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Meet the Experts: Margaret Gourlay

In our Meet the Expert series, we talk to experienced real estate professionals and experts for their insights on the real estate profession. Whether you are considering or currently pursuing a career in real estate, here are some first-hand tips about succeeding in the industry.

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In this edition, we sit down with Margaret Gourlay, a subject matter expert with NIIT who has helped shape the Real Estate Salesperson Program.


Q: What attracted you to the real estate profession?

Marg: I was attracted to real estate because it was one of the few professions where I could continue my own education and develop an awareness of the prevailing business environments. The profession provides great growth opportunities, especially for those who are willing to go the extra mile. As my knowledge and experience grew, so did my clientele. Once I had a significant client base, I was able to open my own brokerage.


Q: And how does that translate to real estate education?

Marg: Continuing education lends itself to building confidence and being a life-long learner. I love teaching others about real estate education, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the team that is shaping the Real Estate Salesperson Program.


Q: What are some things you’ve learned along the way that would help someone just starting up?

Marg: Developing your interpersonal skills can truly help you to look after others. The real estate profession is not about you, its about your client and customers. Some essential tips that I have for new real estate professionals are:

  • Dress appropriately based on the clientele. If you are meeting in a boardroom, you need a suit. If you are meeting a client at the park, it might be okay to be dress casually.
  • You need reliable transportation. In the city, public transit or a ride service works great. If you are in a more suburban area, make sure you have a reliable car, and keep it clean!
  • You should use appropriate language and become well-versed in business and real estate terminology.
  • Get involved in the community. Volunteer or join clubs to become known within your neighbourhood, and to get the know the area in which you are selling properties.
  • Build strong relationships with your clientele. They are your best advocates. Always remember to ask people about themselves.
  • Learn what is important to the buyer or seller. Ask them what their dreams are. It will help you in finding suitable properties that fit their individual needs.
  • Be prepared and do appropriate research. Learn about properties, neighbourhoods, schools etc. These are factors that may matter greatly to your client or customers.
  • Observe opportunities for others, whether a client or a peer. What goes around comes around.


Q: Can you tell us a favourite anecdote?

Marg: Here is one of my favourite stories, that I still laugh about it to this day. I had invited some people over for a dinner party. I had just seen a property and it was very exciting, so much so, that my enthusiasm caused my friends to ask if I could show them that property. Well, they subsequently bought that property and I helped them sell their house. After all was said and done, they said, “Marg, don’t invite us over for dinner again.

Being a real estate professional is about the people and the relationships you will build. My friends still do come for dinner, but they always say, “we are not buying another house”, when they accept my invitation. 😊


Q: Tell us something unique about a program module that you contributed to/ helped create?

Marg: The program, as a whole, stands out for me. From residential to commercial real estate topics, being able to contribute to the development of the Real Estate Salesperson Program has been a great experience. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing professionals, and having the ability to build information, answer questions and share expertise has been wonderful.


Start your career in real estate today. Learn more about the Real Estate Salesperson Program.

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Looking to start your career in real estate? 

Apply now to the Real Estate Salesperson Program. 

Already a real estate salesperson looking to take the next step?

Register for the Broker Qualifying Exam to get started with the Real Estate Broker Program.