Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making their mark

It goes without saying that Ottawa’s leading real estate agents know how to sell property. It naturally follows that they also know how to sell themselves. Witness recent activity by Marnie Bennett, Paul Rushforth and Marilyn Wilson.

Bennett, dubbed Ottawa’s condo queen, has announced that she’s striking out on her own. A member of the Keller Williams family since 2007 and in real estate for more than 30 years, Bennett felt the time was right to set up her own boutique shop.

“You get to a point that you become – the production’s there, you have your own marketing, your own brand and people buy the agent,” she said Wednesday. “It’s part of our succession plan – all my family works for us – and we want to be boutique; we want to keep the personal touch.”

With 23 agents and about 40 staff all-together, Bennett says “as a team I was larger than most brokerages in Ontario.” Her team had more than 790 sales last year. “That’s a lot of sales,” she says, adding that 81 per cent of realtors in Ottawa sell five homes or less in a year.

Bennett Property Shop Realty will move in mid-April to a renovated heritage house at 190 Lisgar St., about a block and a half away from her current office.

Rushforth, who’s made a name for himself on radio and the W Network’s All For Nothing, has already made a similar move, opening the boutique firm Paul Rushforth Real Estate Inc. in Orleans. He had also been a part of the Keller Williams family.

More recently, Rushforth co-authored a book released in December called Answers from Experts on Buying a Home. It includes advice and little-known secrets from 18 top-selling real estate brokers across North America. The free book is available at

Wilson, meanwhile, added a feather in her cap last year, becoming one of just a handful of Canadian agents and the only one in Ottawa to be affiliated with the prestigious Christie’s International Real Estate, which is the real estate branch of London-based Christie’s art auction house.

The company markets upscale properties to people who have the money to buy fine art and the million-dollar-plus properties listed with Wilson’s company, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc., are now displayed on the Christie’s International Real Estate website,

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