How did you get involved in real estate?
I was in the restaurant business originally. My dad was an investor and I always thought it was a profound business. I licensed myself in Ontario and in 17 states in the U.S. The encouragement came from my dad. That was a big reason behind it.
I have [also] followed his footsteps as far as investment. I run my parents’ portfolio. I also teach a course on how to invest in real estate, particularly in how to convert single-family homes to multi-unit buildings so that they’re cash flowing. I wrote that course. It’s being offered through my office, we hold the seminar eight months out of the year. The next one will be held on September 24 and it runs for about two hours.
Where were you when you finished university? Did you think you’d be where you are now?
I was stuck between career choices. Between following my dad’s footsteps in real estate or following his footsteps in becoming a restaurateur. So no I didn’t expect to be where I am now. It’s been a long road but an enjoyable road.
Why did you personally choose to focus on Toronto?
The marketplace, the familiarity with Toronto, the fact that I was born and raised here. The fact that the city is so diverse, that’s really fascinating to me. The fact that you can meet so many different types of people. There’s just so much opportunity in Toronto, it’s a great city to trade in.
What makes you different?
My experience, my level of care – I know that sounds cliché. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years. I started off with pennies in my pocket and I’ve exceeding all odds. I genuinely like helping people achieve their goals. That’s what keeps me doing this.
What role does social media and/or your online presence play in your business?
It helps promoting the fact that we have, for example, our seminar. It’s all about awareness. I use social media to create awareness about how we can help [consumers]. And it’s a great way to connect with people and keep my ear to the street. Social media is all about awareness and engagement. I’ve talked to some great people and made some great relationships through social media.
What tips would you give to first-time home buyers?
Don’t give up! The best thing I can tell them is to never take advice from someone who is just as broke as you are. If you want to learn to be successful in selling real estate, be mentored by someone. Building key relationships is really important. (continued...)
Are you guilty of this cardinal sin? Vince LaFiura outlines what he says is the worst thing an agent can do.