You may have heard of them – the Insider Condo Club is growing by word of mouth in the Toronto region as more realtors are looking to get the latest scoop on new developments and special pricing for their clients. The syndicate is known for helping realtors with pre-construction condo investments and broker sales extravaganzas.
We had a chat with Simon Mass, Principal of ICC, to hear all about the biz, the demand for company’s services and exactly how it all works.
BuzzBuzzHome: How did you come up with Insider Condo Club?
Simon Mass: For the past 15 years, we have been marketing and selling pre-construction condos to investors through a private syndication approach. During the course of conducting over $23 billion in sales, we noticed that there was a huge demand from GTA realtors to gain access to condo sites. Access was the main issue as well as ‘investor friendly’ pricing. To that end, we spent the better part of a year developing a Proprietary Software Platform as well as an impressive Advisory Board consisting of the “who’s who” of the development industry in Canada and the United States.
BBH: Why did you feel there was a need for it?
The need for ICC is strong and has already been proven. In late July 2014, we held our inaugural event for Garrison Point, a master-planned project. The soft launch was a two-hour event which managed to produce 128 sales, $55 million in transactions and over $3.3 million in commissions for our members.
To date, we have four sites planned or in the works for the balance of the year and we anticipate to be at $1 billion in sales in the next year or so.
BBH: How does ICC work in layman terms?
SM: I wanted it to be simple as most successful realtors are busy 24/7. Basically, as a member, you are given access to in-demand pre-construction sites whereby all of the negotiations have been made in advance for you and your clients. You will have priority access, discounted pricing, investor-friendly terms and higher commissions. Plus the top performers will have the opportunity to win a Bentley GT, Range Rover Sport or Jaguar XF at our annual convention.
We often hear about special software created for sales professionals to help expand their business. What’s your take on the software trend?
I think there’s an abundance of software on the market for sales professionals, but pretty much no one bothers to use them to their full potential. I feel that the simpler the system, the more likely it is it will be utilized to its fullest potential. For that reason, we invested a great deal of time and resources in making the ICC platform as easy as possible to use. It’s based around the premise of ‘one click to millions.’ If you know how to send a basic email, you are more than qualified to use our software.
BBH: What’s the recruitment process for your brokerage like? And how much are you looking to expand?
SM: We really don’t look at recruiting realtors. Most of the realtors in our brokerage division work in one of three ways: servicing our syndication client base on the assignment, resale, lease of their investment units; as in-house agents at developer sites; and as resale and leasing specialists in the condo sector. We are fortunate to have some of the leading high earning realtors with us for the past seven-plus years.
Expansion in the brokerage division is not on the books at all for us. We want to be able to provide all the brokerage firms the valuable tools that we’ve developed so that they can improve and increase their own recruitment models.
With so many VIP events happening through condo developers, what’s the point of an Insiders Club?
Its fair to say that only a small percentage of realtors get the access they need and even then, most of them are not given the privilege of buying the units that their clients request. As of now, most of the top earning one per cent of condo realtors get over 70 per cent of the access. In essence, no one really wants to step up and change the system to make it more fair for the average realtors who make up a huge market share.
It’s this premise that has allowed the formation of ICC as well its success in such a short period of time. We are able to work hand-in-hand with developers to transform the playing field for realtor access.
BBH: What does ICC offer that makes it stand out from the many different developer-operated platinum style or VIP clubs and groups?
SM: We feel times have changed and we need to even the playing field for everyone. Many leading developers have already contacted us and asked us for proposals for projects they have in the pipeline for 2015 and beyond as they too have realized they need to step up their game and appeal to the masses versus a small group of realtors and buyers.
Many so-called VIP or Platinum clubs require a realtor to prove themselves by doing five to 10 deals before they can even get access to any worthy sites. ICC allows any licensed realtors in good standing with their real estate board to join and have the same access as the most successful member.
BBH: I understand that ICC is involved in charity work with the Sick Kids Foundation. Why did you choose it as your charity of choice? What are your fundraising goals for the foundation in the upcoming year?
SM: We have been extremely fortunate to be working in an industry that has and continues to boom beyond everyone’s expectations. It would be a shame if we didn’t give back. Many of my clients are in the health and medical arena and after speaking to them, decided that Sick Kids Foundation was a very worthy cause.
From our inaugural event at Garrison Point, we pledged a donation of $10,000 and hope to be able to raise over $100,000 in our first year of operations. We are looking forward to encouraging our members to also come forward and step up and give.
In 2014, we were also involved in a charitable endeavor with St. Michael’s Hospital. We contributed $50,000 to the Cardiovascular Research program to specifically sponsor a PhD student through her program and to add to the incredible work that St. Michaels Hospital does on a daily basis.