Sue Dunton approaches her life as a Broker with Royal LePage Performance Realty the same way she approached life as part of Canada’s Women’s Volleyball team: it takes a team to get results. While her professional volleyball playing days of the 1980s are behind her, that same philosophy she had on the court helped her become a top 1% Royal Lepage REALTOR® in real estate.
“You have to believe in yourself and the skills you have, but you also have to know how to draw on your teammates’ experiences in order to be efficient and effective,” Dunton says from her Pretoria Avenue office. “You certainly have to be open to ideas from others, but you also have to know when it’s time to take the ball and run with it… or kill it, to use a volleyball metaphor.”
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Real estate dream team
Throughout her 17 years as a REALTOR®, Dunton has progressed from a solo agent to assembling her own real estate dream team consisting of longtime friend and business partner, Morena Mazzara; sales representative Ilia Fabbri; client care representative Alessandro Fabbri; office manager Shandeigh Whamond; and illustrator Brent Charbonneau.
“It’s very hard to work in real estate solo now, and so I surrounded myself with professionals who are like-minded and who want to help our clients achieve their goals. We want to overserve our clients, but we also recognize—as most people are doing now thanks to the pandemic—there needs to be balance in our lives, too. Real estate is a full contact sport, and you need all hands on deck… so having a dedicated team to help at all hours of the day is beneficial, if not essential.”
Competitive housing market in Ottawa
It’s 6:30 p.m. on a rainy Tuesday in July. As most of Ottawa’s working population is winding down from a busy day at work, Sue’s day is reaching a peak. Before heading to a home inspection, she gets to make the phone call every agent lives for: one of her client’s offers was accepted and she gets to call him to break the joyous news.
“I’ve actually become overwhelmed with emotion making those calls over the past several months,” Dunton says, alluding to the competitive housing market Ottawa has experienced since summer 2020. “It’s been so difficult for buyers, and unfortunately for some, it’s taken a long time—a lot of failed bids, especially for first-time home buyers—for them to get that call. But when that day comes, I wouldn’t miss being a part of that celebration for the world. It’s such a joyful feeling.”
It’s not just buyers she connects with as some of her seller clients have waited their whole lives to pay off a mortgage, retire and achieve financial freedom.
“There’s a lot of those wonderful success stories happening now, too,” she adds.
When the time comes to finally relax after a long day (although, as she says, real estate isn’t a career or even a passion, it’s a way of life she wouldn’t change for the world), Dunton spends her time at her Old Ottawa South home, and is looking forward to travelling to see family once again.
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Quick Hits with Sue Dunton
What’s a client getting if they choose you to be their REALTOR®?
“They’re getting someone who is genuine. Someone who has a level of service quality and expertise that doesn’t come overnight. Me and my team carefully listen to the wants and needs of our clients and help take them from the passenger seat to the driver seat. A big part of our approach is transparency and education—we want you to feel empowered into making this substantially large financial decision, and we’re all here to guide you through it. Even after the transaction is done, I want to make myself available for clients. I have so many connections with trusted professionals—general contractors, electricians, HVAC experts, mortgage brokers… you name it. My goal is to be your REALTOR® for life, not just for one purchase or sale.”
What’s it like working as a REALTOR® in Ottawa’s hot housing market?
“Well, first off, Ottawa has an incredible stock of properties in a beautiful environment. This is a beautiful city and there’s something for everyone. Yes, it’s competitive, but I find the environment we work in is quite sophisticated, highly professional and very rarely do things go sour when tensions and stakes are high.”
What drew you into becoming a REALTOR®?
“I love challenges and problem solving, and one beautiful thing about real estate is you get to work with a client directly and see first hand the results of your hard work paying off into whatever goal they have, whether it be finding a rental, investment property, home of their own… there are so many avenues in real estate to solve problems and I live for that. I also love helping people achieve their dreams, on the buying and selling side.”
Why have you decided to live and work in Ottawa?
“I’m originally from Hamilton, but I came to Ottawa to be a part of Canada’s Women’s Volleyball team and fell in love with this city. I then started working for the City of Ottawa and did that for many years—touching on everything from parks and recreation, culture, community service and as part of their communications team. I saw all corners of this city and I do think Ottawa is slated to continue its growth into the future.”
What’s your philosophy?
“Keep it simple and lead by example.”