Since we are hopefully going to be spending a lot of time together, it is important we get to know one another first. I’ll start…
My name is Graham Rowlands. I was born and raised in Toronto and other than a 6 month stint in Argentina to learn Spanish, I have lived here my entire life. I grew up near Avenue Road and Eglinton, went to school at Allenby (jk-6), then Hodgson (7-8) and then later again at North Toronto Collegiate Institute (high school). While at North Toronto I fell in love with my computer programming classes and decided I wanted to pursue a career in computers (different from the lawyer I always thought I would be as a kid). I attended Seneca College after High School where graduated on the President’s Honor List with a 3.8 GPA. I actually got a 98% in one of my classes which I was really impressed with. While at Seneca I did my co-op at BMW Canada which was AWESOME (I will never forget the wild Christmas party at the King Eddy or F1 weekend in Montreal) and after school I went to work at IBM for 5 years.
I started at IBM on a contract with Kelly Services and about 3 years into working there I was made full-time. I worked my way up in the department and eventually my job was to help with the transition of my department to Brazil, which I was NOT COOL WITH. Even though I didn’t have much in common with most of the people I worked with (I was in my early 20s and they were all 40+ – this is where I learned so much about Mortgages and could be the beginning of my real estate career), I didn’t like the idea of being responsible for them potentially losing their jobs. Fortunately, while at IBM, myself and a friend started an online business which started to make some money so I decided to leave the corporate life and venture out on my own path. The website started as a $10 investment and within a few years grew to the point where I was negotiating hundred thousand dollar deals and making millions of dollars… for other companies. This was where I first realized how much I loved to negotiate. The industry my business was in was rapidly changing, so I decided it was time to cash out and sold off the majority of my assets.
During this time I purchased my first condo. It took about 3 years, 3 different realtors, 20+ offers (including a multiple offer situation where I was 1 of 42 other offers) and seeing a hundreds of condos. I was probably the worst buyer, but I knew what I wanted and wasn’t going to settle. Eventually I did end up settling a little from what I really wanted, but I am so happy I did. I purchased a 733sqft condo at 4K Spadina in Cityplace. Sure, in hindsight I could have made a much better investment in other parts of the city but I did get about an extra 100sqft and a massive balcony and incredible view by moving a few blocks south of the King Street strip where I had been looking. It was during all this time that I realized how much I loved the real estate process.
I spent a few years after leaving the industry to learn social media and started a blog called CheapDude.com to help people find products and restaurants that offered great value. Social media was a lot of fun. I met plenty of great people, many of whom I am still friends with, and even met my wife at a Twitter event. We used to host an event called Afterwork Drinks TO and several of events were fundraisers to raise money for different charities that we felt strongly about. During this time I was approached by and worked with many large brands. Here are a few of them:
The best one though by far was working with NFL Canada. I was selected to be part of their first ever Digital Street Team to help grow the NFL brand in Canada. Being that I am a big football fan, it was a dream come true and I went on to win the challenge they held for me and the other influencers selected and got to attend a game down in Pittsburgh.
No matter where I was in life, one thing I always LOVED doing was helping people out. To give you an example, while at IBM I helped a friend start the biggest Tamil entertainment website in the World which went on to make LOTS of money. If anyone ever needed something I would put their needs before my own, but it made me happy to see others so happy.
One of my biggest complaints with the realtors I worked with when I was searching was it seemed they never really understood exactly what I liked and would often show me places that made no sense. I didn’t really feel like they were working for me, but rather just trying to sell me anything. That is NOT how I operate. I like to take the time to understand what my clients really want and then go out there and get it for them. Sometimes this takes a long time (I had one buyer that took about a year to find her the right place after losing out on many offers) and other times it is SUPER FAST (I had one client that I showed about 3 properties before we found “The ONE”). I never pressure clients into buying something they aren’t going to absolutely LOVE.
As I say on the sidebar of the site, my approach is simple. Whether you are a buyer, seller or investor, I treat my client’s money like my own. I really like money, so I don’t want to spend more than I have to on anything, and I always want to get the most that I can when it comes to selling anything. Education is very important, and I want my clients to make educated decisions with their hard earned money. I will walk you through the entire process, give you options and advise on which condos have great potential and which to avoid at all costs. If there is something I don’t know, I won’t hesitate to bring on another realtor who is an expert to ensure my clients get the best and most knowledgeable service.
I hope we can work together and I can get to know a bit about you too.