When I started my Real Estate career more than 30 years ago, it seemed like a logical choice. My father and aunt were in the business. And hey, I liked houses.
Before getting licensed, I took a one year cabinet making course at Humber College, followed by a brief stint as a construction worker for a local builder. We were tasked to build a retro century home in downtown Stouffville. I was on site from the foundation onwards. It was an excellent learning experience that I referred back to again and again.
1. I Like Everything About Housing!
I've spent the last ten years managing an Apartment Hotel in downtown Oshawa. Built in rooming-house fashion, the 42 unit building was geared to single low or non income earners. There were challenging times like when the on-site supervisor was attacked with scissors, or when an ambulance had to be called for a resident, or the shingles ripped off the rooftop during a fierce storm, or false fire alarms going off - usually at night. Our rules, that residents agreed to before moving in, were strict. No drugs, no alcohol, no fighting, no overnight guests without permission. We had cameras on every floor. Police were given a key to the front door and were welcome to enter at any time.
What we created was an environment for those 42 residents who wanted a clean, safe place to call home. I'm proud of our achievement. In spite of the challenges we celebrated small victories, held bbq's in summer months, helped residents with the sometimes daunting government paperwork, and cheered them on when they found meaningful employment. This too is housing.
2. The Ebb and Flow
There's a reassuring symbiotic flow to Real Estate, either from season to season, or decade to decade. While the value of Real Estate property relies primarily on Government decisions, financial outlook, interest rates, and supply and demand, housing will remain one of our three primary needs, food & shelter & clothing. There will always be years of market regression followed by an upswing. There will always be seasonal lows (December, July) and seasonal highs (spring).
Guaranteed, whatever is happening today will not last. Change is imminent. I'm content in knowing that my heavy work schedule in the springtime will not continue into summer months. I'm reassured in early January that the slow market will consistently move to a more natural pace. Experience has taught me to go with the flow.
3. It's What I'm Good At
There can be an unlimited number of licensed agents in the GTA. Obtaining the license requires proficiency in English, and basic understanding of math concepts and law. It's one of the few glamorous sounding jobs that requires nothing more than money up front, passing the exams, and joining a Real Estate office. But it's not as easy as it looks. According to Remonline.com, out of approximately 50,000 agent members of the Toronto Real Estate Board, 34.6% (17,313) sold zero houses in 2017. 8,344 agents sold one house, and just 10% (4,982) sell more than ten houses a year. The more involved one is in any business, the more one learns. I'm good. But I can always get better. My eagerness to continually learn keeps me current.
4. I Like My People
I am incredibly lucky to have had the pleasure of clients that are engaging, interesting, colourful, steadfast, determined, loving, educated, hard working, and probably any other positive adjective that you can think of. Not all were easy to deal with and some of them really really really challenged me. We found ways to communicate with respect and integrity. And I learned. In over 30 years I can honestly say I am grateful to each and every client. No regrets.
5. House Shopping Therapy
It's a passion to see homes and decorating & furnishing ideas, no question. I'm intrigued about every house I've ever been in, even the outliers where Buyers scratch their heads and say "what were they thinking". Health, luck, finances, emotional stability, and creativity, for better or worse, play a part in determining the environment people choose to live in. I pass no judgement. People do the best they can with what they have. I work alongside my Sellers in trying to get their houses 'show ready' as painlessly and inexpensively as possible. With my Buyers, I try to identify what 'is' and how this could be changed to suit their needs. No house will be 100% right, but trust me when I say that when it's the right house, you'll know. You'll feel it in your bones. And that is what gives me joy!!