By: Jean Boynton

You can see a lot of things by just observing!


One of the great baseball players back in my day, Yogi Berra, was credited with sayings called “malapropisms”. He had many famous quotes that included, “It ain’t over till it’s over” or “90 per cent of this game is mental, the other half is playing.”

Once when talking about a restaurant he said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” Yogi at one point ironically was quoted as saying, “I never said half the stuff that I said.” I have many favourites.

One that really stands out after all these years is, “You know, you can see a lot of things just by observing.” It seems like a silly saying but as a person who has observed the real estate industry now for almost 40 years, I find it to be most profound. I have seen a lot of things in life and in the business of real estate.

Given time I am certain I could explain how they are the same.

I remember in the '50s and '60s when many real estate businesses had shingles out that said “real estate and insurance” because many brokers offered insurance as well as real estate services. You don’t see that much today. I recall in the '70s when there were so many real estate storefronts that you could barely go a city block without passing by about two or three. You don’t see much of that anymore either.

In the '80s, however, I saw the most changes to real estate. The biggest impact to the whole business of real estate in Canada was when Frank Polzler and Walter Schneider rolled out stunning changes and a new franchise called Re/Max. I also remember the dramatic merger of two real estate giants, Royal Trust and A.E. LePage. They formed the powerhouse company, Royal LePage.

Through the '80s I saw Century 21 solidify its place as the strong anchor to changes the industry was experiencing. I saw new companies emerge, each one with a unique style and new systems. Two of the solid business plans that became mainstays of the industry to this day are Sutton Group and HomeLife.

I remember all the excitement when the big companies Coldwell Banker and Prudential came to Canada from the United States. I also recall the sadness when some companies shut down or were merged, including Guaranty Trust, Realty World, Montreal Trust, NRS Block Brothers and Countrywide.

There was certainly a lot to observe. I am only mentioning a small portion of the great changes that took place in that decade. The dynamics of the entire industry and the character of the real estate community changed as well. There were so many new companies across the country, each one with a style and elegance of business practice that they deserve so much more space in the telling of their story.

The great change that I am observing today continues to be the emergence of real estate teams. I find this to be the most invigorating movement to the industry in the last 40 years, perhaps even 50 years. It is by far the most exciting change of all because it seems to embrace all the good elements of real estate that I saw back when I was young and walking the blocks of my city.

Back then many real estate companies had storefronts or offices. The principal of the company was a leader who set the tone and the style for the company.

Now, each person in the team has a meaningful role that goes beyond just being a part of the group. Teams are part of a larger, powerful independent brokerage or franchise but have an image that makes them familiar, approachable and friendly. All the good parts of the real estate business today are in these teams.

Many teams are connected to the latest in mortgage services, legal counsel, stagers, landscapers, decorators and every other element of a real estate transaction. It doesn’t just remind me of the days when you would see “real estate and insurance” on a shingle, it has the possibility of going much, much farther.

These are amazing times in real estate.

Work with a winning team, The Boynton Team.