Last year, our beloved town house went on the market. The family who ended up buying it became our friends through the process, especially Sonia, the queen of the household who moved in with her husband and son. Filled with things they love, the space now feels really different. Here, the lovely Sonia allows us into her home and talks about her profession, her shoe fetish and buying with your head instead of your heart.
On finding a home: The process of finding a home was very informal in my case… it was really more of a business transaction than an emotional one. Don’t get me wrong- I wanted to be comfortable, but my main goal was to get the most for my buck. Yeah, that’s the realtor in me! I really went through the process as I would have for any client.
On her list of wants: I love open concept homes, tons of natural light, light neutral colours and urban-inspired furniture. Light kitchen cabinets and a separate living space from the bedrooms were a must when we were looking for a home.
On finding the right home: We visited other town houses on the same street and initially loved the neighbour’s corner unit, but the price was unfortunately way too high to begin with and there was no wiggle room. Two days later, this one came on the market. I loved the layout. We knew we had to put in some work to make it the way we wanted, but we knew it was all worth it.
On making the house their home: We made a few changes and updates to the home to make it our own. The floors of the main floor were sanded and changed to a light oak colour, the carpet in the entire home was removed, both staircases were completely redone in wood with stainless and glass ramps, the bedroom was remodelled, and we painted the entire home. We updated the lights fixtures, and the garage was finished. Our next project will be the main bathroom on the 2nd floor and the deck in the backyard.
On her sanctuary: The room that I love the most is my bedroom. It’s my zen place… but I do spend most of my time in the living room. My bedroom puts me to sleep!
On her impressive shoe collection: I love shoes! Deals in heels, baby!! Haha! Nah, but really, I just love them- head up, heels high! they keep me grounded, as weird as it may sound. They give me a feeling of empowerment and confidence. With heels on, you always stand up straight and sit up right. However, I do have a sneakers addiction as well… but that’s my comfort zone moments, when I’m relaxed and in a “nothing will phase me” moment. Truth be told, for each closed deal, I reward myself with a pair of shoes. We did have to add extra storage space in the basement for the shoes, but hey, better a shoe vice than some other awkward bad habit, right? The NIKE outlet happens to be one of my favourite stores!
On her real estate career: I got into real estate by watching HGTV!! Just kidding. I feel sorry for people entering the real estate world based on what they see on HGTV, because it definitely isn’t our reality. Real estate is a real hustle. It’s seriously hard work and very long hours- a lot of sacrifices. Before going into real estate, I was a former immigration agent for the federal government, steady 8:00 to 4:00, Monday to Friday, 4 weeks’ vacation, full pension and assurance plan and I HATED it. The job itself was okay, but the having to go in to work even if I didn’t feel like it, not being able to vacation whenever I felt like it, answering to a boss, being told when to go on break or have lunch, being limited in my salary… Everything about not being my own boss was aggravating me. So I decide to take a leap of faith. I had two options, opening my own immigration consultant firm or real estate. I decided to completely let go of the immigration field and start with a clean slate. It definitely wasn’t easy financially at the beginning, but it was all worth it, and I wouldn’t go back on this decision for anything (other than making the move earlier!).
On common assumptions about real estate agents: People incorrectly assume that realtors are all in it only for the money and their own interest, that many of us are thieves and emotionless. Like any other business, the bad ones make a bad name for all the good ones out there. I personally know how much of myself I pour into every single transaction and treat every transaction as if it were my own. It is such an important investment, one of the most important financial investments most of us will ever make. Therefore, I believe it is important to be guided accordingly throughout the entire process and even after the notary day. But hey, that’s me… I make it very personal to make sure my clientele is satisfied. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, but I’m positive that the majority are. This is why I work mostly off references. I build friendship with my clients, based on honesty and trust, and that’s very important to me.
On the importance of home staging: Staging a home before putting it on the market is VEEERRRRRRYYYYY important!!!! People tend to shop online nowadays, so their first impression is the one they have in the picture on their computer screen, which will instantly determine if and how it will sell. Some people are literally unable to see beyond wall colours and furniture. In order to attract the most potential clients to come in for a visit, in person, the staging reflected in the pictures is a MUST!
On the common mistakes made by homeowners when putting their homes in the market: Home owners don’t realize how little gestures such as spending 300$ worth of paint to lighten up the place and decluttering can make a difference for a listing. But the most common mistakes I see is listings with a price that is way too high, or homeowners selling without an agent that are unable to differentiate between emotions and the transaction itself. Selling a home is a very emotional process, which is why it is useful to have someone take care of the financial, professional and logical aspect of it all. Emotions don’t sell, people! Sellers tend not to want to remove their personal items, such as family pictures. But you have to keep in mind that the buyers are looking to build their own memories in their future home and not feel like they are stepping on the current family’s memories. Sometimes it is that simple. But please, people, DECLUTTER!!!
Thank you so much Sonia!