In 2006, Ferro Payman, his mother and his father did something few families in Afghanistan were able to do: they got out. Coming to Toronto from Kabul, Payman’s family was starting from scratch: his parents’ professional accreditation did not carry over to their new home, meaning his father’s life as an engineer and his mother’s as a teacher were effectively finished. Payman found himself in a vastly different culture armed with a few standard English phrases cribbed from popular movies.
Far from being frightened by his new life, Payman dove in headfirst. He was soon at the top of his class and, reflecting back on the transition, he says the most challenging part of coming to Canada was the weather. And even that wasn’t so bad.
“With a couple nice winter coats you’ll be ok,” he says.
Payman’s optimism and easygoing nature have served him well in the short time he has been selling for RE/MAX Infinite. At 24, he is one of the franchise’s many rising stars, an expert in the rapidly developing Vaughan-Kleinburg region of the GTA and an invaluable resource for his growing list of investment clients.
Payman broke into the industry at 21, but if it hadn’t been for his parents’ stepping in, he would have gotten started even earlier. He had initially been influenced by the agent who sold his family their first home; his freedom, variety of duties and ability to impact the lives of others had a life-changing effect on a teenage Perryman.
“Once I finished high school,” he says, “I told my parents I wanted to become a real estate agent and everyone was like, ‘No, you’re too young. You have to go to university first. After that you can do whatever you like.’”
Payman enrolled at York University, where he studied business administration and marketing while simultaneously working toward his real estate certification. Once he had his degree in hand, it was time to find a brokerage.
One of Payman’s friends working at RE/MAX Infinite recommended he give the company a shot. Wanting to explore his options, he sat down with 8 or 9 other brokerages before making a decision.
“I just didn’t see myself fitting in with most of them.”
Payman says he found himself at odds with a number of the brokerages’ marketing strategies and the advanced age of most of the brokers he spoke to.
“I didn’t really connect with them on a personal level. When I sat down with Levon [Nazarian, owner of RE/MAX Infinite], I really saw myself working with him into the future.”
Despite feeling that he had found a home at Infinite, Payman says his first year was challenging. His lack of experience made attracting clients difficult, but as more and more of his properties began selling for tens of thousands of dollars over-asking, his reputation began to solidify.
“The minute you start breaking records in neighborhoods, you can really show that to your clients and say, ‘This person sold his house for this much, and I sold one with an identical layout and the exact same upgrades for $50,000 or $60,000 more.’ Clients really get impressed by that, especially when you build a portfolio in a couple different neighborhoods.”
Payman attributes his success in fetching unheard of amounts for his listings to the massive effort he puts into his showings. He lists staging, partnering with the city’s finest photographers and putting on open houses that feel like celebrations as key differentiators.
“I usually have one or two huge RE/MAX balloons, I advertise through different media, I have wine, cheese, pastries and coffee. It’s like a little neighborhood party, people coming together. That’s the kind of atmosphere I set up.”
Contributing to his growing success is Payman’s dedication to being straightforward with his clients.
“Honesty is the best route to take in this business. If a house is worth a million, you tell your client it’s worth a million, not a million-fifty or a million-sixty just to strike a deal. When you [are straight with a client], they really trust you.”
That integrity can be traced back to Payman’s parents, whose hard work and dedication in building a new life in a new country – as well as a belief in karma – left an indelible mark on their son.
Ten years ago, Ferro Payman was a 15-year old kid fleeing a broken Afghanistan with his family. He is now breaking records as one of the GTA’s most successful young agents.