How the Ottawa Real Estate Board fuelled John Zinati’s success

2019 Forty Under 40 recipient gains industry contacts, market research through OREB membership
John Zinati

John Zinati says even when he was young he was interested in buildings but, when it came time to launch his career, he found himself lacking connections in the commercial real estate industry.

He needed industry credibility and knowledge of the Ottawa commercial real estate market. Through his involvement in Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) and its Commercial Services Network, Zinati has become a well-known Commercial Realtor in the National Capital Region.

In his relatively short career, Zinati – owner of commercial brokerage firm Zinati Realty – has accumulated several industry accolades, including being named a 2019 Forty Under 40 recipient. He was also recognized last year in the CoStar Power Broker Ottawa awards in four categories: top leasing firms, top office leasing brokers, top retail leasing brokers and top industrial leasing brokers.

“I’m surprised because everything came so quickly,” he says. “I thought it would take a lot longer to get here.”

Looking back, in 2007, at the age of 27, a local real estate firm hired him to work in commercial leasing and sales.

Looking to further his career, Zinati decided to become a commercial Realtor. He joined OREB in 2009 in order to gain credibility in the business community, get professional education about commercial real estate and to network with other real estate professionals.

“I saw the value of membership in the Ottawa Real Estate Board immediately,” says Zinati. “Joining at an early point in my career gave me great guidance on how to conduct myself professionally and ethically.”

Membership benefits

OREB’s commercial members receive a wide range of benefits to support their businesses. Members are able to post their commercial listings on the MLS System and, one of the top real estate websites in Canada.

OREB members also have access to RealTrack, a database detailing past commercial transactions. Zinati uses RealTrack as one of his tools to compare prices in different neighbourhoods and make recommendations to clients on how to price their listings. When it’s time to close a deal, OREB’s commercial members can use hundreds of legally vetted commercial forms and clauses, protecting buyers and sellers.

Zinati says every commercial transaction is different, so having access to a diverse library of clauses is important. For one client, he needed to write an environmental clause into the buyer’s offer. Instead of drafting the clause on his own, he used a legally vetted clause that he had access to because of his membership in OREB.

When Zinati started his brokerage firm in 2016, he decided to become more involved with OREB in order to network and learn more about the industry. As a member of the Commercial Services Network – which provides education and benefits to support the Board’s commercial Realtors – he was elected in 2016 to the Commercial Services Committee, the advisory committee for the commercial network.

Zinati and his colleagues want to increase awareness, increase membership, maintain commercial standards and help to improve the MLS platform for commercial listings with the help of a specialized task force.

“It’s always nice to give your time to something you believe in,” Zinati said.

To find a commercial Realtor, visit the OREB website.

What is a commercial Realtor? 


“Realtor” is not a job description. It is a trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and stands for service, competence and high ethical practice. OREB’s commercial members who have met those high standards are eligible to become members of OREB’s Commercial Services Network.

Commercial Realtors provide competent professional service through their extensive market knowledge. Some services include:

  • Far-reaching marketing services through their exclusive access to the MLS System and
  • Access to listings of thousands of other Realtors through their exclusive MLS System access
  • Professional advice based on knowledge, experience, and education
  • Tenant and landlord representation
  • Advice on real estate investment purchases
  • Property management services