The real estate industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the last few years and local realtors have been searching for alternatives that suit them.
Among the veteran realtors who have embraced new ways of serving the market is Debbie Simmonds who has been in the business for two decades, operating out of Chemainus. Simmonds recently decided to bring her considerable experience, team, and talents to eXp Realty, the Real Estate Cloud Brokerage.
“The conventional real estate model is broken and needs someone to look at the overall process to improve it,” explains Simmonds.
“eXp Realty has uncovered an innovative solution that provides world-class IT and real estate marketing, with a cloud-based structure that allows for lower fees as well as access to thousands of agents and agencies — beyond what’s available on MLS.
“As well, for the first time in my life, I have the ability to participate in a pension plan through eXp’s generous revenue-sharing model. I’m very excited to offer this world-class service to the families and businesses of Chemainus and the Cowichan Valley.”
Simmonds ranks as one of the most successful realtors in the Cowichan Valley over her career. She is a Platinum Club member, Founders Club honouree, the Cowichan Valley’s top market producer, and former managing director for some of Vancouver Island’s busiest RE/MAX locations.
“Debbie’s active involvement in her community has earned her a reputation for generosity, and her personalized, focused customer service and ‘get it done’ approach to real estate has created substantial success for her and her team,” said real estate entrepreneur and eXp Realty shareholder, Phil Hahn.
“With eXp Realty’s advanced resources, combined with Debbie’s extensive experience as a managing broker and her track record as an associate realtor, Debbie and her team will be well equipped to serve the people and businesses throughout the Cowichan Valley. We’re looking forward to her continued success.”
eXp Realty, The Real Estate Cloud Brokerage, is the largest residential real estate brokerage by geography in North America. It is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerage firms in North America with more than 23,000 agents across 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and six Canadian provinces.
The company recently announced expansion into the United Kingdom and Australia.
Simmonds recently opened a new office on Willow Street in downtown Chemainus, next door to the RE/MAX office.
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A Vancouver Island orthodontist who has a practice in Duncan and other communities on the Island is playing a key role in the development of a professional network designed to help orthodontists at all stages of their career.
Dr. Paul Helpard, who owns and operates Shoreline Orthodontics with practices in Courtenay, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Langford and on Brae Road in Duncan, was pivotal in the formation of Corus Orthodontists.
Corus Orthodontists is patient centered, doctor owned and doctor led. It helps new graduates start their career through a fellowship program and ongoing mentorship. Established practices are assisted via access to support services that allow them to focus primarily on patient care and supporting their community.
Practice owners who are close to retirement are matched with suitable orthodontists wishing to become an owner in a Corus practice.
“Traditional community-focused orthodontists are disappearing because private equity firms are buying their practices,” said Dr. Helpard.
“This is having a major impact on the orthodontic world. Doctor-owners, who put patients ahead of profits, are becoming scarce. It’s also difficult for young orthodontists to buy an established practice due to competition from these corporations. I brought together other liked-minded colleagues who were also concerned and that’s how Corus was born.”
He launched the network with 17 fellow orthodontists from Canada and U.S. He will continue to operate his Vancouver Island practices with his partners while also working as the CEO of Corus. Helpard has lived and worked on Vancouver Island for more than 25 years, and remains committed to serving the region.
“My practices and patient family are important to me,” he said. “They keep me in touch with the local communities and continually remind me of the value of what we do. Smiling patients and the confidence we inspire in them are the motivation for my work on the Island and with Corus.”
An Ontario native, Helpard has enjoyed a long career in orthodontics and community service. After graduating from McGill, he moved to Vancouver Island and practiced dentistry as a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces.
He has served as a consultant orthodontist at B.C. Children’s Hospital on the cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies team since 2000.
Helpard is also a clinical assistant professor at UBC where he teaches orthodontics. He was an examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.
In 2011, he was presented with the British Columbia Community Achievement Award for community service. In 2015, he was recognized as one of the Citizens of the Century for Courtenay. Helpard has also participated in several cleft palate international aid missions and is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.