The truth is that real estate isn’t about property. It’s about people. Normal human beings who have braved the sometimes wonderful, ofttimes treacherous waters of this great, real estate adventure. Here are some of their stories.
“Never think small.”
- Russell Dela Cruz
Contrary to what most people may think, I’ve only been in the real estate industry for about a year. Yup, I officially got my licence on August 15, 2021. In fact, I’ve only been living in BC for a little over two years. Am I telling you this because I think it matters? Not a bit. I’m sharing this with you because I believe strongly that it doesn’t.
Why on earth would you go into real estate?
Oh, if only I had a Shaughnessy home referral for every reason I was told not to go into real estate, especially as a 27 year old living in Winnipeg who didn’t know a thing about the industry. “It’s already saturated.” “If you don’t speak a certain language or have a big network you won’t succeed.” “You won’t make a cent for at least two years.” “Vancouver is already dominated by older, more experienced agents.”
Don’t get me wrong, I had a great life. I owned my own home and a rental property, I was making a good living. But then lockdown hit. Sure, business slowed, but it was more than that: I felt stuck. Something had to change - I wasn’t quite sure what, but I knew that my future was going to be in Vancouver.
So I packed my bags and headed out west. No U-Haul, furniture or belongings; just a car full of clothes and blind faith. I drove 25 hours straight from Winnipeg without so much as a job interview lined up. I would figure it out when I got there.
Venturing out. And up.
The next day, I sat down for a job interview at a BMW dealership in Kitsilano and was on the sales floor the day after that. As the next six months unfolded, I found myself meeting two main groups of clients: those who ran their own businesses, and those who were in real estate.
Both avenues seemed to have incredible potential for those willing to put in the time, effort and work. I didn’t have a great business idea, so real estate it was. Worst case scenario I could always find my way back to a sales job of some kind.
I decided that I needed a mentor, and was lucky enough to be guided by Jerome Deis of Remax Crest Realty. I also made sure that I was in the office every single day, and at open houses every weekend. People noticed my passion and commitment, and I started to make some money.
Every cent I didn’t need for living expenses I piled back into my business (although a better way to think about it is that I was investing in myself). I figured that I needed to throw as big a stone as I could into the really big pond that is Vancouver real estate, so my face found its way onto bus shelters, elevator ads, buses and platforms like REW.ca.
Never think small.
I took the leap. I bet on myself. And I began being recognised, not just for who I was but also for the lengths I was willing to go to help as many people as I could. I refused to think small, because my view was that the best that can then happen is that you get small.
Early on, I helped a client with their $249,000 condo out in Abbotsford. I was told that agents wouldn't take this business because it was too far from Vancouver, and that the purchase price wasn’t worth the commute. I didn’t see it that way. For me, it was a referral from a good friend, and a client in his 20s debating whether he should sell or rent the property out. We talked about it and weighed up the options, then sold it in six days, netting him a handsome profit on his first investment.
Sure, that may seem like a small deal, but the bigger view was what could come from it. And sure enough, he ended up buying another condo a few months later. Then I was lucky enough to have his amazing mom buy a pre-sale condo with me. She turned into one of my biggest advocates and started referring me to her friends. Small had become big in no time at all.
Don’t do as you’re told.
Less than a year later and I have now helped over 30 homeseekers and families to buy or sell their homes. I did this by not listening; by not doing as I was told. I got here by throwing my clothes in a car and having the courage to follow a “What if?” 2,300km down the road.
If you have a vision, ignore what other people say. Your dreams are as big as you want them to be.