Cara Hirsch, Founder and CEO Hirsch + Associates
As founder and CEO of Hirsch + Associates, Cara Hirsch is a real estate aficionado with over a decade of experience helping some of the GTA’s most notable builders successfully bring their projects to market. Leveraging experience honed through growing up in a real estate family, Cara built on her formative years by establishing a company defined by passion, collaboration, and a hands-on approach. Cara’s instinctual industry knowledge enables her to successfully launch each project she works on and knowing that no two projects are alike, she employs tailored strategic planning from the outset. Cara is credited with launching over 30 projects in the Toronto pre-construction market and has sold over$4.4 billion. Her fervent dedication to her craft, strong relationships with the broker community, and familial commitment to her clients has predicated her success to date and remains the cornerstone of her brand as Hirsch + Associates continues to grow.
What inspired you to start your own real estate consulting firm?
There are quite a few things that inspired me, but to make a long story short, I actually moved to Toronto 10 years ago. I’m originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba and I was born and raised into real estate because that was my father’s profession. Before starting my business in 2019, I worked with another pre-construction company for about nine years.
Things were really great there, it was awesome. But, I’m a person who loves to be challenged. I like to continue to grow both personally and professionally and felt the next step was to start my own consulting agency. Another thing that inspired me to go off on my own is that I provide a very personal level of customer service to my developer clients and I wanted to be able to offer it to purchasers as well. A huge deciding factor was that I really wanted to build a company with like-minded individuals and employees that have the same passion and integrity that I do.
And what would you say is the biggest challenge of being a female entrepreneur in the real estate agent industry that is largely male-dominated.
I think the biggest challenge is that I’m also quite young, considering the position that I’m in. However, I feel that because I’m very passionate and believe in what I do, it’s really helped me. I’m a very big team player. I love doing pre-construction because we work with all different types of consultants, developers, interior designers, architects, and we work together to collaborate as a team.
What would you say sets Hirsch + Associates apart?
Definitely our passion and integrity. Anyone that works with me knows that this is truly what I live and breathe and wake up wanting to do. My team also has this same mentality, so every pre-construction project we take on, we treat like we would our own business. We have a reputation we want to maintain, of course, but we also have to maintain a reputation for our developer clients being the customer-facing extension of their team.
You have over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry. What would you say has been the biggest change that you’ve seen in the real estate market over the years?
Overall, I think buyers are becoming a lot savvier, which is fantastic. There are a lot more resources for them to really research and make sure that they’re making the right decision when purchasing.
I do think COVID-19 has brought forth very big changes. The real estate\ industry is very slow to move forward in terms of advanced technology and to be able to do things remotely.
I think the pandemic really forced a lot of developers to come out of their comfort zone. As their sales team, it’s allowed us to trust a lot of these systems that enable us to sell pre-construction virtually from the comfort of a buyer’s home. I think overall, this is a huge achievement for our industry and one that has kept the real estate market going strong, especially the pre-construction market.
So would you say, this has been the biggest impact COVID has had on the real estate industry?
Yes. COVID has allowed us to operate our sales program, teams, and office, completely remotely, and virtually. It’s forced us as an industry to get creative — to work with purchasers, and to work with developers to be able to offer everything that we would have typically offered them in a sales office. I think without the pandemic, we would be a lot slower to adapt to this process. It really enabled us with the ability to accelerate.
What advice can you give to homebuyer’s about investing smart? What are the top three aspects they should consider before getting into the market?
I like to look at real estate as a long-term investment because it’s a tangible asset. You don’t see the ups and downs as quickly as you do with the stock market, for example. In order to invest smart, you obviously need to do your research.
Familiarize yourself with the trends to know what’s going on. In terms of my top three tips to consider before investing, I always say ‘location’.
I love to buy into locations that I know are up and coming. For example, I know that right now when i’m buying into it, it still hasn’t seen its peak and its growth, but I know in 5 to 10 years, that location is going to be completely different. The next piece of advice I would give is to know the competitors in the area to make sure that you’re buying the retail market price and not overpaying.
Lastly, always try to play the long-term hold, when you can. Don’t buy into something, especially pre-construction, thinking that you’re just going to flip it. Real estate is fruitful because it’s a long term investment, not a short term one.
What does the future of Hirsch + Associates look like? Where do you see your agency in the next five years?
Right now we’re a small firm who is very much family oriented. In the next five years I definitely see us continuing to grow, but I do want to keep the mentality of being a close knit team and to be very selective about who we hire. We want to make sure our core values like our passion and integrity, both individually as people and together as a team, remain. Ideally, it is a goal of ours to penetrate the U.S market as well.