Larissa’s 10th Year Anniversary In Real EstateAugust 23, 2018 | Real Estate Perspectives
Somewhere around this time marks the 10th anniversary of my time in real estate. Ten somewhat long, somewhat short, years ago I gained a real estate license and my world changed forever. I have to say “somewhere” only because I don’t actually have a precise date, though I really wish I could mark a specific date. Ten years ago I was still using a spiral-bound paper agenda, and my record-keeping wasn’t nearly what it is today! So, I only know this to be the case because I bought my very first car at the end of August 2008 for the start of my real estate career, and it was around that time that my license came through and I was officially signed on with a brokerage. [Sidenote: This was back in the day when I thought every real estate agent needed to own a car. My perspective on this has definitely changed now that I primarily walk, cycle or Uber for work, and only rarely ever use a car.]
From the life of a Classical musician, a recent grad of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, a travelling pianist for weddings, cocktail parties and even funerals (hey, music is needed for all sorts of things!), and in the process, saying goodbye to dozens of private piano students, I embarked on a new career that would take me in all sorts of unexpected directions and open my eyes to the world. I don’t think I really knew what I was actually heading into, since at the age of 25, I was still pretty new to the “real world”. Some very gracious clients allowed me to represent them in the early days, and I am forever grateful to them for helping to give me a leg-up in the business.
As I look back, there are a number of directions real estate has taken me in my interests and social awareness. Some of the things that came specifically from my time in real estate that may not have otherwise include:
- An increasing love for design, function, and architecture that matters and improves lives.
- Understanding how to build websites and how to get online marketing to work!
- A curiosity and continuing deep interest in urban issues surrounding what makes cities great, what makes communities great, thoughtful city planning, and infrastructure issues.
- How to talk with people. Seriously. This was an issue for me that I struggled with at the beginning, as someone who was very shy and anxious!
- How to run a business. Again, seriously. When I was a musician, I was obviously also running a business, but I never thought about it that way. I’ve always joked since that if I applied all of the real estate business knowledge that I have now to my former music career, I could have been a total rock-star musician (in a very Classical pianist sort of way).
During my ten years I’ve gone from spreading myself thin across the GTA as I hustled for business, to becoming laser-focused in the condo neighbourhood where I live. I’ve opened a branch office, moved brokerages, created a real estate team, and worked with real estate coaches. There have been definite highs and lows in this career, but the struggle has always been worth it.
Knowing that I can add tremendous value from my experience with condos and with landlords & tenants, particularly when it comes to understanding rights and responsibilities in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 has always been very rewarding. Becoming hyper-local and focused on downtown condos has given me an edge, and clients definitely see that in how I help them.
Overall, I see the real estate business not as sales, but fundamentally, as service. It’s about providing the best service I can to landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers so that they come out of the experience thrilled with the results. I really do care about my clients and their long-term happiness. It matters to me that they can feel fulfilled in their decision to work with me as their real estate agent. And I’m immensely honoured to help them in the process too.
Thanks for reading this personal reflection on my journey in real estate. If you’re interested in finding out more about me and how I work, feel free to check out our page “Meet The Team” to read about our approach to hyper-local real estate in downtown Toronto. The link to that page is right here.