Nicole Tortorici isn’t afraid of hard work. In fact, it has fuelled the 26-year-old since she was young.

“The year after I graduated, I was working as a land appraiser full-time and working part-time as a server/bartender and an admin. assistant at Mattamy Homes sales sites.”

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Now she’s putting that energy into her real estate career as part of the Allin Real Estate Group team at Royal LePage Your Community Realty in Richmond Hill, Ont.

She’s only been a licensed real estate agent for two years, but she doubled her sales and won the 2019 Director’s Platinum Award.

She took a slight detour after high school when she enrolled in a human resources program, but it wasn’t long before she realized it wasn’t for her. Sales is where her heart is.

However her past experience has not gone to waste. Her job as a server taught her about hard work and the human resources program showed her how to deal with “clients and agents of all types.” She says she understands people and how to make a connection – “you need to get to know people, how to talk to them” because buying a home is an emotional process.

It’s also not an easy process so she has created a first-time home buyers’ guide that provides answers to all the questions people didn’t know they had.

She’s had good response from friends, friends of friends and other younger buyers, many who aren’t comfortable dealing with mom’s or dad’s Realtor, she says.

She knows how her niche, millennial buyers, feel because she is one. “I’m similar to my clients. I’m at a similar place in life.”

Having one niche is important, she says, so marketing messages aren’t mixed. She offers genuine and honest support, encouragement and help.

Education is key for Tortorici and it doesn’t stop once the deal is done. Once the offer is accepted, clients often don’t know what happens next (when do they get insurance, who gives them the keys and when). She keeps in touch and lets them know what to expect.

The guide is also valuable to “older buyers” (because house prices are high, she says some have to wait until they’re in their 30s before they can purchase) and it is also of use to anyone who hasn’t bought or sold in 20 years because the process is different.

Being young can have its drawbacks – some older clients think she looks too young and some agents will tell her they’ve been in business as long as she’s been alive. But it doesn’t bother her. She says she has a thick skin and she’s confident, knowing she’s smart and has experience in different fields.

“Sales is not for everyone but it works for my personality,” Tortorici says. Her sister is in software sales and says she couldn’t do real estate sales because Tortorici is always working weekends and nights. “It’s hard to detach from work. I don’t want to miss a call. But I’m young. I’m working hard for the future. I’m saving money, not for a handbag or an expensive trip. And I have good support.”

The impact of COVID-19 has allowed her to focus on her social media presence even more, keeping her followers abreast of what’s happening in the market and offering genuine advice about how to save money or whether to buy now or wait and buy later.

“I educate and stress the importance of understanding their finances and educate them on the market to ensure they have realistic expectations and timelines for their home-buying journey. Being pre-approved gives buyers an advantage when they do start looking at homes and putting in offers. Knowing your limit is always a good idea,” says Tortorici.

“As millennial myself, I know how hard it is for other young individuals to enter the real estate market and navigate through the process. My goal as a Realtor is to help millennials like me understand the process and see how valuable home ownership is.”

She relates to first-time buyers and knows their struggle. “I’m there every step of the way.”

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