Tony was born and raised in Calgary. He’s known for bringing a unique perspective on real estate to his clients.
He started out working in his father’s construction company. The job made him understand the importance of attention to details in building a house.
When Tony purchased his first house in university, he began connecting with Realtors as a buyer. He couldn’t help but think of how he would structure the client experience if he was the agent. It didn’t take long for him to realize that it was the career he wanted.
His clients love his keen eyes for structural and aesthetic quality. He can help buyers and sellers see possible concerns before they ever get to a home inspection - thanks to his early experience working on homes from the ground up.
We interviewed Tony to know how his unique approach helps him give his clients exceptional experiences when nothing is normal.
How have you had to adjust to the current market to help your clients buy or sell?
There hasn’t been as much adjustment as you might think. This year has been a better year for real estate than the last few.
It’s more that I, myself, have had to adjust. We are very tech-forward at the Chamberlain Group, but this year took it to another level.
With people not being able to travel much, there is so much more happening digitally, like video walkthroughs and virtual open houses. It was pretty rare to see that before. I even sold a house virtually!
What was that like? How was it different from selling a home to someone in person?
Typically, you get to know someone better as you look at more houses. You start to understand their preferences, so you can make recommendations for them. Virtually, I had to get to know the client first so I could look at the house from their point of view.
Another thing was clarity. Usually, when you take someone to a house, you might point out features and see their feedback immediately.
Once, I showed houses to a family by video. I really got picky about every little thing, even a crooked tile. I knew that would be something that would bother me, but you can’t see it on video.
I wanted to make sure that if they bought a house, there would be nothing that would stood out at possession that they weren't aware of.
For instance, I actually told a client not to buy one house they really liked. One of the bedrooms would have given their small child direct outside access on the second floor. It seemed too dangerous, and I would never put my three young children in that scenario.
They were so thankful, as it didn’t seem like such a concern when they were watching a video of it!
Have you noticed a change in the way people are buying homes this year?
Definitely. Most people are looking for something with a little more room. Office space is important. Many homes have an office, but now both partners might be working from home so they need two separate spaces. Sharing isn’t as much of an option now.
Buyers are also more comfortable living outside of inner city as downtown is slow and they don’t need to be near it.
There are so many nice developments around the city with wonderful amenities. Not having to got downtown for work lets people get the house they want without adding to their commute.
What is your advice for buyers right now?
Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount you’re going to spend. Talk to a mortgage specialist and get preapproved.
But keep in mind that they will always approve you to your maximum amount. I would not recommend spending all that money to buy a home.
For first-time buyers, you will likely have two to three more homes before retirement. When we don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s smart to play it safe and keep some money as a safeguard.
What is your process for helping your clients positions their homes to sell?
It’s about making them aware, especially now that the market is tighter for listings. When things are uncertain, price has to be right.
Buyers were hesitant for a while, and the only houses selling were the ones that looked perfect.
The $500,000 range has a line up right now, and competing offers are common. There are more buyers out there right now, too. The higher priced homes aren’t selling as well, and buyers know it.
There are a lot of low offers going around, and before that wouldn’t fly, but now the possibilities are a bit more open.
Luckily, sellers who purchased during the boom, years ago are starting to realize that even if they are pricing lower, they also have the advantage of buying in the same market, so they can actually come out ahead.
So much of real estate is about timing. Ideally you buy low and sell high, so right now is a great time to buy for sure.
Have you noticed a difference during negotiations this year?
Definitely. I love the negotiation aspect of real estate. I always want to do more for my clients and when I do, I’m so happy.
I always want to find out as much as I can to help my client out at the end of the day. I can get them a little bit better price, or get something included that I know they wanted.
Sellers always want more, and buyers are looking for good deals, so I make sure I talk to the other agent. Knowing the other party’s motivation is really helpful in negotiating.
You will never know if you’re seeing the full picture because you’re dealing with a chain of communication. Messages are filtered from seller to agent, then agent to buyer. It’s so much about understanding the other side, and it doesn’t always work out.
It is so important to develop good relationships with the other agents. One of my big challenges this year has been trying to get people on the phone so we have very clear communication and understanding.
So much can be misconstrued by text. Things are also taking a little longer. It can take a bit more work to keep the process moving along, and make sure conditions and closings are done on time.
If you’d like to connect with Tony, or any of our other realtors, reach out to book a virtual coffee today. We'd love to help you reach your home ownership dreams.
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