“Someone gave me that nickname, I think it was my friend’s husband. I started out on King Street West and quickly rose to prominence, but I don’t want to sound like a silly realtor and talk about myself in the highest regard. Basically, it started as a joke because he kept saying, ‘You’re running King West. You’re tearing it up over there. You’re the Wolf of King Street.’”
It may have started as a playful ribbing, but she has taken the nickname and run with it.
“I’m very easygoing, but when it comes to my clients I get feisty. I’m very protective of their interests, so I think that’s the other side of it.”
She has, in fact, made such a name for herself that she is currently in talks to develop a reality show based on her real estate practice. The Wolf of King Street spoke to Toronto Storeys and spilled some of her secrets to success.
What are you reading these days?
I always have a few books on the go, depending on my mood and inclination. I’m currently bouncing between The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and The Complete Short Stories Of Oscar Wilde. I know, quite opposite ends of the spectrum.
What was the first album you bought?
It has to be Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses. I was born in a household with a strong appreciation of rock music: my dad was a drummer. I definitely spent all my birthday money on it and didn’t look back. In my home country of Bulgaria, all we could get at that time were bootleg copies of albums sold in the market — right next to fur hats, flip-flops and maybe dried meats. The album cover was a faded and very poor colour copy but nevertheless, Axl’s piercing voice and Slash’s electrifying guitar couldn’t be tamed by the quality of the tape!
When you were a kid, you wanted to be a …
Definitely a doctor — or one of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation dancers (not joking).
What advice you would give the younger you?
I am still pretty young, ha, ha, ha. I have to say I don’t really have much advice to give my younger self. As Madonna often says, “Absolutely no regrets.” I am very blessed to have had an amazing upbringing, family, friends and lots of fun experiences. I was also exposed to culture and travel. All of that, and I’ve never really gotten in any type of serious trouble (miraculously). Thankfully, I survived my teenage and adolescent years unscathed. My only advice would be to stay young at heart and find that fountain of youth.
The other thing I could say probably would be buy another property. I bought my first place at 28, while enjoying life in the comfort and resources of my parents’ home. I could have definitely saved more money and bought a place earlier. However, to quote our famous Canadian poet, Drake, “Better late than never.”
What sets you apart from all the other realtors in town?
I think there are a few great realtors in the city and I’d like to think I am one of them. I approach my clients and real estate without any air of artificiality, superiority or intimidation. I like to speak and interact in a manner that brings clients close and looks after them as friends. Yes, I definitely break bread with my clients. I am one nurturing Wolf, and my nickname stands for my loyalty and my fierce negotiating style. I work very hard for my clients and I want the best for them, their future and their lifestyle. I speak five languages and breaking language and cultural barriers is something I thrive on. When you look out for your client’s best interest, you don’t have to wonder about their loyalty. It is so simple.
Any hot tips for homebuyers in this overheated market?
Don’t overthink it. If you find something you like, you have to be able to make the decision. Those who take the leap are the smart ones in this market and your lack of decision can cost you a lot of money. I see people getting priced out of the market because they hear news of imminent doom and gloom (dominating the news for over seven years now) in Toronto’s real estate market. They also may hear a tip from their neighbour (who is definitely not a realtor).
My advice is find a full-time realtor who is knowledgeable, who you trust, who will look out for you and who will take the plunge. Don’t ask your hairdresser buddy who is a part-time realtor for advice. Don’t speculate and don’t over-extend. I’d say buy and hold. I guess that’s more than one piece of advice.
What is Toronto’s most underrated neighbourhood?
In this current market, it is hard to call a neighbourhood underrated. However, small pockets of opportunity still exist. I find most of my clients are diehard westsiders, so I love the Junction Triangle, the Wallace Emerson Community and Mimico. There are a number of master plan communities slated for completion in those areas and prices are still palatable.
What’s a profession you would most like to try?
Fashion styling. I dabbled in it, together with other professions such as makeup artistry, bartending, banking to name a few. I enjoy fashion and its ability to let us transform according to our moods. Life is too boring if you don’t express your style accordingly.
Favourite architect or architectural style?
Sexy, curvy, fluid — that means the Queen of the Curve, Dame Zaha Hadid. In her work she embodied femininity and design in a way never achieved before and she is someone I would have loved to meet as I have heard she had a very formidable personality.
What’s a moment you’re most proud of?
Teaching my sister how to swim and drive.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Picasso. I think he would have the most interesting stories if I could get him to talk and just maybe he would bring me a painting as a hostess gift — maybe
Your next big goal in life is …
To run the New York Marathon and learn another language.
How do you stay a top producer in this business?
I hustle. I stay focused. I stay humble.
How do you balance your work life and family or personal life?
My work and personal life are very closely intertwined. I don’t really find the need to balance anything, as I have found a flow that works for me. I am always out and about with family, friends and clients and I make sure we always have a great time. I only work with people who choose to work with me and who I like working with. Sometimes, I do yoga in the middle of the day or take my dog for a walk. I am not self employed — I am employed by my clients. However, I always find time for myself throughout the day. Also, a good sleep is always key.