Actor Michael Caine once said that there’s no point in competing with young talent. “I just concentrate on getting better each day,” he said.
Some veteran Surrey realtors might share this sentiment now that there’s a talented young agent in their midst.
Raycel Fortaleza became a fully licensed realtor before her 20th birthday. And last year she won a Sutton Realty President’s Award, which goes to those who close at least 18 deals.
Fortaleza, 23, said that she’s the only realtor from her Grade 12 graduation class at Holy Cross Regional High School. Now her friends’ parents are connecting with her to discuss their real-estate needs.
“I’ve had two classmates who I went to school with in elementary, and I helped their parents purchase properties and sell their house as well,” Fortaleza told the Straight by phone.
One of those parents is an investor who bought three properties.
In this regard, she has something in common with Vancouver’s most famous real-estate marketer, Bob Rennie, who sold homes owned by his friends’ parents after leaving high school more than 40 years ago.
“There are a lot of families who think that buying a home—purchasing a home—is very hard or it’s only for the other people who have a lot of money,” Fortaleza said. “But I feel it’s very possible.”
She acknowledged that the market is very hot right now. But the young agent quickly added that condo prices are not rising nearly as dramatically as single-family homes. And interest rates remain at historic lows.
“Don’t be scared, because it’s mostly the single detached [houses] that have the 30 offers at once,” Fortaleza advised.
She credited a seasoned Surrey agent, Karolina Bukala, for mentoring her when she was launching her career. Nowadays, young people interested in becoming agents are contacting Fortaleza to find out how to succeed.
She’s happy to help them once they’ve become licensed, and she is even prepared to allow some to shadow her as she goes about her business. Her longer-term goal is to have her own team of agents.
As for her work ethic, she said learned this from her parents, who ran their own business from their home. Her father is a gregarious extrovert—and she said that this has rubbed off on her.
“I like to say hi to everyone as well and be approachable.”
She’s not only selling homes to people twice her age: last November, she also found a home for a young married couple who were 26 and 27 years old.
It was a two-bedroom, 880-square-foot condo near Gateway Station that went for $390,000. The couple was prepared to spend less than $400,000 and assumed that for this price, they would only be able to get a much smaller one-bedroom unit.
Another couple in their 30s, also first-time buyers, purchased a two-bedroom condo in Guildford for $471,000 in November. According to Fortaleza, the final sales in this complex with the same floor plan were above $550,000.
“These two buyers were very fortunate to purchase before the new year,” she said.
Fortaleza has observed that millennial buyers tend to be quite decisive, sometimes wanting to submit offers immediately after viewing a property. And because she’s younger herself, she feels that she’s a good judge of which homes they might be interested in seeing.
“They’re very determined to get to their goal,” Fortaleza noted.