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. If you or someone you know deserves the same chance, email email@example.com to apply.
Name: C. Ivy Stephenson
Brokerage:Right at Home Realty
Personal website: civyhomes.com
Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter
Years of agent experience: 3.5
Areas of focus: Toronto, North York, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Richmond Hill and Aurora
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Toronto's Pleasant View neighbourhood as well as Devonsleigh in Richmond Hill.
What neighbourhood do you live in now?
I currently live in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood of Newmarket.
What made you want to become a real estate agent?
My father was a successful realtor and saw the potential in me to follow in his footsteps. He encouraged me to pursue a career in real estate. His guidance and support have helped me develop the necessary skills and knowledge to grow into my success.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?
We’re all familiar with the challenge of inventory shortages across the country -- with there not being enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand, which in turn creates bidding wars and hikes prices for most people -- but I’d also like to mention the challenge of accessibility in real estate.
Many buildings and properties aren’t designed and/or constructed with accessibility in mind. For example, only having steps at entrances, narrow doorways or hallways making it difficult for people who use wheelchairs or walkers, bathrooms without grab bars or other features to assist with mobility, and that's just to name a few. The search for an inclusive home will typically significantly limit the buyer’s options even further within the market and will also have to consider renovation costs, over and above the purchase costs, for each home. There’s an opportunity to do more in this space.
What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?
Don’t cut corners when presenting your home. Put your best foot forward and present it in the best light if you want top dollar. Be prepared to make any necessary repairs and stage your home to make it look its best.
What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your house hunt. Having a clear idea of how much home you can afford will help avoid falling in love with one that is outside of your price range.
What’s the best thing a realtor can invest in for their brand (a bus bench ad, a solid Instagram strategy, etc.)?
Themself. As realtors, we’re walking billboards for our services and our brand is critical to our success. By investing in my skills, knowledge, and personal development, I can create a strong, authentic brand that resonates with clients and sets me apart from the competition. This can pay dividends in the long run, to help build a loyal client base, generate referrals, and ultimately achieve my business goals.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
My father is a true OG genius in the industry, with over 35 years of experience practicing real estate since 1988. He’s mastered the art of negotiation and has consistently been recognized as a top producer. I’m fortunate to have him as my teacher and coach, and his guidance and mentorship have been instrumental in helping me develop my skills as a real estate agent.
Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?
People often underestimate the level of personal commitment and investment realtors put into their clients. It goes beyond the number of ads we're featured in or the number of homes we've sold. It's about taking the time to listen and truly understand each person, learning what motivates them, and adapting our approach to meet their unique needs.
We have to be able to manage different personality types and have the emotional intelligence to guide our clients toward their desired outcomes. This requires a level of empathy and dedication that can't be quantified by metrics or numbers.
Choosing the right realtor is crucial, as it can make all the difference in your real estate experience. It's important to choose someone who will truly represent you, have your best interests at heart, and work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. At the end of the day, we're not just selling properties; we're helping people achieve their dreams.
Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.
Before becoming a successful realtor, I worked in IT and studied computer programming with a focus on database management. Despite my knowledge and skills, the program was tough, and I often found myself needing extra help. At this time, I met one of my, now, lifelong friends, who tutored me and was ultimately a significant reason behind my graduating. Years later, a major life event happened where my friend had to make the difficult decision to sell his childhood home, which was an incredibly emotional time for him. I’d returned to his home after many years to help prep the listing and was immediately overcome with nostalgia.
I kicked off a marketing plan that encouraged back-to-back-to-back showings and a generous number of pre-emptive offers, considering the uncertainty of the market at the time. Emotions were high, but in the end, I managed to exceed his expectations.
It was a full-circle moment for me. My friend was there for me at a major crossroads in my life, and I was able to be there for him with this important decision. It was a refreshing reminder of the importance and value of relationships and the impact we can have on each other's lives.
What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?
Trustworthy. Knowledgeable. Responsive.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?
Laughing, socializing, watching MMA, training in karate and challenging myself every day to be the best version of myself.
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.