Melinda Wu was 14 years old when she went house hunting with her parents. They found a house, and she found her passion.
She got her real estate licence in 2012 and wasted no time once she became an agent.
Wu opened her first brokerage, Re/Max Atrium Home, in Markham, Ont. in 2020, determined from the outset to expand her brokerage quickly. So when the opportunity arose to acquire legendary Re/Max Goldenway from real estate veterans Eric Chan and Steve Ng, she was happy. But she was also sad.
“Goldenway is special. It’s the oldest Asian-owned brokerage. It opened for business in 1988,” says Wu, who was about a year old at the time.
“Eric and Steve are experienced brokerage owners. It was sad to hear that they were looking to exit the market,” she says. “However, they needed an exit plan, and we wanted to grow fast.”
She says it’s a good match with Goldenway’s experienced agents and her young brokerage. “All of their agents are experienced but outdated (in) technology, software and marketing techniques. Our brokerage is young — the average age is 32-years-old. We bring new technology, enthusiasm, new things.”
The buying process was long because Chan and Ng were careful in the negotiation process, wanting to protect what they had built, she says. They have been in business for more than 30 years.
“Selling is a hard decision to make. Eric and Steve wanted to make sure their agents were looked after,” Wu says.
“We are proud of Eric and Steve for their commitment to grow the brand and for always going above and beyond to support their agents,” says Christopher Alexander, president, Re/Max Canada, in a news release announcing the acquisition.
Wu met with Goldenway’s existing agents and did a presentation. “I told them what we do, and they were impressed,” she says. “The transfer rate to Atrium is 95 per cent. It’s usually around 75 per cent.”
Atrium named top-growing brokerage for all of North America
Prior to the acquisition, Atrium had grown from three agents to 60 and, in 2022, was named the top-growing brokerage for all of North America by Re/Max.
Wu’s target was 200 agents in two years. “I was dreaming in the beginning,” she admits. With the addition of Goldenway’s 30 agents, her brokerage now represents nearly 90 realtors. She has four offices in the Greater Toronto Area, including two team offices.
Atrium has taken over operations of the Goldenway office in Richmond Hill, Ont., where Wu put another tactic for success in place. She retained all of Goldenway’s office staff so the agents staying on would feel comfortable in their environment.
Before her real estate career, Wu thought she would follow in the footsteps of her parents, both traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. Wu and her parents immigrated to Canada in 1988. She attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a double degree in East Asian Studies and Chinese medicine. She studied the latter in China for a few years.
However, once out of university, it wasn’t long before she knew real estate, not medicine, was her passion. She worked for a few smaller brokerages that provided mentorship, as well as the 800-agent Bay Street Group Inc. in Markham, Ont. before opening her own brokerage.
Once that happened, she found a passion within her passion. “From 2020 to the present, I’ve conducted over 200 training courses and seminars at our brokerage for pre-licensed candidates, novice agents and veteran agents.”
90 agents and still growing
“In the last quarter of 2022, Atrium ranked eighth in North America and fourth in Ontario in terms of growth rate,” she says.
Wu’s most recent Re/Max awards and designations include the Pinnacle Club Team (2022), Hall of Fame (2022) and Chairman’s Club (2021).
She is a member of the Fellow of the Real Estate Institute, is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and has a certificate for most outstanding realtor in Canada in 2021 from U.K. research, media and investments group Hurun.
Wu is a co-founder of Women in Power, a non-profit platform based in Toronto that serves young professional and entrepreneurial women in Canada, and she also served as vice-president of the New Canadian Community Centre. Her awards include the Platinum Jubilee Award in 2022 and the Ontario Volunteer Service Award in 2019.
Connie Adair is a contributing writer for REM.