Headquarters: Vaughan, ON
Leadership: Matthew Ablakan, founder and owner
CMP: What’s the biggest advantage of being an independent brokerage?
Matthew Ablakan, founder and owner: The biggest advantage to being an independent brokerage is that you get to market your brand and culture. There are no restrictions, and you don’t have to have someone else’s name on it. By creating a brand, you are able to grow your business based on your reputation and experience.
CMP: What do you do to cultivate your brand and make it memorable for clients or differentiate yourself from other brokerages?
MS: RateShop is all about turnaround times; what takes other brokerage systems days, takes us hours. Our effort in maintaining a strong online presence and delivering better and faster approvals is what sets us apart.
We strive to offer transparency and education to our clients, so our agents heavily rely on a robust and efficient online platform that exceeds client expectations from application all the way to funding.
CMP: What are you most proud of from 2019?
MS: Last year was a turning point for us. We realigned our goals, as unpredictable housing market adjustments meant greater flexibility, a more diverse product offering and a more knowledge-driven approach to sales.
Huge investments in technology paid off, training programs were redesigned with value and competition in mind, and our in-house lending programs saw a surge. We saw a 53% jump in agent transfers [to our brokerage], which validated that we were doing something different, and we were doing it right.
CMP: What are you looking forward to in 2020?
MS: This year will be about expanding into multiple new offices across Ontario, staying one step ahead of the competition and delivering more success to our agents.