Shanna Garneau is a residential real-estate broker based out of Montreal, Quebec. Coming from a background in Marketing, she always had her eyes set on real estate, and she also knew what company she would work for. “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 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?
I wasn’t always in real estate. It was not necessarily my first choice, but when I graduated high school, obviously like a lot of kids, 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. 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?
In the first three years as a real estate broker, you do have to be affiliated with an agency already. Coming from a marketing and public relations background, 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. They told me, “listen, we’re not going to give you an iPad, we’re not going to give you a trip to Cuba, but we’re going to give you the training in order to pay for those things yourself.” 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. I first started, my first year of real estate was on my own. A lot of teams approached me to join my 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 so that I could really start my own thing, and that’s what I’m doing right now.
Year 2 I met Nick, who I’ve known through my fiance. 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 her 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 3. I started on my own, and now we’re 3. 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 Garnou 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.
Honestly, being a larger team was not something that I thought was going to happen. 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 I’d have the patience to be a teacher, but when you’re teaching something that you’re so comfortable with and you’re so passionate about, it makes it a lot easier. Nick, I never had to teach him anything because he had the background, he had the knowledge in real estate. But, Nita, she’s 23, she’s just starting off. She really reminds me a lot of myself, so all the questions that she has, obviously it’s a pleasure to answer them and I love that I’m able to be what I lacked when I started. I had people who I could go to, and obviously, my directors were there, but it’s a very intimidating business, so asking those questions was a little bit difficult. So, 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 5-year goal with the company?
Now that we’ve expanded a bit, we have three brokers, I think within the next 5 to 10 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 3 very different backgrounds as well. Nick is Greek, Nita 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, 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. At the beginning of the month, I would put any sporting event, and at the end of the month I would 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. As long as the arenas had pretty decent WiFi, I would be able to answer e-mails at the hockey game. 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. When I go to my office, the older brokers, you’ll see that they never really set limits. You’ll see that they kind of veer away from your passion for real estate because you get a little bit frustrated because you’ve missed out on so much. That’s something that I always told myself from the beginning, that I never want that to happen. 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 want to have to deal with. I make sure that I still am present yet I’m 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 I 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, your priorities change when you start having a family, but it’s things that I never prioritized before, and now that I have a stepmom and I have a husband and I have a home to take care of, my priorities are different. The fact that I am able to be present in our lives or present in my parent’s lives or my brother’s life, yet still have success in real estate, I feel like that is the definition of success.
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.
For more information on Shanna’s ever-growing real estate brand, visit her Instagram page.
Catch Shanna’s live segment on Global Montreal every [insert date and time here] with link.
To work with Shanna, [website / direct contact here]
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