Immersed in a culture where relationships rule all, Alan Calimbas has always emphasized truly connecting with everyone who surrounds him. With many years as a touring musician and in the customer service/hospitality industry, he realized that working with others rather than against them leads you further in life. This true ‘team’ mentality has allowed Alan to learn from his peers and lead them to success! Born in Toronto, Alan relocated to the West Coast at a young age. He has now called Vancouver home for over 17 years and is in love with how the city and the beauty of nature exist as one. He is a city boy at heart but has grown to love the outdoors and everything Mother Nature provides.
Alan founded VANCITY 4 SALE, a real estate business based in Vancouver. He separates himself in the marketplace by working closely with his clients to achieve their goals through carefully crafted strategies catered to their specific needs from beginning to end. Some of Alan’s most significant accomplishments thus far in his career have been the numerous ongoing relationships with a wide array of clientele. In just seven short years in the business, he has personally sold over $130 million in real estate transactions and well over $240 million in team sales, always focusing on the client’s goals and objectives.
A consistent top performer in Vancouver Real Estate Social Media for the past five years, Alan excels in thinking outside the box. His unique and scripted social media content gains hundreds of thousands of views, cutting through the noise of traditional marketing. Proudly ranking in the Top 10 in Vancouver and maintaining a Top 15 position in BC, Alan’s innovative approach stands out. Alan’s expertise extends to luxury properties, from west-side dream homes in Vancouver to North Shore mansions with breathtaking views.
Specializing in short-term rental properties, particularly in Downtown Vancouver, Alan navigates the ever-changing regulations with finesse. Notably, his clients have never faced reprimands or massive fines, a testament to the guidance and support he provides in navigating the rules and regulations. Alan’s mission is simple: he wants the client, to be happy. He exudes positivity, is driven, motivated, sincere and understanding when it comes to client’s needs and will always make sure they come first. In his newest venture, The SUBJECT FREE Podcast (available on numerous podcast streaming platforms), Alan and his colleagues discuss fundamental estate-related topics, taking a “real” look at what goes on behind the scenes in Real Estate with four diverse agents in the field. He guarantees listeners will laugh (maybe), cry (probably not), learn (that’s the hope), and you will be left wondering: “WTF!? Did they just say that!?”
On his off time, you can find Alan with his life’s many joys: his wife, rescue dogs, and cat. He also donates his time to animal-related causes, something he is incredibly passionate about. He is actively involved in rescuing dogs in Southern California, where the epidemic of abandonment has led to overcrowded shelters and heartbreaking euthanizations. Recently, Alan used his social media to locate an adoptive parent for an abandoned shelter dog named Pearl on Vancouver Island. She was on death row in a ‘kill shelter’ in Los Angeles. When the shelter informed Alan they were not waiting until the pick-up deadline previously arranged and that they planned to euthanize her the same day, Alan dropped everything, jumped on a flight, and safely secured her release.
He literally arrived minutes before she was set to be killed. Though his time with Pearl was short, their hours together were irreplaceable! Together, Pearl enjoyed her first cheeseburger, first car ride, first human bed, and experienced love for the first time, making their bond unbreakable and their goodbye… bittersweet. Alan welcomes anyone wanting to make a difference and learn how to contribute to this noble cause to connect with him directly.
IN HIS WORDS
“I didn’t realize that I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I became one – so you can say I fell into it when I started to take my music career seriously.
“Not too long after graduating high school, around 18 or 19, my band and I quickly realized that we were not just playing music but running an entire business. Ensuring that all aspects of our brand portrayed a consistent message to the public – we took complete control of it all. At that point, we had record label interest growing but decided that their offers weren’t in our best interest, so we took investor money to grow our business on our terms.
“As the band was the business and we were also the product, wearing all hats was required and soon became tiring and time-consuming. It was mainly the singer and I who ran this, so the other guys had a pretty comfy ride on tour, and man, I was jealous of the amount of partying they did while we were running numbers and managing every aspect of the business.
“As a travelling circus, I mean, musicians; we would constantly play shows and frequently play in cities where we saw the best response. To keep it fresh, we needed a hook for them to return to hear the same songs that they just heard not too long ago, so my singer would think of the craziest merchandise items to sell, which included vegan peppermint-flavoured sex lubricant, vegan soap, hair pomade, etc.
“Another aspect I loved so much stemmed from each of us having very different tastes in music preference. We would take older, popular songs and rewrite them into our style and brand of music. It kept things exciting, and the crowds loved it.
“At the same time, it was challenging, to say the least. Being the talent, management, marketing company, booking agent, etc., and all the while still trying to write new music and choreograph various on-stage acrobats (our live shows were one thing we wanted to make sure people were WOWED by) and as technology developed, there were even more things to add to our lists to learn.
“I saw my creativity drop off, and this business became less fun, and fun is the entire reason I started writing and performing music in the first place!
“Even after signing with a label and management company, the Napster debacle turned the music industry on its head, forcing the old model to change entirely.
“Most record labels and shops did not survive, and The ‘Big 5’ labels (Universal, Sony, BMG, Warner and EMI) merged to eventually become The ‘Big 3’ after parts were sold off.
“Record giants like Universal Canada went from huge east and west coast operations, occupying multi-floor buildings, to a handful of employees on the east coast and one employee working from his apartment on the west coast! That’s how much Napster and file sharing affected the music industry!
“As this happened, I read the writing on the wall and decided to return to school while still touring.
“With my degree in hand, I landed a job at a boutique music management company that handled prominent artists. I eventually worked my way up the ladder to a tour coordinator for artists like Norah Jones and Melody Gardot.
“After 13 years, I eventually veered away from the music industry because I lost my passion for it. When you have too many brains trying to move the brand towards their visions and the alignment is no longer there, it’s time to move on to something new. The band did a farewell tour, which was our highest-grossing one!
“What followed was a tough transition as I felt a loss of identity. I dabbled in other careers, working for multiple companies – sales jobs, managing restaurants, and being the GM of one of the most popular nightclubs in Vancouver.
“I was never completely content as I knew that if I was going to work as hard as I did on something, it should be for my brand and business.
“Running a nightclub was the nail in the coffin for my long-term relationship. Working 70–80 hour weeks affected our relationship as my girlfriend would be so lonely.
“I worked almost every night until around 4am and sometimes until 7am. I would also have to be there in the daytime, so I never saw her.
“We rescued a dog so she wouldn’t feel as lonely, but that dog had significant past life trauma and separation anxiety, leading us to rescue a second dog.
“He had been left to die at a garbage dumpsite and, ultimately, this second rescue would end up being our first one’s best friend and therapy dog. He taught our firstborn how to walk correctly, play appropriately, and socialize respectfully. They are still the best of friends and brothers today! Because of my rescue dogs (sons), I decided to get into real estate.
“One night after work, I arrived home around 5:30am and found my boys patiently waiting by my apartment door with all the lights on, which was very unusual. When I walked further into my home, I discovered that my girlfriend had taken all her belongings and left, leaving our two boys behind.
“At that point, I knew I had to change my life! Not only was I killing myself (my liver, to be more exact), but we rescued these beautiful pups to give them a better life from what they had known in the past, and there was no way I was going to abandon them again!
“I asked myself, what are the things that I have an interest in? And I kept coming back to Real Estate. I knew this was the track to pursue if I was going to run my own business.
“I don’t like the word successful much because I don’t think you are ever as successful as you want. I was successful in the sense that I was in my third year in the business, doing enough deals to live decently, loved my career, loved the people I met, and I was still IN the business.
“Most new agents don’t survive their first five years, and around 80% exit in their first year! In that sense, you could say I saw some success, but I wasn’t anywhere close to what success was or is!
“There was a pivotal moment in my career when COVID hit, and all predictions were that the sky would fall and properties would drop in value by 30% or more. I took control of my destiny before the market got hot, and that’s when I urged my clients and preached to my audience to take the opportunity presented to us.
“Everything happened like the Matrix, and I saw the value in taking advantage of the doom and gloom media.
“Social media has always fascinated me, and I knew that coming very soon, it would be a vital component to most businesses.
“When Instagram first came out and Facebook ads had just begun, I took courses to learn how to do it while still a touring musician.
“Though all the platforms, messaging, and strategies have changed immensely since those courses at UBC, I have continuously researched how to grow my audience constantly, which I am still doing today!
“Of late, I have transitioned to a heavy video-based content strategy as this is the best way to convey your messaging, branding, and personality.
“These are all HUGE aspects of why clients/consumers decide to use your services or purchase your products in today’s world.
“Unlike traditional one-way marketing, you can also get instant feedback and measure your analytics, whereas before you could only estimate certain things, primarily by traffic, density, etc.
“My story would not be complete without giving props to my parents, who have always believed in me, and they know how hard I work at the things I’m passionate or obsessed about. I am always learning how to improve, and being someone who doesn’t necessarily like change, that was always the most difficult habit to break. I’ve improved this aspect of myself, which has had an enormous impact on my business.
“My wife has also always believed in me, but she kind of has to – just kidding! LOL! – and my clients have always been so faithful to me! I have retained about 95% of the clients I worked with since my first days in the industry and continue dealing with them. As much as I helped them, they have helped me even more!
“My business model and niche clientele have significantly changed, especially in the last two years.
“I have had some health issues stemming from hemophilia, a bleeding disorder, which I’ve had all my life. I almost died in the summer of 2022, and I didn’t take seriously the severity of what was happening. I did two deals while I was in a hospital bed, not knowing that I could’ve died until the doctor sat my wife and me down to give it to us straight.
“At that point, as much as I loved being extremely busy, I wasn’t fully happy with where my career and business was. After that realization and a hard look in the mirror, I changed my model. How I was marketing myself was not conveying the message or capturing the type of clientele that I wanted.
“So, when I left the hospital, I put a plan in place to pivot the business and focus on what would get me to where I wanted to go. It took a little time, but I started to see the results of the change, and it has been challenging but rewarding!
“I’m very honest regarding my clients and the decisions I feel would be best for them to make. We all know what’s happening in the market with the high-interest rates, the affordability crisis, and the lack of good inventory on the market.
“All year, my phone has been ringing off the hook, but I had honest conversations with my clients and any new potential clients. The majority of my advice to my sellers was to wait to list if they can honestly afford to weather the storm.
“It’s not about the quick sale or quick money in my wallet. It’s about how I can put them in the best position to achieve their goals.
“Whether it be selling for the highest price possible or choosing the right home(s) to make the investment(s) worth their while, I don’t shy away from giving it to them straight, and I genuinely believe that is why I have instilled trust and they continuously use my services. I’m also a shitload of fun to be around, honestly! LOL!
“I have been doing a full-on press on marketing and content creation to get through the next two quarters. I want to be ahead of the market because when it turns, and we all know it will, there won’t be as much time to invest in these actions, and I don’t want to be in a situation where it falls off and I’m forced to play catch-up!”
Images for this story provided by Alan Calimbas.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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