By Abel Pagaling
Once in a while, there are individuals who move us and make us realize how blessed and incredibly fortunate we are to be living in one of the best countries on earth. They share a glimpse of their journey. They reveal to us their true mission through the path they’ve taken. They show us that there’s more to them than the title or job they carry. Look deeply into their lives and you’ll see just how far they’ve come to get to where they are now. You can’t help but admire their life, their inspiration, and their mission.
One such individual is Alex Briones. He is real estate agent who has had a difficult yet amazing journey in life.
AP: What was your motivation to get into real estate?
AB: When I purchased my first house, I felt something was missing in the process. I thought it could improve. At that time, I was listening to audiobooks on real-estate investing from Robert Kiyosaki. This was back in 2008 when I was still working as a full-time technician at Memory Express. I was very interested in real estate. I talked to a few people about real estate, and they said it’s not a good industry to be in because of the economy. Then I spoke to a real estate agent. She told me, “It’s not about the economy Alex, it’s about you. If you’re honest with people and you’re willing to help, don’t worry about the economy. If you’re ready to help do it.”
With this in mind I took the part-time course at CREB (Calgary Real Estate Board) while working full-time at Memory Express. It took about a year to complete. After that, I started my real estate career.
AP: What do you do to assist your clients when making a purchase?
AB: Buying a house is probably the largest investment for a family to make. If I can make the process more informative and easier for clients, it will be a better transaction for everyone.
In real estate, the transaction process can go very fast. You get into a situation where you have to make payments on the mortgage, condo fees, credit cards, line of credits, property tax, home and fire insurance, and other payments. If a client is informed beforehand of all these payments before purchasing a house, they can plan better. I’m all about helping my clients make the right decision. I ensure that every client I talk to knows how much expense they will be responsible for when they purchase a house. With all the payments involved, you can slowly get into a cycle of debt which is very hard to get out of. I make sure they understand all these obligations before they make a purchase. This was a personal mistake I made. I don’t want my clients to repeat it.
AP: Tell us more about you and what or who inspires you?
AB: This is personal. I have five siblings in my family. But I was a step-brother to them. I had a different mother than my siblings. When I was in grade 2, I moved in with my dad and my siblings because my mom passed away. Before that, I lived with my mom and my lola (grandma). My mom tried to raise me on her own, but sadly she got sick and passed away. I was left with my lola (grandma). We lived in a small place. My lola didn’t have a job, so we had to ask money on the streets. We had to beg. My lola told me we collect more money when I’m with her. At my very young age, I remember people were very generous.
Aside from money, they gave us rice grain, food and clothes. Lola always tells me never steal from somebody. Just ask for help and they will help you. But then my lola said she couldn’t raise me anymore. That’s when she left me to my dad and his family. It was tough, but my family was very good to me. They embraced me and very grateful to them. So now when I go to the Philippines, I always go back to the poor areas. My ultimate goal is to help my family on my biological mother’s side and the poor families on my father’s side. I want them to rise from being poor. I want them to do well in life. My goal is not just to give money. I want them to have something that they can work on and make a living. I want them to learn how to fish, not just give them fish so to speak. This is what motivates me to be different with my clients. I’ve lived poverty. If I can prevent others from living a difficult life, I will.
AP: How did living in hardship mold your business approach with your clients?
AB: I’ve experienced more difficulties in the Philippines with my family. My dad at one point lost everything when his business went bankrupt. He had to sell everything, and we had to live in an impoverished area where there was drugs and violence. This change when my sister came to Canada to be a caregiver. She’s the one who sent money back home to make sure we could go to school. I owe everything to her. I’m able to have a family here because of my sister Jenny. I’m very grateful to her. I’m also very grateful to my stepmom (Inay) who took me in like her own son. And this is why I tell buyers, don’t just buy based on your emotions.
Let’s look at the finances first. Let’s look at what you’ll be paying each month. I want to prevent people from getting into a situation where they don’t know where they will get their mortgage payment. I want my clients to make the right decisions. I want them to be successful not just in owning a home, but in life as well.
To know more about Alex, visit his website at