Meet The Business Owner
1. Why did you start this business? How did you get into this business?
I have been a lawyer since 2010. I started a real estate law firm because I am passionate about helping people navigate the complex world of real estate transactions. I have always been drawn to the industry and have dedicated my career to mastering the legal aspects of buying, selling, and owning property. I believe that everyone should have access to expert guidance and representation when making such important decisions. I am thrilled to be able to provide that service through my firm and excited to apply my knowledge and experience to protect my clients’ rights and help them achieve their real estate goals.
2. How does the business today compare to the business when it first started?
It’s impossible to talk about real estate law today without acknowledging how much COVID-19 has changed things. It’s hard to think of another time when so many aspects of real estate (prices, tenancies, rents, mortgages, interest rates…etc.) changed so much and so quickly. Things that changed gradually before 2020 can turn on a dime today, and all signs suggest that the unpredictability will continue in 2023 and beyond.
That said, in many ways, our business is sturdier now than it has ever been. I started AHPC from scratch, so initially, it really was “just me.” When I was meeting with a client, I couldn’t answer phone calls or run to a bank. Now, I have a great team of dedicated staff. We can work completely remotely, we have established standard operating and risk management procedures, and we have a network of transaction partners that we can rely on. Today, we are better positioned to protect our clients and adapt to surprises than we have ever been.
3. What parts of your work do you find most enjoyable? What is the most rewarding part of owning your business?
It may sound overly sentimental, but knowing I made a positive impact on someone’s life genuinely means a lot to me. Occasionally, we will find something or provide advice that will save a client serious stress, time, and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s like car insurance – you hope you won’t need it, but if something goes wrong, having good insurance can be life-changing. The same applies to a good real estate lawyer. Most people do not buy or sell homes frequently enough to really understand what I mean, but experienced realtors do. And some of our loudest supporters are realtors.
4. What values do you run your business by?
Integrity, respect, and empathy.
“Lawyer” is a word that most people recognize, but most people have no idea what real estate lawyers do. For most of my clients, I will be the first lawyer they have worked with. So, sometimes I have to explain to clients what I do by analogy.
Part of my job is to inspect the legal history of a property and reduce, fix or neutralize risks to my client’s legal rights, such as the legal right of ownership. “Ownership” is actually a pretty strange concept: you can rent a car, drive it, and park it in your garage, but not be the owner. If you decide to sell that car, even though the buyer paid you for it, the rental car still belongs to someone else, even though the buyer doesn’t know.
In terms of how I protect my client’s rights, the things I do are similar to what a dentist does. Dentists perform certain inspections, and depending on what they find, dentists perform tasks to reduce, repair, or prevent harm. Dentists rely on their training and experience to decide which inspections, tests, or examinations to perform. Deciding on which inspections to perform is harder than most people realize – many exams are costly, not helpful, or invasive/require surgery, and no one wants to spend three days in a dentist’s chair for tests they probably don’t need. Patients rely on the professional judgement of their dentists to protect them, which is similar to what I do for my clients.
For me, integrity, respect, and empathy mean recognizing that part of my job is to communicate in a way that my clients can relate to and do a good job, even though my clients may not fully understand what I do or how I do it.
5. To what do you most attribute your business’s success?
My team and our clients. Our clients tell their realtors about us, they refer their co-workers, friends, and family to us, and they provide feedback to help us improve. And all of this is made possible by a solid team who are committed to our clients and delivering the highest quality of service. I have some of the best employees and clients a business could hope for.
6. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Before I became a real estate lawyer, I wouldn’t have thought of it as an area where lawyers “make a difference” in someone’s life. People don’t think of real estate the same way they think about criminal, human rights, or refugee law. But homes represent everything from cherished memories to one’s only chance at a retirement with independence and dignity, a lifelong dream, or even a dying wish.
Occasionally, a person will walk through our doors who needs someone to listen, really listen, and really try to help them. It is a precious thing to be able to do something genuinely good for someone else, and it has been an extraordinary privilege to serve our clients over the years.
7. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I have a dog/labradoodle, and I try to take him to the beach or Toronto Islands whenever I can – he loves the water. I probably watch too much TV, documentaries, movies, and YouTube. My husband and I also attend a lot of live theatres, musicals, the symphony, live comedy, and pop concerts. I love travelling and experiencing new places, foods, and sights. I also enjoy cooking, baking, and trying new recipes, but I probably should focus more on exercise than eating.
8. Do you have a personal cause about which you feel very strongly?
Toronto has a serious and growing housing crisis, which disproportionately affects LGBTQ+ youth. I grew up in Toronto, and while there has always been homelessness, it was nothing like this when I was younger. The organizations I volunteer with and donate to generally focus on homelessness or the LGBTQ+ community.