8 Ways to Start Strong and Stay Strong in Real Estate

Tav Schembri

Tav Schembri was fresh from the real estate starting gate when he closed nearly $80 million in total sales volume in 2013.

Yes, $80 million in one year.

Helping propel him was a land sale valued at more than $50 million, which he says was the largest in the city’s history at that point.

The former hairstylist and competitive squash player from Caledon, Ontario, earned his real estate license in July 2012 and immediately set his sights on success. He found it, he says, based in part on his ability to maintain relationships, loving what he does and stepping into the ring with large-scale developers. Eighteen 4-by-8 signs advertising his name in nearby Brampton don’t hurt either.

“It’s a career I knew I’d enjoy,” Schembri says. “But I never knew I’d enjoy it this much. When I first started, I couldn’t go to sleep because I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning.”

The Sales Associate with RE/MAX Realtron in Toronto – who has been featured on the cover of REM and in the pages of Caledon Citizen and CanIndia News – shares his tips and personal insights.

1. Work with the Best

When I decided to get into real estate, I wanted to deal with the best in the industry. I now know I’m working with the best in the world – and that feels good. I think the RE/MAX brand has helped me tremendously, especially starting out. Belonging to RE/MAX helped me establish a strong reputation, no question about it. And I’ve been able to network with and learn from top agents by attending events like the RE/MAX Elite retreat, hosted by RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic. Someday, I hope to be able to share my own secrets of success with new agents to help boost their sales.

2. Love What You Do

When you choose a career that you really enjoy, it doesn’t even feel like work. I have no problem getting up in the morning, getting a jump on my work and working as late as I can. Every day. I know at some point I’ll have to slow down, but right now it’s quite easy for me.

3. Nurture Relationships

As a hairstylist, I was really well-known in the area. I kept in contact with my past clients, and we had some get-togethers. One thing led to another and client after former client ended up listing properties and buying with me. Once it started, it just kept going. Contacts from the past and referrals from my hairstyling clients helped me get started.

4. Understand Your Clients

My strength is being able to read what people are really saying, even if they’re saying something else. When we go to negotiate, a lot of times I just put the facts on the table and let the clients do most of the negotiating. That way it’s not a hard sell at all. They’re very comfortable with it because I’ve done all my homework for them and they have all the information.

5. Lead with Confidence

Every Associate has to learn how to have or build up their confidence. Real estate is a tough industry if you don’t feel confident. A lot of strategy and discipline is required to succeed, and being rejected once, twice, three times is just going to help you strategize how to reach the ultimate goal: selling or buying a property. Always go into listing presentations thinking you’re going to get the listing.

6. Compete to Succeed

Whenever I get into something – it doesn’t matter what it is – I always strive to be the best. I don’t just test the waters; I jump in headfirst. If I’m going to get into it, then I’m going to do the best I can. That’s what I’ve done in real estate. My advice is that if you need coaching or help, get it. Realize your shortcomings and make them stronger. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. In the meantime, use your strengths to your advantage.

7. Speak the Truth

During my first listing presentation, the homeowners asked me how many homes I had sold in the past. It’s the question all new agents dread. And I just said to them, ‘I’ve got to be honest. You’re my first customers, but I will work extra hard to sell your place. I know I can do the job; I’m confident about it.’ There was some hesitation – the husband and wife looked at each other – and then they signed the contract. If you’re honest, someone will give you the opportunity.

8. Overcome Your Fears

Builders intimidate a lot of new agents because they have a lot of money and knowledge. But I find that one of the big pluses of real estate is bringing two parties together. I get a lot of builders approaching me now, which I never thought would happen. They see my signs, they know me now and they call me on a regular basis.

Bonus Styling Tip!

First impressions do work. Not only should your attire be professional when meeting prospective clients, your hair – and makeup – should be also. A well-pressed suit and foil accent highlights with a current, clean cut go a long way. If your hair is not looking great, your clients might think, ‘If they’re not looking after themselves, how can they look after me?’

Read about other new licensees who are taking the field with RE/MAX confidence:
All-Star Rookies



Join the Conversation


I was very touched when i was reading Mr. Schembri article. Great Job!!
I joined RE/MAX a year ago almost, RE/MAX did give me a great deal of confidence in my self & my abilities, knowing that i come from a real estate backround, Dubai UAE.

Joining RE/MAX open the world for me, make my listings visible glaobaly, my work easier & smarter, poeple start to contact me more with trust.

RE/MAX open many doors to me personally, joining RE/MAX is to expect more than the expected.

I do advice everyone out there to join the real estate leaders, great journey & great results.


Hi Teddy! Yes, it’s a great article! I’m a new agent myself. I work out of Palm Coast, FL and my focus is on luxury and international properties. I hope we can do business together! 🙂

I really enjoy reading your tips about this industry. I started with Remax in Port Elizabeth and I know they are good in training but please I need more information as I want to open up my office as well. At the moment I’m in Cape Town with Remax too and my intention is to have a franchise with Remax as well. Please dont hesitate to contact me anytime with some good advises

Joy Tywakadi

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