Meet the Agent: Toronto Storeys talks to Paul Greenberg

Paul J Greenberg
Toronto realtor Paul Greenberg uses what he learned promoting the indie bands he played bass for in the early 2000s in his current real estate strategy, which incorporates several social media platforms and includes an online reality show.

Paul Greenberg of Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty Inc. Brokerage was once part of the pop-punk Warped Tour scene in the early 2000s as the bassist in a few obscure Toronto indie bands. These days he uses what he learned promoting his bands on social media to turn his real estate marketing game up to eleven.

“I do a real estate vlog, so I’m constantly trying to change the way I do things, spice things up and make things different,” says Greenberg.

But he’s not just doing video tours and real estate Q&As (though he has those too). Greenberg knows how to entertain with such wild endeavours as eating challenges and an online reality show that shows viewers the unvarnished truth of what it’s really like to be a realtor.

“I don’t hide anything. I put everything out there, from losing deals to getting deals. There’s a lot of people who only show the good, I show the good and the bad,” he says.

From overheard exchanges between dubious realtors and their clients to the euphoria he feels when being entrusted with someone’s biggest life purchase, Greenberg shared a candid conversation with Toronto Storeys.

What initially attracted you to real estate?
I used to be in the music industry playing and touring in bands. I’ve always managed myself and worked for myself, so I really like the aspect that you’re your own boss and you’re not accountable to anyone else. I’ve always loved looking at properties, lofts and open houses, so that’s definitely what attracted me to real estate. Plus, I’m a total people person.

What do clients most commonly misunderstand when it comes to working with a realtor to buy or sell their house?
A lot of people think we’re just in it for the money. For myself, that’s just not the case. We’re in a business where you’re as good as your reputation so I want my clients to love the places that they buy. For me, it doesn’t matter if I work for them for a week, a day or a year, I want them to be happy. I think that’s a huge misconception that we’re like used car salesmen and we’re sleazy. I’ll tell a client not to buy a place if I don’t feel it’s the right fit for them. I will pull them out of multiple offers if I feel they’re going too high and they’re overpaying. I like to work with honesty and integrity.

What issues or innovations are you seeing that will have a profound effect on the real estate industry in the future?
I think technology is huge. My whole business is based off of social media, so you’re seeing a lot of agents now using video to put out their listings or 3D renderings to promote their listings. Technology is always changing, so you have to keep up to really stay ahead of the game.

What does it take to be a top producer in your industry?
I would say honesty, being hard working, always grinding it out by not becoming complacent and never settling. I think you need to keep grinding and grinding. Be proud, but never settle.

If you weren’t in real estate would you still be a musician or would you take on some other profession?
I’d still probably be a musician, a lot of my friends still do that, or I would do something with TV or film. I would definitely do something in the entertainment industry.

Do you believe Toronto is in a real estate bubble or that the market may go the way Vancouver did, as some media commentators are predicting?
I hesitate to call it a bubble. Toronto is such a big city and there are so many people coming into the city that I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bubble. I do think the prices are getting a little crazy and overheated. The people who are investing in Vancouver are not the same investors we see in Toronto … even though I do believe the market needs to cool off a bit.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love everything about real estate. I love that no day is the same, I love meeting different people and I love getting referred from my clients to help their loved ones. That’s such a huge compliment. When people trust you in helping them make the greatest financial decision of their life … and knowing that your clients respected you enough to refer you out to your family and friends.

What annoys you about what you do?
I’m super annoyed by unethical agents. I get annoyed with agents that are sleazy, slimy and dishonest. I get annoyed overhearing conversations with agents talking to their clients and giving them wrong information or not knowing what they’re talking about. It’s really tough knowing that there are agents out there who care more about getting things done than taking care of their clients.

What’s your best advice for people buying or selling a home in this overheated market?
Knowing the area and where you want to live is such a huge thing. Once you have that location zoned in, it’s a lot easier to find a place and not waste time going through listings.

What are you going to do to get to your next goal?
I’m really focused on building a team and finding realtors to work with me and help build out my brand. I also want to keep focusing on my social media which includes, my Facebook, my Twitter, my Instagram and my YouTube. I’m already on top of it and I don’t think anyone’s releasing content like mine, so I just want to keep stepping it up and innovating in that way.

How do you stay successful in this business without neglecting your own needs or alienating family and friends?
I’m lucky that everyone around me is super supportive and they’ll help me out with being encouraging and pushing me along. I don’t feel like I alienate anyone. If anything, I suffer the most, but I always put time in my schedule to work out or eat, even though I am looking at listings while I am eating. I try to only work out six days a week and block off the rest of my time for family and friends. Obviously, if a client needs something, I will drop everything for my client, but I really try and achieve a work-life balance. I find that’s really important.

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