Creating and retaining a brokerage team

In today’s competitive brokerage industry, having a team of individuals with complementary skills is essential for providing high-quality service and achieving success.

However, building and retaining such a team requires careful consideration of various factors, including motivation, complementary skill sets, team dynamics, appreciation, work environment and professional development.

Motivation before skill

When adding a new member to your brokerage team, it is essential to consider their motivation before their skillset. While skills can be taught, if the person doesn’t see themselves in the role for the next five years, you may encounter retention issues.

To avoid this, take your time to determine whether the person’s goals and aspirations align with the role and the overall team.

When building a brokerage team, the end goal should be a cohesive organism that provides a full-service client experience. As such, it is essential to ensure that each team member is committed to the team’s vision and goals.

Hiring “good people”

A common mistake when building a brokerage team is hiring individuals without clearly defining their roles. This approach can result in a team with similar skillsets and missing significant elements required for long-term team cohesiveness.

You can hire “good people” with the right attitude and work ethic, but do determine up front where they fit within the team.

To ensure a balanced skillset, each team member should have a specific role that complements the skills of the other team members.


In a brokerage team, every role is critical to the team’s success. It is essential to remember that every team member plays an important part.

No one should feel undervalued or replaceable. When team members feel appreciated and respected, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

To create an environment of appreciation, acknowledge team members for their hard work and encourage them to share their ideas and insights, not only once in a while, but at the very minimum on a weekly basis.

Team dynamic check-in

A team’s dynamics are constantly evolving and regular check-ins are essential to ensure the team is functioning at its best.

Team building exercises, one-on-one meetings with team members and anonymous surveys can be effective ways to gather feedback and identify any areas for improvement.

The goal of these check-ins should be to address any conflicts that arise and resolve them as quickly as possible.

Additionally, it is important to have a motivator/moral supporter within the team to help keep morale high.


The work environment plays a crucial role in team dynamics and cohesion. In today’s digital age, remote work is becoming increasingly popular and teams can function effectively as long as communication channels are open and accountable.

To ensure a smooth and efficient work environment, encourage daily communication among team members, ideally with each member relating to one another.

Additionally, provide the necessary technological infrastructure to support remote work, such as project management tools, video conferencing and cloud-based document storage.

Sometimes schedule flexibility is a way to ensuring team retention. For example, it may not matter when during the day the marketing person is working on the marketing brochure as long as they deliver within the timeline requested.

If your team members are working remotely, trust them with their work until proven otherwise.

Professional development opportunities

Professional development is crucial for the growth and success of brokerage teams.

While hiring people that fit in their role is important, investing in ongoing training and development opportunities can help team members develop new skills, stay motivated and increase their job satisfaction.

Examples of professional development opportunities include yearly continuing education, mentorship programs or leadership training.

By investing in the professional growth of team members, you will create a team that is more skilled, motivated and engaged.

Retention is key

When you have a good brokerage team in place, it is essential to take steps to ensure their retention. Any shifts in the team can significantly affect team dynamics, morale and loyalty.

To keep your brokerage team motivated and engaged, always show your appreciating for each member; resolve any conflict quickly; be fair with the compensation; ensure all members get a “piece” of the profits when the team over-performs financially and stay competitive with schedule flexibility.

By prioritizing retention, you will ensure that you not only create a successful brokerage team but also retain it for the long term, which is essential for providing consistent and high-quality service to your clients.

Remember, your team is (and should be) your business card.

Baron Realty specializes in matching buyers and sellers of apartment buildings. Ramona works in partnership with Mikael Kurkdjian and a team of real estate professionals to bring the best boutique-brokerage services to the apartment transactional space in Ontario and Quebec. 

Work with Baron Realty. Reach out today!



Central banks, interest rates and the cascading effects on real estate

This year’s battle of the central banks against inflation started with the Federal Reserve in the U.S. with rate hikes in March and continued on Nov. 2, with the latest increases pushing the Fed’s rates from their low of 0.25 per cent to four per cent, a 16-times appreciation.

It is one of the steepest and sharpest increases ever seen.

The central banks from countries that did not follow the U.S. Fed (the Bank of Japan, for example) saw their currencies devalue significantly against the U.S. dollar (JPY lost over 30 per cent value from March 2022). The Bank of Canada kept pace with the U.S. Fed with the policy interest rate climbing 7.5 times from 0.50 per cent in March 2022 to 3.75 per cent, yet the Canadian dollar still lost over 10 per cent versus the U.S. dollar during this time period.

Arguably it could have lost a lot more had Canada taken a different approach to interest rates.

Spinoff effects felt in Canada, around world

These rate hikes by the central banks have also sparked a horrible escalation in the bond markets, destroying the prices of the existing bonds and, of course, causing havoc to both the short-term and long-term borrowers.

The strong U.S. dollar also caused significant damage to sovereign nations, with Sri Lanka going through a major economic crisis and the United Kingdom (a G7 country) seeing its pension funds get stuck in a “doom loop”, where banks had to sell government bonds (known as gilts) to meet their cash calls on the leveraged investments.

The commercial real estate industry in Canada is of course impacted by the macro world around us.

The five-year mortgage rates spiked from less than two per cent to five per cent, causing borrowers to lose over 30 per cent of their borrowing power “overnight.” This translates in it being impossible for properties to retain their sale values from 2021 to today.

For the sellers who were aware of the price they could get in 2021 but need to sell today, the decision becomes convoluted: either sell today at lower values, or hold on hoping interest rates will go lower over the next 12 to 24 months.

Unfortunately, no one seems to know where we are going from here, not even central banks which are using rear-view-looking indicators such as unemployment data or inflation numbers to assess their current and future policy rates.

If you’re a buyer or a seller . . .

The sellers / owners who are over-leveraged are best to take longer-term loans (five-plus years) so as not to risk getting washed out in the event the rates go even higher over the next 12 months.

Those who have low loan-to-value rates of 30 per cent or less can probably take the risk of waiting this out another year or two while hoping for a policy reversal by the central banks.

For the property owners in the mindset of selling their properties over the next 12 months, it is probably best to go with loan terms that are either open variable or less than 12 months.

This would limit the bank fees associated with loan cancellation in the event the purchaser is not willing to assume an in-place mortgage.

For buyers, on the other hand, probably the best time to acquire is right now, as cap rates are higher than 2020-2021 and fewer buyers have capital to buy in a higher-interest-rate environment.

Therefore, there’s less competition for assets than over the past few years.

The key will be working to find the best assets and most motivated sellers in today’s economic environment.

Baron Realty specializes in matching buyers and sellers of apartment buildings. Ramona works in partnership with Mikael Kurkdjian and a team of real estate professionals to bring the best boutique-brokerage services to the apartment transactional space in Ontario and Quebec. 

Work with Baron Realty. Reach out today!


A slowdown in transactions, ‘real’ sellers and the new normal

The loan available against a property is highly affected by interest rates: the higher the rate, the lower the loan available and hence, the more down payment a buyer needs to complete a purchase.

With interest rates rising significantly and virtually overnight at the beginning of the year, we saw two significant and immediate changes in the transactions market.

Market conditions have changed rapidly

The first one has to do with the fact that any apartment building transaction requires preparation.

One must review and analyze the vendor materials; prepare the marketing; and sometimes in parallel, complete the environmental assessment (a two- to three-month delay) without which banks would not lend against the property.

These coupled due diligence items mean that for the vendor who decided to list the property in late 2021, when the interest rates were at their lowest, the spike hit during the listing and marketing process.

This caused some deals to fall through and buyers to backpedal on conditional commitments, and/or reconsider the value of the asset.

Hence, many of the properties listed for sale never traded and/or are currently still sitting on the market at reduced prices (for some, there have been multiple price reductions).

Who are the “real” sellers?

The second change in the market is the immediate identification of “real” sellers versus owners who would have otherwise sold, but do not have to.

“Real” sellers are owners who want or need the asset sold at a certain moment in time (within the calendar year). This could be due to a variety of situations:

– dissolutions of partnerships;

– lack of interest or ability to continue managing the asset;

– changing family dynamics (many rental assets are owned and managed under private family ownerships); or

– financial inability to keep up with rising mortgage payments (for the loans that came due during interest rate spike) and building maintenance costs.

The transactions we see getting done into 2022 involve sellers who understand that neither the seller nor the broker determine the price – it is determined by the market.

The market is always affected by much bigger dynamics than the buyers’ interest in owning investment properties.

The foreseeable future

We believe the current market is here to stay, with the interest rates at the same level now as they were in 2008.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has clearly indicated it plans to continue to fight inflation by keeping the interest rates at these levels or higher. Other central banks need to follow the U.S. in keeping their rates at similar levels in order to avoid currency devaluations.

What this means is the record low “pandemic-level” interest rates we had in recent years are a thing of the past and we are now in the “new normal.”

Both sellers and buyers should get used to these interest rates and focus on increasing the property values by providing more services to the tenants, increasing rents and decreasing the expenses in place.

We remain available to advise on these strategies.

Baron Realty custom-tailors each marketing process, and brings the right buyers based on the asset and vendor requirements for deal timelines. We have generated 5-12 offers on each of the listings we have taken over the last 18 months. *Ask us why; we are happy to talk to you about how to best navigate the current environment to achieve your end goal.

Baron Realty specializes in matching buyers and sellers of apartment buildings. Ramona works in partnership with Mikael Kurkdjian and a team of real estate professionals to bring the best boutique-brokerage services to the apartment transactional space in Ontario and Quebec. 

Work with Baron Realty. Reach out today!


Baron Realty / Immobilier Baron
400 – 6500 Transcanadienne
Pointe-Claire, Québec H9R 0A5
Telephone: 514 932 9000


Baron Realty, Brokerage
303-225 Duncan Mill Road
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3K9
Telephone: 416 301 3931

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