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Sponsored: New Brokerage is creating lucrative opportunities for many more agents | REM

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The following is sponsored, promotional content. This content is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of REM.

Justo Co-Founder, COO and Broker of Record Vicki Schmidt
Justo Co-Founder, COO and Broker of Record Vicki Schmidt

To the average homeowner, it would seem that Realtors have a sweet deal. An explosion in the housing market and new technological advancements have made buying and selling homes much easier, and much more lucrative, for agents.

And yet last year, more than half of all TREB registered agents sold only one home, or none at all. A large percentage sold three or fewer.

Take a drive around any neighbourhood and you’ll likely get a sense of why this is. A quick scan of for sale signs and you’ll likely see the same face smiling at you on eight out of ten of them.

This is the fundamental challenge for the bulk of GTA agents; a mere 10 percent of them are responsible for roughly 90 percent of real estate transactions in the region.

To be fair, those at the top have more than earned their success; they’ve clawed their way up the ranks, through high interest rates and down markets, to establish themselves as the go-to agents in their various localities.

But what does that mean for the rest of the field? We don’t mean the part-timers who have their license in order to help out friends and family on the odd transaction. We’re talking about the young up-and-comers eager to make a career out of real estate but prohibited by the costs of marketing themselves in a very crowded and competitive marketplace. In an industry dominated by a select few, how can anyone hope to break through?

One new player in the space believes it has the answer. Justo Inc. Brokerage is Toronto’s newest real estate concept. They are working hard to disrupt the residential market in the GTA by leveraging technology to streamline the sales process, enabling them to charge sellers far lower listing fees, offer free value-added services like staging, home inspections and lawyers fees, and share commissions with their buyers, giving them half of their commission in cash back upon closing.

But the disruption doesn’t only apply to clients; their model is changing the game for agents as well.

“Justo is derived from the latin word Justus, meaning fair and transparent, which is the foundation upon which the company is built,” said  Vicki Schmidt, co-founder and Justo Broker of Record. “And with this foundation, we’re not simply looking at making the process more fair for buyers and sellers, but for agents as well. There are many talented agents out there, and we’re hoping to provide them with the opportunity they’ve been lacking until now.”

It’s an opportunity that aims to level the playing field and spread the wealth out more equitably throughout the industry.

Unlike existing brokerages where agents must fend for themselves, Justo takes the lead, providing its agents with leads, marketing support, and a back office, so rather than constantly worrying about that next deal, they can instead focus on providing outstanding, personalized customer service for their existing clients.Justo also takes on any risk, by covering additional marketing costs like MLS listing, staging, and professional photography, costs that might be lost by independent agents if the home doesn’t sell in a timely manner. They also offer a welcome change to the isolation that comes from working independently.

“I love the client interaction and feeling of satisfaction that comes with finding my buyers the perfect home, or getting an amazing price for my sellers, but when I was on my own, so much of my time was spent on finding that next listing, rather than servicing the clients I already had,” said Hiba Kamal, Broker and senior agent with Justo. “So I jumped at the chance to work with Justo. Here, I really get to focus on the parts of the job that I love, and have an amazing team supporting me to make sure my clients have an incredible experience working with us.”

Justo’s agents have exclusivity in within their territories, and are afforded the opportunity to build their own teams as demand increases, providing strong growth potential and residual income on top of their own deals.

With Toronto homeowners rapidly catching on to Justo’s fair and transparent model, the company is seeking enthusiastic, experienced agents to service its growing clientele. Things are changing, and you can be a part of this real estate revolution. If you are interested in joining the Justo team, visit justo.ca or email your resume to us at [email protected]

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Real Estate

Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Real Estate

Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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