In part one of this special two-part series, Ronni Fingold, the Founder of Forest Hill Real Estate, tells REP how her focus on family turned a local reputation into a national brand.
When Ronni Fingold launched Forest Hill Real Estate in a 450 square foot office in Toronto’s Forest Hill Village, her focus was on creating a family atmosphere and dynamic that would serve as a foundation for creating a formidable force in the real estate industry years later.
Today, with over 30 offices established across southern Ontario and Quebec, family is still one of the driving forces behind the business and its expansion.
“Forest Hill was born around a kitchen table in my home,” she says. “Surrounded by family and loved ones, we envisioned a brokerage that would offer greater sophistication, professionalism and service, but never losing the personal touch.”
Real estate is most often about family, as it is a sacred trust to help people find the right home to live their lives, and eventually to sell a well-loved property to new owners.
“The business is also a family,” says Fingold. “It’s a place where friends and associates can work in a supportive atmosphere to achieve prosperity and success.”
Together with her husband, business partners, children and grandchildren, Ronni’s once small business has flourished. By working in unison to maintain industry excellence, Forest Hill continues to raise the bar in the luxury real estate market, driving the company into the future as a first-class destination for buyers and sellers.
What started as one small office in the Village, soon blossomed into half a dozen corporate branches peppered strategically in some of Toronto and the surrounding cottage country’s most desirable locations.
Today, nearly 33 years later, Forest Hill Real Estate is at the forefront of the luxury residential real estate market in Toronto. Forest Hill has remained faithful to its core principles while growing to over 30 branch offices, comprising close to 1000 Realtors located in many major markets throughout Ontario and Quebec.
Forest Hill’s offices stretch from Yorkville to Muskoka and smaller centres including Peterborough and Gilmour to the east, as well as a newly established branch office in Montreal. The company continues to establish new branches, and with each new office a team of new, qualified Realtors is born. But the expansion has never been driven by growth for growth’s sake.
“Unlike many brokerages, we award new offices according to an attractive well thought-out business plan,” says David Fingold, Ronni’s husband and the company’s president. “Our focus is on attracting people who have demonstrated success in the business and are qualified to run their own shop. We look at sales history, new office location, the knowledge and integrity of the Realtors associated with the business and the applicant’s trajectory for growth. You don’t purchase a Forest Hill office—you’re asked to join us by demonstrating merit.”
Once a new partner signs on under the Forest Hill Real Estate flag, they receive the full benefits of the brokerage’s longstanding team of executives with decades of expertise in the Toronto real estate market, both residential and commercial, resale and preconstruction. They also gain the distinct advantage of electronic and print marketing, local and international exposure and real estate mentorship and support.
Ronni Fingold notes that the made-in-Toronto Forest Hill brand has developed solid traction outside the city. “The words ‘Forest Hill’ are associated with quality wherever they’re used,” she says. “Our distinctive brand emblem and signage announce our presence in every market we enter.”
Tomorrow in REP, Ronni Fingold explains how Forest Hill Real Estate became the fastest growing luxury brand in the country