Leuterio builds empire by inspiring others
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - May 8, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - “Seeing others succeed is my ultimate business.”

His name and company may be quite popular over social media and in the real estate industry, but only a few really knows the story behind the success of a venture that only wanted to help someone else's business to thrive.

Helping a developer sell its properties is the kind of business that made Anthony Gerard "Tonton" O. Leuterio into a successful businessman that he is now.

What made it more rewarding, he said is while his business is helping developers, it also helped people to earn and live a comfortable life.

Tonton is the owner and founder of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage Inc., now one of the leading realty firms in the Philippines.

For him, the road to success was no easy feat.

"Success for me is having been able to inspire and help people in a more profound and personal way. Seeing them succeed is my ultimate business," Tonton shared with honesty.

At 43, Leuterio was able to build an empire of real estate brokerage firm with nearly 13,000 agents and licensed brokers all over the Philippines and is continuously encouraging people to join his network and take advantage of the robust real estate brokerage business in the country.

"My company envisions to lead the change in the Philippine real estate brokerage industry by professionalizing the promotion and marketing of real estate products," Tonton said with optimism.

Birth of an empire

His little empire started in 2008 in a make-shift home cum office space at Urgello street, Cebu City with only five agents including himself, and wife Flora May.

"I remembered some people laughing at me, telling me that there is no future for my new-found venture, with a business address that is located in a non-prominent area and with a tiny office space," he recalled.

At the age of nine, he lost his mother, who single-handedly raised him, to kidney failure. After her death, he was left under the care of several relatives and ended up being fostered by his grandmother, who then has barely enough income to raise him.

"I had to do house-chores for my relatives to earn my lunch and dinner," he recalled without a trace of bitterness remembering his arduous childhood.

For Tonton, education is his ticket out of poverty. This motivated him to send himself to school by selling items like t-shirts, making personalized stickers, working part-time as a photocopy boy, and selling pork barbecue at night.

At an early age, he had a strong gut-feel that his pathway to better life is in capitalizing his innate inter-personal skill, having been able to survive feeding and sending himself to school through selling anything he could find.

"I realized early on that I have a strong inclination to business because I am able to gain the trust from customers however trivial things I sell," he said.

Tonton's perseverance finally earned him a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of San Jose-Recoletos in 1992.

After several attempts of working as an employee, he found himself succeed in the highly competitive multi-level-marketing business--DXN International. From a mere member, he became an international motivator in over 14 countries. This experience opened his eyes to see the unlimited opportunities while he gained access to international marketplace.

"I traveled around the world and met a lot of Filipinos. I found out that one of their main priorities is to own or buy properties back home. This inspired me to diversify my investments to real estate brokerage business," he shared.

His brief stay in New York, then as a networker, sharpened his interest in the real estate brokerage business, while discovering a tremendous demand for real estate products in Philippines, from the overseas market.

"I know how it feels to dream of having a home to call your own because for many years I too had no place to call my home," he added.

They say, when your true calling grabs you, it will never let go, no matter how hard the terrain you are in.

True enough, few years after he established his brokerage firm, the make-shift office transformed into a multi-storey building, where he also started his leasing business, and training center for his expanding network.

He believes in putting high regard and importance to human capital. Thus, the company has put heavy investments in professional sales training and uplifting interpersonal skills of its growing marketing pool.

"Our realty holds and conducts seminars to at least 500 agents per month covering product knowledge, salesmanship, online marketing and personality development," he said.

Tonton's commitment and dedication to his craft has today earned him and his company several distinctions including among others, the 2013 Best Property Consultancy of the South East Asia Awards; 2013 Best Residential Agent as well as Best Commercial Agent of the Philippines Property Awards. His company is also among the consistent top performing realty brokerage recognized by leading real estate developers in the Philippines.

Recently, the Asian Property Awards, named his company as the "Best Real Estate Brokerage Firm in Asia and the Philippines.

A firm believer of the cliché "you only reap, what you sow", Tonton credits his success to his strong determination to rise above life's difficult trials and challenges, upholding his unwavering belief that everyone has a birthright to abundance and "good life."

Tonton, and Flora May together and their four children namely; Gilon Brylle, John Kylle, May Antonette, and Vanessa May, keep a humble residence at  the same area where he started his businesses in Urgello, Cebu City, although he already acquired several residential properties around Metro Cebu.

"We are still staying in the same place where the children grew up, and where I started my business. I have bought several properties but I used them as investments," he said.

With a capital investment of P5,000 he was able to set up Leuterio Realty and Brokerage. Nine years later, it diversified into several subsidiaries like Rent.ph online buy, sell and rent portal, and marketing training arm Rent Manager- all these own and managed by him.

The diversification of his little empire gave birth to the establishment of Filipino Homes — a comprehensive and one-stop-shop real estate solution portal.

As President of the Allied Chamber of Real Estate Brokers and Licensed Salesmen (PhilAcre), he is also exposed to international and local skills enhancement programs like the National Association of Realtors.

He proceeded to establish his own Leuterio Real Estate Institute that offers international educational tours, national conventions, professional development seminars, and team building and leadership programs.

So far, Leuterio's brokerage firm is the most diversified real estate brokerage company in the Philippines, having been able to capitalize on various communication channels and technology innovations to reach out to larger market-based with expanded services.

The company's subsidiary company Rent.ph for instance, has introduced a more systematic and informative way of providing property rental listings in the country.

With the amount of success he has achieved today, Leuterio never fails to keep his feet grounded by paying it forward to his employees and to the community.

"We return the blessings to charity institutions, disaster victims, homeless families, sick and mentally-challenged children, the elderly, and to the environment," he said.

Looking forward, he aims to help more by expanding his network of people promoting, selling available real estate properties, and serve related services, around the world, not only limited to the Philippines.

"There are countless of opportunities in today's environment. Technology is making it easier for us to tap the whole world as a market. Innovation, creativity is very important. My company will continue to introduce more innovations and new opportunities," the naturally charismatic Cebuano shared his dream in providing avenues for people who are willing to succeed in life.

The importance of cultivating relationships, founded by a strong culture of honesty and responsible salesmanship, is a legacy that he wants to partake to his people, and to budding entrepreneurs who are still finding their way to success.

Indeed, the success of an entrepreneur is not only measured on how much money he makes and the size or value of his company, but how he is able to inspire and impact other people's lives. (FREEMAN)

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