Meet Shanna Garneau, a residential real-estate broker based out of Montreal, Quebec. With a background in Marketing, she always had her eyes set on entering the real estate field. “Honestly, I didn’t even interview at any other brokerage agency, I just knew I wanted to be at Remax”. Six years into her career, her passion for the industry led her to affiliate with a commercial broker and recruiting others under her wing. She credits her success to a healthy work life balance and always making time for the ones she loves. More on her successful journey below!
Can you give me some background about your education and your career?
Real estate was not my first choice. Like a lot of people, when I graduated from high school, I was not too sure what I wanted to do with my life. I actually moved to Ottawa and studied Public Relations. With a Public Relations degree, I studied Marketing and Management as well. When I moved back home, I got a job in Public relations, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I was a little confused for a couple of years.
What made you decide to go into real estate?
I’ve always been interested in real estate, but my dad was in the army, my mom was in accounting, so being in real estate was not stable enough for them to agree. It was a bit hard to convince my family that this is the right choice for me. I decided to follow my heart and did my real estate course, and the rest is history. I’m so happy I did it. I never feel like I’m working. I know this is exactly what I was meant to do. I’m really happy to have finally pushed myself and went out of the box that I was supposed to be in, and became a real estate broker.
Did you start right away on your own in real estate or did you join a company?
I had no doubt that I wanted to affiliate myself with Remax. Honestly, I didn’t even interview at any other brokerage agencies. What I loved about Remax when I signed with Platine was they offered me more training than usual firms do. That definitely sold me on that Remax, and I have no regrets. My directors are amazing, they are always there to help if there are any questions needed, obviously, now I’m comfortable enough to move on my own.
When I first started, my first year of real estate was on my own. A lot of teams approached me to join other teams, but I was really determined to be my own boss. I had a vision for myself, and I didn’t want to work for anybody else, I wanted to do it my way. I’m really glad I stuck with it, it was a really hard start. To some brokers that are starting off, it’s easier to join a team, that way you have somebody feeding you the listings and feeding you leads. I chose to stick it out on my own and I haven’t regretted my decision since.
Tell us about your partnership with Nick.
In my second year, I met Nick, who I’ve known through my fiancé. He started real estate at my office. We had a connection right from the start. We started, Nick and I, together. Then last November, it was actually the girl who was doing my lashes, she started her real estate course, and every time I did my lashes she would ask me questions. I felt a connection with her as well, the same connection I felt with Nick, and now she’s working with us as well, a team of three. It’s a cool vibe that we have together. We’re 3 very different people but we complement each other very well. Who knows what the future holds, but I definitely want to be very selective with who I surround myself with, business-wise.
You work at Remax Platine, but now you have your own team under that banner, correct?
Correct. We’re called Garneau Markou Realty Group. Nick has his license for both residential and commercial, but he owned a couple of restaurants, so he really specializes in commercial restaurant sales.
Can you tell us what it’s like to be on a team, what was the hardest part for you being independent and going to work with people very close to you.
It kind of happened naturally, I thought I would be on my own, and that way I could do my own schedule and work for myself, but meeting these two other brokers really changed my perspective as to what defines me in real estate.
I never thought that I’d be teaching what I learned, but when you’re teaching something that you’re so comfortable with and you’re so passionate about, it makes it a lot easier. I’ve been training Nida as she’s just starting off. She reminds me a lot of myself when I started, so all the questions that she has, it’s a pleasure to answer them. I’m happy to be able to be the resource for her in order to help her strive in the long run.
Moving forward, what is your five year goal with the company?
Now that we’ve expanded a bit, we have three brokers, I think within the next five to ten years, I can see ourselves having four more brokers working on our team. I don’t necessarily want a very large brokerage team, just because we run mostly on referrals. Our past clients refer us. Obviously, we are looking for new business other than our referrals, but I like being the one that signs the contract, and I’m going to be there throughout the whole transaction. For the larger team, sometimes you meet a broker, you sign the contract, and you never see that broker again. I just want to make sure that my clients have one broker working with them throughout the transaction, and builds that connection with that broker and that broker really has the knowledge of the house that they’re selling or they’re purchasing.
Where do you think the residential market is headed in Quebec?
A lot of people are moving away from the cities. I find people are looking for larger spaces. They’re looking for a more country feel. Right now, I mean it’s the best time to invest in Montreal because it’s not as competitive as the South Shore, Laval. I don’t see the market slowing down soon. The low-interest rates should be low until 2023. Within the next few years, I don’t see it slowing down whatsoever. Montreal is such a great place to invest in, especially with the REM coming and everything. Real Estate in Montreal is always going to be a very hot item, and it’s probably the best investment right now.
What kind of systems do you have in place with your company now that you keep for internal growth at the company?
We’re in Brossard, so we’re trying to be the go-to brokerage team in Brossard and the surroundings. Honestly, it’s a lot of word of mouth for us, it’s a lot of referrals. As long as we take care of our clients properly, as we’ve been doing for the past six years, that’s pretty much how we’ve been growing and how we will continue to grow in the next couple of years, just by our referrals and the feedback that we have from our clients, and people feeling really comfortable referring us to our friends and our family, that makes a huge difference within our company.
How do you set goals and achieve them?
We’re three very go-getting people. I don’t like the word workaholic because we actually enjoy what we do. Obviously, social media is huge for us. The following that we have on social media definitely helps us a lot. We are from three very different backgrounds as well. Nick is Greek, Nida is from Pakistan, I’m French Canadian. I find that we cater to a different clientele as well. The fact that the three of us are together is quite interesting for our clients. We each have different goals, and we’re each in different stages of our lives as well.
For me, personally, my goal is to really balance my family and my work life. I have two step kids, and my goal was to never miss a hockey game without ever neglecting my clients. That’s something that I was able to achieve, which is awesome. I never missed anything with my family, yet I still see a lot of success in my business, and I feel that’s something that’s relatable with my clients as well. A lot of clients have kids who are in sports as well, they get the life.
How do you do your work-life balance?
My best friend is Google Calendar. We’re big on hockey games in our family and so at the beginning of the month, I put any sporting event we’re going to, and have my husband accept the events as well, and I would literally work around hockey games. It was very feasible, and as long as I have my phone, I could work. Sometimes I will have to shut off my ringer in order to be present in the moment, which is something that is really important to do as well. I obviously make sure that I have some sort of structure, but if I’m available to work, I’m going to work.
If you don’t love what you do, your clients are going to feel it, and that’s not something that I ever wanted to deal with. I make sure that I am still as present yet never neglecting my clients.
What does success represent to you?
Well, there’s a lot of things that proved my success. One thing was being on Global Montreal, which was a huge thing for me. It was my 2nd year that I was approached with the opportunity to be on Global. I’m on every 2 months, me and my partner Nick alternate. We have the real estate section on Global. It’s been five years that we’ve been doing this. We talk about what we love and what’s trending in the real estate market. I feel like I made it. The work and family life balance that I’ve created, I feel like that was my ultimate goal because, in the work that I had previously in real estate, I feel like I missed out on a lot. That was before I was a stepmom. Obviously, my priorities changed when I decided to have a family, my priorities are different. The fact that I am able to be present in our lives or present in my parents’ lives or my brother’s life, yet still have success in real estate, I feel like that is the definition of success for me.
What inspires you to go towards that goal and keep achieving it?
When I first started real estate, I never wanted to just be a real estate broker, I wanted to be the best real estate broker. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop until somebody in Brossard or Montreal thinks about real estate and thinks of me and no one else. I want to make sure I am the go-to broker for my area. Until I’ve completed that task, I feel like I’m going to continuously have the fire to keep going, because I do want to be the go-to broker in my area.
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