Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Realtors Think Big Picture When it Comes to Business

As important as closing the deal is for a realtor, doing things with integrity is the real measure of success

As the price tags on Vancouver real estate have steadily and rapidly risen, so too has the complexity of real estate transactions. In a highly competitive market with so many new realtors trying to break in, realtor Brock Smeaton warns buyers to beware. “It’s a minefield, and my feeling is that people are hiring inexperienced realtors, maybe to get a discount, and they’re not getting proper representation.”

When Smeaton began his business 30 years ago, the world of real estate was a lot simpler. Now, changing legislation and financial rules, along with high prices, have contributed to making the process of a transaction increasingly complex. “It’s really important to seek the advice of someone who really has a proven track record, not just for success but for honesty and doing things the right way,” he says. “That’s kind of how I built my career. I wasn’t always trying to do the fastest deal. I was trying to make sure everybody got what they deserved and the contracts were enforceable and prices were correct. People always came back to me because of that.”

He has heard of many situations in which homeowners were approached by a realtor offering more than they thought the home was worth and quickly deciding to sell. “Then they go to buy a home and they’re shocked that the home they’re buying is half the home they sold for the same price,” he says. “That’s because they didn’t get the advice of an honest realtor with integrity.”

While his business thrives, Smeaton supports his wife Sharon Ferriss in her charitable work. After a trip to Africa in 2006, she started a charitable foundation called Little Feet Projects, which supports schools and other children’s projects in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their four children have been involved as well. “Mostly it was a way to give back for all of our good fortune,” says Smeaton. “And it teaches our kids compassion for others.”

Laura-Leah Shaw, who has been honoured three times with the REALTORS Care® award from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, says that her business is very compatible with the community work she loves. After almost three decades in the industry, she draws on her contacts and her daily experience to help out those in need. Several years ago she began coordinating donations of fruit and vegetables with a produce manager at Choices Markets, and making twice-weekly deliveries to several housing agencies in the Downtown Eastside. Whenever she could, she would collect used items from her clients. “As a realtor I’m involved with people moving, and when you move you shed possessions,” she says. “I would volunteer to pick it up and take it away, so I’m able to take beds, blankets, household items, towels and bar fridges [to the agencies]. Being in real estate allows me access to so many things, and they’re thrilled to have it. It makes such a difference to their world.”

Shaw also serves as president of an organization called Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection Society of B.C., which advocates against cruelty to animals in scientific testing. She has also campaigned as a candidate for the Green Party in three elections. “It’s a way of raising uncomfortable questions and getting conversation going,” she says. “As realtors we all put in huge hours for work, but if we could also carve out a bit of time to help make the world a better place, we all benefit.”