When Imraz Ramani became a real estate agent, he got a chance few are blessed with — a chance to rewrite history.
During his childhood, Ramani’s family had a few negative experiences with agents which left a sour taste in his mouth.
But then he became an agent and got a chance to rewrite that history and change that perception.
Ramani made sure his main driver was his heart, not his wallet.
He put in the extra service and time by using his experience to anticipate issues that may arise.
Now, he reveals one of his above-and-beyond (and thoughtful) extra services in our chat below. You'll also learn why Ramani thinks local buyers have it easier in today's Toronto market, plus the two key aspects he believes make up the real estate business, and, if you're an agent, he tells you two simple ways to boost your social media following.
How did you begin your real estate journey?
I first got started in 2007. I got my licence while I was in university. For the first little bit of my career, I worked for a specific group of investors where we formed a syndication and were buying properties, then turning them over for a profit.
At the same time, I was servicing friends and family and I was getting a lot of positive feedback, how what I was doing was different from what other agents were doing. There was more heart involved, rather than the transactions being driven just by the money.
I think that's what they appreciated — the extra service and time.
This is what motivated me to get into it full-time and that's how I got into it. I got a little taste through the syndication and with family and friends and that snowballed into me turning it into a full-time business.
After 11 years in the business, what keeps you passionate about real estate?
The interesting parts about real estate are the two different aspects: working in your business and working on your business.
Working in your business is more like the day-to-day transactions and servicing your clients. While working on your business is the actual growth: where does my next sale come from?
I think waking up knowing I have to put on both of those different types of hats gets me excited. I'm excited to say, “Okay. How are we going to get the next deal? How do I keep my current clients happy, so they lead to more referrals?”
It's always a revolving game and that's what's amazing about this industry — it never stays the same.
There are bad days, but the thing that always keeps me going is the satisfaction my clients have when the transaction is done.
Before getting into the industry, I was brainwashed into thinking people had a certain view about how real estate agents are scammers. So when I turn around and my clients are appreciative of the service and results, it makes me happy to know I don't fall into that category. That's what keeps me going into the next day.
It allows me to put a lot of good vibes into the world, which always come back to me. It also allows me to make a lot of contacts, which is phenomenal.
Now it's in my control as to how the relationship ends. Not a lot of other jobs give you that opportunity.
What separates your business from the other agents working in the GTA?
I've tried to make it a very streamlined process.
Whether you're a buyer or seller, it's likely your first time. But I've gone through it hundreds of times in the past, so I know what to expect as the next step. Knowing this, I plan ahead of time.
For example, if sellers listed with me to sell their home, I'll send boxes over to their house because that's something I know they'll be concerned about — where to get their boxes.
I try to address the problem before it even arises because I know what's going to happen ahead of time.
What are your impressions of the current state of the Toronto market?
The Toronto market right now is in an interesting spot. It has been a roller coaster ride over the past couple of years and then there was a sharp drop in April 2017 with the announcement of the new rules which affect foreign buyers, followed up with stricter lending rules and higher interest rates in 2018.
I think it's good that came out because it was becoming difficult for local buyers to enter the market, but sellers would probably argue differently.
Where the market is right now, I think it's in a good spot in terms of allowing local buyers to get in. Where is it going in the future? It's Toronto. If you compare it to other cities in the world, it's a safe place to invest your money.
READ: Toronto Vs. 25 Biggest U.S. Cities: Salary Needed To Afford Average Two-Bedroom Rental
There's a lot of potential in Toronto. We just have to be aware that there are other factors that play a role in pricing and interest rates is one of them.
We're at an all-time low right now and the projection is interest rates will go up. When interest rates go up, prices go down. So if you're looking to buy thinking what we saw in the last five years will repeat over the next five years, no one has a crystal ball, but it's leaning towards it being unlikely as interest rates go up.
At which point, we will see another correction happen, if interest rates go up.
As long as your mentality is long-term versus short-term hold — you'll be okay. But, if it's short-term hold, just make sure you put a lot of thought into the numbers because it will be really important over the next few years.
How do you get your name in front of people, particularly when it comes to building a robust following on social media?
When I first started building my social media I would post information, rather than just transactions I've done, like it is now.
I found that posting real estate news drew a lot of people to want to keep in touch with my account because I wasn't just posting pictures of pretty houses and people couldn't look at it as spam. Content made the biggest difference.
I'd say, “Like my page and follow me and you will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card.” And you'd be surprised how many people will jump on board for that. It's amazing how well that worked for me.
The problem was after the draw was done, it was hard to retain them if you post junk. Once you do the contest, you have to be very careful about how you're posting because you don't want them to unfollow you. It kind of defeats the purpose.
When you're not selling houses, what do you do for fun?
I do Crossfit three times a week, which I love. It's a great environment and a great vibe. It allows me to clear my mind.
I'm also married and we have two dogs, so any chance we get we love going for hikes. We go hiking about a two-hour radius from the GTA or less. There are some great trails in Hamilton and the Don Valley.
That's the great thing about Toronto as a city. There are lots of options for indoor and outdoor activities.