Calgary-area REALTORS® Herb Styles and Ray Pfob are celebrating 50 years in the business this year – an impressive milestone by any measure.
Both entered the industry somewhat by happenstance, but five decades later, neither man would trade his time in real estate – including all the stories and bits of wisdom collected along the way – for anything.
“It’s been one of the most exciting and fulfilling careers that I could have ever asked for,” said Styles, an agent with RE/MAX Complete Realty in Calgary. “I feel very honoured to have been part of a great business and a great bunch of people.”
Pfob, broker and owner of Pfob Real Estate Ltd. in Champion, AB, is similarly grateful for his many years as a Realtor, especially the opportunity to meet so many people and share in their experiences.
“People is the big thing that probably kept me in it many times,” he said. “You know, (real estate) is bricks and mortar and two-by-fours, but it’s a very emotional thing, very intimate.”
In a profession with a high rate of turnover, Styles and Pfob have stood the test of time. They attribute their longevity to lessons they learned early in their careers – particularly, the importance of honesty and building relationships with clients.
“Always be truthful, don’t oversell the product,” said Styles. “Don’t talk someone into a sale if they really can’t afford it, especially if you personally believe it’s not right for them.”
Pfob put it in even simpler terms: “Just don’t lie to people.”
“You know, (real estate) is bricks and mortar and two-by-fours, but it’s a very emotional thing, very intimate.” – Ray Pfob, Pfob Real Estate Ltd.
When asked what has changed most about real estate in the last 50 years, Styles and Pfob both singled out home prices.
“Houses that we were selling back in those days for anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, they would be ranging from $350,000 to $700,000 today,” said Styles.
As an example, Pfob cites the first sale of his career. “(It was) a four-level split in Haysboro for $12,000 in 1970,” he said. “I think I made around $400 or something like that.”
Styles, meanwhile, doesn’t remember the details of his first sale, but he does remember his first home purchase: a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom house in Parkdale that he and his wife bought for $11,000. “Today, the land value alone for that property is worth about $700,000,” he said.
There have also been some major changes to the business of real estate over the years, but both men agree those changes have been good news, for the public and for the real estate community.
“Our business has definitely become much more professional than it used to be,” said Pfob, adding there are more opportunities for education and mentorship available to new Realtors than ever before. “I learned as I went along. There was really nobody there to teach me anything.”
Styles says there is also a much greater emphasis on ethics and standards of conduct within the industry.
“They’ve tightened up a whole lot on the ethics,” he said. “They’re good changes and I support them all.”
If you happen to be in the market for your first home and were wondering whether either of these real estate veterans have any advice to share, you’re in luck. Despite spending the bulk of his career working with commercial properties, Styles was quick to offer up one simple piece of advice for first-time buyers who are sizing up the market and deciding whether to take the plunge.
“Get into a home as soon as you can,” he said. “The only difference between a good deal and a bad deal in real estate is time.”