The Begs brothers. From left to right: Abrar, Absar, and Ammar.
Absar Beg has been selling since he was a kid.
Whether the 29-year-old was splitting the proceeds from his oldest brother's paper route with his middle brother, or the three of them were travelling across Ontario making one-dollar commissions for every chocolate bar they sold, they've always had that entrepreneurial spirit.
Absar registered his first business when he was 15. Today he's the broker of record for Beg Brothers Real Estate Brokerage where he and his two brothers Abrar, 32, and Ammar, 30, are real estate powerhouses.
In addition to their real estate licenses, all three have backgrounds in finance.
Their slogan, “Where everyone is family,” makes them the Olive Garden of the GTA real estate scene, providing a one-stop shop. They cover every aspect of a home transaction and treat every client as they would treat their own their mother.
Absar revealed just what they do to pull that off, dove deep into The Beg Brothers' early days as entrepreneurs and, as a huge basketball fan, he just had to weigh in on the Demar Derozan trade.
How did you get started in real estate?
I knew I wanted to be in real estate ever since I was a young adult, so I ended up getting my licence while I was finishing university doing my Bachelor of Commerce degree.
I got in at a very young age and I'm just passionate about urban planning, architecture, sales and housing in general. Basically, I was very passionate about all aspects of housing as a kid.
Did your brothers discover real estate first or did they follow in your footsteps?
Initially, my brother Ammar got his licence in 2007, while I was in first-year university. So I got a little exposure to it as an adult, but not so much as a child.
What drives you to keep succeeding in the real estate business now?
I like the happiness we deliver to our clients. And we take great pride in being somewhat ahead of the curve.
We benchmark ourselves and our service against treating people like family and figuring out how we can execute each and every deal as if they're for ourselves.
When I say that we're in tune with every aspect of real estate ... Financing, the builder community and real estate marketing data ... And we roll it all into one to stay ahead of our peer group. That's what keeps it exciting.
What advantage do you have as brothers?
Real estate is very much a team sport.
With our team it's actually three team leads, which are me and my brothers. But we have agents as well.
We are a brokerage and we're able to service the clients and get our hands dirty, which is very much required in the marketplace today. I wouldn't be in the business if I wasn't with a team. There's so much stress and to be able to execute, in my eyes, you really need that team support.
If you're going to treat every deal like it's your mom's deal, you're going to do things like renovation management, decluttering, a lot of online and off-line marketing, staging and the list goes on and on.
If you're going to treat every deal like your own, you need a team because you can't do all that by yourself day in or day out.
One person can move every three to six years and it takes a toll on you, but imagine doing that for a living. You really need a team.
What is the Beg Brothers' prognosis for the current Toronto market?
One of our sister companies is a mortgage brokerage, so that's very integrated with the data from the financial side. And I think what's happening in Toronto right now is largely driven by the financial side in terms of a tight money supply, as well as a rise in the interest rates.
That being said, we are seeing a lot of Millennials and the younger demographic getting into home ownership now, whereas before they pretty much pushed it off.
There still is an underlying demand, it's just prolonged a little bit because of the tight money supply.
What is the dynamic between you and your brothers like when it comes to balancing your family relationship with your professional lives?
We have brokerage-wide weekly and bi-weekly meetings where we're able to update pretty much everything A-to-Z. That opens up discussions throughout the week or in pre-meetings.
We have that kind of structure where we know we'll be discussing A-to-Z and keeping everything important top of mind. And then we'll have informal discussions throughout the week.
The structured meeting is really helpful, especially when you're working with family because you don't want to be bombarded with things on evenings and weekends when you have your clients to fulfill duties for.
Absar and his son already enjoyed basketball, even before he was two years old.
The other key fundamental would be we've all been working together since we were very young — under 10. So we have a really good system of lending a helping hand.
Whenever I need help they help me and vice-versa. We have that system set up really well, so our clients really feel that team mentality.
If someone needs help with a property, I can make sure it gets done because I have backup A, backup B and backup from the brokerage.
What did you and your brothers do while working together as kids?
Our first job was when our bother got a paper route.
He was nine, I was six and the two of us would help him deliver and we'd get a cut of the money.
By the time I was nine, he was 12 and my other brother was 7-and-a-half, we started our first job as chocolate bar sellers who travelled all across Ontario selling chocolate.
We'd been to Sudbury and North Bay and traveled as far as Windsor, Leamington and Niagara Falls.
This was my first experience with real estate: travelling to these places and integrating with the community for a day or sometimes a travel trip.
It was commission sales with a team of people.
From every sale, we'd make a dollar, but there was a charitable purpose to the underlying sale. It was very much real estate focussed in the sense of travelling. It worked for us in terms of getting financial literacy and a job at that age.
What are your hobbies when you're not selling real estate?
Ammar and I have growing family. We're both expecting our fifth kid.
We're really busy with family and I'm into basketball. I play in a rec league and my son is active in basketball as well. All three of us also like to travel and leverage what we see when we're travelling and bring that flavour back home.
As a basketball fan, what do you think of the Demar Derozan trade from the Toronto Raptors?
Oh man, I'm just like him.
I'm still shocked it happened and kind of pissed it happened. Whatever Demar is feeling right now I kind of feel a glimpse of it and it leaves such a sour taste.
I don't like the trade. I like Kawhi Leonard and his game, but he doesn't even want to come up north and I don't really see any basis for it. The only basis would have been the defence, but Demar had a huge improvement in defence last year. So I don't really see it.