By Toby Welch

Accelerating your real estate career can be as simple as taking advice from people who have already lived through many of this industry’s obstacles. We’ve all heard, “Treat everyone how you want to be treated.” Let’s delve deeper into advice that is career changing.



Giovanni Farinacci
Giovanni Farinacci

Giovanni Farinacci, a real estate broker with Courtier Immobilier in Pointe-Claire, Que., has found two pieces of advice to be the most helpful:

  1. “If you are not comfortable in a listing presentation (the client has a rude attitude), I suggest you thank them for their time and walk away because if it’s bad at the beginning, it will be worse later on.
  2. “When working with a buyer, make him sign a buyer’s contract.”
Sheldon Johnston
Sheldon Johnston

Sheldon Johnston, the broker/owner and president of Liv Real Estate and Liv Homes in Edmonton, has had many mentors throughout his career. While they all gave him nuggets of wisdom that were valuable at the time, the advice his dad gave him in the ’80s is still relevant today: “No matter what the market conditions are, people are always going to buy and sell real estate; you just have to figure out how to connect with them.”

Johnston continues, “On the lighter side, one of my mentors once told me, “Never miss an opportunity to go to the washroom.” To put that in context, you drink a lot of coffee (or whatever) in our business and sure enough, there were times during a listing presentation, out on showings, or writing an offer with clients that I’d be crossing my legs hoping my clients didn’t notice my discomfort.

“One (piece of advice) that I share with my newer agents all the time is: be like a duck – calm and cool on the surface and paddling like hell underwater.”

Ari Lahdekorpi
Ari Lahdekorpi

Ari Lahdekorpi, a managing broker with YPA Realty in Surrey, B.C., shares the advice that has impacted him: “The struggle in the real estate industry is in large part an internal one. In dealing with what is an emotionally charged endeavour, a Realtor needs to keep focused. Two bits of good advice I have held dear. One from a lawyer who said, ‘Remember, happy people don’t sue.’

“I was also struck with a Steven Covey quote: ‘We see the world not as it is…but as we are.’ Keeping those perspectives in mind while we navigate the land mines of agency, due diligence and fiduciary duty have been very helpful over the years.”

Suzanne Othmer
Suzanne Othmer

Suzanne Othmer, broker of record with Royal LePage Best Choice Realty in New Liskeard, Ont., struggled to come up with just one tidbit.

“The most helpful advice was to get a good quality CRM (customer relationship management) system. With a CRM, you are able to keep track of everything: closing dates, appointments, when a listing expires, client’s birthdays…You can keep notes on their cards of their dog’s name and what was the list price you suggested last year. Now they sync with your phone and Google calendars. They even have built-in newsletters to send to your database if you wish at a specific time. This is the best tool you can have and must have to be or become a successful real estate agent.”

Othmer continues with a laugh, “People also have to like you. You need to show them that you care. You have to truly care because if you do not and are faking it, the animal instinct will pick up on it and you will be busted.”

Consider these nuggets of guidance other agents and brokers have shared:

  • Trust your instincts rather than listening to everything a brokerage is teaching.
  • We only have one time around and you’re not going to die if you fail.
  • Be persistent. Provide value and be consistent.
  • Ignore the people who have been doing the same thing for years and start being innovative, online and offline.
  • Never stop working on your next deal; stay one step ahead of the game.
  • A successful career in the real estate industry will take hard work. Success, like all other professions, comes with long hours and much blood, sweat and tears.
  • Become an online local community real estate expert. Sometimes the best course of action is to get back to the online basics and become the definitive source for all things real estate in your area.
  • Stay connected to your clients. There’s a good chance that the person you just helped to buy their new condo will be looking to move into a newer, larger home within a few years. Keep in contact with these individuals as they may become clients sooner rather than later.
  • Be the Realtor other Realtors want to work with. It makes a difference.
Crystal Tost
Crystal Tost

Crystal Tost, the team lead at Tost Realty Group with Re/Max Realty Professionals in Calgary, has had 23 years of real estate experience and made her own recommendations early on.

“I wasn’t given much advice to be honest but I owe a lot of my success to adapting early to technology. Staying ahead of the curve with out-of-the-box marketing ideas for homes and creating an online brand. From reviews to a strong website with regular visitor traffic, we have one of the best websites out there for people to use.

“Being resilient is essential to an agent’s success. Showing up each and every day, hard work does pay off. You also have to take things lighter when it comes to your feelings, with a thicker-skin approach. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. Know that clients choose agents sometimes just for personality – you just have to accept that you can’t be everything to everyone but you can be the best to the ones that you click with.”

Kicking ass in real estate can be as simple as following the advice of people in the industry who have been successful. Good luck!

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