The Behar Group

If you ask Yosi Behar, the broker of record and the president of The Behar Group, the company’s agents are so much more than just employees. The charismatic industry veteran admits that he would, if he could, adopt all of them. “We treat each other like family here,” Behar declares. 

Executive Vice President Greg Evans agrees. “He treats me like a son,” Evans says, noting that Behar does the same for others within the company’s office.  “He introduces them to business opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Based in Toronto, The Behar Group provides commercial real estate brokerage, advisory, and construction and property management services. Yosi Behar founded the company in 1992, after working for another development firm for 24 years.

In his last year at the firm, Behar and his wife Muriel set out to become sole proprietors of their own brokerage. The Behar Group was a two-person operation until their son, CEO and Broker Avi Behar, joined the family company in 1995.

Today, The Behar Group is a much different company, with a staff of 25. “We’ve certainly made the transition from a small company to a thriving business,” Avi Behar says, noting that the organization’s personnel, infrastructure and operations have grown. 

Additionally, “We’ve built a reputation for being honest, honorable and hard-working,” Behar declares. “We’ve become known as an industry leader in Ontario, and we have plans to grow across Canada and beyond.”

On the Rise

The Behar Group has enjoyed steady, year-over-year growth since 1995. “That’s quite unique in the real estate world,” Avi Behar says. 

The company has managed this for a variety of reasons. “I believe it’s easier to accomplish as a more nimble, hands-on organization,” he says, noting that The Behar Group is one of the most closely-knit organizations in the industry.  

Above all, it is the company’s spirit of collaboration that distinguishes its corporate culture. “If someone hires me or Greg, they’re benefitting from the expertise of the whole team,” he says. “We’re happy to exchange leads and share best practices.” 

Additionally, The Behar Group also remains diverse thanks to its successful integration of its landlord services, tenant services, and capital markets groups. 

“Those are our three core businesses on the brokerage side,” Avi Behar says. “That they are all very active helps our agents maintain a helpful breadth of business experience — and makes us better able to withstand challenging times.

“When it’s a landlord’s market and not a tenant’s market, for example, we have a large team ready to accommodate,” Behar explains. “That’s helped us with the constant incline in business.” 

Yosi Behar also credits The Behar Group’s success to the way the company treats people. 

“We treat our clients and customers the way we would like to be treated,” he says. “We don’t just make a deal to make a commission.”

Only in Canada

Notwithstanding The Behar Group’s involvement in the sale of investment properties and development lands, and in the leasing of shopping centers and mixed-use developments throughout Ontario, the company is particularly proud of its role in the establishment of the Toronto Muslim Cemetery. 

The cemetery, which opened in 2012, reflects a collaboration of multiple cultures. A native of Israel, Yosi Behar brought together the local Sunni and Shia Muslim sects on the project.

When he approached the two groups, they each had specific requirements, so careful negotiation was critical. “I brought them to the table,” he recalls, noting that the deal was worked out at his own home. “In accordance with their customs, I helped arrange an interest-free mortgage for them.”

Three thousand people attended the opening of the cemetery, which is the first Muslim cemetery in the Greater Toronto Area, and the first all-Muslim cemetery in Canada. 

“I feel very proud,” Behar senior says. “I love living in a country where this kind of transaction is possible.” 

Avi Behar praises his father. “I don’t know of anyone else who could put that together,” he says. “It was a landmark deal.” 

Eyes on the Future

The Behar Group always looks towards the future, Avi Behar says. “We’re continually refining the business plan to become better and more efficient while maintaining our core values,” he says.

“We’re certainly working towards strategic growth,” Behar continues. “That will come through expansion of our various business units, and the addition of key people within the industry.”

Yosi Behar agrees that the company’s future looks bright. “We’re getting more and more listings,” Behar says. “[We’re even] getting recommendations from competitors. That by itself is like a pat on the shoulder.”

Behar has no plans of leaving the company soon. “I’m not retiring until I’m 89 years old,” he says. 

“I still have another 18 years and lots of deals to go,” he continues. “I love what I’m doing.”

“Yosi’s energy, passion and humor continue to make him one of the most dynamic and successful brokers in the Canadian industry,” Evans adds.   

Though the elder Behar shows no signs of slowing down, the company is prepared for continued transformation under the leadership of its focused and ambitious executive team. 

Additionally, “This is just the beginning,” smiles Avi Behar. 

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