Welcome to Meet the Agent, an ongoing series profiling real estate agents from across Canada. With more than 150,000 agents, brokers, and salespeople working in 75 different boards and associations across the country, we thought it was about time they had a place to properly introduce themselves.
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Barb and Ron Picot, The Picot Team
Name: Barb Picot
Brokerage:The Picot Team, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage
Personal Channels: Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook
Areas of focus: Collingwood, The Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Meaford, Clearview
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Marathon, Ontario, up north on Lake Superior.
What neighbourhood do you live in now?
I currently live in The Blue Mountains, right at the base of Blue Mountain Ski Hill and beside Blue Mountain Resort.
What made you want to become a real estate agent?
I had worked in the industry for 5 years, doing administration and office management for a couple real estate brokerages, so I knew all the ins and outs of the business prior to getting my license. I loved meeting people, and so looked forward to helping them find their full-time or vacation home in our area.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?
The uncertainty for buyers and sellers with inflation, mortgage rates, and -- for first-time homebuyers -- housing prices. Some areas are priced right out of their range to purchase now.
What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?
Listen to the advice and suggestions of your realtor regarding preparing your property for sale, curb appeal, repairs and decluttering to be done, and most importantly, the pricing of your home to sell. You are hiring a professional who knows the current market.
What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?
Make sure, if you need financing, to speak to a mortgage broker or consultant prior to your search, so that you know exactly what price range you should be looking at. There is no point looking at houses that you do not qualify to purchase, it is a waste of everyone's time. Especially in these uncertain times, there are still multiple offers being offered on properties and with mortgage rates fluctuating, etc., you'll want to know your limit.
What’s the best thing a realtor can invest in for their brand (a bus bench ad, a solid Instagram strategy, etc.)?
There is no "one or best thing" to invest in. Every area is different; we are in a recreational area, and are very unusual as we have several glossy magazines everywhere: on everyone's tables, in restaurants, stores, etc., with a shelf life of approximately three months each issue. This is great exposure. In Toronto, for instance, a billboard might be someone else's best avenue. We also have a billboard on the main road out to the ski hills at Blue Mountain. Social media is only a part of your marketing so pick the one or two that work best for you and be consistent.
Marketing is like a puzzle, and you have to put all the pieces together for your own unique brand strategy. But putting all the physical items aside, networking with your clients and peers so they get to know you and trust what you say, by far, is the best marketing. Get out there and be known as the expert in your market.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
I follow Chris Leader (Barrie, ON) and Ryan Serhant (NYC, NY) and take any of their available courses, in person and online, depending on my schedule. They teach a lot of the practical things you need to know, in addition to your own education of your market. I am an avid learner and I read a lot of books in addition to taking these courses. They will both tell you that you will only be successful if you take action. A little bit every day can make a big difference at the end of the week, month, or year. Practice your scripts for the objections you are going to have to handle with sincerity.
Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?
I think that the general public thinks that we just show a property, write an offer, close the deal and collect our commission. Boy, have they got that wrong. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes when listing or selling a property, where you owe a fiduciary duty to your client to discover all the facts before they can move forward in the purchase or sale of their most valuable owned asset. So much research, time, and dedication to your client goes into this work before a deal closes. And afterwards, they are never through with us after the deal closes -- that is only the beginning.
Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.
My favorite sale I did not make, but it was when my daughter and her husband bought their first house after their recent marriage in 2019. I referred her to a realtor friend in the area she was buying in (not in my area of expertise). As first time homeowners, they were really excited to get out of rental apartment living and actually own something. Then, six months after their closing, COVID-19 entered the picture and all broke loose in the real estate industry. I am so glad she bought when she did as prices have gone so high that she would still be saving for the down payment on the house they purchased.
What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?
Dedicated, compassionate, and trustworthy.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?
Golf and snowshoeing. I love the outdoors. If the weather is not cooperating, I love to curl up with a good book.
This interview may have been edited for both length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of STOREYS.