In today’s Top Agent Podcast, Kosta interviews John Karevska, a top agent that specializes in Greater Toronto Area real estate. Kosta met John around 7 years when he was first starting out as a real estate agent, and Web4Realty was in its infancy. Due to their similar work ethic and willingness to hustle, Kosta and John immediately clicked.
John did not start his professional life as a real estate agent. He worked for 20 years as a self-employed landscaper. While John enjoyed that line of work, he figured that they had to be a better way to make money than just doing back breaking labor. After an unfortunate motorcycle accident that nearly killed him, and left him unable to do heavy physical labor, John made a transition to real estate.
John admits he was surprised that the real estate business wasn’t as easy as it looked. It’s nowhere near a cushy job that only requires you to sit on a desk and waiting for clients to hire you. To be successful as a realtor you need to work hard, and you have to be willing to put on different hats. A good realtor needs to have solid communication skills, the patience to deal with different personalities, organizational skills to follow up on conversations, and legal knowledge to rival a paralegal. In other words you have to be an untiring jack-of-all-trades.
Of course while there is plenty of money to be made from your hard work in real estate, you must be able to balance out your life. It’s always a challenge to find the time to spend with your family and to maintain friendships. But it’s a worthwhile challenge that you won’t regret accepting.
John goes on to say that one of his most successful marketing efforts focus on creating video content. Video content has significant advantages over other forms of content, since video can show off properties and developments is ways that pictures never could. Video combines images and audio, and it helps people to visualize themselves living in the property.
While we can’t ignore the appeal of using the latest technological trends in real estate, and its potential to increase our productivity in ways we couldn’t imagine a few years ago, Kosta and John agree that no technology will ever replace the effectiveness and warmth of old school personal contact.
Will hard work ever be obsolete? Do you think that human contact will never go out of style in real estate? Or do you, for one welcome our new robot real estate overlords? Download this week’s podcast or its transcript and let us know in the comments.
Kosta: First off, thank you so much for taking the time to set aside and speak with me. I really, really do appreciate that. Absolutely no problem at all. Alright. So I guess just to kick things off, maybe if you don’t mind just tell our audience a bit about yourself, your background, and how you became a realtor.
John: Well, I’ve been self employed for the past 20 years and I actually started off in landscaping, grew a little small independent business doing commercial landscaping and I was working hard and taking a toll on my, uh, my body physically and I was thinking, you know, there’s gotta be another way to make money, a bigger money smarter instead of turning my body. Um, coincidentally, unfortunately as well, I, uh, was in a motorcycle accident and I’m lucky to be alive. So that kind of set me off seeing, listen, I got to do something here. So I jumped into, I’m learning real estate.
John: It was, it was a tough challenge. One hundred percent, you know, coming from a construction environment into being a realtor. It’s not simple and nor does job simple for anybody. You, you need tough skin and not only do you need tough skin, you, you, you also have to be willing to always learn and change your frame of mind and how you speak. So that’s kind of how I got into it at a physical toll. Me, you know, fortunate to be alive and I was getting migraines a lot, working physically. So I, I had enough. So here I am. I’m doing this now. Lucky to be alive. Uh, I always kind of my blessings for that. But aside from that, you know, you gotta you gotta work in, in, in to succeed in life. Um, this business isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It definitely has its challenges and you, you need a determined mindset to move forward.
Kosta: That’s amazing. Very inspiring to say the least. Um, and it’s funny, like when we first met, was it seven, eight years ago when you were first starting? Oh, and actually when I was starting out as well with Web4Realty, I think, I think one of the reasons why, why we connected was because of your mentality like you just mentioned. And sort of your hustler attitude, it’s something I sent to away, you know, obtain, Eh, you know, for example, I have a motto I go by which is no plan B’s. So that means when I have my mind set on something, I don’t think of alternatives or a plan B, I think a, a plan B as essentially a planning for failure. So absolutely. And, and you, you, you touched upon mindset. How important do you think mindset is in your business, especially for realtors just starting out or trying to get to the next level?
John: You know, how do I say this? Um, this job is like, no other, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re a multiple of personalities and multiple of Jack of all trades. You’re, you know, you, you can’t just say, okay, I’m gonna put together and contract and get the deal done. You need to be able to focus on communication, focused on keeping in touch with people, focused on creating the, the cycle of, um, a new liens, maintaining Lee, uh, uh, following up with people, following up with a transaction, following through with the transaction, uh, catering to a different personalities. Sometimes there’s breakups, you know, you have to, you have to, um, kind of a handle the situation on both different sides.
Kosta: You’re a jack of all trades, sort of. There’s so many. I see what you’re saying. There’s just so many variables that go into real estate.
John: You need to be able to sit back and most importantly that you have to listen and when you’re listening you don’t necessarily need to provide people with solutions. You just need to say, so I understand this is what you’re saying and this is where you need to get to. So as long as you allow the individual to feel that they’ve been heard, you become a better salesman and this job becomes easier.
Kosta: No, I totally agree. Totally agree. Um, you know, I know you’ve definitely made some pretty big strides in the last few years. You know, I’ve been following your rise, which is incredible to see. Um, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced as a realtor and in growing your business?
John: I would say time with family and you know, when you’re growing a business, there is a little. It hits home when I, when I talk about families, so when you’re growing a business, there’s time away from family. Um, so when you watch the, when you watched the rich get rich, they don’t have a lot of family and that are around them because they’re too busy focused on, on getting ahead and making sure that they succeed. So that’s kind of the environment you’re in in this business. You need to hustle, you need to put your head down and say, I’m going to get this done and you’re going to miss out on things and you’re going to have some sacrifices. But the rewards are great. But a reminder to the people out there, once you’ve done those sacrifices and rewards, don’t, don’t forget to continue doing what you’re doing that got you here. It becomes easier after so that you can reap the rewards of spending time with your family and having a larger data bank of people that you can work with.
Kosta: That’s a great point. I think, uh, you know, I, I personally believe work life balance is a super important to not only maintain, you know, your own sanity and your own health, but you know, continuing to enhance the relationship with your, your friends, your family and everyone that’s important. So yeah, I think that’s um, that’s really important in real estate and in any business, especially as an entrepreneur center for just at the beginning, you got to put the hospital in, so don’t expect it’s going to be a, the grass is greener on the other side until you put, put the do’s. Oh yeah. The hustle never stops, never stops. Shifting gears a little bit, I’m a major trend that I’ve noticed in marketing for realtors is creating video content and I’ve noticed that you’ve been pretty active in creating videos for some of your listings, which is great to see. Um, what are your thoughts on video content and what are some of your favorite and most effective marketing strategies that are giving you the most Roi that you can share?
John: Video is great if you use it correctly. Um, it’s been effective for many people that are not afraid to stand up and feel free in front of a camera which most can’t do. Now, that shouldn’t be discouraging to many other agents because it’s not all about technology from our standpoint on this. And the problem in this business when you’re new is you think you need to jump on the wave of what’s trending so that you can be an, a player in the business to move forward. Technology will always be innovative and different and changing, but people still want that personal touch as a realtor to call them, say hello, that face to face. Um, you know, the keep in touch type of thing. Technology just is you sitting in their face every so often. They see you on social media, but that doesn’t get them to call you.
John: You, you need to still be personable. You still need to touch base. You know, today I just finished writing 10 hit handwritten little notes that are going to be sending out to my clients. Now that’s keeping in touch. That’s, that’s the technology aside from technology that’s real, that should be doing. It’s more personable as far as, um, you know, technology towards a real estate in the future is easier that technology has made my job is perhaps, you know, electronic signatures or, or being able to send out information quicker. I’m in, but everybody does that now. So, you know, technology is, is free to everyone. Um, it’s, it’s hands on you immediately. It’s something that people can see right then and there within seconds, but it’s that personal touch that you still need to do with people in order to gain momentum and, and, and have a business in this business.
Kosta: Yeah, I like that. So, so you’d say for you specifically, you know, the, the, the best marketing techniques are still that old school personable approach and you know, getting in front of your clients. I’m on a personal level as opposed to like the social media side.
John: You know, they’re on online checking you out, but they want us to, you. They want to hear what you have to share. They want to feel comfortable at the end of the day, they need to feel comfortable with a person that can communicate and make them feel comfortable knowing that you know, you’re, you’re a value you’re of service that can help them move forward.
Kosta: Yeah, absolutely. Um, I, I can see that you’ve been pretty active though in trying out new technology, new apps for your business and I think that’s great. Something I always recommend to everyone and I think it’s really important to try and test new tools and things that can make your business more efficient and save you time. Um, and you touched upon a few things like, you know, east signatures for example, but how do you see technology changing real estate in the next decade? Let’s say.
John: Once again, I think, um, communication, uh, like what we’re doing now, uh, you know, skype signatures and all that makes it easier that you don’t have to meet all the time. But I still feel, aside from technology, most people want to feel connected and have an introduction formally and meet who they’re working with. It is more of a personable touch, I guess you can say old school that still exists in today’s market, even with new people and old people of all ages. I believe that one on one is important not to get back to that question. Technology makes it easier. Uh, you can move swiftly, you know, uh, I can be on the beach for example, on vacation, where now technology allows me to speak to people online via email and do signatures across the world and we’ve done a transaction, but at the end of the day, technology helps enhance things to move forward. But you still gotta talk to people in person. That’s my point. Yeah.
Kosta: I’m with you. Being being an old school had myself. I mean, I, I really do appreciate that insight which you don’t hear too often, but I think it’s still a very important, especially in your business. Absolutely. I’m shifting gears again a little bit. I’m a numbers guy. I love understanding the business and the numbers behind it all. Can you share with our audience how many transactions you’ve closed last year or plan to close in the next 12 months?
John: I am comfortable with doing anywhere from 20 to 25 as a single individual salesmen in today’s market with today’s prices. It’s a very good living. Um, I, there was a time where I was excited to do more. I think I reached the 30 at one point as a single salesman. Um, you know, the sky’s the limit out there, so I don’t set myself up where I only want a certain amount. I do want to reach a plateau every year of at least 20 to 25. And if anything happens over that, that’s bonus a, that just means whatever systems I was working on, like I mentioned earlier in our conversation, you know, don’t stop doing what got you here. So because it will help reap the benefits later on, you know, on says no to money you, you take it all on, but there’s a minimum that I want and that’s 20 to 25 a year and allows me to have healthy living, keep my family at home and comfortable. We travel the world and you need to find your comfort level. What, what makes you comfortable, what makes you okay in and to find that type of strategic, uh, I guess you can say plan your own business plan that will allow you to get that year over year over year so you can feel comfortable not having to hustle as hard as he did at the beginning. So for me, I’m comfortable between 20 and 25.
Kosta: Hey, those are solid numbers. I mean at the end of the day, like you said, it’s about what, what you’re happy with, what makes you comfortable, how you can continue supporting your family and traveling and doing the things you like. So yeah, thanks so much for that candidness. I’m like, John, I want to be mindful of your time here. Um, I, I end off each interview with what I call the top three. So number one, your top real estate or business book.
John: Uh, I actually got it right here beside me. Keller Williams, uh, the millionaire real estate agent by Gary Keller.
Kosta: Okay, perfect. Number two, your top vacation spot.
John: Aruba. it’s a family friendly, it’s safe. It’s, um, you know, the beach is long, the boardwalks are long that it’s just great. Overall. I’ve been to many destinations around the world I think for, uh, for family and is probably one of the best places to go.
Kosta: Nice. I’m looking forward to that. Um, and uh, last question here, if you can go back, what do you wish your 20 year old self knew?
John: Listen. Because you learn more from listening than talking. So definitely listened and read. I would, um, I would have told myself to read more so that I can prepare for a, for an easier future life.
Kosta: Amazing advice. And John, if people wanted to get a hold of you or reach out, where can they find you?
John: I got an easy website. Haveagreatday.ca. Make it simple so people can get to you. And remember you Haveagreatday.ca. Reach out to my website, email me, and I have no problem answering questions or helping out if anybody has anything they need.
Kosta: Perfect. I’ll make sure to add all your information in the show notes. John, it was amazing catching up. We should definitely do this again sometime. I really do appreciate it.
John: My pleasure. Old Friend. You keep in touch and all the best take care.
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