All in the Family Spotlight

Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage
Spence / Johnstone family brokerage has built a solid reputation for helping its clients and its community.

BY SCOTT LESLIE

Margie Spence is the president at the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage―an award-winning family firm serving the greater Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand areas. In her three plus decades in the real estate business, the industry has undergone tremendous changes. But there`s one thing that`s never changed for Margie.  “When people ask me, I tell them I`ve always had a passion for real estate,” she says. “I can`t imagine doing anything else.”

After attaining her real estate license in 1979, Margie started out as a salesperson for the D.C. Smith real estate firm in Barrie. Looking to expand her horizons, she would soon join Royal LePage`s local office and quickly rose up the ranks from agent to broker to manager. Six years later, however, her life changed dramatically. Margie was given the opportunity to manage Royal LePage`s office in St. Catharines, and soon took over additional branches in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Margie says moving to Niagara was a challenge she couldn`t turn down. “There was only one other female real estate manager in the area at the time,” she says. “It was a really male dominated field so this was a great opportunity for me to prove myself.” When Royal LePage began offering corporate franchises, Margie purchased her three offices and opened a central headquarters―the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre―in St. Catharines in 1998. In the years to follow, the firm would acquire Royal LePage Producers Realty and Kruty Realty Better Homes & Gardens, and establish several new offices throughout Niagara. She would even open a sister real estate firm in Coldwater, Ontario―the Royal LePage Four Season Real Estate Centre.

Margie`s sons Brad and Ryan would join the firm in 1998 and 2007 respectively, and have now become integral parts of the family business. Brad is vice-president and broker of record while Ryan manages branches in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Smithville, Grimsby and Dunnville. Even their brother Adam acts as a general contractor for their various office properties.

“When we first became a franchise, I got to do everything from accounts payable to manning the front desk,” Brad explains, “so I know my way around the business. That`s the same for our team. We have a solid understanding of the industry and are involved with professional real estate organizations like OREA, CREA and RECO.”

These days, the Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre is the largest real estate brokerage in the Niagara Region. Its staff has also grown substantially―from 57 employees in 1998 to over 400 sales representatives and support staff today.

Over the years, the Spence / Johnstone family has developed a very supportive and non-competitive work environment. Consequently, they have minimal staff turnover and continue to add 30 to 40 new salespeople each year.

“Our people are number one with us,” Margie explains. “We show respect for our staff and enjoy working with them. It`s all been about working together as a team. And our managers don`t compete with our people for sales. We never have. It`s something I`m very proud of.”
“We`re very hands-on with our people,” Brad adds. “We treat everyone like family.”
Ryan feels one of their big strengths is their in-house training.

“We want to help our salespeople grow their business,” he says, “so we spend an average of $5,000 training each salesperson. We`ve developed our training over time and keep incorporating cutting edge technology into all our programs.”

From the very beginning, the Spence / Johnstone families have been active members of their community, giving back to countless charitable organizations like Gillian`s Place, South Niagara Women`s Shelters, Habitat for Humanity, food banks across the Niagara Region, and OneFoundation for Niagara Health System. It`s a company philosophy that has worked wonders for the Niagara community at large.

“Honesty and integrity go a long way in our business,” Ryan says, “but we feel it`s important to give back to the community as well. We`re always involved with some board or charity and that goes the same for our staff.”

Going that extra mile has helped the Spence / Johnstone team become the most successful and respected brokerage in the local real estate industry.
But Ryan says it`s their attitude that clients really pick up on.

“We have fun and enjoy what we`re doing,” he says, “and that shows in everything we do.” BL

The entire article can also be read at The Business Link.

Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre Brokerage is located at 33 Maywood Avenue in St. Catharines. For more information, please call 1.800.771.4913, email sold@homesniagara.com, or visit www.homesniagara.com.

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The Importance of Pre-Purchase Home Inspections

Purchasing a home can be a long process, and there are a few crucial steps you have to take before receiving the keys to your new home. Having a home professionally inspected is one of the smartest things you can do before committing to the purchase of a new property. Here are just a few of the reasons why a pre-purchase home inspection is an important part of the home buying process.

Don’t Trust Appearances

Many home buyers think that they don’t need a home inspection, especially for recently constructed properties. However, many homes have electrical, plumbing or structural problems that may not be visible to the untrained eye. A detailed and professional home inspection will reveal any potential problem areas in the home so you can be ready to do the necessary repairs and renovations and avoid any surprise structural disasters once you move in.

Save Your Time and Money

Preventative maintenance and restoration is often less expensive than property damage repairs.  They are also generally less invasive and disruptive as well. With a professional home inspection, you can quickly identify and address any structural issue, saving you time and money on expensive repairs in the future.

Improve Negotiations

A pre-purchase home inspection is also a strategy buyers can use to gain some leverage during negotiations. If you uncover structural damage during a professional inspection, it will be easier for you to negotiate a sale of the property for lower than the asking price. Many home sellers will even offer to perform the necessary repairs before you move in, which can save you time and money.

Pre-purchase home inspections are one of the most important steps to buying a home but they are often overlooked, especially by first time buyers. Having a property professionally inspected before purchase can help you make a more informed and financially sound decision when buying a new home.

For all your home buying needs, including setting up a pre-purchase home inspection, trust Kathy and Dave at Royal LePage. We have the brokerage experience necessary to help you find the perfect property in the Niagara region. For more information about our expert services, contact us today!