Toronto-based Realtor and Active Investor Mitch Parker understands a home is a lot more than just an address; it’s a lifestyle. As an expert on buying, selling and investing in Real Estate, he helps both End Users and Investors, whether new or seasoned, realize their ultimate goals.
Living in a city he loves, Mitch realizes the importance of being heavily involved in the community. Mitch has worked with organizations that are close to his heart including Habitat for Humanity and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Mitch also lends an active voice to the city’s associations of Business Improvement Areas understanding the importance of aiding in the creation of a thriving and competitive Toronto.
When he’s not thinking Real Estate, Mitch’s passions include fitness, cars and exploring the city.
Occupation: Real Estate Sales and Investment Specialist
Gadgets: iPhone, Laptop, GPS and because I’m a Real Estate nerd, a financial calculator.
Sports: Was always a sports guy growing up, played everything from hockey, lacrosse, football, baseball, you name it. Golf is next on my radar.
How did you get started on your current career/lifestyle path?
My educational background is in Business Finance. I’m not really a 9-5 desk person so when I came out of school I had an opportunity to get into residential renovations. Watching every TLC and HGTV show about flipping homes, I decided that since I had a major advantage with my skillset that I would look for a project to renovate and resell. While looking, I fell in love with the real estate process and decided to get my license. The rest is history.
Growing up, my parents were super supportive of every decision I made. My dad was always involved in his own businesses so I think he’s passed on the entrepreneurial bug to me. My first broker really helped establish and concrete my decision that I was on the right path. Because it was a small brokerage, I was able to work closely with him to learn the ins and outs of the business.
How has your work contributed to a) your development as a person and/or b) the lives of others?
In terms of others, I think that buying and selling real estate is one of the biggest financial decisions people make so having someone like myself to help guide them through that process really helps. I work with a lot of investors as well so it’s very rewarding to watch both their knowledge and portfolio grow. Some of them have even quit their day jobs and invest full time now.
I think from my end, wow, I mean, I can’t really think of a way it hasn’t changed me. Everything from communication skills, to my writing, to how I present myself to people. Basically every aspect of my career has helped me develop as a person.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just entering your field, what would it be?
Selling and Investing in real estate is not a get rich quick scheme. Just with any business, it takes a number of years to build up a reputation and solid client base. Stay patient with it, keep working hard, and things will happen. Also, always be learning something new about the industry. Things in this business change hourly so keeping up to date for when someone has a question is very important.
One of the reasons I think I’ve been successful up to this point is because I treat my clients the same way that I would want to be treated if I was in their spot. I’m also not afraid to give my opinion if I think my client is making a bad decision. They may not like what I say at the time, but at the end of the day, they appreciate my honesty and know I only do it because I want the best for them.
What do you do for fun?
Isn’t Real Estate fun?? I’m a big fitness guy. I’m also big into cars. One of my goals in life is to see a Formula 1 race at every track on the schedule.
What motivates or inspires you?
Financial independence and freedom is a large motivator for me. I don’t think that money is everything, but it definitely is a large part of life. In terms of inspiration, I really enjoy being able to help a client realize their real estate goals and dreams. That’s a really big part and seeing it pushes me to want to help more people.
What has been your greatest achievement (personally, professionally or both)?
I originally got my real estate license in Ottawa and started working there as an agent. It was always a goal to get my bearings in the industry and take my business to Toronto. It took a lot of work to get things up and running here but I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Personally, there aren’t too many people under 30 that get to sell millions of dollars of real estate every year so that’s something I’m proud of.
Anybody that chooses to run their own business has achieved something great. We are all very lucky because Canada is a land of entrepreneurial opportunity. If someone has a dream and is willing to work at it, there’s no ceiling to what can be achieved.
From a real estate standpoint, I would like to make the barriers for entry into the real estate industry much tougher. Right now, the educational portion of the licensing process only teaches you the fundamentals of real estate. I think there should be more emphasis placed on running a business, marketing yourself, etc. This goes hand in hand with seeing the industry adhere to much stricter ethical and moral principles. There are a few people that give the industry a skewed image and I would like to help change that.
Personally, one major thing I hope to achieve is to transition from the selling of real estate to the wealth management side. There is a lot of safe money that can be made with different real estate products if invested properly. I think when people hear investments their mind immediately goes towards stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. I want to create a fund style investment made up of different real estate products that lets people invest in real estate while diversifying at the same time. Real estate gives me great returns every year and I would like to help other people achieve the same results.
What is your super power?
My super power? I can fly! (that would be super cool) My actual super power is satisfying even my toughest clients who sometimes seem to want the impossible. It could be during a tough negotiation or finding that needle in the haystack but I always do everything in my (super) power to deliver that to them.
Who’s your hero?
My parents for sure. They helped mould me into the person I am today. My girlfriend inspires me every day by how positive she is and how hard she works. I’m lucky to have a great network around me for support when I need it.
I’m reading Robert Herjavec’s book Driven at the moment which is amazing. My night table is always stacked with Real Estate and business magazines as well. In terms of watching, I’m a little addicted to Million Dollar Listing at the moment.
Thinking back to a time when you had to make a hard choice, how did you decide, and do you feel, in retrospect, that you made the right move?
I don’t really look at decisions as being tough, I look at them more as an opportunity to learn. You make your choice and whether it’s right or wrong; you take something away from it. If you don’t make those decisions and take the risks, you’ll never get to where you want to be at the end of the day.
If you had it all to do over again, would you change anything?
No. I love my life up to this point and wouldn’t change a thing.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big idea, project etc.?
I think there’s a real opportunity in the Real Estate Investment side of the industry. I believe people are tired of the ups and downs of the stock market. Many people that I speak to are losing money and aren’t impressed with their portfolios. I would like to show people that when done properly, real estate can yield better and more stable returns no matter what your investment goals are.
What one piece of advice would you give to your own son (hypothetical or otherwise) in the hope of making him a better man?
Try it and don’t be afraid. Decide on something and do it but do it one hundred percent. Not 50% or 60%, give it everything so that even if it doesn’t work out in the end for whatever reason, you will never have regrets about trying.
Mitch Parker’s Website: http://www.mitchparker.ca
Follow Mitch Parker on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MitchParkerRE