Dylan Suitor is storming the Canadian real estate landscape. The Elevation Realty Network founder’s knack for real estate led to rapid growth in his first five years in the profession. His work with Keller Williams led to the opening of a new collaboration brokerage firm called Keller Williams Co-Elevation Realty this year. Prior to that, he led a team of agents at Keller Williams Signature Realty in Oakville, Ontario office, and his business stands in an elite class of the top 1% of real estate companies in Canada. Since late 2018, he acquired 500 doors of real estate worth over $100M+.
In June 2021 alone, Suitor closed on dozens of properties. Home sale activity was up in June in Canada, at 15.2% year over year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Suitor had his thumbprint on that stat, too. In addition to his acquisition of seven apartment buildings for himself and clients, he closed on more than 20 single-family homes and duplexes.
Suitor has experienced a banner summer—and past year. Elevation Realty Network, which primarily helps expand the portfolios of investors but also includes a residential arm for individuals searching for their dream homes, has been very active. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, housing sales struck a record chord in 2020 as 551,392 sales were reported by year-end, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s annual report. Bolstered by lowered interest rates, sales climbed, and by December 31st, 2020, only 2.1 months of inventory remained on the market, the lowest ever since the data was first tracked.
Suitor’s ability to exploit the intricacies and trends of the market is one aspect of his success story. The other is his passion to excel, which stems from his upbringing. His parents believed in “tough love” but also provided plenty of guidance and shaped within him a practice of not resting on his laurels.
“If I got a 98% on a math test, my stepfather Bill would ask about the other 2%,” says Suitor. “Not to be a jerk, but simply because he knew I could have performed better.”
From them he learned that self-satisfaction in simply performing better than others is not enough. He must beat himself; be the best he can be. That mindset starts by 5:30 a.m., which is the latest his day begins. Waking early gives Suitor time to work with fewer distractions, he says. But it’s not all work and no play for Suitor. At least not anymore.
To accumulate the properties and develop successful teams the way he has, he dived deep into work and the pursuit of wealth. Society at large values an individual’s bank statement and the appearance of financial prowess; those with the most money and things are idolized. That pressure to be what is stereotypically viewed as accomplished led to burnout more than once. During the pandemic, Suitor eased up off the gas to establish a proper work-life balance. He won’t stop working hard, but he won’t forget to live a life, too. Vacations are on the docket, and simple pleasures like curling up with a good book have been rejuvenating.
“Wealth is about the entire person and recently I’ve been able to find the balance I’ve wanted in my life,” Suitor says. “I certainly work hard when I work, however, I’ve spent more time on all aspects of myself, not just my financial position, and it’s been a total game-changer.”
Suitor certainly worked hard this summer and has both major long- and short-term projects ahead. Of his largest square-footage purchases in June, one is an 88-unit apartment building in London, Ontario. London’s population has been rising; it was one of the three fastest-growing metro areas in Ontario from 2018 to 2019, cited a report by PwC and Urban Land Institute. Real estate growth in London is fueled by remote work options and the area’s lure as an affordable city with amenities that rival urban centers. With his eye on an up-and-coming area and his aptitude for creative financing and negotiation, Suitor closed all cash on the first mortgage of the London property. He anticipates the London property will be worth two to five times its current value within 20 years. The investment reflects Suitor’s vision for not just quick returns but commitment to risk on projects that promise long-term wealth generation.
A shorter-turnaround project is the 60-unit building Suitor purchased in Hamilton, Ontario, in June. The mixed-use building should take up to 18 months to rehab. The property, close to a future light rail route, includes both commercial and residential units and has the potential for value creation through lockers, laundry, underground parking, and loft-style unit conversions. The building is projected to double in value to $20 million once all work is complete.
His own growth isn’t enough for him, as Suitor is a proponent of offering education and resources to his employees.
“I’m working with my real estate team to help coach and develop each of them as better agents, investors, and also to build a life by design for themselves,” Suitor says. “I want to continue to add more value than I receive wherever possible and develop those who want to grow and improve their life and business.”
For those new to real estate, Suitor suggests keeping an eye on their personal growth and mental health to survive the feeding frenzy that the profession is.
“The best money you can spend is on yourself,” says Suitor. “Spend more time, money and resources on yourself and your personal development than you do on toys and material items, and it will pay off big time down the road.”