The conversation of warm human contact vs. computerized efficiency, and the role a real estate agent plays in the market continues in today’s Top Agent Podcast.
In today’s podcast, Kosta interviews Matthew Fernandes, a top real estate agent active in the Greater Toronto Area. Though Matthew hasn’t been in the real estate market for that long, he is now in the coveted top two percent of over 50,000 realtors in the Toronto Area.
Most real estate agents get started fairly late in their career, and it takes them a while to transition into it from other careers. In the case of Matthew, he actually decided to become a real estate agent fairly early on. He got the chance to be an intern for ReMax in grade 11, and a full year with a top producer in grade 12.
One of Matthew’s greatest strengths is his ability to have a clear vision, craft a business plan, and stick to it. While having a plan of action certainly helps to speed up one’s career advancement, there are always roadblocks in the path to success.
In the case of Matthew, one of his biggest challenges was figuring out how to grow his business the right amount at any given time. When you leverage your business by handing by delegating tasks to others, your business becomes more productive, and more profitable. But if you grow it too quickly, personalized service takes a hit, and it becomes more detached and mechanical.
In terms of marketing, though Matthew understands the value of online marketing through social media and content marketing, he is still a huge follower of old school prospecting. He focuses on sending out postcards, knocking on doors, and establishing a personal connection in real life. Having said that, his online presence is nothing to scoff at. Matthew has over 10,000 Instagram followers, he takes full advantage of Google and Facebook ads, and he consistently reaches over 50,000 on his online marketing efforts.
When speaking about the impact that technology will have in the real estate world, Matthew says that though technologies such as electronic signatures and online property tours have made it easy to complete transactions, and technically you don’t even need to ever see a property to own it, the personal touch won’t ever go away. For most people a house will be the biggest asset they ever own, so the need for guidance from a professional will always remain.
Kosta: Hello and welcome to the Top Agent podcast. My name is Kosta and I chat with top real estate agents to discuss their successes, tips and marketing strategies. This podcast series is brought to you by Web4Realty the leading provider in real estate marketing tools to grow your business. If you’re looking to attract leads, build relationships, and close more deals, go to web4realty.com to learn more in this episode, I’m catching up with Matthew Fernandes, a real estate broker in Toronto. I first met Matthew about five years ago when he was starting to ramp up his real estate business. Today, Matthew is in the top two percent of over 50,000 realtors in the Toronto area, which is absolutely incredible. The amazing thing is he’s just getting started. Definitely an agent to look out for, so that was really excited to speak with Matthew and I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did. All right, Matthew, thank you so much for doing this. I really do appreciate it.
Matthew: No problem. I’m glad to be on. It’s my first podcast, so I’m excited.
Kosta: You’ll do great. No worries. I just, to kick things off, just tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you got into the real estate game.
Matthew: Okay. So yeah, it goes, it goes far back. It started basically in grade eight. Um, that was the time, I guess we were starting to look at our career choices for high school to apply all that stuff and the, at that same time, my parents were looking for a place so I was not involved, but I would be with them as they were going out with the realtor, looking at the preconstruction, the resale, the model homes. So right there it excited me in a way where it wasn’t a nine to five job. It was always something different. And we started putting the offers together, then negotiating. So it drew my attention for sure. And uh, so from that point on I told myself I want it to be a realtor. So. And in high school what I did in, I did co op for one full year in grade 11 with remax and then another full year with a top producer, a top agent, uh, again in grade 12. And, uh, I learned a lot of hands on experience. I’m much more than anyone can learn on textbooks and reading all that stuff. So it was a really great experience.
Kosta: Wow. I like that you knew you wanted to get into real estate from very early on, which is pretty cool. I usually, agents I speak to, they get into real estate later on in their careers. So it’s pretty interesting that you had that passion inside of you from very early on.
Matthew: Yeah. And a lot of people think I had family in the industry when I told them I started at the age I started at by the. No, no family, no, my parents weren’t in it, my uncles, aunts, nothing. Just something that from the beginning drew my attention and I stuck to it.
Kosta: Okay. That’s amazing.
Matthew: Awesome. Um, so we met, I think it was like five years ago, I think it was around the time, uh, you were kicking things off in real estate. And one thing that stuck out to me about you is how precise and how detailed you were. You seem to have a very clear vision and plan and your business, which, uh, I can see you’ve executed amazingly and I just want to first congratulate you on that and all your successes. A truly great. So, um, yeah, no worries. Um, so with that being said though, as with any business and the client doesn’t come without its hurdles and obstacles along the way, um, what are, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in your real estate career and, and what are some ways you’ve overcome those challenges? So challenges every day there’s challenges which is, you know, but I, you, you learn from them.
Matthew: There’s always roadblocks and you learn from them, you apply them. So that’s a, that’s how you have to deal with it in any business I guess. But the biggest challenge for me I would say was probably around when I met you because I’ve been doing it for eight years. I met you about five years ago. I was trying to structure the business and grow it. So I think for me that was the biggest challenge on how to go about structuring it. And, you know, leveraging the business where we can grow it, but at the same time still maintain that personalized service for our clients. Right. I didn’t want to spread myself too thin. I didn’t want to grow too quick. Um, so it was just getting the, you know, the, the things in place so we can grow slowly and still maintain that customer satisfaction for sure.
Kosta: Yeah. No, I totally get what you mean. I’m sorry. I know we’re in very different businesses, but I’m a, I can totally relate because when we first met we were sort of getting things started with our business as well and sort of structuring our own departments and internal processes and making sure that client satisfaction is always there. So yeah, I totally get that.
Matthew: Yeah, that’s right. I guess it’s with any, you know, any business, you just got to grow slowly. A lot of people, they’ll grow really quickly and it may work for them. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. But uh, yeah, it’s just uh, trying to provide that customer service but also growing at the same time. Right?
Kosta: Yeah, absolutely. It seems like you’ve always had a pretty strong online presence and you know, being a young guy and just knowing where people’s attentions lie, which is online, obviously you clearly know the value that the Internet provides. Um, so I’m curious to hear from you, what are some of the most effective marketing strategies that you can share which are giving you the most ROI?
Matthew: So basically the most return on investment. It’s still the old school way. I’m still that old school guy, so I have my farming area. I know it’s real estate talk, but the, they are either where I focus in a geographically, uh, sending out the postcards, doing some door knocking. Not so much now, but I did a lot of door knocking for sure. Um, yeah, so the old school way, the postcards, the farming, the constant, you know, the signs everywhere in the neighborhoods, so people see you and then we’ll start recognizing you a little more. And then of course it is the online presence, which is, which is very important as well, right? It all sort of plays into each other. I’m also how you’re marketing yourself, but more importantly, how you’re marketing your client’s properties. I think the online presence is very, because everyone’s starting their search.
Matthew: They’re going to go online, so we want to make sure it’s there. So we have this social media, we have the online presence, the, the, the Google ads, all that stuff. We try and keep up with, uh, in the last little bit. You know, instagram has been really good for me. Um, I’m trying to. I’m at about 10,000 followers right now, so it’s taken some time to get there. But, uh, in the last little year I’ve been seeing the response from it, that direct response, uh, from instagram, which has been great. So yeah, social media is a big thing. And then we’re also doing the targeted ads, which is great for our clients because everyone’s on facebook, everyone’s on instagram, so we’ll target their specific property, make sure it’s visible and it, you know, it can reach up to 50,000 people sometimes if not more, of course.
Kosta: I’m sure, I’m sure a lot of clients now are asking you, you know how you’re going to promote their, their property online.
Matthew: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a big thing. It’s, it’s very important for sure. So we try and cover it all.
Kosta: Yeah. You, you mentioned that you’re farming area. How do you, how did you determine which area to farm is where you grew up, for example?
Matthew: Well, well for me, yes, for me it was where I grew up. Um, but that was also a difficult parts in the beginning as well because I was doing a little bit of everything right. I was doing an area here and then I sold a house in tobacco I was doing there. And so now I’m focused to really Toronto at tobacco and then specific neighborhoods within as well. And one of them being where I grew up in the Davenport Dufferin area, a Dover court, Corso Italia, those areas there.
Kosta: It’s funny, I grew up there as well, like Dufferin and was there a couple of weekends ago visiting my grandmother. And uh, I saw your signs everywhere. So there you go. That’s, that’s what we want. And actually, funny enough, I didn’t even mentioned this to you, but you actually on, on my grandmother’s fridge was one of your calendars. So the old school way still works for sure. Exactly. I’m sticking with technology. How do you see technology changing real estate and let’s say the next five or 10 years.
Matthew: A technology like any technology, you know, things will come and go. So it’s just to keep up with the trend, trying to be on top of the newest thing. Um, and it, it makes things easier. The electronic signatures, the, you know, not having to be there in person all the time, but a primary, a very important part of the business is to have that face to face, uh, that personal touch with every client you meet. Right? And I don’t think that will go away. A lot of people have said, Oh, you know, pretty soon there won’t be any real tours that can all be done online. People will start selling their own houses, but it’s, it’s the biggest asset you have. So trying to do it on your own or doing it with technology and not the guidance of a professional, it’s going to get lost. And I don’t see that ever happening. They’ll always be realtors that guide guide. You take care of everything from beginning to end. But with the use of technology combined. Right? So it’s just making things easier. But uh, and it’s an important aspect for sure. But I don’t think it’s the most important in the business for sure.
Kosta: Yeah, that’s right. That’s a really good point. Like you said, for most people at home is their biggest asset. So when you’re thinking about buying or selling such an important asset, I think most people still need that level of professional service or knowledge and trust that realtors can provide. I think if technology were to completely take over the bind cell process, we’re still a pretty long way out from that. Interesting. I’m changing gears a little bit. I’m a numbers guy. I like to understand the business behind it all. Are you able to share how your business did in the last 12 months or what you expect to do in the next 12 months?
Matthew: Yeah, for sure. So last year was, was one of the better years for sure. Uh, we were ranked top two percent in terms of number of transactions out of 50,000 Toronto realtors, so out of treads. So that was a great accomplishment for us. Uh, we’ve always been like, so when I say we, I now have the team, you know, the buyer’s agent, the listing agent as well to help out. Um, I’m still high, highly involved in everything. Um, but yeah, we did quite a few transactions last year which was nice. Again, top two percent, so we’re full time working hard all the time. So it was a great call.
Kosta: That’s incredible. Congratulations. So top two percent. So that’s pretty much top, top thousand agents in the GTA, which is enormous, right? Yup. Yup. Yup. That’s right. That’s right. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you. Um, can you show you have a team now? So how big is your team? You said?
Matthew: So we have two other realtors, fulltime realtors and then admin Ashley, who’s the Admin, takes care of, uh, you know, the back and forth and the online stuff as well. So it’s not a huge team, but it’s, it’s working well.
Kosta: Okay, perfect. Well, what do you look for in team members? Know a specific profile? A realtor.
Matthew: Really. Someone who’s who’s personable, who can communicate well to the clients who can, who has a lot of patients. I find I need someone with a lot of patients who are dealing with the first time home buyers or the sellers who are going through a lot. We need a lot of patients and good communication skills and someone who’s just honest and hardworking. That’s at the end of the day. We can teach them, you know, the basics and the important stuff of how we run our stuff. But with those values in place, it just makes it a lot easier.
Kosta: Yeah, I totally agree. I was actually speaking about that recently, the topic of work ethic versus skill. I think work ethic and dedication and it’s pretty hard to find nowadays and people, um, you can always train for better skills and sales and all that. Uh, but I think work ethic is something you either have or you don’t. So I think that definitely supersedes everything else, in my opinion, a build, building a team as a whole nother aspect of business. I mean, I think it’s a lot more difficult than people think.
Matthew: That’s right. And it’s challenging to do, to get it, not to get to that point, but to try and make it happen, you know, it’s always a little more challenging to get the right people in place. People you can trust. So for some people it takes a lot of time, but you eventually you have to do it.
Kosta: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. If you want to grow and you have those ambitions, I mean, it’s a, it’s an mandatory facet and you could see for sure, I’m matthew, I do want to be mindful of your time. Um, I end off each chat with what I call the top three. So number one, your top real estate or business book.
Matthew: So there’s two. So one is as real estate specific, uh, the millionaire real estate agent. I’m sure you’ve heard many people give this, uh, this book out, but it’s a great book in terms of the structuring of the business, the leveraging of the business, um, and just seeing what other top producers are doing and how it’s working for them. So that for sure is the, the real estate book that I would suggest and then a general business book or just general to a good read as a how to win friends and influence people. That one is, I find it just teaches you how to communicate, how to delegate and still maintain that respect. Right.
Kosta: That’s one of my favourite books, I actually recommend that book to everyone especially. It’s so relevant, especially a, any, anyone could benefit out of it, but especially in a business like real estate where you’re constantly communicating with people. I think that’s a great book. So a number two, your top vacation spot.
Matthew: Most people know if they know me, it’s so. I just came back from the chorus. It’s the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic right in the middle of the Atlantic. Um, so yeah, that’s my. I’ve been going there for the last six years every year. Um, and luckily I’m able to go for a month. So it’s, it’s really nice. Just relaxing, stress free, no traffic and uh, you know, just a nice lifestyle for sure. They save the old the cows.
Kosta: Yeah. That’s been on my list for a little while. I’ve been to Portugal, but not to these wars. That’s becoming very popular for sure. If you can go back a year, you’re young guys, you don’t have to go back too much, but if you, if you, what do you wish your 20 year old self?
Matthew: I wish my 20 year old self knew would probably be to grow the business sooner than I did and not be afraid of that, of that change and that growth. I think that that’s what it would be. Maybe do it a little bit sooner.
Kosta: You can just take it head on. Good advice. If people want to get ahold of you or reach out or can they find you? Where’s the best place to reach you?
Matthew: My website is MatthewFernandes.ca. Instagram, Matthew_Fernandes_Group, and then I’m on facebook as well. Um, yeah, and any means of social media. I’m there. And website is again, MatthewFernandes.ca.
Kosta: Perfect. I’ll put that in the show notes. And Matthew. Honestly, it was a true pleasure catching up again. I’m really appreciate your time and we should definitely do it again. Perfect. Pleasure’s all mine. Thank you.
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