The Faris Team Real Estate Brokerage, based in Barrie, Ont., has become an independent after several years of being the No. 1 sales team for Royal LePage across Canada.
“We were with Royal LePage from the beginning and about five years ago they offered a sub-franchise, which was kind of a half step towards a full brokerage,” says Mark Faris, CEO and broker of the team. “So we’ve been operating to a certain degree (as) a brokerage within a brokerage.”
The brokerage has six offices in Barrie, Orillia, Midland, Innisfil, Collingwood and Alliston.
Going independent has several advantages, he says. “One is we can make quicker decisions without having to go up the line and get multiple approvals.”
When it opened its Midland office, “we weren’t allowed to actually have any advertising in any way in that location because there was another Royal LePage there.” Now the brokerage has no advertising restrictions.
Another reason for moving is because it gives Faris more control of “standards and processes. We control 100 per cent of that.”
Faris says, “We started about 12.5 years ago at Royal LePage – my wife Joanna and myself. She had the marketing background.”
Prior to becoming a Realtor, Faris played in the Central Hockey League. “When newlywed Mark Faris entered his hockey changeroom to discover a garbage bag full of his gear and plane tickets back home, he was left in shock and discouragement,” says the Faris Team website. “Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, it was one of the greatest blessings. He discovered shortly after that his true passion was not on the ice, instead, the world of real estate, investment properties and selling homes was his new arena.”
The Faris Team grew from a team of two people in Barrie to over 60 team members across Simcoe County.
“The first six months was so difficult because we didn’t have a nest egg saved up. I thought about getting a part-time job. And just pushed through,” says Faris. “After that first six-month stint, we grew from 38 sales to 100 sales to 160 to 222 and we scaled it up where last year we sold 1,013 homes.
“We brought on many, many amazing people that we’ve just been able to get working on the same thing. Really our mission is to provide the best real estate experience in the world.”
The Faris Team has had the most units sold by a team on the Barrie & District Association of Realtors MLS system from 2011-2019 and in Canada, the most sold by a team within Royal LePage from 2015-2019.
In the more than 12 years in business, it has had more than 6,500 sales.
Faris says the move to be independent means its clients will experience better, faster and more convenient service through all stages of buying and selling their homes.
“Our clients have always been a top priority for us. The bottom line is that with this move, we’ll have a better system in place for booking appointments, deals will get processed faster, so ultimately our clients will be the biggest winners with this change,” he says.
In order to provide that level of experience, he says, there needs to be a high level of care and love for people. Another key for the business is constant improvement “and never, never settling on your reputation on just what you’ve done in the past.”
Faris says, “We are just constantly asking the question, ‘How can we make it better?’ and we have the people in place to make it happen. We take massive action to make the client experience better.”
Faris grew up on a farm in a Christian family with eight siblings and is the oldest of the brothers, says his website. He played semi-professional hockey in Sweden and the U.S. He attributes much of his success in hockey to going full-out and has used that same principle as a real estate professional and entrepreneur by going full-out in serving his clients, it says.
He received his real estate licence in 2007 at the age of 24.