Two phone calls changed Calgary real estate agent Wasim Elafech’s life.
Elafech was driving his kids home from school on a Friday afternoon in January, when he received the first call from his employer Century 21, the largest real estate company in the world.
They congratulated him for becoming the number one real estate agent in Canada.
“It was my daughter’s birthday and her jaw dropped when she heard them say that […] you know that week I was like, ‘This is a great, great feeling,’” he explains.
Exactly one week later, he received another phone call, this time from global Century 21. He was told that he’s been officially ranked number one (based on units sold) in all 78 countries the company works out of.
Elafech says he was in complete shock upon hearing the news, and at first thought it was a joke, since their franchise competes with major countries like Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
“I was like, ‘Okay you can’t joke around with stuff like this.’ They’re like, ‘We’re dead serious, you make us proud, number one in Canada and now number one in the world,’” he recalls. “So yeah, it was unbelievable.”
“Definitely my wife teared up when she heard, and they told me I’m going to be recognized in Orlando for that,” he adds.
Elafech says he attends the Global Century 21 Conference — one of the largest real estate conventions in the world— every year, but has never been, ‘The guy up on stage’ before. This year however, he owned the stage in Orlando, Fla.
“I used to look at the guy on stage and say, ‘Man, he must’ve worked hard and a lot to get there’ and then when I was there I’m like, ‘Now it’s me!’”
Elafech never really thought of entering the real estate world until after he bought his first property.
Born and raised in Calgary, he had several different jobs before becoming a real estate agent. He started off as a hairdresser, worked at his parents’ restaurant, and was even a dump truck driver for a period of time.
“I did a lot of things prior to real estate, and this is definitely my favourite career path that I chose for sure,” says Elafech, now the world’s top agent.
Elafech has been in the business for 13 years, selling everything from commercial to residential units. A unit being any type of commercial or residential building like shopping centres, plazas, houses/condos, and even land.
Despite the economic downturn that the city experienced in 2015, Elafech was still able to sell many units, mostly commercial.
Most of his sales in 2015’s economic plunge accumulated from a new project Bravo Realty is associated with called The New Horizon Mall, a massive Asian-themed mall with 500 spaces to be built north of Calgary in the near future.
“In the new mall, there are single units, double units, triple units, and usually these units are for lease. We’ve actually been selling them. So it’s the first time I think in Western Canada a project this size they actually sold the units in the mall; we’ve already done over 400 sales,” says Elafech.
According to Graham Wilson, owner/broker of Century 21 Bravo Realty in Calgary, the housing market hasn’t been that great. He says residential sales declined by 35-40 per cent in the last year, but the commercial market was doing much better, mainly because of the Horizon Mall project.
Elafech says he’s done approximately 1,500 presentations to clients, owners, buyers, Realtors, employers, etc. and sold a total of 270 units just last year, adding up to $130 million.
He says he’s received many awards throughout his career as a real estate agent, so many he can’t even count them.
He also says it makes him feel good to be approached by others who immediately want him to list their home, or being contacted by people via phone and email with huge requests without even having to do research on him. Becoming number one in the world is enough to prove why he’s the right man to look to for help.
Elafech always says, “I don’t list homes, I sell homes,” because anybody can list a house, but not everybody can sell, and that’s how he differentiates himself.
Wilson says Elafech was a lucky guy. He got lots of clients, sold a great deal of places after his first few years as a Realtor and worked his way up since. He would sometimes have to stay at work from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and when it came to meetings, “Wasim would meet even on evenings and weekends and doesn’t whine about it, “ he adds.
Wilson also believes Elafech’s likeable personality, honesty, and commitment are what earned him the highest level of achievement.
“I have to be doing a lot of things at once, or I’ll go crazy. I can never not be busy,” says Elafech. “Even though I must just be sitting at the office, I’m doing probably 100 things in my head, whether it’s looking for another project for somebody or I’m helping somebody else with a deal. A lot of people call me, all the time.”
He also admits to having his phone taken away by his wife and locked up in a safe all the time during family events.
“I’m attached to my phone.”
Not only is Elafech a busy business man, he is also a busy father of two, ages 7 and 11, who both play various sports.. Elafech admits to never missing a single one of their practices, and still manages to make time for his family.
“My kids had tournaments in Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, I never missed any of them.” Elafech says. “So when people say they don’t have time for something, with business you can definitely make time, you just gotta know your priorities.”
Elafech also recently started playing hockey in the evenings with some friends to get his mind off of real estate for a bit.
“I need to do something for myself,” he says.
According to Alex Halat, one of Elafech’s longtime clients, he is a very diligent individual, and is known for his genuine nature.
“The friendliest guy you’ve ever met. He’s community driven, charitable, he’s always glad to help anyone that’s in need. Oh yeah, honest, hard working, you couldn’t say one bad thing about the guy,” says Halat.
So if you have a dream, call Wasim.
The editor responsible for this piece is Brendan Stasiewich, firstname.lastname@example.org