Terry Kilakos, President and Chartered Real Estate & Mortgage Broker at North East Real Estate & Mortgage Agency, has been heading a talented team of over 50 real estate and mortgage brokers, as well as financial advisors, for many years. With previous experience as a financial advisor, market research business owner, and real estate investor, his diverse background allows him to lead his team to new heights and be recognized as one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs .
North East is a corporation that works in a variety of fields. It presently provides mortgage brokerage, real estate brokerage, and financial services, as well as commercial real estate brokerage through the recent acquisition of Coldwell Banker Commercial Alliance in Quebec.
Early Life Experiences
Terry began his career as a financial advisor at Investors Group in 1999, where his objective was to provide investment and insurance advice to his large client base, in order to safeguard and build their net worth.
Terry then went on to become a certified real estate and mortgage broker in Montreal in 2007. His main goal with respect to his clients was to make sure that he supplied them with the most information concerning their mortgage options in order for them to make an educated decision. He says, “My work was mortgages, but my passion was education.” He began his radio career in 2008 to complement his company and give back to his community. A short time thereafter, he established his own radio show to educate the public about real estate, mortgages, and finances. CJAD’s « The Real Estate Show » has now grown to become the go-to resource in Montreal for anyone looking for trustworthy real estate & financial guidance.
The Greatest Obstacle in Achieving Financial Growth
According to Terry, the greatest obstacle to financial growth is fear. He says, “One of my great mentors is Anthony Robbins.” Terry had completed his 30-day personal power program early on in his life. Terry says, “In it, he talks about how you can have fear be your jailer, or it can be your counselor; many, when they feel fearful, will retreat and hide.” When Terry feels fear, it’s his indicator to learn and grow. Generally, we feel fear when we do not know something. He asserts, “If you get that feeling of fear, do not run from it but rather face it head on; learn from it. Ask yourself what it is that you are afraid of, and once you have identified what makes you scared, proceed to learn about what you fear. Make fear your counselor, and never let fear paralyze you.”
Extreme Challenges Present the Biggest Opportunities
Terry feels that when a sector is in decline due to external pressures, such as the 2008 Financial Crisis or what the world has witnessed more recently with COVID, it is the right moment for businesses to step up and become pillars and leaders in their field. This goes against every fiber of a rational person’s being.. Those who do so, and go against the grain, end up becoming a resource for their community and the rest of the globe. Terry believes that this strategy has a high level of risk, but that it pays off in the long term. It does need the organization’s management to have a laser focus on their aims and objectives. He also believes that such goals and objectives should be properly communicated to the whole organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working in the same direction.
An Outlook on Leadership
When managing brokers and staff at North East and Coldwell Banker, Terry takes his leadership role very seriously. He thinks that leading by example, rather than by force, is the best way to lead. He thinks that a good commander should lead troops into combat rather than force them to do something that they themselves would not do. He says, “Unlike other brokerages who seek out only experienced brokers, my philosophy is that everyone deserves a chance to ignite the fire burning inside them, and all they need is the right leadership and training.”
As for the office environment, Terry believes in working hard but playing hard too. He states that, “My business is all about performance, but celebrating our successes and milestones constantly and enjoying each other’s company is just as important.”
Improving every day to Serve Better
“Our main responsibility is serving our community in a way that will make a difference in their lives,” says Terry. He goes on to say that the company’s mission is: to assist and educate the general public and its clients. North East’s reach, as a result of its weekly radio program, enables the team to achieve its purpose of public education and assisting Canadians in making better real estate, mortgage, and financial decisions.
At North East, the team strives for daily improvement and believes that constant advancement in an organization is necessary for any healthy company to have continued growth and evolvement. In Terry’s opinion, every leader must constantly seek to improve:
- Processes to always ensure to be as efficient as possible
- Staff development and training to keep our employees and brokers up to date with constant changes in the industry and within the company
- Technology and automation to streamline operations
Seeing Competition as a Healthy Corporate Sport
“Competition is all around us and we do not see it as a threat but rather as growth in our industry,” says Terry. Those who are afraid of competition, he says, are afraid of their own organization’s inadequacy.
He believes that competition is good for any company and that it is encouraged at North East. He believes that what sets his company apart from the other 98% of companies is its ability to provide a multidisciplinary approach to a mortgage or real estate transactions. This is one of the few companies in Canada that can serve consumers in different provinces while also providing them with everything they need under one roof. Terry asserts, “When a client walks in to get pre-approved for a mortgage, we have the ability to help the client find the right home as well as secure for them insurance to protect their patrimony and estate.”
Result of Team Spirit
When Terry launched North East, he wanted to create an agency that was built by brokers for brokers, with their clients in mind. His company is not like some of the “bigger” brokerages, which will recruit anyone with a pulse, as long as they pay their exorbitant desk fees. At North East Real Estate & Mortgage Agency, the company’s philosophy is “if you don’t make money, we don’t make money.” Terry does not believe in hiring everyone that applies to work for the company. He says, “We seek to hire brokers of quality and those who are willing to work and learn, in order to be part of this family. In this way, we are able to provide our clients with the best possible service.”
“As a leader, to pick one thing that I am most proud of is a little difficult because every day, I am proud of what we do,” says Terry. He is proud of the organization he has built and the culture of harmony and efficiency that was created as a team.
Recognizing Potential Within Oneself
“What got me into space and what kept me in space, I believe, are two very different things,” says Terry. As per Terry, what drove him to become a mortgage broker was his passion for Real Estate Investment and the desire to grow his personal real estate portfolio. He describes, “What kept me in the business was seeing the change that I was able to make in people’s lives.”
Terry has always been motivated by the desire to see his clients achieve their own definition of success. North East has thrived and expanded as a result of this. He thinks that if a client feels that you are looking out for their best interest, they will remain loyal to you throughout the years and encourage their friends and family to put their trust in you as well.
Success is Loving What You Do
Success is a moving target, and it is something that evolves and changes daily as our goals and objectives evolve. At its core and at its most basic, success for Terry is defined by taking on each day with passion and purpose. He says, “If I wake up in the morning and I take on my day with passion, I am successful.” He finds that many try to put a quantifiable number on what they consider success. Terry sees that those are the individuals and leaders that lead empty lives, always chasing this ever elusive number that will change annually or quarterly. He suggests, “Love what you do, and you will have all the success in the world. Hate what you do, and you will lead a miserable and empty existence. “
According to Terry, North East intends to grow into new areas and broaden its product offering in the future, with the goal of always increasing its service offerings to his clientele.