February 1, 2024

Coldwell Banker Mountain Central Realty’s full-service brokerage comes home to Edmonton

To the list of things you might have heard about Edmonton—Gretzky played there back then, McDavid does now, it’s got a big mall, it’s cold in the winter, it’s got a lot of festivals, it gets a lot of sunlight, like, a lot—Rob Vanovermeire adds one more thing: real estate.  

“People are recognizing that out of all the major cities in Canada, Edmonton is the best deal, it’s the best value,” says Vanovermeire, Broker-Owner of Coldwell Banker Mountain Central Realty.  

“There’s no city in Canada better for value in real estate than Edmonton right now,” he says. “That will become increasingly apparent this year. I think we’re going to see more and more people looking to Edmonton to invest.”

 

Growing  

The Edmonton-born, -raised, -schooled (and now Calgary-based) Vanovermeire walks the walk. He has just completed a successful merger with Coldwell Banker Venture Realty in Edmonton.  

“We are growing,” says Vanovermeire. “As we grow, we get more resources to do bigger and better things with technology and marketing, which will give the agents the support, the training and the systems they need for their businesses to grow in this growing market.”  

The merger more than doubles the size Coldwell Banker Mountain Central agents in the Alberta capital. The bricks-and-mortar site for the combined operation will be its Edmonton headquarters on 156 St. near Stony Plain Rd.

 

Vanovermeire: “People are recognizing that out of all the major cities in Canada, Edmonton is the best deal.”

 

Edmonton by the numbers  

Vanovermeire’s bullish take on Edmonton has some statistical backing.  

According to a recent forecast from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Alberta is the only province in Western Canada where expected gains in the average home price (6.3%) will exceed the national rate of 2.3%. Alberta (11%), Ontario (13.9%) and Nova Scotia (13.2%) are the only provinces where the forecast change in residential sales in 2024 will top the national average (10.4%).  

According to CREA’s updated 2024 forecast, “the bigger sales gains in 2024 are expected to come from provinces where housing demand is strong, Alberta in particular, along with provinces that are expected to see a rebound from historically low sales volumes—British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia.” 

 

Here are some Edmonton-specific statistics from CREA:

$380,400 – Edmonton’s MLS® Home Price Index Benchmark Price, seasonally adjusted, December 2023 

$568,000 – Calgary’s 

$1,094,000 – Greater Toronto’s 

$528,700 – Halifax-Dartmouth’s  

6.2% –  month-over-month rise in home sales activity in Edmonton between November and December 2023  

3.7% – month-over-month increase in new residential listings in Edmonton between November and December 2023 

5 – number out of 26 primary MLS® zones with a positive monthly change in number of new listings between November and December 2023 

 

The lead, the realtor  

Vanovermeire is clear when it comes to what he’s looking for in an agent to work in the Edmonton market.   

“I am looking for agents either experienced or new to the industry who are committed to representing clients and our company the right way,” he says. “We especially look for people who have the desire to learn and embrace the technology that we have available to us.”  

Vanovermeire views himself as a link in a tradition of realtors who have built successful careers and who share their learnings.  

“I had a few fantastic mentors and coaches and one of the most powerful things I learned was how to convert real estate inquiries into an actual client,” he says.   

“A lot of realtors generate leads but struggle with converting them to clients. We live in the information age. People want information before moving forward, but, at some point, they need our expertise, which requires meeting in person.  Many agents have challenges moving from offering information to getting hired with a signed contract. We teach realtors how to turn inquiries into signed agreements with clients.” 

Vanovermeire: “I am looking for agents either experienced or not as experienced, but who have the desire to do it right, the desire to learn, people who are reachable and who will really embracee verything that we have available to us.”

 

Hometown advantage 

Vanovermeire adds one more item to his list of the good things about Coldwell Banker Mountain Central’s growing presence in Edmonton: the hometown advantage. 

“In addition to the systems and the training that Edmonton agents benefit from, there’s the fact that I’m from Edmonton. It’s my hometown. It’s near and dear to me. I’m from here. I can relate.” 

Editor’s note: the photo at the top of the post shows Rob Vanovermeire (back row, third from left) next to Karim Kennedy, CEO, Coldwell Banker Canada, at the former Coldwell Banker Venture Realty, now Coldwell Banker Mountain Central, office in Edmonton. Reach out here. BTW, Edmonton gets up to 17 hours of sunlight a day in summer!

Real Estate NewsReal Estate NewsReal Estate NewsReal Estate News January 9, 2024

Coldwell Banker Maritime celebrates big deal that brings Halifax real estate veteran on board 

Collaboration between pillars of Coldwell Banker’s Nova Scotia brokerage scene builds for future success of agents and clients 

Halifax, NS – January 9, 2024 – It is official, and it is big news: After 27 years at the helm of Coldwell Banker Supercity Realty, Broker-Owner Mariana Cowan has joined forces with Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty.  

“To start the New Year, this is wonderful news for our company, for our agents and for the home buyers and sellers in this market,” said Chris Perkins, Broker-Owner of Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty. “Mariana Cowan has decades of experience that is relevant to the people in the market right now,” he said. “Simply put, she’s a powerhouse.”  

The move, which was finalized on Dec 28, 2023, means 11 agents and a number of new recruits now join Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty, which opened its doors in June 2023.  

Cowan, who will continue to work as a realtor, called the new arrangement “a perfect coming together of two ways of looking at the important work that a full-service brokerage does.” 

Said Cowan: “This is so exciting because it’s so complementary. They have systems and a support structure that can easily be utilized with what we do. Chris is so savvy and is such a good listener. He really respects the experience and the knowledge of people I have built up over the years.” 

Cowan said the move now frees up time to do even more to help aspiring agents attracted to Coldwell Banker for its commitment to learning, training and support.  “I’ll now have the time to coach and mentor and that’s important because I truly believe that we have to get back to basics and really show the importance of relationship building,” she said. “Technology is wonderful, but there is a lot to be learned and re-learned about doing things in person.” 

Perkins said the coming-together is perfectly timed for an expected rebound in the local real estate market in 2024. “The goal here is to bring our talented agents together and equip them with what they need to know about the marketplace in the months ahead,” said Perkins. “That’s the equation of Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty: deliver the tools and training and information to our agents so they can help deliver dreams for our  clients.”

 

About Mariana Cowan and Chris Perkins:  

On the strength of almost 40 years in the business, multiple professional accreditations, a deep commitment to community and an abiding interest in furthering the cause of women leaders in real estate, Mariana Cowan has been described as The First Lady of Halifax Real Estate. She is an award-winning realtor, educator and public speaker. What do agents need now to get them to their true potential? That’s what motivates me.” 

 

Chris Perkins is pictured here with wife and business partner Joelle along with their dachshund, Dwayne. The couple have lived in the Nova Scotia capital since 2018, two years after getting married on a trip to Halifax. Chris has been working in the real estate industry since 2007 and ranked internationally in the top 1% of agents for Coldwell Banker. He was recognized by Coldwell Banker International as a recipient of the Top 30 Under 30 award – a result of his commitment to service and to the best interests of his clients. Chris serves his clients with an informative, easy-to-read and provocative blog. Here’s his take on the performance the Halifax-area real estate market in 2023 and what’s ahead in 2024. 

 

To contact or set up interviews on the current Halifax real estate market:  

Mariana Cowan, Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty, 902-452-1639 

Chris Perkins, Coldwell Banker Maritime Realty, 902-210-1223 

Each office is independently owned and operated. 

Our NewsPress Releases January 8, 2024

Coldwell Banker Electric Realty, Brokerage Switches on in Peterborough

One hundred and forty years and two blocks away from the newly renovated offices of Coldwell Banker Electric Realty, Brokerage in Peterborough, Ontario, the first electric streetlights in Canada were lit.   

Brilliantly, Ian Marshall has channeled that piece of history into the name of his new real estate brokerage: Coldwell Banker Electric Realty.   

“Peterborough is commonly referred to as Electric City and I wanted to make sure that the brokerage from day one was deeply rooted in the local feel of our city,” said Marshall.   

“We knew immediately that the real estate brokerage that will serve this community was going to be called Electric.”  

 

Ian Marshall, President & Broker of Record, Coldwell Banker Electric, Peterborough, ON.

Location, location, vocation

Marshall recalled the day 12 years ago when a switch went off and his future in real estate came into view. He was selling his house nearby and was in the market for a new one. The process—the details, the dreams—grabbed his attention.

“It was so intriguing to watch the agent I was working with at the time do his job —all the stuff behind the scenes, the paperwork, the conversations, the staging of the house,” Marshall said.

“I already enjoyed watching real estate shows on HGTV,” he said. “So, when I got to experience it myself on the client side, I said to myself, I can definitely do this!”

Inner voice

That inner voice that said “I can do this” has been a faithful navigator in Marshall’s life. It has reassured him that dropping out of high school was a beginning and not just an ending.

“High school was difficult for me, and I knew to survive I needed to blaze my own trail,” he said. “Leaving high school early is certainly not a path for everybody because you have to work incredibly hard to overcome the difficulties that come without that diploma, but I’ve been able to make it. Life has been my teacher.”

That inner voice has expected things of him.

“Leaving school at age 15, means a person grows up overnight,” Marshall said. “You instantly have to become an adult, get to work and figure out how life works.”

That voice has told him to keep going.

“I worked overnights in fast food straight out of high school,” he said. “I’ve done sales, telemarketing, network marketing, sold door-to-door. I’ve done over-the-phone tech support, worked in search engine optimization, supported executives, managed commercial properties and started a commercial and residential cleaning company.”

That voice has taught him to see people in everything he did.

Marshall’s maxim: “Every dollar our agents pay us, we want our agents to feel that dollar reciprocated.”

“In my opinion, the backbone to any sales relationship is understanding people and understanding what they really need and what they really want,” Marshall said.

“That means understanding, especially in our line of work, that purchases made today have the potential to impact the course of one’s life in a great way. To be a small part of that journey is amazing.”

And that voice has reminded him to trust himself.

“I never say good luck. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work. I believe that everybody has the same opportunities. We all get the same 24 hours in a day, it’s what we do with that time that makes us ‘lucky.’”

“I’ve done a lot of things,” says Marshall, here in front of a first listing in Pickering, ON, in 2016, “but my passion has always been real estate.”

The road home to Coldwell Banker

In 2014, it was time for real estate for Ian Marshall.

Marshall studied for and got his license and then joined a boutique brokerage. He quickly realized he needed the training and support offered by a brand.

He joined a family-owned RE/MAX brokerage, found a mentor, thrived and loved it there until it was swallowed up by a “conglomerate-type brokerage.”

The feeling of the place changed almost overnight, he said. It was a good time for a change. He spent a few years trying to find a brokerage that felt like home.

He was convinced he could build a brokerage where agents received real value for the real contributions they made.

 

Reciprocal value at Coldwell Banker

“There are definitely some brokerages that do an amazing job providing value to their people, but there are many brokerages where agents get to the point that they’re seeing expenses off their commissions cheques and they find themselves asking, ‘What is this brokerage providing me that equates to this expense? What’s the value for both of us?’” he said.

Those questions led Marshall to investigate franchising options. At first, Coldwell Banker Canada wasn’t on his radar. Then, he said, he saw all the good things happening with the company, including the master franchise being acquired and its connection to Coldwell Banker’s global branding. Marshall went for lunch with Paul Abbott.

He shared his vision.  It was, he quickly learned, a shared vision.

“He was just a fantastic guy to deal with and extremely generous,” said Marshall of Abbott, Coldwell Banker Canada’s Vice President, Franchise Development, in Ontario.

“He talked about the great things Coldwell Banker Canada is doing to provide value to their both their agents and their Broker-Owners, shared key parts of the franchise agreement that clicked perfectly and showed us the amazing branding and marketing materials Coldwell Banker offers. We left that meeting realizing just how much sense it made to partner with Coldwell Banker.”

Paul Abbott, fourth from right, and Ian Marshall, second from right, joined Coldwell Banker Canada CEO Karim Kennedy, centre, and Coldwell Banker Broker-Owner colleagues, Oakville, ON, December 2023.

 

Value for agents

Marshall came away convinced that his dream of a brokerage built on reciprocal value could be made real at Coldwell Banker.

“That is going to be part of Coldwell Banker Electric,” Marshall said.

“Every dollar our agents pay us, we want our agents to feel that dollar reciprocated. We want our agents to feel that this is a place where they are getting what they pay for and to never question whether their relationship with us is valuable or not—because it always will be.”

For Abbott, the stage is now set for Marshall’s innate leadership skills to do what innate leadership skills do: attract talented agents.

“With Ian Marshall at the wheel, Coldwell Banker has added to our team another sharp, experienced, passionate leader who understands real estate and understands people,” said Abbott. “The future is bright for Coldwell Banker Electric.”

 

Recruits

Coldwell Banker Electric will open the doors to its newly renovated 6,000 square-foot headquarters on historic George Street in late January 2024.

“It’s a great location,” Marshall said.

“There’s tons of foot traffic and a lot of history with our building. For many years, the building was known for being the home to Copperfields Restaurant & Bar and then to The Protectors Group. Before that it wore several hats but was originally built as a Loblaws in the early 1950s, it then burned down, and was rebuilt. Like me, it’s done a lot of work.”

Marshall said he’s ready for the good work ahead.

“We are going to hit the ground running with our recruiting efforts to attract the best of best agents here in Peterborough,” he said.

Who has the makings of a Coldwell Banker Electric agent?

“We want our culture to be that of productive agents,” Marshall said. “We’re looking for people who aren’t afraid of hard work and are eager to learn and grow. Maybe they haven’t had a ton of success where they are. Maybe they are new, maybe they’re in a slump. Maybe they are just looking for a change. But the makings of our agents will be that they’re hungry and humble and good people who realize everybody has their own story to tell.”

Marshall, fiancé Jeff and daughter Charlotte, Christmas 2023

 

Strong market

Marshall said the real estate market in Peterborough has always been strong and that the prospect of relief on interest rates suggests good things ahead in 2024.

“I am so excited to bring Coldwell Banker Electric to Peterborough and start sharing our vision and our passion with the agents, the great agents of Peterborough, and show them why Coldwell Banker Electric is the brokerage to partner with here in town.”

December 19, 2023

Coldwell Banker Vision Realty Changes Hands, Builds Future From Strong Past

Ray Cavin, the new Broker-Owner of Coldwell Banker Vision Realty would prefer that this story start with something about Rick Cowling, who is the previous owner of the Coldwell Banker Vision Realty brokerage. 

For his part, Rick Cowling would prefer that the story begin with something about Ray Cavin.  

How to get around this impasse of politeness and get to the big announcement? 

We’ll pass the mic to Rick’s wife, Shauna, for just a second. 

“Those two get in this cycle of ‘Thank you, no, thank you, thank you very much for the opportunity, no, thank you for running the business and looking after it while I was on vacation, no, thank you for this, no, thank you for that,’” Shauna Cowling laughed.  

“I feel like saying, why don’t you both say you’re welcome and then we can move on, right?!”  

Unusual in today’s world 

That little window into the genial and respectful professional relationship of “those two” starts to explain how Cowling and Cavin were able to pull off a smooth and uneventful business succession—including the sale of a new 6,000 square foot commercial building—ensuring a new chapter of growth for Coldwell Banker Vision Realty in Olds, AB.  

Cavin described the secret of the working partnership. 

“When both sides believe that you are taking out more than you are putting in, that relationship is always going to work,” he said. “I think that marriages, business relationships, friendships and partnerships die when we believe that we’re putting in more than we’re receiving.” 

Cowling didn’t disagree about the taking-out-more-than-you-put-in equation:  “Yeah, we laugh about that little saying all the time,” he said. “Ray started with me 10 years ago. We had our tenth anniversary here a couple of weeks ago. It’s really unusual in today’s world to find someone with such a similar character and beliefs and work ethic. It grabs you, actually.”  

Cowling was formed by a life outdoors in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Cowboy to Coldwell Banker  

Now semi-retired, Rick Cowling is 66 years into a very Alberta life.  

He grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on a farm near the village of Longview, AB. That’s where he studied economics.  

“Growing up on a farm meant working with your hands, feeding the chickens and the pigs and the cattle, growing the grain, seeing how every dollar came in,” he said. “Just working side by side with my dad—my mom and my dad.” 

In the mid-1970s, Cowling worked as a cowboy at the famed Bar U Ranch, which is now preserved as a national historic site in southern Alberta.  

 

The family farm was sold when he was a teenager (“It broke my heart, but my dad always said his selling the farm was the best decision for me.”) The family moved to High River. Rick and Shauna married young, moved to Calgary, welcomed three children and then moved to Edmonton to get university degrees.  

“We did things the hard way—university after children,” Cowling laughed. “Did I mention that I grew up on a farm?” 

Saddling up for a trail ride.

 

Fast forward through a move back to southern Alberta … work as a teacher … time spent running a flooring company (where Cavin first worked for him) … a stint operating a home-building firm … and up to Cowling’s decision to go into real estate. 

“We researched all the brands and Coldwell Banker always floated to the top,” Cowling said.  

Cowling was the brokerage owner. Cavin became Broker of Record. They settled on “Vision” as the name of the brokerage in part to convey that they could be trusted with clients’ pictures of their futures.  

Said Cavin: “We are not moving units around. It is relational. It’s not just transactional. This isn’t a ‘sale’ as much as it is a story of someone upsizing because they had a baby. Or downsizing because the kids have moved out, and so on.”  

Out of the chute, the vision for Coldwell Banker Vision Realty was to grow the business to eight agents and to construct a new building with highway exposure within five years. They have reached and exceeded those goals. 

“Our goal now is to become the largest local brokerage in our area—and not by a little,” Cavin said. “Our goal is to have an overwhelming market share.”  

 

Ray Cavin, Broker-Owner, Coldwell Banker Vision Realty

What Coldwell Banker Vision agents can expect 

To help get the brokerage there, a special kind of real estate agent and a special kind of support for that agent are needed.  

“We are very selective, and we don’t take every agent,” Cavin said.

The agents who do join us experience a brokerage where their business goals and personal dreams are met with unwavering support. When they grow professionally and personally, they are able to provide exceptional support to their clients.”  

Said Cowling: “Trust is the most important word in real estate. You have to surround yourself with people you trust. People who have that family feel. People who you can rely on.”  

Come on, really?  

Really, Cavin said, that is the culture of the place. 

The commitment to maintaining that culture has informed a unique hiring practice. A prospective agent is interviewed by Cowling and Cavin and then there’s a bit of twist.  

“Rick and I would discuss it and then if the person passed that first test, and we made this clear to them, our next step would be to take it to a general meeting and discuss it with the agents,” he said. “The decision isn’t made by popular vote but by genuine conversation, and we’ve had some real conversations.”  

Guiding those conversations is the principle of people over profit.  

“There might be times where we make the decision that the net profit to this agent coming on isn’t going to be worth the disruption to the system,” Cavin said. 

Cowling with grandson Zac and Shetland pony Aurora in the acreage riding arena. (Great grandma is in the background.)

 

Coldwell Banker Vision Realty 

Cavin said he’s ready to take the next step and guide that system.  

“I’ve had such a great mentor, so I’ve had it pretty easy,” he said. “Rick always said run this like you own it.” 

Now, officially, he does.  

For Cowling, the passing of the torch means a chance to devote more time to family life on the acreage, even though he intends to keep doing real estate on the side. He’ll have more time for trail rides into the beloved Rocky Mountains. And time, too, to glance back on the path that has gotten him and Coldwell Banker Vision Realty to where it is.  

“I am happy about what we’ve built,” Cowling said. “We have a group of really good realtors who work in a really good environment. We’ve got a brand-new building. We’re always pushing ourselves to be better.” 

Go figure, Cavin said much the same thing.  

“When you share a vision, you know where you are going,” he said. “You know when you get there. And you get there together.”

Cowling alongside mother, Irene, driving Norwegian fjord brothers.

 

Note: Blog cover image at top shows Rick Cowling, left, and Ray Cavin as they seal with a handshake the change of ownership of Coldwell Banker Vision Realty in Olds, AB. 

Lifestyle December 11, 2023

2023 Christmas Tree Trends

Christmas tree decorating season is here. It can be a daunting time of year. You’re short of money. You’re short of time. You’re short of inspiration. 

Search “Christmas tree decorations” and your task gets a little more intimidating. You are seemingly up against decorating pros with lots of space, lots of time and lots of budget. Not to mention an eye for lighting and Instagram framing.  

Here’s the good news: Charlie Brown.

There is a scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Chuck and Linus are sent by Lucy to find a glitzy, glamorous, modern tree for the school play. What they come back with is a small, thin, sad sapling barely able to hold a single ornament. But they stay with it.   

Moral of the story: listen to what others have to say, sure, but when it comes to making things more beautiful at this time of year, remember that beauty is in the eye of the tree-holder. That’s you. 

Going from your own version of “not so beautiful” to “a little beautiful” or from “a little beautiful” to “a little more beautiful” is more important than arriving at someone else’s pre-packaged definition of a beautiful tree. 

With Charlie Brown Rules in effect, here are some Christmas tree trends that we’re seeing out there this year. 

 

Source: Tidbits & Company

1. Go Natural

In a season of runaway advertising and pressure to consume, a sparse tree stands as a reminder to make room for the important things of life, including moderation. The attractiveness of a deliberately underdone tree is enhanced by the hands-on method of decorating it. Head outside to gather pinecones. Use dehydrated apples, cranberries and oranges. String together a good old-fashioned popcorn garland.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Merrythought

2. Choose Simple & Minimal

By its very presence, a minimal tree decorated in tasteful tones delivers the quiet joy and calm we search for at this time of year. Warm string lights, a wood bead garland and white clay ornaments work harmoniously to deliver tranquility. Baking your own clay ornaments printed with unique designs (constellations are a favourite) is a fun tradition to start with the little ones. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Good Housekeeping

3. Or go Barbie!

Barbie, it’s been quite a year Single (plastic) handedly, the 11½-inch-tall pop cultural icon, brought to life on the big screen by Margot Robbie, has infused our lives with pink. This year, it is not going out on a limb to think pink—pink ornaments, pink baubles, pink glitter and pink feathers, bows and ribbons. Red and green will still be there next year.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: @chelseazeferina

4. See Friendships Come Sailing In!

Make the friendship bracelets/ Take the moment and taste it, sang Taylor Swift in “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” Swifties obliged, making friendship bracelets a thing in socials and at Eras concerts this year. Some glue, lettering, foam pucks, and string are all you need to bring Taylor home for the holiday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Good Housekeeping

5. Mood Change

Home interiors are trending darker and moodier in palette. So are Christmas trees. Burgundies, burnt oranges, dark greens (olive, hunter, and Castleton), and even blacks are taking the place of classic reds and greens. This might be the right tone for the season. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Handmade Farmhouse

6. Gold and Silver

Ever since the Irish poet W. B. Yeats decorated and painted eternity with “the silver apples of the moon and the golden apples of the sun,” people have found it mesmerizing to combine the sophisticated colours for special occasions. Gold and silver combine to form a kind of shimmering and icy purity.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Domestically Blissful

7. Snow

One of the many cool things about a spruce tree is how it’s built to live with snow. Its needles offer less surface area for snow and ice to hang onto. Its cone shape means the weight of the snow is spread out near the base and not, like a deciduous tree, in the canopy. Also, snow collected on lower branches has a shorter journey to water the roots in spring. All of this makes a case for using fake snow to celebrate the real cleverness of the spruce tree at this time of year—indoors! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Liz Marie Blog

8. Paper Tree

Short of floorspace? Got a length of rope and some loose pages from an old book? Then you’re all set. Why not fashion a wall tree that also pays tribute to the trees from which our books come to life? It’s also a reminder that the gift of a book for Christmas is all your favourite bookworm ever needs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Amazon.ca

9. Peanuts

The final word goes to Linus Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas
“I never thought it was such a such a bad little tree,” said Linus. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”

In the spirit of the season, happy decorating to all!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/christmas-ideas/

https://abeautifulmess.com/make-your-own-clay-ornaments/

https://treecanada.ca/article/how-trees-survive-in-winter/

https://www.lizmarieblog.com/2014/12/25-amazing-christmas-trees-one-everyones-style/

https://www.amazon.ca/ProductWorks-Peanuts-Charlie-Christmas-Blanket/dp/B01E7AIN2A?th=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press ReleasesPress ReleasesPress ReleasesPress ReleasesReal Estate News December 7, 2023

Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate Joins Forces with Coldwell Banker Mountain Central in Calgary

Combined operation of industry leaders adds 11 real estate professionals and years of client satisfaction in Calgary market.  

Calgary, AB – December 7, 2023 – Coldwell Banker Mountain Central and Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate have today announced the finalization of a strategic merger born of a shared commitment to service, innovation and excellence in the Calgary real estate market.  

The move means Coldwell Banker Mountain Central, led by Broker-Owner Rob Vanovermeire, adds 11 new associates from Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate, including Broker-Owner Susanita de Diego, who is also a Director and Chair-Elect of the Calgary Real Estate Board.  

“We share a deep knowledge of the unique Calgary market, a deep passion for the Coldwell Banker brand and a true commitment to being the ideal choice for real estate professionals looking for the support of a full-service brokerage,” said Vanovermeire and de Diego in a shared statement.  

The decision to close her successful brokerage, de Diego said, and unite with Coldwell Banker Mountain Central was the best way forward to serve clients and colleagues, and to balance her work, volunteer and family life.  

“Our vision from the very beginning back in 2006 was clear,” de Diego said. 

“It was to create a nurturing and empowering home for high-performing REALTORS® who shared the common goal of providing unparalleled professional services to their valued clients. That commitment led us to excel in various real estate specialties, including luxury properties, country residential, condominiums, international real estate and specialized services for seniors.” 

Over the years, Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate not only met but exceeded its goals, continually raising the bar for real estate services. The brokerage and its teams earned numerous awards, including Canadian Top 10 Team Awards, highlighting their consistent, outstanding performance in the real estate industry. 

In 2022 Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate proudly claimed the title of number one real estate company in Canada in their size category.  

“That recognition was a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence and dedication to serving clients at the highest level,” said de Diego.  

“That is the same commitment to excellence that everyone can expect as we now work collaboratively with a specialized group of real estate advisors under the Coldwell Banker Mountain Central banner,” she said. She added a “heartfelt thanks” from the team at Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate for the support of clients, partners and the community over the years.  

“We look forward to many more years of success and growth, serving clients with the same passion and dedication that have been our hallmark since day one,” said de Diego. 

 

About Susanita de Diego and Rob Vanovermeire: 

Susanita de Diego is a highly accomplished REALTOR® with a career spanning more than three decades. She began her real estate journey in Vancouver, BC, in 1987, and has consistently maintained her status as a top-producing professional. 
 
Her dedication to her clients and her significant contributions to the Calgary Real Estate Board have solidified her reputation as a leader in the industry. She is excited to embark on the next phase of her career as part of the Coldwell Banker Mountain Central team. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Vanovermeire, a significant figure in the Calgary real estate industry since 1999, established his real estate brokerage in 2008 and began implementing the marketing techniques he was teaching in his courses with the Alberta Real Estate Association, Mount Royal University and the Calgary Real Estate Board. In 2014 he joined the Coldwell Banker network and has expanded the brokerage to more than 70 fulltime agents and to include a property management division. 

 

 

 

 

To contact or set up interviews on the current Calgary real estate market:  

Susanita de Diego, Coldwell Banker Mountain Central, 403-630-3390 

Rob Vanovermeire, Coldwell Banker Mountain Central, 403-870-8704 

Each office is independently owned and operated.

November 14, 2023

Coldwell Banker Dawnflight’s Greg Dodds Wins Community Entrepreneur of the Year

Coldwell Banker Dawnflight Broker-Owner Greg Dodds was named the Entrepreneur of the Year at the South Huron Business and Community Excellence Awards. 

In his thank yous, Dodds quickly made the individual award a team accomplishment. And he proudly named names.  

“We have great agents in Pat, Steve, Megan, and Kate who are not only amazing at their jobs but incredible people, too,” said Dodds. “Our operations and transactions manager James and marketing consultant Bree are also integral pieces of the puzzle who do so much on the back end of the business for us.”  

Left to right: Steve Sararas (Sales Representative), James Lloyd (Operations & Transaction Manager), Dodds, Pat O’Rourke (Sales Representative), Kate Wuytenburg (Sales Representative). Missing, but presences noted: Megan Proper (Sales Representative) and Bree Glasier (Marketing Consultant).

 

New brokerage for natural leader 

In January 2023, Dodds opened the doors to his brokerage in Exeter, a community in the municipality of South Huron, located approximately 40 km north of London in southern Ontario.  

Dodds is devoted to the professional growth of brokerage recruits and to high-level sales production.  

“We have tried to build a culture of good people to make coming to work every day enjoyable,” he said. 

Paul Abbott, a Coldwell Banker Canada Vice-President, Franchise Development, said the award has gone to a natural leader whose skills have been allowed to shine as a broker-owner. 

Congratulations to Greg and the whole team at Coldwell Banker Dawnflight,” said Abbott. This award recognizes the good things that happen for a business when everyone knows the direction they are going, and everyone is committed to the work needed to get there. That’s what leadership does.”  

 

Dodds, left, and O’Rourke, who was also recognized at the Gala Awards.

Growth ahead 

Coldwell Banker Dawnflight is getting set to get bigger.  

“We are grateful to be where we are, but we are focusing on growing even larger in 2024,” said Dodds. “We will be moving into our new office which will be over double the size of our current one and we are all looking forward to expanding and growing our business.”

CultureCultureCulture November 9, 2023

Remembrance Day 2023: Coldwell Banker Canada thanks all military veterans for their life of service

Countless wreaths will be laid at cenotaphs big and small across Canada on Remembrance Day. This is the story of one of the veterans performing that solemn task, Mark Goldade, CD, a 14-year veteran of the Canadian Forces. Goldade is only one of Canada’s veterans who work for Coldwell Banker. Their record of service merits attention and gratitude throughout the year, but especially on Remembrance Day. We thank each of them for their service. They each have compelling stories. Goldade’s, presented here, is one. Lest we forget.  


Unexpectedly, Mark Goldade found himself quite alive in the middle of a canola field in southern Alberta one afternoon. His black and green jumpsuit was smeared oily yellow. His pulse rate was coming down. Right there, he decided to enlist with the Canadian Forces, and to serve his country.  

Goldade, then a parachute rigger working on contract with a company that trained British Army skydivers, had just survived what’s called a line-over parachute malfunction.  

 

Mark Goldade, 10,000 feet above ground level.

 

“I was the guy with a camera on my head filming a tandem jump,” Goldade said. “At 5,000 feet, I get the signal that the guy is going to open his parachute, so I fly away and get out of his way.” 

At 3,000 feet, Goldade had tried to deploy his own parachute.

Nothing happened. 

With no main parachute, he was free-falling at one thousand feet every five seconds. At 2,000 feet, it was no longer an option to try to get the main chute to deploy. He cut it away. At 1,200 feet, he opened his reserve parachute. It sounded like thunder. 

Safe on Earth in southern Alberta

“My heart was in my throat,” he said.

Goldade came down in the canola field, nowhere near the landing target. He could see the plane above doing circles, trying to find him, getting his location to a rescue crew. The next chapter of his life came into focus.

“I’m on a contract. I don’t have healthcare. I don’t have life insurance. I’m living, eating and working out with these guys at the base. I admire what they’re doing. I’m going to join them. I went to the recruiting centre and signed the papers.”

That was 2007.

With that signature, Mark Goldade would see much of the earth in the service of his country. This Remembrance Day, his last in uniform as a serving member, Goldade, wearing his General Service Medal- Expeditionary (GSM-EXP) and his Canadian Decoration (CD) medal, will stand in Bruce Park in Winnipeg, MB. As the president of the Manitoba chapter for United Nations NATO veterans, he will lay a wreath to honour those veterans.

“It is an opportunity to remember those who have served and fought to provide us with the country that we have now,” he said.  

Goldade, right, in Temiscaming, QC, on Remembrance Day 2014

 

Service highlights  

Goldade’s decision to serve meant a life on the go. He did basic training at CFB Borden in Ontario. Occupational trades training happened at the Nav Canada facility in Cornwall, ON. His was then posted to North Bay, ON. From there, he took part in exercises at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii and at CFB Cold Lake, AB. He then served as a tactical data link operator (TDL-Op) in Air Task Force Iraq from 2015 to 2016.  

“Basically, that means I created, using cryptography, a Wi-Fi in the sky that allowed aircraft to talk to the ground and to naval assets so we could pass tactical information back and forth securely,” he said.  

After Air Task Force Iraq, it was back to Cold Lake as an IC (Supervisor) of security for Operation Maple Flag, the annual air combat exercises for allied pilots around the world. Newly promoted Master Cpl. Mark Goldade was then posted to Clear Space Force Station in Alaska for work on ground-based space radar and then onto the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.  

“I got to be involved in a Delta IV rocket launch and a couple Falcon 9 launches, some pretty interesting stuff,” he said.  

Goldade among fellow Canadians serving in Air Task Force Iraq, 2016.
Photo by: OP IMPACT, DND
KW03-2016-0066-001

 

Meaning of service  

For Goldade, as for all veterans, the word “service” is a singular word. Yes, it’s a common word used in many aspects of life—business (including real estate), bureaucracy, dining and even sports (think tennis). For those who have put on a uniform, though, the word service carries a profound meaning, as well.  

“For a Canadian Forces member, to serve means that we are willing, with no questions asked, to give up to and including our life to protect our country,” he said. “Nobody else in this country does that.”

It is in his blood. Goldade’s maternal great uncle Bob died in the Second World War Battle of Ravenna in Italy. His grandfather saw action at Monte Cassino. Two other great uncles also served in the Italian campaign.

  

Soldier in arm 

Goldade wears his heart on his sleeve.  

He has inscribed his own bodily commitment to his country—and made a record of adventures and friendships experienced along the way—in a unique fashion. His left arm is sleeved with tattoos that tell the story of his service.  

Take a look: 

 

Coldwell Banker mentor 

Back in Winnipeg in 2021 and facing the prospect of a medical discharge, Goldade set his sights on the next chapter of his story.  

“It was, quite literally, what can I do? Where can I go?” he remembered. 

Goldade: “To serve means that we are willing, with no questions asked, to give up to and including out life to protect our country.”

Unexpectedly, he found himself one day in the middle of a conversation with a military legend—Honorary Colonel Brigadier-General Eldren Thuen. Thuen had retired from the military and was working as a realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred Real Estate in Winnipeg.

He said, ‘You know what? Let’s have a coffee and we’ll talk, and I’ll introduce you to [Sales Manager] Greta Torlen,’” said Goldade. “I was not ready for her. What a powerhouse!

The trio sat down and talked shop. They explained the compensation structure and the industry. Thuen offered to mentor Goldade. 

“I did my due diligence, I reached out to other real estate brokerages, but none of them were willing to actually put in the time to coach and mentor,” he said. “But Eldren made that commitment. That’s why I came to Coldwell Banker.”

He got his real estate license in December 2022. 

 

Military relocation in action.

Military relocations 
 
Goldade is now among the Coldwell Banker network of realtors who, having served in the military or not, specialize in meeting the specialized needs of military relocation clients.  
 
“When you get promoted, you get posted,” he explained. The military doesn’t leave you in the same location when you’re promoted. You’re moved out of your comfort zone.”  
 
Military members uprooted and set down in a new community benefit from dealing with a realtor who knows the drill, and who appreciates the time crunch faced by the member and family.

“You’ve been in a house for, say, three and half years and now you have to list it, sell it, and, during that process, fly to your new location, find a realtor who’s ready to go when you hit the ground, someone who knows that you want to look at 12-15 homes on average a day, not to mention the time need to find a school or schools for the kids and to check in with your new unit,” he said.  
 
Maybe, you’ve got seven days in the end for all of that to happen.”

 

Goldade and Harley-Davidson Street Glide at Tail of the Dragon, NC, August 2023.

 

PTSD 
 
Service also informs Goldade’s work with The Rolling Barrage, a coast-to-coast motorcycle ride that raises money to combat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and first responders across the country. The ride just finished its seventh year. 
 
“It started with three guys going coast to coast after they lost a buddy to PTSD, someone who took their life,” said Goldade, who is chief operating officer of the foundation. “Now, an average day is 100 to 150 bikes.”  
 
The next ride is scheduled to leave St. John’s, NL, on June 28, 2024.

 

Sales of the beer based on Goldade’s recipe benefit homeless veterans.

 

Mark Goldade, 15, of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets – #9 Sqn Neepawa, on a trip to Minot Air Force Base, ND, 1987. “I bought my first beret at the kit shop there on the trip.”

Now serving: Mark’s home brew

There is one final, less serious aspect to the service that has inspired and still inspires Mark Goldade: his beer recipe.

Goldade is a home brewer whose Kentish ale recipe (the proportions of barley, hops, yeast and love remain proprietary) has been adopted by One Great City Brewing Co. in Winnipeg and bottled under the Home is Where the Heart is” label. A portion of the proceeds supports Homes for Heroes Foundation, which combats homelessness experienced by veterans.

The label reads:

“By purchasing this beer, you can feel secure knowing that proceeds will go to those who have given so much.”

Goldade said he’s lately been dropping into legions around Winnipeg, drumming up orders.

“It will be ready on the shelves and on the taps in Winnipeg for Remembrance Day,” he said.

Remembrance Day is about thanking those who have gone before us, and who sacrificed for us to be where we are.”  

Lest we forget. 

October 25, 2023

Coldwell Banker OnTrack Realty comes together for Coats for Kids in Red Deer

A recent Coats for Kids winter clothing drive imagined and pulled off by three real estate agents at Coldwell Banker OnTrack Realty in Red Deer, AB, was a big success. It’s also a bit of a how-to guide for others looking to give back to and connect with their communities. Spoiler alert: it’s teamwork. 


Here are the big, impressive numbers from Coldwell Banker OnTrack Realty’s recent Coats for Kids clothing drive in Red Deer, AB: 

215: coats 

102: toques 

41: pairs of gloves 

33: snow pants 

25: scarves 

Here’s a small, equally impressive number:  

3: the number of real estate agents who made it all happen 

By name, those three Coldwell Banker OnTrack agents are Jenna Smith, Ken Devoe, and Chris Forsyth. They’re united in crediting their cohesion as a small but mighty group, along with the generosity of Red Deer residents, as the reasons for the success of the campaign.  

“We work closely together in this brokerage, we help each other, we’re always bouncing business ideas off each other, and we’re always there for each other,” said Smith, who is Associate Broker and office manager.  

Forsyth agreed: “We’ve always gotten together and chatted about work things and life stuff, and we try to help each other out in our businesses. It’s grown into a real team atmosphere.”  

Said Devoe: “There’s no way I could have done this by myself. Absolutely no way. We just work well together. We’re all individual agents in our office, but we all work well together. And we have the same sense of humour, which is sometimes good!” 

Coats for Kids delivery day at Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty in Red Deer

 

Giving back 

The campaign started with a question.  

“We were talking about how me might give back,” Smith recalled. “How can we give back to the community, the three of us? It’s been a good year, and we wanted to find a way to give back.”  

Smith came across Coats for Kids, which is run by the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, in an internet search. The idea of helping local children layer up for the winter struck a chord.  

“Our winters are long,” said Devoe, himself a mountain-climbing, all-seasons fan of the outdoors. “Having clothes to be outside just a little more, even 15 minutes more a day, is good for everyone.” 

But good winter clothing is not cheap. Not everyone has the means.  

“And it can be hard to ask for help,” said Smith. “It can be hard on your pride.”  

The plan took shape quickly. A call to action went out to clients and followers via Facebook and other social media. 

A seasonal call to action went out on social on OnTrack Realty’s social media platforms.

 

 

They had 1,500 door hangers printed and dropped them off in a few Red Deer subdivisions in mid-September.  

“It took us a few hours over three days, walking the neighbourhoods, putting them on the doors,” said Smith.

“It was nice weather. People were outside. So, we had a chance to talk to them and explain what we were doing and why we were there.”

The prep work was done. Social media posts were posted, door hangers hung, phone calls and texts made, people pitched—all that was left to do was wait until pickup day, September 25, to see if the community was as committed to the campaign as the organizers.

Pickup day nerves 
 
In Smith’s SUV, the trio cruised the neighbourhoods looking for bags of clothing left on the front steps of houses they had canvassed. At first, they didn’t see as many bags as they hoped for. 
 
“The first little bit was slow, so, you’re, like, oh, no, are we going to get more?” Smith said. “We were a bit nervous doing something new. You don’t know if it’s going to take off or what’s going to happen.”  
 
Things started to take off, especially when the trio rolled into the Deer Park subdivision. Once the SUV was loaded with donations— “At one point we thought we were going to bury Chris in the back seat,” Smith joked—back it went to Devoe’s newly cleaned garage. And again. And then again. 
 
“We did one subdivision, then went to another and we were probably a fifth of the way through that subdivision when we all just looked at each other and said, wow, this is getting bigger,” said Devoe.  
 
“That was pretty cool.”  
 
Forsyth said he was “taken aback by how many people actually reached out and kept reaching out even after we did our pickup.” 

The community haul of (l-r) Devoe, Smith, Forsyth

 

Red Deer Christmas Bureau 
 
The haul was then taken to the new location of the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, a 15,000-square foot bay operated by volunteers that features a library to enhance the literacy of its patrons, and a toy room taking shape for children at  Christmas holiday time. 
 
“The parents can come in, they get so many points, and they can pick gifts for their children,” said Smith. “I think we’re going to try to work with the Christmas Bureau again on their next book drive.”  

Drop-off day at the Red Deer Christmas Bureau.

 

Handwritten thank you notes, a nice touch.

Thank yous  
 
After the drop-off, the team was faced with a final question: how best to say thank you to the generous Red Deer residents who donated the winter wear? 
 
They went old school—handwritten thank you notes. Each residence that donated clothing items got a thank you note in old-fashioned ink from Jenna, Ken and Chris.  
 
“I was worried that people might throw the envelope away because we didn’t know their names, we just addressed it to the homeowner,” Smith said. So, I got little Coats for Kids stickers made and put them on the front so they would hopefully see that and connect it all.”  

 

A handwritten thank you note in return!

Next steps, lessons learned 
 
The plan is to reprise and enlarge Coldwell Banker OnTrack Realty’s Coats for Kids effort next year. There is certainly room to grow. This year’s drive covered only a fraction of Red Deer’s neighbourhoods.  
 
“I hope next year other realtors in our office pick a neighbourhood as well, too, and go out and do that same thing,” said Forsyth.  
 
For others who are considering moving an idea out of the wouldn‘titbeniceifcolumn into the look-at-what-we-did column, the OnTrack Realty trio shared some advice.  
 
It’s the expected refrain of teamwork.  
 
Smith: “Find a partner. Find somebody you get along with and just partner up with them. A lot of people think real estate is cutthroat, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Our office isn‘t like that. Find each other and work together. 
 
Forsyth: “Jump in together. Don’t overthink it. Put a plan together and do it.” 

 


Devoe: “I think we started something. We didn’t expect it to be this big. I’m really proud of what we did.”

By some of the signs left on the doorsteps for the Coldwell Banker OnTrack Realty trio to see, Red Deer is proud of what they did, too.  

 

AdviceCultureOur NewsOur NewsOur NewsOur NewsOur NewsOur NewsOur News October 18, 2023

The Coldwell Banker Canada Interview—Dean Artenosi on his new book, “Onwards and Upwards: Discover the Reality of Building Real Estate Success”

Dean Artenosi, Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Centre, has a new book out. 

Onwards and Upwards: Discover the Reality of Building Real Estate Success is published by Forbes. The book is intended as a course correction for those who view a career in real estate as an easy path to quick money, fame, or both. It offers substantial advice on generating lasting wealth for clients and agents alike, as well as lessons on risk and relationship building. It illustrates that an entrepreneurial mindset is key to envisioning and achieving success as an agent or developer. Artenosi’s goal in the book is to re-kindle a love of all the aspects of real estate work, to breathe life back into what he believes is a noble calling and a great adventure. We sat down with Artenosi to get a bit of a sense of the book and of the author himself. The conversation has been edited slightly for length.

 

Coldwell Banker Canada: One of the stories in the book that most readers will relate to is the story about the day as a school student you realized that you couldand really liked tosell fundraising chocolates door to door. Not all door-to-door chocolate sellers have such warm memories!

Dean Artenosi, The Real Estate Centre: That was at St. Robert in Thornhill, Ontario. I learned how competitive I was! There was a $500 prize for most chocolates sold. That was my goal. I talked to my father about it. He got right behind it. He was in real estate and back in those days you went door to door to find your prospects. There was no internet. He appreciated the chance to coach me. One of the first things I did was to network with family members and ask them if they could take a couple of boxes and sell them to some of their friends. 

CB: What was your door-to-door pitch? How did you do it? 

DA: Basically, my pitch was, “hello, I’m representing St. Robert and we’re trying to raise money for the school. I have a goal, as well. I’m trying to win a prize of $500 that I will apply to my schoolbooks next year.” 

CB: You made it emotional? 

DA: People buy on emotion and justify with logic, for sure! I wasn’t the top student in my class, but I was the No. 1 chocolate bar salesperson. In a way, I just kept going door to door. In my early 20’s, I started a company with a line of environmentally safe cleaning products that we sold door to door.  

A young Dean Artenosi, left, in a local newspaper clipping as he launched Principally Green environmental products.

CB: Are any of those door-to-door skills still relevant in today’s technological world, or have they become obsolete and we can now afford to live without them? 
 
DA: I think we’ve moved away from those skills. Yes, they are still valuable. As I say in the book, real estate, for all its talk about location, location, location, is and will always be about people. Social media gives you exposure. It creates awareness. Realtors can have online campaigns, but why is it that some realtors close more deals than others? It’s because they have sales techniques and can deal with people. Nothing beats interpersonal skills. Some of it might be inherited or natural, but you can learn it. Like I say in the book, you must train to get and keep those skills. 

CB: Honest question—why does the world need another book on success in real estate? 

DA: There is money to be made and wealth to be created—for your clients and for yourself—by having the right mindset. That mindset is about providing ultimate service to your clients and building a successful sales practice from the things you learn from the ground up. My book is about seeing the difference between the real wealth in real estate versus the versions that catch people up in all the rah-rah and the downlines and the multi-level marketing schemes. All those aesthetics just don’t matter.  

Artenosi and wife Tania celebrate the grand opening of the TREC’s Gravenhurst, ON, office with (l-r) Tim Hudak, Sandy Cairns, Penny Varney, and Randy Jorgensen.

 

CB: Okay, was going to ask this later, but let’s do it now, because you just mentioned that your book is about seeing the difference between real wealth and other kinds. References to seeing and vision are everywhere in your book. A real estate expert must see what isn’t there yet, you say, either in terms of neighbourhood that will have a better day or a piece of property whose use can be changed. You tell us the story of what your father was able to see in a plot of undeveloped land on unheralded Georgian Bay. How do you get the superpower to see the invisible?  

DA: I have found that the biggest gains in real estate are to be realized when you change the use of real estate. I give a lot of examples in the book of how to see those changes. But it comes down to doing the work to get additional perspectives. What you see in front of you is not all there is. What can a rundown home in a transitional neighbourhood become? How about a piece of real estate near a future public transit line? Do you know what your municipality’s official plans are? Do you see the potential in corner lots? Do you enlarge your field of vision in these ways, and then do you see it through? 

CB: See it through—another reference to vision. 

DA: Yes. Staying true to your vision is essential.  

CB: What’s the attraction of corner lots?  

DA: The corner lot is always the kingpin. You have access on both sides of the road. It lets you imagine more uses for the land. 

Try turning the people and places that snooty real estate agents write off as the nothings into “somethings of real value. – from Onwards and Upwards: Discover the Reality of Building Real Estate Success

CB: Speaking of visionaries, let’s switch to fiction for a second. In your book, you testify to the enormous impact that Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz had on you. That namechecking doesn’t happen in too many books on real estate, does it? 

DA: I read that book in Grade 12. Mrs. Heslip’s class. I think she could see how much I related to that book, how much I was mesmerized by it—the story, the entrepreneurism, my being from an immigrant family, too. It really got in me. I wanted to be a developer from Grade 12 on. 

CB: At the end of the story, Duddy is land-rich, but you could say, he had too much of his cash flow tied up in his equity. That’s a recurrent lesson in your book. 

DA: I remember a bank manager telling me that you can’t spend dirt. That stuck with me. Yes, cash flow is important. But the really valuable lesson is that you must always have an eye on diversifying your holdings.  

A dinner hosted by the Artenosis to celebrate Coldwell Banker International Award Winners from the various TREC offices.

CB: What’s a good mistake that you’ve made?  

DA: There are times I haven’t been diversified enough, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking. I talk about this in more detail in the book, but I remember losing my first OMB [Ontario Municipal Board] planning hearing. I had tried to shoe-horn in a development proposal. If I had listened more and compromised more and taken a more conciliatory approach, I likely wouldn’t have lost that hearing. It was an expensive lesson. But, in the long run, it helped me create a skillset that is the skillset of a team player with a purpose. The purpose is to help people, to solve problems and do what is right for the customer. Never worry about what the next person is making in a deal or you will never make anything yourself. Better to get a small piece of something than a big piece of nothing. 

 

A selection of communities Artenosi has developed through the Arten Group.

 

CB: Right now, in the Canadian housing market, the issue of affordability is very complex and seemingly intractable. What can be done, including, what can the real estate industry do, to make more homes more affordable for more people? 

DA: I think there are policy changes coming. There’s a bill [in Ontario] that will allow you to have two or three apartments on your property. Now, some people don’t like that. Years ago, they didn’t like that because they didn’t want to have a so-called rental property in the neighbourhood. The reality is many people are living like that. There are two or three families. When I built my home here, I had the basement apartment rented, I had the in-law nanny suite rented. I rented out everything I could to generate revenue. I do think real estate agents need to look at creating supplementary income for property owners. 

CB: Is that one of the reasons your book underlines the importance for real estate agents of working with buyers, and not taking the easier seller’s route? 

DA: It’s harder to work on the buyer’s side. If you have that vision for what a property could be, and if you can help your client execute that plan, then you learn how to really create some wealth for your client. If you can do it for them, you can do it for yourself. The book has more than a few of those real-life stories.  

CB: Your book is full of advice and full of stories. Readers meet Mrs. Heslip and the neighbour who opposed your development who later came around. They meet Ruth and see how you helped her. (That’s a story that’s hard to forget.) They meet your aunt, who helped provide the title of the book, they meet your parents and your uncles. You take us to Italy to see the shack your grandfather lived in.  

DA: You must never forget where you come from. 

CB: Italy is a big character in your story.

Artenosi and family on a memorable trip to Ortona, Italy, in 2013. He came back with a Canada tattoo.

DA:  Yes, so is Canada. I remember a family vacation we took in 2013. We took the kids and went to see more of my wife Tania’s side of the family. Her parents’ village is close to Ortona. There’s a graveyard there, a Canadian graveyard for all the soldiers from Canada who fought there in the Second World War. It was incredible. It was so emotional. I don’t have the words to explain it. I left so inspired to be a Canadian. I actually ended up getting a Canadian flag tattooed on my ankle. Anyways, that whole history resonates with me. It has inspired the Canadian Dream in me, it really has. I want to make a difference for good in people’s lives. That’s also the reason for the book.  

CB: Who has the most to gain by ordering and reading your book? 

DA: Real estate agents and real estate investors, new agents and experienced agents, agents that have been led in the wrong direction away from ultimate service and toward multi-level marketing schemes and so-called profit-sharing concepts. It’s never too late to learn all the components of real estate from start to finish. 

CB: If the book is made into a movie, who plays you? 

DA (laughing): DiCaprio? I also love De Niro and Pacino! 

Artenosi in Times Square in Manhattan in 2023 for debut of billboard ad for “Onwards and Upwards”.

 

Editor’s note: Onwards and Upwards: Discover the Reality of Building Real Estate Success is published by Forbes. Order it here