Unleashing a higher standard

How Realty Unleashed is stewarding positive change in the real estate industry


On the website's homepage for Edmonton-based real estate brokerage, Realty Unleashed, visitors are greeted by the face of the company: a French Bulldog named Pierre.

“Daydreaming in my MBA accounting class one day, I doodled the future Realty Unleashed logo in my notebook with my intended future dog nestled between two words,” said Chris Squires (16’ MBA), co-founder, broker and REALTOR® for Realty Unleashed. “I intended it to be a Golden Labrador, but when my daughter fell in love with a picture of Pierre on Kijiji, there was little to stop the wheelset in motion.”

Pierre is not the only canine at the company. He is joined by his bulldog brother Marcel and a blue heeler named Poppy, whose owner is Squires’ business partner, Jen Armstrong.

“Pierre and Marcel are charismatic and can command a room until the real boss shows up, and that’s Poppy,” said Squires.

Just as each canine employee brings their personality and flares to Realty Unleashed, so do the co-founders.

“Chris and I recognize some similarities in each other like creativity and a keen sense of urgency,” said Armstrong. “On the other hand, our differences complement each other. Chris is very much a visionary and I am much stronger at operations.”

Being the curious visionary, it was during research for his MBA capstone project — which included over 700 phone calls to customers who had worked with a REALTOR® in some capacity — that Squires became inspired. He found it unacceptable that not one client mentioned service as something that stood out from their experience working with a REALTOR®.

“I couldn’t shake the assumption that a company like Realty Unleashed could serve the broader needs that so many sellers and buyers shared that they were experiencing, “ said Squires.

“In my not-for-profit background, I have seen first-hand the impact that service can make on individuals and communities. I was compelled to act and felt that I could make a difference.”

Soon after completing his research, Squires resigned from his position as the Vice President of a non-profit organization, fueled by a desire to start a business that offered service that the real estate industry lacked. He asked his talented friend Armstrong — who had a valuable business operations and branding background — to be his business partner, and in 2018 the company was officially launched.

Raising the standard

According to Squires and Armstrong, a key factor in providing exemplary service is putting the client in the driver's seat and providing whatever they need for success. 

Beyond the conventional motions of listing and selling homes, the Realty Unleashed team goes above and beyond by providing consistent communication and free services such as interior and exterior cleaning, home staging, lawn maintenance, moving boxes and more. 

“We want to alleviate the burden our clients feel when they are selling their home and offer genuine service,” said Armstrong. “Our team must work to earn our clients' business every day.”

“It boils down to providing more action and fewer words,” said Squires. “I have always envisioned Realty Unleashed to be a company that not only focuses on service but is well known for it."

Their service standards extend beyond their clients. The co-founders aim to provide their employees with excellent, fair service through monetary security — every employee (including REALTORS®) receives a salary and benefits — and nurture a workplace culture of generosity.

“It’s truly better to give than receive,” said Squires. “And that applies to every aspect of business and life." 

“We have created an atmosphere of generosity for our employees,” said Armstrong, “For example, we have committed to buying lunch for our staff every day, and we are also generous with the exploration of creativity – if a staff member has an idea that will improve things in some way, we are very open to exploring it.”

Looking toward the future

“My MBA studies and Dean Kyle Murray played a significant role in the development of Realty Unleashed,” said Squires.

A recent undergraduate from the University, Armstrong shares Squires' high regard for the University; and with Squires’ encouragement, she is studying for her GMAT to pursue an MBA with the Alberta School of Business. 

On paper, one might say my path to where I am is unconventional,” said Armstrong, “but I am incredibly proud of my journey, and I am a proponent of returning to school as a mature student to strengthen my skills and leadership.”

"I love our team at Realty Unleashed," added Squires. "I have more excitement than ever for the future of the company – and we are only getting started!”

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