December’s Broker Spotlight:
Samantha has been serving the B2B industry in Kelowna for over 17 years, predominantly in the fields of sales and marketing. In 2008 Samantha was the National Sales & Marketing manager for Homes & Land Real Estate Magazine until she launched her own publication, The Kelowna Shopping Guide, which she franchised in 2013. In 2014 she founded OMG Web Development & Design Inc., a boutique digital marketing agency which has brought to market and grown several national brands.
Samantha has helped to found the Kelowna chapter of Valhalla Angels, an Angel Investment Club in Kelowna that expanded from Alberta. In 2018, Samantha acquired the Downtown Business Center, a Commercial Office Rental business in Downtown Kelowna which has since grown to over three different office centres.
With her diverse background in entrepreneurship, private equity, business development, leasing and real estate marketing Samantha is uniquely qualified to help local Real Estate Investors buy, sell and lease Commercial Real Estate in the Okanagan.
Q&A WITH Samantha
What has been your biggest career win? What did you learn from it?
The highlight of my career and what I am most passionate about is my office rental business, which I have owned and operated in downtown Kelowna since 2016. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience of working with small business tenants. I am continuing to grow this business into a multi-location, sales and leasing company.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career. Why was it important for you?
A pivotal moment in my career was getting my commercial real estate license as I became increasingly passionate about my office rental business. I wanted to expand my skill set and services beyond my location and into my local community, providing the same benefits to landlords and tenants and commercial buyers and sellers.
How has the industry changed since you started?
Since I earned my license, the mortgage rates have gone up. In addition, the industry and local markets have become increasingly opportunistic for tenants looking to find space. This change in market trends has created new opportunities and allowed me to be a part of a different market.
What are the biggest revenue opportunities you are seeing in CRE today?
Given the high cost of residential home prices in this current market, there is an excellent opportunity for investors to become commercial real estate landlords. The increase in inventory gives tenants a chance to secure more competitive rates over longer-term lease periods.
What do you think the CRE industry needs?
British Columbia should have separate commercial real estate licenses from residential ones. They are very different specialties. Other provinces are already this way, and I think it would be good for British Columbia to keep up with them.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
It is crucial to pick a brokerage with very strong leadership and people with teaching aptitudes. Doing and teaching are two different things. It is imperative to align with a leadership team and partners that share your values and are complementary to your learning styles.
Tell us about your biggest learning moment in the industry so far?
So far, I have had exciting opportunities to learn through doing. I have learned about the importance of environmental evaluations and how they impact clients’ commercial assets. I have also learned the differences between my market segments and the cities throughout the Okanagan Valley.
What are the toughest technological challenges in the industry you are seeing?
I don’t t feel there are any real technological challenges in the industry. As a technology power user, I know how to utilize various software and tools. I also appreciate what the CREA has done with data feeds and their internal systems. It’s not to say that the individual systems don’t have room for improvement, but I know that they are constantly improving. I enjoy being part of that process and watching the systems change and develop as time goes on.
What technologies should brokerages be investing in right now?
I believe marketing automation systems should be more utilized in the average Realtors’s digital infrastructure. Leveraging these amazing platforms will increase efficiency and exposure, increasing clients’ investments and returns and our service as professional agents.
What tactics have you used to establish yourself as a trusted CRE professional?
My background is unique with 17 years of digital marketing and real estate marketing experience. I provide an above-average marketing experience and value package for my clients. My competitors typically must outsource these services at high costs that would exceed any possible return. Still, given my ownership of a small boutique marketing agency and my subsequent experience, I provide an exceptional marketing experience at a fraction of the cost of my competitors.
How do you qualify potential tenant leads?
Proper qualification always begins on the first contact. Simple screening questions are a great and important way to get a good idea of the tenant. As you go through the process, financial questionnaires become more formal. It is essential to understand what your landlords’ benchmarks are for what an acceptable tenant is. If a tenant and landlord are not a match, services can still be provided to help that tenant find a place that suits their current position and what they are looking for.
Check out last month’s Broker Spotlight here.
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