Interview: Desmond Von Teichman, Locations North

Desmond von Teichman is the Broker/Owner of Locations North, servicing the areas of Wasaga Beach, Meaford, Creemore, Collingwood, Clearview, and the Blue Mountains in Ontario.

He sat down with Home Suite Home host Kelly Caldwell to discuss the importance of teamwork and shared values in giving back, his firm’s customer service philosophy, and how ARUs are important in supporting homeownership aspirations, especially for new Canadians.

Video Transcript

Kelly: Thanks so much, Des, for taking the time to meet with us today.

Des: My pleasure.

Kelly: Yeah, so, I’m going to take some time to kind of highlight some of the incredible things that you and the brokerage have done. You won some pretty incredible awards over the years.

Des: I’ve been very lucky.

Kelly: Yeah, one of them, I’d just like to read it was, the A.E. LePage Award for Brokerage of the Year in Ontario in 2016. And just so our audience knows what that means. I’m just going to take a moment to describe it. It’s described as a prestigious award recognized to the top broker-owner who demonstrates incredible leadership, both at the brokerage level and through community involvement and contribution, including Royal LePage Shelter Foundation support. This award is presented to a Royal LePage broker in each region.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, you went on to receive in 2023 the Philanthropist of the Year for the Shelter Foundation.

Des: Mmmhmm.

Kelly: You’ve been described by some of your staff as a self-driven entrepreneur looking to improve systems.

Des: You should never ask my staff what they think of me.

Kelly: A true team player who strives to create team cohesion and a leader who cultivates collegiality through building of brokerage culture.

Des: Wow.

Kelly: So getting yourself and your team to a place where these kinds of comments are being made about you and where the team is achieving these types of awards, takes a certain kind of drive. So my question to you is what is your why?

Des: Well, first let me say that I’m really glad you said team awards because they are team awards. You’re part of the team and we’re all pulling on the same end of the rope. And when you focus on being excellent at things like giving back to the community and philanthropy, then it all works out when you’re surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded.

And so you ask me what my why is and I would say that that success is my why and I don’t mean financial success, but I mean doing great things and and succeeding where you intend to succeed. So, when you intend to support a great organization like My Friends House, and you surround yourself with a team who help you do it, and you actually make a meaningful contribution that’s success in my mind and that drives me.

Kelly: Wonderful. So you’re very intentional with things that you do and how you go about doing things to making sure that the team gets to a certain objective. Yeah. Amazing. Thank you. So you’ve owned Locations North for 15 years is that about right?

Des: Yeah.

Kelly: So you’ve surely seen some ups and downs in the economy that I haven’t seen yet. You’ve seen some market cycles that I haven’t seen yet. Admittedly, I did do a little bit of Googling on you, and I was reading some articles and I just wanted to read a quote that you were quoted as saying, and it says “Real estate is not a short-term game. Where we live matters. And that is a long-term conversation.” Which I love that quote.

So, the question is, how do you see accessory dwelling units fitting into the housing equation over the next 5 to 10 years, keeping that long-term perspective in mind?

Des: I mean, I think it’s going to be an incredibly important part of our ongoing real estate landscape here. We are in a true housing crisis in this country and in this area, and particularly, and that’s reflected in the out-of-control price increases that we saw partially due to the pandemic, partially, and I think substantially due to a lack of systemic supply.

Accessory dwelling units have the real ability to alleviate some of that pressure. And it’s an important conversation as well about how we live as Canadians, right? We know that adult children stay in the house longer. We know that our parents want to age in place rather than being filed away in a home. Accessory dwelling units are a really important part of that conversation and will, I think, support the way Canadians use their real estate in an ongoing way.

Kelly: I tend to agree. Yeah, it kind of serves a whole multitude of purposes, whether it’s for your children or for your aging parents. It’s a multi-generational living.

Des: And it can also, you know, if you’re using it, as rental income, it can also support, you know, Canadians’ number one aspiration, especially if you ask new Canadians, their number one aspiration is homeownership in the first five years of becoming a Canadian, you know, having a rental dwelling inside of your dwelling and the ability to, help pay your mortgage through having a renter in there is incredibly important to achieve that dream of homeowner homeownership.

Kelly: Sure. It creates a win-win for everybody. Somebody’s looking for a place to live, somebody needs help subsidizing their mortgage, and it creates a win-win situation.

Des: And alleviate some of the pressure on the housing market, which is severe.

Kelly: Absolutely, absolutely. So there are several brokerages across Southern Georgian Bay, and you own the largest of them. My question to you is, as a client who’s looking to enter into a contract with a brokerage, what can an individual expect to receive in terms of customer service?

Des: Great question. At Locations North we have what we call the three Ps. So we strive to deliver personal, progressive and professional real estate services. The personal is obvious, right? I mean, a client’s relationship is not with the brokerage, it’s with the agent. And we strive to support the agent in supporting their clients.

But progressive and professional is obvious, right? We deploy the best technology we can to support our agents and clients, whether that’s best-in-class websites or best-in-class marketing. We have a fully-fledged marketing department here. We turn out really great market intelligence that helps our agents, and their clients as well, make informed decisions when they’re purchasing real estate.

Kelly: Right. So basically what you’re doing is you’re creating a very good support system for your real estate agents so your real estate agents can focus on what matters most. And that’s the client.

Des: I couldn’t have said any better than that. That’s perfect.

Kelly: Absolutely. A fun fact is that you and I don’t actually know each other that well on a personal basis. We interact through the brokerage, team meetings, and all the rest of it. So we’re going to do a little get-to-know-you real fast—G-rated speed dating.

Des: Excellent.

Kelly: Ready? What’s your most used emoji?

Des: Thumbs up.

Kelly: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Des: I don’t think I have one, but if I did, it would be “Don’t Stop Believin” I think by Journey. I love that song.

Kelly: Okay.

Des: I would sing it really badly for the record though, I’m a really bad singer:

Kelly: Okay, next party, next staff party.

Des: I actually can’t carry a tune in the wheelbarrow.

Kelly: Okay. Sushi or tacos?

Des: Oh, sushi. What did I surprise you with that one?

Kelly: Yeah, you did.

Des: I love sushi.

Kelly: I thought it was tacos.

Des: I love sushi.

Kelly: Vintage sports car or newly minted e-vehicle?

Des: Oh, definitely a vintage sports car.

Kelly: Really? I would have guessed the opposite. Speeding ticket or walk ten miles?

Des: Speeding ticket.

Kelly: ZIP line or bungee jump?

Des: Neither. I hate heights.

Kelly: Really?

Des: Oh, yeah. I’m an avid downhill skier and I close my eyes on half the lift time.

Kelly: Have you ever had any bad injuries?

Des: What? On heights?

Kelly: Skiing with your eyes closed.

Des: Oh, no. On the lift not on the mountain.

Kelly: Favourite TV show?

Des: Ooh, that is a good question. Now, can I give you my current favourite TV show, or do I go with my all-time favourite TV show?

Kelly: All time.

Des: All time’s got to be Seinfeld. I could watch those things time and time again. The humour is timeless.

Kelly: Okay. Coles Notes version, what’s your big audacious goal for the next 3 to 5 years?

Des: It’s a stupid copout answer, but it’s continued success. And that means, growth and support for the people I work with but also, you know, that’s pretty ambitious goals for, for supporting some community organizations like My Friends House, through the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. You know, there where we live in a very, very fortunate area, but we have a lot of very, very worthy causes that need support up here. And so that’s, that’s where I’m going to go.

Kelly: Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us today Des.

Des: My pleasure.

Kelly: It’s been great talking to you.

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