The New York Minute

Interview Series: Fascinating Engel & Völkers Colleagues from Around the World

Martin Rouleau

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Martin Rouleau from Engel & Völkers Montréal, Canada.
Sure, I’ll never be as good as young people [in social media], but if I can use the digital tools and the content of my life experience, nothing can beat it. When you’ve been in the business for more than 20 years like I have, it becomes fun.

In 2016, Martin became the first real estate broker in Engel & Voelkers Quebec to earn the Private Office label, the highest international distinction in luxury real estate. With over 1,500 transactions under his belt, Martin was also presented with the Chairman’s Circle Elite Club Award and named the #1 broker in the country. In 2018, he was honored at E&V’s awards ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, for being named one of the Top 10 Worldwide Shops based on residential sales. His team focuses on the Westmount area of Montréal and surrounding neighborhoods.


Paul & Vince: What are the best things about living and working in your market?

Martin: Well, of course, Montréal has a unique European flair in North America, with the French language, the multicultural element, the multi-ethnicities of the city, and the amazing food scene. The walkability to the bakery, the pharmacy in every neighborhood, and more and more bike lanes…

And the size of the city; it’s just big enough, but not too big, and it’s relatively affordable, with great public transportation, markets, parks…But it’s really that lifestyle and the fact that it’s inside a stable country like Canada that makes Montréal such a desirable place to live for people.


Paul & Vince: What did you do before coming into real estate?

Martin: My father had a family business as a manufacturer of electric pole hardware. I joined him after I did my bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in Administration and Commerce. I was in charge of customer service and quality assurance. When the family business was sold, I decided to go into real estate because I realized it had become a passion. I joined the woman who had sold me my first property and I joined before it was fashionable to be a broker because, in 1999, there were no TV shows, no Million Dollar Listings. [Laughs]

Paul & Vince: Since then, you’ve become known as a social media trailblazer.

Martin: Yes, it’s true. That started because I took a sabbatical in 2009 after selling nearly 800 homes in seven years. I came back in 2010, and that allowed me to start on a clean slate. I looked around and saw what was happening with people on their devices, and I decided to put print advertising behind me.

I started building social media listings, and by 2012, I was one of the first to shoot Instagram reels for listings. Now I have over 25,000 followers. Some posts are simple, and some, like my 2022 Christmas video, are filmmaker quality.


Paul & Vince: So, what’s going on in your real estate market right now?

Martin: Well, in 2018 and 2019, there was a huge rush of international buyers here. But now there is a two-year ban on foreign investment in Canadian cities, which began January 1st, 2023. Obviously, the goal is to fight inflation, and there are a few exceptions to the rule: country houses and ski resorts are fine, and people married to Canadian citizens are fine.

But as a broker, it just means that some categories of my properties are harder to sell – they may take longer to find the right buyer – but others are selling just fine.


Paul & Vince: What do you like most about your career in real estate?

Martin:  It’s always about taking my business to the next level. That’s really what drives me. If I feel like there’s a status quo, that’s when I lose interest. And social media changes fast; it’s challenging. Sure, I’ll never be as good as young people, but if I can use the digital tools and the content of my life experience, nothing can beat it. When you’ve been in the business for more than 20 years like I have, it becomes fun…at a point in the career where, even if the details of a sale are new, you pretty much know what you’re talking about. [Laughs] It’s a nice feeling.

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Ok, now it’s time for our Just For Fun question. If you could take a year off and try some dream job somewhere in the world, what would you do?

Martin:  Well, let’s see…I would love to work in Tokyo. I mean, I love everything about Tokyo. What would I do there, though, hmm…? There are lots of coffee shops in Tokyo. I would have to be a barista. I mean, I would love being a barista in one of the busiest places in the whole world… Shibuya Crossing.

Paul & Vince: With the diagonal crosswalks and thousands of pedestrians?

Martin:  That’s the place. It is a real “crossroads” and would be so exciting. I’m sure I would come up with all kinds of Instagram reels just being there!

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing

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