Mitchell Lougheed went from watching Bravo's hit reality series Million Dollar Listing to actually selling million-dollar listings.
The young agent has been in real estate only two years, but his calm demeanour has helped him navigate the high-pressure and high-priced negotiations between buyers and sellers in Toronto's ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood.
Lougheed, a sales representative at Forest Hill Yorkville says, "I thrive in those situations because I don't let things get to me too much. I'm very calm in high-pressure situations. I really take a level-headed approach to dealing with things like adversity. It's why I'm good at what I do in this niche market of Yorkville."
But in real estate, you need more than just a calm demeanour to thrive. So find out how this young professional thrives in a prestigious market, why the personal touch always wins out over the transactional one, and why he believes Yorkville is more comparable to SoHo than Queen West.
How did you get started in real estate?
It goes way back. I grew up in a small town – Barrie, which is not that small anymore. It has actually grown a lot over the last 10 to 15 years. But a lot of my good friends there had fathers in real estate in some sense. Whether it was investing or as a developer/builder.
One of Lougheed's recent conditional sales, listed at $1,515,000. He says this Yonge and St. Clair home emphasized the demand in the market for downsizing.
I was always surrounded by it and always very infatuated by it. As I got a little bit older, I studied architectural technology in school, so I was still interested in houses. It was always something that was on my radar, but not immediately. I needed to figure out exactly the direction I wanted to go.
Basically, I went to school in Barrie and got a job in the city, right in downtown Toronto.
My intention was to build my roots, meet people and get a good feel for the city, so I was there for about four years and decided now is the time. I took evenings and weekends to study for my licence and decided to make the full leap about two years ago, deciding to go full-time.
Funny enough, one of the things that actually pushed me to get my licence was watching those shows on TV like Million Dollar Listing. I would watch that sow in my early 20s and think, I really want to do this. This is something that I'm really interested in. And that kind of pushed me into real estate.
I knew I wanted to do it in the city too. I saw a lot of opportunities here. Way more than there was in a small town like Barrie. So it was all part of my grand plan. It took a while, but it was all laid out eventually.
Now that you're actually doing it, what do you like about the reality of the real estate business?
You know what? It's very exciting.
It's one of those things where every day is different, so there's always a new challenge, there's always a new opportunity, and there's always a new hurdle. Each day is different and that's what I like. I'm the type of person that always likes to be doing things, solving problems, meeting people and not being stagnant, which is something real estate goes hand-in-hand with.
There's always something to do, always something that's new, and it's a very exciting career when things are busier. When things are slow, it can be a little bit daunting.
If I'm your client, what is The Mitch Lougheed Experience?
Real estate to me is very very relationship-based and very personal, so it's very different for each person.
I don't look at it as very sales-y, sales-y — like I'm trying to get a billion transactions a year. For me, it's developing a real relationship with my clients and having that become a long-term thing.
We're doing everything together. We're in it together. You're not just a number to me.
It's a very personalized process, so it's a little more of a tailored experience.
I kind of struggle sometimes with the very sales-y, sales-y aspects because I'm not a very pushy, pushy salesman and that's why I think things have worked out for me.
Some real estate professionals actually buy their social media followers. How did you manage to cultivate such a strong following online?
I realized a few of my friends really leverage their social media to help them generate business across all different aspects. Some are in fitness, some are in business and some are also in real estate. But I really saw an opportunity there to leverage that social media presence because in this day and age it's so important.
One of your biggest lead generating opportunities is through social media. You can reach way more people now.
So I was like, you know what? I really need to double-down on this and really make this important to me because it's going to be one of the most important ways I can connect to potential new clients. So I really spent a lot of time cultivating this presence online.
But it's tough to cultivate an audience sometimes. Do you have a particular strategy?
I've gone through a variety of different strategies and I've tried stuff out or deleted some stuff.
But I've seen a lot of these realtors' Instagram pages and it's just condo, condo, condo, house, house, house ... I try to mix it up a bit where I do some real estate posts, but then I'll do some personal posts of me doing whatever it may be.
That strategy is still always ever-changing. I'm still figuring out what works for me and what gets me the most exposure and the most traction.
Even if you look at these big brokers in New York, like the Ryan Serhants of the world, it's not real estate in your face 24/7. It's what interests people about you as a person, which I think is very important for people to be able to stick around and be interested in what you're selling.
As an agent who works in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood, what's your take on it real estate-wise?
Yorkville is one of the most amazing, dialectic neighbourhoods in North America.
The prices in Yorkville are being blown out of the water because everybody wants to be in Yorkville business-wise and living-wise.
There's tons of stuff going on there and you can't really compare prices in Yorkville to any other neighbourhood in Toronto. Your comparables to Yorkville are other major cities like Soho in New York. Those are your comparables and those are where the prices are going.
You're really comparing against global cities when you're looking at prices in Yorkville, but there are a lot of huge developers – First Capital, for example – that are trying to buy up all of Yorkville. And in the process prices are shooting up.
It's really, really a hot spot because there's not just real estate. There are tons of restaurants and some of the best shopping in the world with some of the best brands in the world.
For example, Chanel has moved from Bloor Street right to Yorkville Avenue. It's really an exciting time for Yorkville. It has blown up within the last five years.
Do clients on the wealthier side of things in Yorkville have different demands or requirements than other buyers or sellers?
It's higher pressure. It's not as friendly as some residential stuff.
There are lots of people that have timelines and price points that need to be met.
Right now, I'm kind of also navigating the different markets and deciding whether I'm going to stick to this more luxury market or go a different direction that's more residential and outside of these areas like Yorkville.
I'm kind of navigating it, but that's not to say I don't love working right in Yorkville because I really do.
But it is very different working with clients in Yorkville than anywhere else in the GTA.