Playing by his own rules

by Neil Sharma04 Oct 2017
Chris Borkowski isn’t your typical sales agent and broker. Covered in tattoos, piercings, and a signature fedora, the well-spoken but brash agent has built an impressive business predicated on being himself.

That is, being the anti-agent.

“I’m just being myself,” he said. “I don’t own a suit or tie. If you look far enough back on my website, I offered $100 to anyone who could catch me in a suit. I’ve got a complete body suit of tattoos, including my armpits and groin. When I walk around without my hat, people are like, ‘Why aren’t you wearing a hat?’”

Borkowski goes by the moniker Condo Chris, but he sells just about everything – and quickly. His clientele is mostly comprised of repeat customers and referrals, all of whom appreciate his candour and unorthodox approach to real estate. While Borkowski figured millennials would be most appreciative of his attitude, style and method, he’s built up an impressive rolodex of older customers, too, who really respond to his persona.

In fact, ‘Condo Chris’ has become so successful that he chooses with whom he works.

“I don’t take new customers anymore,” he said. “You have to earn it or be a referral. My clients range from the ultra-conservative to the ultra-radical; I’m about quality, not quantity. If I get one senior who has a house out in Forest Hill and I sell, then sell a million-dollar condo, that’s $50-60,000 in commission. I only really need one or two of those clients a year and I make enough money to live just fine. I make sure I spend time with clients who are quality.”

Borkowski has a colourful, popular Twitter page through which his personality really shines. He posts everything from his comical ruminations to what he eats, drinks and thinks of candy corn. Some people hate it, but others are adept at picking up on the nuance and absolutely love it.

“I subscribe the philosophy that if you have 49 haters and 51 likers, then you’re doing something pretty well,” said Borkowski. “You can’t try to please everybody, otherwise it creates friction.”

“I’m a hunter, I network with hunters and I’m big on the hunting thing. I post pictures of dead animals and get people who go, ‘You’re a baby killer,’ but if I get one hunter who goes, ‘I love that, let’s hook up.’ We go on a hunting trip and become buddies and I get a customer for life. That’s what I do, I get that one or two hunters, one or two tattooed guys a year, and that’s all I need. The people who get the sarcasm love it, but there are some people who will never get it.”

Perhaps most telling about the energetic, 17-year veteran agent is a recent Tweet of his: “In order to be a REAL top producing Realtor, you must have a psychopathic personality.” What exactly did he mean?

“If you have a lot of clients, people are emotionally charged,” explained Borkowski. “You’re not so much a seller than a psychologist, and you have to be emotionally detached. I don’t really sell that much real estate because I pick and choose who I work with. I’m not psychopathic enough to be a top producer because I’m too emotional and too compassionate. I really do care about my clients and I take on too many of their emotions, so that’s why I pick and choose who I work with.”

Quality over quantity sounds like a sound recipe for success.

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