REP 4.02

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REPMAG.CA ISSUE 4.02 | $12.95

FINDING YOUR NICHE Can’t-miss advice from agents who have found success through specialization


Three of Canada’s leading real estate coaches outline how they can boost your business


Industry players weigh in on the government’s latest attempts to cool the market


Sotheby’s Brad Henderson on why luxury is about more than just high-end homes


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ISSUE 4.02

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UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Politicians’ solutions to housing affordability continue to miss the mark





When a dispute over a neighbour’s fence threatened to derail her clients’ move to Europe, Angela Langtry dug deep to find a solution




COMMUNITY AND OPPORTUNITY Ten tips for getting the most out of networking and community involvement

Since taking the helm at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brad Henderson has led the evolution of the luxury brand’s image in this country

16 2

08 Head to head

Will foreign buyer taxes keep creeping up?

10 News analysis

Industry players offer their take on the latest round of taxes in BC

19 Opinion

If your business has stalled, you might be making one of these critical mistakes

39 Harnessing disruption



The new stress test has taken a serious bite out of millennials’ purchasing power



Whether you’re looking to narrow your focus or just reach out to a new type of client, you won’t want to miss the advice of these 44 agents who specialize in first-time buyers, preconstruction sales, downsizing and more


06 Statistics

How to provide luxury service in the age of technology

52 Small homes, big potential

Three smart ways to increase storage in a small house

53 Global referrals

With international referral sources, a little understanding goes a long way

PEOPLE 50 Agent profile

Toronto agent David Fleming has garnered a loyal clientele by simply speaking his mind

54 Career path

Sarah J. Stevens has always excelled at empowering others to succeed



MEET THE ELITE Three of Canada’s leading real estate coaches reveal how investing in coaching can propel your career to new heights

56 Other life

Erwin Szeto keeps the Hamilton community fed, one basket at a time




THROUGHOUT CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD. Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldŽ is a selective community of 565 firms spanning six continents—including these outstanding Canadian member brokerages. Our members come together to do business, collaborate on ideas and share opportunities. We support them with an international referral network, marketing and technology resources, award-winning professional development programs and world-class events. If you are a leader of an independent residential real estate company, we invite you to learn more. Contact Sheila Barr: +1 312.361.8632 or

Toronto, Ontario

Peterborough, Ontario

Calgary, Alberta

Vancouver, British Columbia


Victoria, British Columbia

Toronto, Ontario

Newmarket, Ontario

Vancouver, British Columbia

St. Catharines, Ontario

Montreal, Quebec

London, Ontario

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Guelph, Ontario

Whistler, British Columbia

Est. 1989


Ottawa, Ontario

Halifax, Novia Scotia



No easy answers


t press time, Ontario was still embroiled in a frequently idiotic, perpetually disappointing provincial election, the only true outcome of which will be the further lowering of Canadian political standards. We haven’t approached the subterranean depths of our neighbours to the south, but our tendency to focus on ideas rather than ideology is being reversed by political operators light on the former and overflowing, toilet-like, with the latter. The lack of ideas concerning Canada’s housing market has been on full display this spring. Doug Ford promised to bulldoze swaths of Ontario’s Green Belt to help alleviate supply shortages until severe backlash forced him to publicly disavow his ‘plan.’ The NDP government in BC expanded its foreign buyer tax while also creating a new speculation tax that will most certainly harm out-of-province investors; neither move is expected to provide any relief for buyers in the form of lower prices or greater supply in areas that desperately need both.

You can keep Taser-ing a hungry elephant to keep it at bay, but at some point you’re going to have to buy it some peanuts Ford’s corkheaded suggestion and BC’s misguided new levies illustrate the paradox politicians dealing with a lack of supply must tangle with: People want to see the appearance of a solution – right now – so the most politically popular options are often oversimplified and easy to implement. But these measures typically fail to address long-term concerns. What will a tax on foreign buyers or out-of-province investors do to help supply in a city like Kelowna? Free up a few dozen condos for a few months a year? But it does give the government a concrete example they can point to that proves they’re not doing nothing. “Not nothing” isn’t good enough anymore. Canada’s reputation as a stable, safe place to raise a family or get an elite education is as strong as ever, and the populations of our largest cities are surging. It’s time for our politicians to abandon their simplistic, piecemeal approach to housing demand and finally get imaginative when it comes to supply. You can keep Taser-ing a hungry elephant to keep it at bay, but at some point you’re going to have to buy it some peanuts. Viewed in this light, Ford’s pre-empted plan to destroy the Green Belt actually ends up looking quite fresh. It would have been an ignorant and arrogant flaunting of provincial law, and an environmental catastrophe to boot, but it also would have been a supply-side alternative to taxes and other similarly uncreative quick fixes. As a sure sign of what’s to come, Ford put forward no second option. The team at Real Estate Professional SUMMER 2018 EDITORIAL Writers Clay Jarvis Joe Rosengarten Libby MacDonald Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Alex Pilarski Beth Kinsella

ART & PRODUCTION Designers Martin Cosme Marla Morelos Production Manager Alicia Chin Traffic Coordinator Ella Dayandante

SALES & MARKETING Associate Publisher Trevor Biggs General Manager, Sales John Mackenzie National Account Manager Trevor Lambert Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

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



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For us, real estate isn’t work ... it’s our passion. That’s why we don’t operate in offices, but in our signature shop locations. Whether in Toronto, Ottawa, Newport Beach, Barcelona or Brussels, you’ll recognize an Engel & Völkers shop when you see one. White façades and large windows are designed to showcase beautiful real estate exposés and draw visitors in as they dream and explore the idea of a new home. On streets around the world, our shops are an expression of our passion for real estate and a shared commitment to support our real estate advisors to provide premium service to their clients at every price point. We invite you to drop in, browse and see what a future at Engel & Völkers might hold for you.

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B-20 bites back

WHAT CAN MILLENNIALS AFFORD? Royal LePage found that homes priced between $325,000 and $425,000 are most attainable for millennials. But what buyers can get in that price range varies considerably across the country. In Vancouver, for example, it’s only enough for a 788-squarefoot apartment, while Halifax buyers can net a three-bedroom, three-bath home at the same price point.

The recently introduced stress test has caused millennials’ purchasing power – and their aspirations – to plummet SINCE OSFI introduced its new stress test in January, would-be homebuyers have been forced to square up to a new world, one in which their aspirations are constrained by the necessity to qualify for a mortgage at a rate higher than the one they’re signing up for. Through no fault of their own, prospective homeowners can now afford less than they could a year ago.

In its most recent market survey, Royal LePage found that a peak millennial (those born between 1987 and 1993) living in Vancouver can expect to purchase 12% less living space, on average, compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, millennials in Toronto are being forced further from downtown as prices in the core increase to a level that’s beyond the typical budget for this cohort.






Median salary of millennials born between 1987 and 1993

Consumers aged 18–34 who say higher interest rates are having a negative impact on spending


Decrease in the average millennial homebuyer’s purchasing power




Current aggregate home value in Canada

Source: From a Studio Apartment to a Large Detached Home: What the Average Peak Millennial Can Afford Across Canada, Royal LePage, April 2018; Bloomberg News, May 2018



Since the stress test was implemented, millennials have seen their purchasing power reduced by more than $40,000.

Coming up with a down payment could be a challenge for many millennials, who typically don’t have much money set aside in the bank. According to a recent CIBC poll, one in five millennials has less than $5,000 in savings, while a similar proportion has no savings at all.




Below $5,000

Qualifying interest rate


Qualifying interest rate



$5,000–$9,999 $10,000–$29,999






27% Before stress test

After stress test

Source: From a Studio Apartment to a Large Detached Home: What the Average Peak Millennial Can Afford Across Canada, Royal LePage, April 2018



6% 5%


$100,000+ Don’t know No savings Source: Millennials & Homeownership Poll, CIBC, April 2018



2.6 2.1



3.0 1.7


Square footage





3.0 2.0


2.9 1.5

2.3 1,495














1,736 Source: From a Studio Apartment to a Large Detached Home: What the Average Peak Millennial Can Afford Across Canada, Royal LePage, April 2018

WHAT DOWN PAYMENT? Even among millennials who have plans to buy a home in the next five years, saving for a down payment remains a pipe dream. Nearly half of the millennials surveyed by CIBC said they have yet to start socking away money for a down payment. DOWN PAYMENT SAVINGS AMONG PROSPECTIVE HOMEOWNERS AGED 18–37


I haven’t started to save yet


I’ve saved about a quarter

9% 45%

I’ve saved about half I’ve saved about three-quarters


AVERAGE MORTGAGE AMOUNT SHRINKS Thanks to the stress test, the median millennial income now allows for a mortgage of just over $160,000 – a drop of more than $30,000 compared to a year before. MAXIMUM MORTGAGE BASED ON MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY Mortgage amount


20% down payment


$194,679 $162,596

I’ve already saved the full amount Before stress test Source: Millennials & Homeownership Poll, CIBC, April 2018

After stress test

Source: From a Studio Apartment to a Large Detached Home: What the Average Peak Millennial Can Afford Across Canada, Royal LePage, April 2018




Is the sky the limit for taxing foreign buyers?

BC increased its foreign buyer tax from 15% to 20% earlier this year. Are further increases inevitable?

Russel Lalovich

Sales representative Lalovich Real Estate RE/MAX Preferred Realty “I do think the proliferation of foreign buyer taxes will continue. It’s an easy move politically to target foreign buyers. Taking measures to increase supply is a much more complicated endeavour that will take more time to come to fruition than the majority of those politicians will be in office. There’s also a general movement in Canada at the moment to increase spending and fund it with higher taxes, and this is another way to do that without much political backlash. Whether the tax has much effect on long-term demand remains to be seen, though.”

Davelle Morrison

Mike Heddle

“Continually taxing foreign buyers discourages investment and movement to the province. It almost says, ‘I’ve given up on making housing affordable for locals, so instead I’ll scapegoat this segment of the population.’ The government should prioritize increasing the housing supply. Perhaps approvals for new condos take too long or include too many government charges. Perhaps developers should be allowed to build more storeys (i.e. low-income housing could be made a condition of building higher). Affordability is the issue our government must work to solve.”

“The foreign buyer tax has certainly had an impact on the runaway train of a housing market. However, as the fastest-growing advanced nation on earth, Canada must attract skilled and capital-backed immigrants. I’m not convinced that increasing taxes on foreign buyers achieves the objective. My concern is that our government doesn’t overlook the global macro effects on this important micro issue. With foreign purchases representing such a small percentage of real estate transactions nationally, increasing the foreign buyer tax appears to be an artificial solution to affordability.”

Sales representative Bosley Real Estate

Broker, team leader The Heddle Group RLP State Realty

FOUR OUT OF FIVE VOTERS CAN’T BE WRONG Released in late February, BC’s provincial budget included a raft of changes intended to cool the nation’s hottest market, including raising the levy on foreign buyers from 15% to 20% and expanding its reach beyond Metro Vancouver. The move has proved popular with the public – immediately after the tax hike was announced, 81% of respondents to an Insights West poll said they believed increasing the foreign buyer tax was a good or very good idea. In addition, an equal number of respondents said they backed the idea of expanding the tax to areas outside of Metro Vancouver.





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Forced depreciation BC’s NDP government inserted an array of new taxes into its most recent budget. Will this latest attempt at manufacturing affordability wind up doing more harm than good? WHEN HE was sworn in as BC premier last July, John Horgan promised “relief from high costs.” Almost a year into the NDP government’s tenure, those promises – so welcomed by constituents facing a paralyzing housing crisis – have manifested themselves as yet another round of new taxes. The new levies were part of a 30-point housing plan included in the NDP’s 2018 budget. Among them are a so-called speculation tax to be paid by owners of unused properties who pay no income tax in the province. The tax is projected to affect 15,000 residential properties in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna and will be equivalent to 0.5% of a property’s assessed value in 2018, rising to 2% in the following year. The much-debated foreign buyer tax, instituted in 2016, will be extended to the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo, the Central Okanagan

housing market simply to speculate, driving up prices and removing rental stock.” But she also admitted that the changes put the government on “new ground” and that further analysis will be required after the changes are implemented. Taxes typically inspire outrage, and those in BC have been no different. But the loudest opposition hasn’t been from the people who will bear these new expenses; it’s coming from the Realtors who represent them. In their eyes, the measures contained in the new budget are hasty, simplistic and misguided. “It may be a revenue generator for the government, but it’s not going to have any material impact on the housing market,” says British Columbia Real Estate Association chief economist Cameron Muir. He points to the relatively small proportion of purchases in the province made by foreign buyers – 3.7% of transactions in Metro Vancouver involved

“[The speculation tax] is not aimed at speculators ... it’s aimed at people who have owned properties for a long, long time” Wayne Ryan, RE/MAX Crest Realty and the Capital Regional District and will be increased from 15% to 20%. BC Finance Minister Carole James told reporters that the taxes are intended to curb speculative buying in the province by penalizing “people parking their capital in our


foreign buyers in 2017 – as an indication that further taxing this cohort will have a limited effect on the market. And will limiting the buying activity of a demographic widely assumed to buy high-end properties really help bring down prices for first-time buyers?

“Affordability is a big thing here, but in my estimation, that ship sailed a long time ago,” says Wayne Ryan, managing broker at RE/MAX Crest Realty in Vancouver. “A $4 million house that goes down 20% to $3.2 million – is that now affordable? Of course, the answer’s no.” Ryan is no fan of the budget’s attempt to crack down on what it deems ‘speculators,’ which it has loosely defined as owners who don’t live in the province full-time. That definition currently includes thousands of Canadians who have purchased properties in BC for retirement who don’t want the added stress of being landlords. “I chuckle when I hear the term ‘speculation tax’ because it’s really not a speculation tax,” Ryan says. “It’s not aimed at speculators. In many cases it’s aimed at people who have owned properties for a long, long time.” The confusion around who will end up paying the speculation tax – exemptions have

THE LIMITS OF BC’S LIMITED MEASURES The two most contentious aspects of the NDP’s 30-point housing plan, an expanded foreign buyer tax and a speculation tax, affect different regions of British Columbia. Here’s where they will be put into effect later this year:

FOREIGN BUYER TAX •• Metro Vancouver •• Capital Regional District, including Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Oak Bay and surrounding region •• Nanaimo and surrounding area •• Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission and surrounding region •• Central Okanagan


already been granted for the Gulf Islands, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the rural Fraser Valley – is another sticking point for critics, who see such questions as proof that the government, in its attempt to appear proactive, acted before thinking the measures through. “The government hasn’t really figured

alienate foreign buyers, who feel they are being scapegoated. “These foreign buyer taxes are actually indicating to people, from China and India in particular, that no, we don’t want you anymore,” he says. “Foreign buyers aren’t the villain in the story. The real villain in the story is the lack of

“Foreign buyers aren’t the villain in the story. The real villain in the story is the lack of supply for an ever-increasing demand” Brad Henderson, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada through all the different combinations and permutations” of the potential fallout, says Brad Henderson, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. In addition to costing owners of second homes thousands of dollars, Henderson says the taxes will also

supply for an ever-increasing demand.” Indeed, while the NDP budget does make promises to create 114,000 affordable housing units, it does little else to address the endless, agonizing gauntlet developers must pass through in order to build desperately needed

•• Metro Vancouver •• Fraser Valley (excluding Bowen Island) •• Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands) •• Nanaimo •• Lantzville •• Kelowna •• West Kelowna new housing stock. “It’s kind of a structural problem that’s been exacerbated by the fact that most everything being built now is multi-family,” Muir says. “Those units take much longer to build and supply the market.” But supply-side solutions in crowded cities require two key elements: space and imagination. By simply instituting new taxes, BC’s NDP government has exacerbated its lack of the former with its shortage of the latter. “Through my agents, I hear that these developers are coming up with creative things, and the City of Vancouver just isn’t biting,” Ryan says. “They have it within their power to speed that up. Until that happens, there’s going to be a shortage of supply.” REP




Mending fences Angela Langtry’s clients were days away from closing on the sale of their home when the buyers threatened to walk away from the deal. With the sellers’ relocation to Europe at stake, failure was not an option

HOW DOES a white-hot real estate market affect the people living in it? Does increased turnover fracture neighbourhoods? Does bidding war anxiety (and remorse) affect how we treat each other? Do we resent sellers because of their windfalls, buyers because of their opportunism? When a blizzard of money descends on a community, it’s hard to know which parts of our nature will be whited out.


These were not Angela Langtry’s concerns when she agreed to list a two-storey, 1980sbuilt home in January 2018. The Century 21 Immo-Plus agent expected a smooth transaction. The property was well maintained and located on Montreal’s West Island, where demand has been skyrocketing over the past year, and she already enjoyed a warm relationship with the owners, a 50-something married couple planning a move to Europe.

“They’re just good people – humble, honest, straightforward,” Langtry says. “They’re the kind of people that, if I was ever in the area of Europe that they’re moving to, I would definitely stop in and have a coffee with them.” The couple’s imminent move, scheduled for May, meant Langtry would have to sell the property relatively quickly. She organized an open house for Super Bowl Sunday

and wound up fielding a pair of competing offers. The sellers accepted the higher of the two and set a date with the notary, where sales in Quebec are finalized. “Everything went smoothly – the inspection went smoothly, all the conditions with the offer went smoothly, and we basically settled that we’re going to the notary on April 12,” Langtry says. “About a week before, the buyer’s agent reached out to us and said, ‘We have a problem with the certificate of location.’” Suddenly, the deal – along with Langtry’s clients’ dreams of beginning the next chapter of their lives – was on the verge of collapse.

Where you end and I begin The sellers’ concerns stemmed from the placement of the owners’ fence, erected almost three decades before. At the time he built the fence, Langtry’s client’s property sloped downward toward a neighbouring vacant lot. Rather than enduring the cost

and hassle of levelling the land, he simply chose to build his fence several feet within his own boundary, sacrificing approximately 300 of the property’s 6,500 square feet. A few years later, the vacant lot was purchased, a home was built on it, and a pool was installed in the backyard. The leftover dirt from the hole dug for the pool was used by the new neighbours to finally level out the slope. In what would be the first of many neighbourly acts between the two households, Langtry’s clients allowed the new residents to install a sprinkler system and two sheds on land that was technically theirs. “My client, he never cared that the sprinkler was there because he would never use that land,” Langtry says. “His fence was already up, with concrete footings in the ground. He didn’t think, when it came to a sale, that it could be a problem. He said that had they thought it would be, he would have sold the land to [his neighbour] for a case of beer, shook hands over it and had everything all done before the sale happened.”

MONTREAL EST EN FEU While Vancouver and Toronto continue to come to grips with their adjusting markets, Montreal’s is blazing. Its low prices, robust economy and foreign buyer-friendliness (for now) have led to intense demand, rising sales and rapidly appreciating prices.

April 2018

Year-over-year change

Active listings



New listings



Single-family sales



Condo sales



Median price (single-family)



Median price (condo)


2% Source: Centris Residential Statistics Montreal Metropolitan Area, April 2018

But it was too late for handshakes. The sellers felt that their over-asking offer should entitle them to the entire lot. Their threat to walk away from the deal hit Langtry’s clients hard. Failure to sell would render buying a new home in Europe impossible. “My seller said that in 40 years of running his own business, he had never been as stressed out as he was over this issue – he wasn’t sleeping – because this could start a whole chain with a lot of penalties and a lot of people involved,” Langtry says. Confusing matters was the fact that Langtry had been clear with the buyers and their agent about the discrepancy between the land survey done on the property and the placement of the fence. “And I made that land survey accessible to their Realtor from day one,” she says, “so even before they made their offer, that information was accessible.” It seemed like a textbook case of buyer’s




remorse. The only hope was that calmer heads – and the law – would prevail.


Howdy, neighbour After the call from the buyers’ agent, Langtry consulted the sellers, their neighbours and, thinking title insurance might be the answer, her notary. But Langtry quickly learned that title insurance doesn’t extend to fences because disputes of this kind happen all too frequently. With the simplest solution no longer viable, Langtry continued looking for ways to finalize the deal. That’s when she made a startling discovery. “If you’re using land that belongs to your neighbour for over 10 years, it automatically belongs to you,” she says. “That’s the law in Quebec. So that land, because the neighbour had been using it for 10 years for his sprinkler system, it automatically belongs to him.” The situation, however, would not be settled until the sellers received their money. The buyers still had to be mollified. Langtry organized a meeting in which sellers, buyers and neighbours could hammer out a resolution. On the day of the meeting, the parties met, measured the land in question and started talking.



West Island, Montreal

January 2018



Two-storey single-family home










the missing 300 square feet were worth a grand total of $7,000. The entire meeting wrapped up in under 90 minutes. The neighbour offered to pay $2,000, plus the cost of new land surveys for

“We’re problem-solvers as Realtors. We constantly have new twists and turns in every transaction. Every time we’re presented with a problem or a conflict, we have to look for solutions” The buyers, a young couple with an infant daughter, were still convinced that they hadn’t been told the correct lot size. But, perhaps realizing that the facts were not on their side, or perhaps not wanting to pre-emptively destroy their relationship with their new neighbours, they determined that


both houses, and the seller agreed to adjust the sale price by $5,000. “We went to the notary,” Langtry says. “We closed. Everybody’s happy.” Now that the dust has settled, Langtry can look back on this unique deal as an example of neighbourliness trumping the

darker emotions sometimes associated with a runaway market. “Most of the time, people nickel-anddime,” she says. “Say, for example, we’re in a multiple-offer scenario. I’ve seen buyers go well above asking and try to use things after the inspection to dwindle down the price again. But with this one, I was very impressed as to how it could have escalated into a messy, complicated situation and how everyone was quick to resolve it in very good faith.” But Langtry deserves credit as well. In addition to her critical fact-finding, which helped establish the neighbour’s legal standing, she was also instrumental in coordinating the civil, productive meeting that helped alleviate a potential catastrophe. “We’re problem-solvers as Realtors,” she says. “We constantly have new twists and turns in every transaction. Every time we’re presented with a problem or a conflict, we have to look for solutions.” REP

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REDEFINING LUXURY Brad Henderson brought a potent combination of experience to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada when he was chosen to lead the company in 2016. Since then, he has been an integral part of Sotheby’s evolution

IN 2015, Brad Henderson had just wrapped up a four-year stint at CBRE and was weighing his options. He had pursued his passion for tech in the decade prior to joining CBRE, acting as the president, VP or CEO of four different companies, so the next opportunity would need to be unique, challenging and inspiring. But when a recruiter from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada came calling with a proposition for Henderson to join the company as its president and CEO, inspiration was nowhere in sight. “I wasn’t that excited about it,” he admits. Henderson had little appetite for managing franchise agreements or dealing with temperamental owners. But the recruiter insisted that wouldn’t be the case. When Henderson discovered that Sotheby’s offices are centrally owned and operated by the company, which itself is owned by the colossal Dundee Corporation, he realized he would be leading a company with huge potential. After meeting with Dundee and learning about Sotheby’s important role in the company’s overall wealth management strategy, his doubts were erased. “I then saw the opportunity to become part of a global network and to really learn from other [Sotheby’s] companies elsewhere in the world that have been with this brand for a lot longer than we had and that had grown to the size we aspired to grow to,” he says. Henderson says he owes a special debt of gratitude to the recruiter who wouldn’t give up


on him. It’s a safe bet that Sotheby’s – which found in Henderson its ideal leader – does too.

Moore and more As an undergrad studying economics at York University, Henderson took a summer job at Royal LePage under the tutelage of industry legend Bill Moore. Henderson’s relationship with Moore would prove to be one of the most important of his career. He was invited back

over Moore’s role as vice-president. Moore might have been gone, but his influence on Henderson remained powerful. “During the time I was with him, I really felt that I learned how to treat people, how to be that kind of person,” Henderson says. “If you treat people with dignity and respect, and if you treat them better than they think they should be treated, the loyalty that will come back to you is exponentially greater.”

“There’s a bit of arrogance from commercial real estate agents about residential agents. There’s a feeling that most residential real estate agents aren’t very professional or of the same calibre. I had somewhat of that perspective. And I was overwhelmed at how wrong I was about the people who work for Sotheby’s” the next summer and, following graduation, was brought on as Moore’s executive assistant. “My thinking was, this gentleman was an icon in the industry,” Henderson says. “He probably had time left in his career for one more mentee, and I wanted to be that person.” Working closely with Moore, Henderson’s roles at Royal LePage grew in prominence and responsibility until 1990, when he took

It was an attitude that served Henderson – and Royal LePage – well until 1998, when he left the company to become president of IT consultancy Arqana Technologies. (Always a passionate techie, Henderson helped develop Royal LePage’s first CRM system back in the 1980s). A year later, Arqana was purchased by Telus, where Henderson served as VP and GM until 2007. He wouldn’t return to real estate

PROFILE Name: Brad Henderson Title: President and CEO Company: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Based in: Toronto Years in the industry: 22 Fast fact: Henderson is an experienced and highly accomplished drummer. He spent his younger days playing in multiple bands “in all the long-gone places on Yonge Street” and still finds time to spend behind the kit.




until 2011, when the opportunity to manage a large department as a regional director at CBRE proved too enticing to turn down.

Culture club Despite his varied management experience, Henderson says he entered into his current position with some trepidation. “There’s a bit of arrogance from commercial real estate agents about residential agents,” he says. “There’s a feeling that most residential real estate agents aren’t very professional or of the same calibre. I had somewhat of that perspective. And I was overwhelmed at

“The recognition in and of itself becomes a very powerful reward to them,” Henderson says. “You can give people gift cards and things like that – and that’s part of the program – but the recognition among your peers is probably more important than anything else.” Henderson says humour also plays a major part in maintaining Sotheby’s company culture, an admission many might find surprising. But Henderson feels this is just one of several misconceptions people have about the brand. “Some people think we only market luxury homes,” he says. “But the fact is, we don’t see

“Some people think we only market luxury homes. But the fact is, we don’t see ‘luxury’ as a price tag; we see it as an experience. Everyone who buys or sells a home deserves a luxurious experience, regardless of the price of that home” how wrong I was about the people who work for Sotheby’s.” Although Sotheby’s sells property from across the price spectrum, its brand is often associated with high-ticket homes. Henderson says agents who work in the luxury space need to have the proper mindset. “First and foremost, you have to be comfortable working with people who have high- or ultra-high-net-worth status,” he says. “And that doesn’t mean you pretend you are one of them, but it also doesn’t mean that you are subservient to them.” Rewarding his agents for their successes remains high on Henderson’s list of priorities. Under his watch, Sotheby’s has introduced the Above and Beyond recognition program, where colleagues nominate each other’s exceptional performances.


‘luxury’ as a price tag; we see it as an experience. Everyone who buys or sells a home deserves a luxurious experience, regardless of the price of that home.” Only two years into his tenure at Sotheby’s, Henderson has already overseen a number of initiatives that are paying dividends: the company’s recruiting processes and digital marketing strategies have been improved, and its digital tool, Folio, continues to make the client-agent relationship clearer and more informative. But for Henderson, innovation only takes a company so far. It’s the people who take it the rest of the way. “For us,” he says, “it’s creating an environment where [agents] feel that what they belong to is bigger than them – and that by being part of something bigger, it makes them stronger.” REP


2005 Year the Canadian arm of Sotheby’s International Realty was founded

950+ Number of Sotheby’s International Realty offices worldwide

32 Number of offices in Canada

500+ Number of Sotheby’s agents in Canada

70+ Number of countries Sotheby’s International Realty operates in

65,000 Acreage of Kenauk, the most expensive property Sotheby’s has sold in Canada




The four secrets of success Most agents fail to get their careers off the ground. RE/MAX Realtron founder Alex Pilarski says it’s usually it’s because of four predictable reasons MOST REALTORS will fail. For every 10 Realtors, eight will never become top producers. The Realtors who do become successful have one thing in common: They have overcome the same four hurdles. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, more than 49,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespeople work in this business in the Greater Toronto Area. Many likely have aspirations to become top producers and make a great living, but given that roughly 92,000 transactions took place in 2017 within the GTA, that works out to be approximately two sales per agent. The truth of the matter is that real estate is a very challenging career. Like all sales careers, 80% of the business is done by the top 20% of salespeople, and the result is a high failure rate amongst the bottom 80%. To the novice, real estate might appear to be an easy business: You meet clients and either find them a house or sell them a house. That perception is close, but incorrect. The job of a real estate salesperson is to meet clients, develop a relationship of trust and help the client solve any real estate issues they might have. Sales will come if you develop that trusting relationship and can ascertain if the sale of the home will actually help solve the client’s needs. Sometimes it doesn’t, and a good salesperson will discourage a sale rather than proceed with an unwise sale in order to make a commission.

The first step – meeting people – is where most people fail in their career. The average person entering the business has enough friends or family members who want to buy or sell to launch their career. However, after that initial success, they have no more clients

they stop doing the prospecting that created their success. Because they never developed a repeat and referral system, their business starts to wane. At that point, they often decide to get a full-time job and hope to make a couple of sales per year on a part-time basis. Then there are the Realtors who have achieved some success but still don’t become top producers. I attribute this to being complacent and not finding opportunities to improve. A big part of our job as Realtors is keeping up with the latest trends and continuing to learn. This will keep you a step ahead of the competition. One of our favourite expressions at our company is, “You are either busy being born or busy dying.” No matter how good you are, you have to be continually looking for ways to improve. And then there’s the matter of the company you keep: Work environments play a major factor in your success. Who do you hang around and work with? Are they top producers? How much production do they do in a typical year? Winning environments create winners. If your work environment

“One of our favourite expressions at our company is, ‘You are either busy being born or busy dying.’ No matter how good you are, you have to be continually looking for ways to improve” and are reluctant to go out and meet people. Without consistently prospecting, there is no real estate business. Being a Realtor isn’t a hobby; it’s a full-time commitment. In my selling days, my goal was to collect 99 “no”s a day for each day of the workweek. I considered it a “no” when someone said, “I do not need to buy or sell.” While times have changed, prospecting still remains the key to a long, successful career. The good Realtors go out and find clients who need help; the others wait for clients to call them. The second hurdle for new Realtors is similar: not building a system for repeat business. Many Realtors work hard at meeting people but don’t spend the time, energy or money to maintain a relationship with those clients after the sale. After several years,

doesn’t reflect this kind of culture, it will be even harder to become and stay successful. Many are drawn by the glamour associated with being a top-performing Realtor: the nice clothes, the fancy cars, the expensive houses. Although working in the real estate industry does offer new agents an opportunity to make money, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is the best business in the world, but only those who are relentless in avoiding these pitfalls will truly succeed. REP

Alex Pilarski co-founded RE/MAX Realtron with his brother, Richard, in 1985. Together, they have been awarded many top honours, including being named the number-one RE/MAX franchise in the world in 2012.




FINDING YOUR NICHE The housing market isn’t a single monolithic structure – it’s a puzzle made up of countless other puzzles. REP reached out to agents across the country to find out how they navigate their chosen sub-markets and what it takes to make the pieces fit together WHEN CLIENTS look for a Realtor, they’re looking for an expert – someone with unique insight into their specific needs and the property types they’re interested in. But even a self-styled jack-of-all-trades master agent might not have the exact experience a client needs: Not all markets have condos; not all agents are comfortable with commercial properties. That’s why REP reached out to more than 40 agents to find out what they do to succeed in 10 of the most important sub-sectors in the market. Some areas, such as downsizing, are


emerging and will soon make up a significant part of many agents’ businesses. Others, such as first-time buyers and investment clients, are critical to any Realtor’s survival. All of them, however, are worth an agent’s time and careful study. Finding your niche can be an important step in establishing yourself as an agent. It doesn’t need to define who you are, but it can position you as an expert in the eyes of potential clients. If you can exceed their expectations once, they’ll come back so you can do it again.



Commercial First-time buyers Condos Pre-construction Recreational properties Leases Investment properties Foreign buyers Luxury properties Downsizing clients

26 21 27 28 24 34 32 35 36 25


SHANE PITRE EXIT Realty Matrix Embrun, ON

“I remember how happy I was when I married my wife and the incomparable feeling I felt when I held my two children the day they were born. As a young father, I realized that the most important element of a family is a solid nest – not a house that can match anybody’s needs, but a home where you can picture your family being crazy in the living room, your kids playing in the backyard and your friends hanging out around the kitchen island. As a Realtor, the biggest part of my success with first-time buyers is sticking to these core values. It’s building actual relationships with my clients, listening and learning what’s important to them and making the process all about them. These families, couples and singles all need someone they can trust, someone they can count on.”

KATHY TARBOX EXIT Realty Matrix Orleans, ON

“Having owned several homes in my lifetime, I try to think back to my first experience. I was excited and terrified all at the same time. It’s a huge decision, financially and emotionally. Most first-time buyers ask a lot of questions that you as a Realtor think are basic knowledge. Remember that most of what they know they’ve gleaned from the internet or TV shows, which we all know are not always accurate. Working with them, especially millennials, requires a lot of patience, getting them to tell you their needs versus wants and a ton of information. I sit down with them right at the start and spend time going over the process, what to expect and all the paperwork required. I do a lot of hand-holding. As I go through homes, I point out the negatives as well as the positives and give them options with which to make an informed decision. You can’t rush them. Just gently guide them along.”




SHAYLA ACKERMAN Royal LePage Regina Realty Regina, SK

“First-time homebuyers may be one of my favourite types of buyers to work with. They come to you with an open mind and are looking for guidance from start to finish. Sometimes these clients know next to nothing when walking into this process. That’s where I try my best to stand out. Whether we’re talking about the construction of homes or the details of mechanical systems, first-time homebuyers always appreciate detail, so I take the time to educate them. I remember buying my first house at 21, and it was scary. I want to make sure

“I remember buying my first house at 21, and it was scary. I want to make sure the pressure is off and these buyers are enjoying themselves ... Being approachable and genuine will help you connect with first-time homebuyers” the pressure is off and these buyers are enjoying themselves. Using tools that we have through the Royal LePage network and helps me keep first-time buyers organized, and they are often thankful for that. Being approachable and genuine will help you connect with first-time homebuyers. And in the end, you’ll often become a friend, not just an agent.”


“A successful first-time homebuyer agent needs checklists. An important one is a list of questions that will help you qualify your buyer and help you find out who they are, when they need to move, where they’re thinking of going, what style of home they need and why they’re thinking of purchasing. These lists will help you create an action plan customized to your clients’ needs and pave the way to you providing a proven team of professionals to help them on their journey to homeownership. Always include a few names and numbers of proven mortgage brokers, home inspectors, lawyers and notaries, insurance providers, movers, etc. The vast majority of first-time buyers do not understand the difference between a deposit and a down payment. They certainly won’t know the potential closing costs and when these are due. Communicate with them in the manner they need to feel confident about buying their first home. They rely on you to help them make the biggest decision of their life. No matter how many times you have helped a first-time home buyer, remember, it’s always their first time.”



“My success in working with first-time buyers has come from focusing on what I refer to as the ‘emotional investment’ as much as the financial one. Coming from a background in human relations and professional coaching, I recognize the importance of taking a holistic approach to decision-making. In order to build trust, the client must feel safe and supported from the start. During our first meeting, I break down how they can expect the process to unfold and what is realistic within their budget. I don’t sugar-coat anything – my market is one of the most competitive in the world. I let them know the process is most likely going to be difficult, and that it is normal to feel a range of emotions as we work through the process, but I’ll be there to keep them grounded and goal-focused. I also reinforce that despite the stress, anger and heartbreak they might feel along the way, it will all be worth it once they get those keys. Setting up a safe space for their emotions removes any guilt or shame the client might feel during the process, and it opens the door to creating lasting, meaningful relationships.”

SHARON CHUNG Century 21 Atria Realty Toronto, ON

“First-time buyers sometimes have no idea who else is involved in the whole buying process. The obvious two are mortgage reps and Realtors, but many first-timers think it stops there. So many other professionals are involved to close a real

estate transaction. At first point of contact with my first-time buyers, I educate them on all the other people they will have to rely on. Instead of leaving it to the last minute to hire a lawyer or scrambling to find a home inspector who is reputable, I make an effort to give my first-time buyers tips and recommendations on what to ask when interviewing lawyers, home inspectors, accountants, movers, etc.”






Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Engel and Völkers Tremblant Mont-Tremblant, QC

“When I meet a client looking for a recreational property, my first questions are always: ‘What do you need?’, ‘Why do you need it?’ and ‘How are you going to use it?’ I don’t want to waste my clients’ time, so that’s why I always go right to the point. I ask those questions to understand what they want so I can show them the properties that are accessible to them. The worst thing to do is to show your clients something that’s completely out of their reach. When you get that straight, your clients will love your work ethic and will definitely want to work with you again. That’s how you can build a great database.”

Port Carling, ON

“Recreational markets are often seasonal, so there’s time in the off-season that can be used to network with sales representatives in the market where the buyers live. This can be done by attending sales meetings to share some important information about your niche market or simply reaching out to a sales representative that you’re friends with on Facebook for a coffee. They will be curious about the lifestyle that your niche market provides and will be eager to refer potential clients to help augment their bottom line. These relationships will then provide additional marketing opportunities, as your new ‘partners’ will want their client database to know about the new service they can help provide. Remember that the overwhelming majority of property searches for recreational properties start online, so the photography, drone and video content needs to be top-notch to ensure the clients can imagine themselves enjoying their lifestyle goals as much as they have in their dreams.”



Sechelt, BC

Northbrook, ON

“Living and working in a small recreational and retirement community two hours outside of Vancouver, I’ve found that homeowners are inundated by real estate stats from the big city, but they are starving for local market information. Giving it to them in unique ways sets me apart. While social media and newsletters are excellent ways of providing information, it’s a one-way flow. In my 15 years of experience, I’ve found the best way for me to deliver information on what’s happening in our market is in person. I host a quarterly ‘market update’ at a local coffee shop that I advertise on Facebook, in my local paper and with a sticker on the front of my notepad mail-outs. The owner cuts her usually large pastries and goodies into quarters and prepares a tray for guests, and we ask people to order whatever they’d like to drink at the counter and put it on my tab. I typically have 12 to 16 people come out. I review the graphical statistics package put out by our board, show recently listed and sold properties, and take questions. It’s old-school, but a very effective and profitable way to engage with potential clients and position myself as an expert in my community.”

“I developed an acronym, PAWLOST – privacy, accessibility, waterfront, lake, other factors, sun, travel time – that helps potential buyers rate every waterfront property they visit based on the things you can’t change about a property. Within 10 minutes of leaving a property, they know if it’s a contender by rating it with a score out of 10. Any property that scores 8 or more is a contender. Those scores help me narrow the search for properties. My niche market also means being involved in cottage trade shows. I attend the two annual Toronto Cottage Life Shows, as well as the Ottawa Cottage Life Show, to meet potential buyers. I am often able to showcase the Land o’ Lakes cottage region by presenting seminars on cottage-buying, participating in panel discussions, and by representing cottage country Realtors in radio and television interviews.”

Royal LePage Sussex


Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty


LYNN FINDLAY EXIT Realty Twin Bridges Sarnia, ON


Royal LePage Your Community Realty

“When dealing with clients who want to downsize, my biggest focus is always on patience, understanding and sharpening my listening skills. It’s crucial to remember that there are often a lot of emotions involved since they have lived in the same home for years. At times you may even run across a client who has a deceased partner, which adds to the stress of making a final decision. It’s also important to be available to help support your clients through the staging process and getting their home on the market. Try to remember that they may have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. At times the process of letting go might be difficult, so exercising understanding is very important. This step is vital in ensuring your clients get top dollar for their home. Making yourself available for any questions and having a great resource team to refer your clients to will go a long way. Clients who are downsizing are well connected, so getting this right will help you with referrals and keep the momentum of your business going. Working with this group of clients is always extremely rewarding, so don’t miss your opportunities.”

Toronto, ON

“When working with downsizing clients, I aim to educate them so that they’re able to make an informed, wise decision all on their own. My goal for them is to be confident and secure in the decisions they make regarding their downsize from an emotional, social and financial perspective. Through my workshops and downsizing guides, I educate them on the buying/ selling process in today’s market, how to declutter their homes and lay out the housing options they have. They also receive tips on how to make sure their homes are safe enough in case they want to stay for a few more years. I also ask them to consider their health and financial standing as they plan their downsize to ensure that they’ll be financially covered through any emergency and that they’ll have enough money to last the remainder of their lives. Using this approach, I believe downsizing becomes more simplified and that clients feel more in charge of their journey and more at ease when executing their plans.”

NICOLE EEDE SMITH EXIT Realty Twin Bridges Sarnia, ON

“My market has a large elderly population, so I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of downsizers. One of the most important things to address is clutter. These clients have stayed in their homes for as long as they’ve been able to, so they are likely to have a large number of items that just aren’t going to fit into their next property. It can be an emotional process, so I try to keep it simple and as fun as possible. The first thing to do is get rid of anything that could be considered redundant. You’d be surprised how many elderly clients have multiples of certain items. Another thing I do is make a ‘keep’ space on the floor that is only a certain size. It adds a physical, almost game-like aspect to the process that helps alleviate some of the stress. Inviting friends and family over so the owners can give their special possessions to the special people in their lives is another way of making a long, difficult process a little bit more pleasant.”





EXIT Realty Matrix Ottawa, ON


Royal LePage Your Community Realty Richmond Hill, ON

NEIL WARSHAFSKY Royal LePage Real Estate Services Toronto, ON

“As a commercial real estate specialist for almost 40 years, I credit my success to creative and knowledge-based transactions. One particular example involves a commercial property being sold by the lender. It was appraised, but my listing suggestion was about 20% higher because I knew the added value of the property’s high number of parking spaces. In two days, we had 18 showings and eight offers, all firm and without conditions. The sale closed 14 days after listing at more than 22% higher than the listing price. Knowing how much value was hidden in those parking spaces is something not all agents would have considered. But a little bit of information can go a long way. You also have to be opportunistic on behalf of your clients. When I sold the El Mocambo in downtown Toronto, the buyer requested changes to the contract after it was conditionally sold. I approached one of the other interested parties and advised that they could buy it without any conditions. He stepped up with a higher price and an earlier closing.”


“The commercial space allows you to focus on some pretty unique properties. I sell golf courses. Having spent 35 years in the golf industry, working on some of the finest golf courses in North America and Australia, selling one is a very complex transaction. Over the years, I’ve owned, designed, constructed, bought and sold many golf courses, from high-end to the mom-and-pop operations. When you’re operating in a niche like I do, to provide the best service to your clients, you need to be a specialist in every aspect of that particular business. I had to become an expert in land development, food and beverage operations, employee relations, customer service, business management, finance, construction, agronomy, horticulture and patience. There are typically three very different operations within a golf course, and each requires special knowledge, so to best represent my clients, I owe it to them to know what they need me to know.”

“After wasting my first two years in real estate running around trying to complete any lead given to me, spending time in cities I knew nothing about, I had the epiphany that I had to specialize in one field of commercial real estate. For me, it became obvious that I should become the expert in a particular geographical area. I chose Markham. I visited every plaza in the area, making lists of the tenants, looking for vacancies and finding out who the owners were. I handed out my business cards to everyone I came across and was surprised about how much information the tenants shared with me. There were many times when I would phone a landlord and provide him information about his plaza that he was not aware of. I realized that all we sold was knowledge, and the more knowledge I had, the more value I could provide to my clients. I also realized that I could not have extensive knowledge by going everywhere and trying to do everything.”


RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group Ottawa, ON

“I’ve been selling and leasing real estate for 42 years, the last 25 or so specializing in the sale or leasing of office and industrial buildings and spaces. I wouldn’t have lasted as long if I didn’t find purpose in my work. Rather than emphasizing how much money we make as a measure of our success in commercial real estate – or any endeavour – I would suggest that we measure it against another standard and always ask ourselves, ‘How useful is what I’m doing?’ If we are offering useful service to our customers, we can work with a clear conscience, knowing that what we are offering has value. It’s unfortunate that the scoreboard is too often number of sales and money pocketed. Revenue follows when we provide good service. Our sights as salespeople should be focused on what we provide, not on how we are compensated. An honest dollar is made with good service and knowing that you’re worth it.”

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AMIT DHAWAN Century 21 Atria Realty Toronto, ON

“It’s imperative as a condo specialist to know your product. The condo market is enormous in Toronto, and knowing the ins and outs of every building is crucial. There are hundreds of condo buildings in Toronto, and every building has its own positives and negatives: Some are well managed and have excellent reserve funds, and others have assessments and lawsuits pending. The internet can provide you with information on each condo building, but the agent provides you with inside knowledge.”





Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty Victoria, BC

“One of the most important skills to have as a real estate advisor who specializes in new development is knowledge of your product and project. Especially in today’s market, the buyer is often purchasing something they can’t tangibly see. They are making decisions based on plans, previous builds, examples of finishings and features, etc. It can be somewhat overwhelming, particularly for an inexperienced buyer who is unfamiliar with the entire process of buying a home in general. Understanding the product and the construction process allows you to present and speak to it confidently, and at the same time stand strongly behind what you’re selling. This will translate directly into creating comfort in the potential buyers and allow them to feel confident in their choice. Being knowledgeable and confident is important in all real estate transactions. In the case of new construction, however, it is vital to success.”



“What has contributed largely to our success is our focus on simplifying the buying process when communicating with potential clients what is involved in buying pre-construction properties – being able to take complex information and making it simple for everyone to understand. Whether it’s someone who is brand-new to investing in pre-construction,

“The more our clients know when purchasing pre-construction, the more confident they are in purchasing again in the future” someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language or someone who is interested in investing in pre-construction but doesn’t necessarily know the process itself, we make sure we educate them. There’s a lot that goes into purchasing pre-construction that many people don’t know just off the top of their heads: the purchasing process, closing costs, getting financing. They are all aspects that we take the time to explain either in person, on the phone or even physically writing it out in a handout so they can take it home and read it over. The more our clients know when purchasing pre-construction, the more confident they are in purchasing again in the future.”


I Dare YOU to Let Canada’s “Bad” Real Estate Market Make You a Crazy-Rich Agent! What you’re about to read should make you think. AND question everything you’re doing and everything you’re being told.

Craig Proctor, here. So, here’s what I transformed from years of struggle to know – that nobody else does. I know how success - all of them are using my system. to get crazy rich during a “bad” real estate But this is NOT for most agents. market. Most agents just aren’t mature and sensible I don’t mean just make more money. enough for it or honestly ambitious enough Just juice the income a little. I mean: for it. And most just can’t handle the truth. SKYROCKET your income. I mean: I don’t need your money – so I’m not STUN everybody else in your office – and going to pander to your worst impulses to the flashiest loud-mouth braggart at every get it. If you’re going to waste your time meeting. I mean: ACTUALLY HAVE looking for a single, magic, new easyPEOPLE LINED UP, PRE-DETERMINED button or you want a 4-hour workweek or TO GET YOU AND ONLY YOU to list and you believe in claims of “secrets” never sell their home or find one for them – so before seen in real estate, I can’t help you you have NO competition. I mean: RUB AND I DON’T WANT YOU AROUND. EVERYBODY’S FACE IN IT KIND OF AT ALL. Get this: crazy-rich level SUCCESS. Visible. Big. Confusing to success in this business is NOT about others. “How the hell is he doing this?” I anything “NEW” at all. Sorry. It’s about mean: “GREEN WITH ENVY” MONEY putting the right pouring in. I mean: pieces, 2018 is going to be a scary year. proven MAKING SO MUCH strategies, methods SO FAST that all your Mortgage stress tests are expected and tools together debt is wiped away, in just the right way to further dampen housing your credit cards are so that you wind up demand, and economists are clear, the new car you with ‘The SYSTEM kept telling yourself divided about how much further That NEVER Fails.’ “no” to is in your Canada’s housing market will fall. driveway, and there’s Crazy-Rich is hardly [Financial Post] a money flow left over ever about invention. to wisely invest and get rich with. I mean: It’s about implementation. Contrary to joining the Evil 1%. (With me.) Needing a widely held belief, Henry Ford did not financial advisor, a private banker, a wealth invent the horseless carriage or gasoline manager. I mean: actually living like the engine. He developed a functioning people who buy million dollar luxury assembly line to make the damn things, homes from you. All while working LESS and a dealer-franchise system to get them HOURS with LESS STRESS, doing fewer sold. Two systems. Implementation, not things, and getting greater results. Getting invention. Fred deLuca at Subway did not Crazy-Rich in real estate without having a invent cold cuts, the sub sandwich or frandisappointed and disapproving spouse and chising – but he brought a system to it family. second-to-none, and got crazy-rich. I did What you need is a system that works. NOT invent anything in my System. Much Not a bunch of ideas or motivational of it came from outside of real estate and psycho-babble. You need a real system. was revolutionary in real estate, but I have an absolutely proven, real each piece I put together already system. That works regardless of market lived successfully elsewhere. conditions. Anywhere. Any time. All the Here are the three mindsets you time. Now. This year. Next year. It’s worthy MUST have: of your time to investigate because after you 1. You have to be businesslike. Most work setting it in motion, it keeps working agents think and act like worker bees, for you, permanently. buzzing about, flower to flower, idea to idea, You see, I approached my real estate fad to fad. They never create businesses. career more like a “systems engineer” Just jobs. You have to think like a builder than an excitable salesman. Maybe my and developer, not just a salesman. You consistency and constancy is boring to have to think like a guy who owns 50 some, but the most successful agents in Subway shops or the whole company, not many franchises, over 300 agents with the guy behind the counter making the 7-figure incomes, and thousands of agents sandwiches. If you do, what I’ll share with

you at my upcoming Discovery Day will make sense to you. 2. You have to intend to get and stay RICH in this business. Most agents are content making a living, forever making excuses to themselves and their families, forever waiting for the market to go back to its peak. If these agents do four, five, maybe ten deals in a year, they are good to go for another year. This isn’t for those folks. This is for the agent with mid-6-figures to 7-figures on his or her mind AND determined to earn it without selling soul to soul-numbing activities like sitting on the Wish-Chair all afternoon at open houses, doing listing presentations for prospects also having 4 more agents “audition”, playing tour guide, pushing business cards on people at cocktail parties, even cold-calling FSBO’s etc. You have to be fed up, worn out and frustrated with the way most good-income agents work and everything they trade away for their income AND ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO A BETTER WAY OF LIFE. It’s said no team can start winning until they are absolutely disgusted, angry and fed up with losing. You can be making a good income in real estate and still be losing. I know that from firsthand experience. 3. You have to be able to focus and employ self-discipline, to stick with a winning plan once you get one. There’s no point in wasting your time or mine if you have the attention span of a ferret drinking Starbucks, the self-control of Donald Trump, and the self-discipline of a puppy. Warren Buffet has not changed his investment selection system one iota in at least 20 years. Disney’s system for successful storytelling has never changed or wavered. “Frozen” was built on exactly the same premise and template as was “Snow White”. ADHERENCE TO SYSTEM makes you crazy-rich. Flitting about has you starting over, over and over and over again. Okay, so, do you think you would value and could stick with a complete and ‘no stone unturned’, proven, up-to-date but not fad-ish, extremely productive system if you got one? If so, investigate, explore, learn. And do that by attending my upcoming free half day Discovery Day. You’ll find all the details you need to attend at Go there now. This is serious. Author, Craig Proctor, was a highly successful agent himself throughout his over 20 year career. Twice #1 for RE/MAX Worldwide (and consistently in the RE/MAX Top 10), Proctor consistently sold over 500 homes a year to earn almost $4 Million in annual GCI. As Canada’s foremost Real Estate Coach, Proctor has created more Millionaire Agents (both in Canada and the US) than any other coach or trainer.

Learn How to Get Crazy-Rich at My Upcoming Free Craig Proctor Discovery Day More Information or Register at:





Royal LePage Connect Realty Toronto, ON

“I urge anyone preparing themselves for a life in pre-construction sales to educate themselves about new construction. Do not think it’s the same as resale. One area agents need to study is the lingo. There’s a huge number of specific terms you’ll need to know in order to not only answer your clients’ questions, but also to complete most sales. Here’s a list of helpful phrases you will encounter: Tarion, disclosure statement, interim occupancy, rescission period, assignments clauses and developmental charges. This final one is a very important factor – it could cost a buyer an extra $20,000 to $50,000.

SOFIA SARKISSOVA AND NIMA KHADEM Royal LePage Signature Realty Toronto, ON

“The art of making people feel comfortable with writing deposit cheques for pre-construction condos is seamless once they’re confident that their ROI will be more than what the bank offers. We instill that feeling by providing an in-depth knowledge of current absorption rates, price-persquare-foot comparisons, rental statistics and economic factors. The public needs this kind of information, as opposed to one-liners they read on the news without explanation. Once they’ve digested our breakdown, we transition into a detailed financial conversation and show them how their growth is not just on their down payment, but rather on the value of the unit itself. It’s also crucial for buyers to be connected to an expert mortgage advisor to ensure they can qualify for a loan, as most builders are now asking for a bank approval within the 10-day rescission period.”

BRIAN MACDOUGALL RE/MAX Crest Realty Vancouver, BC

“When working with pre-sale clients, we are still seeing lucrative buying opportunities for our investors, so the appetite for this type of product is very strong. In most cases, the projects are selling out very quickly, with many more buyers than homes available. We pride ourselves in building relationships with the developers and their sales teams so our clients get early access to this type of product. We have worked with several of the developers and their sales teams over the last number of years and brought multiple clients to their pre-sale centres. We ensure that we register for all developments as they are released and then always try to attend the Realtor VIP events whenever possible. We keep in contact with the key people on these projects so that we are aware when projects will be released. Our track record of bringing clients who are ready to purchase is probably what has helped us most in solidifying these relationships.”



STEPHEN CHOW Century 21 Atria Realty Toronto, ON

“In the pre-construction world, it’s important to be the first to get units during platinum broker release periods because the prices are usually at the best price point and, more importantly, they will actually be available. Once those units have been released to other Realtors, it’ll be too late. That’s why it’s so important to develop connections to all the large builders. We get information on projects months in advance. It helps us start educating our buyers about what investment opportunities will suit their needs. Our online pre-construction condo website gives detailed info on projects that aren’t even launched yet. Our buyers can register on the site to get first access to floor plans and price lists. It’s also necessary to understand the investment aspect of pre-construction. We look into each client so we can match them to the right project.”




TONY MILLER EXIT Realty Matrix Ottawa, ON

“As an investor-focused Realtor, I ask most investor buyers to sign a buyer representation agreement before I start working with them. If a buyer decides not to sign it, I won’t do any work for them. I need assurances that the investor is as committed to me as I am to them. I want to help investors build long-term wealth, but this is extremely difficult to do if the investors won’t commit to the program. There is tremendous value in working with an investor-focused Realtor. Investors who sign a BRA get access to my network, resources, experience, coaching and ongoing support. Also, I’ve been burned before. For two years, I worked with an investor who didn’t sign a BRA, showing him properties, providing him with information that’s only available to Realtors, analyzing properties and more. I recently found out that he bought using another Realtor, which means I won’t be compensated for any of the work or services provided. A signed BRA would have provided protection, therefore preventing this situation.”

CRAIG RUTKOWSKI EXIT Realty Twin Bridges Sarnia, ON

“Most investors, in my experience, are looking for the next best deal. In a busy market, this can be very hard to come by or near impossible to find. One way to alleviate your clients’ concerns about who’s getting the next best deal is by lowering your investment client list. I’ve found success by sticking closely with a handful of serious investors, providing them with the best service possible, keeping them happy and keeping them in the loop on current market trends and activity. These clients will stick with you until the end and be easier to deal with at the end of day due to the trust you’ve gained over the years.”

TAHANI ABURANEH Urban Living Realty Kitchener, ON

“In marketing, you always hear about understanding who your client is and what their needs are. That’s totally true when dealing with real estate investors and accounts for my number-one tip when working with these clients. There are different types and different needs, and you can’t dump them all in the same bucket. It’s so important to understand the type of investor you’re working with and then match them to the type of investment that fits their needs. For example, selling a newbie investor a flip will overwhelm them with too much to learn. It instantly puts them at risk of losing money. A simple buy-and-hold that is positively cash-flowing would be a much better fit for that client. When an investor feels listened to and understood, and that you get them, that’s when you create a client for life.”


PAOLO DIVITANTONIO Royal LePage State Realty Hamilton, ON

“The numbers don’t lie. Whether it’s buy-and-hold or fix-and-flip, eliminating the guesswork and speculation with sound analysis based on viable, realistic data is the key. With buy-and-holds, I always extrapolate out to a five-year picture. What this enables me to do is use a reasonable amount of time and factor in all three of the ROI metrics: cash flow, principal pay-down and appreciation. Once annualized, a very clear picture of the investor’s potential ROI presents itself. In a fix-and-flip, I always ask: ‘What metric is most important?’ The first answer I always get is renovation costs, which are very important, but a successful project starts and ends with your purchase price. Profit is made and lost on most flips the second a property is purchased, so we start at the end: After-repair value minus expenses (reno costs + carrying costs + closing costs + desired profit) equals the purchase price. If you are accurate with your estimates, the calculations will lead you to what your initial purchase price should be.”


RACHEL MOK Century 21 Atria Realty Toronto, ON

“Dealing with investment clients is about experience, research and data analysis – not analyzing properties per se, but the investors: whether they are in it for short-term gain or the long haul, if they are able to financially sustain it if the property does not yield the desired outcome, if their goals are realistic. It’s crucial you learn your communities and markets and tailor your suggestions to the investors. Cap rate and market trends are important, but should not be the determining factor of an investment, because that’s just a numbers game. Cap rate overshadows a lot of important factors, such as: Can you live in it or run a business there? Can you handle student rental housing, or would you rather trade off less work for less return? Analyze the goals and abilities of the investor before all else.”




DEANNA PARRELL Bosley Real Estate Toronto, ON

“I often find that new agents entering the business see real estate as an easy way to make money and don’t realize all of the time and effort it takes to make it into a long-lasting career. I often prioritize my work over other parts of my life, which isn’t always easy, but it has allowed me to steadily grow my business. I think this is especially important in the beginning of your real estate career, when a lot of agents get started in leases. Even the smallest of leases can take a lot of time to come to fruition, so doing away with the idea that it is ‘just a lease’ and not a sale is very important. Lease clients deserve the same respect and attention as buyers and sellers. There have been times where I have worked with clients with very small lease budgets, and it has taken just as long to firm up a deal as when I’m working with higher-end buyers. Some agents might look at that and think it’s crazy, but the gratitude from these clients, as well as the many new clients they refer to me, makes it more than worth it!”




Toronto, ON

Sarnia, ON

Ottawa, ON

“The real estate market in Toronto is a changing and evolving thing. Due to current market pressures on buying and the high cost of property here, the pressures on the leasing market are increasing at a faster pace than ever. The need for services such as those I provide is increasing along with it. I started an entirely separate division of my business, Lease King, in addition to the buying and selling of real estate. I think what has contributed the most to my success in leasing is always treating the client as if they are they the most important client I have at the time. I treat them with the same respect, care and diligence that I do any client looking to buy or sell a property. While the remuneration is very little comparatively, the need of the client comes first, and I think I help them see that.”

“For the most part, agents don’t see any value in doing leases because the commission is less. But it builds dual relationships: with renters who will one day be getting into the market, and with owners who might eventually sell their home with you one day. Those owners are putting their trust in you to pick the perfect tenants for them. If you do well, these landlords tend to purchase multiple properties. For clients who might be nervous about leasing out their home for the first time, my response is always that the profits outweigh the risk. The rules and regulations are always changing, and owners are fearful of tenants having more rights than owners, but clients always have the choice on who they lease to. If they are not comfortable with an application, we can deny it.”

“There’s a lot you can tell about someone when you meet them. My interview process with potential tenants starts from the moment we meet at a property. Were they on time? Did they remove their shoes? It’s all about finding the best fit for the property and continuously pre-qualifying the candidates. We always say: ‘It’s easier to get a tenant in than to get a tenant out.’ For me, it’s important to do the homework on the front end in order to avoid any potential disputes down the road. And while finding a tenant is a big part of the job, the work doesn’t stop after they move in. We keep an open line of communication with our tenants and do periodic site visits to address any small issues before they turn into big and pricey ones for our landlords.”

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DONNA VAN’T HOF EXIT Realty Inter Lake Bridgewater, NS

“As a Realtor who works with foreign clients, my success has been related to flying to Germany and being a participant in the Jagd & Hund in Dortmund, which is Europe’s largest hunting exhibition. There I had a booth and promoted the South Shore of Nova Scotia for five days. This was all done through clients from Marl, Germany, who purchased a property from me just outside of Bridgewater. We became great friends, and they thought this would be good for my business. They were right. The lesson is that sometimes it’s best to swing for the fences with your marketing. Facebook and Google are effective, inexpensive options, but taking your enthusiasm and market insight directly to a new clientele is an investment that I feel has the potential to pay off enormously.”

PHIL MUISE EXIT Realty PEI Charlottetown, PEI

“One of the key ingredients that has contributed to my success in dealing with foreign clients has been holding information seminars on various topics. There are a number of facets to the settlement information I provide, ranging from basic information on school zones to how to apply for your health card to understanding the local housing market. Currently I work with a member of the Chinese community, and we put on seminars approximately three times per month on topics that the community has interest in: taxation, banking, legal issues and how to incorporate your company in Prince Edward Island. It’s about appreciating the variety of newcomers, providing them information and answering questions on topics they have an interest in. Uprooting your family and moving thousands of miles to a new country is a daunting task. Being part of the solution by providing information and advice is key to helping those newcomers settle permanently into their new communities.”


Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Toronto, ON

“When dealing with foreign clients, language is key. We have created a multi-cultural and multilanguage approach to serve our foreign clients and facilitate their needs. Our team of seven speaks 10 languages and can explain immigration options that may be important to our clients. It is also advantageous to suss out the driving force behind a foreign client’s investment. Many of our buyers from mainland China focus on education, so an agent dealing with this marketplace must have a strong knowledge of both public and private educational options in the region. The Southeast Asian community focuses much more on investment, with the cap rate being a driving force. They tend not to be as area-specific, as they are more value-specific. My constant companion in dealing with the various foreign markets is the book Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. It’s a dictionary of how to greet, meet and succeed with foreign clients.”




PAUL MARANGER Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Toronto, ON

“I think clients at all price levels simply want to connect with the right person, so authenticity is crucial. One thing I still do to this day is to interview a client’s builder, architect and/or interior designer, because buyers value in-depth knowledge of the details and customization of their home. During the listing presentation, I tell sellers that’s how we add value in the process. I want to know every detail of their home so that I can parlay that to a buyer or buyer’s agent. I can explain the value of the details and tell the story. And there’s a story behind everything, whether it be that of the cabinetmaker or the origin of the marble. It’s telling the story of the home that sets you apart. Another thing I tell sellers in a listing presentation is that if we don’t currently have any other listings in their area on our roster right now, there is no conflict of interest like there may be should you choose to work with one of our competitors.”


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Chestnut Park Real Estate Toronto, ON

“Working with great people to help find a luxury condo or sell an estate home is a finely tuned skill that must always be refined. Being at the forefront of what’s happening in our city is pivotal to attaining the best results. This is accomplished by being up-to-date on statistical information provided by TREB and other sources, talking with city councillors to better understand the social movements that are taking place, constantly meeting with people in the industry – lawyers, bankers, mortgage brokers, property owners – and continuously educating yourself. The real magic is taking this information and using your contacts to add value for your clients. I create a customized action plan to achieve the best results for the client’s lifestyle needs and financial future. My mandate is to educate clients to empower their real estate decision – always looking for ways to add value and simplify the process while looking out for their best interest.”


Toronto, ON

“When you expect the best and are accustomed to living your life in ways that are unique, the opportunity to customize it into a personalized luxury lifestyle needs unique expertise. That expertise can only be attained over many years of experienced dealings with this group of homeowners, who would like to either downsize or maintain their lifestyle in a luxury style. It is those years of experience that have given me the insight into understanding that a luxury lifestyle is unique to each individual, and with that in mind, I can deliver exactly what my clients need, the way they need it. Just because something is luxury doesn’t make it unique or comfortable. I have endeavoured to understand that the primary needs for my clients, first and foremost, are comfort and security for their family home.”



Century 21 Atria Realty Toronto, ON

“It’s not easy to deal with luxury real estate. The pricing of luxury real estate adds a particular layer of difficulty. There are fewer comparable properties to reference, and each luxury home tends to have unique features that only some buyers will appreciate. Your clients understand that their homes are unique, but helping them understand how that uniqueness can affect pricing or how long a sale takes to complete is something worth preparing for. On a more general level, selling luxury properties takes a different kind of enthusiasm and a dedication to working with a particular kind of client who expects the highest integrity.”





“Selling luxury properties is no different than selling lower-priced homes in that it’s all about understanding my clients’ needs. There are items that can easily be improved with the proper budget, so doors open if I can get clients to consider homes that are priced considerably below what they are willing to pay, with the understanding that they will have to spend money improving the home.

“Selling luxury properties is no different ... it’s all about understanding my clients’ needs” If they are open to that, I focus on homes that have the aspects that can’t be changed, such as location, but also have items that can be changed, such as kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, decor, windows, doors and trim – the list goes on. It’s amazing what $250,000 in improvements will do to modernize a home that does not look good but has great bones. It’s fun to see a client visualize the possibilities.”


Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Toronto, ON

“Leading people to sound decisions and aiding them with creativity, luxury agents are able to look at real estate differently, and with the bigger picture in mind. Details are important, but long-term trends and fundamentals are keys to making sound decisions. These characteristics are far more reliable than being guided by conflicting media reports or economists’ opinions, which can miss several key points. I like to look locally and internationally for my clients, and firmly believe that established cities and areas –which have become so for a reason – are safer bets for long-term value than the ‘flavour of the month’ cities and neighbourhoods that pop up on the luxury agent’s radar.”




Harnessing disruption


Anthony Hitt, president and CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas, shares four concepts agents should consider when attempting to deliver a luxury experience in a tech-driven world

EVERY DAY seems to bring a new entrant to the market that claims to provide better and faster transactions without the need for human touch. But real estate will always be deeply human, with great experiences marked by standout personal service. In an increasingly noisy market, it has never been more important for real estate professionals to deliver a luxury experience to every client they work with. Here are four key concepts real estate professionals should understand and apply to ensure they provide luxury service today, tomorrow and into the uncertain future.


Luxury is personal

It’s important to recognize that the concept of luxury in the modern real estate market is no longer restricted to ornate properties and high price points. Modern luxury service is for every real estate buyer and seller. Providing luxury service means something different for each client, be it time, convenience, privacy or location. With as many meanings of luxury as there are clients, real estate professionals must adapt their marketing and services to match each client’s needs. Today, luxury is all about personalization – we all have to dive deeper into understanding our clients to provide them with tailored service.


when having a car service pick you up whenever and wherever you wanted was considered a luxury. Then Uber came along, bringing ondemand transportation to the masses. Examples of technology similarly democratizing a previously exclusive experience exist in many industries, and real estate is no exception. Technology doesn’t equal luxury – it’s a tool to deliver luxury experiences, but one no more critical to luxury than great marketing materials; timely, clear communication; and a friendly manner. Agents must lead with personalization, using technology to enhance rather than define each client’s individual experience.

If technology can replace it, it’s not luxury

There was a time in the not-so-distant past


Buyers want an expert

Technology has enabled prospective homebuyers to do their own in-depth research, but even the most informed buyers are looking for real estate experts to guide them through the homebuying journey. Real estate professionals must add value to clients, whether that’s by providing access to coming-soon and off-market listings, deep neighbourhood knowledge or community concierge services. Buyers and sellers value the reassurance of a seasoned expert.


Luxury will keep evolving

Technology will continue to advance. As it does, agents need to hone timeless skills that will never go out of style. No matter how technology changes the industry, real estate professionals must focus on giving each client a

Since its beginning in 1977 as a specialty boutique providing exclusive, high-end real estate services in Hamburg, Germany, Engel & Völkers has become one of the world’s leading companies specializing in the sale and lease of premium residential and commercial property, yachts and private aviation. Engel & Völkers currently operates a global network of over 10,000 real estate advisors in more than 30 countries, offering both private and institutional clients a professionally tailored range of luxury services. Committed to exceptional service, Engel & Völkers supports its advisors with an array of premium-quality business services; marketing programs and tools; multiple platforms for mobile, social and web; and access to its global network of real estate professionals, property listings and market data. Each brokerage is independently owned and operated. tailored, white-glove experience. The attention to detail, personalization and added value that we bring to each client interaction creates a luxury experience. Technological disruption has many industry professionals scrambling to redefine themselves, but changing your brand or services in response to every new technology is a losing game that ultimately weakens your brand. Focusing on providing personalized service and a luxury experience allows real estate professionals to succeed, no matter the technology and new models that emerge around them. REP




Community and opportunity Julie Jenkins, owner of EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, has made networking and community involvement a cornerstone of her business. She shares 10 tips for agents looking to do the same

LONG BEFORE Julie Jenkins became a real estate agent, she recognized the value of community involvement in building her professional reputation. Although a lifelong resident of Sarnia, Ontario, she seldom ventured beyond her social circle until realizing how much expanding her network would benefit her job as a headhunter for a large financial planning company. “I started Women in Networking, a group of


a few business-owner friends who met now and then for lunch,” Jenkins says. The group grew by word of mouth, and eventually its monthly activities included workshops and evening events where members could showcase their expertise on topics ranging from social media to financial planning. To widen her reach, Jenkins also started a networking group on LinkedIn, open to all business professionals in the Sarnia-Lambton area. Whereas

Women in Networking attracts primarily small-business owners, the LinkedIn network has become a hub for community leaders, both men and women. In 2011, Jenkins became licensed to sell real estate, and the relationships she built through her networking groups helped launch and sustain her career. “Ninety-nine per cent of my real estate business comes from those professional networks or referrals from their members,” she says. In 2016, Jenkins had the opportunity to purchase the EXIT Realty Twin Bridges franchise. “Because of the positive impact community involvement had on my own business, I wanted to take my entire team along for the ride,” she says. Jenkins leads by example, and although many of her agents had no experience in community projects, many are now enjoying the benefits. “We’ve participated in McDonald’s McHappy Day, and we sponsor the annual gala for Rebound Sarnia-Lambton, an organization that works with youth,” she says. “Getting my team involved helps to build morale, fosters a team atmosphere and also helps us attract new agents to the brokerage because they see that it’s a fun place to work.” A key affiliation for EXIT Realty Twin Bridges is with Habitat for Humanity. “When



Choose wisely. I’ve been asked to participate on many boards. I want

to say yes to everything, but I was getting burned out. I had to be strategic. When I consider a request, I take into consideration who’s asking, what the cause is and the time commitment. Of course, there’s always, “What’s in it for me?” I make sure the cause aligns with our values and provides an opportunity for exposure.


Know your strengths. I’m better at leading people in activities


Take online activities offline. I started the mixed group on

Don’t overlook the obvious. Join and support the Chamber of


Piggyback on corporate initiatives. If your franchisor


Wear your brand. If it’s appropriate, dress your team alike in your


Host free community events. On our 10th anniversary, we

Commerce and attend their functions. Networking is not about collecting business cards; it’s about creating and nurturing relationships.

supports a charitable initiative, you may be able to participate in matching programs for fundraising, additional marketing or branding support.

than sitting in board meetings. I’m never afraid to get my hands dirty.

LinkedIn, but I found that people weren’t using it effectively. I wanted to get to know the members face-to-face, so now we meet in person monthly and continue the conversation on LinkedIn.



Support local businesses. Our networking meetings are held

company’s colours. I always have a pocketful of logo pins in case my agents forget theirs.

hosted a free Movie in the Park event and invited the entire community. Sponsors helped to cover the cost, and hundreds of people attended.

at various restaurants or at our members’ businesses. Promote, promote, promote. Whether it’s soliciting votes


Find a need and fill it. There were networking and women’s

groups in nearby London but nothing in our community, so we started our own. In 2015, my group and another merged, and together we founded the Sarnia Modern Women Show, a one-day show with speakers and almost 100 exhibitors.

I was first approached about participating in a Habitat build, I had some selfish reasons for saying yes,” Jenkins says. “I thought that the

10 on social media for which Movie in the Park followers want to watch

or inviting them to join a park cleanup for Earth Day, promotion is key. If you’re not good at taking pictures or using social media, enlist the help of your millennial agents.

a safe place to live. It was no longer about what I was getting out of it – it was all about them. It wasn’t just a building; it was their home, a

“All of this community involvement has taught me that giving back is very rewarding. It teaches leadership skills and hones my ability to work with others” exposure would help me reach more prospective clients and help me grow my business. Then one day, while working on the build site alongside the partner family, it dawned on me that because of our efforts, they would have

new start, a new beginning. “Networking helps to build strong relationships in the community and builds brand awareness,” Jenkins adds. “But beyond that, all of this community involvement has taught me

that giving back is very rewarding. It teaches leadership skills and hones my ability to work with others.” However, Jenkins does offer a word of caution to anyone wishing to ramp up their community involvement. “Don’t spread yourself too thin,” she says. “A few years ago, I was spending too much time on community activities and not enough on my real estate business. Even though most of my business comes from being a leader in the community, I had to remember to spend time on my business as well.” REP To learn more about what working with EXIT Realty can do for your career, visit




MEET THE ELITE With the market in turmoil, investing in a top trainer is more valuable than ever. REP spoke to three of North America’s most successful real estate coaches about the impact a proven training program can have on an agent’s business and lifestyle EVERYONE HAS their own recipe for selling more homes. Some agents feel they can trial-and-error their way to a process that will put them on the fast track to success. Some think doing the same things, “only better,” is all that’s standing between them and superstardom. Others simply hope that a rising market will produce rising income. One of the most proven methods for improving performance is

enlisting the services of a real estate coach, who can identify the unseen mistakes and inefficient systems that prevent so many agents from reaching their professional and personal goals. REP spoke to three of North America’s most respected and successful trainers – Richard Robbins, Kathleen Black and Craig Proctor – to get their take on coaching’s role in a competitive market and find out what their unique programs offer agents looking for an edge.

ABOUT THE SPONSOR Best described by his audiences as “a true integrity-powered leader,” Richard Robbins has led his organization for the past two decades as Canada’s most pre-eminent authority on real estate sales and business performance. Having served hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide, RRI’s mission to deliver the most innovative, impactful real estate training and coaching services to clients, with a relentless commitment to helping them build great businesses and inspired lives, has struck a chord with those in the real estate space, leading the company to garner $50 million in revenue and a remarkable 3,000% growth in its first decade. RRI understands the importance of exceeding sales goals without compromising quality of life and its success continues full speed with innovative, world-class conferences, customized coaching and recently with the launch of the industry’s most in-depth, transformative real estate certification program, Masters Formula. For more information, call 800-298-9587 or visit


Your last stop before the top. Invest in yourself today, start your first coaching session on us. 1.800.298.9587 |

“You’ll achieve more than what you set out to...”

“I owe my success to RRI.”

RRI and coaching have absolutely changed my life for the better. The systems reduce your learning curve and you soon realize you can achieve more.

Running a business isn’t something they teach you when you get your license. I’m so glad I started coaching early in my career. I owe so much of my success to this organization.

Darin Germyn | Surrey, BC Member Since 2012

Jay Tomlinson | Edmonton, AB Member Since 2013

“ Built a million dollar business and had fun while doing it.” RRI’s passion for excellence continues to build my business, but more importantly, I have more free time than ever to give back. Mary Roy | Pickering, ON Member Since 1999




Richard Robbins RICHARD ROBBINS, founder and CEO of Richard Robbins International, is celebrating his 20th year of providing leading-edge coaching and training services to real estate agents, mortgage professionals and business leaders at all levels. In addition to increasing sales and strengthening bottom lines across North America, Robbins aims to provide his clients with a work-life balance that allows them to enjoy the fruits of their success.

REP: What are a few areas where you feel agents are struggling these days? Richard Robbins: I would say the biggest is lead conversion. Lead generation is always

Speed to lead is critical. Today, for you to have any success, you need to respond in five minutes or less. The average response time right now is just over three hours. That’s a problem. Another is not staying in the game. It’s proven that if you make six attempts, you have a 93% chance of getting a hold of a lead. Most agents try once, twice, maybe three times, and then they give up.

REP: Is that because of frustration? A lack of time? RR: There’s no question that agents are busy, but I think another reason is that they don’t know what to do. So their challenge

“You can’t stop at just giving a potential client what they ask for. You have to go beyond: Educate them, let them know their options, give them reasons to take the conversation from online to in person” a problem, but converting potential leads into appointments is a big issue. We’re living in this fast-paced digital world where people are in a constant search for information – especially real estate consumers – but a lot of agents just aren’t persistent enough to reach those buyers and sellers and give them what they need before someone else does.


is, “If I’m going to follow up again, what do I send them this time?” I don’t think they have content that is valuable. They haven’t differentiated themselves enough from the competition, and their value proposition is not clear, even to themselves. What we teach them is that each interaction has to provide something of value.

You can’t stop at just giving a potential client what they ask for. You have to go beyond: Educate them, let them know their options, give them reasons to take the conversation from online to in person. You have to offer something with each attempt, because an offer requires a response.

REP: How do agents differentiate themselves in an increasingly tight, increasingly competitive market? RR: When some Canadian markets were running on multiple offers, you didn’t have to motivate buyers or sellers. Sellers knew that as soon as a home came up, buyers were going to look at it. And you didn’t have to be the greatest marketer in the world because most houses were going to get multiple offers. When the GTA was hot, almost 80% of homes were selling on a monthly basis. Now it’s about one house out of four. How do you become the one agent who’s closing? You have to be able to bring value to a conversation with a buyer to get them motivated because that self-motivation may not be there. You have to move from almost being an order-taker to becoming a salesperson, where you have the ability to influence people to make a decision that will best serve them.

REP: What does Richard Robbins Inter­ national do to give agents an edge? RR: The challenge in our industry is that it’s painfully under-trained. When somebody gets a real estate licence, they have learned nothing about how to sell. They’ve learned nothing about lead gen, conversions, listing or buyer presentations, showing a property, time management, financial management – zilch. Our goal is to help agents who don’t want to enrol in the college of hard knocks dramatically shorten their learning curve. We train agents – teach them the how’s, what’s and when’s – and then follow that

21% increase in income in the first year. If someone grossed $100,000 and then grossed $121,000 the year after, that’s about a 150% return on their investment, not to mention the rewards of a balanced life and a predictable business.

REP: What are some common traits shared by successful agents? RR: I’d say there are three. First, successful agents focus on generating leads, whether that’s marketing or prospecting, every day. They have a routine, and that routine includes time where they’re going to generate leads, to actually get out there and actively build business. Second, the top agents I’ve met are always learning. The world is changing so fast, customers’ expectations are shifting, and there are all kinds of companies with deep pockets that want to disrupt the real estate industry – so real estate agents have to be on top of all of that in order to know what’s going to work and what’s not. Third is consistent implementation. The good agents do what the great agents do once in a while, but the great agents do it every day.

REP: RRI is in its 20th year. Are there any new initiatives you’re particularly excited about? RR: We just launched a program called

training up with coaching, which adds an additional layer of focus and accountability. For example, at one of our two-day Masters Academy seminars, we teach what the most successful people in the industry are doing. The coaching then helps structure, direct and optimize the implementation so that it aligns with a Realtor’s career and personal goals.

REP: A lot of agents struggle to make sales. How can they justify the expense of a coaching program? RR: First, I don’t think it’s an expense. It’s an investment. If you’re going to invest money in coaching, you should get a pretty substantial return on that. The average agent in our coaching program experiences about a

Masters Formula, which is basically a ‘train the trainer’ program for brokers and managers. It’s a 10-week online classroom training program that brokers and managers can use in their offices to train their agents on our teaching. Learning is not just an event, it’s an ongoing process, and we wanted to enable brokers to provide leading-edge content right in their office. To learn more about Richard Robbins International, or to sign up for one of the company’s upcoming Masters Academy real estate conferences, visit




Kathleen Black AFTER YEARS as a top performer in Ontario’s highly competitive Durham Region, Kathleen Black launched Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting in 2015, leveraging the strategies and experience that made her a heavy hitter into repeatable systems that have helped turned 80% of her clients into top 1% producers. Known as North America’s top team-builder, Black specializes in the unique challenges facing individual agents as they begin constructing their own real estate teams.

a years-out perspective also leads to some serious errors in actual business structure: training, compensation and recruitment. These seem like simple concepts, but there are so many sub-structures to each one – and each of those has its own pros and cons – that it’s easy to make mistakes that not only harm a business’s bottom line, but also can hamstring or completely derail any attempts at further expansion. People often give up on having a team because they lack the ability to see how the systems plug into each

“A team leader needs to slow down and inspect every aspect of the business at its most minute level. It can seem so slow and frustrating compared to sales, but that scrutiny can’t be avoided” REP: Where do agents go wrong in their attempts to build a team? Kathleen Black: I think the first mistake is

other, but that’s hard to do when you’re just starting to build your team.

not knowing exactly where they want to get to, or making decisions based on where they’re at today versus where they want to get their business to in five to 10 years. That difference in perspective is so important because it dictates the approach and direction agents need to take in order to scale up. Failing to look at team-building from

REP: There are a lot of stages involved in the transition from indi­ vidual to team. How do you guide agents through what is often a very messy process? KB: The messy stages are often when you’re


still selling, and you need to lead the team, and you’re trying to hire, recruit and train.

You’re trying to be all things to all people. That’s when it can not only be tricky but frustrating, too. We guide agents by helping them identify the areas that get them stuck and teaching them the systems that enable them to take their business to the next level – without butting their head against the wall or feeling like they need to invent a new strategy whenever they hit a roadblock.

REP: What are some specific personal challenges faced by agents building their own teams? KB: I think there are two. The first has to do with understanding: understanding their role as team leaders, understanding their leadership and communication styles, understanding their personal strengths and weaknesses and how to offset them by having the right people around them. Nobody can be all things to all people, so it’s important to understand what you need to be and how to become that. Second, it takes patience. A team leader needs to slow down and inspect every aspect of the business at its most minute level. It can seem so slow and frustrating compared to sales, but that scrutiny can’t be avoided. The gut-level quick reactions that help us so much when we make sales can actually be a huge detriment to us when we’re building a stand-alone business.

REP: What sets KBCC apart from other real estate coaching organizations? KB: We have a decade of specialized experience building some of the industry’s top teams. We’ve jumped off this cliff hundreds of times, so we know what the likely outcome is. But we also consider ourselves consultants who can position our clients not just as great agents, but as professionals who understand the value of what they’re bringing to a changing marketplace. I think that’s something Realtors are

worried about – where’s our place going to be amongst all these changes? I firmly believe that teams are going to have a massive position in this changing industry, in how real estate brokerages and brands are owned and how they’re able to increase market share.

REP: Tell us a little about the Elite Business Builder program and how it fits into the overall KBCC system. KB: Elite Business Builder contains all the top tools I’ve used in coaching over the past decade and brings them together in one place at a more approachable price. Level One, for example, is 27 hours of training for less than it costs for a month of coaching with us. We want everyone to have access to our

programs, from an agent who’s brand-new to the business all the way up to somebody who is a top 5% producer who’s ready to expand into a team. It’s also a great option for team leaders looking to provide training for their entire organization, whether it’s admin, ISA or new recruits. It’s a good value, and it sets the tone for understanding where our industry is going.

REP: What are some client accomplish­ ments you’re particularly proud of? KB: You know, I’m so proud of my clients that it’s really hard to choose, but seeing 80% of our team coaching clients work their way into the top 1% nationally for their brands or areas is something we take a lot of pride in.

We’ve had clients work with us who started out doing 27 resale deals who last year did over 550 as a team. We’ve had teams that were considering leaving the business altogether because the amount of time they were putting into it was killing their lifestyle. But they stuck with it, bought into our program, and now, in addition to doing over 100 deals a year, they have time to enjoy themselves, to watch their kids grow up. Making those kinds of results possible for so many people – that never gets old. To learn more about how Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting can help take your real estate business to the next level, visit or call 905-725-6224.




Craig Proctor BY TEACHING real estate agents the systems and strategies that made him the number-one RE/MAX agent in the world, Craig Proctor has helped create more millionaire Realtors than any other real estate coach in the industry. Proctor’s amazing rise from struggling first-year agent to respected guru is key to his legitimacy. The direct-response marketing prowess that saved his career has worked similar magic for thousands of other agents who use the Proctor System.

When it comes to follow-up, a real estate agent should be adding future prospects to their database and launching a follow-up activity plan that includes future phone calls, emails and direct mail. His or her monthly newsletter must provide clients with useful information. Having an effective follow-up plan makes it far more difficult for buyers and sellers to leave you behind when they are ready to act. Unfortunately, most agents don’t do this.

“Instead of cold-calling prospects and being positioned as an annoying pest, I learned to position myself as a welcomed quest ... Instead of finding new ways to get prospects to pick up the phone, we offer them what they want, and they call us to get it” REP: What’s one area where you think Realtors regularly drop the ball? Craig Proctor: Too few agents have a reliable system for following up on leads. If every client was ready to buy or sell today, you wouldn’t need a follow-up system, but most buyers and sellers you speak to are not ready to buy today. You get an ad call or a sign call, and the buyer says, “I’m looking to move in three months.”


Out of 10 leads, one of them is ready to buy or sell today, and most agents ignore the other nine that come in, which is pretty inefficient. If someone gave you a $10,000 cheque that was post-dated for 60 days, you would probably keep that cheque, right? But most real estate agents, by failing to communicate with future prospects, are leaving that money on the table. The problem is that most agents are

unorganized. Like every other process, there’s a specific system that we prescribe for following up with prospects. It includes what to say on the phone the first time you speak to them, what you should say to them on subsequent calls, what you should be mailing out to them and what you should be emailing to them. We teach agents how to properly use voice and text broadcasting, too, which can be leveraged into targeted Facebook ads.

REP: You created the Your Home Sold – Guaranteed program. What advan­ tage did that give you as an agent? CP: It really is the ultimate promise for home sellers, especially for those who own a home, are looking to buy another and who don’t want to be stuck owning two properties. Everyone else is promising to sell their home, but you’re saying, “I will sell your house in under 120 days, or I’ll buy it.” It’s a commitment to the seller – one made upfront and in writing – that other agents aren’t prepared to make. A lot of agents think it’s a super risky proposition and fear that they’ll get stuck owning these homes. But the guaranteed sale program is just math. Clients have to move up, and they have to buy one of your listings, so not only does it place the buyer in a double-ended relationship with you, but you also have the power to price their home. And in Toronto, properly priced homes sell in far less than 120 days anyway, so the risk is minimal.

REP: What’s the best kind of marketing or advertising for agents to use? CP: People say real estate is changing, but the fact is that it has already changed. Few people, especially millennials, answer the phone anymore unless they recognize the caller, so cold-calling is dead. Brand or image marketing, which agents are still spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on,

out in my ad, not the agent, resulting in prospects calling me of their own volition. Instead of cold-calling prospects and being positioned as an annoying pest, I learned to position myself as a welcomed quest. This is called direct-response marketing, and it saved my career. Instead of finding new ways to get prospects to pick up the phone, we offer them what they want, and they call us to get it.

REP: People mostly know you for your work with individual agents, but you also work with teams. What do you do to help agents build a winning team? CP: Once direct-response marketing starts

provides no value to consumers. It’s unlikely that a prospect will actually call an agent based on an airbrushed photo of his face. What’s the benefit to them? Today, prospects don’t begin the buying/ selling process by seeking out a real estate agent; they begin by seeking out information

about real estate. So, rather than plastering my face on billboards saying, “Call me!”, I’d run an ad saying, “Home sellers: Thinking of selling your home? Receive an up-to-date area home sales report with recent home sales and current listings.” It’s the benefit to the prospect that stands

generating an abundance of leads for our clients, building a team often becomes a necessity. There’s no point positioning yourself to sell hundreds of homes a year and then working yourself to death trying, and likely failing, to serve all of your clients at the same level. There’s a limit to what any one person can do. To avoid burnout, you’ll need to hire qualified help and make sure they know what to say and do. So in addition to teaching Realtors how best to market themselves, we also teach them systems for recruiting and training agents, taking the emphasis off the individual and putting it instead on scripts and repeatable processes. Think about it: How many homes could you sell if it had nothing to do with you as an individual? My favourite example is McDonald’s. Their restaurants are run by teenagers, so obviously their success is not peopledependent. They have a system, and they train people to use the system. And they sell more food to more people than anyone else in the world. REP To register for one of Craig Proctor’s free real estate seminars or to request a free business consultation, visit




Agent provocateur As both a Realtor and the creator of Toronto Realty Blog, David Fleming is known for turning critical information into necessary conversation. Opinionated and outspoken, Fleming proves that honesty, even at its most brutal, will always find an audience IN 2003, as a commerce student at McMaster University, David Fleming saw the same opportunity in high finance that most young business grads do: With the right mix of training and intellect, he could extract massive profits from all that chaos. But when the tech bubble burst, Fleming found himself considering real estate, which offered him the chance to put his analytical and negotiation skills to work for buyers and sellers looking for an edge. “It seemed like the best of both worlds,” he says. “It was a market I wanted to work in, but it also seemed far more interesting than imaginary shares of stock.” Fleming worked two disparate jobs while completing the licensing process. As a teller for TD Bank, he learned the power of customer service. As the member of a construction crew, he helped build houses from the ground up. “I wanted to see both sides, the blue-collar and the white-collar,” he says. “I pulled 80 hours a week and loved every minute of it. I was tired as hell when I went to bed at night, but I was ready to go each and every morning.” After finding a home at Bosley Real Estate in 2004, Fleming’s first year as an agent was scorching, a nonstop 365-day win. He charged into 2005, eager, confident and fully prepared to replicate the success that had come so easily to him. But the phone stopped ringing. “In my first year, I did a ton of deals, but they all came from a different place: one was an


open house, one was a door-knock, one was an announcement card,” he says. “And you don’t really understand how difficult the business is because you’ve done 15 things and 15 of them have worked. Then all of a sudden, next year, no one calls you, no one emails you, no one knows who you are, and no one’s interested in working with you. You had a lucky first year.” Fleming’s first taste of failure was enough. To succeed long-term, he decided change was the only option. He moved downtown, began targeting a new client base and reconstructed his personal and professional philosophies. “I took the long-term approach and decided to build for the future,” he says. “It took some time to see the results, but within a year, everything had changed.” During this period of rebirth, Fleming started the project that has come to define him. Toronto Realty Blog was his attempt to chip away at the sheen of perfection the

industry is forever trying to coat itself in. “I wanted to explore the other side of things,” he says. “I wanted to talk about practices I don’t like, buildings that I thought were overpriced. I didn’t want to be a prototypical salesperson. I wanted to give [consumers] information they didn’t have before to see how they would react to it.” And react they have. Fleming’s blog attracts thousands of visitors a day, from intrigued buyers and sellers seeking unique insight to agents looking for thoughtful, datadriven discussions. In boosting his profile as an informed, unflinching critic of an industry that has always needed to do better, the blog has also become a magnet for new clients. “My blog is my business,” Fleming says. “All of my new business comes to me from the blog. Every single day, somebody emails me and says, ‘I like what you have to say. I’d like to work with you.’”

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT For seven years, David Fleming coached high-school baseball players in his hometown of Leaside. The experience had a profound effect on him, both personally and professionally. “I had just come out of the same phase of life these kids were about to enter,” he says. “I didn’t enjoy certain aspects of high school or early university, and seeing these kids in that same position really reminded me of myself and some of my own issues. For me, it was easy to reach out to them and give them advice.” Fleming has kept in touch with several of his former players, helping several of them find jobs and even working with two of them on real estate deals.


“I didn’t want to be a prototypical salesperson. I wanted to give [consumers] information they didn’t have before to see how they would react to it”

HOMETOWN Leaside, Ontario


BROKERAGE Bosley Real Estate David Fleming Group



But Fleming’s unvarnished take on both the market and the industry as a whole has also garnered plenty of critics, from agents to major developers to certain corners of organized real estate, all of whom have cried, “He can’t say that!” Fleming might be accused of biting the hand that feeds him, but he believes that hand needs to be washed before it’s put into anyone’s mouth. “I think real estate attracts some of the worst people in society,” he says. “It attracts some of the laziest, some of the most immoral, some of the stupidest. I couldn’t possibly stress enough

– if I did any more, I would be in trouble with the regulatory boards – how bad most agents are at their job. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.” With statements like these, it’s no surprise that Fleming has his detractors. Taken in context, however, his caustic attacks are less offensive in nature than they are defensive: a further method of protecting consumers, reputable agents and the industry itself. “Some of the most hard-working, professional individuals I’ve ever met work in this industry,” Fleming says. “But some of the sleaziest and laziest do, too.” REP

AWARDS Number One in Dollar Volume and Number One in Unit Sales at Bosley Real Estate in 2016 and 2017





Small homes, big potential The rise of tiny houses poses a new challenge for homeowners: a lack of storage. The home inspection experts at Pillar To Post offer a few space-saving suggestions you can share with your clients

both seating and storage. Some drop zones incorporate a dedicated shelf or cubby for each family member’s gear. A tray or shallow box for mail will keep it visible without letting it pile up too high. As a high-traffic area, a drop zone should be well organized and systematic for it to really work. If one system doesn’t quite function for a family, it’s best to try another arrangement until settling on one that really works.

Beyond the office As multi-functional spaces, home offices are another area where storage is at a premium. These spaces are often used not only as an office, but also for kids’ homework, school projects and more. Effective, multi-purpose closet storage can be accomplished by replacing hanging rods with shelving and drawers; creating a makeshift desk is that easy. A dresser can also be repurposed to store project materials or files for easy access. Like the drop zone, this multifunction, multi-user room needs to have a workable system that everyone can follow.

Pantry solutions

WHILE TINY houses can make storage a

The drop zone

challenge, smaller homes still need accessible, well planned storage solutions to declutter the space and make it more organized and livable. Making better use of existing space is a leading trend in home design in both renovations and new construction.

Most people use their back door or garage entrance more often than the front door. It’s a great idea for these entryways to incorporate drop zones where everyone can unload their backpacks, shoes, bags, sports gear and outerwear. Baskets under benches provide


Kitchen pantry space has become more important as people cook and eat at home more often. In large homes, a pantry might be a separate room with plenty of space for storing everything from china to dog kibble. Pantries in smaller homes need to at least accommodate kitchen staples and big, bulky items that aren’t often used, such as large mixing bowls, small appliances and serving pieces. Pantry shelving for food items should be relatively shallow so that everything is easy to find and reach. This type of shelving can even be added to a niche in the wall between two studs. Small homes aren’t going away, and they continue to be especially popular as starter homes and for clients who are downsizing. With efficient and practical storage solutions, even a smaller home can be functional and accommodate the needs of almost any family. REP For more information, please visit the nationwide home inspection experts at



Going the distance with global referrals Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s Beth Kinsella discusses the power of cross-border relationships and offers three tips for optimizing them IMAGINE, in one week, visiting Bodrum, Turkey; Vanderbijlpark, South Africa; Baku, Azerbaijan; Santa Ana, El Salvador; and Mtskheta, Georgia. For good measure, mix in trips to Vanua Levu, Fiji; Vilcabamba, Ecuador, and Melbourne, Australia. Sadly, my passport doesn’t have stamps from any of these destinations, but I was lucky enough to speak with people in each one of them within a single week. At Leading Real Estate Companies of the World [LeadingRE], we are always reminding our agents, “We are local. We are global.” They have the ability to help their clients with connections all over the world. I’m part of the Cross Border Referral team, which helps make those connections. When one of our members has a client with real estate needs outside his or her home country, they contact us – and that’s where the adventure begins. We collect information from the company’s relocation/business development team, and then we reach out to real estate companies in the destination to see if they can assist the referring agent’s client. Establishing contact isn’t always easy: time zones, language barriers and cultural differences can create unique challenges. Relying on email is a quick way to ensure it goes nowhere. At a minimum, send an email and follow it up with a phone call because often, when the recipient receives an email in a language other than their own, it’s assumed to be spam.

Drawing on my experiences, here are a few tips for navigating cross-border interactions: Humility I speak English, some Spanish, dinnermenu French and travel-basics German, but I’m no linguistics expert. I recently called a very


speaks English, speak slowly and clearly. I understand Spanish much better when someone is speaking slowly; I try to remember this when the situation is reversed. I try to avoid clichés and slang, and I always follow up the conversation with an email recap so the destination broker or agent can use online translation if necessary. To further appeal to them, find out what their preferred form of communication is. Many people I speak with prefer WhatsApp, some prefer texting. See what’s best for them, and you’ll get the response you need. Credibility Take the time to do a little research on the area. Get an idea of what home prices are so you don’t make an outlandish request like a €150,000 three-bedroom flat in the Sixth Arrondissement in Paris. You might have already embarrassed yourself trying to speak the language, but this is an easy pitfall to avoid. If you’ve only communicated by email or text and the person has a name you’ve never heard, research it online. Find out the origin of the name and whether it’s male or female. This


“Had I called him and immediately started speaking English, assuming he should understand me, it would have appeared a bit arrogant” nice man in Tangier, Morocco, to assist me with a buyer referral. Swallowing my pride, I introduced myself in French, and he jumped in to speak English immediately, as if to say, “Please, stop butchering our beautiful language.” As silly as I sounded, it let him know that I was trying. I needed his help, not the other way around. This gesture (albeit an embarrassing one) was key. Had I called him and immediately started speaking English, assuming he should understand me, it would have appeared a bit arrogant. We had a good laugh over my bad French, and he was quick to assist me. Relatability When you’re lucky enough to find someone on the other end of the line who


will prevent you from making an awkward introduction. Often, the agent’s profile is on the company website, so see what information is offered. Speaking on the phone creates a humanness that email simply cannot match. It’s not the easier way, but it’s the better way of creating lasting business relationships and making the world a little smaller. REP

Beth Kinsella is the global member services manager for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, which has 565 member companies in 70 countries around the world. To connect with the best names in real estate or for more information, please visit





Sarah J. Stevens once managed risk for some of the country’s largest banks. She now performs the same duty for her clients With a phys ed degree in hand but uncertain of her next step, Stevens had a fortuitous meet-up with an old friend “He said, ‘Why don’t you do your MBA? I’m doing mine.’ He handed me two huge GMAT books and told me to study. I wrote the GMAT test about a week later and was enrolled in the MBA about two weeks after hearing about it”






At a job fair shortly before finishing her MBA, Stevens met a Scotiabank representative and had an offer for the position of relationship manager before graduation “I had an offer from RBC, too, but what sealed the deal [with Scotiabank] was that it was in commercial banking. I worked on loans from $1 million to $17 million; I had a client base across varied industries – but it came back to relationships”


RETURNS TO SCOTIABANK Recruited back to her previous employer, Stevens soon found herself managing a $500 million portfolio and running a familiar team “I led the team I had been trained in when I was new – it was a significant step and a challenging one: I was managing people I had been trained by. As long as you have that core foundation of respect from people, you can overcome that challenge. I continued to build on the good relationships I had already developed”


GAINS RECOGNITION The same year she was nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards (placing in the top 200 out of more than 5,500 nominees), Stevens began co-writing a book aimed at helping newbie investors

“I want to empower people – often they need someone to show them the opportunities. I put my money where my mouth is; that’s why my phone rings off the hook. It’s not about transactions; it’s about relationships” 54

MOVES INTO MANAGEMENT After visiting Sport Chek in search of a summer job, Stevens left with a management position, which eventually evolved into several years working for the Forzani Group as a manager, a purchasing analyst and finally as the company’s youngest buyer in Canada “[In the interview], I asked about the manager, and they said, ‘We don’t have one.’ I said I wanted to be considered. I was recruiting, training and managing teams of up to 70 people. I was managing people older than me”


LEADS A TEAM Headhunted by BMO, Stevens took a position in enterprise risk that required her to make both internal and external presentations alongside the bank’s chief risk officer “It really honed my communication skills. No one was reporting to me directly, but I had to inspire 40 people to contribute and do the work effectively. Getting the team to perform, setting goals and priorities, being genuine about wanting to work alongside people to deliver the best outcomes – that phys ed degree took me a long way!”


GETS HER LICENCE Stevens had already dipped her toes into the real estate market with her spouse, buying first a duplex and then a triplex, but it was a tragic turn of events that inspired her to finally get her real estate license “The agents I worked with would say to me, ‘Why don’t you get your licence?’ They saw the passion. My best friend died when she was 35; in her last weeks, she would say to me, ‘Why don’t you go for it?’ That was the push I needed”


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BASKET OF GOODIES He’s known as Mr. Hamilton, but Erwin Szeto treasures his role as co-founder of the Hamilton Basket Brigade “Handing over the food is always the best part – seeing the looks on people’s faces, especially on the children’s faces,” Szeto says. “Sometimes people are genuinely shocked.”

IT WAS an awareness of the level of need in his city and a desire to make a difference locally that spurred Hamilton-based Realtor Erwin Szeto to take action in December 2014. Together with a friend, Szeto, a sales representative and team leader at Titan Investment Real Estate, committed to providing baskets of food for three needy families. But, having decided that “we wouldn’t say no to anyone,” the pair ended up organizing and delivering baskets to 37 families. “We called out to friends and people who owed us favours to get it done,” Szeto says. “And from there, it’s ballooned. The need is great, and people are just generally good. They want to help; they just need an outlet.” The following year, the Basket Brigade also took on Easter and Thanksgiving, to the benefit of 75 and 150 families, respectively. Since then, the enterprise has only grown: Last Easter, deliveries were made to 350 families in need.


Families Szeto estimates have been helped by the Basket Brigade



Typical budget per family, per basket


Volunteers involved in organizing and delivering last year’s baskets

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Bringing together the top Teams in North America to network, leverage and thrive. The future of Real Estate lies in collaboration, networking, and learning with the best in our industry. Representing over 4,000 transactions a year and BILLIONS in sales volume at our Mastermind Session alone. The Ultimate Team Summit is the largest Team specific Real Estate summit in North America. "Our team has seen unbelievable results since coaching began with Kathleen! Kathleen’s approach to the industry is revolutionary. Everything is made simple which helps keep the team members involved and focused. One of the biggest challenges we’ve had in our quick growth was having the proper systems in place. Having constant easy access to Kathleen has been extremely important and has allowed us to master scripting at a much quicker pace. There’s no question Kathleen knows her stuff! And in turn she’s not afraid to teach it to any new members as they join our team!"

- Dan Gemus

L I M I T E D E A R LY B I R D T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E #UltimateTeamSummit #KBCC #ItTakesaTeam





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