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.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on Toronto Island.
What neighbourhood do you live in now?
I split my time between midtown St. Clair and Yonge, and Muskoka.
What made you want to become a real estate agent?
I just love everything about real estate. I actually hadn't really thought about becoming a realtor, but, my husband, my partner, encouraged me to get my license seven-and-a-half years ago. At that time, you had two years to do it, and so I took two years because I had been working full-time as a design/builder for over 30 years and it wasn't a priority. But out of the gate, I just loved it. I love working with people, I love the interesting dynamics that come up in real estate transactions, I like looking at properties, and I really enjoy the negotiation. I also love creating listings and trying to think about who the buyer will be, and telling them a story that will appeal to them. And I sometimes even do my own stagings, because I also love interior design and decorating.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing the market today?
I think a lack of inventory is one of the biggest challenges. It's very difficult to find anything for buyers in cottage country at the moment and in the city, I think we're similarly challenged with less inventory than what we've had. And sellers who still have some unrealistic expectations. I also think that the economic concerns are starting to weigh on the market a bit.
What’s the single best advice you have for sellers?Definitely pick the right realtor. Time your sale carefully in this market and prepare your property as much as you can. You really want it to look its very best. For example, if you have cracks in your driveway, get those fixed before you go to market. If you've got interior work that you've been putting off, get it taken care of. And then listen to the expert when they tell you what the property is worth, and where it will sell.
What’s the single best advice you have for buyers?
I think it helps if you know what you're looking for. Sometimes that takes looking at a lot of properties with a buyer, especially if you're dealing with more than one buyer, like when you're dealing with a couple, because they each might have different ideas of what they are looking for. And until they've seen a few properties, that won't come out. So you need to take the time you need to find the right fit for you in terms of the property purchase.
What’s the best thing a realtor can invest in for their brand (a bus bench ad, a solid Instagram strategy, etc.)?
I think social media is critical. But I also think that it's really important to stay in touch with the people you've worked with in the past and the people you're currently working with. Make sure that you're communicating with them and that you're not just sending them any listings or telling them about how great you are, but you're actually offering them some value about what's going on in the market, what strategies they might deploy for selling, what they should be looking for nearby, and the pitfalls to watch for.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
There are a number of agents in Toronto that have been around for a while that I think really do a stellar job. There are several of my colleagues with Sotheby's, and then there are several that are with other brokerages that just epitomize professionalism in professional real estate. [That's] who I aspire to be and what I try to do every day in my interactions, with my clients and even with people who aren't my clients, but with other realtors and with people who call out of the blue and want to ask questions. I try to be as professional as possible at all times, and I try to add value in my interactions with people so that they come away from the conversation thinking, "Oh, that was really helpful. I learned something," or, "That interaction was positive, and I would deal with this person again."
Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about realtors that you think they’re constantly getting wrong?
I don't think people appreciate how much work goes into the marketing and selling of a house or the negotiating for a purchase. It's sort of a tired analogy, perhaps, but it's kind of like an iceberg. You only see a little bit at the top.
For example, if you've never had skates on before, you might look at a figure skater and go, "Oh my god, that's so beautiful, it's so easy. I'm gonna go try to put skates on," and you go splat.
The experience of a realtor who's worked in real estate for long enough and is professional and at the top of their game is going to make what they do look totally seamless and easy. But there are years of experience behind that, and lots and lots and lots of hours of preparation.
Tell us about your favourite (or most memorable) sale.
I sold a property off-market very early in the pandemic. I had done the photography, but I didn't even have it back from the photographer yet. I was showing a couple some properties up in Muskoka in the summertime and I was structuring my showings so that we would pass by the Sotheby's office so that I could take them in to use the bathroom. We had a bit of a gap in our schedule and we'd already picked up lunch and gone to the washroom and I told them, "I've got this new listing that's off-market and vacant, but I'm not sure it's really for you. But I'd be happy to show it to you to give you something else to look at." They'd been looking at properties that had a lot of acreage, water frontage, and were more private and remote.
This listing was right in Port Carling, and was a brand-new build. It was on a small piece of land, and the neighbours were fairly close, so I really didn't think it would be suitable. It was also quite modern, and they hadn't sent me anything that they liked yet that was modern — they were all quite classic cottages. However, they loved it immediately, and they wanted to buy it. So, we managed to put a deal together. The seller had owned the cottage; it was his father's, and he had built a brand new build beside it, so there were two cottages on the property, the old one and a new one. At first, the seller was super happy, except once the deal actually firmed up, he was devastated because he hadn't realized how attached he was, and had seller's remorse. It was one of the most complicated, emotional roller coasters of a deal I've ever had. It all came out of having a little bit of time to kill in the pandemic because there was nowhere else to go, and nothing else to do.
What are the three words you hope your clients use to describe you?
Thorough. Tenacious. Professional.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of selling houses?
I like spending time with my family. I've got a new grandchild, two daughters and two stepdaughters, and I've got a great niece and nephew that were born just a few days ago.
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.