Interview ‘Luxe Listings Toronto’ top agents Peter and Paige Torkan, and Brett Starke

The Extra Mile interviews three top real estate agents, Peter and Paige Torkan (Team Torkan) , along with Brett Starke (The Starke Group) , for their new show Luxe Listings Toronto. These agents are likely to provide insights into the luxury real estate market in Toronto, showcasing their expertise, strategies, and experiences in catering to high-end clientele.

The Extra Mile (TEM): Peter, Paige also known as Team Torkan. Can you tell me a little about your story on how you got into Real Estate, specifically here in Toronto?

Paige Torkan: I entered the Real Estate world when Peter was already established for 9 years and I was working for a major bank before when I had my second daughter I decided to resign and stay home to raise my children but my true passion and something that I really loved was Real Estate. I finally pursued my dream and obtained my license in 2015.

Peter Torkan: I’ve been in sales since 1997. Somebody recommended Real Estate to me a friend of mine and then I said sure I’ll go to do the Real Estate and the rest is history. 18 years already

TEM : Is it true that you were both married on the phone? Can you tell me that story first.

Peter Torkan: So when I left Iran in 1994, we met each other in ___ actually and I proposed after two months and I said I love upon and when you know you know. I love you I Want to marry you but I’m leaving. It was the shortcut version and then I came to Canada we still kept in touch, letters, phone, and so on and so forth . We had to get married for her to come to Canada, I sent her a picture and I called in the day was the ceremony so I was on the phone and my mom had a power of attorney to sign the paperwork on my behalf

Paige Torkan: And it was because of the situation back in the days in our home country he couldn’t come back. It was an arranged marriage, we knew each other, and we were in love but that was the only way to do it back in the day

TEM:  Just wondering how else your background and your culture have influenced your careers here in Toronto so far?

Peter Torkan: Not giving up mentality, it’s truly in our culture I believe. It’s the concept of not giving up, what’s next, what can I do better, how can I improve my life better, what you know to every level that you want to take yourself next higher. I think perseverance, its the determination of somebody that wants to become successful in life, and my definition of success is very different. It’s about the journey, not the destination so it’s good to have a vision of where you want to be but if you don’t enjoy your journey getting there then you’re going to be lost because you always want something next, next, next, for you to be happy. Just for you to know our first car we bought it for $200 and it was rusted, I could see the actual road that I was driving yet it was rusted everywhere so it was, I’ll never forget it was a Pontiac Gunfire brown rusted everywhere.. Rust brown

Paige Torkan:  But it was a blessing because we didn’t have to wait for it at the bus stop any more in the middle of winter.

TEM: Brett you look great, you also have a tremendous work ethic which we see a lot of on the show. Can you tell me a little about your story and how you got to where you are with the Starke group?

Brett Starke: I really appreciate that. So one of the things that we did differently at the Starke group. Instead of worrying about selling real estate, we decided to build a people business, a people company. So one of the things that we really differentiated ourselves with is we didn’t post SOLDS on social media like other relators, we posted stories that were behind it. The people behind it, the people behind the properties. So we built our business on 3 core values and my team hears me harp this every single week.

So our first value is community, everyone needs to be an active community member, now that might be a member of a church or sports team, could be anything. But need to be active in a community. The second one is accountability, everybody on my team has an accountability partner every month, they need to do what they say they’re going to do and they need to complete a quarterly business plan. They can’t hide from accountability. And the third thing is charity, everybody on the team needs to be an active member of Charity because I think it is that gratitude mindset that they were talking about that really pushes your business forward. Like a couple of years ago when the economy started shifting and the market became harder we noticed that more and more of our deals were coming from people that we met through charity and that only works if you’re doing it for the right reason not saying hey I’m going to do charity to do more deal rights?

So we built our business on those 3 values. Community, accountability charity, and on people not on Real Estate.

TEM : In the show, I see sometimes you struggle with some people taking you seriously because of your age, I think I see a lot of other agents in the city can deal with that as well they could lose deals, relationships, or not be taken as seriously as others. What advice do you have for them in overcoming that?

Brett Starke:  I’m 38 years old my advice is go out and get Botox so people think you are younger than you are so you have those kinds of conversations because I’m telling you right now when someone says I think you’re too young, a lot of the time they’re younger than me and they don’t know that. So I take that as a huge compliment It comes down to taking care of yourself, not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and that’s what keeps you young. So when someone says I think you’re too young, I say thank you and I appreciate that.

TEM : And what do you two think of that advice? Would you ever work with a younger agent or what makes you see potential in a younger agent?

Peter Torkan: So we have quite a few younger agents in our team actually and what we look for is the drive they have. I call it the fire under the belly. It’s the motivation of never giving up and that’s what’s truly valuable to us. The experience, the know-how, and the marketing it will come over time, You just have to unfortunately give it some time, especially in the luxury segment but somebody with the desire to become successful, thats the key to achieving anything you want in life. Not only in real estate. You have to have that desire to become successful. That’s what we look for in the younger generation and it’s important to us. Do you want to add anything love?

Paige Torkan:  I always tell the younger agent to focus on yourself and not care about what other people think or say about you. Just focus on yourself and go day by day and focus on increasing your knowledge. Knowledge is power in this business and this is a relationship business, build strong relationships with people to turn those people into clients, and always look for your client’s needs it comes before anything else. That is my advice today

Peter Torkan: Put the blinders on and look after their interest not just dollars and cents.  It has never been my model of how much money we want to make it was all about service, service, service, service the dollars will fall into place

TEM: We’re all about going the extra mile, kind of like this show going beyond the norm, so Brett why don’t you tell me something you do every day where you go the extra mile?

Brett Starke: Thank you for asking me that and I love that you have given me the microphone to speak about this, so not just me but everybody on my team, we fill out a workshare every day it’s called the 4-hour workday hack. An on that, we start every day with active gratitude, which generally means in our office people are bringing me cake pops, I’m getting all sorts of things from everybody. So if you start your day with active gratitude, the rest kind of just follows it.


[Interview by Jurgen Sosa]