20 influencers in the world of real estate in Canada
Which Canadian real estate experts hold the largest weight when it comes to influencing others? Whether it be through savvy online marketing or rock-solid reputations, a select few have carved out massive reach for themselves. When these personalities talk, people listen.
We searched far and wide to find 20 people with big online followings or strong overall reputations within Canadian real estate.
Toran Eggert, Executive Vice President, Portfolio Management, Crombie REIT
Toran Eggert has already blazed a trail in a male-dominated profession as EVP of Portfolio Management at Nova Scotia’s Crombie REIT.
Prior to joining Crombie in 2017, Eggert had already served in the same role at Toronto’s Primeris, Canada’s leading enclosed shopping centre management company and a subsidiary of H&R REIT. Before that she spent three years heading up Portfolio Management at Redcliff Realty Management.
Erwin Szeto, Real Estate Entrepreneur, Director, Mr. Hamilton
Hamilton’s Erwin Szeto calls himself a “podcast host, blogger, speaker, philanthropist and all around nice guy.” He can back up those sentiments with four consecutive Real Estate Agent of the Year awards from 2015 to 2018. Nowadays Szeto is hard at work on his popular podcast, The Truth about Real Estate Investing Canada.
As well, Szeto’s philanthropic endeavours don’t go unnoticed. His registered charity the HamiltonBasketBrigade.com provides poverty relief in Hamilton by hand delivering over 2,000 holiday dinners to date to less fortunate families at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas since 2014.
Total social media following: 2,066
Craig Patterson, CEO, Retail Insider Media
Canadian real estate influencer Craig Patterson does it all: writer, researcher, retail analyst, retail and real estate consultant, public speaker, subject matter expert, former lawyer, and Editor-in-Chief of leading Canadian retail industry news magazine, Retail Insider.
Patterson holds significant weight as an influencer in Canadian real estate, shopping centre real estate and urban planning. He also serves as Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing, and as a Research and Special Projects Consultant with Retail Council of Canada.
Total social media following: 3,531
Nick Iozzo, Retail Innovation and Lead Generation at Oxford Properties Group
Iozzo, who’s social media accounts revolve around retail, fashion and fitness, is now a senior exec at Oxford Properties. Previously he was Director of Leasing at Cadillac Fairview, and before that he spent 13 years as Director of Real Estate for Rogers. Particularly in the Toronto real estate landscape, he’s a guy you probably want to know.
Total social media following: 3,819
John Crombie, Former Senior VP, Retail Canada & Business Development, Triovest
John Crombie’s real estate career started in 1986 in Toronto at Royal LePage Commercial. Eventually he shot up the ranks and became the Toronto East Operations for Cushman & Wakefield. In 2010, he took on a role in international sales and brokerage opportunities for Cushman & Wakefield’s Canadian retail business line.
Today Crombie heads up retail and business development at Triovest, a heavyweight in Canadian commercial real estate.
Total social media following: 4,178
Bob Dhillon, Mainstreet Equity Corp
Who can forget a name like Bob Dhillon? Perhaps that’s one of the reasons this Calgary-based realtor’s name seems to always be ringing around local real estate circles.
It could also be because Dhillon has cemented himself as a Canadian real estate legend. The self-made billionaire mogul is the founder of TSX-traded company, Mainstreet Equity Corp (TSX:MEQ). To get where he is today, Dhillon has continuously pushed the envelope on creative ways to market his companies.
His strongest social media account is LinkedIn, where over 4,000 people consume his content.
Total social media following: 5,826
Amy Youngren, North Group Real Estate
As the Founder of North Group, the Toronto realtor Amy Youngren undoubtedly leverages the power of Instagram as her most influential tool, with over 4,200 followers. There she posts pictures relating to her lifestyle living in Toronto and real estate listings, showing a very relatable image. She’s also a pretty big fan of Toronto: just check out her Pinterest handle.
Youngren previously earned a finalist nod at the Inman Innovator Awards, mostly from her impressive use of video marketing and a strong online presence.
Total social media following: 8,019
Michael Thorne, Mobile Agent TV, RE/MAX Little Oak
Little Oak, BC
A web entrepreneur and popular real estate agent, Langley, British Columbia’s Michael Thorne has leveraged the power of YouTube to generate large swaths of followers for his personal brand, Mobile Agent TV. The video and podcast series features “cutting edge insights in the real estate industry for RE/MAX agents coast to coast.” His Twitter and Facebook both attract over 2,000 followers each.
Thorne formerly was named one of Inman News’ 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders.
Total social media following: 8,061
Lisa Salt, Salt Fowler Team RE/MAX Vernon
Lisa Salt, one-half of the Salt Fowler Team in Vernon, British Columbia, is relentless across her six major social media accounts. Over 4,600 followers on LinkedIn stay connected with her, while over 2,000 followers on Twitter keep updated on a daily basis. Meanwhile, her Instagram account provides a glimpse into a more personal side, with nearly 1,000 followers.
Total social media following: 9,415
Greg Romundt, Centurion Asset Management Inc.
Romundt, the founder and president of Centurion Apartment REIT, has been engaged in investment in residential real estate since 1997. He’s only active on one social media channel, but it’s a big one: over 9,600 people follow his content on LinkedIn.
Centurion’s main business is buying multi-residential buildings in secondary Ontario markets. The apartment business has given Romundt and co. 27 straight years of positive returns, helping Centurion grow from about $80 million or so in assets in 2009 to $1.4 billion today.
Total social media following: 9,678
All of Pope Real Estate’s agents earning honourable mentions, mostly because of the firm’s great work they’ve done building their Instagram account with over 10,000 followers. The team posts enviable pictures of Toronto, interior designs, and luxury homes. The boutique firm specializes in residential sales and leasing of condos, lofts and city houses in Toronto’s core.
Pope’s aggressive social media strategy as a means of expansion allows it to sell exquisite pieces of Toronto real estate like this beauty.
Total social media following: 13,256
Roland Kogan, LuxuryBroker.ca
Roland Kogan is the LinkedIn king, spreading content across a growing list of 12,300 followers. His Twitter and Instagram counts are respectable too, with over 2,000 followers in each. Kogan’s niche is high-end luxury real estate in Toronto, and he does it well. His Twitter routinely features aerial drone videos of the property and GIFs of photo montages inside the home.
Total social media following: 16,586
Stefan Aarnio, Serial Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Author, StefanAarnio.com
Winnipeg’s Stefan Aarnio dresses flashy, markets like a genius and his online presence never forgets to remind you that he’s a multi-millionaire. He estimates that he’s currently among the top tenth percentile of the wealthiest Canadians. Aarnio is an Award Winning Real Estate Entrepreneur, author of Self Made: Confessions of a Twenty Something Self Made Millionaire and the winner of the Rich Dad International Hall Of Fame Award. Starting with only $1200, Stefan has built a multi-million dollar real estate business and multiple streams of income. He now teaches mastery courses on raising capital, negotiation and real estate sales. And, finally, he was recently named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s top real estate influencers.
Total combined social media following: 19,757
Sam McDadi, Team McDadi
Mississauga, Ontario agent Sam McDadi has strong follower numbers across all six major social media platforms, especially on Facebook and YouTube. Particularly impressive is his nearly 3,000 YouTube followers, a respectable feat for any content creator. There McDadi produces high-quality videos of his property listings for easy access.
When he’s not cheering on the Toronto Raptors, McDadi continues to find innovative and creative ways to get consistent eyeballs glued to his personal brand. And it seems to have worked: Team McDadi has now sold nearly 11,000 homes.
Total social media following: 24,214
Edward Sonshine, CEO and founder of RioCan REIT
Ed Sonshine was broke when he started RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust 20 years ago. Today RioCan is the second-largest Canadian REIT, worth an enterprise value of approximately $14 billion. It owns 289 primarily retail properties, with a net leasable area of 44 million square feet. As its leader, Sonshine has been responsible for building so many of the giant outdoor shopping malls one sees across the Canada. He is, like a select few others on this list, one of the godfathers of Canadian retail real estate.
And people tend to listen to him too, with nearly 28,000 followers on his LinkedIn account.
The 71-year-old is currently trying to steer RioCan into clearer waters after Choice Properties REIT, the real estate arm of Loblaw Cos., agreed to buy Canadian REIT for about $3.9 billion. Now RioCan will put $2 billion of its holdings, comprising about 100 properties, onto the market over the next two to three years.
Total social media following: 27,984
Cody Battershill, Owner of Calgaryism, REMAX REALTOR®
Calgary realtor Cody Battershill is the second most followed real estate agent on our list with over 35,000 total followers over five social media networks. His Instagram following alone is over 14,000 followers. He sold his first house when he was 20 years old, earned entry into the MLS Millionaire Dollar Club, and was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, all before turning 35 years old.
Battershill sports some unabashedly strong opinions on energy issues in Alberta, which doesn’t always go down smoothly with everyone. But he’s also big into giving back. Battershill is committed to several local charitable organizations that focus on children and youth. As well, he’s sat on two Boards of Governors at the Calgary Real Estate Board and is a former instructor for the Alberta Real Estate Association.
Total social media following: 35,676
Mike Holmes, builder/contractor, investor, TV host and philanthropist, Make It Right
When it comes to improving a piece of real estate in Canada, most people immediately think Mike Holmes. The 54-year-old has done an enviable job positioning himself as the eminent Canadian expert in home renovation over 17 years on television, including popular shows Holmes on Holmes and Holmes Inspection. In May 2010, Reader’s Digest’s second annual survey named Holmes as the second most widely trusted person in Canada behind David Suzuki.
His net worth is estimated at over US $30 million.
Total social media following: approx. 672,700
Jon Love, CEO, KingSett Capital
KingSett Capital boss Jon Love is an icon in the Canadian real estate industry. So much so he was named to the Order of Canada in July 2018.
Beginning in 1992, Love spent nine years as CEO of the family-run Oxford Properties. For the past 16 years he’s held the role of CEO at KingSett Capital, a leading Canadian private equity real estate business, which co-invests with pension funds and high net worth individual clients.
Today, the company has $11.1 billion in assets under management and provides expertise in real estate acquisition, ownership, development, leasing, management, financing, construction, disposition and lending.
Total social media following: 3,326
Scott McGillivray, Canadian businessman, investor, television host, author
McGillivray is the relatable and lovable award-winning host and executive producer of hit series Income Property, a home renovation show on HGTV. McGillivray is a frequent guest contributor on daytime talk shows such as Rachael Ray, VH1, The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Cityline and The Marilyn Denis Show. He has also made expert appearances on international programs like CNBC Squawkbox, ABC Nightline, FOX News, ET Canada, CNN’s Your Money, Canada AM, Breakfast Television and more.
Before Income Property, McGillivray reportedly bought his first real estate deal as a 21-year-old university student when he used a student loan as the down payment on a house. Today, over 435,000 people follow him on Facebook.
Total social media following: approx. 915,000
Drew and Jonathan Scott, real estate entrepreneurs, contractors, authors and television personalities
Vancouver, BC and Nevada, LV
The Scott brothers are practically Canadian royalty when it comes to real estate, with an incredible social media following.
By 18, the twins were buying and flipping homes, and by their mid-20s they had a thriving real estate, design and renovation business with hundreds of clients. The brothers eventually broke into the TV industry with hit shows like Property Brothers and Brother vs. Brother.
Today, the twins are worth an estimated $20 million. Over 2.7 million people follow the brothers on Facebook alone.
Total combined social media following: approx 7.5 million
By Joseph Czikk