Don’t call them newbies.
Although they’ve only been licensed Century 21 agents for six months, Katelyn and Paige Fulton are well on their way to continuing the Fulton legacy. As third-generation realtors, their dedication for upholding their family’s esteemed reputation keeps them increasingly motivated. It is their passion, however, for helping their clients to find their dream homes that keeps them fulfilled.
The Fulton sisters spoke to Toronto Storeys about their successful foray into the family business.
What drew you to real estate?
Katelyn: After working in the office growing up and seeing how stressful and unpredictable this career really is, I swore I would never work in real estate. I wanted a more “stable” career. After working in my stable career for seven years, I was tired of the corporate world and having someone control when I worked, how much I worked, how much I could or could not make, when I could eat lunch or go on vacation. I wanted a career that allowed me to set my own schedule, work my own hours and no one could control how successful I could be or how much I could make except for myself. Turns out the right career for me had been right in front of me my entire life.
Paige: Family drew me to real estate. I won’t say the cliché line that real estate is in my blood, because we were all encouraged to branch out on our own and find our passion. I went to university and I worked at the brokerage in various admin roles and assisted the agents with their business throughout my studies. Once I graduated, I found a job in my field of study but as the years went on, I found I wasn’t passionate about my work. Our father had a rule that we couldn’t think about real estate until we were at least 30. Although I am not quite 30, my sisters and I reminded him that as we get older, so does he. So after many discussions and planning, we began the transition into the real estate world. I was ready and excited for the challenge, and it is very rewarding to feel purpose in my work again.
What’s the hardest part about your job?
Katelyn: I believe one of the hardest parts to coming in to an established business as “the broker’s daughters” is to be able to gain the respect and the trust from our agents that they have for our dad and our grandfather.
Paige: For me, the hardest part is figuring out how to transfer the boss’ brain into my head. We are not only active on the sales side of real estate, but we are learning about how to operate the business as well. Our father Clare is well known and respected in our community, and very intelligent. He is not only very genuine, but he runs a successful business and achieved many awards. So we have quite the reputation to live up to and are currently learning all aspects of the business.
What do you love most about your job?
Katelyn: I love that I am able to work alongside my father and my sister. Having a family-owned brokerage, you get that welcoming feeling every day and I have heard from our own agents that they feel like a big family working here. On the agent side of my job, I love being able to help people find their dream home. I don’t know if there is any other feeling like it when you get to hand the keys to your clients when they purchase a home. You are helping them find a place where they will create many life memories and that is a priceless feeling.
What is one trait that all realtors need to have?
Paige: The most important trait for a realtor to have, is to be able to put themselves in their clients’ shoes and be able to listen to their needs. A home is unique and does not fit everyone’s needs, even if you think it is perfect. The more a realtor listens and gets to know their client, their family, and their lifestyle, the better job they can do at guiding their client to finding the right home for them.
What’s one neighbourhood that’s a great place to invest right now?
Katelyn: Highland Creek in East Toronto. There are lots of older homes on large lots — we’ve been seeing a lot of these homes being purchased as ‘tear-downs’ and then building larger homes selling for a huge profit. The area is family friendly, surrounded by schools, close to Hwy. 401 and public transit.
Paige: I would say the Durham region market is a great investment right now. Many families and first-time home buyers are moving further East as it is more affordable.
What is one thing for buyers to consider before making an offer?
Katelyn: Make sure you are getting pre-qualified. This should be one of the first steps a home buyer does prior to even seeing a home so that they have realistic expectations of what they can and cannot afford. With the lack of inventory, it is easy for the buyers to get excited and want to win a bidding war by offering more than the asking price. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
Paige: In a hot market like this, it is common for a buyer to lose out on a house with multiple offers because their offer price wasn’t strong enough. When it makes sense, be prepared to go as strong as you can when placed in a multiple offer situation.
What tips do you have for first-time buyers in this hot market?
Katelyn: Buy now! Don’t keep waiting and hoping the market is going to crash. If you have the money now, do it. If you don’t, save or ask a family member to help you out. In a year from now, you’ll wish you had bought today.
Paige: It is hard for first-time home buyers to get into the market because of the prices, but you have to think of it as an investment. It is true for most that your house made more money than you did in a year. Home prices have been going up consistently at a rate much faster than an average person could save in one month. So first-time buyers need to get pre-qualified and start shopping for that investment.
What would you do if you weren’t a realtor?
Katelyn: I was able to dive into a career as a cardiac sonographer and I loved that job! However, even with that career, I had always had a crazy passion for interior design.
Paige: Well, I did have a career prior to working in real estate so I would most likely work in human resources.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Katelyn: Going to local craft breweries and tasting new beers. I love going to the gym, playing baseball in the summer. And, of course, spending time with my husband, my dog Hali and friends.
Paige: I love spending time with my husband and our dog. We live by the lake, so we like taking our Shiba Inu for walks on the trails or going to the dog park. I love going to the movies; sometimes I think I go just for the popcorn. I am also a bit of a video game nerd, so I’ve been known to spend way too many hours playing if I get the chance.