Anyone who’s asked me how I got into Real Estate knows the story well. It’s not terribly exciting, but I’ll tell it here again. After graduating from University, I was living and working in Toronto. I was having a great time, but between rent, travel, and… extracurriculars (re: whisky and $4 Prairie Girl cupcakes), I was essentially breaking even. My dad, having recently retired from his 30+ year career at Bell Canada, began his second career selling waterfront in the Kawartha Lakes.
After reviewing my T4 that year and being nothing short of horrified, he casually broached the topic of maybe, potentially, (just think about it, Steph), getting into Real Estate. He told me it was a fulfilling job, where you got to meet a lot of interesting, generally wonderful people, make your own hours*, and see more than you would have imagined of the beautiful area I grew up cottaging in. Fortunately for me, my father is an excellent sales person, and as such, I was sold. Not long after our “casual conversation” I said screw it, let’s do this, and made the pilgrimage back north to Kirkfield.
The natural follow-up to that occupational preamble is almost always “That is so great you get to work with your dad!” to which I truthfully get to respond, “Yea. It’s pretty awesome.”
This statement is not without its caveats (I know right? Realtors and their caveats, where does it end). Our first year of working together was… turbulent. While generally being very similar people, we quickly found that we work very differently.
My father is a risk taker. He is cart-before-the-horse optimistic. He is 10 minutes late for most appointments.
I am conservative and skeptical. I am ducks-in-a-row deliberate. I am obnoxiously early for all appointments.
As you can well imagine, there were challenges.
With a lot of patience (on my father’s part) and sometimes necessary intervention (on my mother’s part, who we affectionately refer to as The HR Department when shit gets out of hand) we made it through those first few months. (I don’t know what I brought to the table at that point. Strife, mostly.) And now, the things that made it so hard for us to work together initially are what make us such an effective team.
We are organized. Our listings are concise and thorough. WE ARE ON TIME. Dad knows that sometimes, if you wait until you are 100% completely ready and prepared and organized, you’ll miss an opportunity. And I know that sometimes, if you start acting like a cowboy in the wild friggin west, sooner or later you will land yourself in shit. There are times for risk, and there are times for restraint. Structure keeps a process together, but flexibility creates opportunity.
Five years ago, I never would have imagined that I’d be working with my dad. Now that we’re here, I can’t imagine NOT working with him. I’ve heard it said that if you want to be successful in your field, align yourself with a successful mentor. Someone you admire and who is respected for not only how well they do their job, but also for who they are. I am incredibly lucky to have been learning from my mentor for 26 years. Far before I knew what “vendor takeback” or “caveat emptor” meant (another caveat – see what I did there), I knew what it meant to treat people well. I have been told many times over the years, from his employees and coworkers, how great it is to work with my dad, and what a genuinely good man he is. One of those I knew. The other one I am getting to know.
And yea. It’s pretty awesome.
End of caveats.
Stephanie Lange is a Realtor living and working in the Kawartha Lakes. All opinions expressed here are, regrettably, her own.