Written By: Alyssa Leonard
Photography By: Pat Scandale of livetech Photo/Video

Real estate broker and ER nurse; two careers you may not recognize as having much overlap. But that’s where Alex and Natalie Mereby disagree, as both involve people reaching out to them for help. Whether it’s being a hands-on nurse or helping people purchase a house, the Mereby’s provide care and guidance throughout the community in their own way.

“We’re your average Canadian family, hustling to make a good living and provide for our family,” explains Alex Mereby, a real estate broker with Century 21 Showtime Realty Ltd. “Whether it’s Natalie providing care and guidance to her patients or myself guiding and assisting my clients into finding their ideal home, we’re always striving to do our best in what we can to provide to others. In a way, we’re both interlinked in our different professions, and that’s what I love about it.”

As a previous mortgage specialist, Mereby is well-versed in all forms of home financing, whether you’re seeking to get home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, mortgage refinancing, debt consolidation or a variety of other banking products. His extensive banking background and understanding of today’s financial market complements his ability to guarantee effective real estate solutions as a realtor.

“I can do both real estate and financing, so I’m using my skills and knowledge to provide beyond the usual average service and support,” explains the real estate broker. “I believe all realtors bring something unique about themselves to the table. I don’t like comparing myself to any because we’re all different with our experiences, approaches and how we promote and market ourselves.”

“I’m very thankful for my wife Natalie, with whom I’m blessed to share my three kids, Jason, Mark and Mia,” he explains warmly. “Without their understanding and support, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done today. I’m happy to have their constant love and encouragement.”

Fourteen years ago, this power couple was married just as Natalie began her career as a registered nurse. Now, they work together harmoniously to raise their children while excelling in their respective fields.

“Just like Alex supports me, I fully support and encourage my husband in his business. He spends hours advocating, advising, negotiating, and assisting his clients in finding the right home or selling one to the right buyer. He has this enthusiastic energy about his work,” says Natalie Mereby. “Alex is always motivated, ambitious and positive, which are just some of his many strengths. He always says, ‘there is always a way to turn things around. There is always a plan B.’ I see the behind the scenes work he puts in on a daily basis to be the best he can be for our family and his clients.”

What Natalie is wearing:
Top by Cream, pants by Joseph Ribkoff
What Alex is wearing:
Sport Coat by Coppley, shirt by Eton & pants by Sunwill

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic came new challenges that this power couple had to face. With Natalie being an ER nurse, she risks exposure every day from being hands-on with COVID-positive patients. As for Mereby, he sees clients daily to show them houses.

“I’m a proud member of one amazing emergency room family. I work alongside some of the most selfless, dedicated and courageous individuals,” praises Natalie, who works for the Windsor Regional Hospital ER department. “I do say ‘courageous,’ but we certainly felt and still feel the fear of COVID, the fear of the unknown and of how bad it’s going to get. It has been emotionally and physically challenging, both being on the front lines and at home.”

The Merebys had to take extra measures and precautions at home to make sure no one else was exposed. As with many families, they had to distance themselves from each other and their three children, who were home all day doing online school, as much as they could.

“It has weighed a lot on us in terms of taking extra measures to distance ourselves within our home. I’m going into people’s homes to do showings and driving clients around in my car,” explains Mereby. “We had to take these extra steps to ensure we don’t contract the virus from each other. I’m on the road pretty much 24/7, and she’s hands-on at work with the COVID exposure.”
“When COVID hit, we needed to find and learn to adjust to this new normal. With the schools closed and us both having such demanding jobs, it has been very challenging,” adds Natalie. “Our kids have always been our strongest motivation and our greatest support through it all.”

Natalie’s passion for helping others and her fantastic team at work helped give her the courage she needed to keep going through the darkest times. “I also had a lot of support from my husband and our children. We all had to lean on each other. It definitely took teamwork.”

“The past year and a half has been a tough time for everybody, but I think we’ve been blessed mostly because of the success that I’ve enjoyed over the past couple of years. I’m so thankful for each one of my clients,” says Mereby. “There is a lot to consider as a first-time homebuyer, and it can be an emotional roller-coaster. You must get approved for a loan, fight against other buyers in today’s competitive market and, because much of it is unknown and unfamiliar, make sure you have a professional realtor who is knowledgeable and brings an added value service to the table.”

The pandemic also brought about new challenges for realtors. “In addition to the new normal we were learning to live at home, there were suddenly these new barriers and obstacles I had to learn to tackle as a realtor. We couldn’t show houses or do open houses anymore. We had to move toward virtual tours, so buyers could no longer physically see the house. Our clients had to adapt to this new style of showings. And yet, despite this, the market only grew hotter throughout the pandemic.”

With Canada’s exploding housing market, particularly within Windsor-Essex County, Mereby wants to remind anyone looking to buy or sell their home to ensure they give it a great deal of thought before jumping to it. The element of trust is especially important in this hot market because most home purchases right now are selling without any conditions, without inspections, and for many, can only be viewed online via virtual tours and photos.

“What I mean by ‘the element of trust’ is that people making purchases have to be able to completely rely on their agents’ decisions when helping them choose the right house for them,” explains Mereby. “You’re being entrusted to make the decision on their behalf because you’re the one going into the house and getting a feel of the property. You’re looking at the homes and deciding yes or no, and they’re basing their decision upon what you tell them. This puts a lot of pressure on realtors.”

“So, before you decide whom you want to work with, interview the realtor. You want to ensure you’re working with someone who understands your needs and what’s best for you,” he emphasizes. “It’s important to know of their proven track record and expertise, especially when it comes to listing or buying a house, as this is your number one investment and your biggest debt to carry.”

The Merebys are looking forward to when things return to normal, to no longer have the fear of COVID looming over their heads, and when they can once again go on family vacations. “We’re looking forward to going away for a week and de-stressing. And we know we’re not the only ones. All of our friends say the same; they just want to get out and get away for a week to forget about it all and start a new chapter in their lives,” says Natalie. “Once COVID is finally behind us, and we can do things outside of our homes, things will definitely be more calming and relaxing.”

But until then, this ER nurse wants to remind everyone that: “It’s important to know that everyone is battling something. My motto in life is always to be kind and never regret it as kindness is never wasted.”