REC Canada is a full-service real estate sales and consulting brokerage
Please introduce yourself and the Startup REC Canada to our readers!
I’m Jas Takhar, co-founder of REC Canada. We are a real estate firm based in Toronto, Canada that has quickly bolstered itself within recent years.
Why did you decide to start a business?
I decided to start a business because it’s been something that has been a passion of mine since I was a kid as early as six- years-old, I was always the kid who put up his hand when the teacher asked, “Who’s going to help with the bake sale?” I would be the one going door-to-door to sell Christmas ornaments in time for the holidays.
By the first time that I got paid for actually selling something (newspapers) at the age of twelve, I understood that I could not only make money, but that I needed to put money away for a rainy day. I also learned that there were costs and expenses, which in my case was the paper in itself, and that I needed to pay the paper company back. It really changed the course of my life because I fell in love with the process of meeting and working with people.
What is the vision behind REC Canada?
From a real estate perspective, I saw a gaping hole in the real estate industry here in Canada, where there just weren’t a lot of companies that led with education while also being set up to help clients from start to finish. I wanted to start a business that would not only help clients with the initial need of finding a home or investing into a home or condo, but also helping them with the service providers that are needed as a one stop shop.
That’s why for my company, we have a full-time real estate concierge so that our clients can reach out to us if they just need a plumber. or an electrician across the country. It’s no cost to them because we want to be that one place when it comes to real estate. We also want to be able to help them find tenants and if there’s a need for it, we can help them manage the property as well.
From the idea to the start, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?
I financed myself through the sales that I did as a real estate agent. I just pulled away all the money that I possibly could after my personal expenses, which I needed to keep those very, very low. All of that money I earned went straight into the business.
The biggest challenge that I think I ran into was finding the right people with the right positive attitude that’s needed to help clients at scale with a service that is one of the biggest transactions that a person makes. Finding people who had the right level of patience necessary was and still is the biggest challenge.
Who is the target group of REC Canada?
The target group for REC Canada is buyers, sellers and investors in the Greater Toronto Area. That’s within a 50 mile radius which really consists of the age group of anywhere from about 40 to 60-years-old. At the highest level, our target market is people who want to create wealth using the vehicle of real estate.
How does REC Canada work? What are the advantages? What makes you different from other providers?
At REC Canada,we start off with what we call a “real estate action plan”. That’s our initial consultation where we really find out what the client is trying to accomplish as their long term goal. Then, we show them options that MIGHT be able to help them. I emphasise the word “might” because with time, we came to know that just because we want to, we can’t help everyone. For that reason, we try to give them a number of options that can possibly help with what they’re looking into accomplishing. I think our differentiator in the marketplace is that we have 54 agents now with a little over 11 support staff members.
We produce about 20 pieces of content a day on all the platforms, including the Jas Takhar podcast and all of that content, along with the initial consultation. Is all education. In fact, we wrote a book called Real Estate Intelligence, which teaches people how to buy, sell, and invest on their own without the help of a real estate agent. We do this because we feel that if you’re educated on real estate, you can go on to actually make an informed and quality decision.
How has your company changed with Corona?
Naturally, COVID-19 has affected all businesses. As of March 14th, 2020, here in Canada, our prime minister decided to implement a lockdown. What we did as a company only two days later, was turn our various meeting processes into virtual ones. Even though it couldn’t be done in-person, we made sure that none of our clients lost any level of contact with us.
How did you adjust to it and what changes have you made?
Fortunately for us, we had already been very comfortable with the Zoom technology because we were working with people across the country. We were able to implement Zoom calls very quickly and that made the move towards regular virtual meetings a lot easier for us.
We decided to do a live webinar every Saturday on Facebook tagged Brunch With REC, where real estate conversations happen. We’d invite all of our clients and we would continue to educate them on what’s going on in the market right now by bringing on industry experts such as lawyers, mortgage brokers, economists, developers, etc. This was done with the macro thesis in mind that we’re going to lead with education and that’s what we continue to do.
Where do you see the opportunity in the crisis?
I think what I see a lot of right now is insecurity in people’s minds in terms of the workforce, meaning that not a lot of people have stability. This insecurity is especially true for the creatives i.e., videographers, editors, and content writers.
I think where the opportunity lies is that if somebody has the foresight, karma, vision and the patience, then bringing those people on right now and providing them with the stability and security that they’re looking for will pay out in the long run.
REC Canada, where does the road go? Where do you see yourself in five years?
I think we’re going to be with a little over one hundred agents in five years time. We help seven hundred and twenty five families a year now, and I think we’ll double that number in five years. I see us being able to help 1400 families in five years.
We’re prepared to stay the course, leading with education while restraining from ever coming off as pushy. We’re going to remove the friction in people’s lives by making it very easy to do business with us. The way we can best do that is by having the mindset that we’re willing to go the extra mile at all times for our clients. Things might not alway pan out the way we’d like, but that’s alright. As long as we head into things with that mindset, things will work out for us..I don’t expect us to reach one hundred percent effectiveness, but if we can at least get to 80 percent, there is no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be helping 1500 families a year with buying, selling and investing, and we’re going to have 100 agents.
At the end: Which 3 tips would you give to future founders?
Number one, start off with shutting out the external noise of the media, your competitors, and potentially even friends and family. As the one who’s starting the business, you need to have the ability to.not get weighed down by the negativity that is out there. The best way to shut out the noise is to drown it out with positivity, period.
Number two is to hire really quickly.. If it’s not working with the person that you’ve hired, let them go. If they’re not going to be happy, you’re not going to be happy. Build a team around you as fast as you possibly can. While you work on your core expertise, whatever that may be, hire around it. I have a business partner who is fantastic at all the things that I suck at. Surrounding yourself with people that fill out your weak areas is a key part in developing a strong business. You’re going to be able to scale faster with people because this is a people business.
Number three would be not giving up. It’s going to be very tough. People are going to come join your team and they’re going to leave. You’re going to have a tough time shutting out the noise sometimes. And you’re going to have struggles with cash flow. You’re going to have problems executing on a great idea sometimes..The marketplace might not react the way you expected to an idea that sounded good in your own head. You need to have the resiliency, the tenacity, the perseverance to not give up so that you can overcome those trials.
Thank you Jas Takhar for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.