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Justin Loncaric of JL Realty Group: “Focus on the Big Rocks!”

Focus on the Big Rocks! There are so many little things that can distract from your success going forward. We’ve all heard the story of the professor that put sand, rocks and pebbles in a jar. In order to fit the most in, he had to put the biggest rocks first! To be able to get […]

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Focus on the Big Rocks! There are so many little things that can distract from your success going forward. We’ve all heard the story of the professor that put sand, rocks and pebbles in a jar. In order to fit the most in, he had to put the biggest rocks first!

To be able to get the most out of building your business, focus on the biggest rocks first! Don’t get distracted by the small things. Hire out and leverage the small stuff in order to free up your time for family and personal activities.


As a part of my series about the strategies that extremely busy and successful leaders use to juggle, balance and integrate their personal lives and business lives, I had the pleasure of interviewing Justin Loncaric.

Justin Loncaric is a third-generation real estate agent based in Burlington, Ontario, and the founder of Listing Loans, a pre-listing renovation financing company. He’s fueled Bang Energy Drinks and creating a legacy for his children like his parents did for him. A proud husband and father and dog dad, it’s not unusual to hear the sounds of a hockey rink or a dance studio behind him while he’s at his kids’ practices and rehearsals or to hear his dogs playing together on their daily walk.

Justin and his team pride themselves on their commitment to superior customer service. They always go the extra mile to provide clients with the highest level of skill and expertise. Justin strives to keep his clients informed on trends in the marketplace using the latest statistics in their local area and making stats fun, digestible, and relevant.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share with us the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career?

This is a legacy business for me. My grandmother sold real estate in the 70s and 80s and my parents have sold and continue to sell real estate since I was born (40 years). I fought the bug for many years, trying to pave my own path. I started a soda distribution company, I worked on golf courses and in retail. I even sold cars along the way!

In the end, I made the decision to work on my mum’s team way back in the early 2000s. I chose my mum’s team because she did a large volume and I felt that her atmosphere would be a better learning experience for me. I eventually broke out on my own and created my own team.

Recently, after being in the industry for over 16 years, I noticed a gap in the Canadian market. Homeowners are often left to assume the cost of pre-listing repairs. Depending on how much work needs to be done, this can be pretty costly. In the US, there are several companies that provide temporary home loans to be repaid at closing or on expiry of contract. I decided to start a company to help Canadian agents provide that same level of service and accessibility to clients.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started?

There are a whole bunch of amazing, funny, crazy memories I have. One that sticks out to me is the time I sold a condominium apartment to an older couple on the lake.

We did the entire deal and everything went perfectly. It was a million-dollar apartment and had everything they were looking for! The only drawback to the home was that the master bathroom only had a bathtub, no shower (not even in the tub).

My clients wanted to remove the tub altogether and install a standalone shower. On one of the revisits to the property before closing, they brought a contractor with them to price out some painting and other small things, including the tub/shower replacement.

Five people were standing in the master bathroom and I was in the doorway. The door, of course, was open.

I stepped forward and pulled the door closed.

Low and behold there was ALREADY a shower installed behind the door. I instantly saved my buyers over 10k in renovation expenses by closing a door!

What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?

Very simple, always look behind open doors…

But seriously, that was a lucky break that worked out in my clients’ favour. If it was something bigger that could have COST my client’s money, that would have been devastating.

I learned, in that very moment, to be as diligent and detailed as possible when transacting real estate for my clients. There’s never a situation where too much info is bad. Truth and honesty when mistakes are made go a LONG when working on deals in real estate.

What does leadership mean to you? As a leader, how do you best inspire others?

Leadership is the ability to inspire greatness in others. To create vision and belief in the goal for the team.

Leading by example has always been big for me. I have a team of newer agents. The most tenured has been in the business just over 2 years. By working side by side, with them, I help challenge and resolve their limiting beliefs. I physically show them what needs to be done!

Secondly, you have to trust your people and be able to let go. In letting go, you give them the confidence that you trust them, and they’ll work harder for you. If you’ve hired right, this won’t be an issue!

Lastly, a great leader helps their team members build their dreams alongside theirs. I grew up doing many wonderful things that helped shape the dream I have today for myself and my kids. If I can effectively get my team dreaming on the same level, there will be no goal we can’t achieve! I want my team to have the most incredible lives and to spend their time doing things they love and working in a place that they love!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My parents are my OG mentors. They helped create the dream and the vision for me as a kid while working in this business. We traveled all over the place! All over Europe, all over the US including Hawaii!

In thinking back, I can remember the feelings of excitement and joy I got when traveling around the world. I want my kids to experience the same thing. Heck, I want to go back to those places we went to!!

I remember sitting on a stone wall above Monaco with a fresh baguette and some sliced meat and cheese from a local farmer. Just sitting on this hill above that incredible city, looking out over the sea… That’s how dreams are built.

Those experiences, now my dreams and goals, are the foundations for everything I do!

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main core of our discussion. This is a question that nearly everyone with a job has to contend with. Was it difficult to fit your life into your business and career? Can you articulate what the struggle was?

Work/life balance has been something I’ve been working on for 16 years! Like many new agents, my phone was attached to my hip. Literally, as it was trendy at the time to wear them in a holster on your hip!

In the middle of dinners, family events, and personal “stuff,” I was answering the phone or sending an email. To this day, I still catch myself reaching for the phone when I hear that buzz. I dropped everything and ran to my clients on a whim, not respecting or realizing how valuable MY time was for me.

Now that I have three kids, things have gotten even crazier!! I have two boys in competitive hockey and we travel a lot! Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania…. Sending our kids with other parents that far is NOT an option.

So, it forced me to create systems around my business. I hired agents to work with my buyers. I’m training to have agents take over my listings as well. I created communications and time blocks for specifically for clients to get in touch with me. I TRUSTED the people I hired to help.

I’ve definitely gotten much better and now, I know there’s rarely anything that’s a real emergency. Sometimes, yes, a deal can fall apart, but it’s definitely not as dramatic as Million Dollar Listing might lead you to believe it is. My phone goes away in the evening. The team picks up the slack where and when I need it.

In order to give greater context to this discussion, can you share with our readers what your daily schedule looks like?

6–7: Exercise

7–9: breakfast with the kids and getting ready for school and dog walk

9–12: Lead generation activities. This can include calling leads, following up with leads, creating content, responding to e-mail inquiries, doing an interview, recording an episode of my podcast, etc.

12–4: go on appointments that have been previously booked

4–6: quality time & dinner with the family

6-bedtime: Appointments and other client-related activities

While this is the template, it often changes based on what’s going on in our lives. From September to April, my boys’ hockey team has them on the ice between 5–7 hours a week between them. So I’m often combining the waiting time with client calls and other activities.

Weekends are open season! I’ll book family stuff for the entire day sometimes, and other times I have appointments all day as well.

During most family activities, the phone goes away. We focus on family. Family always comes first!

Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life? Can you explain?

Yes. As you grow a business, you deal with all the things that are flung your way. You end up spending time on whatever the next thing that needs attention is!! Especially, if you don’t know or understand how to grow a business.

You don’t know what you don’t know, right?

Things like health and wellness are the first to fall off the table for me. I gained a LOT of weight in a short period of time, about 20 lbs. Eating at fast food places and not doing any physical activity. Not being intentional with health and wellness can literally kill you when you’re building a career!

What was a tipping point that helped you achieve a greater balance or greater equilibrium between your work life and personal/family life.

When my wife joined my team. She was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at what I do. She gained a greater respect for the process and why I was out of the house all those hours.

For her, it wasn’t about the money, it was about family time. And with her being in the trenches with me, beside me, she helped me get our lives closer to the middle.

Working with a spouse isn’t for everyone, but it works well for us. She takes care of a lot of the back end and administrative stuff that I don’t like to do, and I get to be the public-facing side of the business and speak to clients. We get to set our work hours together and make sure that our kids are cared for and that we’re tag-teaming. On days where one of us needs to work a little later, the other will tag in and make sure we’re not just parking our kids in front of the TV or their computers for hours.

Ok, so here is the main question of our interview. Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal/family life? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Family comes first… but that can mean many different things. If I have a family event booked, I would never back out of it. If it’s in my calendar, I follow through. HOWEVER, keeping your family fed and in a house is as much a priority as taking your daughter to dance class.
  2. Having a partner and/or friends that support you is imperative. Coming home at the end of the days alone leaves you to wander into your thoughts. If you have a great partner or friend, someone who understands and supports what you’re going through, it will make your life so much lighter! I’ve also got a very good friend in sales and we have “sales conversations” all the time. We vent about crazy situations and celebrate our successes. Having that conversational release can allow your mind to focus on the important stuff!

Speaking from personal experience, my wife, Andrea, and I will walk the dog for 30 minutes in the morning. It allows us to chat about the day to come, to talk about life in general and simply spend some time together. We started doing this a few months ago and it’s made a big difference in our relationship.

With kids especially, it’s easy to forget that balance isn’t two sided — work and kids. It’s multi-faceted. You have to balance work, your kids, and your relationship. All of those need to be strong for things to truly be “balanced”

3. Focus on the Big Rocks! There are so many little things that can distract from your success going forward. We’ve all heard the story of the professor that put sand, rocks and pebbles in a jar. In order to fit the most in, he had to put the biggest rocks first!

To be able to get the most out of building your business, focus on the biggest rocks first! Don’t get distracted by the small things. Hire out and leverage the small stuff in order to free up your time for family and personal activities.

4. ABC is common in sales (and I LOVE it!). I think it’s as important to ABL. Always be LEARNING. I took my business to where it was a year ago and hit a ceiling. I knew I needed help.

I hired a business and marketing coach, Jess Lenouvel, to grow in ways I didn’t realize I could. Her and her team have helped me leverage my business more effectively so I have time for my real priority — my family, while growing and scaling my revenue. Sometimes the answer isn’t to do MORE, it’s to be more effective with what you’re doing.

I hired a nutritional coach, Jaclyn Santamaria, to help us become healthier. It’s very difficult in a busy world to be intentional about food. We simply shove whatever cheap and easy garbage is nearby in our mouths!! Jaclyn has helped us understand what it means to make healthy decisions for ourselves and our kids. It’s not about cutting out! It’s about changing the mindset slightly! After all, why would you put 81 Octane in an F1 race car!?

The things they’ve helped me with have helped me show up and be more present for my family and friends.

5. Take responsibility for your actions. Your life is what it is it because of YOU. The decisions you’ve made up to this point have created the outcome you currently have.

If your family life is suffering, it’s up to YOU to change it. This might tweak some people. You’ll say, “but my partner is …” or “but my boss is…” STOP IT! You need to give it everything you’ve got in order to make the changes necessary to make your work better, to make your family life better.

Why are we so willing to bust our asses for work and money and when we come home we dismiss the relationships there and take them for granted?

If you’re not careful they will ALL fall apart! I’ve been through tough times with my wife. We worked on us together! There were a LOT of nights we’d argue. If I’d just gotten off my high horse and walked over and said “sorry” things would have been different. But we got through it.

And I’ll say this. As my home life suffered, my work performance suffered equally. Because I would end up thinking about my problems at home while I was at work. And I was having problems at home because work was creeping in there. This is why this series is so important! Finding a balance is hard, but it’s essential.

Get your house right and your world will change.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Nothing happens to you, it happens BECAUSE of you.” -Grant Cardone

I read the book Be Obsessed or Be Average about 5 years ago. There’s an entire chapter devoted to the quote above. Grant says that if the power goes out in your neighbourhood and you work from home, it’s not the government’s fault for not getting things back online quicker. It’s YOUR fault for not having enough money to have a generator installed in your home.

That little parable right there sold me on it.

I constantly blamed everyone I could for every bad thing that happened to me. My mum was a bad boss. The leads weren’t good enough. I’m late because of another client.

All of those things can be boiled down to the way I reacted to situations.

If I was a better employee to my mum, how would her attitude change? If I handled the leads better, how would things have turned out? If I had booked my calendar properly, would I ever have been late?

Life happens because of you, not to you! Once you internalize this, you start seeing everyone around you complaining about everything. You realize how dumb it sounds!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

While I support many charitable organizations, I still believe the one thing this world needs more of is love. Love conquers all.

Right now, our world if filled with vitriol and hate. There are bright spots, too, but we don’t often get to see them. Now, more than ever, it’s more important to love one another. To accept others for who they are.

At the end of the day, if we can remember that everyone is human and behind every screen, every conversation, etc. there’s a person who’s going through their own stuff and having their own struggles, we’ll be in a much better position to move forward.

Say hi to someone with a smile as you walk by. Open a door for someone in the store. Small acts of kindness go a long way to making someone’s world a better place.

What is the best way for people to follow you online?

Instagram — http://instagram.com/justinloncaric

Facebook — Justin Loncaric — Realtor

www.jlrealtygroup.ca

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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