by Michael Abbey
Ronaldo Sayah, the very upbeat owner of The Reps, welcomed me to his second-floor office (not wheelchair accessible) at 901 Bank Street whose décor would fit in trendy burgs around the world. The theme is grey and white, with lots of it. Ronaldo was sporting the same, with a black ball cap. We chatted in a comfortable meeting room.
Sayah and The Reps focus on commercial and luxury residential real estate (firstname.lastname@example.org or luxuryottawa.com). He has had a lot of different jobs throughout his life including summer jobs where he worked an assortment of construction tasks. He learned a lot about what goes on under the hood during residential and commercial projects. This armed him with first-hand knowledge and an understanding of materials, labour costs and more.
“Eventually I became a director of marketing for a restoration company where hurricane relief and fire were common initiatives.” A realtor “planted a seed in my mind, because I’d always wanted to be a landlord of a high-rise complex. What better way to get there than through real estate.” At the outset, he was already conjuring up images and ideas of where he wanted to go in the industry. He cut his teeth at Keller Williams, recently purchased by Remax.
The Reps modus operandi can be described with a few clichés: pedal to the metal … full speed ahead … the sky is the limit. Sayah owns over 900 dotcom addresses, having ramped up his collection very early in the internet age.
The Reps goes to clients wherever and whenever it is convenient for the client. “We have been mapping our offerings with a 3-D camera for over four years. We now have portable headsets so that the life cycle of engagement with clients is tech, tech, and tech, from initial contact to closure. Digital enhancement technology opens a new version of virtual reality, allowing the client to get a feel for a location using different furniture and their favourite colour scheme.” He has his eyes on new real estate technologies in the future.
“I was 3½ when I came to Ottawa and I have been here ever since. I have two little ones, two and four, and am married to a lawyer who is very driven as well. Glebe has always been very dear to my heart. It has always been known as funky and cool, emanating good vibes. Perception is an important part of our business, not to mention how central we are in the city.”
I commented on how the average age of successful real estate agents in town appears to be going down. Sayah believes the flexibility of the job and the advent of so many technology-based tools in the industry make it ideal for the family person. He stressed the importance of the whole Ottawa area. In 10 or 15 years, he sees himself working with a successful team, his coverage reaching all of Canada and beyond.
“We are heavier in the residential side of the business though we do engage in leasing and some commercial edifices.” Currently The Reps have two initiatives in the commercial arena in excess of $2 million.
I left thinking of one of my favourite lines: “those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.” In that context, Ronaldo Sayah and The Reps are coming your way.
Michael Abbey is a retired high-tech professional and bridge enthusiast who writes about business for the Glebe Report. He can be reached at email@example.com.