Three CREA Directors share their journey from local markets to national board

They dedicate their time because they love what they do.

They travel the country listening, learning and making sure the Canadian real estate industry stays current.

They are 16 individuals who know what it takes to make a deal.

They are CREA’s Board of Directors.

While they may share a career path, each member of the board has a unique story to tell. We recently spoke with three members to learn more about their journey in real estate.

Michael Barrett

Meet Michael Barrett, Regional Director, Manitoba

As a REALTOR® and salesperson, what’s your most memorable transaction? 

While it seems every transaction has a different twist and no two are exactly alike, one that stands out in my mind happened several years ago. It was a Saturday morning and I was working at our company’s real estate kiosk at the local mall. A young couple walked towards the kiosk.

As they approached, I greeted them and they opened with, “Good morning, we need a house!”

I responded, “That’s great, we have houses!”

We discussed their wants and needs and proceeded to look through listings to see what might be most suitable for them. It turned out the couple were relocating to Brandon, Manitoba for work and had just sold their home in a rural community. We narrowed the search down to four possibilities and I made arrangements to show them the four homes that afternoon.

After finishing up with the second house, the husband, Matt said, “We like this house.”

I responded, “Yes, it’s a nice home in a great neighbourhood.”

Matt said, “No we want to buy this house.”

“OK, let’s have a quick look at the other two homes I booked showings for and if this is still your favourite we will talk about putting an offer together,” I said.

Matt: “No, we do not want to look at other houses, we like this one and want to buy it.”

Me: “OK, let’s go to the office and get an offer together.”

By dinner time we had negotiated a deal on the house and the clients were on their way back home having accomplished their mission.

Since then, they’ve sold that house and guess who their REALTOR® was? Yes, we still keep in touch.

What made you want to get involved with the REALTOR® association community? 

A few years ago a colleague and president of the former Brandon Estate Board (now Brandon Area REALTORS®) persuaded me to let my name stand as director on our board to fill the treasurer position, as a pregnancy had created a vacancy on the executive. After some consultation with my wife, I decided to let my name stand and was subsequently elected. I went through the executive chairs at our local board. I was fortunate to have a similar opportunity at our provincial association and worked my way through the executive roles at the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA). Now, in my second year of my first term on the CREA Board of Directors, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in organized real estate. The people I have met and the friends I have made are truly amazing.

Outside of real estate, what do you like to do? 

When I’m not volunteering or working in real estate, I spend most of my free time with my family. My wife, Sonia, works part time and takes care of things at home when I am away. Our son Drew is 18 and recently graduated high school and our daughter, Jill, is 16 and entering Grade 11.

Finding family time can be challenging, but we all make an effort to find time together. We enjoy spending time at our cottage, boating, and four wheeling. I curl in the winter and golf in the summer. A fishing trip up north with the kids is always a highlight. Drew and I like to go white-tailed deer hunting with my dad and a crew who has hunted together for decades, spanning several generations. Spare time seems to be a scarce commodity these days, but I also enjoy woodworking and doing renovations when I can.

Kari McBride.

Meet Kari McBride, Regional Director, Atlantic

As a REALTOR® and salesperson, what’s your most memorable transaction? 

I don’t think I can pick just one. Each transaction is different and special in their own way. It’s what makes this job so amazing –the diverse clients I get to help, the twists and turns, the triumphs and yes, even the tribulations. There is one thing that does remain constant: lifetime connections. That’s what I remember most!

I love helping people. I have always been involved in sales, service and marketing and at the core of it all was my desire to ensure everyone was thrilled with the outcome. With real estate, I could envision helping people to the highest degree–and making real, life altering occasions one of the best experiences possible for my clients.

Outside of real estate, what do you like to do? 

I love to cook. Not bake, cook. Baking is far too messy. Cooking and creating “Kari surprises” with whatever I can find in the fridge, and entertaining my friends and family. Prepping meals and making the table look so pretty for dinners–that’s my kind of fun!

Costa.

Meet Costa Poulopoulos, Vice-President

As a REALTOR® and broker, what’s your most memorable transaction?

More than 20 years ago, my wife and business partner took a call from a consumer looking for help finding a high-end, executive rental in London, Ontario. The man identified himself as a doctor and would be looking for a place to stay for two years. We agreed to help and told him we would pick him up from his hotel the next day to tour around some houses.

The next day, we drove to his hotel and saw a man waiting outside. We approached him and said, “Hi, Dr. …,” unfortunately my wife isn’t great with names and had trouble hearing him the day before. The man stood up, smiled and said yes.

My wife introduced me as her business partner and he followed us to our vehicle. He got in and we started driving away from the hotel. Things quickly turned when he said, “Costa? Is that Portuguese?”

At this point my wife realized this man sounded a lot differently than the person she had spoken to on the phone. We quickly made a U-turn, and drove back to the hotel. The man quickly exited the car and walked towards another couple.

“Where did you take my uncle?” asked the couple.

We quickly explained we’re REALTORS® and we had made an appointment with someone staying at the hotel. The couple explained their uncle was a veterinarian from Portugal who was in London for a family wedding.

After the couple left, we entered the hotel and found our actual client. In the end, we found him a great rental and 20 years later, he’s still a resident of London and a lifelong client.

What made you want to get involved with the REALTOR® association community? 

The short answer: my dad. Growing up in Montreal, my father sold real estate and from an early age I was always very interested in real estate. My high school yearbook states I wanted to become a real estate professional when I grow up.

Now, 31 years later, I couldn’t be happier. I’m a part of the small number of real estate professionals who chose real estate as their first career. Close to 10 years into my career, colleagues believed I would be a great asset to organized real estate. I started by volunteering on a number of London-St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) committees, Task Forces and Advisory Groups and finally became the LSTAR President. In 2014, I served as President of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and was OREA Western Area Director for 2007 and 2008. I was also a Past President of the Marketing Division of LSTAR. These roles showed me the more you give, the more you get.

Outside of real estate, what do you like to do?

Besides real estate, I love two things: travelling and cooking. My family and I want to explore this planet before we check out. We’ve travelled extensively through Europe (Greece, Italy, France and Netherlands), North America and South America (Brazil), with Asia now on our radars. As beautiful as a lot of these places are, we always want to discover new parts of the world.

When we’re not travelling, you can likely find me in the kitchen. Watching my grandmother and mother cook while growing up, I realized it was our therapy. To me, cooking is fun. It’s about building relationships and having friends and family come together. I love to host; every Christmas we have at least 20 to 30 people at our house.

Learn more about the other members of CREA’s Board of Directors and how you can become a part of the future of real estate in Canada.

As Communications Manager, Michael Shaw manages a dynamic team of talented communicators and social media experts. Whether its content produced by CREA or REALTOR.ca, Michael has seen it and approved it. When he’s not working or taking care of his daughter, Michael is travelling the globe, watching live music or relaxing on the dock.


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