving training techniques have played a huge role in the success of Plowman’s team members. His systematic approach to training around buyer/listing presentations, scripting and understanding client objectives have enabled his agents to become one of the most dominant forces in GTA real estate.
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
Team leader: Paul Rushforth
As Ottawa’s top-producing Realtor, Paul Rushforth had no choice but to open a second office for his team. He says maintaining a tight-knit team and a consistent culture across two locations has taken extra effort on his part.“We manage it by having guiding principles we run our company by, a common goal we are all moving toward, and we try and keep it light and fun.” As his team charges its way toward 700 sales in 2017, Rushforth is focused on increasing its momentum. “I am now able to focus on training and building,” he says. “I can go to conferences, spend time searching out the latest technology and work on the most intricate adjustments to our business that make the most dramatic changes.”
THE OP TEAM – RE/MAX PREMIER Vaughan, ON
Team leader: Nick Oppedisano
Remembering to let go is a common piece of advice for new team leaders. For Nick Oppedisano, leader of the OP Team, that often means stepping into completely new territory. “The most common mistake Realtors make is not understanding the business they’re in,” he says. “You must be aware that you are not a salesperson.” But Oppedisano’s team is still selling a ton of real estate, recently breaking into RE/MAX’s top 100. Oppedisano’s aim is to lead the team into the top 50 in 2018. “I believe it is my purpose to help them and stand by them, listening and responding to their concerns,” he says. “I look at myself as a mentor to them and hold myself responsible to make sure they reach their short-term and long-term goals.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
METROCITY PROPERTY GROUP – RE/MAX CORE REALTY Ottawa, ON
THE ROMAN GROCHOLSKY TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE NIAGARA REAL ESTATE CENTRE Welland, ON
Team leader: Roman Grocholsky
Having a team can be a godsend in a market that is seeing a sudden spike in activity, allowing agents to better adapt to record prices and more decisive buyers. Roman Grocholsky, who services the still-hot Niagara market, says his team members have allowed his business to ride the new wave of interest to greater heights of productivity. “Having a team allows me to provide top-notch service to my clients as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he says. “There are fewer scheduling conflicts that delay showings, information reaches our clients more quickly, and offers can be written and negotiated almost instantly.” Grocholsky says the diversity of his team – three generations and five distinct personalities – has been key to its success. “Whenever we face a challenge, we are able to harness five different perspectives and ultimately come up with a solution that would otherwise be overlooked,” he says. “Everything is up for discussion, which keeps us open-minded and ready to find the most creative and effective solutions.”
Team leaders: Tarek El Attar and Steve Alexopoulos
For Tarek El Attar, co-leader of MetroCity Property Group in Ottawa, one of the less talkedabout benefits of running a team is the emotional one. “Real estate is a lonely career,” he says. “Starting a team allows you to share your successes with other people and gives you an opportunity to impact more people’s lives by creating careers and having the ability to service more clients. It’s more fun to share in this together and build each other up.” MetroCity is positioning itself to double its business in 2018. El Attar says one particular change in approach has made a huge contribution to the company’s growth. “One of the biggest mistakes we made was having showing agents and having them focus only on buyers,” he says. “Real estate is driven by listings – without listings, it’s impossible to grow – so a two-pronged approach is key. Having our agents focus on both groups – buyers and sellers – has created more well rounded Realtors who are actively seeking opportunities.”
TEAM LOGUE – RE/MAX ESCARPMENT REALTY Burlington, ON
Team leaders: Sarah and Chris Logue
Small but mighty, Team Logue recently broke into RE/MAX’s top 50 teams. The team, co-led by Sarah Logue and her husband, Chris, has built its reputation by providing exceptional, personalized service in the Burlington area. Its expansion into the Oakville market will allow another thriving community to benefit from the team’s winning approach to real estate. Sarah Logue warns other team leaders not to over-hire without first establishing and solidifying the processes their business will be run on. At the same time, she says leaders must be willing to hire enough administrative staff to allow them to be more productive and proactive. “Hire for success,” she says.
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
UNION REALTY Toronto, ON
Team leaders: Rick DeClute, Rochelle DeClute, Melanie Wright and Lindsey Wright
Both DeClute Real Estate and Wright Sisters Real Estate finished 2016 among Toronto’s top five teams. Traditionally great competitors, in April 2017, the two groups combined to form a single powerhouse entity, Union Realty. While still technically competitors, the two outfits have created an innovative partnership that allows each team to benefit from the other’s marketing savvy, business systems and substantial client base, while improving the already award-winning level of service each company can provide its clients. “We have taken the most effective systems, practices and procedures from both teams and combined them into a hybrid teams focused brokerage,” says Rick DeClute.
“Having a culture of collaboration and an open, fair attitude has made our office climate a much more successful place to work.” That emphasis on collaboration is something the Union leaders feel can be missing from many of the big brokerages. “Brokerages are often built on numbers of agents in an environment that can be fiercely competitive rather than collaborative. Our focus is on attracting clients, not agents, and we do that by doing what is right for our clients,” says DeClute, adding that team leaders, brokers and salespeople have so much to learn from each other. This move has elevated both the DeClute and the Wright Sisters brands, allowing them
both to take a value-add to their marketplace that has historically been missing altogether. “Although we dominate the east end of the city in market share, we still plan to grow,” says Melanie Wright. “We are excited to work with like-minded professionals who share our vision and values.” The Wright and DeClute brands do compete, but it is less often than one would imagine. They appear to attract very different clients to each brand. The power of working together and establishing this new brokerage appears to be just the beginning for this group. They are passionate about real estate and excited to have a new brokerage to call home where teams are the focus.
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 INSIDER CONDOS – ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS
Team leader: Eugene Mezini
Big things have been happening for the Insider Condos team. The team closed almost 200 deals during the hot spring market, added a new member and continued to make a splash in the pre-construction sphere, allowing it to attract a growing number of investment clients. Team leader Eugene Mezini says a team’s success is not only about well prepared agents who accept their responsibilities; it’s also about a leader’s availability. “You have to train and hold your agents accountable,” he says, “but you can’t just give them leads and no support. Your agents will require your guidance to know what to do and how you want things done.” Mezini says his team is looking to increase sales by 20% in 2018, which would put it on pace to close up to 360 deals. It’s a lofty goal, but an achievement that wouldn’t surprise any of Insider Condos’ satisfied clients.
THE KUULA TEAM – RE/MAX CROWN REALTY Sudbury, ON
Team leader: Steven W. Kuula
Steven Kuula started his RE/MAX team after only two years in the real estate business, at a time when the concept was essentially unheard of in northern Ontario. Judging by his team’s impressive collection of awards, Kuula has clearly put the team approach to good use. Kuula says for team leaders to succeed, they must get past their own egos and be willing to delegate. “Many team leaders believe that the client will only want to deal with them,” he says. “This is not the case. If you have a well-trained team, your clients will be happy to work with the entire team.”
POBOJEWSKI REAL ESTATE TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE SIGNATURE REALTY Mississauga, ON
THE YERXA TEAM – EXIT REALTY ADVANTAGE Fredericton, NB
Team leader: Jessie Yerxa
One of Exit Realty’s most successful real estate teams, the Yerxa Team is a mix of vibrant personalities. That variety is something team leader Jessie Yerxa credits for the team’s presence atop the Fredericton market. “In order to have a fully powered and optimally producing real estate team,” she says, “you must have well balanced team members who complement each other’s personality types. Too many of the same personality type can lead to conflict. The key is balance.” Yerxa is one of many Top Teams leaders to stress the transformational potential of a strong administrative staff. “Initially, we team members were responsible for the filing of our own paperwork, which took away from our face-to-face time with clients,” she says, “so do not underestimate the power of a skilled admin. Invest in this position!” Yerxa says the team’s fun and creative approach to social media marketing and customer interaction have played a major part in their success. She believes that 2018 “will be our greatest year yet.”
Team leader: Tom Pobojewski
While some agents are willing to dive headfirst into building a team and learn on the fly, Tom Pobojewski encourages a different approach. “It is essential to build proper processes and systems that will provide structure for your team to grow,” he says. “Lacking the proper structure, and not having that documented properly, will hinder growth and cause confusion.” Pobojewski prides himself on his team’s specialization in investment properties and ability to find properties with attractive valuations. “Very often we can present those homes to our investors that are not available in the open market,” he says.
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
CHIN REALTY GROUP – KELLER WILLIAMS GOLDEN TRIANGLE REALTY Kitchener, ON
Team leader: Andre Chin
When you manage a team of all-stars, part of the challenge can be ensuring everyone has the ability to thrive.“We are constantly taking training to improve and grow our agents and our organization,” says Andre Chin. “We also look for the leaders in our group and give them opportunities to hone their leadership skills and lead within our group.” That opportunity to lead has been key for the agents who make up Chin Realty Group. Because they’ve all had experience on previous teams, Chin says one goal was to make each team member less reliant on their leader for success. “We knew if all the agents could use our systems and models to assist in building their business, we would build a team that would work together to achieve huge success,” he says. After a year in which his team completed more than 130 transactions, Chin’s combination of autonomy, training and room to grow has proven to be a potent one.
THE BAILEY GROUP – RE/MAX REAL ESTATE CENTRE Waterloo, ON
Team leader: Steve Bailey
THE RON ANTALEK TEAM – RE/MAX LIFESTYLES REALTY
DORIS GEE & PHIL MOORE – RE/MAX CENTRAL REALTY
Team leader: Ron Antalek
Team leaders: Doris Gee and Phil Moore
Ron Antalek has led the top real estate team in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows corridor of British Columbia since 1993. His success predated BC’s real estate explosion, which has allowed him to instil in his team members the fundamentals of selling: honest, professional service in the pursuit of helping families find their dream homes. Antalek’s team has helped him become RE/MAX’s top Realtor in Canada four times and the company’s top BC Realtor 15 times.
Doris Gee and Phil Moore have been in the top 1% of Greater Vancouver agents since starting one of the area’s first teams in 1990. Despite an increase in team sizes over the last 27 years, Gee and Moore have committed to staying small. “With teams of 20 agents or more in our marketplace, we were able to be successful by giving more personal service,” Moore says. “We stand out by getting face-to-face with our clients whenever possible.”
Maple Ridge, BC
With 14 licensed agents on his team, Steve Bailey inevitably finds himself tending to the needs of agents experiencing different levels of success. “There are months where you do well and months where you get a bit of a reality check,” he says, “so congratulating those on top while propping up those who had a bad month can be a challenge.” Bailey says his strategy is to pay additional attention to agents having a down period, reminding them of the value they bring to the team and preventing the cyclical nature of the business from getting them down. Bailey has also cultivated an office culture that encourages agents to let their true selves shine through. “I think we are a genuine and honest group of like-minded people,” he says. “Anyone who comes in contact with us can see that.” The Bailey Group’s familial atmosphere has not been lost on consumers. The team was recently named one of RE/MAX’s top 10 performers in Canada.
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
THE CHRIS MESSECAR TEAM – EXIT LIFESTYLE REALTY Barrie, ON
Team leader: Chris Messecar
Chris Messecar’s Exit Realty team has been on a tear for the last few years. Exit recently named the Chris Messecar Team its number-one-selling team in Canada and number four in North America. Messecar says communication is key on his team, which is why he has refrained from adding too many members. That way, Messecar says, every agent “has a defined role in the transaction, and the client knows exactly what to expect.” Barrie has become one of Ontario’s most active markets. To make the most of this, Messecar has invested significantly in marketing, shifting his focus from promoting his team to promoting his clients and their properties. By putting his clients first, Messecar hopes to stay the number-one real estate team in the area, but he realizes that maintaining this position will require constant improvement. “Your team is an extension of you,” he says. “Never stop coaching and mentoring your team members to become the best they can be.”
THE GALVIN TEAM – RE/MAX EASTERN REALTY Peterborough, ON
Team leader: Andrew Galvin
Peterborough’s market has seen historic levels of activity over the last year, resulting in new stresses for buyers and sellers. The Galvin Team has been there every step of the way for its clients, earning a RE/MAX Titan Award for its continued excellence. “With a team, our clients get a strengthened pool of expertise and the availability of a team member seven days a week,” says team leader Andrew Galvin. Galvin credits his team’s success to its cooperative nature, collective accountability and consistent work ethic. “For a team to be successful,” he says, “everyone on the team has to work as if they are the MVP. It’s like a cart – if one wheel stops turning, the other three have to work harder.”
THE CRAIG ADAM REAL ESTATE TEAM – RE/MAX CROWN REAL ESTATE NORTH Regina, SK
Team leader: Craig Adam
Consisting of only three agents and one administrative assistant, Craig Adam’s RE/MAX team was recently awarded the company’s Team Diamond Award – a true testament to its cohesiveness and level of commitment. “Our team concept has allowed our business to thrive and excel,” Adam says, “not only from a transactional point of view, but also from a client relationship standpoint. We have been able to service our clients to a high standard, which was difficult to accomplish without the team.” Adam feels the habit some team leaders have of comparing their methods with their competitors’ is best avoided. “We can only control ourselves and what we do,” he says. “We strive to make our team better each and every day and not be concerned with what others are doing.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
CONNECT ASSET MANAGEMENT Toronto, ON
Team leaders: Ryan Coyle and Matt Elkind
Connect Asset Management has taken full advantage of the condo craze that has swept the GTA, becoming one of the city’s leaders in pre-construction sales. But team leaders Matt Elkind and Ryan Coyle are doing more than just throwing product at unceasing demand. By hiring smart and investing in their agents, Elkind and Coyle have built a sales machine that runs on its own energy. “The best part for us has been watching the
salespeople on our team develop,” Coyle says. “When we meet with them, we tell them that our goal is to help them make over $250,000 within their first year of working with us. At first they think we’re crazy, but we have agents who have already done it and others who are well on their way. Seeing people exceed their own expectations is the most rewarding part of what we do.” Great agents know that the ability to ask
clients the right questions is a key skill. But Coyle feels agents looking to form successful teams must also question themselves about the business they’re trying to build. “The first question they should ask is, ‘Why would someone join my team?’” he says. “How will you make them more successful than they would be on their own or working with someone else? You have to be committed to helping people build their careers.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
THE NEAL ESTATE TEAM – RE/MAX ALLIANCE Victoria, BC
Team leader: Ron Neal
MOORE DECKER DUNN – RE/MAX REALTY SPECIALISTS St. John’s, NL
Team leader: Rob Moore
Moore Decker Dunn has only been up and running for two years, but its list of accomplishments would attract the envy of any long-running real estate team. In 2017 alone, Rob Moore’s RE/MAX crew sold 30% of St. John’s executive properties, completed St. John’s largest commercial and residential sales, and was welcomed into RE/MAX’s Diamond Club. While the team is already known to clients for its marketing acumen, market knowledge and work ethic, Moore admits there have been some growing pains behind the scenes. “We thought it was important to grow the team quickly with all new agents that we could mold to fit the model we wanted,” he says. But the team’s size didn’t allow for a dedicated training person, which meant “endless hours of preparing, reviewing, clarifying and training agents.” Moore now hires agents with at least a year under their belts so he can “tweak and perfect their sales approach to blend seamlessly with our team objectives.”
Ron Neal saw the value of running a team the moment he joined the real estate industry in 1991. “In order to provide consistent client service and to live a balanced life, it was immediately evident to me that it didn’t make sense to do it alone,” he says. Neal has spent almost three decades leading his team to the upper ranks of the Victoria market, earning RE/MAX’s Circle of Legends and Diamond Awards along the way. “It’s been over 25 years now,” Neal says, “and I feel like we have really found a sweet spot with a group of like-minded individuals who have the shared objective of providing world-class personal service and making a positive difference in people’s lives.” That difference extends far beyond real estate. Neal’s team was recently nominated as Victoria’s Corporate Philanthropist of the Year and has been instrumental in fundraising efforts for the BC Children’s Hospital.
TEAM BÉATRICE BAUDINET – ROYAL LEPAGE HERITAGE Montreal, QC
Team leader: Béatrice Baudinet
Béatrice Baudinet’s team has been one of Royal LePage’s top 10 since she expanded her thriving individual business in 2013. “Group dynamics are key to the success of any team,” Baudinet says. “Make sure all team members can work well together and share the same work ethic.” Baudinet acknowledges that in this cutthroat industry, clients have no shortage of other options. “If I am not giving my clients the best possible service, then they have the absolute right to look elsewhere,” she says. “If I do not follow through with all the marketing tools, feedback and promises that I make to sell their property, then I am not doing my job.”
MY INVESTMENT BROKERS – RE/MAX REAL ESTATE CENTRE Mississauga, ON
Team leaders: Michael Jawanda and Hunny Gawri
Michael Jawanda, co-leader of My Investment Brokers, has a somewhat unorthodox measure of success. “For some it’s having the most deals completed or the most clients,” he says, “but for us, number one on our list is to have the most educated clients, as those will be the ones who refer you to others and will purchase from you again and again.” My Investment Brokers has doubled its client base in the last year, making huge gains in the competitive pre-construction market. “Creating a team has allowed us to have a wider reach and do more than we thought was imaginable,” Jawanda says. “And we’re just getting started.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
LORETTA PHINNEY TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES THE TURNKEY GROUP – CENTURY 21 FUSION Saskatoon, SK
Team leaders: Ashley Turner and Heather Kehoe
In their first year operating a team for Century 21, Ashley Turner and Heather Kehoe led their TurnKey Group into the ranks of the company’s top-performing teams, finishing the year at number 12. Turner says the team’s success has been a combination of an excellent company culture, a belief in goal-setting and an award-worthy administrative assistant. “Having a great admin assistant is everything,” she says. Turner feels the TurnKey Group’s youthful, collaborative take on the team concept has helped it stand out. “Teams are much less about one person now,” she says. “I think the public likes seeing a team working together as a unit rather than one individual rock star hoisted above the rest, tossing out leads willy-nilly.”
Team leader: Loretta Phinney
Some agents start teams as a way of freeing up some time for themselves – but not Royal LePage’s Loretta Phinney. “I still work as much as ever even after having a team,” she says, “because real estate is what I love to do.” That love is clearly mutual. Phinney has been one of the GTA’s most successful agents for most of the last two decades, and she has led Royal LePage’s top team in Canada eight times since 2004. Her expertise has been instrumental in enabling her team members to guide their clients ethically and knowledgeably through the past two years of real estate insanity, including those unfortunate times when a bid isn’t accepted. “Sometimes buyers have called me and said that although they didn’t get the home, if they ever wanted to sell, they would like me to handle their transaction,” Phinney says.
THE NEVILLE TEAM Petawawa, ON
Team leader: Bart Neville
Bart Neville’s Petawawa-based team has achieved either Centurion or Double Centurion status with Century 21 every year since 2005. A family-run team, Century 21 Neville Realty prides itself on its community involvement, which has resulted in an ever-increasing amount of repeat business and referrals. “To us,” Neville says, “that is a great accomplishment.” Neville warns that any agent who thinks being a team leader will somehow be easier than being a sales associate is in for a rude awakening. “Being a team leader is more work than perceived,” he says. “Don’t think it’s easy and that others will do the work for you.”
NORTH GROUP REAL ESTATE – KELLER WILLIAMS REFERRED URBAN REALTY Toronto, ON
Team leader: Amy Youngren
When Amy Youngren rebranded her team as North Group in June, her social media mastery was on full display. Her combination of viral video, blog posts, email blasts and countdowns earned her a second nomination for Inman’s coveted Innovator of the Year Award. Youngren’s approach to social media mirrors her approach to real estate – agile, effective and comprehensive – but she admits that she has had to learn from her mistakes. One in particular was forcing a rigid schedule of meetings and mandated lead generation on her team. “Not only was it challenging to produce new, engaging content for multiple meetings,” she says, “but we also neglected an opportunity for an agent to be an independent entrepreneur and to foster their own success within our team. By pulling back, we were able to keep our meetings engaged and focus lead-gen mandates only on those agents who potentially needed a boost.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017 YOUR TEAM PEI – RE/MAX CHARLOTTETOWN REALTY Charlottetown, PEI
Team leaders: Kris Fournier and Linda Anderson
Your Team PEI just celebrated its first anniversary, which means team leaders Kris Fournier and Linda Anderson are still fine-tuning systems. It’s an exciting time, but one that comes with inevitable missteps.“One mistake we made was not taking the time to clearly define what our roles were going to be,” Anderson says. “We gradually learned that, by knowing and taking advantage of each other’s strengths, day-to-day activities got accomplished quicker – and became more fun.” There’s always more to learn in real estate, but as Your Team PEI closes in on sale number 200, it’s clear that a number of critical lessons have already been taken to heart.
RE/MAX ESCARPMENT GOLFI REALTY THE AXFORDS – ROYAL LEPAGE STERLING REALTY Port Moody, BC
Team leader: Gord Axford
Gord Axford’s Royal LePage team has levels of knowledge and experience that can only be obtained through a significant number of transactions. The Axfords, a family outfit whose growing success has compelled it to expand beyond the bloodline, was ranked eighth in sales by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver last year. Axford says his team plans on doubling both its size and commissions in 2018. “It used to be just family – now, with non-family members,” Axford jokes, “we are forced to keep the family feuds out of the office.”
DAN COOPER GROUP – ROYAL LEPAGE REAL ESTATE SERVICES Oakville, ON
Team leader: Dan Cooper
Since 1999, the Dan Cooper Group has been the number-one Royal LePage team in Canada seven times and was named the company’s fourth highest-producing team in 2016. That continued excellence is a testament to Cooper’s systems, hiring prowess and ability to keep his team on the same page. “I’ve surrounded myself with a dedicated and like-minded team who make me proud each and every day,” he says. “I couldn’t do it without their support.”
Team leader: Rob Golfi
Accountability is a common theme when discussing teams, but few team leaders take accountability to heart the same way Rob Golfi does. One of the reasons behind RE/ MAX Escarpment’s rapid ascension to the top of the Hamilton market has been Golfi’s willingness to hold himself as accountable as his agents. “I had some difficult experiences transitioning early on,” Golfi says, “and sometimes I still find myself working on small tasks that could easily be delegated to my partners. To be an effective leader, you need to lean on the support around you.” Golfi pushes himself to deliver top systems, marketing and training to his agents, fearing the worst if he doesn’t. “It’s my job to create and generate more business for our team every day,” he says. “If I am unable to provide the team with a leading edge, our team would fail. That’s the biggest challenge – to do that on a continual basis, day in and day out.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
THE HEDDLE GROUP – ROYAL LEPAGE STATE REALTY Hamilton, ON
Team leader: Mike Heddle
It borders on cliché, but it’s a highly practical step for a team leader to establish the ‘why’ behind his or her desire to start a team. Mike Heddle, who has led his Royal LePage team to a number of the company’s top awards, says finding a ‘why’ will help pave a path forward in key areas such
as lead generation, CRM tools, database management and even compensation. “Having a ‘why’ is key to identifying the size of the team and the type of culture you need to establish and will assist in achieving personal and team goals,” he says. While Heddle praises his entire team,
he makes a point of calling out his administrative coordinator for her excellence in an unsung hero role. “Her ability to utilize administrative systems and keep our sales partners on task has increased the quality of their work life and allows them to focus on doing what they do best.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
THE AMY FLOWERS TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE MEADOWTOWNE REALTY Milton, ON
ÉQUIPE SIROIS SIMARD – ROYAL LEPAGE VALLÉE DE L’OUTAOUAIS Gatineau, QC
Team leaders: Fernande Sirois and Martin Simard
Team leader: Amy Flowers
“It was always my intention to create a team,” says Amy Flowers. “It’s a win-win. It allows for specialized focus in each department, ultimately allowing each individual to provide the required skills. It allows us all to do what we love every day.” As the head honcho of one of Royal LePage’s top-performing teams, Flowers has excelled as both a sales associate and a leader. But she says being the former does not guarantee success as the latter. “Managing people requires time, effort and training,” she says. “Spending time with my coach, not only to build the sales business, but also to continuously learn how to build the team from within, is an area of continued focus.”
Fernande Sirois and Martin Simard’s Royal LePage team has been top among the company’s western Quebec teams for over a decade. Simard says maintaining the company’s philosophy through clear communication and regular meetings has been a major component of the team’s success. “When another member does not have the same philosophy or view that you have, it is difficult to change it,” he says. Équipe Sirois Simard’s customers have come to expect a high level of service. Simard says that, no matter which member of the team a client deals with, they know they will experience the same level of professionalism, heart and expertise.
THE EXTRA MILE TEAM – CENTURY 21 ROCKIES REALTY
Radium Hot Springs, BC
Team leader: Scott Sauermann
THE PLATINUM TEAM – ROYAL LEPAGE PROALLIANCE REALTY Belleville, ON
Team leaders: Judi Rufo and Doug Peterson
Doug Peterson and his wife, Judi Rufo, have led their Royal LePage team to the upper echelons of the Belleville market, becoming one of the ProAlliance franchise’s top four teams in the process. The Platinum Team has had its best year to date in 2017, improving on 2016’s incredible performance by more than 10%. “We would never have achieved our current level of success without a team structure,” Peterson says. “Starting a team made us a business rather than just real estate agents.” Rather than hiring generously as a way of chasing sales, Peterson says his philosophy is to have agents approach the team instead. “We went through a revolving door period with sales associates and will hire very, very carefully in the future,” he says. “We want them to seek us out because of how we do business. They must be attracted to our culture and values.”
In a small market where the other teams are all family-based, Scott Sauermann’s Extra Mile Team stands out as unique. A partner ship of four dynamic professionals, the Extra Mile Team is bonded not by blood or marriage, but by its commitment to provide clients the most reliable service imaginable. “Operating a team has allowed us to be more successful while being more available for our clients,” Sauermann says. “The team atmosphere creates an opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another and to let each team member contribute with their strengths. Ultimately it gives our clients the most professional experience in real estate.”
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
BRYAN GRANT REALTY – RE/MAX GARDEN CITY St. Catharines, ON
Team leader: Bryan Grant
To stay a step ahead of the competition in a busy St. Catharines market, Bryan Grant knows where best to allocate his resources. “The biggest challenge of managing a team is ensuring all team members are given the necessary tools to help with their success,” Grant says. Those tools are being put to good use. In the last year, Grant’s team has broken sales records, achieved Diamond Award recognition from RE/MAX and seen individual members win a number of awards of their own. “Each client has different needs and wants,” Grant says. “We pride ourselves on ensuring we recognize their specific needs and go over and above to help them reach their goals.”
TEAM BURTON – RE/MAX INFINITY REALTY
YC REAL ESTATE TEAM – HOMELIFE FRONTIER REALTY
St. John’s, NL
Team leader: Jim Burton
Starting a team has allowed Jim Burton to build a trusted and respected brand within the St. John’s marketplace, one that has been going strong for nearly 20 years. Today Team Burton services residential, commercial and new-construction clients with 15 sales associates. The team has ranked within RE/MAX’s top five teams in Atlantic Canada every year. One of the best motivators in the game, Burton invests a lot in his agents, whom he says he trains “like ninjas” while giving them the skills to build lasting client relationships. “Our model is a relational business rather than a transactional one,” Burton says. “When we set our sights on a target, obstacles fall away.”
Team leader: Yoon Choi
After 13 years as a top-producing agent, Yoon Choi went looking for new challenges, new solutions and new perspectives, all of which he found after starting the YC Real Estate Team. Choi’s team helped him become HomeLife Frontier’s top producer in both 2015 and 2016, and its synergy is only growing stronger. “Running a team is like making wine,” Choi says. “It’s organic growth, so you can’t speed the aging or maturing process. You can only provide the best ingredients and the right environment.” Choi’s agents are clearly thriving in that environment. In the last year, each of his agents has seen double- or triple-digit growth in the number of deals they have closed. “All our team members see the big picture and always put the team first,” Choi says. “We continue to grow stronger – and so does our business.”
THE PULLA TEAM – RE/MAX LAKESHORE REALTY Cobourg, ON
Team leader: Tony Pulla
“To achieve optimum service to your clients and best optimize the use of your time, it becomes evident that it’s not a job you can do by yourself and maintain number-one status on your real estate board,” says 47-year real estate veteran Tony Pulla. “You need a team.” Pulla credits his team’s sales prowess, integrity and mutual respect for creating a “Zen-like equilibrium” at the office. “My team not only allows me to function, but to work at the speed and competence I require.” One aspect of leading a team that Pulla says gets too little attention is the physical and mental well-being of the team’s leader. He stresses the need for team leaders to commit the time and energy required to stay in top form. “I work at remaining in good health,” he says, “as I want to continue to inspire and motivate. I need to lead by example.”
SPECIAL REPORT: TOP TEAMS 2017
Choosing the right brokerage Jila Katiraee, RE/MAX Infinite’s top agent, talks to REP about the importance of aligning yourself with the right team and other industry insights RE/MAX INFINITE’S Jila Katiraee has been in the real estate industry for more than 30 years, winning dozens of top sales awards along the way. Blessed with a natural sales ability, Katiraee chose real estate as a profession that was in line with her interests. After earning her licence, she was hired by Canada Trust Realty, earning its Leaders Club and Sales Master Awards, given to the company’s top producer, in her first year. Her zeal to do the best for her clients led Katiraee to attend Harvard Law School, where she earned a certificate in negotiation skills. “I learned how to turn a tough situation into a positive one,” she says. “I also learned how to break a big problem into manageable parts so I can tackle it one step at a time.” Katiraee later joined Prudential Sadie Moranis Real Estate and quickly found herself among the top 3% of agents in North America. But her life changed when she moved to RE/ MAX.
Infinite possibilities “Choosing the right brokerage is very important to a real estate agent,” Katiraee says. “A good office can make you, and a bad office can break you. In 30 years, I have changed offices a few times, but RE/MAX Infinite will be the last. Having a team of trustworthy and capable staff who are willing to go the extra step boosts my ability to achieve the results I want for my clients. This is why having the right brokerage to support you is so important.” Katiraee credits RE/MAX Infinite’s brand
recognition, the integrity of its broker of record and the brokerage’s high level administrative support for her ongoing achievements. “We have strong management and support staffs,” she says. “Everyone is eager to assist and provide you with that extra degree of care and support to ensure your success.” The continuous education and career development strongly encouraged at RE/ MAX Infinite aligns with Katiraee’s belief that one of the keys to becoming successful in real estate is ongoing education and awareness of what is happening in the market.
“The brokerage does weekly workshops and training sessions so agents and support staff are up-to-date on market and regulatory requirements,” she says. “It helps everyone concentrate on their clients. Our broker of record, Levon Nazarian, is incredibly knowledgeable, always available and supportive of his agents at all times. He is truly the best broker of record I have ever had, and I am proud to call RE/MAX Infinite my professional home.” RE/MAX Infinite prides itself on finding the right agents to fit into its rapidly growing
family. “To me, what defines a good agent is someone who is ethical, knowledgeable, understanding and caring, who follows up and communicates with the client,” Katiraee says. “If a problem is identified, we have a chance to solve it.”
Finding an edge After several decades in the business, Katiraee has become known for her strong commitment and attention to detail when it comes to her business. “In the current competitive market, attention to detail can be the key to maintaining an edge,” she says. “Once, for instance, I received a call from a seller whose listing was expired, asking me for advice. His home had been listed for months and was not sold. I went into the house and found many important details that were not described in the previous listing. Even the room measurements were incorrect. “We improved the listing description, included a detailed feature sheet with a professional virtual tour and raised the price,”
Katiraee continues. “Within 24 hours, the seller had two offers, and the property sold for more than the previous listed price. Success is in the details!” By using these skills, Katiraee has been able to generate repeat business from past clients, who have become a continuous source of referrals. Katiraee credits much of her success to the art of listening to her clients and letting them know she understands their needs. “Most of the time, problems in life arise because people feel that they were not properly heard or understood,” she says. “Practicing these techniques has resulted in me receiving the most valuable award I could ever receive, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Highest Standard of Ethics.” Communication has been a key factor in Katiraee’s success. “Buying or selling a home is not just number-crunching,” she says. “It involves a lot of emotion and attachment.” Accordingly, she advises new agents to work on their communication methods. “When agents first meet someone new, they
BROKERAGE, INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED
need to listen carefully to determine how they can be the most helpful to their clients,” she says. “Every agent needs to understand that they are being entrusted with the biggest investment of their clients’ lives. It’s all about bringing a positive energy and not just closing a quick sale. “Be sincere, honest and learn the business properly,” she adds. “Provide your clients with complete information and the most relevant knowledge, and then give them the free will to make their own decisions. They will never go to anyone else.” Katiraee says a successful agent must have a winning personality, high energy and sensitivity, that latter of which allows agents to anticipate their clients’ needs – a critical skill for agents looking for repeat business and referrals. But for Katiraee, the ultimate reward is the gratitude of a satisfied customer. “The smile on my clients’ faces and the glow in their eyes after the deal is done is the highlight of my business,” she says. REP
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
The next step In this special Leadership Roundtable, REP speaks with three of Engel & Völkers’ top Canadian brokers to get their perspective on making the switch from agent to licence partner FROM SETTING brokerage goals to building a forward-thinking, collaborative team of real estate agents, there’s a lot to consider when transforming your role as an agent into that of a broker. As leaders in luxury real estate, Engel & Völkers places a priority on coaching and supporting its brokers – which they respectfully deem ‘licence partners’ – several of whom were top agents who decided to become brokers under the Engel & Völkers name, growing from a leader of one to a leader of many. REP sat down with a few of Engel & Völkers’ Canadian brokers – Anita Springate-Renaud of Engel & Völkers Toronto Central, John King of Engel & Völkers Ottawa and Mark Evernden of Engel & Völkers Calgary – and asked them what transitioning from an agent to a licence partner with Engel & Völkers has meant to them and their businesses. REP: What led to your decision to transition from agent to licence partner? Why make the switch? Anita Springate-Renaud: I’ve had my licence for almost 20 years, and I felt it was time for a change I’d really make use of. Throughout my career, I’ve always had a passion for leadership and helping colleagues
advance themselves, so I felt that the transition from agent to licence partner would be seamless, natural and rewarding. John King: The decision happened organically, as I had been running my own office for four years. The opportunity seemed to happen partly with my obsession with the expansion of Engel & Völkers in Canada. The strong branding and the leadership of CEO Anthony Hitt ultimately inspired me to make the next move to becoming a licence partner. Mark Evernden: I was attracted to the licence partner role because it gave me opportunities to direct and develop the Engel & Völkers brand – and its culture – in a new market like Calgary. Seeing how the brand was rapidly growing in Canada, with a 383% increase in sales volume since 2015, I realized that I wanted to be part of that kind of growth. I was also interested in the push toward innovation that Engel & Völkers represents, putting effective technology into the hands of our advisors so they can best serve their clients. REP: Can you describe what the transition was like? ASR: It was nerve-racking at first, but once I made the decision, it was a lot less stressful. The company played a huge part in that by
being so supportive, from head office right through to all the offices across North America. Everyone was ready to lend a hand. JK: The transition was fairly seamless for our team. Engel & Völkers assigned me a transition coordinator, who walked us through all the stages of becoming an Engel & Völkers licence partner, and I continue to work with the Coaching & Accountability team, which helps me look at my business in new ways, set goals and create efficiencies. ME: It was challenging but very rewarding. It was definitely a learning experience for me because it was as if I was learning an entirely new process. The brand’s Coaching & Accountability program was, and continues to be, extremely helpful. I have access to brand leadership who have been in my shoes and who help me set and achieve goals. Each month I have a sounding board of sorts to keep me on track and help me continue to evolve as a leader. REP: What were some of the challenges of becoming a licence partner? ASR: Trying to stay on top of everything in the beginning was challenging. There are a lot of balls in the air, so there was a challenge to not let one fall by the wayside. JK: I think the biggest challenge for me was to get the administrative operations set up. Although it took some time to get started, I am enjoying the management side more than I ever thought I would. It is fun and rewarding to mentor and help our advisors, watch them become successful, and teach them as much as I can. ME: For me, it was understanding how to run a brokerage while overseeing the brand’s cohesion across its global network. The brand dominates the international market – you can easily recognize an Engel & Völkers shop in any country. The quality of work and expertise stays consistently outstanding at each location because we all take it very seriously and understand its value.
REP: Why did you select Engel & Völkers over other brands? ASR: The company culture was the number-one factor for me. Engel & Völkers is so different from all other companies I’ve experienced. Their presence on the world stage is huge, but they maintain a boutique feel with an ‘all for one, one for all’ mentality. Engel & Völkers strives to be the best with all things, and it’s noticeable from the top down. JK: I’m inspired by the North American leadership team. They are with me every step of the way and make me want to become an inspiration to the advisors in my shop. The
brand’s ability to spread the word and amplify local efforts globally is an added bonus. ME: The people behind the brand inspire me the most. The entire network is forwardthinking and collaborative, it’s nice to be part of a team that works together and contributes to each other’s success. I also really enjoy the initiatives to build a positive company culture. REP: What advice do you have for new licence partners? ASR: Stay on top of your finances, know your numbers and surround yourself with good people.
JK: Let the business grow organically, ensure your financial resources are in place and have a strong reserve fund. Hire the right people and be humble with your success. ME: Preserve cash flow and be strategic in building relationships. REP
With its commitment to affiliating with strong brokers and top agents in key real estate markets, Engel & Völkers continues to grow across the country, expanding its global network to Canadian homebuyers. Stay in touch with Engel & Völkers by following @EVAmericas on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Riding the wave Prior to becoming one of Chestnut Park’s most promising young agents, Josh Klein surfed his way across Southeast Asia, getting his feet wet in the world of international development. But his focus has remained the same: improve lives at every opportunity WHEN JOSH KLEIN enrolled in Dalhousie University’s international development program in 2001, he envisioned himself battling the world’s ills and bringing stability to some of its most disadvantaged communities. After graduation, Klein spent much of the next two and a half years in Southeast Asia – primarily in Indonesia – travelling and working with a number of NGOs, including a stint working to combat malaria with Surf Aid. But like many young idealists, Klein soon discovered that life at a nonprofit – heavy on the bureaucracy, light on impact – was less than inspiring. “It became very clear to me that to go down a path of international development was basically working for a big corporation,” he says. “I just didn’t feel the results, from a practitioner’s standpoint, were quite the reality of how I wanted to be involved in the development community.” Upon returning to his native Toronto, Klein saw real estate as a way to combine his desire to help others with the sales skills he developed as a teenager, working at one of the city’s retail institutions, century-old Duke’s Cycles. “A lot of what I learned at that time was the fundamentals of selling,” he says. “It’s not selling something – it’s providing the proper information to educate your clients to be able to make the right decisions for themselves. That’s really what pulled me into real estate.” After completing his licence in January
2012, Klein went in search of a brokerage to call home. Rather than join forces with a shop inclined to “accept everybody who seems like they can keep themselves together” in its search for desk fees, Klein instead pursued a company that initially gave him the cold shoulder. “Part of the reason I chose Chestnut Park was that they were the only brand that was not super welcoming on the idea of not only accepting me as an agent, but interviewing me in general,” he says, explaining that he admired the company’s protective stance toward its reputation. Fortuitously, Klein had gone to school with a relative of one of Chestnut Park’s managing partners and was able to secure a 20-minute interview. It was all the company needed before deciding to bring him aboard. Aligned with a brokerage he believed in, Klein then began the long uphill battle of a rookie agent. “If you’re going to get into this, just plan on making no money for the first year – and any
money you do make will be paying off debt that you’ve acquired from your education for the first couple of months,” he says, likening the challenges and costs to those of a startup. Klein learned early on that the only way to truly excel in real estate was to immerse himself in it. For the first two years, he learned the esoteric details of paperwork, volunteered to take on the duties more established agents didn’t have time for and dealt almost exclusively in leases, which helped him establish an award-winning performance level and cultivate relationships with prospective clients. “That’s a component a lot of agents don’t appreciate – you’ve gotta work,” Klein says. “And working in leases to get yourself comfortable is a phenomenal way to keep money coming in and to get more comfortable with the paperwork, the processes, how to negotiate and how to relate to clients.” Almost six years into his career as an agent, Klein has built his business while simultan-
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Even though Josh Klein’s stint in international development proved discouraging, he has remained active in efforts to provide food for families in need in Toronto. One organization especially close to his heart is Churches on the Hill, a collaboration between 11 Toronto churches and a synagogue. In addition to collecting food at Christmas, Churches on the Hill also runs a hot kitchen out of Eaton’s Church on St. Clair Avenue. Klein contributes with an annual food drive and an ugly Christmas sweater contest at his Chestnut Park office. “It’s always a very rewarding element of my year to be able to give back to the community,” he says.
JOSH KLEIN FAST FACTS
“That’s a component a lot of agents don’t appreciate – you’ve gotta work. And working in leases to get yourself comfortable is a phenomenal way to keep money coming in and to get more comfortable with the paperwork, the processes, how to negotiate and how to relate to clients”
HOMETOWN Toronto, ON
BROKERAGE Chestnut Park Real Estate
PRIMARY TERRITORY Toronto
eously becoming deeply involved in organized real estate. He is a member of TREB’s Central Toronto Subcommittee and its Arbitration Board. He also chairs the organization’s Affordable Housing Subcommittee. “I’d like to better understand where people are frustrated with the quality of services being rendered by Realtors,” he says, adding that brokerages should be held more accountable when their salespeople behave unethically. “The agents who transact need to be properly penalized so we can get them out of our industry for the betterment of all Realtors.”
Klein says organized real estate is an opportunity for agents not only to influence the direction of the industry, but also to advocate on their clients’ behalf. “Why would you be involved in an industry where you have no say?” he asks. “It’s like not voting and then complaining about government.” As with his other endeavours, Klein was drawn to organized real estate as a way of improving another’s lot. Staying connected and informed gives him the opportunity to provide his clients stability amidst the rolling waves of the Toronto market. REP
YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY 6
FAVOURITE PLACE VISITED “A recent gem is Chile. Surfing and snowboarding the Patagonia with epic conditions in the same day is tough to beat!”
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
Hidden dangers Could your clients’ homes be making them sick? A home inspection performed by a trusted, impartial expert could prevent a dream home from becoming a family’s worst nightmare
EVEN AN impeccably clean property can be home to potentially dangerous elements. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues that can affect air quality inside your clients’ homes.
Mold Mold is a form of fungus that grows indoors and outdoors. Mold releases spores into the air, which are then breathed in by people. Those with allergies, existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to health problems from mold, which range from watery eyes, rashes or sore throat to more severe symptoms such as nausea, chronic coughing, fatigue and long-term headaches, depending on the variety of mold. To prevent mold, encourage clients to fix any moisture problems right away and control humidity levels in their homes. If you are unsure about the air quality in a client’s home, consider a mold or indoor air quality test with
a certified professional like AmeriSpec.
Carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide [CO] is a chemical found in the fumes produced from burning fossil fuels (in gas ranges, wood-burning fireplaces, grills, furnaces, etc.). CO can build up indoors and become poisonous to humans and pets. CO poisoning in humans produces flu-like symptoms and can be fatal when inhaled in large amounts, and is most dangerous in young children. Prevention is key, as leaks can go unnoticed, causing short-term illness such as headaches and nausea. Exposure to fumes for longer periods can cause brain damage or even death. Urge your clients to install CO detectors in their homes at every level, especially near bedrooms. They should be aware of when their detectors are nearing the end of their lifetimes and be reminded to have them serviced regularly and checked by a technician every year.
Radon Radon is a natural gas formed by the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock throughout Canada. Radon is a cancer-causing natural gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted and can become an issue when it enters a home through the basement, floor or walls and becomes trapped inside the home, where concentrations can increase. Exposure can increase the risk of developing lung cancer – in fact, it is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Since radon exists in every home at different levels, the only way to determine if your clients are at risk is to have their homes tested by a radon professional like those at AmeriSpec. Relying on radon maps or other tests in the surrounding community is not the answer, since radon levels can vary from home to home. This cannot be stressed enough: Every home should be tested for radon. Your clients’ homes may also be vulnerable to airborne particles, excess humidity, VOCs [volatile organic compounds/chemicals], improper ventilation and more. Ensuring their homes are safe and have clean air is necessary for the health of their families. If your clients suspect their home is suffering from any of these unhealthy and potentially dangerous elements, AmeriSpec can help. Our certified professionals inspect, identify and address any problems in your clients’ homes, ensuring that they are living in safe, healthy spaces. Learn more by downloading a copy of the AmeriSpec Healthy Homes brochure at healthyhomescanada.com. REP Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AmeriSpec is North America’s leading home inspection service company. In 1996, it became part of ServiceMaster, elevating the company to become the largest and most trusted home service provider in the world. The AmeriSpec name is the industry standard for quality, service and value. With more than 75 franchise licences from coast to coast, AmeriSpec of Canada conducts more home inspections – and serves more satisfied customers –than anyone else in the country. For more information, visit amerispec.ca.
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
Clearing the air If your clients ask you about radon levels in the homes they’re viewing, will you be prepared? Alice Soon of Pillar To Post helps dispel some common myths around this silent killer
change over time. Myth: You don’t have to test homes that don’t have basements. Truth: Occupants of a home built on a slab or crawlspace actually spend more time in closer proximity to the soil from which the gas originates than homes with a basement. The lowest livable area of the home is the first floor, which is used far more frequently than basements.
Myth: Condos and homes with unfinished basements do not need to be tested. Truth: The specifications and recommendations regarding testing say nothing about the type of home or how you plan to use its different areas, only that the lowest livable area of the home should be tested. There have been numerous inspections in high-rise condos that tested for elevated radon levels.
Myth: A [new, old brick, stucco, two-story, etc.] home does not need to be tested. Truth: A home that has been tested for radon in the last two years is the only type of home that does not need to be tested. Otherwise, it’s advisable for any type of home to have a radon test. It’s simple and easy to perform. A radon professional can also suggest steps you can take to mitigate and remove the threat from your home. Contact your local home inspector or health department for localized information. You can also visit pillartopost.com or the Health Canada website for tools and resources. REP
DID YOU know that November was Radon Awareness Month? If not, this article is a chance for you to get caught up on some of the facts surrounding this common toxin. Regardless of what month it is, real estate professionals should be aware of the risks posed by radon and be able to advise their clients accordingly. The ability to educate clients – especially around obscure details they may not be thinking about – is a decidedly powerful competitive advantage for Realtors. Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. Nearly one out of every 15 homes in Canada is estimated to have an elevated radon level. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home might have a radon problem –
new or old homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Health Canada estimates that approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon-related. Fortunately, there are ways you can test for radon and mitigate its effects in the home. If you’re buying a house, both the EPA and Health Canada recommend you have a radon inspection along with your home inspection. Homeowners who are planning on selling their homes can also show potential buyers proof of a radon inspection to ensure their home is protected. Here’s what you need to know: Myth: You don’t have to test a home that has a mitigation system. Truth: Every home should be tested every two years, even those with a previously installed mitigation system. Conditions in the soil, which are influenced by numerous variables,
For information, please visit the nationwide home inspection experts at www.pillartopost.com.
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
When is the right time to ask for referrals?
Do you generally wait for a transaction to be completed before asking for a referral? According to industry-leading sales trainer Richard Robbins, you might be missing out on a boatload of new business
I WAS on a conference call recently with several of our coaches, and we were discussing the concept of asking for referrals. One of our coaches brought up the fact that most salespeople wait until the transaction is complete before asking for a referral.
It struck me how true that was and how little this practice is questioned. I can understand the logic that most salespeople want to wait until they have fully delivered on their service before asking their clients to generously give the names of friends and family
who might be buying or selling. As Jim Rohn so eloquently (and wisely) says: “Giving starts the receiving process.” But from the moment you take a listing or begin working with a buyer, you’re already demonstrating your value and, hopefully, differentiating yourself with great service. (You are doing that, right?) Why not gracefully point out your efforts and use the opportunity to ask your clients to recommend you? Another reason to ask for a referral near the beginning of a relationship is that this is when your client is likely the happiest. They’ve just put their house on the market or have begun seeing potential homes to buy, and they’re excited and hopeful. It’s the honeymoon! As time goes by, they may not get as much money as they hoped or get the closing date they needed, or it might take longer than they wanted. A lot of factors, many outside of your control, could potentially dampen their spirits and downgrade the experience. Even those clients who will readily admit that you did a great job might lack the enthusiasm they once had merely because the buying or selling process took the wind out of their sails. So first and foremost, ask for referrals. We all must learn to ask people for referrals, but I think it also behooves us to think about the best time(s) to have that conversation, instead of mindlessly slipping the request in with your closing gift. Maybe it won’t always be appropriate to ask early on in the relationship, but maybe it will. You never know until you try. REP
Richard Robbins is the CEO of Richard Robbins International, Canada’s foremost real estate sales training and coaching organization. For more information about Richard Robbins or to attend an upcoming free training event, visit richardrobbins.com or call 800-298-9587.
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
The lap of luxury Luxury Portfolio International recently released its research into the habits of global consumers of highend real estate. For agents looking to corner the luxury market, the findings could prove priceless LUXURY PORTFOLIO International, the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, recently released its annual Global Luxury Real Estate Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the habits of global luxury consumers and how their purchases tie directly to how they see themselves in the world. “The population of wealthy consumers continues to grow, and their interest in purchasing real estate has also increased,” noted Luxury Portfolio International president Paul Boomsma. “Today’s high-net-worth buyer seeks privacy and the latest technology, creating a strong opportunity for new-home developers.”
The report indicates an ongoing seller’s market – 25% of high-net-worth individuals are interested in purchasing luxury real estate, but only 17% are planning to sell. The AsiaPacific and Middle East regions are expected to see the highest levels of interest in purchasing, and certain high-demand markets worldwide will face continued pressure. The report breaks out the key differences among consumers, including attitudes toward luxury living, in four different regions: North America, Europe, Middle East/North Africa and Asia-Pacific. The feeling that status equates to luxury is strongest in the Middle East and
CONSUMERS’ RELATIONSHIPS TO LUXURY AND STATUS
Owning luxury symbolizes ‘status’ 53%
‘Status’ means to me Personal achievement
Symbol of hard work
Symbol of hard work
Symbol of hard work
Having access to exclusive places and things
Helps create the life I want to live
Sense of well-being
Symbol of hard work
Having access to exclusive places and things
Symbol of good fortune
Asia-Pacific regions. In the Middle East, 83% of consumers said luxury symbolizes status, compared to 36% who expressed the same belief in Europe. A unifying factor among luxury consumers in all four regions is personal achievement, which was noted as one of the main values represented by status. In the Middle East, status supports internal validation, while in the Asia-Pacific region, status symbolizes good fortune. Additional findings from the Global Luxury Real Estate Report include: • The Asia-Pacific region has seen 21% growth in its $10 million+ net worth population since 2015 • North America contains the largest number of $10 million+ households, a demographic that has seen growth of 146% since 2010 • The top reason given by luxury consumers for purchasing a new home was improving their quality of life • 82% of luxury consumers said their privacy has never been more important • 61% of potential US high-net-worth buyers said security is what they’re looking for in a home purchase The Global Luxury Real Estate Report reveals deep insights into the motivations and desires of the world’s wealthiest citizens. The ongoing demand for luxury real estate requires inventory that incorporates the latest technology, security features and flexibility for modern multi-generational living. The Global Luxury Real Estate report includes information from YouGov, a leader in global consumer market research. To download the report, visit luxuryportfolio.com/whitepaper. REP Luxury Portfolio International® (luxuryportfolio.com) is the luxury face of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest global network of premier locally branded companies dominated by many of the world’s most powerful independent luxury brokerages. To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and to preview the firms that have been selected for membership, visit leadingre.com/ourcompanies.
NEVER SELL, ONLY BUY During his decades in real estate, Richard Pilarski has seen the industry from the highest of highs to some pretty low lows
Once he had finished his electrical engineering degree, while working a job to earn his professional engineering licence, Pilarski started investing in real estate and encouraged his INVESTS IN REAL younger brother, Alex, to get a real estate licence ESTATE “I paid $25 a week to live in a rooming 1975 house – it seemed like a good business. As OPENS HIS OWN AGENCY soon as I graduated, I put an investor group together and started buying rooming houses. We Together with Alex, Pilarski opened Highgate Real Estate, which specialized had 100 rooms at one stage. And doing real estate in selling condos. The experience prompted the brothers to go on to buy a part-time, Alex made more than I did at IBM” Century 21 franchise
LEARNS AN IMPORTANT LESSON Realizing they were helming a struggling company, the brothers decided to sell and go their separate ways. Pilarski moved on to a company that was a new concept in Ontario: RE/MAX “The mistake we made [as franchise owners] is that we both stopped selling. But the real lesson we learned after so many years of struggle was that the people we rented our offices from were doing really well. From then on when we opened offices, we bought the building – in the final analysis, that is what made us successful”
MOVES OUT OF SALES A banner day arrived when Realtron finally had enough business to pay Pilarski a salary. He stopped selling and joined his brother in managing the company “At first I missed it, but instead of selling houses, I was selling people. Your success depends on how many good agents you have; in those days, we had 80; now we have 800. For me, feeling comfortable meant having enough set aside to keep the business going for six months”
RUNS HIS FIRST MARATHON Already an avid runner, Pilarski was prompted by the ambitions of his wife to set his sights on a marathon. He ran his first marathon in his hometown of Toronto; over the course of nine years, he ran 16 more in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris and London before hanging up his running shoes in 2007 after completing the Walt Disney World Marathon
“We thought we knew everything, but it was not as easy as we expected. We were trying to compete with big companies with advertising behind them, and generally we lost. We knew we needed a bigger image – once we had a franchise, we didn’t have to explain who we were” 1985
TAKES ANOTHER SHOT The brothers reunited for another shot at running a real estate office: RE/MAX Realtron, for which Pilarski was the only salesman. Despite the fact that he was frequently ranked in RE/MAX’s top 100 both in Canada and internationally, Pilarski was ultimately confronted by a falling market “At one point the bank was threatening to lock us out of the building. I had a few sleepless nights”
OPENS A THIRD OFFICE In the midst of a strong market and backstopped by a prospering business, Pilarski and his brother opened their third office just in time for Pilarski’s daughter, freshly graduated from university, to begin managing it “She starting working for us as a receptionist at 13; by 18, she was training our staff. Within five years of starting as a manager, she had over 100 agents and was named Manager of the Year for RE/MAX Ontario”
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BUILDING DREAMS Toronto broker Ilan Joseph delights in finding people homes, even if it means building them himself GIVEN HOW much of his life is dedicated to securing homes for families, it makes perfect sense that Ilan Joseph, a broker at Vaughan, Ontario-based Sutton Group Admiral Realty, would find his niche helping to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. The urge to give back to his community provided Joseph’s initial motivation, and the nature of the work was a natural fit in light of the many renovation projects Joseph has overseen an investor. However, part of what keeps him coming back is the pure joy of swinging a hammer. “I think every man likes to pick up a tool from time to time,” he says. “On a build, you get to go in and put on a hard hat and pick up some tools. I like being active.” And then there’s the other payoff: getting an email from the organization that the house he worked on has been completed and the participants are invited to meet the family that will be occupying the home. “It’s pretty exciting to see who’s going to be living in the house you worked on,” Joseph says.
Typical hours in a Habitat for Humanity workday
The social aspect is Joseph’s favourite part of build days: “There’s a lot of ca maraderie a mong the people who do this,” he says.
Years Joseph has spent renovating houses as a sideline
Homes Joseph has been involved in renovating for sale
Today’s homebuyers want to experience the world. We have a world of experience to share. Today’s consumers know no limits to the world around them. Neither do we. We are the expert guides for those who aspire to love where they live in places near and far. With our collaborative global network,
bold technology integrations, and a passion for real estate worldwide, we are doing more for those who expect more. We don’t simply say we are international, we are.
While the world seems to be getting smaller our network continues to grow.
Engel & Völkers Canada 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 700 · Toronto · ON M4W 3RI · Phone +1 416-323-1100 evcanada.com · email@example.com
©2017 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.
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