By Dan St. Yves

Not sure if it’s this hard-to-believe, still ongoing COVID-19 distraction, or just my age-related memory neurons misfiring, but I almost completely missed the 20th anniversary of this column for October as I sat down to write another column for this month.



Twenty years in one space is a record for any of my writing efforts, although newspaper columns come a pretty close second. I had a long-running weekly newspaper humour column back in B.C., and an even longer-running entertainment review space for the Calgary Herald that ended when I moved back home to Winnipeg recently.

I’ve had blogs both personal and connected to newspapers online that afforded me a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on singers and songwriters, mostly Canadian. Can’t say enough about the wealth of talent harboured across our country.

This space, though, has really been surprising. With the REM monthly column I’ve long outlived my own real estate career (11 years), and I’m still finding things I can write about that I hope currently active Realtors can relate to and will hopefully give them a chuckle.

Some may argue that last point, but as long as the creative well doesn’t run dry, I hope to continue shooting blindly in the dark over my shoulders from a bucking pickup truck going over Winnipeg potholes in the ongoing efforts to hit the bullseye and find something we can all laugh about. Now, more than ever, I think we all need that.

My, how things have evolved over the past 20 years in the real estate business! Here are just a few outtakes from some of those years:

December 2000 – The Joy Of Pagers

Q & A: When is the most appropriate time for any one of your clients to use your pager to touch base on your marketing of their home?

a) once a week.

b) once a year.

c) 16 times a day, 30 on weekends.

September 2001 – Management Guide To Evaluating Real Estate Agents

Q & A: The office has an easily attained sales target, yet once again they are miles away from hitting the bulls-eye. You need a great contest to get them going. Do you:

a) dress as a pirate and offer free parrots to each person making a sale that week,

b) set a goal and provide a free tour of Canada’s Wonderland to anyone that makes it,

c) put everyone on electronic monitoring until they break past the target.

March 2002 – Phrases You Don’t Want To Hear

Q & A: Your new listing has had 16 offers since you put the sign up 15 minutes ago. There is a slight possibility you undervalued it. What DON’T you want the sellers to say?

a) “So the commission is based on time on market?”

b) “Quick, let’s sign one of these bad boys before somebody notices we’re tenants!”

c) “You’re still going to advertise in every major state and province, aren’t you?”

October 2004 – Location Location Location

When buying a home, one must consider the many varied attributes that might ultimately enable ongoing appreciation of value and foster strong resale appeal. Location is often the leading barometer of these attributes.

Being a home built of gingerbread, out in the middle of a German forest, featuring jolly folks in lederhosen playing accordions might also be a barometer of sorts, but we’ll stick to conventional examples for this particular piece…

July 2005 – Realtor Mascots

I can understand the philosophy of posing with the family dog, and even the odd cat or Toucan if the intent is to try and establish common ground in the often unforgiving, competitive world of commission sales. But is there a point where, as a sales agent, you just plain over-extend the market potential of your mascot?

Like The Barenaked Ladies sang: “Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?” Man, a chimpanzee would be the cat’s pajamas as a mascot! You could train a smarter one to do your more menial work, like measuring homes and drafting contracts, leaving you way more time to be on the golf course!

Well, better leave it there – there’s a limit even with online word counts. And I sure don’t want to see the little moisture I may have left in my creative well dry up prematurely!

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