Ricky Chadha is a real estate agent with Royal LePage in Toronto. He is also a real estate columnist for The Globe and Mail.
How did you get involved in real estate?
I bought my first home and I was really scared going through the process. I had no idea what to expect and so much wasn’t explained to me. Once I moved into my home and found everything was OK, I became a knowledge junkie. Two years later I bought my second property -- an investment property -- and a light bulb went off. This is what I want to do full time. I’m passionate about the industry and I want to help others realize their dreams of home ownership.
Where were you when you finished university? Did you think you’d be where you are now?
I was working at a large telecommunications company as a co-op student and after graduation they kept me on full time. I went to school for computer programming, so I had no clue I’d be in this career.
Why did you personally choose to focus on Toronto?
I was born and raised in Toronto, I love this city. I’ve travelled around the world, and I’ve never seen such a diverse and multicultural city. Sure there are things that bother me about the city, but the good far outweighs my qualms.
What makes you different?
I think a combination of the fact that I grew up in the city, I come from an immigrant family, I bought a home, I’m a landlord. My experience as a computer programmer has helped me to become really methodical and organized and I apply those principles to real estate.
What role does social media and/or your online presence play in your business?
My background in computer science has made embracing technology second nature. I admire how social media helps people stay connected and creates new connections.
What tips would you give to first-time home buyers?
First, don’t be afraid. It’s not as scary as it seems. Create a budget along with realistic expectations. Your first home is not necessarily your dream home, but it will help you leapfrog to your dream home.
What is some of the criticism you’ve received?
I can be too honest sometimes. I’m here to present my expert opinion on a property, neighbourhood or investment. I’ve found myself talking clients out of a deal because I’ve presented my opinion, but I don’t mind it. I’m here for a reason, not to be a yes-man.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Helping people and bringing them happiness. The home is the biggest part of most people’s lives and it can have a domino effect on people’s careers and relationships. The home is the centre of it all for most people.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m all for work life balance, so with proper scheduling I can be a morning person one week and a night person the next. Real estate is not a structured career; you have to be very adaptable.
What is your most memorable client encounter?
I actually relocated clients from the east coast of Canada. We met on Twitter and it was through our mutual love of pizza.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I think certainly incompetence with paperwork and working outside of the rules of real estate. People often say, ‘Oh, I’ve been in the business for 30 years’ – so that means you’re right? You need to be competent with the rules and regulations. A lot of those people are not replying in a timely manner, and that’s common courtesy to be prompt and punctual.
What are you most proud of?
An off-shoot of my real estate business is being asked to write a real estate column for the Globe and Mail.
What is the last book you read?
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, an autobiography by Phil Jackson, who is the former NBA coach of the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers. I have a love for basketball and I also love to hear stories about successful people, whatever profession they’re in. You can relate that to any circumstance. Any motivation is good – to get you pumped out and positive.