Real estate in Toronto is a highly competitive, cut-throat industry that requires professionals who participate in it to be business savvy with incredible sales skills and vast knowledge of the market. Being a successful real estate agent in the city pre-pandemic was already difficult, but with the market changes that have been brought on by COVID-19, agents now have to deal with a whole new set of challenges.
Thankfully for Project Spaces member Hillary Lane, a local real estate agent and business owner, the pandemic is not the first curveball she’s been thrown and she knows a thing or two about making the best of a bad situation.
Hillary’s journey to becoming a real estate agent and starting her own business along with her husband involved quite a few twists and turns, and it’s not something she ever pictured herself doing.
In fact, Hillary was initially set on working in the healthcare industry, something her dad’s side of the family is heavily involved in. She studied kinesiology at McGill University then transferred to Waterloo with the intention of finishing up her degree, but unexpected health issues prevented her from doing so.
Years after her university experience, Hillary just so happened to pursue a career in real estate after a bad experience with a neighbour. She stated that “It was just by chance. We had built a home that we were planning on living in. Due to some issues with neighbours, we decided to sell. We were looking at flipping homes and just getting our feet wet in the construction industry and I thought I would get my licence and try to be a real estate agent on the side."
"I have a type-A personality and I wanted to be good at what I did, so a week after getting my licence I realized I had to do this full time to do us any justice. I ended up loving it!”
For Hillary, the biggest challenge she has faced since getting involved in the world of real estate was getting thrown into the industry after graduating. She recalled, “You get your real estate education from college then you’re kind of thrown right into it. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to start convincing people to let me sell their 1.5 million dollar house when I’m still learning what I’m doing, so instead of pushing to grow my business, I started working with people who were more experienced than me. That decision meant not getting paid as much, but I wanted to make that sacrifice to really ensure that I felt I was providing quality service.”
Hillary was able to rise above the challenges she faced at the start of her career and now runs her own business, which is primarily focused on real estate solutions, with her husband. Her clients include a lot of first time buyers, downsizers, and individuals who are looking to purchase investment properties.
Hillary prides herself on taking the time to meet her clients and understand their unique needs, and her goal is to grow her business organically through referrals.
She explained, “Because Toronto is such a big market there are people out there who don’t care about burning bridges because there will always be another client. I really want to have a sustainable business model where people are happy with our experience together and are providing referrals and I’m growing organically that way.”
Despite a pause in the real estate market in March and early April, Hillary has been able to continue on with her real estate business and revise the buying process for her clients to better suit social distancing recommendations. Most of her clients now participate in virtual tours and narrow down their options before going to view properties in person. Now that we’re in Stage 3 of reopening, she’s also been able to return to Project Spaces!
Hillary first joined Project Spaces because she loved the idea of a community and the collaboration she saw taking place at our coworking spaces. As someone who’s always thrived in team sports and group settings, she expressed that “Community and connectivity have been a bit of a struggle during the pandemic."
"I hope now that phase 3 has started there will be more people out and about and the friends I’ve made at the coworking space will be back. I like a balance of working from home and at the office.”
We couldn’t agree more, Hillary!
Like many of the entrepreneurs at Project Spaces, Hillary is navigating her way through this “new normal” and finding unique ways to keep her business going. If you’re also an entrepreneur that’s looking to innovate and collaborate with like-minded individuals, book an in-person or virtual tour of our spaces today! To learn more about what’s going on in the real estate market, you can check out Hillary’s informative blogs on her website or follow her on Instagram!
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