Page 1

Issue #278

August 2012

Broker helps RCMP undercover sting Page 3

The paperless real estate office Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 42218523 - Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to 2255B Queen St. E., #1178, Toronto ON M4E 1G3

Page 12

The deep-sea diving Realtor Page 24


Anne Squires

sets course for Alberta Page 8

RE/MAX agents have been making miracles happen for millions of children across Canada for 20 years. In the month of August, RE/MAX wishes to thank our clients for helping to raise funds through the Miracle Home program. RE/MAX agents voluntarily make a contribution for every home sold. Since 1992, RE/MAX agents have donated over $44 million to Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals in Canada.

Each RE/MAX office is independently owned and operated.


Broker helps RCMP undercover sting Sales rep allegedly helped find and purchase properties to set up marijuana grow ops


former real estate sales rep in London, Ont. has been charged with conspiracy to produce marijuana after police allege she was locating and helping purchase properties that would be suitable for setting up marijuana grow operations. The RCMP say they have dismantled a criminal organization involved in setting up marijuana grow operations (MGOs) throughout Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. Gerry Weir, owner of Londonbased Sutton Group Preferred Realty, co-operated with police throughout the two-year investigation. Weir became suspicious about the activities of Thu Tran, a sales rep with his firm, in October 2010. Weir noticed that three of the four homes recently added to the London Police Service’s Marijuana Grow-Op Registry were sold by Tran. “I immediately contacted the RCMP after concluding that one of my independent contractors had sold homes that were subsequently seized by police as marijuana grow operations,” says Weir. “I offered my full co-operation and agreed to

provide any information useful to the investigation.” At the RCMP’s request, Weir continued to employ Tran because the police believed her termination could interfere with the ongoing investigation. Weir complied with the RCMP’s wishes and did not end Tran’s employment until April 2012, when the RCMP informed him that the investigation was complete. The RCMP says the investigation also involved the London Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Health Canada and the Real Estate Council of Ontario. It resulted in the dismantling of two illegal indoor MGOs and the seizure of thousands of marijuana plants and growing equipment. Two commercial businesses catering to MGOs were also raided and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of MGO equipment seized, say police. During the operation, RCMP undercover officers dealt with Tran to purchase a prospective grow house and then worked with various associated individuals who spe-

cialized in setting up the house, including the installation of lights and an illegal power by-pass system, and the supply of small marijuana plants. This grow-operation, which would have been able to produce approximately $320,000 worth of marijuana per year, was shut down before production and the investigation exposed a criminal network able to supply anyone with an entirely functional MGO, say the RCMP. It is alleged this same criminal group was also involved in decommissioning MGOs and putting the houses back on the market after they had been seized by police. During the course of its investigation, the RCMP learned of the involvement of two companies that specialize in providing all the necessary MGO equipment under the guise of being hydroponic garden stores. It is alleged that these stores introduced the RCMP undercover officers to criminals supplying marijuana starter plants and clones diverted from medical marijuana farms licensed by Health Canada. The RCMP believes they have exposed a widespread conspiracy to subvert the

Melanie Aitken to quit during TREB tribunal hearing


o m p e t i t i o n Commissioner Melanie Aitken announced that she will resign on Sept. 21. She will be leaving in the middle of the evidentiary portion of the long-awaited Competition Tribunal hearing between the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board, which begins Sept. 10. Aitken was appointed in 2009 for a five-year term. No reason was given for her resignation. “It has been a tremendous privilege to work at the bureau for the past seven years, with over half of that time as commissioner,” says Aitken in a statement. “At the outset, I identified clear goals to reinvigorate

enforcement at the bureau and, with the help of the bureau’s dedicated staff, I believe we have accomplished what we set out to do and positioned the bureau to continue its valuable work well into the future.” A news release from the Competition Bureau calls Aitken a “tough enforcer and a vigorous proponent of protecting and promoting the forces of competition.” It says her tenure as commissioner includes a long list of accomplishments. “Canadians today have access to more competitive markets, such as real estate services, and are better protected against misleading representations, including those resulting from

fine-print disclaimers,” says the release. Aitken joined the bureau in 2005 as assistant deputy commissioner of competition, mergers, and was appointed senior deputy commissioner, mergers in May 2007. She served as interim commissioner from Jan.12, 2009 to Aug. 4, 2009, when she was appointed as commissioner for a five-year term. Prior to joining the bureau, Aitken was a commercial litigation partner at Bennett Jones LLP. From 2001 and 2003, she worked as senior counsel at the Department of Justice (Federal), on secondment from her partnership at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto. REM

medical marijuana access regulations to produce marijuana for trafficking purposes. Tran and six others now face charges. Tran’s real estate licence was suspended on June 15. Weir says he is proud that he and his team were able to help the police during the investigation, but is disappointed that one of his independent contractors allegedly used the good name of Sutton Group Preferred Realty for illegal activities. “It is extremely frustrating that the alleged wrongdoing of one person could have a negative impact on a larger group of dedicated, honest and hardworking people here at the Sutton Group Preferred,” says Weir. “But, I want to emphasize that any funds related to Thu Tran’s transactions have been donated to Neighbourhood Watch London as well as Crime Stoppers London.” Weir says: “Living in London, we are fortunate that our police publish a grow-op registry; only a few cities in Ontario have that. It allows us to check to see who is selling the properties and what’s happening. If we didn’t have a

Gary Weir

grow-op registry, it would have been much more difficult for me to check, but still possible. A broker would have to watch the newspaper for every time police make a bust. The London Police registry shows busts for the past 24 months and lists the address of each property, the number of plants seized and the criminal charges. It makes it easier for brokers to keep their communities safe.” Weir has been in the real estate business for more than 25 years and is a past-president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. His agency represents more than 150 real estate agents and manages six offices. REM

CREA partners with NAR for top level domains


REA has formed a partnership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that would allow CREA members to operate websites using the .realtor top level domain (TLD). The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that controls the creation and distribution of domain names globally, has approved a procedure for establishing a new set of TLDs. If the NAR application is successful, CREA’s partnership arrangement will provide CREA members an alternative to .ca and .com, says CREA. Only CREA members could use the TLDs in Canada. “This is great news for members,” says Wayne Moen, CREA’s president, in a statement. “In a world where everything is increasingly connected, the .realtor domain will provide members an additional vehicle to market their services while identifying themselves as Realtors.” CREA says that “in order to protect its MLS trademark,” it has also applied for the .mls top level domain. ICANN is expected to make a decision on the application someREM time in 2013.


Multiple Listings By Jim Adair, REM Editor Do you have news to share with Canada’s real estate community? Let REM know about it! Email:


he Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has three newly elected members on its Board of Directors. Michael Appleton from Toronto and Mike Cusano from Hamilton joined returning director Glenda Brindle from Ottawa in commencing a three-year term that will end in June 2015. They were elected by registrants who cast online ballots this spring. Appleton and Cusano replace outgoing directors David Pearce and George Lavallee. The board re-elected Keith Tarswell to serve as chair and elected Brindle to serve as vicechair, each for a one-year term. ■ ■ ■

Re/Max Realty Enterprises, with two locations servicing South Mississauga’s luxury market, has been sold to second-generation real estate professionals Ryan Gilmour and Jodi Gilmour (Penelas), and Jeff Penelas.

Offspring of successful Re/Max brokers/owners, the Gilmours have hands-on experience with the luxury market and understand the needs of salespeople who work in the prestigious areas of Lorne Park and Port Credit, says Re/Max. The Clarkson and Port Credit offices will continue to operate under the Re/Max Realty Enterprises banner and plans are in place to gain presence in the rapidly re-gentrifying Lakeview area. The Clarkson office will receive a modern update, “not to disappoint fans of the real estate and design show (For Rent) that Jodi hosts on HGTV,” says Re/Max in a news release. Former broker/owner David Ferrari will help the office through the transition and then remain on as advisor and sales rep. The brokerage, established in 1983, has almost 130 sales reps.

■ ■ ■

Dave Sachko and his team of nine licensed salespeople have joined Re/Max First Realty in

■ ■ ■

Sales reps Gary Little and Laurie Reid have teamed up at Royal LePage Sunshine Coast in Sechelt, B.C. Little says they will focus on “providing top-notch service in the form of advanced online real estate tools designed for the general public, including an innovative interactive real estate map as well as dynamic charts and graphs of regional real estate sales statistics.” Both sales reps have had careers in the computer industry. ■ ■ ■

■ ■ ■

Don Lawby, president of Century 21 Canada, recently paid

From left, the new management team at Re/Max Realty Enterprises: Raneen Dhadli, manager; Ryan Gilmour, co-owner; David Ferrari, former broker/owner; and co-owners Jodi Gilmour-Penelas and Jeff Penelas.

Mike Appleton

a surprise visit to Woodstock, Ont. to congratulate Michael Slager on his retirement. After 24 years, Slager is stepping down as general manager of Century 21 Heritage House. Slager is handing over his management duties to broker of record Nick Lalli, but will continue with the company as a sales rep. Slager co-founded the brokerage with John Broos, George Sebok, Don Thorogood and John Watling in January 1980. It has since grown to include three offices, 88 sales professionals and seven support staff.

Whitby, Ont. Sachko has more than 17 years of real estate service in Durham Region and the GTA, ranking among the top sales reps on the Toronto Real Estate Board. He has been recognized with multiple sales achievement awards, and was the No. 1 Keller Williams salesperson in the GTA by number of transactions in 2011. Re/Max First Realty opened in Pickering in 1992 and now has three offices in Durham Region and 155 salespeople.

Mike Cusano

Peter Holgate has joined the management team at Right At Home Realty as the area manager, Burlington and Oakville, Ont. “Peter is a well-known successful manager who comes to Right At Home Realty with past managerial experience with Re/Max, Royal LePage and Sutton,” says Don Kottick, president of Right At Home Realty. ■ ■ ■

Ron Skinner is now the general manager and broker of Century 21 Broadway Park Realty in Yorkton, Sask. “Our office of 14 has a young team of Realtors, along with seasoned veterans like me,” he says. “Yorkton is our primary market but we also serve Canora, Ituna and Preeceville. My wife Gaylene has also joined me here.” ■ ■ ■

Mary Ellen McCamus, Franchisee of Exit Realty Liftlock in Peterborough, Ont. has appointed Harry Shephard as the new office manager. “Harry brings over 10 years of real estate experience including four years as a managing broker in a successful real estate office. We are pleased to have him on board, as his work to stabilize operations and build the business can already be felt by everyone. He is the precise piece of the puzzle that our brokerage needed to give us leverage to the next level of growth.” says McCamus. Continued on page 6

Peter Holgate

Harry Shephard

Glenda Brindle

Nick Lalli

Gary Little

Michael Slager

Dave Sachko

Laurie Reid


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Tech spending increases, but agents like direct mail


Continued from page 4

Prior to being in the real estate industry, Shephard was a police officer and an entrepreneur, owning his own security firm that contracted out to major corporations. ■ ■ ■

ware/technology show a reasonable fixed price per month regardless of the annual income of the agent • More kinds of marketing and advertising solutions are used by agents with no single solution having dominant share • Online agents are spending the most on lead generation, U.S. real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia, and pay-per-click advertising • Social media, blogging and SEO have the broadest agent participation but low monthly spend, due to the predominance of free tools • Direct mail has the largest agent participation of any offline marketing and advertising solution, regardless of agent income • Top-producing agents earning more than $100,000 per year spend more in general across all categories but spend more money on online lead generation, national real estate websites and search engine marketing. Top-producing agents spend significantly more per month on marketing personnel and training/coaching An infographic and deeper summary of the survey’s findings can be downloaded at ActiveRain is a real estate social network and real estate blogging platform. The ActiveRain community is composed of more than 220,000 real estate agents and affiliated real estate professionals.

Consumer debt levels are too high to maintain the current rate of real estate consumption, according to a survey of senior Canadian real estate and finance industry executives at a June 27 Centract Settlement Services conference. The appraisal management company had an audience participation survey distributed at the event, in which 65 per cent of those who attended said debt levels in Canada are too high to maintain the current rates of real estate consumption. Moreover, 70 per cent of the audience said Canadian house prices are currently overvalued by up to 15 per cent. The audience was also asked their thoughts on recent mortgage regulation changes. Ninety-eight per cent said the new rules will have a dampening effect on residential real estate markets.

cer. “While market conditions vary around North America, it’s clear that agents at different points in their careers need and expect a quality learning experience tailored to their specific skill and experience level. Our objective with BluePoint is to create a customized path to greater career success utilizing industry best knowledge, delivered through innovative platforms providing choice on how best to learn.” BluePoint allows managers to categorize agents into four experience levels from new agent to seasoned professionals who have at least 21 sides annually, the company says. The manager uses preestablished course suggestions for each category and is able to track agent progress and refer to built-in talking points for scheduled coaching sessions. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage has formed a partnership with Godrej Properties to help Canadians and non-resident Indians invest in India’s growing real estate market, the company says. “Godrej Properties is a sub-

sidiary of Godrej Group, a wellknown and trusted organization in India with 116 years of experience,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “We are excited about leveraging their experience to the benefit of our network and clients.” India is known for its rich cultural heritage as well as its economic strength. At approximately $1.7 trillion US, India has sustained 20 years of strong economic growth. As buyers continue to look for global real estate opportunities, it is expected that demand in India will increase strongly. In addition to several completed landmark projects, Godrej Properties is currently developing significant projects in 12 cities across India including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata, offering luxurious living spaces with world-class amenities, says Royal LePage. Soper says: “Our partnership with Godrej Properties provides Canadians and non-resident Indians easier access to new opportunities while working with a trusted Royal LePage agent.” REM

■ ■ ■

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC recently unveiled its new BluePoint career development program for new and experienced agents in the U.S. and Canada. The platform allows Coldwell Banker managers throughout North America the opportunity to quickly gauge a newly hired Coldwell Banker agent’s productivity levels and learning needs to guide them on a “roadmap” of appropriate Coldwell Banker University courses and activities, the company says. “Real estate learning continues to evolve,” says Budge Huskey, president and chief operating offi-

Jason Capson from Exit Realty Associates in Moncton was trying to escape the +33 C weather on the July long weekend, and read a great article in REM while also getting a little shade.

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REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule REALTOR® and REALTORS® are trademarks controlled in Canada by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify licensed real estate practitioners who are members of CREA. MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned by CREA and identify the services rendered by members of CREA. REM is published 12 times a year. It is an independently owned and operated company and is not affiliated with any real estate association, board or company. REM is distributed across Canada by leading real estate boards and by direct delivery in selected areas. For subscription information, email Entire contents copyright 2012 REM. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in REM are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN 1201-1223

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recent survey of more than 2,000 real estate professionals by U.S.based ActiveRain Corp. says overall spending on technology and technology-related marketing services is increasing, especially among the most successful agents, but real estate professionals continue to invest in direct mail as a preferred marketing vehicle. The survey focused on measuring what software and marketing support real estate agents are using in their business and how much they are spending on these necessary tools of the trade. “Real estate professionals are accelerating their investments in technology-based marketing options, but there’s not always a direct correlation between where they’re spending money and where they’re getting value,” says Nikesh Parekh, CEO for ActiveRain. “More agents are investing in the technology and pipeline management systems necessary to build successful, long-term businesses.” Other highlights from the survey include: • IDX websites, CMA software, contact management and email marketing continue to be the most important tools in the real estate industry with the highest overall usage • Real estate agents earning more than $100,000 per year are willing to pay a premium for top IDX websites, contact management solutions, virtual tour software and team management • Most other categories of soft-

Multiple Listings






Anne Squires: East meets West

Anne Squires expands her successful St. John’s brokerage to Alberta

Anne Squires and her dog Maddie take a spin around the bay (Photos by Randy Dawe)


sk Anne Squires why all agents aren’t jumping ship and making a beeline to her realty firm, and the real estate captain hints at a mutiny. “We’re working on it,” she says with a tone that indicates she means business despite the humour in her voice. And there’s no doubt the 53-year-old Newfoundlander is serious. As the owner of Exit Realty on the Rock, which encompasses seven offices in Newfoundland and is the franchisee of six more in Alberta, she’s steering her ship straight ahead. “Tune in next year,” is her answer when asked about expansion plans. “I believe in the Exit system and if I can place an Exit banner somewhere it doesn’t have one, I’m going to do my best to do that.” The Exit formula operates on a simple single-level residual concept. When an Exit associate introduces a sales rep who joins the company, they receive from the head office an amount equivalent to 10 per cent of that recruit’s gross commissions. This is paid to them as a thank you for helping the company grow.

It’s clearly a system that works well for Squires. The expansion into Alberta took place in the past year. Exit’s westward growth strategy parallels the migration of many of Squires’ native Newfoundlanders. The flow of workers to Alberta is phenomenal, she says, and the relocation possibilities are tremendous. “I feel very strongly that I’m living proof that the Exit concept works,” says Squires. “So when the opportunity was there with head office to have someone bond the entire province as a region, it was pretty much a mutual agreement that I would jump in.” Her success has been lauded numerous times both within the company and outside of it. In 2011 Squires’ 100 Newfoundland agents helped her score Exit’s top-grossing multiple offices for sales in North America. The year before that she won the company’s brokerage of the year award for top sales. This year, she was honoured to earn a spot as one of Atlantic Canada’s top 50 CEOs thanks to Atlantic Business magazine. A seasoned real estate pro

with 25 years in the business, Squires remembers the days in the mid ’80s when people purchased homes because they had a good assumable mortgage rate of – get this – 14 per cent. A rookie when she started with Re/Max in St. John’s, Squires was persistent and convinced the broker she could do the job despite her inexperience. After a fulfilling career of 17 years, she made the tough decision to break out on her own. A straight shooter who works hard and plays hard, Squires is a realist who takes pride in the fact that most of her business comes from repeats and referrals. As we speak she takes a call on her cell phone from a client and counsels them that they don’t need to pay such a high price for a plot of commercial land they’re interested in. “I don’t like to see my clients get stuck where they want something so bad they can taste it,” she says. “I think I’m pretty black and white when it comes to the value and the facts about a property. If somebody asks me if this property is going to increase by $20,000 in the next year, some Realtors might be tempted

By Kelly Putter

to say absolutely, but my response is, ‘I’d be buying it myself then.’ ”

same path as her favourite toy is her mother’s BlackBerry.

Squires’ strong work ethic comes from her large, hardworking family who hail from Admiral’s Beach in St. Mary’s Bay, which is on the southern shore of the Avalon Peninsula. The eldest of seven, Squires says her family lived off the land so much so that she didn’t eat her first fast-food burger until she moved to St. John’s at 16 with a measly $30 in her pocket. Back home, if she wanted to eat potatoes she had to dig for them. Her father was a fisherman so the family’s diet, Squires jokes, was fish and potatoes for dinner on Monday, and potatoes and fish on Tuesday.

Squires purchased her first Exit franchise in November 2004 and quickly amassed about a dozen agents to join the company. A month or so later, at Christmas, she placed Santa-displaying billboards around St. John’s warning, “You better watch out! Exit is coming to town.”

It’s the kind of lifestyle that influenced her life’s work. Her motto, today and always, has been “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.” She still opens and

closes her 9,000 square-foot flagship office in St. John’s every day. “The comment closest to my heart that I’ve heard agents say is the hardest working person in the office is Anne.” She knows about hard work also as a single mother, raising her daughter Jennifer Squires, a 30-year-old Realtor who dabbled in real estate long before she was licensed thanks to her mother’s influence and a cell phone she enjoyed answering. It appears Jennifer’s daughter, one-year-old Anna Sophia, may be on the

“It was a very exciting time but at same time there were a lot of nerve-wracking moments in the first launch,” she says. “It was a whole change of pace.” Perhaps one of nicest side effects of being a driven entrepreneur is the level of community activism Squires has engendered. Her Exit franchises have raised and contributed more than $500,000 for such charities as Daffodil Place, accommodations for out-oftown patients receiving cancer treatment, Ronald McDonald

House and for the local food bank. For Squires, who is uncomfortable tooting her own horn, the philanthropic side of her business, it turns out, has been a part of her manoeuvring all along. “When you grow up and you don’t have a whole lot, you learn to fend for yourself and you take a few knocks along the way. Then you have some success and you recognize you have the potential to give back.” REM

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Realtor and TV host Geeta Chopra offers advice based on her own portfolio of real estate investments By Connie Adair


rowing up in the United States, where “it’s all about business,” shaped Geeta Chopra’s outlook on life and it’s why being a Realtor is her perfect profession. Montreal-born Chopra attended high school in the U.S., where “the entrepreneurial spirit is high,” she says. “The business capital mindset of the people appealed to my entrepreneurial instincts and I became a firm believer in creating a job, not applying for one.” She returned to Canada and majored in economics at the University of Toronto, and later worked at a major bank as an analyst and began to invest in real estate, always keeping the thought of being her own boss in the back of her mind. “I bought and rented out my first condo upon graduation,” she says. “I now have 15 tenants (and) do my own property management.” She decided to become a Realtor after realizing people were constantly asking her for real estate advice. She got her licence in 2008. “I prefer to work for myself and (realized) the limitless potential of real estate.” Chopra worked for two years with Century 21, winning an award for second-highest sales for the quarter and for professionalism. She joined Right At Home Realty, based in the Don Mills and Eglinton office in Toronto, in July 2010 and began by selling to her social circle. She also attended networking events. Chopra works with a variety of buyers, including first-time and seasoned investors, drawing on her own experience and success as an investor. Her preferred type of investment is condominiums. “I travel a lot and do other things. With a condo turnover is less. You sign a year lease and for a new condominium, maintenance is low,” she says. She especially likes preconstruction, which makes up 65 per cent of her sales. “Preconstruction

is a rare opportunity to benefit from three price hikes on your real estate before it even becomes tangible. The average expected profit upon closing is $75,000 for a twobedroom unit.” She shares her knowledge and expertise daily, starting a typical day answering emails and phone calls and making evening appointments. Following showings, she talks with clients for an hour or two. “There is a lot of explaining and discussions,” she says. She also hosts a television show, Real Estate and the City with Geeta Chopra. She came up with the idea for the show, pitched the station and has filmed 10 episodes to date. Each episode features a different guest expert. During the week, Chopra finds guest experts then spends an hour on Friday night taping the show, which is aired on local television station Rawal TV and can also be seen in India and Pakistan. (Episodes can be viewed at “I created Real Estate and The City with Geeta Chopra to educate the public on real estate. The show is strictly informative based. It was designed to answer a lot of the questions my clients have asked me over the years. It is free yet valuable information. It also gives

Geeta Chopra

developers a chance to promote their latest launches.” Chopra has VIP status with many builders, getting pricing before it’s released to the public. “It is usually lower pricing with other perks, such as discounts on parking and free lockers or first choice pick (of) suites.” Chopra’s clients range in age and type. She says there is a major difference between young and older clients. With the young demographic, the psychology is different, she says. “They are more upbeat” asking about the rate of annual appreciation and rate of growth, whereas older buyers may have questions about a real estate bubble. The secret to her success? “I sell it because I believe it. I wouldn’t sell anything I wouldn’t buy.” REM

Ontario blasted for failing to implement energy audits


ntario’s Environmental Commissioner says the provincial government is harming consumers by not following through with plans to make energy audits mandatory when a home is sold. “Three years ago, it looked like the government would give potential homebuyers the information they need to find out whether their new homes are energy efficient, or energy sieves that leak heat from windows, doors and poorly insulated walls and roofs,” says commissioner Gord Miller. “Despite revisions to the legislation to accommodate Realtors’ concerns, the government still has not acted. Instead of fostering a culture of conservation, the province has left that culture more of an orphan, and the mandatory home energy audit was the first of the act’s promises to be abandoned.” See Talk of mandatory energy audits is back, page 23. REM

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12 REM AUGUST 2012

The paperless real estate office

“The technology is out there so if there is a will, there is a way,” says broker Rick Dubord By Toby Welch with my other technology and it saves all document revisions, a fantastic feature. I also have free software called Evernote that I use on my smartphone to scan and organize everything I might want to recall later.”


he paperless realty office is no longer an intangible dream. It can be done and it’s not as challenging as many people believe it is. Robert May operates Rainbow Realty in Lethbridge, Alta. He went completely paperless in 2006 and now helps others make the transition.

Robert May

“My original motivation to go paperless was driven by the desire to improve organization and to cut expenses,” May says. “The first and easiest switch was from a paper fax machine to an efax service, something which I still use and highly recommend. The efax now blends flawlessly with Cloud storage of documents and allows me to access files anytime and anywhere.” May says, “I currently use Dropbox for all of my online document storage and have found them to be reliable and affordable. It integrates well

The use of these modern technologies has allowed May to lower operating expenses, increase efficiency, and to gain a public reputation as offering modern service. “I would advise all offices to plan for these technologies as quickly as possible. Clients will soon expect these tools and new industry members will demand them from their brokerages. The change is inevitable.” The greatest obstacle to Realtors making the advancement is the initial expense and learning curve. However, most of the technology needed to go paperless can be used on an introductory trial at no cost at all. Monthly, May spends about $20 on efaxing and $10 for online storage. Jessica Stoner, broker/ owner at Re/Max Alpine Realty in Canmore, Alta., has been paperless for almost three years. “Getting the paperless system in place is somewhat time-consuming, as any new system will be. Once it is in place, it saves the client, the agent and the staff time. It makes things simpler and faster, such as looking for a document or file. When using paper files, searching for misfiled documents is extraordinarily time consuming.” Stoner’s clients appreciate her system. “Many clients are very pleased to be part of a paperless transaction. We have some rather low-tech paperless tools, such as a pad

called the Real Sign pad. It is a simple device that attaches to a computer USB port. The client writes on the pad and sees their writing applied to a contract. The simplicity makes the least tech-savvy client comfortable, as it looks and feels exactly like they are signing on paper. For our more technology-savvy clients, agents tend to use the iPad or other higher tech devices.”

Jessica Stoner

Rick Dubord, broker of HomeLife Benchmark Realty in Surrey, B.C., and the president of Realty Nuance, has always been interested in technology. Seven years ago, Dubord got together with two Lower Mainland Realtors and they created Realty Nuance, a virtual business centre. They went totally paperless the following year. “Once the real estate board integrated with our business, the system was all-inclusive,” Dubord says. “Once that was in place, the salespeople bought into it. When we first set it up, it was tough as people had their paradigms as to how things should be done.” But Dubord won his staff over once they realized the benefits of the paperless transaction system. For example, a Realtor had all of his files stolen out of his car. He was devastated until he realized that they could be recovered from the online virtual filing cabinet. It



Dubord’s services and his office. As opposed to having one administrator that would service 25 salespeople, the administrator services three times that number. Dubord says the paperless process is 85 per cent more efficient than paper systems and that it also eliminates the errors. Realty Nuance stores all of the documents online chronologically and the customer is invited to the transaction to see it unfold. Biometric as well as electronic signatures are used. No new equipment is necessary as everything is web-based. A number of HomeLife offices use the system as well as competitors such as Royal LePage and Re/Max. Dubord estimates that he saves on average $1.65 a file as he has no hard costs like toner, paper, labour and

Rick Dubord

storage. Other advantages include a better ability to supervise transactions, remote audits, electronic back office integration and an attractive recruitment tool. If you want to keep the process as easy as possible, Stoner suggests, “The simplest tool to start with would be to get a Real Sign pad. This tool can make any agent paperless within the first few days of using it. The next thing you will need is an on-line document storage account, such as Google Docs (free) or Dropbox (inexpensive). Now,

James Buonassisi

all documents can be signed paperlessly and stored in the Cloud to be accessed anytime. It really is as simple as that.” Regardless of how tech you want your paperless office to get, you will find a system that works for you; a myriad of options are available at all levels. For example, Faltour’s Real Estate Electronic Document Management system has been accredited for use in Quebec. eEdge is used by Keller Williams Realty associates and other systems include Real Estate Dashboard and Opreie, among others. Not convinced about going totally paperless? Consider what James Buonassisi, a Realtor with Re/Max Select Realty in Vancouver, does. Using first a tablet and now an iPad, Buonassisi has been paper reduced for the past three years. “Don’t re-invent the wheel. Get help from others who have experience with it. Here in Vancouver there is a consultant you can pay to get you started and I would recommend someone like that.” Dubord shares some final observations, “Usually the ones that do the most complaining when you start the paperless transaction systems are the ones that buy into it the most. But the biggest challenge in the industry is that the average broker isn’t receptive to a lot of change.” REM

14 REM AUGUST 2012

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he plaintiff in a recent case was a tenant of a farm property for a oneyear term. The plaintiff and the landlord drafted a renewal lease. This gave the tenant another year and an option to purchase the farmland. Unfortunately, neither party signed the draft lease and landlord died shortly thereafter. The Alberta Court granted Summary Judgment in favour of the estate, denying the plaintiff’s action to enforce the draft lease, since absence of execution breached the statute of frauds (involving dealings with real property). The fact that the plaintiff stayed on paying rent after expiration of the original lease could not be established as “part performance” to get around the strict interpretation of the statute. The plaintiff’s rent was consistent with the obligation of an over-holding tenant. Corroborating evidence of the new agreement did not make the draft release enforceable. (Peters v. Wilson Estate, 2011) ■ ■ ■

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Right of survivorship: A creditor’s efforts to attach one half of a bankrupt spouse’s matrimonial property failed in a recent case. The debtor held his matrimonial home with the spouse as joint tenants. The debtor became bankrupt and died, and his estate was bankrupt within one year of his death. The spouse obtained sole ownership by right of survivorship.

The creditor’s attempt to impose a trust on the deceased’s half of the house or overturn alleged vesting in the spouse failed. The court confirmed title in joint tenancy means: (a) Each party has an inchoate right of survivorship “at time property is acquired”. (b) Each spouse has a chance to acquire the whole of the property and risked that he/she might predecease the other. This was mutual consideration. (c) The spouse owned the property prior to the date of bankruptcy. d) The law that provides “right” of survivorship (automatic vesting). (Cameron (Re), 2011) ■ ■ ■

Summary judgment motion: In Ontario and many of the provinces, there is a court procedure that can be evoked, asking a motions judge to dismiss an action on affidavit evidence (or oral evidence) and on the facts at a stage where the person moving says a full trial is not needed. Likewise, a plaintiff can ask for summary judgment for an award of damages and costs where there is no “actual defence” to the action. This procedure requires each party to put its best foot forward before any trial takes place. In one such Ontario case, a summary judgment motion was not successful and the original judge hearing it awarded the other party $345,000 costs. On appeal to the Divisional Court, the costs were reduced to $145,000. I am certain that most laypersons would agree that a hefty price can be paid for trying to shorten a case unsuccessfully. Most of these cases can be found at Donald Lapowich, Q.C. is a partner at the law firm of Koskie, Minsky in Toronto, where he practices civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on real estate litigation and mediation, acting for builders, real estate agents and lawyers. REM


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16 REM AUGUST 2012

Assisting seniors on the move

By Julie Wilson ssisting seniors on the move is a division of real estate all on its own. As I mentioned in a previous article, the age of majority is turning 65. By 2031, more than 50 per cent of the population will be over 55 years of age. If you are interested in getting into the niche market of assisting seniors on the move, educational courses for Realtors are available – such as the Accredited Seniors Agent course, the Seniors Real Estate Specialist course, and the Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist course. Working with seniors requires more than just patience. You must be knowledgeable in the area of adult lifestyle homes, retirement homes, long-term care homes, Alzheimers care centres and other accommodations serving the different needs of seniors. Align yourself with move managers, packers, sorters and people who will help sell or dispose of household belongings. It is also important to know seniors’ rights. You’ll need to understand estate planning, power of attorney contracts and wills. Expand your network to include financial planners, care givers, hospital discharge planners and funeral directors. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t suggest you become an “ambulance chaser”. But when death is sudden, some families are not prepared for what to do with a house full of contents and/or a home that needs to be sold, and they could use your help. Funeral directors can be an excellent referral source. Another tip is to learn the


demographics of your community. Find out who has lived in their home for over 20 or 30 years. Get involved with clubs such as Probus or CARP and other community programs that are senior specific. Remember to promote to your current clients that you have expertise in assisting seniors. Another good way to grow your business is to connect with retirement home directors and participate in their public open house tours. It is important to understand your client’s motive for moving. Find out who are the decision makers. Never assume that when you are working with a 90-yearold that they are not capable of signing, and never assume that a 65-year-old is of sound mind and capable of signing. Instead of asking traditional selling and buying questions, strike up a light conversation and listen carefully for underlying clues – objections, defensiveness and fears. Watch for communication barriers. Be open, straightforward and respectful; think of your service as counselling, consulting, marketing, negotiating and managing. Record either in writing or by handheld device (with permission), documenting every conversation. Have your clients acknowledge with a signature or initials on all documentation, especially hand-written notes so that there is no miscommunication and conflict in the future. For marketing and to gain clients, I have found speaking engagements to be beneficial. Seniors love to get knowledge before they take the plunge. It is a good way to represent yourself as the “sought after” seniors’ Realtor, while building up their trust. Be the best you can be, cover all your bases. Use all the resources and tools available to assist your senior clients through a major lifestyle transition. Julie Wilson is author of Beyond the Sold Sign – A Canadian real estate planning guide for Seniors. REM

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The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

18 REM AUGUST 2012

Letters to the Editor Technology overload Thinking about the general mindset CREA takes towards I am reminded about the story of the old couple who bought a new couch and placed their old one at the end of their driveway with a sign pinned to it that read, “Free couch”. At the end of the day as the sun was setting, the couch remained at the end of the driveway so the old couple laboured to drag it back into the garage. The next day they repeated the process but this time with a larger sign that read, “FREE COUCH” in letters large enough to see from half a block away. At the end of the second day they dragged the couch back into the garage. On the third day they placed big red throw cushions on the couch and continued to drag it out to the curb each morning, then back into the garage at the end of the day until a week had passed with no one showing the slightest interest.

“I don’t understand,” the wife said as they struggled to get it to the end of the driveway for the seventh time. “It is a fine couch at a few hundred dollars, let alone for free.” With that the husband pulled the sign off, turned it over and wrote in big bold letters, “Couch for sale, $300.” They went inside to have their morning tea. About 20 minutes later, as the wife was rinsing their cups in the sink, she glanced out the window to see the couch was gone. Value is as much perception as it is a reality. When I began my real estate career more than a decade ago, new listings were coveted brass tacks contained within the sacred pages of glossy covered listings catalogues. People would come from miles around to try to woo us into parting with a copy for their own personal use. Their eyes would light up when you placed the latest catalogue into their hands and a genuine bond was cemented as you did. This left us to set the tone and

the terms this bond established between Realtor and home buyer, Realtor and home seller. Somewhere along the way, being at the technological forefront became more important to our industry than preserving the value of the information we generate and disseminate, or than the relationships we established with the public. The future of all business lies in our ability to replicate all the values of personal service, knowledge and intuition through an electronic computer monitor, tablet or smartphone, or so the technology industry would have us believe. I am not an old-school Realtor who never embraced technology as you could easily assume from my points here. Very much the opposite in fact. As the current CREA Futures panel contemplates the path our industry has taken us and where we want it to lead us going forward, I hope they will give some serious consideration to where the true

Somewhere along the way, being at the technological forefront became more important to our industry than preserving the value of the information we generate and disseminate. value of our business is and has always resided, and understand that it is not enough for us as Realtors to know that the value of the information we create is invaluable to the public. More importantly, the perception of its value depends entirely on how we choose to deliver it. That there is room to improve on this is an understatement. This panel will be enticed to

believe the many technologies tempting us from just over the horizon hold the answers we seek, but know that it is technology that has placed our industry in the precarious position it finds itself in today. Technology has oversaturated our industry by allowing brokerages to hire new agents far beyond the limits of the bricks and mortar spaces once needed to accommodate such growth. Technology has allowed us to complete many of the tasks of our business with a mouse click rather than a handshake. Technology has created the sense of entitlement the public, and to an extent, government, feels they have over our work. If we do not place the human element back at the centre as the most important factor of all the discussion this panel enters into, take the time to look back to what has worked best for our industry and be less distracted by what new technology enhancement lies just ahead, we will decreasingly be at the centre of the business of real estate in the mind of the public. Apps are little more than throw cushions and if we continue to place them at the end of the curb simply out of fear of what might happen if we don’t, it is the technology, not the real estate industry that in the end will prevail. Mike Montague Sales rep Sutton Group Incentive Realty Barrie, Ont. Continued on page 20

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Letters to the Editor Continued from page 18

DDF at cross purposes with One of the principle concepts under the Technology and Data sections of ORE – Map of the Future is that should be improved to be more responsive to member and market needs. In fact, the ORE paper says, one of the potential benefits is that we may be able to generate revenue. is primarily an advertising vehicle designed to generate leads for Realtors and like MLS, the strength of this site is its exclusivity as we have all or most of the MLS listed property on that site. has also been very successful because the listing data is verified and regulated to be accurate. Integrity of data is very important to consumers and Realtors alike. Therefore as I asked CREA in my position paper, if is currently the “go to” site, the most visited site for real estate in Canada, then why would we want

to give this data to our third-party competitors through the Data Distribution Facility (DDF)? CREA’s position is that DDF controls the accuracy of data on third-party sites (as well as control what they do with that data) and brokers or Realtors can choose to opt out of providing the data under DDF. Does CREA assume that because the third-party organizations sign agreements with them, that alone will stop Realtors from sending listing data to the site anyway? Some Realtors will continue to send the data directly because they want a different presentation than the DDF will give them, so how does CREA stop that? How does CREA stop or control Realtors from sending their listings to the thousands of third-party sites (like Kijiji) that refused to sign agreements with CREA? Clearly DDF will not solve the control issue at all. Frankly I believe that Realtors who like to send their listing data to third-party sites and who are annoyed by the responsibility of maintaining that data has influ-

enced CREA to send this data for them and therefore save them a great amount of time. Bravo, but how does that help continue to be the premier real estate site for consumers? By providing our data to the third-party competition, how does that make more attractive to the advertisers who would like to advertise on our site? Will not the third-party websites be competing for the same advertising dollars? Won’t the activity on decline significantly once consumers can find the same data on other third-party sites and won’t that affect our advertising revenue potential? If activity on drops significantly, won’t our members question why we are spending thousands of dollars on when the same data can be found on countless other sites? The argument that brokers and presumably salespeople can opt out of sending the data to third-party sites as if we have some control does not make any sense. If you, as a Realtor can send your listing data to third-

party sites by simply checking a box on the listing input form, why would you not do it? I think every Realtor and brokerage (with few exceptions) will send every listing to these third-party sites through DDF. I can hear those who send this data to the sites now and the CREA brass saying, “EXACTLY”! Then I say why are we spending thousands of dollars on enhancing and maintaining Why not just send the third-party sites the data and save our money and aggravation on The facility in the DDF program that allows the distribution of data (IDX) to every Realtor in Canada is excellent and long overdue but the facility that distributes the data to third-party sites will cause the eventual demise of in my opinion. continues to be the best lead-generating site for most Realtors. Consequently, CREA in my opinion should stop sending our data to third-party organizations immediately. This activity is at cross purposes to the strategy of enhancing and promoting CREA should then spend our money by either hiring an independent organization or otherwise, whichever is the best technology solution, and enhance Let’s drive more and more consumers to by marketing the site features as the only place to find verifiable, up-todate and accurate MLS listed data provided exclusively by over 90,000 Realtors across Canada. Because of the integrity of our data and the volume of our listings, consumers will soon find, as they already do, that they can rely on the accurate information we provide. Only significant traffic will allow to attract national advertisers. Could generate enough advertising dollars to offset the cost of or CREA for that matter? Perhaps wishful thinking! Vito Campanale C.A. Broker of Record Century 21 First Canadian Corp. London, Ont. REM

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22 REM AUGUST 2012

Exit strategy for a brokerage, Part 2 Effective value drivers to increase equity on exit

By Tyrone Davids


s business owners it is easy to have all our focus and attention tied to revenue and the amount of money coming into our business. I have also seen a great amount of attention by some owners looking at their bank balance daily. This is a very stressful place to be because if there is a problem, it is already too late once it shows up in our bank account. Cash flow is the life-blood of any organization but what is important to understand is what the next 60 days of cash flow looks like. This is a relatively simple process to put in place but requires discipline to ensure we

are working with accurate information. I believe in the statement, “cash is king”, but the real business strategist takes a step back and focuses on what assets of the company “drive cash”, and what they can do to strengthen these assets. We have identified nine key assets of a real estate business that any prudent purchaser would focus on in valuing a business. These are the assets that we need to strengthen as broker/owners to increase the value of our equity. 1. The customer base – Defined by the number of agents in our business and the number of clients each has in their business base. The value of this asset is increased by both maturity and diversity. The longer agents have remained in our organization, the greater the value; retention strategies are key to increasing this

Industrial, Commercial & Investment Transportation and logistics By Chad Griffiths hipping and receiving is an integral component of a company’s logistics and supply chain management. Most industrial buildings can accommodate cube vans and small trailers but there may not be adequate depth for larger vehicles. Full-sized truck and semi-trailer combinations are now approaching 89 feet in total length, making it difficult – if not impossible – for some warehouse buildings to accommodate them. The area in which a truck manoeuvres and positions its trailer into place is known as the apron space. The smaller the apron space gets, the more difficult the process becomes.


Al Amer, an associate and managing director of Riddell Kurczaba Architecture Engineering Interior Design, says that most modern industrial buildings are designed with 135 feet of yard depth in order to handle these large trailers. Not being able to marshal a truck directly to the warehouse loading door creates a considerable amount of inefficiencies and may even result in the trailer having to be offloaded with a forklift. Another important consideration involves the area and neighbourhood where the building is located. Amer says, “Older industrial buildings are becoming less relevant for distribution centres

value. Just as important is the diversity of agents so that we have business coming from different groups: ethnic, socio-economic, religious, geographical and industry sector. We can also benefit from business coming from a diverse set of channels: builders, investors, resellers, condos, commercial and FSBOs. Diversity provides strength to withstand market fluctuations. The same theory holds true in helping our agents diversify their customer bases. 2. The brand – How recognizable is our brand to the agent population and to the general public? What is their perception of the brand? Our strategies must be focused on strengthening this perception by increasing our exposure in the community and ensuring we have internal campaigns that remind our team of the value due primarily to limitations with road and traffic infrastructure.” In other words, in addition to being able to marshal into the building, the trucks need to be able to get to the building in the first place. If your client’s company receives or ships a heavy volume of material, it would be beneficial for them to check with their suppliers and distributors before they enter into a lease agreement. They should be able to answer whether or not a particular building can adequately handle the trailers that will be coming to and from the property. Confirming these specifications during the due diligence process is an important step in identifying a space that will suit your client’s needs. Chad Griffiths has completed over 200 commercial transactions ranging in size from 1,000 sq ft to 80,000 sq ft. He holds the prestigious CCIM designation, awarded to brokers who have completed an advanced curriculum and demonstrated a high level of commercial real estate experience. He is an associate broker at NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton. (780) 4367410. REM

behind our brand. This can be done with a regular internal newsletter, blog or regular team meetings to share what the brokerage is doing in the community. A strong social media strategy and search engine optimization strategy will also be a key to brand success. 3. The administration team – Again the value rests in the diversity of talent and the number of years of service. Employee retention is an important driver to the value of this asset. This is driven by good systems and processes, an enjoyable work environment, fair compensation and great leadership. Part of this structure includes strong management and therefore we cannot allow our business to hold onto weak managers. 4. Differentiation – The employees and agents of the business must be able to articulate the key differences of our business and why they maintain their association. This is called the business’ value proposition and as owners we should be comfortable calculating its value to our agents and their customers. The value proposition is so important that it should far outweigh the effect of the differences in commission split and its impact on agent compensation. 5. Internal systems/processes – The more automated and the less “people dependent” the processes are internally, the higher the value to a would-be purchaser. What this means is that if we lose any staff, we can replace and train their successor and the business will continue on as strong as it was before. Strategies around applications and process documentation allow for the strengthening of this asset. 6. Technology – The implementation of technology can be an expensive endeavour, but the value of choosing the right applications, both front office and back office, can make or break an operation. The integration of technology into the operations has two

values for the buyer; one is that it provides “grip” on the relationships with the current agents and the other is that it supports asset No. 5 above – systems and processes. 7. Recruiting and retention – The first question around this asset is, do we actually have a process that is sustainable and repeatable? Has the process delivered growing results during the last three years? If not, you better fix this area quickly if you ever want to sell your business. If these numbers are flat or diminishing, your business will be discounted. 8. Leadership – The value here is when the leadership is in the office culture, the admin team, the process and the formalized role of the manager. It is not something driven by the broker/owner who one day will not be the leader. Leadership succession must be purposeful and will drive the value of the business up. 9. Key business partnerships – These relationships are with your lawyer’s firm, accountants, mortgage professionals, the local bank, relocation companies and any other partnerships that would create a lead pipeline to your business. The strength of these relationships can be highly valued by a would-be purchaser. Knowledge, experience and strong implementation skill is required to drive value in these assets and thereby drive equity. Find the expert help you require to maximize the value of your organizational equity. Look for Part 3 – The sales process and marketing the exit – in a future issue of REM. EDI Implementation Engineers are implementation experts providing strategic solutions that transform enterprises, empowering them to identify and capitalize on business opportunities. Tyrone Davids, CA MBA, is an implementation engineer and managing partner of EDI Implementation Engineers. 1-866922-4334, info@edi-implementaREM

REM AUGUST 2012 23


By Chris Chopik


oluntary energy labelling of houses offers untapped potential for individual Realtors, brokerages and franchises to create value for home buyers and sellers. Think about the energy labels on appliances and cars and food. The market is used to seeing product and energy information and labels. So what does a voluntary building label look like in the real estate marketplace? When you go to you can search for a home with a pool or water frontage but what about solar panels and energy ratings? When you speak to your Realtor, can they inform you about energy

Talk of mandatory energy audits is back ratings? When you go into an open house of a listed energy labelled property, is the information accessible and explained well? These are pieces of what a voluntary or market driven energy labelling process might include. Joan Huzar, chair of the Energy Committee for the Consumers Council of Canada, says, “Consumers have a basic right to product information, including energy. Realtors should get behind energy efficiency – energy is not going away – and labels are a great way to communicate with consumers. Things that are cheap today will not be cheap forever. An energy label is probably not the tipping point in a buyer’s decision process but knowing if you are buying an insulated house matters.� I asked the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller, about why he thinks mandatory home energy ratings are important to Ontario homeowners. He said, “Homeowners who have invested in energy-efficient upgrades are not being repre-

sented by the real estate industry. In an Australian study, research found that homes that had retrofits or were built to a superior standard received a price lift at time of sale, while other houses’ values were not affected. In Ontario, information about home energy efficiency is not making its way into the buying and selling conversation. The government is failing to protect the interests of consumers by not implementing a mandatory timeof-sale energy label.� Nevada has the most depressed building sector in the United States. A mandatory labelling system was introduced there as an experiment to stimulate regional economic benefits. The flawed legislation was rescinded in favour of a market-driven strategy that had Realtors and energy advisors collaborating on a legislative framework for a voluntary labelling system. So far this system is working, and like successes in other jurisdictions, the integration of labelling into the practice of real estate professionals is the critical enabler to a

market-driven-energy-rating effort. Even the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), which was previously resistant to mandatory building labelling, has shifted its perspective. CHBA’s Dave Foster says, “While there are legitimate concerns on how to effectively implement a resale home energy label, it is important for buyers to receive energy related information from an objective third party. The cost of water, electricity and heating are available to new home buyers and I think it is becoming more important to the broader home-buying public. Our members are seeing an increase in public interest and we are in favour of mandatory labelling.� I asked Jim Flood of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) if the association had any programming, training or a change management approach to integrating energy into the practice of real estate. “There are some courses that are offered but there is no

strategy or plan for a member engagement program around this issue. We think that our members will let us know if consumers start asking for the information. Our stance is that a voluntary approach is the right approach. If and when consumers ask for it, Realtors will find the information. � I believe our industry has a great opportunity to take a hard look at the real estate value of energy performance and create a strategy to bring this rating into our practice. Like every change that faces our marketplace, particularly when the government takes a strong position, we need to adapt and integrate emerging best practices. If you are interested in learning more about this issue visit my blog at and www.KnowYourEnergy Chris Chopik is a Realtor with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage, and a member of the Green Business Community in Toronto. Email REM

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24 REM AUGUST 2012

The deep-sea diving Realtor Chris Fenton loves his work as a Realtor, but he lives for his underwater adventure. By Carrie Brodi












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uch like selling real estate, deep sea diving is an activity in which nothing ever goes as planned. Years of training could not have prepared British Columbia-based Realtor Chris Fenton for what he encountered the first time he ventured more than 200 feet below the surface of the ocean. The year was 2009 and Fenton, his wife Kim and their exploration team set out to find a shipwreck that happened to be situated in the path of a shipping lane. The force of the currents against their gearheavy bodies was so strong that their breathing became laboured, causing a buildup of carbon dioxide in their breathing tubes. Knowing that too much of this gas could be fatal at such depths, Fenton immediately signaled the end of the dive and he and Kim began their 45 minute ascent. They weren’t out of danger yet, though. They still had to find the boat that dropped them off. Because of the currents, they ended up far from where they started. It was a scary moment and a lesson in being prepared for anything, Fenton says. “I had no idea the currents could do that,” he says. When asked about his calm demeanor in a situation that could have ended fatally, he replies, “Unlike other extreme sports, adrenaline is something you don’t want when deep sea diving. You have to remain as calm and relaxed as possible.” Three years and many dives later, Fenton is more enthusiastic than ever to continue exploring Canada’s maritime history. As one of only a handful of certified deepsea divers in his province, he is able to dive deep enough to discover wrecks that date as far back as the Gold Rush era. When he isn’t in a wetsuit, Fenton is a top-selling Realtor for Coast Realty Group in the Alberni Valley of British Columbia. He and his business partner (who is also his mom), Esther Fenton, run a small brokerage called The Fenton Team. They sell both residential

Chris Fenton has earned three levels of certification since he got hooked on diving in 2003.

and commercial property within their community of 30,000 people. Fenton loves his work as a Realtor, but he lives for his underwater adventure. Fenton first got hooked on diving in 2003 while on a threemonth vacation in Costa Rica. It was there that he did his first recreational dive. Since then he has earned three levels of certification: Recreational Instructor, Cave Diver and the highest level for deep water dives, Technical 2, which took him five years to complete. In 2009 he formed the Shipwreck Exploration Team to explore ships that are too deep, or too challenging for the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia to reach. In total, his team has discovered five new shipwrecks, many of which tell the story of Canada’s earliest explorers. “The west coast of Vancouver Island is considered the graveyard of the Pacific with a shipwreck for every mile of shoreline,” he says. “Jagged bays and inaccurate maps are largely the reason why so many explorers lost their way and encountered so much danger.” A history and anthropology buff, Fenton is intrigued by the stories these nautical relics tell. “The way these people walked barefoot over mountains to get help says a lot about the strength of the human spirit.” There are two types of wrecks: wooden ships and iron or metal ships. The wooden ships are the

oldest and are mostly eaten away, whereas the metal and iron ships can sometimes be found fully intact. To find the wrecks, Fenton’s team is given sonar images from the Canadian military of a given shipwreck that might be of historical significance. The team then plans their dive, hoping to find that particular ship, but it doesn’t always happen. On one dive they thought they would be exploring an 1800s-era wooden passenger ship called The Famous, which had passed through Borneo, but they ended up finding another ship. If he had to draw a parallel between diving and real estate, Fenton says patience is a big one. So is teamwork. “You don’t dive by yourself; it takes a team to function well. The exact same team approach applies to selling real estate,” he says. As for his next dive, it will be a search for a Liberty Ship, which was lost 15 km off of the shore of Vancouver Island. The 450-foot freighter is expected to be lying in deep water. The team will need three to four different kinds of breathing gases, underwater scooters and high-powered lights. It’s a tricky dive that will be “no small feat” he says, considering the remote location of the site. And if he doesn’t find it? “I’d be disappointed for sure, but if everyone comes home alive and walking, it’s a success. Short of that there are no failures in this REM sport,” he says.

REM AUGUST 2012 25

Exposure: The good, the bad and the OMG By Ronn James


n an impromptu survey of peers my age, we agreed that we would have never survived the social media the youth of today deal with daily. Fortunately, YouTube and Facebook are less than 10-years-old and many of my antics as a teen, young adult and 30-something grown-up are locked up safe in my head, away from public consumption. They say good news travels fast but these days if there is an unflattering picture, or worse an on-thefly video attached, it is likely going viral. If you want to be star, just do something. Anything. Then launch it. This phenomenon has catapulted the careers and reputations of mere mortals (some more appropriate than others) to mete-

oric fame. Type the names “Justin Bieber”, “Walk off the Earth”, or “Lego Man Canada” into YouTube and you will quickly learn what I am talking about. If I was to run for a public office or position, I would be aware that my personal and professional background would be on display. I’m aware that my family and I would be picked apart from stem to stern and everything I/we did, with whom I/we did it and the associated perceptions would be open for public scrutiny. It is relatively easy for anyone with a little Internet experience to set up a business/fan page to complement a personal Facebook profile. If the first one is found, usually the second one will be as well. The disconnect between the two is the challenge. The business page is corporate and professional with wonderful wall posts and information. The second often resembles a virtual high school cafeteria com-

plete with gossip and relationship drama. And that’s BEFORE we’ve adjusted our privacy settings. How do you respond to other’s posts? What kind of language do you use? What kinds of posts do you share? If you’re like me, jousting and bantering in the locker room or the proverbial water cooler is one thing. Making a sideways comment for the world to see is another, particularly in an environment where your impression is as instant as the number of eyes that happen to be online at that moment. There are no ethics police or etiquette classes yet for conduct in social media, although so-called experts have cautioned Realtors about pitching “all the time”. Not everyone at the party cares about your latest sale, latest listing or your latest multiple offer woes. So the question becomes, how do I manage the public platform of my

personal life? Let’s start with friends. I love my friends, and I have “friended” many because their humour and wit inspires and enlightens me. If I see a particularly “wild” post I remove it off my wall. If it persists, I message them with a request for help. If it continues still I have to cut them loose, lest their views or behaviour reflect on me. I would be remiss in not commenting on the pictures, videos, reposts and any of the thousands of requests for games on the platform. I screen and filter all that there is to see on my page. It’s my role as a professional to ensure exclusive content that is in keeping with my core beliefs and my professional mission statement. I allow the public and my clientele to see me with my hair down so they can get to know me in both my personal and professional elements. I am a person. I have a wife and kids. I perform musically. I ride a motorcycle. I

have a life. I want you to see the best of all of that. What I don’t want you to see, and not because I’m a hypocrite, is what is private to me, and those who may have been there with me. We owe it to ourselves to be the keeper of the gate and decide what we are willing to share, and when. Sometimes our choices, which at the time seemed like the thing to do, can actually roll back on us and cause us harm. A lost sale, a lost prospect, lost revenue. We won’t likely know until it is too late to repair. Ultimately my message is this; if you want Moves Like Jagger, make sure the video of you is flattering and the record label thinks so too. With a track record that spans 27 years, Realtor Ronn James says his ambition is to educate the public and Realtors alike. He has landed appearances on Breakfast Television, CityLine, Real Life and a host of radio shows. James has also been a regular contributor to New Homes and Condos For Sale Magazine, Toronto Sun and Canadian Homeplanner. Website: www.RealEstateCommissionMatters REM .ca, phone 289-242-9050.

Insurance Renewal 2012 The Real Estate Council of Ontario’s (RECO) insurance broker, Alternative Risk Services Inc., has renewed its insurance coverage with Lloyd’s for the Sept. 1, 2012 to Sept. 1, 2013 policy period. The insurance program is managed by Dion, Durrell + Associates Inc. Coverage includes Errors and Omissions, Commission Protection and Consumer Deposit insurance. Insurance renewal invoices will be mailed in early July to all registrants. A copy of the renewal package is also available on RECO’s website at

How to How to p pay ay you yourr insu insura ranc nce e pr prem emiiium um Use yo y ur MasterCard or Visa to pa p y your y insurance online througgh MyWe y b,, RECO’s exclusive web por p tal for regis gi trants. IfIf you don’’t alrl eaddy have a MyW MyWebb account,, creating i g one iis easyy andd free, f , siimpl ply visit ii sign g up up. p PPlea lease se mak makee your pa p yme y nt as soo soonn as as poss ossibl iblee. Payymen ments ts to sign cannot can not be ma made de by pho phone. ne.

Insurance payments are due by Aug. 17, 2012. The total cost of insurance, including taxes and expenses, for the 2012 - 2013 policy period is $380.

Suspension process

Commission protection policy change

Retiring or leaving the business before September?

Registrants who fail to make their insurance payment by the due date will become part of the suspension process and will be required to pay an additional $35 for expenses related to administration of the suspension process. The total cost of insurance after the due date is $415. Non-payment results in suspension of registration effective Sept. 1, 2012.

Starting Sept. 1, 2012 registrants may claim commissions owed to them from the two-year period prior to the date of loss established by the insurer (eg. bankruptcy date of a brokerage). Once the date of loss is established during the policy period, all commission claims must be reported to the insurer within the two-year period following the date of loss. Visit MyWeb at to view the complete insurance policy.

Terminate your registration by Aug. 3, 2012 to avoid becoming involved in the suspension process. You have two options for completing your termination: s

Send a completed “Notice of Change: Termination” form and a copy of your resignation letter to RECO’s Registration Department; or


Have your Broker of Record or Branch Manager complete the termination process for you on MyWeb. See RECO’s website for further details.

Additional insurance program details and FAQ sheets are available on MyWeb. Contact RECO’s Insurance Department Directly At:

Online (MyWeb): | Phone: 416-207-4841 | Toll Free: 1-866-757-7772 | Fax: 416-207-9020 or 416-207-4820 | E-mail:

26 REM AUGUST 2012

ment Council: Ron Penner, Globe General Agencies, Winnipeg Chair, Real Estate Finance Council: John Cox, Westview Consulting, Calgary ■ ■ ■


he Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) inaugurated its 2012-2013 Board of Directors at the REIC 2012 Annual Conference and AGM in Calgary recently. The board welcomed three new directors to the REIC national board. Candace Le Roux, Midwest Property Management, Port Moody, B.C. will serve as first vice-chair, Real Estate Management Council. Lindsay Carlson, Jayman Realty, Sherwood Park, Alta. is first vice-chair, Real Estate Sales and Leasing Council; and Scott Fischer, First Condo Group, Vaughan, Ont. accepted the post of first vice-chair, Real Estate Finance Council.

Suzanne LeValley, Longley Condominium Services, Calgary was nominated to run for another year as president due to the resignation of the 2011-2012 vice-president. The other members of the 2012/2013 REIC national Board of Directors are: Vice-president: Ron Fraser, Infrastructure Ontario, Toronto Secretary/treasurer: Winson Chan, Tridel Corporation, Toronto Past-president: Chrystal Skead, Chrystal Skead, Edmonton Chair, Real Estate Sales and Leasing Council: John Zabudney, City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Chair, Real Estate Manage-

In June the members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) elected the institute’s Board of Directors 2012-2013 during their Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. Subsequently, the Board of Directors elected its officers and Executive Committee members. David Shum of Calgary assumes the role of president. Joining him on the Executive Committee are Dan Wilson, president-elect, Courtenay, B.C.; Scott Wilson, vice-president, Charlottetown; Daniel Doucet, vice-president, Dieppe, N.B.; and Michael Mendela, past-president, Uxbridge, Ont. Board members are: Greg Bennett, Mount Pearl, Nfld.; Dan Brewer, Newmarket, Ont.; Richard Colbourne, Windsor Junction, N.S.; John Farmer, Edmonton; Thomas Fox, Regina; Anne Helliker, Brampton, Ont.; Paula

Malcolm-Schaller, Stittsville, Ont.; Surinder Pal, Winnipeg; John Peebles, Saanich, B.C.; and Louis Poirier, Montreal. Shum says, “Earlier this year the AIC Board of Directors approved a new three-year Strategic Plan, with a strong emphasis on results. The plan focuses on four key result areas and establishes objectives in each: member growth and development, building relationships, knowledge and authority, and governance and management. We are energized and we look forward to achieving the key objectives over the next year, leading up to our AIC 2013 Annual Conference in my hometown of Calgary.” ■ ■ ■

Since 2008, The WindsorEssex County Real Estate Board has directed annual financial and in-kind support to The Windsor-Essex Active Retirement Community Initiative (WEARCI), a not-for-profit organization established to promote the area’s retirement lifestyle as the ideal destination for the age 50-

plus demographic that is unique to Windsor and Essex County. WEARCI conducts ongoing interviews with area Realtors to measure response to the 100 Mile Peninsula marketing campaign about relocation numbers and sales activity. Between January 2009 and October 2011, less than three years into its marketing, it identified 660 new residents age 50-plus who have purchased $172 million in various real estate properties. WEARCI announced steady gains continued throughout WindsorEssex and estimated 885 new retiree families from across Canada, the U.S. and internationally have purchased $228 million in existing real estate since the initiative launched. “Adding to the significance of this milestone are the millions of dollars of investment flowing into our region,” says Krista Del Gatto, EO of the board and president of WEARCI. She says it is estimated that one housing transaction generates $46,000 in ancillary services. “Most importantly, all nine municipalities are sharing these

At a recent general membership meeting, Garnett Urquhart and Noreen Barwise were recognized and honoured for 40 years of membership with The Real Estate Board of the Fredericton Area.

Ken Finch The 2012-2013 REIC national Board of Directors. Back row, from left: John Cox, Ron Fraser, Candace Le Roux, John Zabudney, Ron Penner, Scott Fischer. Front row: Lindsay Carlson, Chrystal Skead, Suzanne LeValley, Winson Chan.

David Shum

RAHB riders prepare for their ride throughout the Ancaster Meadowlands.

Realtors Ben Officer and Melanie Boles with AJ, the venue sponsor from The Ranch Roadhouse and Trent, the motorcycle sponsor from Elk Island Sales.

REM AUGUST 2012 27

economic benefits… increased revenues from property taxes, housing resales, new construction and renovations, job creation and various spin-off services,” Del Gatto says. At a press conference recently, WEARCI announced that Windsor Family Credit Union (WFCU) has been designated as the official financial sponsor to the organization. The region’s largest credit union presented WEARCI with $40,000 towards its marketing campaign over the next three years. The organization has also been awarded a $25,000 New Horizons Grant to fund the 100 Mile Peninsula Club, a new retiree-run initiative intended to connect new residents, foster social engagement and encourage volunteering area-wide and in the new communities they now call home. I I I

Ken Finch was elected 2012/2013 president of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Toronto Chapter. Finch is a broker with Royal LePage Signature in Toronto and a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute and Certified Property Manager. It is the 50th Anniversary Year for the REIC Toronto Chapter with many events, building tours and seminars planned for the industry this year. View to obtain full details regarding the Toronto Chapter’s events. I I I

Members of the Realtors Association of HamiltonBurlington (RAHB), along with friends and families, took to the streets recently to participate in two Heart and Stroke Big Bike Rides. The RAHB team, a blend of Realtors from 15 real estate offices throughout RAHB’s market area, rode a 30-seat tandem bicycle to help raise awareness and funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The two RAHB teams showed their heart and generosity by raising a combined total of $5,605 for the cause. I I I

The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) recently approved $203,000 in community investment projects. Notable projects approved for funding include:

• $50,000 to the ALCES group and Alberta Tomorrow to further develop mapping tools and a school outreach program for the land simulator. • $25,000 to Athabasca Watershed Council for an outreach campaign to educate residents on the results of the watershed report and its impact for Albertans in the area. • $20,000 to Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations for a survey about non-profit leadership in Calgary and Area. • $15,000 to Doors Open Calgary Society for a Calgary-wide public celebration to showcase the heritage, architectural and socially significant buildings in the city. • $30,000 to Olds College toward the construction of a research facility on the management and treatment of wetland areas in Alberta. • $38,000 to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for a solar array applied research project. • $25,000 to The Natural Step to facilitate the Sustainability Transition Lab in Edmonton. Jay Freeman, chair of AREF, says the grants reflect “a clear focus on land stewardship issues from large organizations and small. We are also pleased to support Alberta Tomorrow to build upon work that we have supported in the past, making their tools accessible to more communities across Alberta. Projects like Doors Open are novel and proven, as they have achieved success in other Canadian cities. We look forward to their success in Calgary.”




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A 2012 Victory High Ball motorcycle is to be raffled off at Bike Nights in support of the Realtors Community Foundation – Edmonton and area. Bike Nites began in 2005 when a group of Realtors wanted to combine their joy of riding with raising money for kids. Since its inception more than $200,000 has been raised. Proceeds from Bike Nights supports Youth Empowerment and Support Services, which supports at-risk youth in a caring, compassionate and concerned manner, and E4C’s School Lunch Program, which ensures 2,300 children in 12 high-need schools receive a hot, nutritious meal each school day. REM

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28 REM AUGUST 2012

Real Estate Institute of Canada The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) presented the 2012 REIC Emeritus Award to Bill McCarthy of WPJ McCarthy and Company, Burnaby, B.C. and Cynthia Lai, Global Link Realty Group, Toronto during REIC’s Annual Conference and AGM. The Emeritus Award recognizes a member’s sustained commitment and outstanding contribution to REIC at both the national and chapter levels and to the real estate profession as a whole. It is the highest award bestowed on a member and is part of the REIC Pursuit of Excellence Awards program. Lai has been an active member of REIC for more than 18 years and is a highly recognized FRI member who passionately promotes the merits of advanced education to Realtors,” says REIC in a release. She holds a variety of senior leadership positions in many organized real estate associations in Toronto and Ontario. McCarthy is a past-president of REIC and “has been an avid promoter of REIC and IREM designations for over 23 years,” says the institute. He has written real estate text books and writes thought-provoking articles for local and national audiences. He also won two Pursuit of Excellence Awards. Other 2012 Pursuit of Excellence Awards recipients include: J.A. Weber Award: Darrell Jones, Manitoba Housing Bentall Kennedy Excellence Award: Sheri Griffiths, Colliers International, Winnipeg Murray Bosley Sales & Leasing Council Member of the Year Award: Lindsay Carlson, Jayman Realty, Sherwood Park, Alta. Real Estate Management Council Member of the Year Award: Sandi Carlson-Edwards, City of Winnipeg REIC Community Services

Award: Serge Rivet, Re/Max TMS S.R., Rosemère, Que. WPJ McCarthy Corporate Citizen of the Year: Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation, Fort McMurray, Alta. Association of the Year Award: Manitoba Housing & Renewal Corporation, Winnipeg Chapter Initiative of the Year Award: Real Estate Institute of Manitoba Don Hill Award – Small Chapter: REIC Edmonton Chapter Don Hill Award – Large Chapter: REIC Greater Vancouver Chapter Chapter of the Year Award – Small Chapter: Real Estate Institute of Manitoba Chapter of the Year Award – Large Chapter: IREM Edmonton Chapter Chapter Administrator of the Year: Sharon Radford, IREM/ REIC Edmonton Chapter

of servicemen and women and their families, as well as build bridges between Canadian civilians and the military to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers. “It’s very humbling to receive such an award,” says Schneider. “The Schneider Family Foundation was created to make a difference in the lives of others and from our perspective, no one does that better than the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces protect our borders with sacrifice, bravery and honour. Their efforts bring hope of a better life to vulnerable and conflicted societies throughout the world. Their commitment to freedom, to this country and its citizens, is beyond compare.” Since 2001, The Schneider Family Foundation has funded worthwhile causes in communities across Canada with a strong focus on health, education and culture. Beneficiaries have included various charitable and service organizations such as Women’s College Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, the West Parry Sound Health Centre (new birthing room), SickKids Foundation, Pathways to Education, War Child Canada, ShareLife and The YMCA.

Realty Executives International The Williams-Hollett Sales Team in St. John’s, Nfld. has been named Realty Executives’ #1 Sales Team Worldwide. The team had top sales volume and total units sold in 2011, says Realty Executives International. The franchise has 600 franchises in 27 countries. “We are incredibly proud to have our outstanding St. John’s team recognized on a global scale,” says Craig Williams, broker/owner, Realty Executives of St. John’s. “We have built a dynamic team of real estate professionals and have spent a great deal of time training with our entire team at various real estate and marketing conferences around the world.” Nevin Hollett, real estate partner at the brokerage, says the key to the team’s success is their commitment to client service. “We truly value our clients and do everything we can to ensure a high quality, hassle-free client experience. I also credit the expansive list of pre-approved home buyers we host in the database at all times. Often, when we meet with a new client who is selling their home, we have several suitable buyers in mind. This helps to streamline the home-selling and buying process,

Mississauga Real Estate Board David Mosley, a sales rep with Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty in Mississauga, Ont. recently received the Ronald E. Sanderson Community Service Award from the Mississauga Real Estate Board. The award recognizes a full-time MREB member with more than five years of experience whose exceptional volunteerism in the city has had a positive impact. Mosley has been president of the annual Bread & Honey Festival in Streetsville for four years. The long-running festival includes a parade and three days of community events. He is also an active fundraiser for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. REM Maura McLaren, left, REIC executive director and CEO and Cynthia Lai

Walter Schneider Walter Schneider, co-founder and president of Re/Max OntarioAtlantic Canada, was decorated with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of contributions made to the True Patriot Love Foundation in support of Canada’s military families through the Schneider Family Foundation. The medal honours Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow countrymen, their community or to Canada over the previous 60 years. The prestigious award was presented to just 16,000 citizens nationwide in 2012. The True Patriot Love Foundation, formed by a group of business leaders, was established to pay tribute to Canadian military families. The foundation undertakes programs and initiatives that support the health and well-being

and makes for a positive experience for all involved.” The team sold more than 250 homes in the St. John’s area in 2011. It has also been awarded Sales Team of The Year for the past two years by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Eastern Newfoundland, for outstanding new home construction sales and marketing. They were also named the #1 Team for Realty Executives Canada in 2010 and 2011.

From left: John Zabudney, chair, Awards Committee; Bill McCarthy; and Maura McLaren, REIC executive director and CEO.

Craig Williams, left, and Nevin Hollett

David Mosley

Walter Schneider, left, and Shaun Francis, chair of the True Patriot Love Foundation.

REM AUGUST 2012 29


By Bruce Keith eteran rocker Steven Tyler of Aerosmith often comes up with catchy phrases. Recently he offered one of his humorous paradoxical insights as part of his role as a judge on American Idol. He said, “I’m too young to be this old.” On one hand, he certainly looks like he has a lot of miles on him. At the same time, he always exudes high energy and an amazing zest for life. Like him or not, Tyler is always very entertaining. His comment about being too young to be this old got me thinking. There are lots of situations in sales that are equally paradoxical. Here are a couple of examples I hear quite often:


Walk this way: Aerosmith insights 1. I am working too hard to be this broke. 2. My service is too good for my customers to keep saying no. Are there certain situations in your sales business that are paradoxical... that do not seem to make sense (or even seem unfair)? Probably. Sometimes working harder is not the right answer. Often there are other keys to making things happen the way you want them to. Here are some suggestions: 1 . Your work habits. The statement, “I’m working hard” is very subjective. Sitting at your desk for three hours preparing for a sales call may not be as productive as knocking on 20 doors. Driving around for three hours to stop at three potential buyers may not be as productive as making 20 phone calls and isolating one hot prospect. Always be thinking about the best way to get to the best prospects. 2. Are you calling on the right prospects? Are the people you are approaching in a position to afford your service? Can they afford your

desired price range? 3. When making your sales calls, are you talking to the decision-maker? The best sales presentation in the world is wasted if the recipient is not the ultimate buyer. 4. Make sure you are presenting the benefits of what you offer to your prospects. They don’t want to know what you have... they want to know why it will help them. This is the essence of selling. Give some thought to what Steven Tyler said. Is what you are trying to accomplish out of sync with the situation/customers you are pursuing? Every once in a while it is very helpful to step back and take a look at your business and your efforts from 20,000 feet. All businesses need to do this, big or small. That way you can ensure that your efforts and your activities are on a straight line to your goals. Don’t try and sell a Ferrari to someone who doesn’t have a driver’s license. Make sure there is no paradox between your efforts and the customers you are pursuing. No excuses.

■ ■ ■

Walk the talk: The buying public, your customers, are judging you on ongoing basis, every day. They are always evaluating you. Are you trustworthy, reliable and do you have their best interests in mind? Most salespeople recognize that they need to put their best foot forward to gain that trust. The easiest way to do that is to walk your talk. Be who you say you are at all times, not just when you are in front of your customers. That way there is no risk of misconception about you, your message or your products and services. It certainly is easier that way. In 2003 Richard Templar published his book, The Rules of Work. Templar started off by saying that Rule No. 1 is to make sure you “walk your talk”. Worth studying, here are some of Templar’s instructions on how to do that: 1. Under promise and over deliver 2. Know something others don’t (study your craft)

3. Be 100 per cent committed... both to your customers and to yourself 4. Enjoy what you are doing 5. Develop the right on this daily 6. Have a sense of urgency in everything you do 7. Know that you are being judged at all times My sense is that the best way to summarize his ideas would be captured in this mantra: “Be Your Word”. Decide who you are, decide what that looks like, decide to be that person 24 hours a day. No illusions, no trickery, make it easy on yourself. No excuses. Bruce Keith, the “Results Coach” has over 23 years of experience. He is a sales and marketing coach and seminar leader in the real estate business, teaching what to say and how to say it. His high-energy, high-impact training style is sought after and acclaimed across North America. He says, “Success is possible; there are no excuses”. REM

Join the top in your profession Become a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (FRI) - your key to unlimite ed advancement and earning potential. Lea arn from dedicated, highly experienced instructors in an eng gag ging g, practical and professional learning environment.

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30 REM AUGUST 2012

Good Works T

he largest charitable bequest to a single beneficiary in B.C.’s history was undertaken by Real Estate Institute of Canada past-president William (Bill) McCarthy of WPJ McCarthy and Company in Burnaby, B.C. McCarthy, grandson of the late John Jambor and creator and executor of his estate plan, gifted $21.4 million in the JamborMcCarthy legacy to the B.C. Cancer Foundation. In keeping with the tenets John Jambor lived by, and enunciated by McCarthy – work hard, live well, give back – the gift will support researchers at the B.C.

Cancer Agency Research Centre and care providers at the agency’s five centres throughout the province. “I worked alongside my grandfather from childhood,” said McCarthy. “He was the greatest man I’ll ever know. Together, we developed the Jambor-McCarthy legacy and I’m proud to see this gift flourish into a fitting tribute to my grandfather and the Jambor family.” McCarthy was recently presented with the REIC Emeritus Award (see the Honours Go To section in this issue of REM). “Bill promotes REIC as a gateway to higher education, profes-

sional credentials and networking benefits,” says Maura McLaren, REIC executive director and CEO. “Bill’s unending support of REIC as a member, instructor, mentor and sponsor is exceptional. The legacy he has gifted to the B.C. Cancer Foundation makes us even more proud of Bill.”

Ahmet. “When we build a playground, 20 to 30 volunteers get together to construct it and have a good time doing the work. It’s a great group of people. When it’s finished, there is a big reveal and we get to see the child’s joy – it’s really an incredible feeling.”

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Rick Dubord, president of HomeLife Realty Services B.C., recently presented $42,000 to Margaret McNeil, CEO of Canuck Place at the 11th Annual HomeLife Charity Golf Classic. Dubord says raising the money “was a tremendous team effort of volunteers, sponsors, Canuck Alumni plus a sold-out field of golfers that contributed to this win for the families that Canuck Place serves.” Canuck Place provides specialized pediatric palliative care for children living with a life-threatening illness and support for their families throughout British Columbia. The HomeLife Charity Tournament became involved with Canuck Place to support the

Million Dollar Smiles is a grassroots organization that aims to make a personal, positive impact in the lives of children who are ill. Most weekends this summer, Ahmet Ahmet, a sales rep with Sutton Group - Summit Realty in Mississauga, Ont. plans to help build playgrounds in the backyards of sick children. The Sutton office has sponsored two of the playground sets. Ahmet and some of his colleagues participated in the First Annual Million Dollar Smiles Walkathon recently to raise money for teddy bears, other gifts and playgrounds. “With Million Dollar Smiles, one of the best rewards is making an immediate impact,” says

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Fraser Valley Extension. “It’s not just the money that’s important, it’s the awareness of the need for the services provided by Canuck Place,” says Dubord. To meet growing needs, it is building a 10bed, 30,000-square-foot hospice in Abbotsford. Since the inception of its annual charity golf tournament (, HomeLife Realty Services has raised more than $340,000 for children’s’ charities in B.C. ■ ■ ■

Nanaimo Realtor and champion power-lifter Rhonda Heaslip of Re/Max of Nanaimo kicked off part of her new Raise the Bar fundraising drive at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board training room recently. The world champion weightlifter was on hand for a professional photo shoot that will be used as part of her campaign branding this year. Last year her efforts raised $3,600 for the new emergency ward at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH). This year’s focus will be

Royal LePage in Penticton was transformed into an oasis for bargain hunters as part of the Garage Sale for Shelter in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The sale raised $18,197 that went to support Penticton’s local women’s shelter, South Okanagan Women In Need Society and fund long-term solutions to end family violence.

Bill McCarthy

Participants and organizers gather at Royal LePage Burloak’s annual charity golf tournament. HomeLife Realty Services B.C. raised $42,000 for Canuck Place.

REM AUGUST 2012 31

on fundraising for the Children’s Miracle network (CMN). “The ultimate goal is to raise $15,000 for both NRGH and the CMN – for a total amount of $30,000,” she says. “I’m not sure how long it will take to raise that much, but it will be as long as it is.” Heaslip, with professional photographer Lance Sullivan and Nanaimo Daily News reporter Josh Aldrich, staged a series of publicity shots of her (lifting a 185 pound weight) in the training room that will become part of her campaign literature. ■ ■ ■

A group of Realtors from three local Penticton, B.C. brokerages support the local Soupateria on a regular basis. Jeannie Cavallo, Geoff Cowling and Debbie Desgagne of Re/Max Front Street Realty; Brian Cutler and Grant Klatik of Coldwell Banker Okanagan Realty; and Judy Black of Royal LePage Locations West, along with a few other members of the community, come together every third Friday of the month to

prepare a special meal for anyone who is in need. Cavallo got the group involved three years ago after driving past the Soupateria and seeing a line up down the street. “All these people that were waiting in line just to eat,” she says. “It made me realize how lucky I am to have what I have and I wanted to give back.” She got the ball rolling by calling other Realtors, suggesting that they band together and give back to their community at the Soupateria. “Each month, we are there and we try to make something special for these people that in most cases are eating this one meal a day. Each month, I buy the groceries, so we don’t take from the Soupateria’s limited budget, and we take turns deciding what we will make.” She says the Realtors’ involvement in the Soupateria has been a great bonding experience. “We have all grown to be such great friends. I think we all realize how much we waste and take for granted,” she adds.

■ ■ ■

Now in its tenth year, Royal LePage Burloak’s annual charity golf tournament has all the makings of a tradition, with a great cause to boot. The annual event supports the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, benefiting Halton Women’s Place and Carpenter Hospice. Both organizations rely on community partners to keep their programs running. This year the event raised $28,000, bringing the total raised over a 10-year period to $175,000. JoAnn Jusdanis, broker/owner and Golf Committee chairperson, says, “This year golfers were asked to dress in Royal LePage colours of red, black and white to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Some foursomes got very creative with their outfits.” ■ ■ ■

Coldwell Banker recently launched Heroes, the brand’s charitable recognition program. Since March, it has reported donations of nearly $1.5 million

and 3,100 hours to local charities in 2012 across North America. “Charitable efforts have always been a foundation of Coldwell Banker and our affiliated companies, management teams and sales professionals who take great pride in the role they play in their communities,” says Budge Huskey, president and chief operating officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Huskey says that Coldwell Banker All Points-Festival City Realty in Stratford, Ont. – with 33 agents – has raised $27,000 and donated more than 500 hours in 2012 to support such organizations as the United Way, Huron Perth Lung Association, YMCA Strong Kids Foundation, Port to Point Trail Association, and the Seaforth and District Food Bank. Coldwell Banker system members are able to report their charitable efforts on a company, office and individual level via a portal on the brand’s intranet site, Coldwell Banker Works. From those who document their charitable donations, an annual

Coldwell Banker Hero of the Year will be announced beginning in 2013. ■ ■ ■

When it comes to tooting the town’s horn, Royal LePage Musgrave Agencies in Lloydminster, Alta. knows how to pull it all together. The office recently organized the “1,000 Reasons Why Lloydminster is Great” campaign as a way of getting townspeople excited about the place they live. To wind up the campaign, the office held a charity barbecue and raised $1,000 in support of their local women’s shelter, Lloydminster Interval Home. A draw was held for a prize called The Gift of Lloydminster, which consisted of 52 experiences within the city, including something new to do each week (such as a tour of the city by airplane and rodeo tickets). In addition to supporting their local shelter, the office raised $40,000 for Habitat for Humanity REM in 2010.

Realtors and staff from Royal LePage Musgrave Agencies gather for a photo to commemorate a community awareness initiative they helped to spearhead.

Million Dollar Smiles founder and director Anna Lopes with Ahmet Ahmet.

Rhonda Heaslip

A group of Realtors from three different brokerages works at the local Soupateria every third Friday in Penticton, B.C.

32 REM AUGUST 2012

Writing great real estate ads – Tip #9

By Ian Grace


esearch tells us that the three most important pieces of information potential buyers look for in any real estate advertising are price, location and number of bedrooms. Yet I see some or even all of those pieces of information left out of much real estate advertising. Let’s talk about the most important piece of information, the price. Discussions about price begin when you get the listing. I want to conquer once and for all two things I get really tired of hearing from Realtors. First, a Realtor who can’t sell a property complaining bitterly, “Aaah, the property was always overpriced….” That’s their excuse for not being able to sell the property, as, according to them, the seller wanted too much money. Second, Realtors complain they have lost a listing to another Realtor who indulged in the practice of “buying the listing” – telling

GOURMET COOKING for real estate professionals

the seller they would achieve a higher price, often unrealistic, to win the listing, then afterwards gradually “conditioning” or “educating” the seller to keep lowering their price, to way below what was originally promised. If the Realtor and the seller can’t agree on pricing before the relationship starts, they are never working properly as a team. This is when the Realtor needs to have the courage and integrity to walk away from a listing, while offering any assistance the seller should need in the future. Time after time, I have seen this happen, and then the Realtor has still ended up with the listing. The seller, given time to think about it, was impressed with the honesty and integrity of the Realtor and decided to go with them. So, how do we get closer to real agreement on a realistic price? By taking the sellers for a ride. Realtors should automatically be showing sellers a CMA or Competitive Market Analysis, showing them exactly what has sold in their area, right up until yesterday. Comparisons should be shown with properties that are as close to identical to the property for sale as possible. However, it is still just words on paper, plus maybe a photo

to you whether you give them the exact street address. This can depend on how you have advertised the property. If you use the same old front-of-the-house main photo, often if potential buyers are not impressed with the front of the house when they see it in real life, they can drive away and you have lost them. As an example, a Realtor in one of my classes was buying a house himself. He had been to see this particular home and thought it was okay, then arranged for his wife to view the property with him and the Realtor who was selling it. They were in two cars and when they arrived at the property, the wife had one look at the front of the house and said she hated the property and there was no chance she would agree to buy it. She was absolutely adamant that she was not even going to get out of the car. Eventually, the husband managed to get her (very reluctantly) to walk into the house, convincing her to be polite out of respect to the Realtor who had met them there. Once she walked onto the expansive back deck/veranda, which had a beautiful view, she fell in love with the property and they bought it. This is a perfect example of when an ad showing the front of

It’s always turkey time ractice this recipe now and serve it on special holidays or as a treat for a delightful change. It’s a really easy recipe. I made this for the first time nearly 40 years ago. I’m sure everyone at your house will love it.


By Carolyne Lederer

or two – never the same as the real thing. Impress upon the seller how important it is to be working together with the same goal/price in mind. Tell them you need to spend a little time with them and take them for a drive. Armed with the CMA, you then visit several homes that are similar to theirs that have sold in recent times. In my experience, sellers are highly impressed by the integrity of the Realtor and the fact that they took the time and trouble to drive the sellers around to make those comparisons. It sets that Realtor apart, because you can guarantee that 90+ per cent of Realtors would never consider doing it – therefore, it’s a unique selling point. If another Realtor tries to “buy the listing” by inflating the expected selling price, the seller has now been armed with the correct information in the most honest possible way and as much as they would like to believe an inflated price they are presented with, they realize it’s not right and now question the integrity and advice of that Realtor. Location – research item number two – is also very important, but should you state the address in your advertising? Well, the neighbourhood should be named, but it is up

Stuffed Breast of Turkey (serves 4) 3 lb. turkey breast 5 slices bread soaked in 1/2 cup chicken stock 1/2 lb. ground veal 1 egg (beaten) garlic salt (or clove, if you like) 1 onion (chopped) fresh parsley salt, pepper and poultry seasoning 10 medium, large mushrooms, chopped

Sauce: 2 sticks celery (chopped) 2 cups light cream 2 eggs Split the turkey breast, not all the way through the thickness, so it opens flat. Salt and pepper both sides. Saute onion in clarified butter. To sauteed onion, add ground veal, salt, pepper, garlic salt and poultry seasoning. Saute mushrooms and add to the meat mixture. Add beaten egg to wet bread; salt and pepper. Add meat mixture and parsley to bread mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon veal onto turkey breast, and shape veal so turkey can be rolled, so that the veal will remain more or less in a loaflike shape in the centre. Roll and tie with string (postage-package style) or truss, tucking in ends. Brush with clarified butter.

Brown in a roasting pan for 15 minutes at 425 - 450 F; reduce heat to 350 F and continue to cook, uncovered for 1 hour or until turkey is JUST cooked. Brush once or twice with butter while cooking. Serve on a large platter flanked by rice steamed in chicken stock and steamed onions (quartered) and steamed carrots (quartered and cut in 2-3 inch strips), both sprinkled with sea salt. When cooked, glaze carrots with melted butter to which 2 teaspoons of plain sugar has been added. If you wish, you can flambe turkey before removing from the roasting pan with 2 oz. of Southern Comfort. This is not necessary but adds a delightful flavour to the sauce. Remove turkey from roaster and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce.

the house would never have worked with this lady and how giving them the address in advance also would never have worked with her – she would have hated it and the Realtor would never have seen her. The next key information is number of bedrooms. I see Realtors who leave out the number of bedrooms, most particularly if there are only one or two bedrooms, as they somehow feel that might put buyers off. They hope to “sell” them on the property when they phone to see how many bedrooms it has. Sadly, it’s not when they phone, it’s if they phone and one thing is for certain, if there are two properties advertised side-by-side that appear to satisfy the buyers’ needs, one property telling the number of bedrooms and the other not, guess which one they will phone first? Known internationally as “Mr. Real Estate Advertising”, Australian born Ian Grace is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on real estate advertising. Since 1994, he has delivered his programs throughout Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, Canada and the U.K. His articles about real estate advertising have been published around the world. REM In the roasting pan, saute 2 sticks of celery in a little clarified butter. Add 2 cups light cream and reduce over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add a few spoons of hot cream to beaten eggs to adjust temperature of eggs. Add egg mixture to remaining cream and return to medium heat and STIR CONSTANTLY until mixture thickens. Be very careful or you will have scrambled eggs. Reduce heat as necessary. Enjoy! Carolyne Lederer is broker of record at Carolyne Realty Corp. Proudly putting her name to her work for 29 years, she serves Burlington and Brampton, Ont. residential real estate clients. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid 1970s prior to going into real estate, and wrote a newspaper weekly cooking column. She also has a cookbook in the works. Email Carolyne at if you have any questions. REM

REM AUGUST 2012 33


A tip for the sophisticated investor By Tom Napiontek


s it better to invest in real estate or in stock options like GICs, bonds and mutual funds? This is an age-old question. With the stock market as volatile as it is today, real estate makes for a relatively low-risk investment option. Real estate tends to lose little value in periods of rising prices. It holds its value and purchasing power during inflation, which is paramount in today’s unstable economy. Real assets hedge better than paper assets, as the former has intrinsic value whereas the latter does not, making real estate a better inflation hedge than stocks. One of the greatest benefits of investing in real estate is that your investment is secured by real property.

If for some reason, however, investing directly in real estate is not a feasible option for you at the moment, investing in private mortgages is an option that sophisticated investors use to diversify their portfolio and mitigate the risks of an unstable stock market. Here are some of the major benefits to investing in mortgages: It is a low-risk investment. Your capital is protected by the value of the real estate against which the mortgage is registered; therefore, your investment is secured by real property. Also, the value of the mortgage will not fluctuate like the stock market. Usually, the interest rates on mortgage investments are around six to 10 per cent, which is much better than stock market-based interest rates. With these combined aspects, you experience more assurance that your investment will achieve positive growth. In most cases, a mortgage generates positive cash flow every

month. Because people fear losing their homes, borrowers are more likely to be prudent in paying back mortgages. In a worst-case scenario, if a borrower declares bankruptcy, your security remains unaffected. There is also a market for private mortgages created by a special niche of borrowers. Bank mortgages can take up to 20 to 30 days to close. In some cases, for certain borrowers, this is far too inefficient; private mortgages can close in four to 10 days. Private mortgages will lend where banks won’t, allowing for a premium interest rate and a better return for private mortgage investors. Such situations include short-term loans or bridge loans (a bridge loan is a form of short-term financing for an individual or business until a more permanent source of financing can be obtained). On top of this, demand for private mortgages has been increasing due to Ottawa’s tightening of

Canada’s mortgage lending guideline. Ottawa has tightened the guideline four times since the 2008 recession. These changes directly affect borrowers as minimum down payments are being raised and amortization periods shortened. For those new to investing in mortgages, there is an investment vehicle called a Mortgage Investment Corporation (MIC), which is proving to be a popular method to invest in mortgages. It offers a hands-off method to invest in mortgages. An MIC allows investors to pool their money to invest in property mortgages. MICs also have the option to borrow from a bank or other lenders to add to the investor capital pool and fund its mortgage portfolio. The MIC’s management team takes care of all the details, from sourcing suitable mortgage investments to managing administration details. All profits go directly back to investors as the MIC is a flow-

through investment vehicle. Apart from being investor friendly, there are other benefits to investing in an MIC. Since you are pooling money with other investors, in most cases, you do not need a lot of capital to get involved. Fees are inexpensive. Also, MICs are RRSP, RDSP, RRIF, RESP and TFSA eligible, so there are tax advantages. When compared to unpredictable stock market returns, fixed interest rates in the range of six to 10 per cent from investing in mortgages sounds far more appealing. Tom Napiontek is Vision Investment Properties’ director of acquisitions. Vision Investment Properties provides investment opportunities in high ROI real estate. Napiontek specializes in property acquisitions and investment strategy formulation and says he has had great success in helping investors build wealth through real estate. REM

Toronto Real Estate Board 2012/2013 Board of Directors

Ann Hannah President

Dianne Usher President-Elect

Richard Silver Past President

John (Jerry) England Stuart Braund Larry Cerqua Director-at-Large West Non-Brokerage Central Non-Brokerage Director Director

Lydia Ingles Director-at-Large

Cynthia Lai Chair, Executive Council Commercial Division

John Lusink North Brokerage Director

Michelle Makos East Non-Brokerage Director

Mark McLean Director-at-Large

Rosalind Menary East Brokerage Director

Paul Etherington Director-at-Large

Karen Gerrard North Non-Brokerage Director

Shelley Porritt West Brokerage Director

Tim Syrianos Central Brokerage Director

34 REM AUGUST 2012

Tales from the crypt


my buyer thought of his P.O.S listing? (REM, March 2012, Ronn James column) Next you’ll be telling me I can’t turn in an office or MLS tour average.” And my favourite, “Why didn’t you use the new designated agency listing contract?” and the reply, “Huh?” Oh well, we’ll survive. I attended the annual gathering of former members of the Real Estate Council of B.C., an event where the serious business is an update of health issues followed by a discussion of latest holidays, usually to take your mind off the health issues. I overheard one member speaking of a spa treatment for his wife: “I’m having barnacles scraped off her bottom as we speak.” Or was it his boat? Another overheard, perhaps misheard, conversation involved a distaff member describing the daily activities of the bird life visible from her waterfront

By Marty Douglas


y the time you read this column it will be August with yet another long holiday weekend looming. I’m writing on July 3, suffering with minor post-Canada Day consumption issues. To be fair, it was my birthday too and I was over served on several occasions. Heat and humidity complicated by power outages blanket the East while we in the West stroll blithely in the rain, contemplating Designated Agency. So far my Designated Agency challenges include: “What? I can’t tell the listing Realtor what

...maintenant en français ! Oui! You are reading this correctly! You can now stay up-to-date with the latest in Canadian real estate news, en français! Go to to sign up for the REM bulletin électronique, an email digest of the latest headlines, delivered right to your inbox! For more information, contact:

Michel Chevalier

estate: “Those boy gulls! You’re all alike – hop on, finish and then squawk about how good you are!” A hush fell over the room. I attended the Richard Robbins Ignite event in Vancouver in late June. (I highly recommend Richard’s programs.) Two days of hand clapping, selfstarting Realtors thirsty for skill training in a marketplace that hasn’t seen a decline in more than a decade. Most of the audience of 700 became Realtors since the market started to rise, so you know what they’re in for one of these days. Part way through Day One I heard the dreaded words: “Okay, split into small groups of five or six and elect a chairperson.” This was dreaded because eyes seem to swivel naturally towards me. When faced with such a dilemma you can (a) blame the Canadian education system for your lack of cursive writing skills; (b) take an imaginary call from an imaginary client until a volunteer emerges; or (c) ask if this is the group that will be fixing commissions. Having previously experienced the natural reluctance of volunteers to engage, Richard gave directions as to who was to be the chair – either the person with the largest watch face or the least hair. Turns out that was me on both counts. I met old friends and made new acquaintances and the old friends reminded me of old stories, normally reserved for later in the bar. I tend to retire earlier than the younger crowd in real estate today – I mean, I know what a Tweetup is, but to call one at 9 pm! I’m in my casual jammies by then. I refer to these stories as tales from the crypt. Hardly original, I know, but they are mostly true. Sort of. Well, they are all true – with perhaps a modicum of embellishment, which is the right of the story teller. Going the extra mile in client relationships, one of our Realtors was convinced his buyer was going to write an offer on a

very expensive horse farm the next day. He offered to put the buyer up at his home overnight and when the client asked for an additional favour, he hesitated only briefly. “You lent him your underwear?” One of the first lady Realtors in my experience as a manager was very practical and very close to a dollar. She bought several

overpriced. If you get lots of calls, it’s too cheap.” In my first weeks as a manager, a brand new salesman – as they then were – rushed into the office waving a one-page contract – as they then were. Being an ex-life insurance salesman, he had applied his full knowledge of real estate contract law to his first deal. “You’ve got a blank

These stories are all true -- with perhaps a modicum of embellishment, which is the right of the story teller. tins of smoked oysters on special for her husband’s lunches and then made him reimburse her when he pointed out he didn’t like smoked oysters. Faced with the dilemma of a buyer who not unreasonably wanted to know where the lot boundaries were on a five-acre parcel she had listed, she called a surveyor. Shocked at the price, she ‘borrowed’ several of those nice white posts. “You re-posted the lot?” You read about it in discipline reports from time to time and I have to admit this next scenario came to me as hearsay. Seeing one of his staff, pen in hand, holding a contract to the window, a managing broker inquired as to the nature of the activity. “How would you suggest I trace the seller’s signature?” At a disciplinary hearing, involving testimony from a witness about how they set their asking price, years of appraisal training went up in smoke. “You put a for sale by owner ad in the paper. If you get no calls, it’s

contract except for the buyer’s and seller’s signature?” A disciplinary hearing was adjourned after several days of testimony and set to continue some months in the future with the same panel in place. The first question put to the licensee who was the subject of the continued hearing made it obvious rather significant medical procedures had occurred in the interval. “You were a man at the last hearing?” Enjoy your summer. You can find Marty Douglas on Twitter – 41yrsrealestate – Facebook and LinkedIn. He is a managing broker for Coast Realty Group, with offices on Vancouver Island, the Discovery and Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast of B.C. Marty is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C. , the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. m d o u g l a s @ c o a s t r e a l t y. c o m . REM

REM AUGUST 2012 35

NOT cooking with gas

By Dan St. Yves f you’re ever in my kitchen, and you hear “BAM!” head for the hills. That sound will not be an amusing catchphrase like the one Emeril Lagasse employed on his cooking show. It will more likely indicate that I have somehow used my electric can opener as a detonation device for a can of waxed yellow beans. I don’t want to sell myself short as a failure in the cooking department, but if it weren’t for the kindness of Colonel Saunders, I may not have ever seen a cooked chicken during my lifetime. It’s not like I haven’t tried to learn how to cook. I moved into an apartment with a roommate when I turned 18, and in conjunction with a balanced diet of beer and pretzels, we had to try and find something other than salt to keep us alive. In our efforts to survive and/or create meals, we did manage to learn some


What’s New Trump to speak at new Montreal tradeshow Real estate investment website is presenting its first edition of the Salon de l’investissement immobilier du Québec (SiiQ) (The Real Estate Investment Tradeshow 2012), on Sept. 29 at Montreal’s Palais des

valuable science lessons. For example, given time and opportunity, the bachelor male is capable of growing bacterial cultures on virtually anything. I had always thought that Kraft Dinner had no expiration date, but clearly that is when the product is left uncooked in the original box, not in unsealed Tupperware in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Another thing we discovered is that toast is an amazingly versatile product. Some folks require it as slightly warmed up bread, not actually toasted per se. Others prefer the texture of a roofing shingle, but may choose to scrape off anything too charred. A bachelor male in the kitchen might have kept Goldilocks from spending too much time sampling food choices. The most frightening science lesson of all was the discovery of fire. In a frying pan. You would assume that grease may have been involved, but you would be giving us far too much credit. No, we created fire by trying to make popcorn in a frying pan. That brings me to another valuable cooking lesson – never leave a frying pan unattended at a high temperature, just because the halftime show is featuring Rihanna. Had I actually ever been successful in my attempts to cook, I Congrès. Donald Trump will lead the group of speakers who will address the many facets of real estate investment through conferences, presentations and workshops, the company says. “SiiQ addresses an obvious market need and, through its choice speakers and partners, will most certainly become a key event for all real estate players operating in Quebec,” says Sébastien Demers, president of SiiQ and founder of The event will also feature over 20 information booths, each accessible throughout the day, that will enable participants to learn more about the sector’s latest products and services. For information:

certainly would not have won awards for my uninspired, flavourless dishes. I have inherited a taste for bland foods devoid of most seasonings, but most especially onions. I hate onions. I would cross the road to avoid passing an onion on the sidewalk. I imagine there are those of you out there who cannot imagine a lovely roast in the oven without onions cooking alongside, oozing flavour into every pore of the meat as it cooks. Maybe there are even a few of you that can’t imagine toast without onions, but I for one will pass, thank you very much. Onions aren’t even an option for me deepfried and battered. That says a lot, based on my diet. Anyhow, I must leave now. It’s dinnertime, and today I want to try using my oven for the first time. Apparently you can broil things in there. And me with all kinds of canned vegetables. If you’re ever in my kitchen, and you hear, “BAM!” head for the hills. Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at, or contact him at REM

Saskatoon stager’s new book Consider it Sold Saskatoon home stager Shannon Weber has teamed with writer Joanne Sanche to produce Consider It Sold – Home Staging Strategies for a Quick and Profitable Sale. Geared to homeowners, the book features a “simple four-step plan to turn your house from ho-hum to hot commodity.” Included with tips about cleaning, de-cluttering, repairing and creating curb appeal are sections about furniture placement and accessorizing a room to make it look its best. It’s available at as a print copy ($14.95) or downloadable pdf ($6.99) or as an ebook from www.chapters/ REM

Please join us in welcoming Paula Mitchell and her Team to Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty Gloria Riddall, Broker of Record/Owner, Alex Ocsai, Broker/Owner together with Catherine Fox, Area Manager Halton Region, Broker/Manager Georgetown Office, are excited to announce that Paula Mitchell has joined the Meadowtowne Team in our Georgetown office. Paula Mitchell has been with Royal LePage for over 25 years. She is a National Chairman’s Club award winner which is an honour exclusive to the top 1% of Royal LePage Sales Representatives across Canada. Paula is also a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and a Royal LePage Registered Relocation Professional. Paula is very active throughout the Meadowtowne service areas with a speciality in the Brampton and Caledon markets. Paula and her family have become engrained in the community in many ways, including hosting an annual charity golf tournament for the Honeychurch Family Life Resource Centre, a shelter for abused women and their children as well as sponsoring local hockey teams. Paula is proud to support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and is honoured to be named among the top 1% of donor realtors across Canada who support throughout the year. Royal LePage Meadowtowne is a leading provider of the full service real estate experience in the marketplace with premium locations in Georgetown, Milton and Mississauga. With over 250 agents and staff and home to 5 of the Nation’s highest producing Realtors, we strive to continue to be your Real Estate Company of choice. Feel free to welcome Paula directly. DIRECT: (416) 816-0521 | office: (905) 877-8262 EMAIL:

36 REM AUGUST 2012

How often is too often? By Mark Brodsky

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A nine-step process on how to get started in this market niche. The most common mistakes agents make when entering this market and how they can flip the switch to generate more leads. 3. A systematic action plan to take you from nowhere to GO-TO Expert. 4. How-To's on finding the new professionals you will need in your Network of Exceptional Specialists. 5. Clear instructions on how to copy what other agents have done to make money from this course within a week of attending. 6. Dialogues to help you gently ease the information you need out of sometimes reluctant clients 7. How-To for holding a seminar with no cost to you and no need for you to speak 8. Resources that will demonstrate to clients that you are the GO-TO Expert 9. Where to get powerful no-cost marketing materials 10. How to find the seniors in your market area 11. Regular, RELEVANT business-building CANADIAN webinars 647-865-8197 1-855-TALK ASA (825-5272) To book a course for your office, email REGIONAL TERRITORIES NOW AVAILABLE


t’s happened to all of us. We’ve signed up for a mailing list thinking we’ll be receiving a monthly email when all of a sudden, emails are landing in our mailbox on a daily basis. Whether it’s shoes, kitchen appliances or information from an IT guru, being bombarded with emails is annoying. We quickly delete them or unsubscribe. If a business has something of value to share on a daily basis, they can post it on Twitter or Facebook. Email is not the platform to be sharing it. So how often is too often? It depends on what you’re sending and to whom. Many Realtors find that a monthly newsletter keeps them

top-of-mind. You’ll find that an email with articles, market updates and current listings does best when it’s sent on a monthly basis. Send it more often and people start to lose interest. With a newsletter, the links that people click on most often are the listings. Some Realtors have found success simply sending out e-blasts with a current listing or two, and when sent infrequently, they can be effective. The risk of sending only these is that when people receive an email from you they know it’s salesoriented and if they don’t have a few moments to look at the photos, your email gets deleted. Unfortunately, getting great results from your email campaign isn’t an exact science. The best way to gauge how the emails are working is by checking your open rate. If the numbers are relatively consistent, your timing is probably right. Another factor that gives you insight as to how you’re doing: the

Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, visit To add a listing to this calendar, email Professional Development Retreat Hosted by Re/Max of Western Canada Sept. 13 - 15 The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna, B.C. Kelsey Woodliffe –

Century 21 Canadian Conference Sept. 19 – 21 Supplier Expo 2012 - Sept. 19-20 Le Centre Sheraton Montréal, Montreal Garlice Mak –

Via Capitale Annual Convention Sept. 19 – 20 Best Western Plus Hotel Drummondville, Que. France Massé –

Realtors Association of Edmonton Realtors Tradeshow Tues. Sept. 25 Mayfield Inn & Suites and Trade Centre, Edmonton Lixmila Serrano –

number of people who unsubscribe. Depending on the service you use, people may be sending their requests directly to you or clicking an unsubscribe link in your email and removing themselves. If you’re sending out more than one type of email, consider setting up a separate list in your database and giving your client base the choice of which list they want to be on. When people receive emails they’re interested in, they’ll open them and pay attention. Mark Brodsky runs Mark Brodsky Digital Communications, a company that specializes in email marketing and social media. In addition to email newsletters and targeted campaigns, MBDC co-ordinates the setup for major social networking sites and ensures that they’re co-ordinated, so one piece of content gets shared many ways.;Email REM Atlantic Connection Oct. 3 – 5 The Marriott Halifax Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax WinnipegRealtors Technology Conference and Trade Show Wed., Oct.10 Victoria Inn, Winnipeg Lucy Hajkowski – Realtors Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound Technology & Trades Show Tues., Oct. 23 Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound Marilyn Newbigging — 2012 MTC Technology Forum Monday, Oct. 29 Fairmont Winnipeg Winnipeg Anik Aube –

Compiled with the assistance of Bob Campbell at Colour Tech Marketing,

38 REM AUGUST 2012


By Heino Molls



e are approaching the 25th anniversary of REM. It is not the most monumental feat of mankind but for us, it will be an important milestone. When I think of the changes that have taken place in these years I am staggered. All those years ago if you had told me that I would be carrying around a device that permits me to see and talk to people, like the Dick Tracy comic books of my youth, I would have laughed at your wild imagination. Yet here I am with a smartphone. When REM began there was no, and no national MLS. Each board was still producing paper copies of new listings each day and printed catalogues weekly or monthly. There are folks in the real estate community who suggest we return to local MLS and scuttle the national system. It is a feasible idea, especially now when everything is online. Only Ontario had a mortgage broker association and there was one other being formed in British Columbia just as some forward-

REM offer goes back to the future thinking mortgage professionals organized a national voice called CAAMP and a national standard for mortgage brokers called the Accredited Mortgage Professional. CREA encouraged real estate boards to embrace a new technology, beginning with something called a fax machine. The business of real estate was in a roller coaster market. Some Realtors created new ways to stay in business during the tough times. Some sacrificed the integrity of the business. Other Realtors toughed it out by moonlighting in other jobs to keep their licenses. I met a highly successful Realtor, a millionaire today, delivering pizza back then wearing the same suit he was in at a committee meeting just hours ago. What great dignity that man had. I will never forget him. When things turned and the market soared, those who stuck it out in the bad times benefited the most. Many who sacrificed business integrity in bad times were brushed aside by those who maintained their professional standards and got calls from people who were ready to buy and sell. Administration of the real estate business was also in a time of change when REM began. New provincial organizations to govern real estate licensing were being created. The Real Estate Council of Ontario was fortunate to have some of the highest calibre of real estate business people

step forward. One of them was my dear friend, Dave Rossi. I could write pages and pages of all the extraordinary changes that this industry went through all those years ago but there simply isn’t room. Now I’d like to announce something new in REM to mark our upcoming 25th year. It’s a new professional card advertisement offer, The REM Professional Registry.

Representative or Joan Smith, Mortgage Broker as well as the area they served and a brief message such as, “In service for 10 years, please refer me to your friends.” Those postings can still be seen here and there but for most they are a part of the past. The cost of those ads is now higher than they once were and with the high number of mediums today chasing advertising dollars, you can’t cover an entire area with one posting

REM is re-introducing the professional card ad from many years ago and making it available to individuals for just $25. During all those years ago that I refer to, Realtors, mortgage brokers and all ancillary business people used to present themselves with a professional card that they posted in their business newspapers. I am not speaking of the major companies and institutions but rather a professional posting of an individual, their service, where they worked and a brief message. It was a simple dignified card that read: John Smith, Real Estate

anymore. You sure can’t have a local ad appear nationally. It would cost hundreds of dollars to cover local, national and your individual industry. But that is going to change in the year leading up to our 25th anniversary. I am pleased to announce that REM is rolling out a new program to celebrate our 25 years in business. REM is re-introducing the professional card ad from many

years ago and making it available for just $25. This is for individual Realtors, mortgage brokers or other professional persons related to the real estate industry only. One professional card per person. Now, selling $25 ads would soon put us out of business but here is how we are going to do it. First, there will be a limit to the number of cards we will print. Secondly, REM is being assisted by two business partners to underwrite the cost of the ads. They are Colour Tech, who will provide their technology and Metroland Media, who will help us bear the cost of printing those pages. I urge you to thank these two companies for their commitment to our industry by using their products. These professional cards will be uniform and depict individuals across the country who seek referrals and business from fellow professionals in the industry they serve. The idea is to hearken back to a time when professionals advertised themselves with a standard card that depicted class, character and dignity. If you are interested in booking a professional card now, call Mila Purcell at 416-425-3504, ext. 4 or email Be prepared to send your photo and pay by credit card. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email

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August 2012  

August issue of REM for 2012.

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