How did you get involved in real estate?
I had two female friends who got into real estate and I needed a career change due to back issues. I talked to them and got some information and it sounded like it would be a good career move for me.
Where were you when you finished university? Did you think you’d be where you are now?
I never finished university. I graduated from high school and graduated from a trade in hairdressing and had a career in that for 20 years. I went to university at 38 years old and then decided to go into real estate. I never foresaw, ever, going into real estate. I always thought I’d stay in the beauty industry. But even then, I worked in training. I trained hair dressers.
Why did you personally choose to focus on the Halifax region?
Halifax and Dartmouth are not big cities. So really I focus, and most will focus, on Halifax and Dartmouth. Everything is close together and the market is basically the same. Not much fluctuation in residential in the city.
What makes you different?
I’m bilingual – my first language is French so I do promote myself as bilingual. I’m not a pushy person. I don’t push my clients into making any decisions until they’re ready and a lot of people like that. I’m not aggressive, I let them go at their pace. It’s a big decision.
What role does social media and/or your online presence play in your business?
I try to be more active in social media. I should be more active than what I am. I do a lot on Facebook and linked in to connect with other professionals. Facebook, I’ll put my new listings and open houses. It’s just to remind friends and former clients that I’m still in the business – to keep top of mind.
What tips would you give to first-time home buyers?
There’s quite a few. The first would be to get pre-approved. To get a real estate agent, they can’t do it on their own – they shouldn’t do it on their own. Get a good real estate agent who they feel is working for them.
What is some of the criticism you’ve received?
Not a whole lot, fortunately. We send out surveys at Sutton to our clients and I’ve never gotten a bad survey.
What is your favourite part of your job?
The fact that I’m not in the office nine to five. I like going out and meeting new people and seeing the houses. No deal is ever the same and that’s nice. But really just meeting people and helping them find their house.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m a morning person. I get up early and I just get up and go. My husband says I go-go-go all day then crash at night. It can be seven in the morning, and I’m at my desk working. And that’s what I like about this job. I can start working and get a lot done.
What is your most memorable client encounter?
I’ve had a lot of really nice clients, I’ve been really fortunate. But I had a young couple that came in from Alberta. They didn’t know anybody so I picked them up at the airport and drove them to where they were staying. They ended up buying a house.
But then they wrote a wonderful review for me on Google. They said I went above and beyond; picked them up, took them out to eat, showed them around Halifax, and they ended up buying below their budget which they didn’t expect. They stick out because they went above and beyond for me in writing that review.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is other agents who forget that the deal is not about them. We’re just middle people.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve lasted seven years already. Right now in this market, that’s a huge accomplishment.
What is the last book you read?
I read a lot, but my favourite books to read are detective crime novels. The last one I finished reading was one by Patricia Cornwell, I forget the name of it. But 90 per cent of the time I’m reading a crime book. That’s how I like to unwind at night.
Real estate is indeed a business, but as real estate agent Gail Boudreau points out, the business is all about hospitality.