Real Estate Agent Magazine sat down with Angela Langtry of Century 21. With a successful career as a real estate broker, Angela’s appreciation for the city’s historic homes sets her apart. Langtry shares her valuable experiences and offers invaluable advice to aspiring real estate professionals, giving readers an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s finest.
REAM: What inspired you to become a real estate agent, and how did you get started in the industry.
AL: My interest in real estate started when I was a child. My mom used to drive around with me in the car to check out the outside of houses, just for fun. We would comment on the unique features and landscaping of each home. After graduating from McGill University in 2004, I was still unsure of what I wanted to do as a career, and spent my time bartending and traveling. Then in 2008, a friend from university who had gone into real estate and suggested I’d be successful in it as well. It didn’t take much to convince me. Within a week of her suggestion, I quit my bartending job, signed up for real estate school and went on one last backpacking trip in South America.
REAM: How did your background in the restaurant industry influence your work ethic and approach to real estate?
AL: A lot of the skills I learned in the restaurant industry transferred into real estate, including working unusual hours, customer service skills and inconsistent pay. My approach to real estate was and remains to be strongly focused on efficient service and always putting the client’s needs first.
REAM: Tell us about your first sale.
AL: Five months after getting my real estate license in 2009, I was still a bartender and struggling to get my real estate career going. I picked up my first listing from a client who I had met working at the pub. It was a small 600 sf condo located on the train tracks, asking $138K. A tough sell, but some staging and a lot of showings finally led to a happy sale to first time buyers, as well as two other transactions from buyers I met while showing it. That eventually turned into four more sales many years later when those clients came back to sell and upgrade to a bigger home!
REAM: Why did you choose to focus on historic homes in Montreal?
AL: I have always been fascinated by Montreal’s rich history and have a special appreciation for how older houses were built. The craftmanship and materials used then are just not around today. They contribute to the uniqueness of each home, and I get especially excited when the original features of the buildings have been well maintained or restored. I love educating clients on how these homes were built, from a full tree with the bark still on it as the main support beam to “cat brick” on the walls. Back in the day, brick used to be molded then dried out in the sun. Cats and squirrels would walk on them, leaving a paw print than can still be seen in the old brick today!
REAM: How do you tailor your approach when working with clients interested in historic homes, considering their unique characteristics and potential challenges?
AL: Every buyer has a comfort level. It’s important to understand what challenges they can manage in order to properly advise on which building is the right fit for them. Some clients can handle the surprises and maintenance that come with older homes. Some cannot. The big joke on our team is that we can be really good at talking someone out of buying a home that could be too overwhelming for them to deal with.
REAM: Being named Century 21 Canada’s Sales Associate of the Year in 2022 is a significant achievement. What do you attribute your success to?
AL: This award is based on a combination of factors: candidates are selected by peer nomination and evaluated based on sales, growth and contribution to the C21 system including using the C21 tools available, attending conferences and supporting their local community. I have attended 10 C21 Canadian national conferences, I have won the C21 Centurion award consecutively since 2013 and then in 2018 I established an official team with admin support and systems to provide more efficient service to our clientele and create a work-life balance. I also contribute to several charities including C21’s Easter Seals program to send disabled children to camp, my neighborhood’s local volunteer coastguard and the Motorcyle Ride for Dad for cancer.
REAM: As a source of insights for the media, how do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the real estate market?
AL: Between managing a team and overseeing their sales, spending time in the field with clients, as well as regularly reading market statistics and real estate news, I can keep a close eye on the pulse of the market. This knowledge is key to being able to guide sellers and buyers through the process.
REAM: Could you provide some advice for aspiring real estate agents looking to establish themselves and excel in the industry?
AL: Join a team, pick a brokerage with extensive training or work with a mentor. Real estate school doesn’t teach you how to prospect or do field work. I wish teams were a thing when I first started in 2009. I would have happily joined a successful team to be fed clients and gain experience faster. I had to keep bartending for the first 3 years of my career to cover the fees associated with having a real estate license in addition to my living costs. While still working in restaurants and to learn the ropes of the real estate industry, I followed the C21 online trainings offered, I shadowed an experienced agent when he showed his listings, I worked on a new condo project where I made less than minimum wage for the hours I put in, and I was fortunate enough to have a broker (i.e. the office owner) who was my mentor and always took my calls when I had questions. But ultimately, I had to figure it out on my own, which took much longer to get my career going and income flowing than it would have been had I joined a team in the beginning.
REAM: Which aspect of the real estate profession do you find the most rewarding, and why?
AL: Watching people transition from one chapter in their lives to another. From the excitment of a young couple buying their first home together to start a family, to relocations, and to helping a senior downsize from a home they have owned for decades full of family memories. That is the most warming feeling.
REAM: What is something your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
AL: I ride a motorcycle. I wish I could ride it more often, but it’s hard to drive clients to showings on the back of it.