Meet the agent: Toronto Storeys talks to Mark Arnstein
Like the professional athletes he loves, he’s always giving 110 per cent to everything. Success has followed because he gets to know each and every one of his clients personally before using his superior social media and marketing skills to either showcase their home or find them the home they want at a reasonable price.
“I love working with such a wide variety of people and families and then helping them achieve their dreams or missions that they want to accomplish in life. Whether that’s finding their dream home, downsizing or helping their kids buy their first place, no other profession allows you that kind of enjoyment from helping people in that way, helping them fulfill their dreams and what it is they want to do.”
But while Arnstein focuses on the dreams of others, we decided to focus on him for an inside look at his interests, his motivations and what he believes sets him apart in Toronto’s real estate industry.
What are you reading these days?
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. It’s an amazing story that you can just dive right into and will never want to put it down. I just loved his risk taking ability and the fact he never took “No” for an answer. He kept going and going until he found the answers he wanted. Obviously, it’s very relative to what I do as a real estate agent, but I just loved the can-do, never-say-die attitude where he’s like, “I’m going to make this happen and I don’t care what you think. I’m going to do it.”
First album you bought?
That’s a hard one. I think it might have been The Kinks.
When you were a kid, you wanted to be a …
Well, a bunch of things. There was a firefighter for a while and then a professional hockey player. Those were probably the big ones.
Advice you would give the younger you:
Be more diligent in your studies because you never know what opportunities those are going to lead you to.
What sets you apart from all the other realtors in town?
I would say a lot of it comes down to the fact that we’re not stuck in 1990. We’re extremely current with our updates, our marketing, our social media and videos. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube, we’re very outside the box in how we approach our listings, our work ethic and what we do to get the property seen and the listing out there.
It’s not putting a sign on the lawn and waiting for MLS to make the call. I think you’ve got to do things differently these days and we’re doing that. I think video is a huge play in how to market property and we’ve really embraced that in the last five years. We’re constantly doing videos, whether they’re to do with listings, what’s going on in the neighbourhood, market updates, special events, new stores opening in the area and personal profiles of different people. It’s a novel way to get your message out and get people to see you and engage with you. We’ll be doing open houses and people will approach us as if they already know us.
Any hot tips for homebuyers in this overheated market?
If you’re looking to buy a property in this market, you have to be engaged with an agent that’s fully dialed in. They should know what’s going on behind the scenes and what’s happening currently, because there is a lot that goes down, that happens off market that not everybody necessarily knows about.
If you have an agent who has access to a lot of that and has the ability to network and put information out there to other people, you have a much better chance of getting the place you want for a price that’s not going to blow you out of the water. It is so crazy out there, and buyers are looking for that upper hand, that added advantage that can get them into a home much faster than just relying on MLS.
What is Toronto’s most underrated neighbourhood?
There’s a quieter section along the Eglinton crosstown line—the new subway line that’s going in. If you looked at Eglinton South on the west side of Cedarvale. There’s Vaughan Road, Oakwood—all in that pocket. I think right now that area is going to go through the roof in the next five years. I think those values are still pretty good and you’re still relatively central in the city. Once the subway line goes in, I think if you bought now or in the next couple of years, they’re going to go up.
Profession you would most like to try:
Sports Medicine. Being a professional athlete would be the coolest, but I’m a fairly active person, I play lots of sports, and medicine has always been an intriguing thing to me. But sports medicine would’ve been a very cool thing to be involved in, with fixing athletes and doing things that I could relate to. I think that would be really kind of neat.
Favourite architect or architectural style?
There’s some guys out there that have really done some great stuff. It depends on whether you’re more traditional, whether you’re more contemporary or whether you’re more modern. I think Richard Wengle is fantastic. Lorne Rose is a great guy. I also like Glenn Rubinoff and Richard Librach. Those are just some of the guys I would mention that are local in the city.
Moment you’re most proud of:
I’d say it would probably be three… the birth of my three kids.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I have to say probably Bill Clinton. He’s a little bit older now, but just everything that he has done and gone through—the ups and downs—would make him a great dinner guest. I’ve heard him speak before, and I think having a sit down with him one-on-one would be pretty cool.
Next big goal in life is:
Probably I’d like to do some development. I think it would be a lot of fun to do some residential projects to incorporate into the real estate practice. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to be working on. We’re also working on growing a boutique-style real estate group that’s really focused on offering the most incredible customer service that we can provide.
How do you stay a top producer for so long?
Consistency. It’s probably one of the biggest things. Most agents are pretty impatient. They’ll try one thing and if they don’t get results right away, then they’ll step off of it and try another thing. But the problem is, every time you do that you’re having to start again from scratch and build it back up again. I think when you do one thing well and so consistently well, it leads to being able to perform at a high level. The other thing you do is you add some little tweaks along the way to further enhance what you’re already doing, like social media, events and that kind of thing.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
There are two keys to that. One is having a really great assistant, and another is just staying as organized as you possibly can.