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Archive for the ‘Freeman Agent Spotlight’ Category

Welcome Rob to the Team!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

A two-year stint at a prestigious post-secondary business school in combination with a handful of sales positions led Rob Sadeghi to direct his education and interest into a career in real estate.

As one of Freeman Real Estate’s newest realtors, Sadeghi is looking ahead to growing his clients and he’s confident that Freeman is the place to do it.

“One of the things I liked about Freeman right away is that everyone from the top down is willing to help me out,” says the 25-year-old. “That, for me, makes the whole experience both easy and really exciting.”

Sadeghi researched a number of firms, including big-names franchises, but decided he liked the look and feel of Freeman, which stands out for its unique tight-knit family environment.

“I did not want to be another number and I knew Freeman would be the right fit,” he says. “I had a chance to sit down and chat with the owners and I really like their style, very laid back and easy going. For me, it was a great first impression.”

Born in Ottawa, Sadeghi is used to being the new kid on the block thanks to carpetbagger mother who moved Sadeghi to Germany when he was just a baby and who travelled to every country in Europe in the 11 years he lived abroad. While Sadeghi has seen more European towns and cities than most people his age, his favourites were Niece and Cologne thanks to the beautiful beaches in the former and the laid-back lifestyle in the latter.

He’s obviously inherited his mother’s adventurous spirit as he speaks German, Farsi, English and is currently learning Spanish simply because he enjoys the sound of the language.

Sadeghi studied business at York University for two years before deciding books and theories weren’t his cup of tea, at least where the business world is concerned. A former online sales rep for an internet vacation rental company and having previously sold prefab steel structures, he thought he’d make the move to real estate since the prospect of walking people through the biggest purchase they’ll ever make was appealing to him.

An avid athlete, Sadeghi loves boxing, football and hockey. He also likes to socialize and meet new people. An enthusiastic reader, Sadeghi enjoys everything from Time magazine to autobiographies about Michael Jordan and Martin Luther King to self-help books and non-fiction.

As a younger generation realtor, he uses social media platforms whenever he can to network. His next plan of attack is to start a door-to-door campaign to introduce himself to the neighbourhood and to explain to homeowners what he can do for them.

“There’s obviously lot of competition and you have to weed yourself out and show people why they need to work with you.”

 

Hard-Working should be Sam’s Middle Name

Monday, February 16th, 2015

When people invariably exaggerate that they’ve been working their whole life, rarely do they mean since childhood.

Not so for Sam Ehsani, a 41-year-old Iranian-born realtor who’s been working since he was a wee gaffer. As the newest real estate agent to join the Freeman team, Sam is something of an anomaly in his family of doctors and teachers. A strong independent streak is what provoked him to begin wheeling and dealing at the unbelievably young age of five.

“I used to raise chickens,” says Sam, who with his wife immigrated to Canada nearly six years ago. “I would take care of them, watch them grow and then sell them on the market in Tehran.” portrait

At eight, Sam rented retail space during the summertime when school was closed to open a small grocery store that specialized in fruit juices. His parents were supportive of his endeavors but questioned his motivation. At 10, Sam starting buying bicycles, fixing them up and selling them. By 14 he started doing that with motorcycles and would later graduate to cars.

“Nobody told me to do this,” says Sam. “It’s inside me. My father would ask me why I am doing this. He thought it was better if I pursued my education but during the summers and with my free time, I liked making money and being independent.”

A realtor for over a year now, Sam knows his entrepreneurial chops will serve him well in Toronto’s housing market. He also believes that his abiding honesty, integrity and trustworthiness will go a long way toward career success. Those traits and one other important one:

“I’m a workaholic,” he says simply. “I like to work hard.”

In Tehran, as Sam was obtaining his master’s degree in marketing, he began dabbling in housing developments, namely a low-rise condo building that he had to work hard at to gain his father’s trust and support. His hard work paid off and Sam would subsequently build a six-unit condo that many of his family members invested in.

Sam misses his family and friends and the beauty of Iran, but he and his wife decided to immigrate to Canada because it is a country that holds much opportunity.  He also misses teaching, a job he did at Azad University where he lectured students about marketing. He hopes to one day teach in Canada on a part time basis.

“When I was a kid my mother was a teacher and my father, a general practitioner, and most of my family are medical doctors or teachers. I inherited these things from my parents and relatives and I feel more comfortable doing this. Regardless of the money, teaching makes me feel useful in my community and the world. For me, working is about improving the world and humanity and making ourselves useful that way.”

Housing Expert Helps You Buy with Confidence

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

portraitIf David Fogel had the floor in a room full of wannabe home buyers he’d ask them to step back, take a breather and consider the lot size.

Too many buyers get caught up in the details of countertops, windows and floors, all items that depreciate in value over time. Instead purchasers should consider their lot. It’s the lot that is the driver of rising house prices.

“The home investment has two components, the house and the lot” says the 58-year-old realtor and construction professional. “One is depreciating and the other is appreciating. The house might be depreciating at a snail’s pace but it’s still depreciating.”

Fogel, who has spent the last 30 years working in the construction industry, thinks purchasers would be wise to consider their lot size, especially the lot width, when buying. Call him, he’ll explain why. As an agent for Freeman Real Estate for almost 15 years, Fogel’s work focuses solely on buyers. His years of experience building and renovating means his clients have a builder with them at every home they consider, offering valuable information early in the process.

In a city like Toronto, renovations and additions to homes are common thanks in large part to the fact that the homes are getting up there in age with many over 100 years old.

“I’ve spent a good part of my real estate career helping people buy homes,” says the Toronto native. “Because of my combined experience, working for 30 years in both real estate sales and construction, I’m well equipped to help buyers evaluate a home, or estimate renovation costs or warn of potential hidden problems.”

David ran his own construction company for over 20 years. Today, his time is split between real estate sales and as a construction consultant at Altius Architecture, a large architectural firm that designs and builds modern homes.  This year Altius won an ARIDO interior design award for a home in Etobicoke.

A stickler for detail, David rarely has more than one or two clients at a time. And often, it takes viewings of more than 20 houses before his clients find the right one.

“To avoid any conflict of interests, I don’t work for two purchasers looking in the same area for same type of home” he says, “and I never sell, I simply answer questions, and I try to point out what may not be apparent to the untrained eye.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Career in Real Estate is the Perfect Fit

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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When most other girls were oohing and aahing over teen heartthrobs or the latest runway fashions Halina Bucchino was drooling over the pages of Architectural Digest and House & Home.

Something about those interior designs, those artful transformations and inexpensive yet impressive D-I-Y projects captivated Bucchino to the point that she became transfixed, her mind examining lines and shapes, devouring colours and patterns. Clearly, she was an anomaly among her teenage friends.

Some 20 years later and those friends have caught up to her. Bucchino’s interest in design never wavered and today she earns a living in a profession in which design has become increasingly important. All those hours flipping the glossy pages of home design publications served her well.

“When most girls were reading Teen Vogue I was reading interior design magazines,” says the recently hired Freeman realtor who is also the mother of twin girls. “I always say to my husband that in my next life I would like to be a furniture designer.”

But in this life, Bucchino plans to hone her real estate practice to encompass Riverdale, the neighbourhood in which she resides with her 12-year-old daughters and husband, and her main focus is investment real estate.

Bucchino immigrated to Canada from Poland with her family when she was six. The family lived in Hamilton and then Mississauga. A former fitness freak, Bucchino obtained an honour’s degree in physical education and went on to work as a personal trainer and to teach various fitness classes.

Family life is important to Bucchino, who loves the flexibility she gets from working in real estate. Her daughters, Bianca and Melody, factor most prominently.

“I love spending time with them,” she says. “They keep me young and remind me not to take simple things for granted.”

Prior to getting her real estate license two years ago, Bucchino assisted her husband with the day-to-day operations of a real estate investment firm. As a result, property management, leasing, purchasing and selling are matters she knows well. In fact, it’s thanks to her time there that Bucchino has built a solid network of investors and consultants, who send referrals her way.

Before joining Freeman, Bucchino worked with a boutique brokerage in Vaughan. But the pull to work downtown was strong and that’s when she found Freeman. Bucchino knew Freeman was the firm for her based an office environment that she describes as calm, comfortable and laid back.

“I love their branding,” she says. “The fact that they are a family-run business and that there are no egos in the office – I love that. I like their simplicity and that they’re not over-the-top. I think people recognize
the quality that Freeman brings to sellers and buyers.”

A Real Estate Pedigree

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

 

To say real estate is in Kate Hobson’s DNA might be overstating it a bit.

But just a wee bit.

 

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The Toronto native grew up surrounded by stories of land development and real estate thanks to her father, a successful land speculator. Her older brother is an architect and her younger brother is a successful realtor in the city.

Given that lineage it’s no surprise that the 39-year-old chose to land on Real Estate Avenue two years ago after stints in advertising, home and office renovations, and her most challenging assignment of all, motherhood.

“I’m just coming out of the woods,” jokes Kate when speaking of her five-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. “But really, I’d been thinking about going into real estate for years.”

In her early career, Kate worked in advertising for a few Toronto agencies in production  and client services. She loved the fast-paced, cutting edge atmosphere of the ad biz but left it behind in favour of an opportunity to work on a land speculation project with her father. The work would lead to other project management opportunities such as overseeing residential and commercial renovation projects.

Project management allowed Kate to work from home, which was ideal when her children were very young. But real estate beckoned.

Kate had heard about Freeman Real Estate thanks to her father, who years ago had dealt with the firm’s founder Barry Freeman. She interviewed with five or six brokerages because she was determined to find that right fit. Confident that career success would come quickly, Kate wanted to ensure that she signed on with a brokerage that was willing to offer a fair bit of support. At Freeman, she found what she was looking for.

“Not to sound corny, but the office environment here was unexpected and  it’s pretty amazing” she says. “People are willing to offer advice and help each other out. At other offices they’re  both physically and culturally more closed and everyone has their little pod.  Here, people don’t necessarily have to come in to the office, but they do for the camaraderie.”

Besides many of the pluses of working for a small, family-owned boutique realtor, Kate also enjoys the office’s dog-friendly policy. Her new pup, a Welsh spaniel named Birdie accompanies her into the office and rather enjoys the interaction with other Freeman dogs.

Kate was awarded two prestigious Freeman awards last year, the President’s Club Award in recognition of sales achievement and the Dare to Soar Award for record-breaking achievement for a new salesperson.  This year she was awarded the Freeman Real Estate Ltd. Award of Excellence – Platinum Level 2013,  for grossing +$10 Million in Sales over the last 3 years.  Not bad, considering 2013 was only her second year in the business.

 

 

Meet Martyn Balsky: A Conscientious, Cool-headed Realtor

Monday, March 10th, 2014

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Ask Martyn Balsky why he’s working in real estate and he’ll tell you it’s because he enjoys helping people.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll learn that all his experience have led to this career, beginning in his early days at a family business that manufactured menswear to working as a commercial real estate agent and recently in the remediation business.

In one form or another – from residential and commercial real estate to land development and remediation related to brownfields — he’s been putting together deals, scoping out sites and trying to find value for his clients.

The difference between what he’s done and what he’s doing is that now his energies are directed at finding the right fit for clients within an increasingly feverish real estate market.

“To be good at real estate you need to be a bartender, a wet nurse, a psychiatrist,” says the 51-year-old married father who is one of Freeman Real Estate’s newest agents. “You need to listen really well and to read between the lines as to what people really want. Sometimes clients can’t articulate their wants and needs. Our job is to ferret it out through profound questioning. You have to be able to articulate what most people can’t visualize.”

The Toronto native is skilled at reading people thanks in part to a vast and varied educational background that started with a philosophy degree from the University of Toronto, followed by a business degree program in management and administration (CIM), and a diploma in construction engineering.

What clients can expect with Balsky is a cool head, experience and a deep understanding of the dynamics of the real estate marketplace.

“I’m brutally honest if someone asks me for their opinion,” he says. “I will tell them what I think regardless of how gung-ho they might be. I think candour and truthfulness and integrity are values my clients appreciate and eventually warm to. This business is often fuelled by a lot of emotion and not a lot of reality. You need to have a clear head and a clear mind.”

Because his name and reputation are of paramount importance, Balsky rolls in a way that might be considered different than his colleagues. He worries that people are over leveraging themselves by buying houses that are over inflated. “People are buying on fairy dust they are so over leveraged.” If there is a significant correction it will be because those buyers who chose to purchase with mostly borrowed funds, could pull the market downwards.

A vocal critic of multiple offers for his clients, Balsky is the first to tell clients to steer clear whenever possible and have a maximum in mind that they are willing to pay regardless of the amount of offers.

“I always tell my clients it’s not preferable to engage in bidding-war scenarios,” he says. “It’s too emotionally charged and precarious and I think at the end of the day people may be over paying. I’m in this for the long run and I don’t want my clients to get burned.”

Multi-disciplined Realtor is One Singular Sensation – We are happy to welcome Catharine MacIntosh to our team!

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

The building blocks that form the foundation of Catharine MacIntosh’s professional life are at first glance a seemingly dissimilar array of disciplines.

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But on closer inspection, her political background in combination with her know-how in sustainable design and technology and her experience with business innovation all contribute to making Freeman Real Estate’s newest realtor an extremely  well-rounded one.

“I love being involved in opportunities that ignite change,” says the 43-year-old. “Owning Real Estate can give you the real power to do some

thing. With a property, you have invested in your future and compared to other investment vehicles it can provide constant leverage for growth.”

As a four-year-old growing up in Calgary Catharine would tell her grandmother that she wanted to be the prime minister of Canada. Ambitious and industrious, she obtained a political science degree from the University of Calgary and would go on to work at the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC, starting in the press office and winding her way throughout the embassy working in several departments such as finance and defence procurement.

In 2001, she returned to Canada to seek a degree in environmental design from OCAD University. A Toronto architecture firm hired Catharine upon graduation. While there, she became a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, the 83rd person to do so in the province of Ontario.

Catharine then moved to a business innovation think tank and helped Dutch-based Philips Corporation secure a U.S. patent for pioneering work done within the corporation’s hotel sector.

She then worked on a highly original project at Dundas and Bathurst. The space included commercial space, would ultimately house a Starbucks and was unique in that she developed a co-working space on the ground level called “The Foundery”.

It was thanks to one of the Foundery owners who suggested Catharine consider a career in real estate that she pursued her license.  She interviewed at a number of brokerages – discount, mainstream franchises and couture – when she happened upon Freeman.

“I was immediately impressed,” she says. “I had a list of wants and they met them all – they’re family owned, they’re Canadian, they’re accessible with their expertise, experience, intelligent and sound advice, caring mentorship and support. They’re down-to-earth and they treat everyone in a professional manner. And they love dogs and have a ‘dog-friendly’ office—how great is that!?”

Catharine finds much value in the weekly staff get togethers otherwise known as the Freeman Café in which realtors discuss topics, share ideas, brainstorm and problem solve.

As a resident of Kensington Market, Catharine feels she has a special expertise in the downtown core and that’s something she plans to capitalize on as she hones her real estate career. It’s the convergence of her knowledge and expertise in design, technology and business innovation that add up to quite an impressive backdrop for a career in real estate.

“My personal motto is simply, be magnificent,” says Catharine. “Just go and try and do it.

Real Estate is in Her DNA

Monday, January 13th, 2014

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Real Estate is in Her DNA

At 24, Nicole Gay may be Freeman Real Estate’s youngest realtor but in terms of understanding the business you could say she’s as old as the hills.

With two parents who’ve spent a combined 40 years working in real estate, Nicole grew up in the embrace of the business surrounded by conversations about open houses, clients and contracts. By 16, she was working part time at a huge Remax office in Mississauga, inputting offers for realtors, updating website listings and acting as the company liaison between clients and agents.

Nicole obtained her commerce degree in 2011 from McMaster University and could have explored a myriad of business avenues, but always knew a career in real estate would be her calling.

“Given my age, having an education behind me gives me credibility,” says Nicole. “I didn’t get into real estate by accident. I’ve been with it my whole life. I gained valuable experience from behind the front desk and got the opportunity to see how various realtors built their businesses.”

After earning her realtor’s license, Nicole joined her parents’ real estate team in Mississauga and worked with them for two years before joining Freeman last year.  With her parents planning to retire in the next year, Nicole knew she had to cut loose so she decided a move to Toronto would be wise for both personal and professional reasons.

What appealed to Nicole about working for Freeman was the company’s sophisticated yet personal approach. She was also drawn to the depth of expertise and the lengthy experience the Freemans bring to the table.

“I was looking for a smaller, boutique operation, one that could offer a more personalized mentorship,” says Nicole. “I sense a difference in company values with Freeman. They take care in who they hire. When I first interviewed with the company, it just felt like home.”

Nicole expects 2014 will bring her plenty of interesting opportunities, including an exploration of which niche – say for example freehold Victorians versus condos — she may decide to specialize in.

An avid sports lover, Nicole enjoys sailing, soccer and travel and has sailed extensively in Antigua and the British Virgin Islands. She’s currently considering a two-week sailing trip in Thailand as well.

This year will garner a lot of change for Nicole. In addition to her newish job, she’s also moving to Toronto soon so the ties to her parents and her hometown will be undone. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate the gifts they’ve given her, not at all.

“The majority of what I know about real estate is from my parents,” Nicole says. “They’ve been the best mentors ever.”

Real Estate in a Buyer’s Market

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Real estate television shows such as Income Property, Property Virgins and House Hunters might appeal to our vicarious need for entertaining quick-fixes. But when it comes to reflecting the real-world of real estate, they’re something of a stretch.

“Real estate shows do a disservice to the real estate industry,” says Doug Freeman, a sales rep at Freeman Real Estate. “I just think they promote a perception that it is so easy and in one hour they’re done. Watching those programs doesn’t show the depth of work or the commitment realtors perform when they are buying and selling properties for their clients. It’s entertainment, really, and not at all based in reality.”

A good deal of finesse, skill and knowledge goes into ushering clients through the sometimes intricate ins and outs of buying and selling real estate. “This is a business in which clients need to be guided by their agents so the property they buy or sell leaves them feeling confident that their decision was correct,” says Doug.

Doug has been selling real estate for 15 years, in what has been mainly a seller’s market. He says success against that backdrop means guiding clients who win in a multi-offer situation and preventing clients from paying too much given the fierce competition at hand. While that’s clearly challenging, the rewards can be great.

“It’s rewarding when your client is successful,” says the 63-year-old. “I was involved in a bidding war last night that had 13 offers coming in. Buyers complain because it’s like bidding on a blind auction and I understand exactly how they feel.  When the market turns into a buyer’s market the onus will shift onto the sellers.”

Doug is part of a team that includes his son Trevor Freeman, 33, who is a broker. The pair works well together not only because they’re father and son, but because they complement each other in dealing with a vast and varied set of clientele, which include everything from first-time buyers to more mature, more experienced ones. Having that dual perspective is helpful as it instills clients with the confidence in knowing they’ve made the right decision in what is likely to be the biggest sale or purchase of their lives. Trevor’s natural ability with social media and the world of computers is a big plus as well.

Doug got into real estate after a lengthy career in children’s wear, in which he initially owned and operated his own company and then worked as a corporate executive for Disney licenses, travelling often to Asia to inspect the operations of clothing manufacturers contracted by the multinational.

The highs and lows of working with the public are clearly different than in his former career. But his earlier career laid a foundation in delivery, value and excellent customer service. The challenge in real estate, he says, is developing a strong client base.

“Client referrals along with clients returning for their next property are the ultimate compliment.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Personal Touch

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

That Randi Kwinta enjoys the personal touch shines through in practically everything she does.

As a real estate salesperson for Freeman for the past seven years, Randi delights in getting to know her clients whether they’re medical researchers, opera tenors or millwrights. If you’re fortunate enough to work with her, you’ll find yourself sharing information about your profession, your children and your hobbies and pastimes before you know it. It’s not that Randi is prying; it’s more that she has a natural curiosity about new people and experiences. That’s what gets her wheels spinning.

That people are a big part of the real estate business happens to be a good thing for Randi, who concentrates mostly on residential real estate in the Annex and downtown Toronto. Still, she has clients throughout the city and also enjoys selling condos and dabbling in rentals as well.

The mother of three “fabulous and incredible” children aged 18 to 22 likes to stay busy. Working in the housing industry allows her that in addition to a wide variety of assignments and tasks. That she can find herself one day sitting at a desk going through statistics, then heading out to her car for a meeting with potential clients then off to an open house to check out a property is the kind of variety she embraces.

“I just eat up the diversity I get from this profession,” says Randi. “There’s nothing like it.”

Ironically, Randi first hooked up with the Freemans while studying psychology at the University of Toronto in the 1980s. There, thanks to study groups and university events, she met Elden Freeman, who was studying environmental science. Twenty-five years would pass before their paths crossed again when after many years as a marketer for a corporate interior design firm, Randi decided it was time for a career change.

Once she settled on real estate, she had to think about the type of business she wanted to embody. Freeman Real Estate Ltd. with its smaller, more intimate boutique vibe, was perfect. The fact that Randi is low-maintenance, unpretentious to a fault and a hard worker who enjoys giving clients the best service she can made the fit even more appropriate.

“I knew I wanted to take care of my clients and do the very best for them,” she says. “I like it that the Freemans work really hard and that they do anything and everything for their clients.”

Randi can be reached at randi@freemanrealty.com.

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