Meet Edith Bourret , real estate broker with Re/Max in Quebec who began her real estate career more than a decade ago. She never knew this would be the path she would take, let alone become one of the most successful brokers in her area. “It was my mother who predicted it, years ago” she recalls. “She said to me : you are going to be the real estate broker of the family. Looking back now, she was right”. Her journey in the industry led her to create a team under the Edith Bourret banner with growth of 40% increase in sales in just two years. The future remains bright for Edith, who predicts sales of over 300 transactions a year as well as recruiting more brokers to join her dynamic team. “It’s about quality, not quantity for me”.
Her advice for real success? “Happiness and balance. Doing what you love every single day is success to me. I know professionals in this industry who do 20 transactions a year and are fulfilled while others are running around doing +100 and are overwhelmed. The older I get, the more I realize it really is about finding balance. Success is not measured by a monetary value, it is much more than that.” Read her full story below!
When did you begin your real estate journey?
I started in this field over ten years ago now. My mom was a real estate broker and did it as a profession for retirement. I also owned and operated several businesses during my career path including frame stores that I decided to sell because people started buying picture frames directly from China instead of the small local shopkeepers like mine. I have always been an entrepreneur and I guess it is part of my DNA as well! I started at a young age to work in the restaurants and bars business at the same time as I studied at the University of Montreal in marketing. I have always been interested in marketing and sales especially for fashion businesses but was less excited about the future possibilities for young entrepreneurs. At some point, my mom suggested I take the three month real estate brokerage course and told me she thought I was going to be the family broker. Before that, I had no interest in real estate. Then I jumped and did the course at the same time I was completing my studies and working at the restaurant.
I finally passed my brokerage exam and got my license. The first year I continued to work in the restaurant business but with the goal at that time to open a restaurant with the revenues that would come from real estate transactions. Finally, the story took a different turn, I got ‘’caught up in it’’ particulary because it touched me a lot to work with people and help them with their life project. I found that real estate touches a certain sensitivity in people. I work with investors, families, first buyers, etc. they all have a different vision that is close to their hearts. What people probably don’t know is that real estate brokers give clients a lot of support both emotionally and psychologically. I must be a businesswoman and a psychologist at the same time! It is really this human side that made me fall in love with this job and I realized that even without having the network that I have today, I made a very interesting turnover because people gave me confidence. It was very rewarding as a woman coming out of the restaurant business. I started this profession in my early thirties and have been a real estate broker for thirteen years now. They have become the best years of my professional life.
What real estate do you actively work in?
I have the qualification, knowledge and ability to work in very different fields: residential and commercial. In Quebec, as soon as you sell a building that has more than five appartments, it is considered a ‘’commercial transaction’’. Today brokers have to do a separate course to be able to do both which was not the case in my time. I really appreciate both sides of the business and I’m fortunate enough to not have to choose. I specialize in downtown and southwest Montreal. These are really my two main playing fields, but I follow my clients almost anywhere. Also, with my team I now have the availability to extend my sectors. I operate the only RE/MAX office in the city center (Montreal Ville-Marie Centre).
My partner Roby is an engineer by trade, but he used to manage an industrial and commercial real estate portfolio for a multinational company so as doing risk management and special projects financing. He saw that I was always busy when we first met but also getting busier and busier with years. We talked to each other, looked at some figures and numbers, and I told him to maybe do his class. I was worried about having someone in my company because I had worked almost a decade on my own. In the end, everything worked out for the best. The office has really grown in the last couple of years and then my partner, Roby became an amazing business partner. People find it really sweet that we are a couple and we are in business together; presentation is really good.
What are the challenges of working as a couple and how does this affect your relationship?
When Roby quit his position after 12 years with his previous company, it was really an intense transition for him. I remember writing him a letter to take with him to encourage him. Then three months after he quit, covid pandemic happened. He had just quit a stable job with good revenues and benefits but also employment security. We were a little upset with the situation because we didn’t know what was going to happen with the real estate market. Finally, as we know the market exploded, but at the time I was the key resource in the house since when you become a realtor you typically don’t make any revenues for several months.
When the pandemic hit, I started making more cold calls and the whole condo became like an office, the walls were covered with sheets of potential listings and clients! In that period, we still experienced a lot of stress but him and I went through much bigger challenges than covid. We knew we were going to get out of this even stronger. Eventually I worked so hard that I became ‘’victim’’ to my own success. I was literally working everyday, weekends and nights, maintaining a rhythm of about eighty hours per week for two years, but I thought to myself that we really had to take advantage of the market that exploded after the first lockdown.
Roby and I did not set ‘’rules’’ to set asides our professional and personal lives for the first year we worked together, then we quickly realized we needed to make adjustments. Luckily, my real estate mentor is actually in business with is wife whom also used to be a realtor! One nice piece of advice I got from him was to set a certain time in the evening after which we no longer discuss work at home. The pandemic also taught me it was important while working from home and make a distinction for personal life and work, which led us to sell our condo and find a larger one to have dedicated spaces for work. We have given ourselves a “code red” word that when it is too much, we must stop in order to keep our emotional and relationship health in good shape.
What are the activities that you do together to keep a balanced life?
Doing sport is one of our thing, Roby is a road bike and ski fanatic so this is what he likes to do to relax in summer or winter. We often go cycling together on the Lachine Canal or on the F1 racing track of Saint-Helene Island. We also love going out to eat and discovering all kinds of new restaurants and spending nice evenings together. But over everything else, we really love to travel, which we missed a lot due to the pandemic. This really is out ultimate hobby and we can’t wait to step on a plan and re-start discovering the world together.
Where do you see your business growing to in the next five years?
In my early years I told myself that I wanted to have a big team, then I realized over time that I would rather have quality than have a large number of people working with me. I definitely see myself in a larger office with a few more ‘’all-star’’ brokers in my team. I want the member of my team to be top-performers but there is an obligation that they follow the same values and ethic as I do. In terms of numbers, my goal is to double our number of transactions which would be a huge accomplishment.
What would be your recommendations for investors in today’s market?
I find that providing generic advice is dangerous. For instance, I saw claims during the pandemic that the city center was emptying, but when you really look at the data on a global scale, the movement was very minor and we already see some of these people coming back to downtown. Every buyer or seller are different, they all have different sets of goal, short term? long term? are you 25 years old and looking to invest or 65 years old and looking to liquidate your assets? I like to create custom plans for every one of my clients. In the current market, what I strongly advise is to have a good real estate broker by your side, someone that you can trust, that as a good reputation and work ethic and that does a good volume of transactions on a yearly basis.
How do you define success?
For me, success is being happy and doing what you love in life. I know brokers who do 20 transactions a year and are delighted with their lives and some others who make 100 transactions but are miserable. After 12 years working more than full-time in this business and looking back at what I have accomplished, I know that my success is tightly attached to my mental and physical health. I deeply enjoy life, and the best way I can serve my clients and to be balanced myself. Success is way more than what you can show on a balance sheet, having gone through serious health issues five years ago, I quickly realized that we all have an expiration date and the time we have we must make the most of it! Being happy and always positive is really the secret to success for me.
All Photo Credit : Dominique Lachance
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