Meet the agent: Toronto Storeys talks to Judy Wingham
“We do digital advertising right across the globe for our clients’ properties, and many portals are exclusive to Sotheby’s. You can go onto the New York Times website and see all our properties across the U.S. and around the world, and they can be viewed from any country,” says Wingham. Her global reach means a colleague in Germany can refer a client to her who is moving to Toronto.
For Wingham, getting to know her clients is a priority from the outset.
“I think it’s really important to build a solid relationship with your clients with open and honest communication between the two of you. Part of that means spending time, not rushing the process and making sure everyone is happy at every step of the way,” says Wingham.
A certificate in interior design means not only can she sell your home or help you find the one of your dreams, she can also suggest the best ways to show it and decorate it.
It’s quite the offering from someone who once wanted to be an actress and had a whole other career in public relations for 30 years before becoming a realtor, so let’s get to know her a little better.
What are you reading these days?
I just started reading The Year of Voting Dangerously by Maureen Dowd who’s a columnist for The New York Times. It’s about the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the book’s subtitle is The Derangement of American Politics, which I think says it all.
What is the first album you ever bought?
The Beatles. It was a very long time ago, but that was the first.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I loved performing on stage in grade school, so I had dreams of becoming an actor.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say whatever career path you decide on as a young student may not be the career path you end up following for the rest of your working life, so leave your mind open to other opportunities and other possibilities that will present themselves to you at different stages of your life. Never be afraid to change careers or to take a different direction in your career.
What sets you apart from the other realtors working in the GTA?
This is a really hard one to answer, but I think instead of focusing on the ends I focus on the means. What I mean by that is rather than focusing on the sale, I focus on educating my clients and on the ongoing communication between us throughout the purchase and sale process. Once my clients understand the process as well as I do, and we’re all on the same page, that’s when we can all be satisfied with the outcome.
What is your advice for home buyers in this overheated market?
Be patient and persevere. Markets move very quickly these days and you may lose out on a property more than once or twice. Just keep at it. Trust your realtor’s experience and guidance. Eventually you will end up with a home that you love and is just right for you.
What do you feel is Toronto’s most underrated neighbourhood?
There doesn’t seem to be an area of Toronto that has gone undiscovered or hasn’t seen some price gains, but I think close to the city core the Corktown/West Don Lands area and Little Portugal both have a lot more potential for growth and that’s where I recommend people buy now because they’re going to be really quite hot.
What is a profession you’d like to try other than your own?
Architect, which is kind of related, but that is something that has always fascinated me. It’s the creativity of it I think. It’s the ability to create a space and create an environment.
What is a moment you’re most proud of in your life?
Watching my daughters graduate from university and set out into the world as independent career women. That was the best.
Who would you like to invite—dead or alive—to your dream dinner party?
I’d want a room full of artists, including Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Constantin Brâncu?i, Henry Moore and Dale Chihuly. It would make an interesting roomful.
What’s your next big goal in life?
When I retire I would like to learn to sculpt and take sculpture classes. It’s very hands-on.
How have you stayed a top producer in your profession for so long?
By staying true to my core values. My friends and my clients know they can trust my professionalism. They can always count on me to do whatever is best for them, so they don’t hesitate to come to me when they need a realtor or to refer other people to me.
How do you achieve your work-life balance?
It’s a tough balancing act, but I try to be available to my clients as much as possible: evenings, weekends, whenever they need me. But, at least once a week I set aside some time to spend with my husband, my daughters or go out with my friends. You know what they say about all work and no play…