Business Editor Michael Abbey:
I met with Ian Charlebois on a dreary Monday afternoon, but inside his office at 52 Chamberlain Avenue, it was anything but dreary. Ian has been in real estate for about 10 years, having started during a difficult downturn in the economy. Starting his career in tough times speaks to his energy and enthusiasm and his sense of optimism.
He acquired the Remax franchise in 2012, previously occupying three different locations around the city. Consolidation was a natural, as was the location he chose at the top of the Glebe. He has three areas of concentration: real estate sales, mortgage brokering and property management. Charlebois is confident that, through the one-stop shop he offers, the sales and mortgage side of buying a house can improve his clients’ bottom lines. His concentration is on the residential side of the business, though he dabbles in commercial real estate as well.
In-depth customer relationships built by a mainly Generation Y team is working well for his company. His choice of Gen Y colleagues speaks to his devotion to establishing lasting relationships with the next wave of societal leaders over the next few decades. “We’re not your typical father’s realtor,” he quipped.
Ottawa is Charlebois’ stomping ground, having spent his early days in Orleans and Fallingbrook, attending Trillium and Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the east end and earning two degrees from uOttawa. The Glebe was a natural place to hang his hat. “It’s a central piece of commercial and residential real estate in one of the most sought out areas.” When it’s not rush hour, the Glebe is a mere 10 or 20 minutes from anywhere in Ottawa, not to mention adjacent to the 417. Charlebois settled on Chamberlain and got to know the previous owner of his building. She wanted to sell to the right person, and was more interested in whom she sold to rather than for how much. Charlebois, his business plan and the way he carried himself convinced her that he was the right person to take over the building she loved. “It’s nice to become a part of the Glebe rather than just being a property owner.” Initially his core business was separate from the ancillary services. The move to Chamberlain was designed to amalgamate all of his businesses into one central location. He needed to own the building for it to work and Chamberlain was the perfect fit. “Even though we concentrate on the immediate area, we do work all over the city.”
Whilst his area of concentration is as mentioned, he is looking to expand, but on a modest schedule. He plans to stay in the mixed-use dwelling he now inhabits for at least the next three to five years. The zoning of the area is to a maximum height of 45 feet, which may end up influencing future plans.
Charlebois has gone out of his way to integrate his business with the community through avenues such as the Great Glebe Garage Sale, a handful of exciting recreational activities for young and old, and soon to be more. He also has integrated a co-op student from Glebe Collegiate, and has put out feelers to Algonquin College for paid and pro-bono co-op work. He has provided fieldwork for a handful of university students, and they have melded well with his young, keen, outgoing and bilingual colleagues and staff.
Operating under the Remax banner, he has a close affinity with the company but is still in charge of what he chooses to do and is able to pursue what works for him and his people.
Monitor 52 Chamberlain closely – all Charlebois needs to do is put his thoughts into motion – watch out Ottawa! That’s the impression he left me with after our 45-minute chat.
Michael Abbey is a retired high-tech professional and bridge enthusiast who writes about business for the Glebe Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Prefer Majors.
Ian Charlebois & Associates
52 Chamberlain Ave.