Timing is everything – 26-year-old Tommy Land started his real estate career at the beginning of the pandemic. But despite uncertain times, he has enjoyed “impressive success, “says his broker, Ray Ferris of Erie’s Edge Real Estate in Port Rowan, Ont.
In his first five months, he racked up 35 ends and learned while on the job.
“COVID broke out and no one was allowed to meet in person,” says Land. “My only help was over the phone. Ray Ferris and (office manager) Rachel Larose were a big help. Ray has the best advice in the game, and Rachel has been instrumental in the success of my career. They’re super technical and work word-for-word by the book.”
The pandemic put many traditional real estate practices on hold – Land has yet to hold an open house and at this writing had not even met the people in his office.
However, Land knocked on doors. He says comments were positive, except for some negative feedback from Realtors who told him to get off their porch, he laughs. “When I started out, I didn’t know how competitive a business it is.”
Second to door knocking was social media, where he chose to spend his advertising dollars to get the most bang for his buck. He decided to advertise across the Greater Toronto Area, where many buyers were coming from. His campaign was so successful that at first he had no family or friends (the usual beginner’s sphere of influence) as clients. “They were all people from the GTA.”
And he decided to emulate “city” agents, mimicking what he liked about them and their marketing. He says he watched and learned from the likes of Mark Salerno of Salerno Realty in Kleinburg Village and Kyle Jansink of Re/Max Twin City Realty of Brantford. “I like Kyle’s approach to social media.” Jansink creates videos with humour and focuses on his brand, Dial Kyle.
Land understands the importance of personal branding. A five-time national champion runner, he decided his brand would be “The All Canadian Realtor.” He says personality is also important. “In sales in any industry, people have to like and trust you.”
He created a package deal – buyers who use his services get “a bit of a discount” if he also handles the sale of their property regardless of where it’s located.
Something else that sets him apart – he physically helps people with their move. He says he’s strong and in shape, so why not help?
“With private sales, Purple Bricks and all of the other Realtors, you have to do something to make yourself stand out,” he says.
Land works long and hard, spending days showing homes and nights doing paperwork and offers from his Port Dover home office.
He keeps himself from burning out by ensuring he runs every day and maintains a healthy diet, even when he’s on the road. “There’s a lot of good local food, fast food that’s healthy.”
It’s also a chance to support small businesses and to meet people. When he sees someone out cutting their lawn, he stops and (masked and physically distanced) has a conversation. “One out of 1,000 will say yes, they are thinking of moving, and the conversation continues,” he says. Others are just grateful for a conversation.
Land, who graduated from the University of Guelph as a mechanical engineer, couldn’t find a job in his field and after 50 applications and not even being able to get an interview he says he began feeling down on himself.
Although he didn’t think he’d follow in his mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps (Mia Land has been in real estate for 16 years and his grandmother Nelly Bauer was a broker) he signed up for the OREA course to keep his options open. When he started hearing about the pandemic, and fearing schools might close, he booked his classes and finished his course in two months.
“Tommy came to my office to speak to me after he finished his first registration education course,” says Ferris. “He wanted to know if I thought he had what it takes to succeed in real estate. I was impressed by his high energy and desire to succeed, not to mention that he knew the dedication and discipline required since he is a third generation. Tommy’s mom Mia has been a Realtor in my office for several years.”
Land thought his first months as an agent would be “super slow” and he anticipated helping his mom with paperwork or stepping in to help if she was double booked. But within two weeks, he told her he couldn’t help her because he was too busy. (He says his mother is an inspiration. She’s a hard worker and he’s always admired that.)
Although real estate wasn’t his first career choice, he says he “loves that I have the power to create my own work and the harder you work, the more valuable you are. He’s compensated monetarily but it’s not always about money. He says he recently helped someone going through a foreclosure. He didn’t make any money on the deal – he just wanted to help. However that person referred him to someone, who in turn referred him to another.
“Tommy stands out because he isn’t afraid to try new and different things than those traditional prospecting and marketing strategies that maybe he saw his Mom and Grandma do,” Ferris says. “As a brand new Realtor, Tommy stood on the Port Dover pier on a busy weekend afternoon and introduced himself to everyone. A few days later a couple from Toronto called Tommy after meeting him on the pier to tell him that they wanted to buy a cottage in the area.”
Ferris, a Realtor for 25 years, says he has learned by watching Land in action. “Notwithstanding his accomplishments, Tommy is still eager to learn and remains extremely humble,” Ferris says.
Erie’s Edge is a boutique brokerage with 13 Realtors in two offices. Ferris and his wife Amie created the brand in 2011 after “recognizing the need for a different approach to the real estate brokerage services.”
Ferris says, “Our vision for the company is two-fold: To find ways to make Realtors’ lives easier, and help them give clients a better experience; and to provide buyers and sellers with everything needed to manage the transactional process from consultation to contract to closing.”