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Up-and-coming Realtor Applies Commercial Real Estate Rigor To Help Residential Clients

Tess Keefe, Toronto Real Estate Agent

Attractive, young, and driven, Tess Keefe comes across as a very genuine person with professionalism and integrity. HomeKey had coffee with Tess last week to find out more about her forte.

HomeKey: You have a commercial real estate background? Tell us more about that.

Tess: Yes, after I graduated from McGill, where I did a degree in International Development, I traveled around South America for 5 months. After that, I started working at CBRE, which is the largest commercial real estate company in the world. Commercial real estate is a completely different environment. It's much more corporate, and there is much more emphasis on market and data analysis. The deal sizes were much bigger, but they were also much more infrequent. I was responsible for doing office leases, and did everything from cold calling to presentations to very large corporate clients. It was a very rigorous 2 years that I spent there and I learned a ton.

HomeKey: So why did you switch into residential real estate?

Tess: I have always been a bit of an entrepreneur, and I wanted to go out on my own. Also, I wanted to work in a field where I am interested in the end product. I am very interested in residential homes, and in fact, I own two investment homes in Hamilton. The last reason is that residential real estate is something most people can relate to, whereas the audience interested in commercial real estate is much smaller.

HomeKey: Does your background in commercial real estate help you now?

Tess: Definitely. In commercial real estate, all the decisions are based on analysis and logic. Companies decide whether a deal has good ROI (return on investment), and they make the deal or not based on that. There is very little emotion involved. There is definitely a lot more emotion involved in residential real estate, but I apply the same type of data analysis for my residential clients. Of course, residential real estate is not just all about ROI. There are many other things like school district, personal enjoyment, being close to certain communities, etc. that's difficult to put a number on. But for most people, their homes are still their single largest investment, so it is useful to do a ROI analysis.

HomeKey: Here is our last question:  One of your specialties is that you help people find investment properties. What are some good condo projects to invest in right now?

Condos are really great for personal enjoyment, but from a purely investment perspective, I don't necessarily think that condos would give you the best ROI. The reason is that condo fees can eat into your return very quickly, and you have very little control over that. I bought two homes that I rent out to students in Hamilton, and I continue to think Hamilton is a great place to invest in. Another great place to invest in would be Kitchener/Waterloo area. I recently helped a friend purchase her first investment property. She’s a young woman, working in Toronto, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see her so happy with her first investment real estate purchase. That is what I work for.


Tess Keefe is a Toronto real estate agent from Sutton Group Old Mill Realty Inc., Brokerage. Her profile on HomeKey can be found here.

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