Award-Winner Hits 25 Years as Top Earner in Real Estate
by Derek Mellon
THE WOMAN WITH THE HAT
That’s how most people identify Joan Smith, salesperson for Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.
In fact, Smith and her hat have become so linked to one another that not only does she never go to work without it, but people often call Royal LePage asking to speak with the lady with the hat.
But among her peers, Smith’s hat is far less important than her record of selling houses.
“Houses are houses, but it’s the people relationship that is important,” says Smith.
“Some people handle it better than others,” says Smith.
Smith credits her father as the reason she’s in sales today.
Married with two young daughters, Smith was looking to enter the workforce in the mid-1960s. Her father, who was fascinated with the real estate market, suggested that she should try finding a job in the sales field.
Despite trying to crack a sector dominated by men, Smith landed her first job working for a small real estate office in downtown Ottawa.
Her first sale was a small house in Centretown – after nine counter-offers and a number of worried looks from her boss, Smith finally closed the deal, selling the house for $20,000.
Shortly thereafter, Smith found a job at Royal Trust, which later became Royal LePage.
Smith recalls being one of only two women working in the office. “Being a young woman in the industry was a bit of a hurdle,” says Smith, who had few role models in the business to look up to.
During her first five years, Smith also attended university, earning a number of real estate qualifications. Along with being a real estate broker, Smith is certified in real estate marketing and is a registered residential appraiser.
During that period, Smith also helped start the Kanata bridge club and became one of the city’s first Girl Guide leaders. Oddly enough, during her 27 years as a real estate salesperson in Kanata, Smith has never moved from her original home, though she has seen just about every house in the city.
That’s not to say there haven’t been changes in the real estate business over the years.
Smith, who lists mainly west of Bronson, has her own website and logo (a silhouette of her and her hat) and lists or sells an average of 120 houses a year.
She sells everything from $75,000 homes to, as Smith likes to say, “the big stuff.” Her most recent sale closed at $558,000.
Smith says she’s fortunate to have made the plunge into the sales market. “I’m very lucky that I found something I like and something I’m good at.”