Ara Margos is like CityTV. He’s Everywhere!
At least that’s what this top RE/MAX agent — ranked among the top 50 RE/MAX agents in the world — will tell you. But for all his radio and TV presence, Margos’ real success comes from his ability to bridge the cultural divide between Canada and the Middle East for many new residents to the GTA.
At a time when a new immigrant might be overwhelmed by Canadian culture, Margos is there as a beacon ready to help them through what will likely be the biggest purchase of their lives.
Born in Iraq, his background is Armenian. The realtor also lived in the Kurdistan region before jetting off to Turkey to work as a tour guide. His mother and wife are both Assyrian. So he is uniquely suited to help new Canadian residents from those parts of the world.
This has allowed Margos to build an award-winning real estate practice.
Now we had to talk with him about the crucial importance of understanding not only languages, but cultures too. And we discussed what makes Canada the best country in the world in which to live.
How did you start out in real estate?
I used to work as a master scheduler for a company called Johnson Controls, which makes automotive parts. Then I started collecting data for Internet Protocol Television [IPTV].
I found I was good at marketing, so I started offering my marketing services for people I knew and because I knew them and they trusted me I started to go to their houses.
Eventually, that’s how I became one of the top-50 real estate agents in the world for RE/MAX.
Why are you so attracted to real estate?
I like honesty and being able to deliver on promises.
As a highly successful and award-winning real estate agent for RE/MAX, what is the secret to your success?
I use all the techniques. I use all social media platforms.
In 2018, I was Number 4 when it came to social media for the whole GTA — out of 35,000 to 40,000 agents. I’m everywhere basically: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google Ads, etcetera … But really, there is no secret.
The secret is you need to have knowledge. You need to deliver a promise and never say something you don’t know about.
As soon as clients have more knowledge than you, they will go to a different realtor. But if you’re a knowledgeable agent and you know what product you are selling, it will be fine. I always put my clients’ benefit before mine. I never look at my commission.
Okay, but a lot of agents say those same things and a lot of agents are on social media, but not all of them rank at Number 4 or are among the top-50 realtors in the world at their brokerage.
Correct. When it comes to that, it’s because I have a TV show, I’m everywhere and I get a lot of leads from people. They want to see you talking.
People don’t like dry material. Anyone can go and put an article on social media or anything like that. But when I see a good article, I send it overseas and I even translate it into different languages before I put it on social media.
On my radio show, people call me live and they ask me questions. When you are honest, people will notice that. It’s just like any other business. Sometimes you go to Harry Rosen and the salesperson doesn’t help you with anything.
Another salesperson may have a lot of knowledge, but he doesn’t know how to deliver the message to you.
It’s a click between the client and the realtor. As soon as they know that you’re an honest person and you’ll take care of them, then they will go with you. Many months when I had eight to 10 transactions a month, it was a one-man show and I was by myself.
How did the opportunity to have your own TV and radio show come to you?
I’m a very well-known person in my community and I speak six different languages. I speak Arabic, English, Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish and Assyrian.
If you’re a person who is new to this country, new residents must find a lot of comfort in you. How do you feel about representing new Canadians?
The trick to that is you need to know their background and you need to know their culture. Speaking the language is not enough.
Anybody can speak different languages and go to school for that, but you need to learn their culture. You need to learn the things that maybe it’s okay for Armenians to do, but for Kurdish it’s not okay.
For example, when I meet an Armenian family I have no problem shaking both the husband and the wife’s hands, but when it comes to an Arabic family, I will have to think twice and shake the husband’s hand before shaking the wife’s hand.
That doesn’t mean I agree with their culture, but I have to respect their culture.
If you go to India, 80 per cent of Indians don’t eat beef, so if you eat beef in front of them, maybe you’re harassing them.
Since you’re such a uniquely cultured individual, has this enhanced your perspective on the Toronto market and Canadian real estate at large?
Canada is the best country to live in when compared to any other countries out there.
All my respect to other countries, but Canada is a multicultural country and everybody lives here. I deal with different kinds of people and I understand their culture enough that they feel comfortable to do business with me.
Even when we do the transaction, I go with them to the lawyer’s office so I can explain in their language what will happen. I go with them to the mortgage broker and explain everything to them. And even before getting the keys from the lawyer’s office I go with them and explain exactly what they are signing.
I strongly believe that G-D gave everybody skills and abilities, but you need to know how to use those skills. You can’t go to school to learn how to sell products.
It’s in you — either you have it, or you don’t have it. And I have it. I know a lot of agents who have been in business for 20 or 30 years and they don’t even do 20 per cent of my production.