Macdonald Realty: A Giant Tree from a Tiny Acorn

Vision and hard work – that sums up how Lynn Hsu grew a real estate company from one office to 20 offices and 1,000-plus employees, making it Western Canada’s largest full-service brokerage firm

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As seen in… Profiles of Excellence 2017

Originally from Taiwan, Hsu immigrated to Canada in the late 1970s – alone, with no family or friends, no job prospects and speaking little English. Today, she has turned Macdonald Realty into Western Canada’s largest full-service brokerage firm.

From the moment Hsu purchased that single boutique residential firm, she had a vision.

“The real estate industry has two distinct businesses – one creation, the other servicing. On the servicing side, almost all the companies in BC were a single-purpose company, i.e. residential or commercial brokerage, property management or project marketing firms,” says Hsu. “I wanted to create a company that could provide our clients all-encompassing real estate solutions under one roof –from guiding a home buyer through the biggest investment of their lives, helping an investor manage and add value to their properties, to assembling ground intelligence to assist developers to create the right products for the marketplace.”

Today, the company’s interests encompass residential sales, commercial sales and leasing, property management, strata management, development and project management, project marketing and mortgage brokering and lending. It now includes the Macdonald Commercial and Macdonald Realty Platinum Project Marketing divisions.

Dan Scarrow, vice-president, says it’s Hsu’s ability to hire the right people that also helped propel her to the top of the industry. “Lynn has always understood how important it is to empower employees. She is a leader who inspires people through a shared vision and she has created an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled,” says Scarrow. “Her strongest point is that she has never wavered from her commitment to serve and protect our customers.”

Hsu believes that a business model based on a fundamental principle of upholding the highest standard of excellence, coupled with a strong conviction that every problem has a creative solution, would allow Macdonald Realty to grow organically. “When you have the belief and knowledge that you are doing your best to adhere to your core values, problems, rather than deflating you, energize you to action,” adds Hsu.

Hsu went on to explain: “Professionalism and integrity mean a great deal to me and my entire team. They are our company’s core values.”

Although the trend in the industry is to expand by hiring as many realtors as possible, Hsu was steadfast that the company’s mandate should be focused on continued education and training rather than growing the realtor pool. “We are very selective in our hiring practices. I constantly remind my managers that we compete on quality not quantity,” she adds.

During the nineties, Macdonald Realty began to expand throughout British Columbia by way of a series of mergers, acquisitions, and strategic affiliations. In 2015, Macdonald Realty opened a Shanghai office at the junction of the bustling Jing’an and Xu’hui districts and launched the first Canada-focused real estate website behind the Great Firewall.

Over the decades, Macdonald Realty has evolved into a diversified brokerage, management and consultancy organization.

The company is also committed to the community. Recently, Macdonald Realty announced a three-year charitable sponsorship with InspireHealth, a BC non-profit organization which provides supplemental care for people living with cancer.

“We are so grateful to Macdonald Realty for their generous support of the ‘Inspired Cooking’ project. Their financial contribution has enabled us to create a cookbook that is filled with inspiring stories, wonderful recipes and important nutritional information to help Canadians consider the importance of healthy food in their daily lives,” says Richard Somerset, COO InspireHealth. “We are fortunate to partner with a local organization that cares so deeply about our patients’ well-being and wants to ensure that there is supportive care for cancer patients in British Columbia.”


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When established? Macdonald Realty was established in 1944.

Owner: Lynn Hsu, owner and CEO, purchased the real estate company in 1990.

How many offices? Today there are 20 offices across the province covering the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Whistler and Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan.

How many employees? There are more than 1,000 employees and independent contractors.

Notable awards: The company, and Hsu herself, have won several awards including:

  • Most Powerful in Residential Real Estate – 2017: #104 (Swanepoel Power 200)
  • Top 20 Women Leaders in Residential Real Estate – 2016 (Swanepoel Power 200)
  • BC Business 50 Most Influential Women in BC – 2015 (BC Business)

Sales record: In 2015, the company recorded $7 billion in sales.



The article was originally posted on, March 23rd, 2017.

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