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Rick Kedzior: Focusing on Ontario member support and giving back to the profession

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As president of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Rick Kedzior wants to concentrate on the organization’s member-focused strategic plan. His goal is to guide it to deliver its mission of supporting realtors in helping people find a home.

“I just want to leave organized real estate in a better place than I started four years ago (as a member of OREA’s board),” he states.


What OREA’s been up to


Kedzior says this has been working out, although the provincial association had “a bit of a rough year” in 2023 with the Ontario Realtor Wellness Program.

“Some of our members weren’t in favour or big supporters of it. That made it a bit of a tougher year. So this year, we’re out there mending some fences, improving our brand, providing guidance for our membership to continue to raise the bar on professional standards and advocating for home ownership policies,” he explains.

Kedzior notes the three pillars of the organization are advocacy, forms and clauses, and leadership training for all 29 real estate boards in the province.


Housing affordability: Ontario industry’s biggest challenge


As for the biggest challenge faced by the Ontario industry today, he says it’s the affordability issue.

“I’ve got a couple of kids in their early 30s. I look at them and what the real estate market in Ontario has done since 2021 when there was a big change in terms of pricing and craziness, and I wonder if my kids are ever going to be able to afford homeownership. That’s a real concern for me and I think for a lot of people,” says Kedzior. “This is definitely a concern for us at OREA.”


A 30-year career including giving back to the profession


Kedzior has been active in the real estate profession since 1994. He’s a Broker with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp., Brokerage in Oakville, and a member of the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB), where he was president in 2018 and 2000 and served as chair on various committees, including MLS, By-law and Professional Standards.

Kedzior also previously served as president of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and director at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. He recently served as director-at-large and president-elect at OREA. Then, he joined OREA’s board in 2020 and became president earlier this year.

“I’ve always been a volunteer. I’ve always thought that you need to give back to the profession that you’re in,” says Kedzior.

He believes real estate is all about meeting people and developing relationships. “The more people you know, the better off you’re going to be in terms of helping them. But that’s not the reason why I volunteer. I’m just a consummate volunteer. I think you’ve got to give back, try to make the profession better when you leave it.” adds Kedzior. 

He says some of the newer agents don’t have an interest in volunteering, which to him is “scary.” For example, OREA needs volunteers to keep the organization going. “It’s not always about making money. It’s about giving back. To me, it’s been a great career in real estate so I feel obligated to volunteer as well.”


‘Working with the public … something I enjoyed from banking days and I always had this fascination about real estate’


Kedzior was born and raised in Hamilton, where his parents immigrated in 1949. During World War II, his parents were each captured by the Germans and ended up working on a labour farm in Germany, where they met. His father was Polish and his mother was Ukrainian. They married in Germany and came to Canada after the war.

Kedzior’s background prior to real estate is in the financial field. He explains he managed a couple of community credit unions, one of which was in Oakville.

“When Re/Max opened up their branch or offices in Oakville, I established a relationship with the owner. He ended up banking with me so I had their trust and general accounts and handled all their banking needs,” he says.

Then, after five years of managing their accounts, the owner talked Kedzior into becoming a realtor. “I always enjoy working with the public. That was something I enjoyed from my banking days and I always had this fascination about real estate.

As a banker, I dealt with a lot of his agents financially as well, so I thought this looked really easy, real estate. Little did I know that looking from the outside in, it was easy to think that but it was not as easy as I thought it was. It wasn’t easy at all. I thought if I don’t take the plunge now I probably would never be able to.”

At that time, Kedzior was married with two young kids. He wondered what he should do. Ask his wife about changing careers knowing she was risk-averse and that she’d probably say no? Instead, one day he came home and told her this was what he was doing. In sharing this story, he jokes about the saying, “It’s better to seek forgiveness than seek permission.”

“She’s still my wife, that’s one good thing,” laughs Kedzior. “She wasn’t too happy about going from an every two weeks paycheque to commission, but it all worked out.”


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