Meet Amanda Busnardo, Residential Real Estate broker with Remax. Only a few months back into the industry and she has surpassed herself with quickly becoming one of the most renowned brokers in the city. Her perseverance mixed with grit and resilience are unstoppable. She is a force to be reckoned with. Her inspiring journey proves that it is never too late to start over, to change your story and to create the life of your dreams. Here’s how she did it.
When did you decide to launch yourself into the real estate industry?
It’s been quite a journey, actually. I initially did my bachelor’s degree in international business. I studied at ESG-UQÀM in Montreal, and I was chosen through a bursary program to go study in England for a year, so I finished my bachelor’s degree and I started working for Scotiabank. I became an investment and personal banking specialist, so I was working with clients who were mostly investing in properties. The mortgage aspect of the job I was doing really inspired me to go do my real estate license.
My first time in the field was back in 2015. After getting my real estate license, I quit my job. I was so excited because I knew my dream career was beginning. Unfortunately, after a year of being in the business I went through a very difficult period. Due to some life events, I had to put my dream on a shelf for a little while. It broke my heart, but at the time, it was for the best, at the time. “Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right” I remember telling myself. I was not as focused as I wanted to be and I knew that would hinder my reputation and I did not want that.
So I began a new career as a flight attendant for Air Canada. I moved to Toronto for the job and I ended up staying for longer than I had imagined. I travelled the world, made some incredible friendships and learned more about myself along the way. Real estate was always in the back of my mind. I knew I would one day go back to that dream of mine. Four years later, I got laid off because of the pandemic. That was the moment. It felt like a push from the universe. This was my opportunity to go back to building my dream. Of course, it was an emotional moment to let go and move on from travelling, but it was for the best. Today, I couldn’t be happier and I just feel like everything happened for a reason. What is meant to be will be.
What areas do you focus on or work in?
I focus mostly in Montreal, Laval and the North Shore (Rive-Nord de Montréal). However, I always offer my services to clients how are referred to me, even if that means going outside of my usual territory. I will gladly represent clients who wish to sell or purchase on the South Shore (Rive-Sud de Montréal) or elsewhere. To me, it’s all about giving an outstanding experience to my clients, no matter where they are or where they want to go.
What has been the most challenging part for you coming back into this industry?
At first, I would say the most challenging part for me was getting over my fear of what people were going to think of me and how it would impact my credibility. I was in banking, then became a broker, then went on to be a flight attendant, and now I am back in real estate. My path is a little unstable compared to most. But at the end of the day, I believe there’s no expiration date on your dreams and your goals. I read somewhere that ‘You have to stop letting your potential go to waste because you don’t feel ready enough, because people with half your talent are making serious movement while you are still waiting to be ready…’ That really spoke to me so I just had to believe in myself and ignore the rest. I’ve worked hard from the get go and it’s been an amazing journey ever since. I’d say my biggest challenge now is time management. Finding balance between work and my personal time as a self-employed is difficult because I am so focused on building my business. One thing that helps tremendously is that I just co-founded a real estate team, which is really great.
How did you start that?
It’s actually a funny story. My father, Roberto Busnardo, and I actually took the course together way back when and that’s where we met Stéphane Lambert. We’ve always had an amazing bond, the three of us, and even when I took a break from the field, we would always stay in touch. As soon as I came back, it only seemed natural to us to create Busnardo Lambert – Équipe Immobilière | Real Estate Team.
We now get to combine our knowledge, experience and contact base to offer the best service out there. Also, it gives us more flexibility in the sense that there is always someone available to meet with our clients, or even for impromptu situations, between the three of us, we always manage. It also allows us to cover more territory and to take a day off once it a while, which is lovely (it’s all about that balance I was talking about) !
Nowadays, we mostly work 10-12 hours a day. Between prospecting, marketing strategies, meeting with potential clients, house hunting with buyers, filling out proper forms and obtaining necessary documentation, conducting listing activities with our sellers such as organizing visit schedules and being available for them, presenting offers, negotiations, being on stand-by mode 24/7 to answer questions, etc. our days fill up pretty quickly. We are working a lot, but we couldn’t be happier. We work well together and we have a healthy ecosystem going on. The goal was to build a team that could cater as much to buyers and to sellers. We each have our strengths and that is what we focus on. We have brokers who specialize in properties that are in the city and others in the outskirts of Montreal. We’re going to think about adding some new brokers to the team after the holidays. It’s a good sign because we’re busy and growing.
I myself mostly focus on first time buyers—It comes naturally to me to be of guidance and to give proper recommendations. Having worked in the financial industry, I feel very comfortable with numbers. I can give advice on what to ask for when getting a mortgage pre approval, how to calculate debt ratios, mortgage payments, how to properly plan your budget and what costs are to be expected, etc. It’s all about educating clients so they know what to anticipate so there are no surprises. They always appreciate it when you take time to explain everything into detail. I think I have the personality that fits that mould. I also love visiting properties with my clients and making them notice its pros and cons, according to their situation, budget and what they need. Moreover, I take care of prospecting new clients as well as managing our social media accounts.
It must be an amazing feeling to be back, doing what you wanted for so long?
It just amazes me, when I stop and think about it. Last year was really a turning point for me. I had so many things I wanted to do and my mindset got absolutely crushed: my ex cheated on me, I had a miscarriage, I handled a tough situation where a passenger had a heart attack and died on board, I lost my job because of the pandemic, my grandfather passed away— just so many things were falling apart. At one point, I thought to myself “OK. I have two choices.” I could either take pity on myself and believe that there is not point in trying to achieve anything because I am surrounded by negative situations. Or I can choose to fight for what I want no matter what it takes.
In the end, you need to do it for yourself: to believe in yourself and move forward. If you do not, nobody else will do it for you. You are your own hero. And that’s exactly what I became. I dropped all of my excuses and fears. I stopped overthinking everything and I started to make the moves that I needed to in order to become this woman I had envisioned my whole life. It’s crazy how when things change inside of you, things change around you. In my darkest moment, I met the love of my life, we moved in together and now my career is on fire. I’m now getting so many referrals by clients that are satisfied by the quality of my work and it humbles me. It gives me hope because I think that if I can do it, any woman could do that for herself, no matter her situation. If you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the work, there’s nothing that can stop you.
What advice would you give to others in similar situations?
This past year, I lost, won, failed, cried, loved, but above all I have learned and I never gave up. People tell me that I’m resilient and that no matter what happens to me, I remain positive and always try to see the good side of things. I’ve never really realized that until now. Sometimes, difficult things happen in life, and you have to go through them to come out the other side to be stronger and fiercer than ever. So my advice is: Start over if you need to. Don’t be scared. Believe in yourself and in all you have to offer. Be brave enough to find the life you want and be courageous enough to chase it. And through it all, never forget to love yourself: ALL OF YOU. The good and the bad, because it is what makes you UNIQUE and SPECIAL. You owe it to yourself to be consistent, to be disciplined and to stay focused on whatever it is that will set your soul on fire. Forget the timelines. Forget society. Just do you.
What are your long-term goals?
At the moment, I enjoy being self-employed because it was always my end goal to be at the head of my own business. It’s like having all these departments I am in charge of, such as accounting, marketing, public relations & communications, management, sales, legal, etc. I must admit it is nice to be able to delegate different tasks amongst our team, because it gives us all the opportunity to thrive and do what we love most. Our goal within the next year or so will definitely be to expand in order to be able to offer our services to more clients. By hiring more brokers to join our team, we will be able to be more present on the market and increase our client base and therefore, our sales and satisfied customers, who will keep referring us to their friends and family for all their real estate needs.
Because I love to teach and motivate others, I would say another of my long-term goals would be to become an agency executive officer or even be in charge of my own brokerage. I would love to offer guidance to brokers through their career paths and help them achieve the success level they aspire of. I would also consider doing real estate conferences on various subjects to help brokers improve their knowledge of the field, increase the quality of the services they offer and develop new strategies to help achieve their goals.
But until then, my real focus is to learn as much as I can on the field as a broker myself. You really never stop learning and I quite enjoy that. It’s something I’m very passionate about and to later be able to share the purpose of it all through my experience and knowledge will be priceless to me.
What kind of rituals or habits do you use? Something for your mornings or your time for you?
COFFEE & MY AGENDA. It’s my life. And not the iCal kind…the old school paper version. It just helps me so much to write everything down. My whole life is in there. Everything is color-coded and I have so many post-its… All my appointments and to-do lists are in there. I always start my day early in the morning with an espresso and plan my day/week. I review my tasks, deadlines, follow-ups, etc. It helps me focus on what’s to be done and what is coming. I also like to set some intentions for my day, something I’d like to accomplish and I always think about things I am grateful for. I think it’s really important to set the tone of your day.
Throughout my day, I try to drink lots of water and to keep a well-balanced diet. When I get anxious because too much is happening at once, I take 5 minutes to meditate or do some deep breathing. It calms me down and gives me the energy I need to keep going and remain focused.
This job keeps you constantly occupied and on the go, therefore it’s so easy to forget to drink, eat or even sleep a decent amount of hours. But your health is the most important thing and you must take care of it. I try to go for a daily bike ride or walk or I hit the gym when I can to stay active. Because let’s be real, sitting in front of your laptop all day and driving between visits isn’t that active lifestyle we aim for… ! Your body will change and you’ll notice it pretty quickly (giggles). My schedule isn’t perfect, but once again, it’s all about balance. I aim for healthy habits and that’s the most important thing.
What have you learned alongside this journey into your new career?
That you can do anything you set your mind to. No. It won’t be easy… but it will definitely be worth it. That, I can guarantee. I’ve learned that it is okay to reset, restart and refocus, no matter what timeline you had set for yourself. There is no right moment, no deadline for you to go out and do what it is you are meant to be doing.
I come from a hard working Italian immigrant family. I was taught from a young age that giving up is never an option and that there’s nothing that’s put on your path that you cannot handle. You’re strong enough to deal with anything that comes your way.
Sometimes, it’s about thinking outside the box and being creative to find solutions to help change the situation you’re in. Once you do that, your perspective on your problems will shift. You won’t see them as problems anymore. You see them as opportunities, and you’ll need to seize them in order to step out of your comfort zone. That is where real growth lies. That is where things change. Where new doors open…
You just need to believe in yourself—I can’t stress that enough.
If reading my story can inspire someone else who’s going through a tough time to just believe in herself and reach for the stars & go after whatever dream she has—that’s a win in itself for me. It’s the reason I agreed to this interview and I want to humbly thank you for sharing my story.
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