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Re/Max Real Estate Centre: From “desperation” to No. 1 office | REM

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June 2019 will mark the 20th year of David Medeiros’ and Delio Oliveira’s partnership as co-founders of Re/Max Real Estate Centre, an Ontario firm named Canada’s No. 1 Re/Max brokerage for the most closed transactions in 2017.

But when the duo ventured into their business in 1999, they weren’t sure how far they’d get. Back then, both Medeiros, 30, and Oliveira, 33, were experienced Realtors and top agents within Re/Max at its Cambridge, Ont. office. They thought they had what it would take to launch their own brokerage business. When they resigned in June to firm up their partnership, their manager warned they would go bankrupt by Christmas.




Today, their company has offices in 16 locations across the province with 734 agents and counting.

Medeiros admits that getting to this point was a tall order. In the nascent stages of their business, they struggled to operate their brokerage with few clues about the level of detail required to run one. In their first year together, they sold real estate, ran the brokerage and recruited non-stop, he says.

“We had no administrative background and we didn’t realize how much capital it would take. The hardest was to recruit agents,” says Medeiros, “because we were two young guys with a new office, so agents doubted us.”

And yet, their company went from 25 to 75 agents within the first 12 months.

Medeiros followed a meandering path to real estate. At 14 he spent his summer and Christmas holidays and March break working at a Brampton construction firm, alongside his cousin who was a lead hand. At 18 he went to college. General Motors’ diesel division in London, Ont. was his next port of call. A few years later, he joined his family’s specialty grocery business in Cambridge. In short order, a family friend introduced him to the real estate business.

At the age of 10, Oliveira immigrated to Canada with his family from Azores. He worked at a company in Cambridge making vinyl for the automotive industry. Eventually, he too joined the promise of the real estate industry.

The pair met at the Re/Max office in Cambridge, where their careers took off.

Louise Stephens
Louise Stephens

Medeiros credits his staff and managers at Re/Max Real Estate Centre for the company’s success. Their broker and manager, Louise Stephens, joined the company in 2014 after 25 years in real estate sales and management, and was nominated Manager of the Year for Re/Max Ontario/Atlantic region in November 2017. She quickly followed it up by bagging the Manager of the Year award for all of Canada in the same year.

In 2014, Stephens got the green light to initiate a new training and mentoring program to benefit Realtors at all levels. “They allowed me the freedom to develop the ‘90-day Commit to Success Challenge’ – an in-house program for new and seasoned Realtors that includes one-to-one coaching, lead generation training, open discussions and accountability,” says Stephens. The program has rolled out across all 16 of their locations, training upwards of 500 agents. “It helped with not only being able to set those agents on their path to success, but also created a huge cultural synergy where agents from different and diverse markets were working with each other,” she says.

The creation of their training program was a defining moment in Stephens’ career, and one of the key differentiators that makes Re/Max Real Estate Centre stand apart from its competitors.

Over the years Medeiros has seen the real estate industry evolve in leaps and bounds. But between then and now, the change that has affected the real estate business the most, he believes, is the impact of technology.

“Back then there used to be MLS books. There was no such thing as social media. Prospecting was done through door knocks and print ads,” he says.

Today, buyers understand pricing well. They are equipped with most of the knowledge they need. “The quality of service has to be that much better,” he says.

Re/Max Real Estate Centre has invested heavily in staff and social media management over the past five years. Most recently, it launched Broker Bay – a cloud-based appointment and scheduling software that acts as a repository of all and any real estate information.

In addition to the 90-day training program, the brokerage is spearheading another coaching program. Realising the potential of video marketing in the industry, the company houses three in-house video studios.

Re/Max Centre’s agents have embraced video. The company plans to house studios in 10 of their 16 locations. “We don’t just give them a space and a green room and ask them to shoot their own video. We help them to get a good-quality video out,” says Medeiros. Then they help agents market that video via social media.

As the company grows on a steady trajectory, Medeiros says his people personality is the perfect yin to Oliveira’s matter-of-fact yang.

“Oliveira is special because his training and systems enable him to sell over 100 houses a year,” he says. While Medeiros is the go-to man for nurturing relationships, agents turn to Oliveira, the company’s broker of record, to tap into his how-to knowledge for dealing with buyers, conducting listings presentations, attending an inspection and understanding lawyers or mortgage brokers.

“He has a lot of systems in place that we can now duplicate and pass on to our agents,” says Medeiros.

Averaging one new location every year since it was formed, Re/Max Real Estate Centre has plans to expand to five new locations within the foreseeable future. Their success indicates that brick-and-mortar brokerages aren’t going out of style any time soon.  Looking back at the naysayers in their past, Medeiros says, “We used the discouragement then as a good motivator. We did what we had to do out of desperation. We knew we had to make it work.”

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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