Chalk one up for the little guy.
Last year, Gary Bain decided not to renew his franchise agreement with a major real estate firm.
Although he believes in the franchising process, after participating in it for 12 years, Bain was not satisfied with the service that he received from his franchisor – and he wanted to reduce costs.
As a result, the veteran Calgary real estate broker threw away his security blanket. By parting ways with the franchisor, Bain would no longer be associated with a recognizable company and well known brand name.
|With 25 years of local real estate experience, Gary Bain knows the Calgary market inside out. |
Most Alberta realtors rely on big-name companies for leads, marketing support and, ultimately, survival. But Bain decided to go his own way, do his own thing. The only name that he would count on was his own.
But the gamble paid off – in sales.
Bain, the owner and operator of G.M. Bain Real Estate Services Limited, was named last year to the Calgary Real Estate Board’s Million Dollar Club, which honours the top five per cent of agents, based on a formula that combines number of units sold and average sale price.
Bain sold $6 to $7 million worth of residential and commercial property, becoming one of only about 274 of Calgary’s 4,500 real estate agents to make the Million Dollar Club team.
His “Sold” signs dot the lawns and windows of homes, condominiums and commercial buildings in Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta.
Not bad for a guy who was doing it without support from a national or international real estate company.
The Million Dollar Club honour came as Bain celebrated his 24th year as a real estate agent in Calgary.
“I enjoy being in business for myself – always have,” said Bain, a B.C., native who moved to Calgary in 1977.
Bain was a barber when he arrived in Calgary. He had opened his own barbershop as a teenager and dabbled in car sales and door-to-door sales in Vancouver. But his timing was not good when he began his career as a realtor in 1979.
It’s said that realtors need five or six years to establish themselves in the business, but Bain’s apprenticeship came at the same time as the detested National Energy Program, which seriously reduced investment in the oilpatch – Calgary’s top industry and key driver of real estate sales. Bain also had to deal with high interest rates of up to 20 per cent on mortgages, rather than today’s five to seven per cent range.
Many agents left the business and Calgary’s realtor ranks dropped to approximately 1,900 from about 5,200. But Bain stayed put – by generating enough sales to keep operating in lean times.
“The three or four companies that I started with years ago, that were flying pretty high in the late ’70s and early ’80s are no longer here,” said Bain. “They’re not in business anymore. That’s just how things went.”
But Bain kept going. In 1986, he launched his own real estate firm and didn’t look back.
“I like to tell my clients that I don’t pass them on to anybody,” said Bain. “They’re dealing with me – and the buck stops here. They’re not a number in the scheme. Whether they’re buyers or sellers, or both, we’re here to get the job done – but I’m the guy that’s it for tag. I don’t pass the buck onto anybody else. I know what I can do and it’s just a matter of spending the money and the time and the effort to get the job done. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it. “If you want it sold, we’ll do whatever it takes to get it sold at the best price. If you want to buy something, give us a call – we’ll find it.”
Bain has always had singleminded determination. He works with a couple of other established pros to provide first-rate service for every customer. He employs another realtor, Patrick Levy, with whom he has worked about 15 years.
There’s also a part-time bookkeeper and one assistant, as well as veteran real estate appraiser John Winkler.
In addition to being a licensed broker and agent, Bain, like Winkler, is a certified real estate appraiser. He is qualified to appraise property for banks, for governments, for estate purposes or just somebody who wants to know what a property is worth for mortgage approval, tax planning, estate planning or personal purposes.
Whether he’s serving as a realtor or appraiser, Bain is happy to help the buyer, the seller, or both. His ultimate aim is to get the best value for his clients. He stays ahead of his competition because of his knowledge, experience, qualifications and – above all – his ability to get the best price for his clients.
On that note, although he loves to sell, he strives to educate his clients first.
Bain is now in his fifth year as a member of the CREB’s professional standards committee, which conducts inquiries into complaints about trans actions from the general public or within the industry.
He also spent one year as a CREB director and served for five years on the executive of the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Real Estate Institute.
Gary also does his part for his community. He has been a Shriner since 1983, helping to raise money for 22 hospitals that the organization funds and owns.
Now an executive with the Shrine, he will become the Al Azhar Temple’s Grand Potentate in 2006. (According to Shrine practices, executives serve five years and move up the ranks to president during those years.)
“I like to pride myself on the fact that, if there’s a party interested in purchasing a property and a party interested in selling, I’ll do everything in my power to consummate the sale,” said Bain.
For more information on how to get the best value out of your real estate transaction, call Gary directly at 403.650.9995 or e-mail email@example.com.