Get to Know CREA’s New Chair, Larry Cerqua

While Larry Cerqua thought working in real estate was more of a summer job at first, he’s thrilled to have spent the last four decades helping people achieve the dream of homeownership.

“At the time, I had a hockey injury that was keeping me away from typical summer and college jobs, so after some convincing from my sister, Maria, and brother-in-law, Vince, I took the [real estate] course, and started working,” said Cerqua.

Now, more than 42 years later, Cerqua is the 78th Chair of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). During a recent conversation, Cerqua told us about himself, his introduction to real estate, and what he hopes to achieve in the next year.

“I remember my first listing so well that I can even remember the address. It was an estate sale and it sold in a week and a half. For REALTORS®, that first sale gives you such a rush of energy and excitement. Well, two hours after that first sale I got another client, this time an amazing elderly couple. I just sold an estate property and now I’m helping somebody. I remember thinking how cool it was. From there it kept spinning and I was able to help friends, help a couple get their first home, and more. It showed me the power REALTORS® can have to help people, the aspect I love most about this industry.”

In addition to helping people, Cerqua has had the opportunity to serve the REALTOR® community on boards, associations, and committees.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside some incredible people, who have pushed and encouraged me to apply for some incredible positions, such as running for President of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). I never really saw myself in positions like this, but I had people in my network who encouraged me to run, and I still feel so lucky to have them in my life.”

Building on this encouragement, Cerqua wants to help other REALTORS® see themselves in leadership positions.

“When my time is up as CREA’s Chair, I want to have helped many in our industry see themselves in leadership positions and empowered to put their names forward to be CREA’s next Chair, a Director or for any other leadership position they want to take on,” said Cerqua.

“Every person in our industry can offer valuable insights whether they’ve been in the industry for one year or more than 40 years. Each of us has our own unique experiences, backgrounds, and views, so I want to be able to tap into those experiences, backgrounds, and views to help make decisions, develop solutions, and move our industry forward.”

For Cerqua, the best path forward starts with open discussions from differing views – stressing he’s always available to hear new ideas and solutions to the issues our industry is facing. 

“When we come together, we are far more likely to come away from our discussion with a stronger solution that will address the issue we’re facing and set us up for success in the future.”

Fun facts about Larry Cerqua:

What’s your favourite meal?

“As my wife, Sheree, would say, ‘anything with oregano!’”

What do you like to do outside of work?

“I like to listen to music. I like pretty much any kind of music, but I really enjoy Led Zeppelin, Luther Vandross, and Tower of Power.

I also enjoy watching old TV programs and old movies. I like the shows themselves, but for me when I watch these shows and movies, they each carry a lot of memories that I like to look back on.”

Do you have a favourite song?

“It’s very difficult to pick just one. Always and Forever by Luther Vandross. It’s our wedding song. It’s funny because when we were discussing songs, I said this was my favourite, and turns out it was hers too.”

If you weren’t in real estate, what do you think you would have done for a living?

“A professional hockey coach! I’ve always enjoyed the teaching opportunities I’ve had, and I think it would transfer well into the role because you’ll need to work with your players get the best from them and get them to believe in themselves and their team.”

If you had to live outside of your current community, where else in Canada would you live and why?

“I’ve recently travelled to a few places I’ve never been to before, like St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and I could see myself living there. The only thing is that I’m not sure I could do the harsh winters they get, so maybe the west coast in the Nanaimo, British Columbia area.”

What’s your favourite vacation spot?

“Italy! It’s not just because I’m Italian either. My wife and I have always really enjoyed visiting different parts of Italy.”