Welcome to “Letters from,” a column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry.
Name: Marian Keriakos
Role: Real estate broker, entrepreneur at heart, fitness addict, city dweller, world traveler
Years in business: 12
1. Why did you get into this business?
I’ve always been inherently driven, determined — and idealistic (maybe to a fault). Growing up, I was conditioned to believe that the only way to be considered successful would be to get an incredible education and excel at one of those traditionally sought-after jobs, like say, finance or medicine.
I suppose I felt under pressure to go after what was considered that solid, upstanding career — so I did just that. Despite the intense competition, I successfully landed a highly coveted investment banking position for one of the top Canadian banks.
I realized, however, that, after five grueling years of living through the insanity of my career choice, there were only two times I was most happy: the day I got my bonus check and then when I spent it. It was then that I needed to get into what actually made me tick — connecting with people, investing in real estate and being in business for myself.
2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now in your business?
The biggest challenge I face in my business is standing out from the almost 40,000 agents in the city of Toronto — there are far too many agents, too few barriers to entry and countless inexperienced, lazy agents ruining the industry’s reputation. That needs to change now.
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started the business?
I wish I knew that finding my authentic voice would be the key to a hugely successful business. In other words, getting across the quality of my brand to those people I hadn’t yet met.
In a nutshell, my brand is this: I work primarily with successful business professionals who want a lot more from their real estate agent. My clients are time-stretched and have a hectic lifestyle.
They are looking for exceptional market and investment knowledge, along with that element of professionalism and being catered to that comes from paying attention to every detail. I work with individuals who are looking for real professional business and market expertise in making one of life’s biggest purchases and investments.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
Having an incredibly supportive family has undeniably had the biggest positive impact on my business; having that support system is the key to my success.
5. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
To remind me to not sweat the small stuff. It’s ingrained in me to want to please my clients at every turn, so, when something out of my control goes wrong, it’s very difficult for me to do as much as I can and then, simply walk away.
Letting go has always been a challenge of mine, but it’s so imperative in this business. Learn, let go and move on.
6. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
I believe that full-service professionals with expert marketing, technology and negotiating skills will never become obsolete. The biggest change in real estate in the next five years will be the end of part-time agents, agents unwilling to learn new skills and people entering the profession for easy, get-rich-quick work.
For more letters, check out Jim Roy.