Leafs' Mitch Marner invests in GTA real estate brokerage Justo

Jul 28 2020, 2:47 pm

The GTA has one of the most sought-after real estate markets in Canada. In 2018, local brokerage Justo — Latin for “fair” — launched to disrupt the industry’s standard commission structure and offer an alternative for those frustrated by elite brokerage fees but still wishing to receive full service.

Since then, it has garnered interest from an all-star lineup of real estate leaders, including clients and investors. Markham-born hockey superstar, Mitch Marner, has even taken the opportunity to back Justo.

The brokerage revealed that Marner has joined the team, taking on an equity position with the company. (Don’t worry, he’s not throwing in the towel on his sports career just yet.)

While the financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, the ongoing business relationship between the athlete and Justo is set to include financial support to the Marner Assist Fund, Marner’s charitable foundation.

Interest in the market

“As someone who has grown up in the GTA, and as the son of a former local realtor, I’ve always been intrigued by the local real estate market and interested in the business of real estate,” Mitch Marner said in a release.

Although he’s keeping his head in the game, Marner expressed interest in pursuing future investment opportunities outside of the hockey rink.

“While my current focus is entirely on my hockey career and helping the team win the Stanley Cup, I am also looking for the right investment opportunities with the right partners, ones that make sense financially but also have a positive social impact. When I saw how Justo helps buyers and sellers, I was intrigued.”

Robert Reichmann, an investor at Justo and the brokerage’s chief development officer, said Marner has been disrupting the game since his time as a star in junior hockey, “much like Justo’s unique brokerage model has disrupted the real estate industry.”

Reichmann explained that Marner shares Justo’s commitment to fairness, and its desire to help people succeed financially — particularly when they are buying or selling their homes.

The current commission-based model in the GTA leads to 5% of every home transaction being split between the agents representing the seller and the buyer. And commissions under this traditional brokerage model — in Toronto alone — are estimated to represent around $4.2 billion annually.

All of the full-service agents on the Justo team are licensed, experienced professionals. When Justo represents a seller, its listing commission is half of what agents usually charge. Sellers pay just 1.25% and get free additional services including staging, floor plans, 3D virtual tours, pro photography, and marketing to sellers — all with no client obligation throughout the entire process. On a $1 million property, that means savings of more than $12,000 in commissions alone.

When the brokerage represents a buyer, it gives its buyer half of the commission paid by the seller. Justo agents literally split their commissions 50/50 with each homebuyer they represent (aka, giving you thousands of dollars in cash-back for buying a new home). Legal services and home inspection are part of the services offered to buyers by Justo as a one-stop-shop approach.

“People are always asking ‘how do we do it?,’ and there are several answers,” said Daphne de Groot, co-founder and CEO of Justo. “First, home prices have doubled, so agents are making double what they were five years ago, for the same amount of work. Second, thanks to technology and collaboration, we’re efficient. Unlike most brokerages where agents have to fend for themselves, at Justo the admin work is done for the agents, so they can focus on their clients instead of marketing themselves. We’re efficient, and efficiency leads to savings, which we pass on to the client.”

The brokerage’s unique model works in such a way that it would put nearly $2.1 billion back into the hands of those who deserve it most — homeowners. Justo is dedicated to helping sellers and buyers make cash savings, get cash-back opportunities, and ultimately take the stress out of the transaction process while helping them to get a better deal on their home.

Industry disruption

During the past 18 months, Justo has helped its clients in the GTA (and through its London, Ontario brokerage) save almost $2 million on commissions.

Now, as part of the brokerage’s agreement with Marner, a minimum of $100 will be made in the client’s name to the Marner Assist Fund for every home sold by Justo.

Working with Justo, now or in the future, could save you a lot of unnecessary stress and expense. There’s also no obligation, so you’re free to opt-out of the process at any time.

“Other sectors have been disrupted by companies like Amazon or Uber, and some consumers embraced the trend right away, while others took a bit longer to adjust,” said Moti Wisenberg, co-founder and CMO of Justo. “The same was true for Justo, but we’re past the early-adoption stage now, and many people now embracing our model. The change is long overdue, but finally, those dabbling in the residential real estate market have more power than ever before.”

For more information on how Justo is bringing innovation to Toronto’s real estate industry and to talk with an agent, visit justo.ca.

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