“I’m not the agent that shows up in a fancy dress and heels. I’m the agent that shows up in boots and a hoodie ‘cause I’m getting into that crawl space with you and I don’t want spider webs in my hair.”
An honest and funny declaration from Richmond-based Selena Tweedie, reflecting the diehard, investigative commitment and sense of fun and adventure that distinguishes the charming, enthusiastic real estate broker from the crowded Ottawa pack.
The lithe, smiley brunette’s career began right after graduation from CDI College. Tweedie landed at BFI Canada, an environmental services company specializing in progressive waste solutions. There, she learned everything from the fundamentals of administration to the intricacies of payroll—plus, she integrated a few responsibilities of her own: “I was there to solve employees’ problems but also to make them smile after a ridiculously long day.” The job taught her how to run a successful business but more importantly, how to lead, manage, and influence people.
Then came the day that “changed my life for the better!”
After a formative, part-time apprenticeship under a Carleton Place realtor, Tweedie landed an evening and weekend position with Ottawa Property Managers. “My job was to filter all the requests for the viewings that they managed and help show the units to potential renters. I was amazing at it!!” she announces unabashedly. “It was so great getting to meet all sorts of people. The owners of the company were also fantastic. It was really hard for me to quit when I got my real estate license.”
But OPM’s loss was the homebuying market’s gain. Along came a young, indefatigable presence willing to go to the mattresses, and then some, for her clients. Tweedie’s love of those she serves, under the banner of Innovation Realty Ltd., is positively palpable. It’s an affection rooted in her deep awareness of the way a home shapeshifts people’s lives. “I’m the ‘family realtor’ for people,” Tweedie explains. “I help ‘mom and dad’ retire on the water and find the first home for ‘the kids.’ I’m the one trusted to sell ‘Nanny’s home’ after she’s passed away. I’m the one who gets to be there when all the dreams come true, but I’m also the shoulder during the hard times. Those are the moments that I love most about this business. I get to build a relationship with so many great people. It fills up my ‘love cup.’”
Sometimes, though, Tweedie will go so far as to exercise “tough love,” if she feels it’s in the best interest of her clients. “I’m not going to push my clients into buying something they don’t feel 100% about. Heck, I won’t let my clients buy something I don’t feel 100% about! I’ve even said to clients, ‘No. You’re not buying this.’ They always appreciate my honesty. To me, buying or selling your home is one of the most important situations in your life. You need to feel absolutely comfortable and confident with everything that’s happening, or you don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.”
The self-defined country girl (though she grew up in Kanata) covers any beat within an hour’s drive of Ottawa; “My specialty,” she announces with her trademark lightheartedness, “is anything with a septic tank.”
On a more serious note, Tweedie adds, “I love helping my clients with their country dreams and waterfront properties. Some of my favourite clients are people wanting to move from the city to the rural surrounding areas and having no clue what to expect.”
Let’s educate them, then: the first thing they can expect is a warm, enthusiastic greeting from a deeply devoted broker with plenty of personality. “I stand out because I’m me, and because thrilled to help you build your life!!! I get to help you find the home of your dreams, the place your kids will grow up, or the place you’re retiring to. I get to help you find the house where the TV and couch fit perfectly—‘cause I know you are obsessed with that sectional!”
When not busy tracking down properties, the multi-talented Tweedie is running two other companies. A hobby designing and selling jewelry at craft fairs resulted in Emmy’s Earrings, an e-commerce line serviced, these days, by fellow Richmond-area moms (Tweedie herself has two young children, and a husband she describes as “ridiculously supportive.”) Then there’s MiniMailers, supplying custom-sized boxes to small businesses across Canada, helping them minimize shipping costs.
Whether she’s realtor or entrepreneur, Tweedie’s motivation is the same:
“I honestly just want to help people.”
By Dan Lalande