Imagine a National Hockey League team winning the Stanley Cup for 20 consecutive years.
It’s a feat that’s hard to contemplate. Some would say it’s impossible.
But in the world of real estate, one Calgary brokerage has achieved something of a similar scale. It has been a shining light in the industry even throughout the up and down cycles of the market.
Re/Max Real Estate (Central) recently was named the top-producing single Re/Max office in the world in 2018 for the 20th straight year. The Calgary office picked up the award at the annual Re/Max R4 Convention in Las Vegas. Central won six awards at the R4 Convention – top office in Canada and top office in the world for transactions; top office in Canada and top office in the world for dollar volume; and largest single office in Canada and largest single office in the world.
The number of transactions Central facilitated last year was 4,179. In 2017, its Realtors were involved in 5,046 transactions. Central’s total sales volume for 2017 was $2.765 billion. In 2018, it was $2.297 billion.
Central won the top-producing award in 1997 the first time, lost it in 1998 and won it again in 1999 and for every year since then.
Behind the staggering success story is owner Pat Hare, who has guided the brokerage’s journey during that period of unprecedented achievement.
“I take personal satisfaction in making sure the buyer or the seller gets the best deal possible. There’s nothing better than having a buyer and you take them out there and you get them the best deal they can afford. To be a really good Realtor you have to know the market,” says Hare, who owns the business with his wife Denise.
How has the brokerage managed its incredible success story during the past 20 years?
“We always say it’s the Realtors, number one. We motivate the Realtors and help them be successful. Then we always say we have a great support staff and always have. Then we go to the management team and say our managers are the best out there…And we work all together as a team,” says Hare.
“It’s an atmosphere of hard work, working together and bettering your career.”
Hare is fully committed to helping Realtors improve their skills and over the years he’s introduced many training programs and initiatives geared towards that. There has also been an emphasis on one-on-one training for his salespeople.
The 65-year-old Hare was born in Tillsonburg, Ont. He obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting from the University of Ottawa. During his second year of university, he went to Algonquin College as well, taking the Ontario real estate course. When he graduated from university in 1977, he spent two years travelling throughout Europe.
A friend from his university days, Paul Mair, suggested Hare move to Calgary, which he did in 1979 to begin his real estate career.
“I started at his company, which was called Westmoreland Real Estate. We were a small organization downtown,” says Hare, who was a partner with the company.
Hare, Mair and two others co-founded Re/Max Real Estate (Central) in 1984 with 35 Realtors. Today the office has grown, under Hare’s guidance, to more than 280 agents.
“I probably read enough books about real estate during my commerce course. I just knew that real estate was the future and if you bought and sold properties you’d probably make some money over the lifetime of your career,” says Hare.
The Calgary market is well-known for its up and down cycles tied to the health of the oilpatch. When oil prices are depressed, the economy is hurting and that affects the residential real estate market.
That’s been painfully evident in the past few years. When oil prices collapsed in the last half of 2014, it triggered recessions in Calgary in both 2015 and 2016, leading to thousands of job losses. While the economy turned in a positive direction in 2017, the effects of those recession years continue to linger. Economic growth is slow and cautious with many challenges still out there. The impact of that has been felt on the residential real estate market as it continues to be sluggish, dealing with decreased demand.
Despite those tough economic times, Central has managed to maintain its foothold on the annual Re/Max awards.
“I think we were a little surprised this year,” says Hare.
What does Hare look for in building his team? What qualities does he look for in a Realtor?
“Motivation. Work ethic. What field they’re coming out of. Why they’re becoming a Realtor. Then we work around that. There’s a saying we always use, ‘To be a Realtor, you have to be a little different’. Every Realtor is a little different. I don’t expect one Realtor to be the same (as another). And every Realtor identifies with a different section of the population,” says Hare. “We love that because we can hit all aspects of the market.”
He says, “The Calgary market has been soft for the last couple of years but we needed that. You can’t have a market that continues to go up and up and up. We needed a softening in price to make it affordable for first-time buyers to get into the market. I see this year as a levelling year… Calgary’s the future of real estate in Canada because of its affordability and its population growth.”