Kosta: In this episode, I have a very special guest. I’m speaking with Tim Hudak, the CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. He’s also a long time serving public official and the former Conservative Party leader of Ontario. We’re chatting about some great initiatives by including a brand new program that’s helping real estate agents get into public office, which is really, really exciting. This is definitely a very informative and useful episode for any real estate agent who is involved in their communities. I had a ton of fun speaking with Tim and I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did. Tim, so great to have you on the Top Agent podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I know you had a lot of running around today, so I really do appreciate it.
Tim: My pleasure Kosta, now I don’t qualify as a top agent or any kind of agent, but hopefully I can provide adequate information.
Kosta: Absolutely. I’m sure you will be able to. You are currently the CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, a former Conservative provincial leader of Ontario. For those who may not know who Tim Hudak is and it’s probably not too many of those people, but do you mind sharing a bit about your professional background both in politics and currently with OREA?
Tim: Yeah, sure. Well, as you mentioned, I’m a recovering politician Kosta. I spent uh, 21 years in, uh, in public life. I represented the Niagara Peninsula as a member of provincial parliament as cabinet minister under the PC government, including being, by the way the consumer and business services minister. So I’m the guy responsible for the real estate and business brokers act from way back in 2002. And I became the CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, proudly representing 70,000 plus realtors across Ontario for two years, come December. And most importantly, a lovely, talented, intelligent, beautiful wife, Debbie, and two darling little girls Miller and Maitland, who have their dad totally twisted around a little finger.
Kosta: Amazing. That’s quite the resume. Congratulations on all those accomplishments. So about a month ago Tim, I saw a post of yours on Linkedin. It was about a new campaign launched by OREA that encourages and supports realtors to run and get elected for public office. So, when I read that post, two things came to my mind, automatically. One, I instantly saw connection between real estate agents and politics. I thought it was such an amazing idea, obviously for myself being a business now for nearly eight years, where I serve as realtors and just getting to know the ins and outs of a real estate agent and also having a passion for politics. I thought the overlap and the synergies between the two professions are totally undeniable. And the second thing that came to my mind was that I need to get you on my podcast to talk about it because I know our audience, will get a ton of value from this. And by the way, I think I was actually the first person to leave a comment on that post. If you go back, I know you’ll see it there, but, um, do you mind telling our audience some more about this initiative and how the idea came about?
Tim: Yeah, for sure. So there’s a lot here. So why not give you reason number one as to why we have our realtor campaign school and then we’ll pause and if you want to ask for reason number two, I’m happy to give you that one as well. Perfect. So reason number one, Kosta, like, like you said, they’re right. Like in my 21 years in politics, I got to tell you, I had seen no other profession that, that can touch realtors when it comes to being actively involved in their community. Like whether it’s a church group or synagogue and the Temple coaching, the hockey team, you know, volunteering for the local school or the food bank, whatever. It’s always realtors actively involved. Nobody knows the neighborhoods better where things are going, the quality of the school with stars coming into the realtor. So, you know, we thought, why don’t we take that local energy?
Tim: That’s incredible. It’s giving back to the local community and make a difference at the elected level. So that’s what we plan to deal. We’ve identified over 60 realtors to do just that in every city and village cross province. All right, here’s reason number two. You know, at one time in my political career we had to make some tough decisions about auto insurance, auto insurance as an eye level issue. You know, we all have to pay it. If you have a car, we all think it’s too expensive. So we got lobby, so he’d have the fancy lobbyists come in and they’re expensive suits. They’d make their case. You’d hear from the bureaucrats to civil servants, the deputy minister aid here for the cabinet minister. But here’s the punchline, we had three insurance brokers are a part of our pc caucus in those days.
Tim: We sat with them every day. We respected the work that they did, they knew what was happening on the street, so when push came to shove and we had to make a decision at a vote, it was the insurance brokers in our caucus we listened to. So the lesson here is if we really want to have the best decisions possible when it comes to a healthy functioning real estate market to make sure homeownership stays with it and reach of the average family out there, we need realtors at the table making the decisions at the end of the day. And that’s why this initiative is crucial.
Kosta: I totally agree that, makes a ton of sense. I do want to touch on the home affordability, but, before that, you touched on a couple of points, what would you say are some of the, the main skill sets that real estate agents possess that are transferable to the political arena?
Tim: Yeah. You know, what, that’s kind of answered number three, why we started this whole, you know, realtor campaign college and, and it’s really the skill sets are very similar. I noticed that when I left the political world and you know, beamed over to realtor world, first of all, you know, just like in politics, you got to be a people person. You’ve got to be networking all the time. You’ve got to be good with people and understanding what they talk about around the kitchen table all of the time. And you have to be dedicated to your community and understand where things are going from parks to schools to healthcare to local businesses. So the skill set really, really seem to fit for me. And I think realtors will make very natural and successful public officials and politicians
Kosta: Couldn’t agree more. I would actually throw in another character trait a relentlessness. And what I mean by that, like as a realtor and doing sales and being entrepreneurs of course, uh, we don’t really have a guaranteed paycheck tomorrow. Uh, you have to be relentless in your pursuit of providing value to your clients. And same goes for a politician and you also have to be relentless to best serve and provide value to your constituents.
Tim: Absolutely. You know, one thing that, um, that I enjoyed about politics is like real estate, you know, you’re going seven days a week and you’ve got to be seen in the public active in the community and understand what the vibe on the street is. Very similar professions.
Kosta: Totally. For sure. I listened to the real estate edition podcast, by OREA. great, podcasts by the way, a few weeks ago, with Stanley Cho who as you know, is a realtor and now the MPP for Willowdale. So he definitely one of those success stories of agents who made the transition from real estate into politics. Um, are there any other realtors who, who currently hold seats in office are currently running for election? I know that the local elections are taking place right now as we speak. So any insights or information on that?
Tim: Yeah. So a couple of cabinet ministers. So John Yaka, Buskey, he’s transportation minister, very outgoing personality, really well respected. Like in the legislature, he’s a former realtor and his wife Vicky is currently a realtor and a Monte kwinter who was a liberal MPP and actually has now set the record. He’s retired now, but he set the record for the, um, the MPP who served up to the latest age. He got elected in the eighties and retired in 2018, a, also a former realtor. And guess what? Not only was he a realtor, he actually got to be the minister in charge of real estate. So that was a perfect fit.
Kosta: Wow, that’s incredible. Is there any advice you would give to realtors who are thinking or even considering jumping into politics or are getting involved? Any recommendations you would give?
Tim: First of all, we covered number one base. You’re a natural, you’re going to be a natural fit because what makes you successful in the highly competitive world of real estate will make you successful in the world of politics. Equally competitive. Um, you know, number two, you got to start early. So what our campaign called college for realtors, you mentioned stand show. He was one of our, what I called our guest professors. We also had Hazel Mccallion d of course mayor Mccallion probably there were a hall of fame for politicians would be right there at the opening exhibit, the most successful this will politicians probably in Canada’s history. She talked about how realtors were her best salespeople for Mississauga. They were the first people that, uh, individuals looking to move to the community would get to know and they would boast about the community. So she talked very fondly about the role that real play and Michael could tell who was a former trustee, liberal cabinet minister was a rather gas professor. What Hazel said, I want to focus on is start early. You don’t start the campaign when the rent goes off. You don’t start the campaign a few weeks early. You start building for that council position or trustee or the province early. You get involved, you show the community, you care. And guess what? Half people listening to this podcast at least are already deeply involved in volunteer work in their community.
Kosta: No better person to take advice from then a famous Hazel Mccallion, that’s for sure. She got a pretty good winning streak going there. I think so. I think so. Um, so you touched upon a little bit about your background in, you know, long political career. You first ran and got elected in 1995 and the provincial elections for Niagara south. By the way, I’m not that young, Tim. I was eight years old in 95. So you were 27 and you never really looked back, uh, climbed up all the way to leading the Conservative Party of Ontario. And you might have to dig deep for this answer, but what was one of your most rewarding experiences while serving in public office?
Tim: Well, there’s no doubt it was, um, you know, first of all, getting elected six times. Right? So the first time you win, a lot of that is timing the right guy, the right place at the right time. Getting sent back five more was a real honor that people thought my work was a values. That’s number one, just the honor to, uh, to serve, um, being the leader of a party was an incredible experience and a lot of the voters, I got a lot of votes just not enough to be premier. It was, um, tremendously invigorating to have the opportunity to stand on that main stage, I guess is the number two guy to talk about your vision for the province and you know, just to complete the circle here, cost of, you know, part of my vision that was in my platform and when I had the honor of serving as the minister responsible for, for real estate is consumer minister. I had a chance to pass legislation and modernize a real estate rules that was 2002. It’s my name that’s on the bill, the real estate business brokers active that time. It was pioneering legislation. It was cutting edge for 2002 and it’s kind of cool now, you know, 16 years later with a different hat on, we got a chance to raise the bar even higher.
Kosta: Wow. Very inspiring to to say the least. Thank you for sharing that. One of the hot topics that you hear nowadays, uh, and we touched upon this earlier, uh, both with realtors and in the public’s fear is the topic of home affordability, particularly in Toronto and the GTA. Of course, I know OREA has been pretty vocal about this and encouraging our government to implement some action to make homeownership affordable again, especially for those already not in the market. So any, any quick thoughts on that and what are you guys doing to help those who are struggling to save to buy a home?
Tim: Yeah. Number one, all the listeners to Top Agent should go to keepthedreamalive.ca. That’s a site where we talk about how millennials are finding homeownership tougher to reach. How for the first time in Canada’s history, homeownership is actually going backwards instead of going forwards. Number two, go to keepthedreamalive.ca. Number three, go to keepthedreamalive.ca because Kosta, you can actually send a message via email or social media to year MPP saying, we need to take action today and tell you what, I know this by experience. They will read those messages amazing on, so keepthedreamalive.ca, right, but if I didn’t say it enough keepthedreamalive.ca, I’ll make sure to have that in the show notes as well three times, not just once. It’s A. It’s a comprehensive campaign. It’s a, it’s online, social media, television and radio ads and the reason we’re doing this because you know, nothing makes a realtor happier when I talked to them about their personal stories. Then when they connected first time home buyers with the very first place to call home and our ad keepthedreamalive.ca captures the agony that young couples are going through today and Ontario, they’ve tried to save up. They want to get a place. I got a job. Maybe they got a kid on the way, but they just can’t find that place of their own. That needs to change and we want to organize it. Convince government to help those people out.
Kosta: Absolutely. I love the awareness there. So keepthedreamalive.ca. I’m switching gears, I just a little bit term if you don’t mind and touching on technology. Sure, um, obviously my company Web4Realty being in the technology space for realtors, I know you’ve put a pretty big emphasis on encouraging the adoption of technology for real estate agents. Maria held the reality conference in Toronto earlier in the year. Uh, so I’m curious to hear from you, what are some opportunities that you see for agents in the online space and, and what else is a OREA doing to encourage technology and make realtors more effective and efficient in their day to day?
Tim: Yeah, you bet. I mean, most people think of area they think of education. Most of your listeners who are realtors went to a college, but we really have three other major functions. Number one is advocacy. We’ve talked a lot about that already and the other part of that advocacy, as you know, modernizing our rules to raise professional standards and making sure we have modern tools, like the ability for realtors to incorporate. Number two, we provide services to members like leadership training and standard forms, which are the infrastructure pieces that bind our system together and make it easier than if we had different farms and every corner of the province and third, expose our members to new technologies. Technology can save you time, it can save you money, it can improve your quality of customer service and how we make it better living. We don’t pick winners and losers, but to have conferences like reality, we help our members learn about what may be helpful in their job and in their profession.
Kosta: Absolutely. Is there plans for another conference?
Tim: Yeah, we were thrilled. They were thrilled. The reality conference in 2018 back in February, you know, we’d always had maybe 200, 250 people at our conference. It was getting pretty, pretty stale, so we said let’s blow the whole thing up. And we did the reality conference focused on taking on the tough issues before real estate and exposing members to new technologies. We went over 900 attendees. It was one of the best events we’ve ever run. So we’re going to do it again now. We’re going to do it every two years to make sure we’ve got the latest, greatest and most exciting speakers going and I’m happy to say as a Niagara and we’re going to do the 2020 event in Niagara Falls.
Kosta: Oh Wow. Very nice. Be Sure to put that in my calendar.
Tim: Good. And like last time we hope to attract realtors from across Ontario and you know, also we had every province represented so we hope to have others from across Canada as well.
Kosta: Amazing. Tim. I do want to be mindful of your time. I like to wrap up. Each interview with what I call the top three. So, uh, you’re ready. Go number one, your favorite real estate or business book,
Tim: Favourite Business Book? Boy, what is, I don’t even know. I’ve got two favorite real estate business book. I think one that actually got me interested at a young age, uh, when it, uh, when it came to, um, the world of business was the Wealthy Barber. Just the importance of saving and planning long term.
Kosta: Yes. That’s actually on my reading list. Number two, your top vacation spot.
Tim: Outer Banks, North Carolina. I just love the beach like the drive and I liked the barbecue.
Kosta: Wow. Was it affected by the hurricane recently?
Tim: Yeah, was sadly they get hit there. Um, well my family and I have had some wonderful vacations there. Uh, we usually go a late, a late August, rent a place along the ocean and with two daughters now 11 and four. They just could play in the sand all day and it’s great to see him in action and I try to keep up with them.
Kosta: Awesome. Very nice. And just doing some quick math here. You’re about 50 years young, is that right?
Tim: That’s right. I had to come to the, my last birthday. I crossed that barrier why’d you have to remind me of that thing about, well, if you can go back 30 years, what do you wish your 20 year old self knew? I wish I would have bought a house. Could you imagine if I had bought a house or more properties when I was 20 years old? So yeah, look, I had a, um, a very rewarding life. Um, I’ve been of the belief that it’s better to take chances to, uh, to go out there and the ring into fight then to be in the shadows and not attempt much. So very happy the way things ended up those first 50 years. But cost you, you gave me a second chance. Thirty years ago I would have bought property.
Kosta: That’s great advice. All right, Tim, thank you so much again for being on the podcast. I had a ton of fun and I also want to thank you for your decades of public service and continuing to try and make our province a better place to live both for ourselves and for our children. Of course. So sincere thanks to you for that very kind Kosta. Thanks for having me on the show. Continued success for yourself. Alright Tim, all the best.
Tim: Take care.
Kosta: Thank you so much for listening to the Top Agent podcast by Web4Realty. By the way, we’re providing exclusive promos to our listeners, visit web4realty.com/topagent and get your first month on us, and that’s web4realty.com/topagent to get your first month of service completely free. Until next time. Over and out. Peace.
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