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Issue #258

December 2010

Georges Pahud CREA’s president speaks about the Consent Agreement and future negotiations with the Competition Bureau Page 3

The U.S. experience with minimum service rules Page 6

Realtysellers is back Page 8

7 mortgage industry trends Page 44


REM DECEMBER 2010 3

In conversation with Georges Pahud CREA’s president on the agreement with the Competition Bureau and what future issues loom for the association and the bureau. Countering the contention by the Competition Bureau that CREA’s MLS access rules were anti-competitive has consumed most of CREA president Georges Pahud’s term in office. Pahud recently spoke with REM senior editor Kathy Bevan about the Consent Agreement between CREA and the bureau, resolving the MLS access dispute, and his expectations for future interactions with the bureau. An edited version of their conversation follows. ing legal costs on other matters beside competition, such as trademark protection and other issues. And every agreement that we sign with suppliers, anything you do today requires the involvement of lawyers – fortunately or unfortunately – so legal costs are an ongoing thing. As well, there is the educational aspect of it, where we spend money on lawyers. We have a compliance process that we are following and that costs money, with lawyers involved as well. We also have other issues such as FINTRAC that involve legal costs. Photos by Jennifer Gauthier

REM: What do you think CREA’s relationship with the Competition Bureau will be like going forward, now that the Consent Agreement has been ratified? Pahud: I’m hoping that we will have a working relationship with the bureau that does not involve the exchange of pleadings. That we can actually talk and work through some of the issues that are of concern to the bureau or are of concern to us or our members. It would be nice to be able to go and actually have conversations and not litigation. So I’m hoping we can do that and I believe our internal counsel is contacting the bureau at the moment on matters that we will need to deal with. There’s government-changed legislation, there are regulations and then there is enforcement of that legislation or those regulations. That’s when you need to have a communication channel

with the regulator – in this case the bureau – so that you can understand how they interpret legislation and how we might interpret it and how we can make it work, without resorting to hugely expensive litigation processes. REM: The dues increase that CREA’s membership voted in favour of at your Special General Meeting in October included $5 per member for the Legal Defence Fund – is CREA growing this fund in anticipation of further legal action from the bureau? Pahud: We’re not growing the Legal Defence Fund, we’re replenishing it, as things have been fairly expensive so far. We have other legal issues besides the bureau – this fund doesn’t apply only to the bureau. We also provide funds to members or to associations or to CREA to defend or litigate issues of national interest. We have ongo-

REM: It’s now been a few weeks since the Consent Agreement was ratified at that Special General Meeting – what reaction have you been hearing from Realtors on the street? Pahud: Members continue to be frustrated when they read in the press that the public can post their listings on MLS without a Realtor – that’s not part of the agreement and was never the intention. MLS continues to be a member-to-member service. And only members of CREA can use our trademark MLS. This agreement dealt with CREA’s and boards’ and associations’ rules – it did not deal with members’ own business models. This agreement does not compel members to adopt any particular business model or charge or not charge whatever fees. It simply addresses the commissioner’s concerns – and we disagreed with those concerns – that CREA’s rules prevented or discriminated against mere postings or mere postings business models. We

disagreed with that. This is part of the Consent Agreement; this is in the Consent Agreement. CREA wants to be a good corporate citizen – we appreciate the need for the bureau and we’re committed to the rule of law and to making sure that everyone in our profession obeys the law. So we came to this new Consent Agreement, recognizing that reasonable people disagree and reasonable people agree to disagree. And then you work it out. I think the bureau came to that conclusion as well – that we’re reasonable people, we always wanted to negotiate, we were always open to negotiations, we always wanted to discuss and continue negotiations with the bureau. It was the bureau that ended the discussions early on in the year, not us. REM: What was the ‘tipping point’ that enabled the two sides to get back together and hammer out an agreement in September? Pahud: The tipping point – if there was such a thing – came when the executive committee had discussions in July and we were going through some of the numbers and the effort and energy that was being expended on this file. We thought we were so close in January – now that things had cooled off a bit, we said, “Why don’t we see if we can go back to the bureau and see if we can work something out?” Essentially, in our minds there were two parts to this: there was the cost of the litigation – it was hugely expensive; and then there is what I referred to as the aggravation cost. The aggravation costs are on different levels. One of them is that it permeates

the entire organization, particularly at CREA, and it drains the resources from just about every department, because you’re so focused on it. It also becomes the focus of every directors’ meeting, the focus of every meeting that you go to. And then it flows through to local boards and provincial associations, because the Competition Bureau is always there and the thought of what is going to happen. Then the aggravation cost eventually flows to our members, through generally negative media reports – the negative media impacted on our members. This agreement is first and foremost for the benefit of our members. They are the people we always kept in our minds when we were negotiating this – how does it affect the member? The membership never left our side, never left our mind. People have to remember, even if all members don’t, that this agreement was negotiated by Realtors. There were five people on the executive committee – four of them are Realtors. And those four Realtors sold over 300 properties last year. The other three did – I only sold two. But they know what the members feel about what it’s like to be doing the work. So the tipping point, if you would – among a number of things – was the cost in dollars and aggravation. That, and saying, “We need to find a way to do this.” We’re Realtors, we solve problems – we help people with their problems – so surely we could help ourselves? And we did. The third part of it is that, on all our other files, we have Continued on next page


4 REM DECEMBER 2010

In conversation with Georges Pahud continued ... a very good relationship with the federal government, whether it’s FINTRAC or employment insurance, or whatever. And we wanted to go back to having a working relationship with the bureau, because we need to have that working relationship. We needed to get past this dispute.

and the bureau decides to investigate one board on a specific issue. But that might happen anytime. I can’t imagine the bureau saying, “Oh well, now let’s just go investigate all the boards, or pick on five boards just to see if they comply.” I doubt that will happen, but I don’t know.

REM: Is there any concern that the bureau now will focus on other issues – such as VOWs for example – or focus on individual boards rather than CREA?

VOWs are an issue that will be coming up again. Vancouver has VOWs and it’s not particularly a big deal – some boards are more concerned about VOWs than others. It’s a discussion we had with the bureau at one point and that the bureau left off. It’s one of the things that we’ll want to have a conversation with the bureau about. Certainly, VOWs were the basis for a dispute in the U.S. between the National Association of Realtors and the Department of Justice and that was resolved by way of their version of a Consent Agreement. I don’t know how important VOWs are here – I don’t know how widely they are used.

Pahud: The bureau’s focal point was mere postings, because they felt that the rules prevented the entry of innovative and competitive business models into the business, or their ability to remain in the business. With this Consent Agreement, the boards – if they want to keep their MLS licences, their trademark, use of “MLS” and “Realtor” and be members of CREA – have to abide by the terms of the Consent Agreement. They have to get back to us and confirm that they have reviewed their rules and that their rules do in fact comply with the Consent Agreement. So I have no reason to believe the bureau would set their sights on the boards, unless some board has done something a member complains about to the bureau,

REM: What communications has CREA been sending out to boards and associations to help them comply with the new Consent Agreement? Pahud: Template wording has gone out that fairly much mirrors the Consent Agreement and

contains the language of the new agency pillar. We’re also going to have our internal counsels addressing a number of boards and associations and have started providing courses in Competition Law, about changes in that law. We’re looking at webinars, we’re sending out literature explaining the Consent Agreement, we may create podcasts and DVDs – some electronic means of communication to communicate to our members. We have to be vigilant and our members have to be vigilant. REM: Do you feel relief or regret that the dispute with the bureau came to a head during your term as CREA president? Pahud: I have no regrets at all. Relief? Yes, absolutely. But realistically, it’s been a fascinating time – not necessarily something one would have wished for. But on the other hand, it’s been hugely interesting. It also gave me some opportunities to travel across the country and meet up with members across Canada, from the west coast to the east coast. And I continue to be amazed at – shouldn’t be amazed at – the generosity of spirit that Realtors display across the country. The contri-

bution to local economies, the commitment to their communities is incredible. Their warmth and hospitality towards me was incredible – I’m very grateful for that, it’s an opportunity I might not have had otherwise. And I’m grateful for the support that I’ve received. I know our communication strategy was frustrating to many people, but we had to make a choice between the need to preserve our legal position and our wish to communicate with our members – we could not satisfy both. That’s the position we took – we decided to take the high road. We had the utmost respect for the courts and we were not going to litigate this in public. REM: Did that strategy contribute to the agreement finally being signed? Pahud: I think that our strategy has worked extremely well towards getting us to a Consent Agreement. Had we adopted a different strategy, I’m not sure we could have gotten a Consent Agreement – we probably would have ended up in court. That’s speculation – I don’t know – but if I had to do it all over again, I would probably follow the same path. I do want to stress that this has been a team effort, not so

much on the executive committee but also the Board of Directors. Their involvement was limited due to the need for confidentiality and utmost discretion, but their support has been invaluable. And our staff has been unbelievable – their commitment, their effort, their work ethic, their advice. The quality of people I’ve been working with is almost unparalleled anywhere and I’ve worked with wonderful people. In most organizations, if not all, across the country, I found the staff dedication to be amazing and our staff at CREA has been exceptional. Looking forward, I continue to believe that Realtors make real estate a great investment. And I’m confident that our members will continue to thrive and will continue to help the Canadian public. We’re such important factors in the Canadian economy – I don’t think that will change. Hopefully our major roadblocks or irritants are out of the way and we can go on doing in future what Boards of Directors should do – anticipate the future and manage the operations from a high level, rather than having to delve down to the day to day routine of litigation REM

Gary Simonsen named CREA’s CEO-elect A

fter a six-month review of potential candidates, CREA announced that Gary Simonsen will become its next CEO when Pierre Beauchamp retires next spring. Well-known within organized real estate in Canada, Simonsen has been CREA’s chief operating officer since 2008, having previously served for a decade as associate executive officer.

Gary Simonsen

Simonsen has been involved with organized real estate since 1984 and in the 1990s served as EO of the Winnipeg Real Estate

Board for six years. Winnipeg Realtor Lorne Weiss, presidentelect of the Manitoba Real Estate Association, praised CREA’s choice of Simonsen as its next association leader. “When Gary was EO of the Winnipeg board, he challenged me to become involved with organized real estate,” says Weiss. “I’m very pleased to see Gary take on the role of CREA’s next CEO. I believe he’ll have a very broad range of support of EOs right across the country.”

Simonsen will be stepping into some very large shoes. Beauchamp has been head of CREA for almost three decades; CREA president Georges Pahud refers to Beauchamp as “a legend. His dedication, his work ethic – the guy blows me away. There’s no question that he will be missed at CREA.” Pahud sat on the executive committee mandated to find the association’s next CEO. “We were trying very hard, when we were doing the succession planning, to make sure

that we were not looking for a replacement for Pierre; we were looking for a successor, as Pierre is a one-off,” says Pahud. “I think we’ve found, in Gary Simonsen, someone who has the institutional memory because he’s been at CREA for a number of years. He’s very experienced,” Pahud adds. “I think he’s the right person for the time. We’re absolutely delighted to have him as our next CEO. I think our members will be exceptionally well served by Gary.” REM


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6 REM DECEMBER 2010

THE CONSENT

In the U.S. – not much changed

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There has been no difference in the commission rates between the states that installed minimum service rules and the states that didn’t By Don Procter

ecent changes to the MLS rules may result in more flat fee brokerages but that’s no reason for traditional real estate companies to push the panic button. So says former Canadian real estate executive Sherry Chris, now CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, based in suburban New York. Chris’ viewpoint is partly founded on a similar experience in the U.S. a few years ago when minimum service rules for online realty services were approved for use on MLS networks in a number of American states. The sky didn’t fall for traditional brokerages. Chris says discount brokerages will find a niche in the Canadian market but it could be shortlived because consumers expect more than just a discount deal. Over the last few years the role of real estate professionals has been changing in the U.S. to meet a new breed of consumer: the echo boomer. They are young and tech savvy – and they are looking for more than a discount broker might offer them, she says. In the U.S., real estate agents are no longer “gatekeepers of information.” They are “a collaborator, trusted advisor” – someone who helps their clients make sense of all the information they have gathered in their home search – much of it coming from online sources, says Chris. She believes the same transition will happen in Canada as a result of CREA’s agreement with the Competition Bureau. Increasingly, American consumers want access to information about real estate properties from many sources and U.S. listing aggregators such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com are examples of online companies striving to meet

Cover photo: JENNIFER GAUTHIER

that need. These companies’ websites offer home buyers a comprehensive search of listings and plenty of information about those properties, including property tax assessments, the number of price reductions and foreclosures in the city or area, the average listing price and open houses planned. These sites can even calculate a property’s worth. When Zillow and other aggregators first came on stream, agents and brokers in the U.S. were concerned that they would hurt their business but that hasn’t happened, says Chris. “It has enhanced our business.” She adds that the U.S. has always had a number of limited service brokerages and roughly 10 per cent of the resale market

potential buyers is through online sources – the “lead generation model,” Chris says. About 20 per cent of the industry now generates sales through clients found online, while 80 per cent of clients are gathered through traditional means. The online trend could continue to grow – and quickly, she suggests. “It could soon be at 50 per cent and then much higher as technology becomes more sophisticated and more consumers look online.” Does that spell good times for the limited service broker? Chris doesn’t think so. “The traditional discount brokerages are not going to have the services and technology available to facilitate these buyers. Really all they are offering the seller is to put their listing on

Increasingly, American consumers want access to information about real estate properties from many sources. (varying by region) has been by owner. Interestingly, that percentage hasn’t changed during the past few years even though the home sales have been sliding. Increasingly, there are “alternative brokerage models,” that offer cash back to owners and discounted fees. A new approach to finding

an MLS database for a discounted fee. That’s not going to be enough.” Canadian Realtors need to look at the bigger picture, she says. “The smart brokerages and smart brands will and should be looking at what the future is going to hold.” That means using technology to meet changing con-

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sumer expectations. Chris points out that today’s home buyers are a different lot from those of a decade ago. Echo boomers (18 to 34-year-olds) are taking over from the aging baby boomers as the prime client. “My opinion is that they’re not going to be looking for a discounted fee; they are going to be looking for a good user experience and they are going to be willing to pay for it.” According to Real Trends, a consulting firm that does extensive research on the U.S. residential real estate industry, there was no difference in the commission rates between the states that installed minimum service rules and the states that didn’t, says Real Trends editor Steve Murray. Murray, also the head consultant for Murray Consulting, a residential real estate firm with a diverse portfolio in the U.S. and Canada, says the firm has tracked commission rates across the U.S. for 20 years. Between ’91 and 2005 rates declined. From 2005 rates increased from 5.02 per cent to 5.36 per cent through 2009. Part of the reason for the increase is the market downturn; sellers need the services of full-services realties to help sell their homes. In a market upturn, sellers are willing to pay for a Realtor’s services to get the best price possible for their home, says Chris. “That again speaks to the importance of having the right service offering and the right tool set. That is going to be so important in the future, much more important than a discounted fee,” she says. In the U.S., Murray’s firm analyzed flat-fee businesses and their

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Phone: 416.425.3504 www.remonline.com REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule 16.5.3.1) 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. Subscriptions are $40.95 per year (including $1.95 GST), payable by personal cheque. Entire contents copyright 2010 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

Sherry Chris

Steve Murray

profitability before and after minimum services were installed in various states. It concluded that there was “little difference” in the way Realtors operated. The small differences that showed up weren’t onerous, says Murray. “I think the settlement does not harm (CREA or its members).” It is “very reasonable and good for all parties” involved, he told REM. “If you look at the U.S. as an example, you have to conclude that (CREA and its members’) concerns (about flat fee Realtors) were overblown,” he says, adding that flat-fee service companies haven’t grown in the U.S. market and represent less than two per cent of all Realtors there. REM

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8 REM DECEMBER 2010

Realtysellers re-emerges with new corporate structure Offers free postings to MLS

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ealtysellers has re-entered the Toronto area real estate market under the name Realtysellers Real Estate Inc., offering consumers a number of discounted real estate services, including an option to post listings on MLS for free. One of the firm’s founders, Toronto lawyer Lawrence Dale, announced the restructured company’s re-entry in November, stating that the Consent Agreement signed between CREA and the Competition Bureau now makes it possible for his business model to succeed. For consumers wanting to sell their homes with the assistance of Realtysellers, the firm offers a listing fee of 0.5 per cent – the consumers decide what commission to offer to the buyer’s agent. For homebuyers, Realtysellers has what it calls a “buyer bonus” equal to 50 per cent of the first $25,000 in fees and a 100-per-cent rebate on the remainder, up to 75 per cent of Realtysellers’ fees. The original Realtysellers – operating under the name

By Kathy Bevan

Realtysellers (Ontario) Ltd. – was one of the Canadian real estate industry’s better known discount brokerages. Launched by Dale in 2000, in partnership with former broker Stephan Moranis – who had also served as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board – the firm offered discounted real estate services, including a flat fee program. The company suspended operations in 2006, stating that it could no longer do business under the MLS rules that existed at the time. Dale and Moranis subsequently filed a number of lawsuits against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and CREA. Two of the lawsuits against TREB are still outstanding. During the recent dispute between CREA and the Competition Bureau over MLS access, Dale applied unsuccessfully for intervenor status in support of the bureau’s allegations that CREA’s MLS access rules were anti-competitive. The commissioner of competition included some of Dale’s information in her

filings with the tribunal. That dispute was settled out of court in October, when CREA’s membership ratified a Consent Agreement between the association and the commissioner. Dale has since publicly commented that he expects to see further action against organized real estate pursued by the commissioner. While Dale remains one of the key people behind the new Realtysellers, Moranis is not involved in the new venture, having rejoined Prudential Sadie Moranis Realty to help build up the business founded by his late mother. Real estate industry veteran Allan Spivak is broker of record for the new Realtysellers; Spivak was one of the brokers with the original Realtysellers firm. As with the former Realtysellers business model, Dale says the new venture is consumer focused. “We’re trying to give a group of consumers who want something, what they haven’t been able to get,” Dale says. “The vast majority of consumers today are going to do it the traditional

way – no question. But what you now have is an option in between.” As for offering to post listings on MLS for free, Dale says he Lawrence Dale (left) with Realtysellers broker of isn’t doing this for record, Allan Spivak. charity. “If they do Realtysellers won’t have a require the services of an agent, or bricks and mortar office for cona brokerage to help them – if they sumers to visit and Dale isn’t specdecide ‘this isn’t for me, I want to ifying how many people are now get some help’ – our hope is that working for the new Realtysellers, they will retain us on our half a or will be working for the company point program, where we’ll do in future. He does say the company everything for you,” he says. “Most will be using a network of brokers sellers are looking to buy as well – and agents. again, I’m in front of you and want “We have lined up a large the opportunity that, if you want number of agents who are going to to buy, you’ll use us.” be providing services for us – Dale also says that the earlier those agents are affiliated with Realtysellers business model wasn’t associated companies, so it’s not a a money-losing venture, but that it referral network but it is a netcouldn’t operate successfully under work. We also have agents with the former MLS access rules. “We traditional firms who want to progot out of it the last time because vide their services to us, all under the playing field was such that our supervision.” these scoundrels can pass rules to Dale admits that his business put me out of business at any time. model is “still a work in Now they can’t – it’s crystal clear,” progress...but I’m back.” REM he says.

Brokerages jump on FSBO, flat-fee services R

eal estate brokerages across the country have been quick to market FSBO and flat-fee services as a result of CREA’s consent agreement with the Competition Bureau. SellerInvite.com in Edmonton, under broker Rod Thompson, is now providing sellers in Alberta full access to the MLS system for one fee of $999. “This $999 FSBO Plus package will provide 100-percent Realtor services during the listing phase, which includes a free market evaluation and assessment of your home’s value, signage and feature sheets. It also provides sellers with a licensed selling coach to access while on the market,” says the company in a news release. SellerInvite.com says it introduced a single flat fee two years ago, “but under old rules had to

provide full service to the seller. From a business perspective we weren’t able to maintain just one fee,” says the release. “However, with the recent changes brought on by the Competition Bureau we are now free to simply provide sellers with access to the system. “SellerInvite.com has been in the top five per cent of all MLS sales for the past two years in the Edmonton region and has been offering a fee for service program from day one, saving sellers thousands in commissions,” the company says. The brokerage says it was “the first to allow sellers the freedom to sell on their own but were required to play a role in the actual sale. Under the new rules sellers can now choose to sell on their own without the involvement of our

Realtors.” Thompson says the brokerage’s business model was “designed and built with these changes in mind. We have always had the opportunity to charge what we want but were required to provide a minimum level of service with that. These new changes are the final touch we needed to complete the vision of our company.” He says he is “concerned there will be agents just providing access with no service, which is not our intent at all. SellerInvite.com is a full-service brokerage and committed to educating sellers and providing them with ongoing assistance at no additional cost throughout the selling process.” ■ ■ ■

In Toronto, Synergy Real Estate Consulting has launched

FlatFeeAgents.ca, a new online resource providing flat fee real estate listing services. Tyler Ross, president and broker of record, says, “As CREA makes significant changes to their practices, we want to remain in the forefront of all industry developments. We tailored our new offering to provide consumers with the perfect hybrid between a full scope of brokerage services one would expect when working with a traditional Realtor and the value we expect when listing a property For Sale By Owner.” FlatFeeAgents.ca provides sellers flat fee packages and low-cost, a la carte real estate listing options. All homes are listed on the MLS. Flat Fee Packages are priced from $799 for a Basic Service Package to $1,899 for a Full Service Package.

Additional services provided a la carte range from market information reports, marketing resources (professional photography, 360 degree virtual tours) and more. FlatFeeAgents.ca says it offers “a unique backend technology allowing clients to have full control over their listings. Sellers are able to change pictures, confirm appointments, keep track of leads…Alternatively, sellers can engage a Synergy Realtor to manage their sale entirely – where they will receive 100 per cent of the service at a fraction of the price. The company offers full service representation for buyers, with a 50-per-cent commission refund, it says. It has been in operation since 2008, and currently serves only Continued on page 10


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Brokerages jump Continued from page 8

Ontario but Ross says it will open in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec in 2011. ■ ■ ■

In Nanaimo, B.C., veteran Realtor Gordon Halkett told REM, “I’ve been a licensee in Nanaimo for 34 years, and have been partners in the start-up of two real estate companies locally, one of which now operates as Re/Max of Nanaimo. I’ve been advocating for changes in commission structures for over 10 years and as a former director of our real estate board, discussed it many times. Now is my time to jump in!” Halkett has changed the name of his former condo marketing company, www.VICondos.com to ReaList Realty International, which offers consumers “a

Premium MLS package with competitive market commission rates and extensive advertising.” He’s also offering a disRod Thompson c o u n t Standard Package that lists the property on MLS for .99 per cent (less than one per cent) plus the buyer’s agent’s fee. Gordon Halkett “Marketing and agency representation and documentation are included so it’s not DIY,” he REM says.

Boomers plan to downsize, says survey or their next move, Canadian boomers are looking to downsize to smaller homes. According to the TD Canada Trust Boomer Buyers Report, four-in-five Canadian boomers say their next move will be to a smaller home, either to save money (46 per cent) or to enjoy more luxurious features (34 per cent). Three-quarters of boomers say it is important that they pay off their mortgage before they retire, but less than half (44 per cent) have paid off their entire mortgage. Of those boomers with a mortgage, one-third have paid off more than 60 per cent, but onequarter have a long way to go, having paid off less than 25 per cent of their mortgage. For their next home, the majority of boomers (61 per cent) plan to purchase a detached house. Although condos come in as second choice at 24 per cent, more than half say they are at least considering a condo because they involve less maintenance and offer better security and amenities such as a gym or pool. The top reasons that most boomers prefer houses over condos are that they prefer to have a

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backyard and garden and don’t want to pay condo fees. However, some boomers say they will stay put. Forty-nine per cent will not move, either because they want to avoid the hassle of moving, because their house is already the right size for them or they like having extra rooms for guests to visit, says the report. Nine per cent of boomers currently own a vacation property and a further 12 per cent plan to buy one for their retirement. More than a third of boomers surveyed are considering buying a property south of the border. One-quarter say opportunities created by the depressed real estate market have sparked their interest, while another 12 per cent were already considering real estate opportunities in the United States. The most important criteria for buying a vacation property include location, price, low maintenance, and the ability to have friends/family visit. Results for the report were collected through a custom online survey conducted by Environics Research Group. REM


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12 REM DECEMBER 2010

Multiple Listings By Jim Adair

Do you have news to share with Canada’s real estate community? Let REM know about it! Email: jim@remonline.com

associates who exemplify integrity, commitment and excellence. Our expansion is imperative, given Brampton’s significant growth in recent years.” Rose Mary and Ron Morris had owned and operated Realty Executives Supreme since 1993. ■ ■ ■

E

Re/Max Realty Services of Brampton – one of the founding Re/Max offices and long-standing member of the community – has expanded its business once again by welcoming the broker/owner and sales associates of the former Realty Executives Supreme brokerage. The move boosts Re/Max

Realty Services’ sales associate and staff count to over 200 and further strengthens its position as the largest real estate brokerage in Brampton. The franchise serves Brampton, Bramalea, Georgetown, Caledon, Bolton, Mississauga and surrounding areas from three office locations. “Our companies share a similar culture and philosophy that support a service-oriented, results-driven approach,” says Mike Zuccato, broker-owner, Re/Max Realty Services. “We are adding quality Realtors to a company whose success and market share is owed to its dedicated staff and sales

Kevin Stanley has been appointed director of knowledge and learning at Century 21 Canada. This comes with the creation of the new Knowledge and Learning Department at the company’s Vancouver headquarters. Stanley says the news department will provide members with “relevant business skills that will help them become even more successful.” Stanley has been with Century 21 Canada for 26 years. Prior to this appointment he was the director of franchise services. He formerly worked as a sales rep at Century 21 Westman in Brandon,

Jeremy Cowan

Kevin Stanley

Adrienne Lake

Yvon St. Amant, Heina Saettone

Wayne Cochrane

Margaret Burniston

Budge Huskey

Mike Zuccato

Brenda Macdonald Rowe

Matthew Lomnicki

xit Realty Optimum and Exit Realty Metro in the Halifax/Dartmouth area have merged under the banner Exit Realty Metro. The new partnership joins two of the top five real estate offices in the province. “We are partnering to become the largest and most effectively run real estate organization in the Halifax Regional Municipality,” says Jeremy Cowan, owner of Exit Realty Metro. “Our decision to come together in partnership will allow us to combine our services to support our agents,” says broker/owner Wayne Cochrane of Exit Realty

Optimum. “We will have one of the best administrative support teams the industry has to offer.” Metro’s 100 plus salespeople will continue to operate from two locations in Bedford and Dartmouth. ■ ■ ■

Man. He was also a franchise services manager and national trainer. ■ ■ ■

Two brokers are joining forces to open Century 21 Explorer Realty in Carleton Place, Ont. Broker/owners Margaret Burniston and Brenda Macdonald Rowe will provide full-service real estate assistance, specializing in real estate sales in Ottawa, Carleton Place and surrounding areas. Burniston works as a member of the Sponsoring Committee for the 872 Air Cadet Squadron in Kanata. Macdonald Rowe and her husband have lived in Carleton Place since 1995 and are also owners of two local theatres. ■ ■ ■

Re/Max Hallmark Realty in Toronto has appointed Adrienne Lake to the company’s newly created position of managing director, Central Division. Lake brings close to 25 years of real estate experience, most recently as a manager and associate broker. In her new role, Lake will focus on growing recruitment and retention for Re/Max Hallmark Realty, with special emphasis on building individual agent businesses in the city’s central core. More than 100 sales associates work in the brokerage’s Central Division offices. Debra Bain, broker/owner, says Continued on page 14

Heather Westmacott (left) of Royal LePage Alliance, Winnipeg, on the set of Wipeout Canada with co-host Jessica Phillips.


14 REM DECEMBER 2010

Multiple Listings Continued from page 12

Lake’s “skill set is second to none. She’s recognized as a result-oriented leader and innovative trainer. She knows this industry inside and out. Her expertise and astute business acumen will help fuel the Re/Max Hallmark brand, ultimately bringing greater value to the consumer.” ■ ■ ■

Budge Huskey, who was appointed president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC in June, recently made his first Canadian appearances. He traveled with Coldwell Banker Canada president John Geha and the Canadian team to speak at regional broker meetings in Toronto, Calgary, Kelowna, B.C and Halifax. The all-day learning and idea-sharing events featured an Open Forum with Huskey and Geha. ■ ■ ■

Yvon St. Amant, a real estate broker from the Repentigny region in Quebec, has joined the Royal LePage Franchise Network. Heina Saettone is the co-owner. The new company opened its doors on Sept. 21 and is operating as Royal LePage Patrimoine. ■ ■ ■

Dwight McNutt is the new owner of Century 21 Market Realty in Truro, N.S. He is an established real estate professional with three years of experience and 10 years of experience as a mortgage broker. When not working with homebuyers and sellers he coaches a local hockey team. Century 21 Market Realty is a full service brokerage specializing in all consumer real estate needs in the City of Truro and its surrounding areas. ■ ■ ■

It’s all tightly under wraps until the show airs next spring, but recently sales rep Heather Westmacott of Royal LePage Alliance in Winnipeg flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the filming of Season 1 of Wipeout Canada. Westmacott is among 260 contestants selected from 44,619 applicants to compete on the show. Thirteen episodes were filmed for Season 1 in October in Buenos Aires. Each episode features 20

contestants. The show is described as “an action-packed family entertainment game show that sees contestants from all walks of life compete in the world’s biggest television obstacle course to win a coveted title and grand cash prize.” ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Habitat Realty recently opened for business in Mississauga, Ont. Matthew Lomnicki is the broker/owner. The office will provide full-service real estate services, specializing in residential and commercial sales in the Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto areas. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 People’s Choice Realty has opened a new branch office in Mississauga. It’s the brokerage’s third office in the GTA, located in a high-traffic plaza. The grand opening was attended by Ontario MPP for MississaugaBrampton South Amrit Mangat, Ontario Minister of Government Services Harinder Takar and Century 21 Canada’s senior vicepresident of operations, Brian Rushton. Virendra Srivastava is the owner of Century 21 People’s Choice Realty. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Mountainview Realty, based in Castlegar, B.C., is opening two new satellite offices in Nakusp and Nelson. Owner Derek Sherbinin says, “Both communities are incredible places with lots of culture, tourism and outdoor recreation. Real estate has been very strong in both areas and now with our expansion, we are able to provide our clients with complete West Kootenay exposure.” Sherbinin has been with Century 21 since 1996 and has been a Century 21 franchise owner since 2000. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Trident Realty has opened a satellite office in New Passage, N. S. “Century 21 Trident Realty’s expansion into Eastern Passage was an easy decision to make,” says broker Marg Bowlen. “We’ve been doing a lot of business in the area and having an office in the community seemed like a natural choice.” The brokerage has been operating in Dartmouth since 1980.

■ ■ ■

Aventure Realty Network member Hanna Realty Ltd. of Coquitlam, B.C. has opened an additional new office in Burnaby. Simon Ahn, broker/owner and Gary Crews continue to expand on their base of over 80 Realtors, and “expect to significantly increase the market presence of their organization,” the company says. ■ ■ ■

Avison Young has opened a new office in Guelph, Ont. with Ray Robinson as managing director along with Ted Davis and Ryan Wilkinson. Robinson, formerly vice-president, Industrial Division with Cushman & Wakefield in Mississauga, says, “Southwestern Ontario is a diversified region that possesses deep roots in the history of our nation, and led by employers such as RIM, Linamar, Toyota and Ferraro Rocher Canada, is a key contributor to the success of Canada.” ■ ■ ■

Bea MacDonald of Hammonds Plains, N.S. was fined $25,126 in Halifax Provincial Court after pleading guilty to three charges of tax evasion under the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) laid the charges after an investigation showed that MacDonald had falsified business expenses totalling approximately $68,000 on tax returns for 2004 and 2005, says CRA. By claiming these false expenses against her real estate commissions, MacDonald evaded $10,998 in federal income tax. She also made false statements with respect to quarterly Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) returns for the 2004 and 2005 tax years, evading a further $9,617 in taxes. The fine represents over 120 per cent of the taxes MacDonald attempted to evade, says the agency. In Kitchener, Ont., Janette Graf, a real estate agent, was found guilty of three counts of failing to file her 2004 to 2006 personal income tax returns. She was fined $1,200 per count by Judge J.T. Lynch for a total fine of $3,600. The fine is in addition to any taxes and interest owed, as well as any civil penalties that may be assessed by the CRA. All outstanding returns were filed after the CRA laid charges.

Anna Simionato of Toronto pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto to five counts of failing to file GST returns. She was fined $1,000 per count for a total of $5,000. Simionato was given 12 months to pay the fines. Simionato, who operated as a commissioned real estate agent, failed to file GST returns for various reporting periods from Oct. 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2000. REM

Marg Bowlen

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Mississauga office of Century 21 People’s Choice Realty.

Derek Sherbinin

Ted Davis

Ray Robinson

Ryan Wilkinson

Gary Crews

Simon Ahn


16 REM DECEMBER 2010

Homeowners can afford interest rate hike

C

anadian homeowners are comfortable with their mortgage debt, have significant home equity and could withstand an increase in their mortgage interest rate, according to the sixth annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market report from the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). Among the findings of the report: • Eighty-four per cent of Canadians with mortgages are able to afford at least a $300 increase in their monthly mortgage payments. • One in three (35 per cent) mortgage holders have either increased their payments or made a lump sum payment on their mortgage in the last year. • Eighty-nine per cent of Canadian homeowners have at least 10 per cent equity in their homes and 80 per cent have more than 20 per cent equity. • Overall home equity is at 72 per cent of the total value of housing in Canada; for homeowners who have mortgages, equity level averages 50 per cent. • As of August 2010, there was $1.01 trillion in outstanding residential mortgage credit in Canada, an increase of 7.6 per cent from last year. “Canadians are being smart and responsible with their mortgages,” says Jim Murphy, president and CEO of CAAMP. “They are building equity in their homes and making informed, long-term mortgage decisions. The survey results speak to the strength of our mortgage market, especially when compared to the United States.” The CAAMP report says most Canadians agree that buying a home is a good long-term investment and are focused on their mortgages to support that investment. Many mortgage holders are making voluntary additional payments: 16 per cent have increased monthly payments during the past year, 12 per cent have made lump sum payments,

and seven per cent did both. The report says Canadians are exercising caution when taking out their mortgages, with a majority choosing a fixed rate (66 per cent). A five-year fixed-rate mortgage remains the most popular option in Canada. Despite the fact that variable rate mortgages have become much less expensive compared to fixed rates, the majority choice is still fixed rates: this decision is based on people’s individual assessments of risk, not just the cost difference, says CAAMP. Most of the people who have low tolerances for increased payments have fixed-rate mortgages. By the time their mortgages are due for renewal, their financial capacity will have expanded and their mortgage principal will have been reduced. The report also says Canadians have been able to negotiate better than posted mortgage interest rates. For fiveyear fixed rate mortgages arranged in the past year, the average rate is 4.23 per cent, which is 1.42 points lower than typical, advertised rates. Of the 1.4 million Canadians who renewed their mortgage in the past year, 72 per cent were able to renegotiate a decreased rate: on average, rates are 1.09 percentage points less than the rates prior to renegotiating. Canadians’ home equity is “impressively high,” says CAAMP. Among homeowners who have mortgages, the average amount of equity is about $146,000, or 50 per cent of the average value of their homes. The amount of equity take-out in the past year is unchanged from last year with around one in five homeowners, or 18 per cent, taking equity out of their home, at an average of $46,000. The most common purpose for equity takeout is debt consolidation and repayment (45 per cent) followed by home renovations (43 per cent), purchases and education (19 per cent) and then investments REM (16 per cent).


18 REM DECEMBER 2010

T

he 12th Annual Exit Realty Corp. International Convention held recently in Dallas was a triumph for Canadian franchisees and sales associates, who took home many of the top awards. The most prestigious international award went to Ron Young, franchisee of Exit Realty Specialists, Saint John, N.B., who was named Broker of the Year – North America. Young’s office also was the Largest Grossing Office (Multiple) for North America. Philip Duplisea and David Sawler, franchisees of Exit Realty Advantage in Fredericton were awarded Largest Grossing Single Office – North America. Wayne Cochrane, co-owner of Exit Realty Metro, with locations in Bedford and Dartmouth, N.S., took home Superior Brokerage Expertise Designation. Anne Squires, franchisee of Exit Realty On The Rock in St. John’s, was given the Superior Growth and Development award. Squires previously was named Exit’s Canadian Broker of the Year. Loretta Hughes, franchisee of Exit Realty Fusion in Regina, received the Creative Initiative Designation award. Administrator of the Year for North America was presented to Tracey Dowling, Exit Realty Metro, in Bedford, N.S. Ken Purdy of Exit Realty Citadel in Halifax was awarded “Nasby’s Knuckles”, a specialty designation for North America’s best door knocker. Purdy was also named Canadian Rookie of the Year. Exit Realty Corp. International supervisor of growth and development in Canada, Mike McCarron, received the Esprit de Corps award. The honour for Top Gross Sales – North America went to Maggie Tessier, Exit Realty Matrix in Ottawa. Exit’s Saphire Award winners (individuals who since joining Exit have accumulated over 250 ends) were Janet Kuehn, Glen Stone, Sheila Moir, Peter Perry, Shirley Ryan, Jason Munn,

Scott MacTavish, Valerie Drury, Shelley Doyle, Valerie Connell, Dawna Bamford, Sergio Greco and Marlene Erismann. Ruby Award winners, (more than 500 ends) were Philippe Albert, Judi Auger, Nathalie Gratton, Mark Seamone and Maurice Poirier. The Emerald Award Winners (more than 750 ends) were Austin Drisdelle, Mary Ellen McCamus and Terry Trembinski. These winners were joined by 165 Canadians who successfully achieved results in the categories for Platinum Designation, which is over 100 ends; Gold Designation (75 to 100 ends), Silver Designation (50 to 75 ends) and Bronze Designation (25 to 50 ends). On hand to present the awards were Steve Morris, CEO and founder, Joyce Paron, Canadian president and Tami Bonnell, Exit’s U.S. president. Canadians also made their mark in Dallas in the Break-Out Sessions. Tom Clift and Bruce Mullett of Exit Realty On The Rock and Dave Watt of Exit Realty Advantage were headliners in speaking sessions geared to helping their fellow real estate associates. The singing of the Canadian and American national anthems by Sterling Stephens, franchisee of Exit Realty Citadel in Halifax, brought the house down. The convention included many other guest speakers, including Morris, best selling author Jon Gordon, real estate expert Joe Stumpf and best-selling author and television personality Dr. Daniel Amen. At the Presidents Ball Gala, on the final night of the convention, $80,000 was given away to a lucky Exit associate at the stroke of midnight. ■ ■ ■

Bruce Galts, a sales rep with Sutton Group - Lethbridge and president of Galko Homes Master Builder, is the 2010 recipient of the George Frieser Award from the

Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) – Alberta. This is the highest honour that the association awards at the provincial level. The award acknowledges an individual’s contributions along with leadership, dedication and outstanding service. Galt joined his family business in 1999 and now serves as president. Galko Homes builds approximately 100 homes per year and Galts says it is one of the few local construction companies with its own interior designers on staff as well as an architectural designer. He obtained his real estate licence and joined Sutton Group – Lethbridge in 2001. He served as president of the Lethbridge division of CHBA for two years and as president of the Alberta division for a year. “The biggest asset of these different experiences is that I stay connected to the real estate community as well as the construction industry. I understand both worlds because I’ve worked in both worlds for years now,” he says. Bruce also collaborated with another local Realtor, Michael Gott, to develop a course for real estate agents and builders. The course is designed to foster greater understanding and more productive working relationships.

Ron Young, Franchisee of Exit Realty Specialists in Saint John, was presented with the Broker of the Year award for North America at Exit’s convention in Dallas. From left, Tami Bonnell, Exit’s U.S. president; Steve Morris, CEO & founder; Young; and Joyce Paron, president Canadian organization. Philip Duplisea and David Sawler, franchisees of Exit Realty Advantage in Fredericton, accepting the Largest Grossing Single Office - North America Award. From left: Tami Bonnell, Exit’s U.S. president; Steve Morris, CEO & founder; Duplisea: Sawler; and Joyce Paron, president - Canadian organization.

Anne Squires

Ken Purdy

From left: Hector Goudreau, Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs; Vince Laberge, vicepresident of CHBA national, Bruce Galts; and Deep Shergill, outgoing president of CHBA Alberta.

■ ■ ■

Barry Lebow recently was presented with an award from the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Toronto Chapter for the best education program. “It took one full year to create the Accredited Senior Agent program and to date, it has been taught to 650 Realtors,” says Lebow. The program, a professional designation for Canadian Realtors, was created to train the students for the coming boom in the aging population. “Any good agent can sell a house for a senior or their family but few are equipped to handle the aspects of transition, of tax advice, of providing multiple service and professional services,” says Lebow. “Accredited Senior Agents are trained to make the moves easy and with top professional service. They are well equipped. “I have worked hard, I love the teaching and I am highly honoured not only to have accepted this award but to be nominated for Continued on page 20

Maggie Tessier

Michael Krisa

Harry Newlove

Loretta Hughes

Barry Lebow (left) receives his award from Ron Fraiser, president of the Toronto Chapter REIC.


20 REM DECEMBER 2010

And the honour goes to... Continued from page 18

the national award as well,” he says. ■ ■ ■

Michael Krisa of Hanover, Ont. has received two nominations from Inman News this year for his series of That Interview Guy website features. In June he was nominated for the 2010 Innovator’s Award, and his name was also put forward as a nominee for one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. Krisa has been doing audio interviews with top agents and company CEOs in North America for 10 years and started doing video of his interviews two years ago. For more information, visit www.thatinterviewguy.com. ■ ■ ■

Harry Newlove, broker/owner of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty in Chilliwack, B.C. was honoured by his peers with an Honorary Membership in the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board for his years of service, dedication and commitment to the industry. Newlove began his real estate career in June 1982 and became actively involved in organized real estate in 1986 as a director. In 1987, he was elected board president and also served as Director at Large at BCREA. In addition to his commitments to his business and organized real estate, he is a past president of the Chilliwack Rotary Club, receiving the Paul Harris Award for outstanding and exemplary service in Rotary. ■ ■ ■

Top luxury real estate professionals from across the U.S. and Canada gathered in Austin, Tx. in October to compete for “best in the business” awards at Leaders in

Luxury (LIL), a networking symposium for upper-tier Realtors hosted by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM). Rick Wearing of Re/Max North Country Realty in Huntsville, Ont. was recognized at the meeting as the award winner in the Outstanding Personal Achievement category. According to the independent judge, Wearing was chosen based on his contributions to his local community as measured by time, energy and hard work. Hosted each year by ILHM, Leaders in Luxury is an exclusive, invitation-only educational and networking opportunity for real estate professionals who work in the luxury housing market across Canada and the U.S. ■ ■ ■

Exit Realty Fusion recently won the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce ABEX Award for New Venture. The award is presented to a business venture that has been in existence for three years or less and has shown positive performance in terms of current or expected profitability, job creation or entry into new markets. Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, says, “The chamber was impressed with the speed of growth and enthusiasm of the company. The fact that Exit Realty Fusion has grown to be such a significant player in the real estate market so quickly is a testament to the commitment of its owners and employees.” Broker Loretta Hughes says, “We have been lucky to attract truly qualified people to our business, and that has been the difference. As a result, our growing clientele has responded to us in a gratifying way. Now, we have the inspiration to continue to grow.” REM

Amanda Dykes, training and membership director for ILHM, presents the award to Rick Wearing.


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22 REM DECEMBER 2010

METES & BOUNDS

By Marty Douglas

G

ive yourself an early Christmas present and register for the Banff Western Connection 2011. Big surprise – it’s in Banff. Bigger surprise – I’m the MC. Again. Apparently you can fool all of the people some of the time. Have a look at the program and register at www.banffwesternconnection.com. One keynote speaker is Global TV’s Kevin Newman. It really is the best little conference in North America. (I understand that Calgarians and Torontonians will have special therapy sessions to compare mayors!) I mentioned in my September

Report from The Atlantic Connection column that I recently married. We bought T-shirts that say “So far, so good”. In late September we honeymooned on a Marco Polo Tour from Hong Kong to Beijing with stops in Taiwan, Japan, Shanghai and South Korea aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas. Observations from that trip – the almost negligible presence of real estate firms as we know them; impossible to tell the communists from the capitalists – will be in a future column. Within 24 hours of arriving home from Beijing I found myself Westjetting to Halifax, covering a combined total of 13 time zones. Jetlag isn’t a problem when you are distracted by the hallucinations. As an example, I could swear on arrival there was a Haligonian in a white Stetson yahooing to the gate Klingons that their plane had just arrived from Calgary and they’d be westward bound in no time. How embarrassing. The Atlantic Connection follows a similar format to the Western Connection, its role

model, offering training to real estate board leaders and educational/motivational sessions for practitioners. It occurs every two years in Halifax at the Marriott Harbourfront, which is within walking distance of Casino Nova Scotia and Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Coincidence? I think not. My first session was How to lead and create leaders from the emerging generations with Bob Wendover, who provided excellent insight on millennials. For you older folk, they are the generation that thinks 100 texts per day is just not trying hard enough. They are digital natives while we are at best, digital immigrants. (In Japan, McDonalds trains new staff using restaurant simulations in a game format. Trainees are given a game to take home and once they have “won” the game, they’re ready to start.) Wendover’s advice on how to get young people engaged in our business – stop hiring Three Dog Night for the closing banquet. The next day he added another demographic session – Customer service and

emerging generations. On day two, we opened with comedian Gerry Dee, who kept us laughing for an hour. He was followed by Rick DeLuca, a motivational speaker with a long history of success in California. His current technology applications to 1980s success tools were excellent. I got three sales meeting ideas and two new-to-me technology tools, the best being free video clip emails through www.eyejot.com. That night I was terrifying my office staff by emailing a video clip of me in my hotel room. Talking. And those weren’t my pyjamas. I don’t wear pyjamas. On Day 3, CREA’s Bill Harrington, a lawyer frequently without briefs, spoke on traits of successful people and why we should pay attention. I cannot stress how good this session was – Bill deserved more time and an even bigger audience. Not only does he have a future in stand-up comedy, his passion for any topic is worth the price of admission. If you have a chance to hear Bill

Harrington read the phone book, be there! The balance of the day was spent with CREA updates and the Competition Bureau consent agreement. The latter consumed everyone’s attention and by now is old news but let me say this – your representatives at CREA and at your board earned their money and our thanks for the dedication to this distraction. The bad news – the “Can’t compete? Give us a call Bureau,” is still there. Their next task may try to regulate a brokerage’s ability to set commissions internally. Pay attention. From CREA updates – apps for smart phones, mobile access to Webforms, esignatures in 2011 – did you know Webforms costs you about 50 cents a month? South of the 49th you’d be talking hundreds of dollars. Our CREA dues have incredible value – you could look it up. The last session of the conference featured hockey great Theo Continued on page 26

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www.exitrealty.com EXIT AD_Dec 2010.indd 1

ED MARTENS, Sr. VP Franchise Sales - CAN 11/16/2010 11:15:56 AM


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As important as it is that your client gets a home inspection before buying, it’s even more important that they get it from an experienced home inspector. Our many years of experience in home inspection has made AmeriSpec the most trusted home inspection service in the country. All of our home inspectors are qualified, certified, and examine over 400 components in and around a home. Trust the experience of AmeriSpec, and make your client’s decision a little easier. Call AmeriSpec today at 1 (866) 284-6010 or visit www.amerispec.ca.

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“When I see a home buyer, I see someone trying to give their family the best future they can. It’s a tough decision, and a home inspection can really take some of that stress away.” AmeriSpec has been inspecting Canada’s homes for more than 20 years.

As important as it is that your client gets a home inspection before buying, it’s even more important that they get it from an experienced home inspector. Our many years of experience in home inspection has made AmeriSpec the most trusted home inspection service in the country. All of our home inspectors are qualified, certified, and examine over 400 components in and around a home. Trust the experience of AmeriSpec, and make your client’s decision a little easier. Call AmeriSpec today at 1 (866) 284-6010 or visit www.amerispec.ca.

November 2010 - AmeriSpec - REM Ad - December issue 21” x 11” (centre spread) Copyright © 2010 Lime Advertising Inc. All rights reserved.


26 REM DECEMBER 2010

Letters to the Editor It’s been some time now since we first talked in May 2006 about the importance of Realtors being able to incorporate their practices in Ontario. You may recall that you responded to my phone call about this issue by promptly assigning Don Proctor to write a story for REM. Imagine my surprise when it came out as a full page article the following month! As it turns out, your article served as an excellent grassroots springboard, which led to a fullfledged effort over the following few years, now spearheaded by

Metes & Bounds Continued from page 22

Fleury in an emotional, ‘you could hear a pin drop’ session called Don’t quit before the miracle. The brilliance of his hockey career tempered by the tragedy of his personal history was a progression to the man he is today. As he said,“If you play the country record backwards, you get it all back – your dog, your girl, your house, your pick-up truck.” Considering our Quality of Life programs, his example of work hard and give back was inspiring. Last word is a plug for WestJet. If you are flying anywhere in Canada, check them out. Rates are usually competitive or cheaper, they service places you have never thought of going, they tell good

OREA no less, to have the legislation (REBBA 2002) changed to allow personal corporations for Realtors. In fact, that very issue headlined the lobbying efforts at OREA’s PAC Days conference recently. From the Realtors of Ontario – thanks, Jim, for taking an interest. Gray Watters ABR Broker Re/Max Georgian Bay Realty Midland, Ont.

jokes and best of all, they held up over 100 passengers in Calgary for 15 minutes to allow two of us to connect after battling headwinds over Ottawa. Hot air rising? I’m just saying it’s possible. You can follow Marty Douglas on Twitter 40yrsrealestate or on LinkedIn and on Facebook. He is a managing broker for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., with offices on Vancouver Island 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. and the B.C. Real Estate Association. He’s a current director of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. mdouglas@island.net; 1-800-7153999. REM

Dedicated REM columnist Marty Douglas took time out from his honeymoon in Nagasaki, Japan to read his copy of REM. Then he came home to Canada and jetted across the country to The Atlantic Connection conference.


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28 REM DECEMBER 2010

STOP SELLING HOUSES & START MAKING MONEY

By Debbie Hanlon

T

he real estate systems I developed were a vital part of my success in becoming No. 1 in Canada in my first year in the business, not only because they made my job a whole lot easier but also because they ensured a consistent level of service that gave me loads of repeat and referral business. Quite simply, these systems not only make your job easier, they make you a better real estate agent because they actually prompt you to do things that make you stand out from the

Make open houses open doors competition. Let’s face it, there are always more real estate agents than there are houses to sell. That means you have to separate yourself from all the other agents pursuing the same piece of business. Putting step-by-step systems in place and following them will certainly help you do that, because your growing client list will be more than impressed with how smoothly and stressfree these systems make their selling or buying experience. Not only do they make your life easier, they also make your client’s life easier as well. It’s a real win-win situation. Let’s look briefly at my Open House System as an example of how it makes one of the most common real estate activities both easier and better. I’ve always considered hosting an open house, either my own or another agent’s, as nothing less than a job interview. In fact you should start thinking of

any interaction with the public as just that. It’s a chance for you to pull off a little ‘make and leave’ – make an impression and leave a card. First, spend a Sunday visiting other open houses. You’ll notice that most of them are pretty much the same. Now imagine prospective buyers doing the same. Wouldn’t they be pleasantly surprised if they walked into an open house that stood out? Why, they’d probably mention it to friends who asked them if they saw anything interesting. “Well there was this one place, the house wasn’t great but what a job the agent had done....I’ve got their card here�. My Open House System is designed to ensure that your open house gets that kind of response every time. It takes things all agents do and cranks them up several notches. For instance, some agents lay out reading materials on the coffee table or counter top

that tells visitors about the house. In my system, materials are prepared to be spread throughout the home, all of it with your face and contact info on it somewhere. So no matter where prospective buyers/clients go, there you are. When you plan your open house, you simply plug in the relative information concerning that particular house into your templates and hit print. Then in each room there is relevant information, for instance if it’s close to a school, a picture of that school with info is displayed in a child’s room. Each room is similarly decorated so that every viewer leaves with a fantastic impression and contact info to get in touch with you. There are also outside the home activities in the Open House System, such as sending out open house fliers inviting the neighbourhood to check it out on a certain day. Again a tem-

plate is used that shows the exterior and interior and this helps put people in the house, which as we all know, tends to get more people in. By following my Open House System, you give your client a level of service that will turn them into raving fans. It will also ensure that anyone and everyone who walks through the door to view that open house will leave wanting that level of service themselves. Systems turn something as basic as an open house into a way to open doors to more business. Debbie Hanlon is the president and founder of Hanlon Realty. She is a three-time top 50 CEO winner and was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. She is currently an elected city official in St. John’s, Nfld. and is available for motivational and training seminars. Email debbie@hanlonrealtynl.com. REM

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W i t h o ur si nc er e be s t w i sh e s from corporate management, staff and the world wide members of H o m e L i f e R e a lt y S e r v i c e s I n c .

Higher High H her Standa Standards ards Agents...Higher Ag Results!™ Results Š2009 HomeLife Realty Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.


30 REM DECEMBER 2010

Real Estate Technology Coldwell Banker launches new beta website Coldwell Banker Canada Operations ULC officially launched the beta version of its website, www.ColdwellBanker.ca in early November. Michael Fischer, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC says, “For the new ColdwellBanker.ca we looked at search functionality across various websites including retail and music and continuously asked ourselves, ‘Why not in real estate?’ As a result, we have created exciting new ways to search for homes and real estate agents.” The site includes a variety of new features, such as: • BlueScapesm search – Taking cues from popular music recommendation websites, Coldwell Banker developed BlueScapesm, a visually driven real estate search platform to help “dreamers” find just that – the home of their dreams. Instead of limiting search options to postal code or the number of bedrooms, users begin the search by rating abstract images with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” from landscape scenery to images of snowmobiles and taxi cabs. At any time, users can submit a query and the BlueScapesm technology will identify homes that are a good fit using all properties available on the ColdwellBanker.ca and ColdwellBanker.com web sites. • Keyword search — For those who prefer a more traditional approach to searching for a home, Coldwell Banker has added keyword capabilities to its general real estate search function so that consumers can more easily narrow down the properties they are interested in viewing. Visitors can enter terms as broad as “modern” or “colonial,” to more specific property descriptions such as “pool,” “dock” or “boat slip.”

• Expansive use of video – The site takes advantage of the popularity of Coldwell Banker On Location, the brand’s YouTube channel. Since the site launch in May 2009, the channel has drawn more than two million channel views. On Location was the first branded YouTube channel to use dynamic Internet Protocol (IP) lookup to search for videos, which automatically serves up local results when visitors first hit the site. The site has grown steadily since its launch, but has seen its fastest growth in the last eight months with more than one million views occurring between April 2010 and October 2010. Additionally, mobile use is up. Since April, the number of people who have viewed the site from a mobile device has doubled. While property listings make up the majority of the On Location content, community videos attract the highest number of comments, as visitors enjoy chiming in with input on their hometown or current city. Additional capabilities of the ColdwellBanker.ca site will be implemented as the full consumer site goes ‘live’ later this year. These capabilities include: • Technology that immediately identifies the current location of visitors via their IP address, offering up homes for sale in that area. • Join Us: A recruiting resource enabling brokers to promote job opportunities and create local career pages. • Learn: Helpful real estate news and tips for consumers, such as real-time industry articles from the national news media. • Home File: Place for consumers to store, share and organize a limitless amount of property searches, sales representative and real estate office information, and industry articles. Coldwell Banker will also be

including integrated video and social networking capabilities to the new site, the company says.

New Century 21 site adds community data Century 21 Canada’s website has been enhanced to improve accessibility and to localize the search experience for users, the company says. In Community Websites, visitors can explore a city and its neighbourhoods, discovering who lives there, things to do, schools and safety, transportation and more, says the company. Alex Blyakhman, president and CPO of WhereToLive.com, Century 21 Canada’s technology provider, says, “The new Century21.ca is now location aware, detecting visitors’ location and personalizing the online experience.” The Talk21 Blog serves as a platform for regional guest bloggers and Century 21 Canada president Don Lawby to discuss the Canadian real estate landscape. “I love my job and my company, and I’ve been lucky to hear thousands of Canadians tell their stories about buying property,” says Lawby. “I’m a straight shooter, so I’m going to tell it like I see it from the inside, as a real estate professional and as a homeowner.” Consumers can access everything using their Blackberry, iPhone or Android devices. Century21.ca also launched a free iPhone app in October. The new app leverages iPhone’s built-in technology and allows consumers to search for nearby properties, get directions to open houses and contact the selling agent. “Our website already has functions like Google Street View and a fully trilingual search engine – English, French and Chinese. Now we are adding new and sophisticated search capabilities,” says Lawby.

Realty Executives launches Executive and Broker Platforms Realty Executives International recently launched Executive and Broker Web Platforms, individual real estate agent and broker websites designed to enhance “personContinued on page 32


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32 REM DECEMBER 2010

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Wishing You the Joys of the Season Kathleen, Dick, Paul, Dora, Rob and Linda (inset) wish to thank you for your patronage over the past year. We wish you and your family a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

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Continued from page 30

al brands” online “through the use of social media and indexed listing pages to increase organic search rankings,” the company says. Realty Executives developed the Executive and Broker Platforms with a focus on organic development of leads through a long-term consumer focused web presence. Over the course of the last 24 months, chief technology officer Darrell Smith and his technology team evaluated thousands of real estate and various industry websites from independent blogs to massive listing aggregators, the company says. After comparing traffic rankings, traffic sources, search engine optimization (SEO) and customer quality, Realty Executives concluded that to be truly effective, technology needs to drive traffic and awareness not only to real estate agent listings, but to agents themselves. Glenn Melton, chief executive officer of Realty Executives International, says: “Without a personal brand that people can recognize online, Realtors will not be on the radar for consumers to find.”

Sage offers personalized online home marketing Sage Real Estate in Toronto is now making personalized online and social media marketing as part of its basic package for clients. Sellers who list with Sage will have their home featured on its own dedicated website linked by key words to search engines such as Google and social media sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Realty Stock, Oodle, Craigslist and Kijiji.

CALL TODAY Toll Free Phone: 1-866-933-2277 www.advance-commissions.ca

Larry, Evan and Brad Sage

Homes will also be showcased on Sage’s own new site at www.sagerealestate.ca. “Research now shows that up to 90 per cent of people looking for a new home start their search on the Internet,” says Evan Sage, company vice-president. “It just made perfect sense to us to take maximum advantage of digital technology and the new media to make selling a home faster and more effective.” The move to add digital marketing has another major advantage, he says. It takes marketing out of the hands of individual agents, expands on it, standardizes the format and makes it a basic corporate function. “Essentially, sellers no longer have to worry about whether their agent is taking maximum advantage of opportunities to advertise and showcase their home,” he says. “The company ensures terrific web exposure for all the properties it lists including a photo gallery with up to 30 professionally taken photos and a complete description of the property. Sage tested the service in September and formally launched it on Oct. 1. At that time it had attracted 41 listings. For an example visit www.90douglasave.com Formed by Larry Sage 33 years ago, the brokerage operated as a franchise member of Sutton Group for 16 years until earlier this year. It has now become an independent. Larry Sage now works with his two sons. Evan had worked as a sales representative with a competing broker and Bradley had been in senior management roles creating digital media initiatives for a major corporation. As part of the restructuring, Sage downsized staff to 87 agents but created a new digital marketing division. REM


34 REM DECEMBER 2010

AS I SEE IT FROM MY DESK

By Stan Albert

A

re you going to be average in 2011? Or are you going to be in the top 500 in your region? Are you going to excel in 2011 and overcome all odds? What will be your average commission? Will you overcome your insecurities? Will you listen to your mentors and coaches? “Ain’t no man can avoid being born, but there ain’t no man got to be common” – Satchel Paige Satchel Paige was born in 1902 and came from humble

Learning from Satchel Paige beginnings. A tall scrawny kid, he loved to play baseball and excelled as a pitcher. He developed all kinds of curve balls, sliders and screwballs that mystified the batters. He played in the All Negro league until 1948. That was the year that Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, brought Jackie Robinson to the Major Leagues and the colour barrier finally was broken. Leroy “Satchel” Paige starred with a number of major league ball clubs, breaking in with the Cleveland Indians. He was later elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 1982, leaving a phenomenal legacy. He and Jackie paved the way for players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and other black baseball players. They had to overcome major racial prejudices and taunts from the crowds, until they proved their mettle by their performance on the field. Today

those who followed in their footsteps have benefited greatly. I often wonder at this time of the year, how many of you will be around at the end of 2011. Over the four decades of coaching/ mentoring and training agents of all cultures and races, I find it astonishing that so few agents excel and make a decent living of at least $100,000 per annum. Why do so many come into our business and expect it to be a breeze? The Ontario courses for the fledging agent fall far short of really informing the soon-to-beagent of the perils and the pitfalls of entering into the business. Why is that? It’s due in part to the fact that many come into this business and treat it as a 9-5 job and, although they will take mega doses of training and coaching, will eventually leave. This is a business. And it happens to be one that you can remain in for years because

there’s no mandatory retirement age. Look at me! Agents must realize that in order to put into play all they learn, they actually have to get out to practice, practice, practice. I believe that in all sports, those who excel get out and practice until their particular skills are honed to a degree of near perfection. The Paiges, the Mays and the Aarons never made the money that the superstars of today make, but they were glad to play with the best of the best. Maybe baseball is not your favourite sport to watch or to play. The important thing to remember as I sign off for another year is that education without application means nothing. Don’t expect your broker to make you famous, but you should expect that whatever brokerage you’re in is giving you a chance to score big time in our league. Be the all-star you always

wanted to be, but remember that in order to do that, you have to promise yourself and your family that the choice you made is the best for them and yourself. You can enjoy the riches of your labours, just get out and do it. Oh, and Satchel, well he established quite a win/loss record and had a 3.30 ERA at the end of his storied career. I want to thank my long suffering editor Jim Adair for putting up with me for the past seven years or so and hope we can continue on for another seven! Happy holidays to all and have a healthy, happy, prosperous and safe 2011. Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at stanalb@rogers.com. Stan is now celebrating 40 years as an active real estate professional. REM


36 REM DECEMBER 2010

Why are agents so lazy?

By Terry LeClair

B

efore you sit down to write something nasty in a Letter to the Editor, hear me out. See, most agents aren’t lazy through fault of their own, but because our industry actually promotes it to a certain degree. Let’s take a step back and look at why I think agents are lazy. This feeling comes first-hand because I own a real estate company and actively sell, so I see this every day. Realtors are always looking for the easy way out – or in, for that matter. We’ve been brainwashed by industry gurus who tell us technology will eliminate good old hard work, and that Facebook, Twitter and blogging

will open the “lead” floodgates. Well folks, I can tell you that it’s never going to happen. Actually, that’s not quite right, so let me rephrase: it WILL happen. And when it does, it will be the end of organized real estate as we know it. Why? Because when (notice I didn’t say, “if”?) technology takes the “work” out of selling real estate, then anyone and their brother will be able to do it, and they won’t need us! Here’s the solution: we need to work a lot harder up front. I said up front; I did not say “always, forever or during the whole process”, just up front. Let me explain. How many of you out there actually have some form of listing presentation? I don’t mean just a few scribbled pieces of paper and a few printouts from your MLS system, but a true listing presentation that describes your value proposition and the processes and tools you use to promote the sellers’ listing and communicate with them (the seller)? How many agents actually spend time at the listing

presentation explaining to the seller how their website works, what the online buyer is going to experience and how they will generate leads from their site? You see where I’m going here. If you don’t have a canned Power Point listing presentation showing and describing to your seller exactly where and how you’re going to advertise their property, how and when you’re going to provide feedback, how your website generates great quality leads and when and how you’re going to communicate with them on a regular basis, you’re missing something very valuable. In all my years of selling, this was the number one tool I used to increase my value proposition in the eyes of the consumer. The ancillary value I received? I saved hours and hours of time in the long run. The seller always knew what, how and when to expect things from me. Now some of you out there are already making my point of lazy agents valid because you’re

sitting back saying, “that’s too much work” or, “I can’t do that, it takes too much time”. If you’re one of them, stop reading now because you won’t like what I am going to tell you from here on either. Let’s say you finally get a listing. You go to the sellers’ home and pull out your MLS listing documents. You spend some time filling out the paperwork with all the data your MLS requires. Great, right? Wrong! If you think spending half an hour filling out MLS paperwork is enough to create a captivating, compelling message to an educated consumer, think again. As agents we need to stop relying on what’s considered “industry standard”, start being more creative, and work a little harder. When taking a listing, if you’re not taking detailed notes on every feature and benefit that your listing has and trying your best to describe the home in one paragraph on your MLS data sheet, you’re doing a disservice to your sellers. Too many of us take our MLS listing and popu-

late that same information on our website. So let me ask you this: if you were an online buyer and went to an agent’s website and saw the exact same information I found on other sites or the MLS, would you go back to that agent’s site? Probably not. Take some time to create a value proposition on your website that will captivate the online consumer, and you’ll have the opportunity to communicate and cultivate an even better quality lead. This isn’t rocket science – it’s just a little hard work up front that will keep you ahead of the competition. Create a great value proposition in the eyes of buyers and sellers, and inevitably it will help you close more transactions. Captivate, communicate, cultivate and close…it’s that simple! Terry LeClair is the CEO and founder of RealtySites PLUS, a suit of software and online tools that were built by Realtors for Realtors. www.RealtySitesPLUS.com REM

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38 REM DECEMBER 2010

GOURMET COOKING for real estate professionals

By Carolyne Lederer

T

he holiday entertaining season presents an opportunity for us to try new and different recipes. Your guests will long remember these ones: ENJOY!

Asbach Cheese Ball 254 g cream cheese 120 g Canadian medium cheddar cheese, grated 70 g blue cheese 1 clove garlic, minced and crushed 1 g chopped fresh chives (soak dry chives in the Asbach)

Holiday magic – no matter what you celebrate 15 ml Asbach Uralt brandy (note that in Ontario, Asbach Uralt has been delisted so just use your favourite brandy) 45 ml sour cream Cream the cream cheese at room temperature for about five minutes, using the dough hook of your kitchen machine. Still using the dough hook, add the other ingredients and combine well. Heap the mixture onto a piece of cello wrap and wrap well. Store for an hour or so in the refrigerator or until the consistency is such that you can work with it. Form a large ball and roll in crushed walnuts. Chill or freeze until party day. Serve at room temperature. Variations: Make 1 1/2-inch balls from the cheese mixture and roll them in walnuts. Asbach Cheese Dip: Add a little more sour cream to the above recipe (about half a small dish) and

stir well. It’s a super dip to serve with chips or crackers, but especially good with homemade croissants.

Bitterballen (veal croquettes) Traditionally served at New Year’s or Christmas, these delightful “meatballs� will have all your guests coming back for seconds and thirds. They are good year-round, not just for special occasions. The bitterballen are deep-fried and served piping hot with hot mustard; keep them warm in the oven until serving time or make them ahead and reheat in 300 F oven for about half an hour prior to serving. The name is misleading, because there is nothing bitter about them. The name comes from the occasions on which they are served, when “bitters� are frequently offered along with drinks, particularly gin. This is traditional-

ly a Dutch treat, but the following is my own creation and we serve it all year round to family and friends who drop in. Bitterballen freeze well, so you can always have some on hand. They will keep for several days in the coldest part of the fridge, although they will not keep indefinitely because of the cream content. 1 lb. ground veal 1/4 lb. ground pork salt, pepper, Italian seasoning garlic salt thyme sage 1 egg, beaten 3/4 c course breadcrumbs, brown or cracked wheat chopped parsley 2 tbsp. cream seasoned breadcrumbs beaten eggs oil or lard for deep-frying Mix all ingredients in large

mixing bowl and form 1-inch balls (rather large). Cover with oiled waxed paper if you aren’t going to deep-fry them straight away. Roll balls in beaten egg and then in seasoned breadcrumbs. Deep-fry. Test oil with cube of dry bread. Bread should deep-fry to a beautiful golden colour on both sides in about 60 seconds; or with thermometer, oil should reach 375 F, not hotter or it will smoke. I always deep-fry using corn oil. You should always use a deep cast-iron pot or a heavy bakedenamel pot for deep-frying, if you don’t have a deep-fryer. Never try to deep-fry in an aluminum pot and do not have liquid fat deeper than half way up the side of the pot. Bitterballen will cook in about 3-4 minutes on each side. Makes about 30. (Plan on 4-6 per person because they’ll be back for seconds.) Carolyne Lederer is broker of record at Carolyne Realty Corp. She also has a cookbook in the works. Email Carolyne at BurlingtonHomes@Carolyne.com if you have any questions. www.Carolyne.com or www.Mill croftHomes.com REM

         

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REM DECEMBER 2010 39

Santa’s bag of anti-competition helpfulness

By Dan St. Yves

H

o! Ho! Ho! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well hello boys and girls! Santa is back for yet another year, trying to sort out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. I’ve even brought along my red velvety bag of “holiday helpfulness”. This year, I’ve chosen to help lighten the load of the lovely folks over at Canada’s Competition Bureau. It can’t be easy trying to protect Canadians week in and week out from evil monopolies (although Santa has to say, Mr. Monopoly sure appears to be a kindly old fellow. Based on appearances, we could almost be brothers!). Santa would certainly never presume to tell the Competition Bureau how to do its job, but he is prepared to offer up a touch of holiday help by suggesting a few glaringly anti-competitive industries it may have overlooked in its otherwise eager efforts: 1) Gas stations. Oh sure, there are loads of gas stations across Canada, owned by many different companies. But are there substantial price differences between any of them? No! Santa can drive his sleigh all over the country, and never once find even one town that offers significant differences between “competing” chains. And when one raises their prices (just before long weekends in the summer – is that legislated or something?), THEY ALL DO! Santa says – anti-competitive! 2) Dollar stores. Santa feels

that this is VERY anti-competitive. Why aren’t there Twoonie or Nickel stores? How about even a few Dollar-And-A-Quarter Stores? This feels an awful lot like pricefixing to me, boys and girls. I’d put Dollar Stores on MY naughty list! 3) Lawyers. Ho Ho Ho! Santa imagines that there are a few people out there who might enjoy acting like Perry Mason, and spend their workdays sparring in court – along with the big bucks that can accompany that gig. But you have to actually take courses, and adhere to a code of ethics to be a lawyer (interesting – are there any other industries like this?). Should that prevent us from wearing a black robe and calling ourselves lawyers? I don’t think so – that seems to smack of anti-competitiveness to Santa. Open those doors, Law Society! Objection, Your Honour! 4) Canada Revenue Agency. Best remembered as Revenue Canada, this is a glaringly obvious monopoly, with the singular legal ability to pick the pockets of every Canadian year-round. Why is it that other folks aren’t allowed to do the same, or at least compete with the CRA? Competition Bureau, kindly check into this voracious government institution, and give every Canadian a present this year! Ho! Ho! Ho! Well boys and girls, Santa can only offer so much advice – and the more that I think about it, I have to worry that I might be considered a monopoly, or anti-competitive. Sure, the Tooth Fairy gives out money, and the Easter Bunny gives out eggs, but only Santa brings around his sleigh full of gifts every year at this time, right? At least for now…Happy Holiday Season, everyone!!! Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at www.nonsenseandstuff.com, or contact him at ThatDanGuy@shaw.ca. REM


40 REM DECEMBER 2010

Good Works W

hen fire swept through a condominium complex in Richmond, B.C. this summer, one life was lost and many people were temporarily homeless. Among those affected were a Realtor and a single mother with two children who lost all of their possessions in the fire. Unfortunately, neither of the women had residential insurance at the time. Sutton Group - Seafair Realty responded by gathering household items and making financial assistance to the fire victims the focus of their recent golf tournament. Marie Piperni, Arlie Piperni and Patrick Sereda organized the tournament. “We had a 50/50 draw to help people affected by the tragic fire in Richmond, in particular, the single mother with two daughters,” says Piperni, who spent a month co-ordinating the event. “More than 40 people from our office and another 16 mortgage brokers, suppliers and clients attended. Most people bought 50/50 tickets so we were able to give the family a few hundred dollars plus our office collected furniture, dishes, clothing and other household items.” The Realtor whose home was destroyed is not a Sutton member but Scott Russell, the general manager, felt compelled to help when he heard about her situation.

resentative from St John’s Ambulance helped our team hand out information on site.” Participants included Hagerman, Caroline Doherty, Sean DeGrace, Jo Bowyer and Malcolm Diasio. Broker/owner Bernie Roth donated a Caribbean cruise for two. ■ ■ ■

Jill Sinclair from Sutton Group - West Coast Realty in Langley, B.C. got a lift from the Men In

■ ■ ■

Norm Jolliffe of Lake Country Real Estate and Tammy Puurunen of Royal LePage Real Quest Realty in Orillia, Ont. organized a Halloween Party fundraiser in Orillia to benefit medical expenses of local real estate board member Josephine Manna for costs incurred in a treatment not covered by OHIP. However, Manna asked that any proceeds from this

Showing off a cheque for $13,517 and flanked by key contributors from Royal LePage Realty Plus are Charlotte Forget, broker/manager; Catherine Da Costa, manager of development at Interim Place; Carlo Racioppo, broker/owner; Joette King, also of Interim Place and sales rep Diane Kalenchuk.

Glenn Larkin, whose 50th birthday raised $1,650 for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, with his mother Anne (left) and his mother in-law Rosemary Parsons.

Tammy Loeman Jill Sinclair gets a lift from Men in Kilts

Above: Darlene Dundas, left, administrator for Royal LePage Lannon Realty in Thunder Bay and Christine Moore, also with Lannon Realty, stand with donated baskets for the Basketeer program.

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Realtors and staff at Century 21 B.J. Roth in Barrie, Ont. recently held a food bank fundraiser that went much better than expected, says organizer Laura Hagerman. “We raised 4,800 lbs. of food and $906 in cash donations. PODS donated a storage container that we were able to almost completely fill. Our local radio station was at the event all day and helped to attract Barrie residents to the Zehrs grocery store on Bayfield Street. The police and fire departments made appearances and the fire department donated $250. A rep-

Kilts window washers at the 13th Annual Chicks with Sticks Charity Golf Tournament, which raised more than $34,000 for the Kids Help Phone. She and several others spent months planning to ensure that golfers enjoyed a memorable day. Nearly 100 female participants received the VIP treatment from the Men in Kilts, firefighters, personal trainers and Realtors who handed out prizes and served as caddies.

Recently the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors donated funds raised at its 11th annual golf tournament to Crimestoppers. From left: Karl Kloepper, president, Southern Alberta Crimestoppers; Stan Mills, president of the association; Bryce Evans, chair of the golf tournament; and Margaret Van, EO of the association. The association has raised $231,500 in the 11years it has hosted the tournament.

Above: Norm Jolliffe and Tammy Puurunen (right) present Jeanette Elliott of the Multiple Sclerosis Society with a cheque for $4,880. Each year, Royal LePage Coronation West organizes an event with the Burnaby, New Westminster, Tri Cities Division on behalf of a charity. This year the recipient of the $9,350 raised was the Tri-City Women’s Resource Society. The golf event featured a Texas scramble style tournament, dinner, silent auction, 50/50 draw and raffles.

Above, from left: Malcolm Diasio, Cindy Thompson (food bank employee), Jo Bowyer, Caroline Doherty and Laura Hagerman took part in the Century 21 B.J. Roth food bank fundraiser.


REM DECEMBER 2010 41

event be donated directly to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The event was supported by many local Realtors and with generous donations from local businesses. In total, $4,880 was raised. ■ ■ ■

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region recently thanked Re/Max OntarioAtlantic Canada for contributing $1.5 million since 2004. Since 2004, Re/Max has been supporting the breast cancer cause and inspiring donations across Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Well over 1,000 sales associates and brokers have been instrumental in leading the charge by supporting the foundation through Sold on a Cure, a program where a sales associate makes a donation to the foundation for every home sold. In addition, they also participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, Yard Sale for the Cure and community fundraising events. Re/Max has also been an active corporate sponsor of the region’s work. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Conexus Realty in Saskatchewan has been a champion of Easter Seals Saskatchewan for 16 years and in 2010 the company celebrated making $1 million in contributions. The brokerage’s management, agents and staff members first got involved by entering a team in the Regina and Saskatoon Easter Seals 24 Hour Relays.

“We saw the 24 Hour Relay as an opportunity to bring employees together to have fun and to show our community spirit,” says Carla Brown, corporate real estate broker. Rod Spence, vice-president of the brokerage, says, “Throughout the years we have been able to count on enthusiastic participation from staff, management and agents in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert with all our fundraising activities. We work great as a team and that is how we are able to host steak nights, bake sales, 50/50 draws or bonspiels that support our major fundraising events.” Easter Seals is the national charity of choice for Century 21 Canada and Century 21 Conexus Realty has been the #1 fundraiser in the Century 21 system every year since 2004. ■ ■ ■

On Nov. 10, Regina had its second major snow storm of the year. While most residents were keeping warm inside, a group of Exit Realty Fusion agents weathered the storm outside while putting up walls for a Habitat for Humanity house in the North Central area of the city. Owner/broker Loretta Hughes and agents Mike Boyce, Curtis Bonar, Alix McLellan, Shirley MacFarlane and Kim Mergaert took part. The brokerage also partnered with Rosewood Park Alliance Church in support of Operation Christmas Child, collecting gifts and money that will be used to

ensure that as many needy children as possible have a merry Christmas. At every Exit Realty Fusion open house held on a November weekend, there was a shoe box to be filled. Everyone who donated gifts or cash to the charity was entered in a draw to win a free cruise for two to the Caribbean or Mexico. ■ ■ ■

Baskets brimming with gifts of kitchen, bedroom and bath supplies were delivered to the local shelter in Thunder Bay thanks to Royal LePage Lannon Realty. The office collected items from the community to fill the baskets through a program called the Basketeers, a concept conceived by a group of women wanting to help women living in shelters start anew. To adopt a basket in your community and for a list of donation ideas, check out the website at www.basketeers.ca. ■ ■ ■

From learning to be a team player on the volleyball court to writing the ABCs and reading, teaching children life skills is a passion for Tammy Loeman, broker at Sutton Group - Innovative Realty in Hamilton. For the past four years, she has volunteered almost 30 hours per month at St. Michaels and Saints Peter & Paul elementary schools. The busy broker and single mother of a 13-year-old and a toddler finds her community work to be as personally rewarding as it is for the

many children she assists. “I have always believed in giving something back. We can all find time. In fact, we can even be selfish and do something that we enjoy, which is what I do! I think volunteers have a huge affect on children and who they become, speaking as someone who has worked with them one-on-one.” Among her various projects, Loeman coaches the senior boys’ volleyball team at Saints Peter & Paul. Along with teaching the skills and game objectives necessary to become a good player, she shows them the value of co-operation and respect. ■ ■ ■

To mark his 50th birthday, Royal LePage Realtor Glenn Larkin of St. John’s decided to do things differently. Rather than the usual gift-giving, he asked family, friends and co-workers to instead make a donation to the local women’s shelter. By the end of the night of the Newfoundland kitchen party, Larkin and his guests had raised $1,650 for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 In Town Realty in Vancouver raised $1,102 in its first annual Pumpkin Giveaway in support of the Easter Seals Kids to Camp Program. On Oct. 24, the team at Century 21 In Town Realty braved the Vancouver rain and handed out nearly 300 pumpkins along with snacks and beverages. Owner Michael LaPrairie says the event was a part of a larger

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fundraising effort to send kids with disabilities to the Easter Seals camp in Squamish. He says it was great to experience “being in the middle of the forest with huge trees, kids laughing and all 45 kids busy doing something somewhere at the camp.” The brokerage has pledged to raise $21,000 in 2010 for Easter Seals. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Realty Plus of Mississauga, Ont. is a big supporter of the local women’s shelter, Interim Place. The office’s latest contribution of $13,571 comes by way of the Royal LePage National Garage Sale for Shelter; contributions from the company’s sales reps and an extra $5,000 from the broker, Carlo Racioppo. Interim Place provides shelter, support, counselling and advocacy to help abused women and their children break the cycle of abuse. ■ ■ ■

Master quilter Carol McLean took eight months to finish making a Quilt of Hope, which she has donated to the Royal LePage office in Dwight, Ont. to raise funds on behalf of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The quilt is on display at the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville until the draw on Feb. 14, 2011. Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25. To purchase contact Jay Richardson at 705-635-9992 jay@jayrichardson.ca. All funds will be directed towards the Chrysalis Shelter in Huntsville. REM


42 REM DECEMBER 2010

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Adrienne Lake Managing Director, Central Division RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd.

Co-owners Ken McLachlan and Debra Bain of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd; are pleased to announce the appointment of Adrienne Lake. Ms. Lake has more than 25 years of real estate experience , most recently as a manager and associate broker. In her new role, Lake will focus on growing recruitment and retention for RE/MAX Hallmark Realty, with special emphasis on building individual agent businesses in the city’s central core. Her hands-on, full-service approach will ensure greater overall success for Hallmark Realty sales associates and the RE/MAX Hallmark Realty brand. More than 100 sales associates work in RE/MAX Hallmark Realty’s Central Division offices, located at 3434 Yonge St. and 723 Mt. Pleasant Rd. The RE/MAX Hallmark franchise has experienced steady growth in the past several years, with expansion aimed at better serving homebuyers and sellers throughout the GTA. Celebrating their 29th year with RE/MAX, the RE/MAX Hallmark team specializes in residential, recreational and commercial real estate. RE/MAX Hallmark is firmly entrenched in the communities it serves. It is one of the leading contributors to Children’s Miracle Network in Canada through the RE/MAX Miracle Home Program and grassroots fundraising initiatives with over a $1 million raised by the franchise and its associates since 1992. RE/MAX Hallmark is also a leader in in-house training and is a member of RE/MAX International’s Chairman’s Leadership Advisory Board—an association of 75 of the leading RE/MAX broker-owners worldwide. In 2009, strategic expansion secured RE/MAX Hallmark a RE/MAX International Award recognizing the company as the largest multioffice franchise in the country.

REA has launched a new mobile application of Realtor.ca for Windows Phone 7. The app provides house hunters with the functionality of Realtor.ca while taking advantage of Windows Phone 7 device features such as GPS. The app allows users to search for houses and properties across Canada and to connect with Realtors to view, buy or sell a property. Photos, newly listed properties and open house information are all available. Using the handheld’s GPS technology, and the Realtor.ca search function, users can search for properties near their location and get driving directions too. Interactive Bing mapping is embedded to allow consumers to focus on specific neighbourhoods. The Realtor.ca app was developed through a partnership with Microsoft Canada and Navantis. CREA says the app will be available for other handheld devices in the coming weeks. Plans are currently underway for iPhone and BlackBerry versions.

donated hammers to help raise funds to support Habitat for Humanity. “This funding is being used in the building of a duplex providing a home for two families as well as an Adopt-a-Home project in Vermilion and instrumental in starting up a similar project in Wainwright,” says Harpreet Saini, president of the Realtors Association of Lloydminster & District. • $35,000 to The Natural Step towards the development of a neighbourhood sustainability planning guidebook and toolkit. The project will engage neighbourhoods in a process that draws on their local knowledge to align social, cultural, economic, governance and environmental needs. The Alberta Real Estate Foundation supports initiatives that enhance the real estate industry and benefit the communities of Alberta. The foundation was set up in 1991 under the Alberta Real Estate Act. Since then, it has awarded more than $12.8 million in community and industry grants to over 410 projects across Alberta.

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■ ■ ■

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation recently approved $208,000 in community investment projects. They include: • $50,000 to the Calgary Real Estate Board Charitable Foundation towards the building of a new affordable housing project in partnership with the Brenda Strafford Foundation. Susan Fordyce, executive director of the CREB Charitable Foundation says, “The $50,000, along with the CREB Charitable Foundation’s $500,000 donation, is a great example of the commitment the real estate industry has made in supporting a unique project that expands shelter services and affordable housing options.” • $30,000 to the Realtors Association of Lloydminster & District to match funding for an innovative project to sell locally

The Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation’s Fourth Annual Realtors Care Fishing Derby took place in Selkirk Park with the biggest turnout in the history of the tournament. Over 110 Realtors, friends, family and associates came out to help make it the most successful derby ever. Everyone was treated to sunny September weather, a day spent on the Red River and some friendly competition, with $8,405 raised for the MREA Shelter Foundation. Those participating had the chance to win the grand prize – a Lund boat donated by A+ Financial – and the lucky winner was Don Friesen. Winners in other categories included: Jason Hamilton for biggest catfish at 96.5 cm, Gerry Culleton for biggest walleye at 44 cm and Len

Westwood for biggest bass at 49 cm. Each of the “hidden lengths” winners went home with a bigscreen TV – those lucky participants were Boris Kolisnyk, Stephen Yuffe and Lance Cherry. The MREA Shelter Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that raises money through organized events, projects and donations from individuals and corporations and in turn distributes these funds to shelter-related charities in Manitoba. For information, visit www.mreashelterfoundation.com or contact the MREA office at (204) 772-0405. ■ ■ ■

An Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) says that 56 per cent of Ontarians mistakenly believe that the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) applies to the full purchase price of a resale home. In fact the HST is only levied on the various transaction fees associated with the purchase of a home that has been previously occupied (not a newly built home). Currently, the average price of an Ontario resale home is around $330,000. The confusion leaves the majority of Ontarians wrongly believing that the HST will add more than $40,000 to the transaction cost. There is growing concern among real estate professionals that this misperception about the HST is dampening the Ontario housing market, says OREA. “We see it on the front lines every day. Clearly, Ontarians still don’t know what the HST covers and what is exempt,” says Dorothy Mason, president of OREA. “This is not helping the housing market, and it’s not helping the Ontario economy. This confusion means that many buyers think the cost of a resale home is tens of thousands of dollars higher than it actually is.” The results of the survey were consistent across all age groups. However, there were some differences across other demographic categories. For instance, of those surveyed, half of the university graduates, 71 per cent of northern Ontarians, 59 per cent of those living in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and 54 per cent of GTA residents all mistakenly believe the HST applies to the full purchase price of resale homes. “We’re doing our part to inform


REM DECEMBER 2010 43

our clients, but we shouldn’t have to do it alone. We’re calling on the Ontario government to launch an immediate public awareness campaign to educate taxpayers and end the HST confusion,” says Mason. “For average homebuyers, learning that the HST does not apply to the full purchase price means a $40,000 saving they weren’t expecting.” ■ ■ ■

Recently the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) took part in the unveiling of the Manitoba Historical Society’s plaque commemorating McLeod House in Stonewall as a Memorable Manitobans Home. McLeod House is the home where Alan Arnett McLeod (MacLeod) grew up before leaving at age 18 to fight in the First World War. Lieutenant McLeod was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 after he and his observer, Lt. A.W. Hammond, M.C., were attacked by eight enemy planes and crashed in No Man’s Land. Both were wounded, but 2nd Lt. McLeod pulled his observer from the burning wreckage at great personal risk. Lt. McLeod died of influenza after returning home in 1918. He was buried in Kildonan Cemetery with full military honours. “As much as we focus on what we are doing today and in the future to further improve quality of life, it’s also important to remember those who have contributed to our quality of life in the past,” said Lorne Weiss, president-elect of MREA, who participated in the unveiling ceremony. “Lieutenant McLeod was one of those people. We are fortunate to have McLeod House as a reminder of that.” McLeod House now serves as a tea house and gift shop and features a prominent portrait of Lt. McLeod in the front entrance. Memorable Manitobans: The Homes was launched by The Manitoba Historical Society in partnership with MREA to commemorate the homes of noteworthy Manitobans of the past. ■ ■ ■

An enthusiastic crowd celebrated the winners of the second annual Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s (OMREB) Commercial Zone’s Commercial Building Awards recently. The gala event highlighted the best in com-

mercial building in OMREB’s jurisdiction – from Peachland to Revelstoke – celebrating projects completed between January 1, 2009 and September 1, 2010. “The awards recognize the unique variety of quality commercial, industrial and investment real estate developments throughout the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board,” says Tim Down of OMREB’s Commercial Zone executive and the 2010 Awards Committee chair. “We see the event as a great opportunity to raise awareness of the new real estate projects that enhance our communities through their design.” There were 12 categories represented at the 2010 event. A Judge’s Choice award for best of show was also chosen by the adjudicators. “The judges had a very difficult time making up their minds on the award winners, as there were a wide variety of buildings from throughout the region with many different styles and unique aspects about them,” Down says. “It speaks to the creativity we have in the Okanagan and Shuswap, particularly when it comes to commercial buildings.” ■ ■ ■

With predictions for this winter to be the coldest and wettest in 50 years, and the number of homeless people on the rise in the Lower Mainland in B.C., the need for the annual Realtors Care Blanket

Drive could be at its highest in its 16-year history. The drive runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 with over 100 real estate offices across the region collecting blankets, bedding and warm and waterproof clothing for the homeless and working poor. Over 30 charities from Whistler to Chilliwack receive, on average, more than 4,000 bags of gently used or new items donated by Realtors, their clients and the public. Earlier this year, the City of Vancouver announced that the homeless count in Vancouver has increased 12 per cent since 2008. Also, meteorologists are calling for a La Niña weather cycle this winter, meaning colder-than-normal temperatures and heavier precipitation. “Add to that, the economy is still in recovery,” says Jake Moldowan, president, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “So for all of those reasons, there’s a huge need for warm clothing and blankets for vulnerable people in our communities. Charities will need even more donations if they’re to adequately respond to the perfect storm of a recovering economy, an anticipated tough winter and increased homelessness.” The boards participating in the drive include GVREB, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board. For information: www.blanketdrive.ca. REM Roberta Weiss (second from left), chair of the MREA Shelter Foundation, was presented with a cheque from (from left to right) Vic Hallows, Bob Goodfellow and Wayne McConnell, fishing derby organizers.

The plaque, sponsored by the Manitoba Real Estate Association, commemorates McLeod House.

SALES MANAGER Century 21 First Canadian Corp. Brokerage is looking for a full time Sales Manager. In this role your responsibilities will be to manage the sales activities of our professional and support staff, sales training, recruiting and other general managerial functions. We are looking for a high energy innovative individual. The successful candidate will have: • A minimum of five years successful Real Estate sales experience, preferably in the London and St. Thomas area. Broker qualifications are an asset but not essential. • Strong technology skills including the ability to perform marketing tasks using computer based resources. Web Design and Social Media knowledge would be considered a strong asset. • The ability to conduct and teach our existing training programs. Create new modules to keep up with future changes in the industry. • The completion of formal Real Estate training programs is an asset. • Successful Management experience is an asset. Attractive compensation package for this position includes base salary plus performance bonuses. Please forward your resume and any enquiries in confidence to:

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44 REM DECEMBER 2010

7 emerging mortgage industry trends Mortgage Business U

nlike the U.S. mortgage broker market, brokers will remain a fixture in the Canadian mortgage distribution landscape, and Canadian mortgage holders will ultimately benefit as a result, says a new report by Deloitte. “The Canadian mortgage industry is undergoing another significant paradigm shift,” says Todd Roberts, consulting partner and leader of the corporate strategy practice for Deloitte. “In the face of significant industry developments such as the recent credit crisis, industry consolidation and price competition, many banks and non-bank lenders are starting to seriously evaluate the economics involved in pursuing the mortgage brokerage channel.

Deloitte says that troubles in the U.S. will ultimately benefit Canadian mortgage holders

As more and more of these lenders enter this business, Canadian mortgage consumers will ultimately benefit in the form of increased choice of products, value-added advice and more convenient services.” The future for the mortgage broker channel in Canada remains positive, although the scenario anticipated five years ago where mortgage brokers were expected to represent the majority of origination volume is unlikely, says Deloitte. The channel will continue to stabilize, settling at approximately one-third of mortgage origination dollar volume, it says. In response to consumer group concerns that mortgage prepayment penalties are com-

Royal LePage Patrimoine Repentigny, Quebec Broker/Owner Yvon St-Amant is pictured with co-owner Heina Saettone.

Andy Puthon, Executive Vice President, Network Development, is pleased to announce that Yvon St-Amant, Certified Real Estate Broker from the Repentigny region, has joined the Royal LePage Franchise Network. The new company opened its doors on September 21, 2010 under the name Royal LePage Patrimoine. In 2001, after 10 years of experience in commercial and industrial property management, Yvon obtained his real estate agent license and joined Re/Max Unis Inc. in Repentigny. His experience along with his reputation for total dedication to serving customers enabled him to become one of the most productive agents in the region, in addition to earning him multiple awards and recognition over the years. Having obtained his chartered real estate broker license in 2006, Yvon is looking forward to this new opportunity, owning and

operating his own real estate agency. The company to date already has 11 real estate brokers on staff, and Yvon anticipates continued growth in the coming months. Yvon and his team can be reached at: 527A Notre Dame Repentigny, Québec J6A 2T6 Phone: 450 585 7771 Fax: 450 585 7772 Email: yvonstamant@royallepage.ca Please join us in welcoming Yvon and Heina, and wishing the entire Royal LePage Patrimoine team continued success. For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call Andy Puthon directly at (416) 510-5827.

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plicated and lack disclosure, the federal government has stated its intention to standardize its calculation and disclosure. The typical repayment penalty is either three months’ interest or the difference between the existing rate and the rate the lender could charge in the current environment – known as the interest rate differential (IRD). In a rapidly falling rate environment, the IRD method provides the lender with greater compensation for the foregone interest revenue, but it is typically more expensive for borrowers who plan to discharge their mortgages. “If new government regulations remove the IRD penalty as a barrier to switching, more consumers will likely switch mortgages in periods of declining interest rates,” says Roberts. “In the absence of stiff payment penalties, lenders will therefore seek to minimize lost customers by building strong relationships through active cross-selling and retention strategies for at-risk groups.” According to Deloitte, emerging trends that are expected to shape the Canadian mortgage industry and ultimately impact Canadian mortgage holders include: 1. The balance of power will shift from financial institutions to mortgage-seeking Canadians. As the mortgage lending landscape continues to shift, Canadians will have access to a wider range of options when selecting a mortgage. This has increased competition among lenders (bank branches, mobile mortgage specialists, independent mortgage brokers, and online sources) which in turn will result in more customerfriendly service, increased product offerings and convenience for Canadians seeking a mortgage. 2. Online and telephone

banking will continue emerging as viable channels. Remote selfservice options such as online and telephone banking are emerging as popular alternative channels for obtaining mortgages. Given the new level of sophistication telephone banking has recently achieved, Canadians no longer need to leave home to obtain a mortgage because some lenders are allowing borrowers to complete their mortgage applications using a voice signature. In addition, online features such as calculators, planning tools and live chat options with lenders are giving Canadians access to more information than ever. Although these channels are not new, they are in the early stages of adoption and signify an important trend for Canadians interested in the self-service option. 3. Mortgage brokers will evolve from “rate shoppers”’ to “advisors” in order to survive. Given that Canadians now have increased access to mortgage rate information, mortgage brokers as “rate shoppers” is quickly becoming irrelevant. As such, the “mortgage broker as advisor” value proposition will be the most successful approach for this channel. To succeed in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, mortgage brokers will start to offer value-added advice to Canadian mortgage holders similar to the way investment brokers have evolved from transactional to advice-based roles. 4. Major banks will continue to compete for broker business. Major banks will continue to invest heavily in proprietary distribution to compete directly with the mortgage broker channel, and to a growing extent, each other. In particular, the emergence of bank mobile mortgage sales forces (MMSF) is challenging the perception of

brokers as the low-rate/better customer service alternative (particularly among nonbranch/monoline lenders). As a result, bank MMSF are making major inroads due to convenience and customer service. Armed with differentiated products, more than 2,800 mobile mortgage sales agents are operating in Canada today. The evolution of MMSF and the role major banks choose to play in the broker channel will have significant implications for the future of broker originated lending in Canada. If banks choose to stay in the broker channel, Canadians will have more choice and competitive pricing. Brokers will also need to raise their game and increase their level of client service sophistication. However, if banks withdraw from the channel, it will dramatically restrict the supply of mortgages in the broker channel. 5. Investments in technology will benefit consumers in terms of speed and convenience in obtaining a mortgage. As more lenders make technological advances, quick turnaround and visibility on deal status will improve, ultimately benefiting consumers. Improvements to workflow management tools streamline back-office operations, facilitate accurate and timely front-end communication with consumers, and allow lenders to proactively handle exceptions and reduce turnaround times. For example, if a borrower wants to know whether they can increase their mortgage to win a bidding war, the lender can now evaluate the risk and provide them with an answer within four to six hours – compared to the several days it used Continued on page 45


REM DECEMBER 2010 45

LEGAL ISSUES

2. The purchaser raised no questions about repairs for a very lengthy period after closing. 3. The purchaser did not before closing look into whether repairs were done or were satisfactory. 4. The parties intended the repair obligations to merge with the closing. ■ ■ ■

By Donald H. Lapowich

T

he purchaser of a motel sued both the vendor and the husband and wife team of real estate agents. The court found that there was no doubt that the vendor misrepresented revenues and therefore the value of the motel. The purchaser spent nearly $1 million on the property but in the end was unable to afford to keep it. Significantly, it was found that the real estate agents were relied upon by the purchaser as advisors and influenced the purchasers’ interests to purchase. A fiduciary duty clearly was created with a dependency on the agent. Both the vendor and the agents were liable and the agents were responsible for restitution of almost $1 million. ■ ■ ■

Another case involved a purchaser who did not enforce a condition of sale, and ended up losing the benefit of the condition. The purchaser agreed to buy a house conditional on a home inspection. That inspection indicated items needing repairs, including the roof. The purchaser and vendor signed a paper that stated six items must be repaired before closing. The condition was waived, and the deal closed without anyone raising any issues with respect to repairs. Two and one half years later, the purchaser said a leak in family room was caused by the vendor failing to repair the roof. Under these conditions, it is no wonder that a court held there was a merger on the deal closing: 1. Repairs were said to be done before closing.

In another case, a vendor retained a real estate agent to sell its restaurant. The listing expired but the agent found a buyer willing to pay $1.5 million. The buyer was flipping the restaurant to another entity for $1.85 million. Once the buyer asked the agent to get an extension from the purchaser to remove conditions in the first sale transaction, the agent, in trying to obtain the extension (without disclosing the flip) became a fiduciary to the vendor – and needed to fully disclose all the

The agents were liable and responsible for restitution of almost $1 million. information he had. Even so, the court determined that the original vendor did not sustain any loss as a result of the agent’s breach. As we have pointed out in the past, if there are no damages “caused by” the agent, then there is no recovery. No damages were awarded to the vendor. 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

7 emerging mortgage trends Continued from page 44

to take using a manual process. 6. The super-broker networks will continue to consolidate. In recent years, increased competition, heightened compliance requirements and rising technology costs have pushed the broker market to consolidate, with smaller shops merging into super-broker networks. In 2005, almost 70 per cent of Canadian brokers were employed by one of five broker houses. Today, this figure tops 85

per cent as new mid-tier networks have emerged. As a result, the quality of the remaining firms is much higher (for example, more consistent training for brokers, better technological enablement, greater negotiating power with large lenders on behalf of consumers for better products and rates). 7. Niche lenders with specialized product offerings will emerge via the broker channel. As the participation of new

lending institutions in the mortgage broker channel continues to evolve, niche lenders with specialized products will emerge via the broker channel. In doing so, they will provide new options to groups of Canadians who previously had few mortgage options available to them due to their financial circumstances (for example, new immigrants, the self-employed and individuals with credit challenges). REM

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46 REM DECEMBER 2010

It comes down to this

THE PUBLISHER’S PAGE

newspapers as well as television, radio and electronic media to any situation is so bad these days it should make all who stop and think about it weep. It isn’t just this discussion about the real estate industry; it is all events, all stories and all articles about everything. It is maddening to see the slap dash, bang it out in a hurry and don’t worry about accuracy today because nobody’s going to care tomorrow attitude in so many alleged news providers. We are losing more and more outlets of accurate information every year. We have been losing them for the last several decades. I grew up counting on the media for reporting facts and there was a time we would get it. Here in Toronto we had a wonderful newspaper rivalry between the Toronto Telegram and the Toronto Daily Star. They would go to great lengths to get the story. The antics and trickery that reporters went to beat each other to a source or the real facts of a story were legendary.

By Heino Molls

T

here’s a lot of ink getting laid out about the agreement between CREA and the Competition Bureau regarding MLS. The most thoughtful comments related to this are available here in REM and on the website www.remonline.com. There are also comments on our web pages that are important because they come from those in the field. Real estate brokers and sales representatives who deal with the situation first-hand. The worst reporting on all of this I am so sorry to say is in the mainstream media. The damage done by the major

The bottom line was to get it right. That the story had to be accurate was a given. To write up a sensational piece and get it out first was the ultimate goal but it had to be correct. Even with all the tricks and chicanery they never cheated. To be caught out was the worst thing that could happen to any newspaper, radio or television news program. Sadly that seems to be gone today. We have many news outlets where reporting an item first is now the top priority. Writing an explanation of what an item means is secondary and must be equally fast. Lost by the wayside is truth and accuracy. Years ago a large news organization would have a team of regular reporters to cover events related to a particular field or beat. Today most reporters must cover several beats. Major newspapers may have one writer cover real estate one day and computer technology the next day. The writer is not an expert on either topic and that is understandable, but to have a writer not know anything about the field he is

assigned to is reprehensible. We have that every day in our media outlets. It is hard to blame the news media because they just don’t have the financial resources to assign a team of reporters to anything. So one reporter or one freelancer is charged with getting a story “fast�. It comes down to money. It doesn’t come down to accuracy. Fifty years ago a young girl named Marilyn Bell swam across Lake Ontario. It was an incredible achievement. Before the swim, the Toronto Star cleverly arranged to get her exclusive story and shut out the Telegram. As Ms. Bell came to shore completing her swim, an ambulance pulled up to take her to the hospital. It was a rented ambulance loaded with Telegram reporters. They almost got away with it until someone recognized one of the reporters and exposed the scam. Today there would never be a team covering an event, let alone two teams competing with each other. At most there would be a reporter and a photographer. More

    

Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, visit www.remonline.com To add a listing to this calendar, email jim@remonline.com Canada’s network of leading independent brokers

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Buffini & Company Turning Point 2010 Dec. 6 – 7, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto www.buffiniandcompany.com

Calgary Real Estate Board’s Annual Forecast Conference & Trade Show Tuesday, Jan. 18 BMO Centre (formerly the Stampede Roundup Centre), Calgary www.crebforecast.com

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often than not the reporter would double as the photographer for the newspaper or take a video for TV as well as report the event. All of this saves money. Delivering a wide array of accurate news faster and cheaper than anyone else cannot be done with one overworked reporter on each beat. So it comes down to this: CREA and the Competition Bureau have come to an agreement that does not change the fundamentals of Realtors selling property. The major news media outlets have rolled out stories of life altering, dramatic, mind boggling changes to how people sell their homes. REM and remonline.com have accurate stories about it and some important, thoughtful comments from Realtors working in the field. Which one do you want to read? Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email heino@remonline.com. Website www.remonline.com REM

La Capitale Real Estate Network National Performance Gala Saturday, Feb. 5 Sheraton Centre, Montreal fmasse@lacapitalevendu.com New Brunswick Real Estate Association AGM & Conference March 29 – 31 Delta Beausejour Hotel Moncton, N.B. Erika Smith – esmith@nbrea.ca London St. Thomas Association of Realtors Trade Show Tuesday, Apr. 26 London Convention Centre, London Jenny True – jenny@lstar.ca Toronto Real Estate Board Realtor Quest May 4 – 5 Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto www.realtor-quest.ca

Compiled with the assistance of Bob Campbell at Colour Tech Marketing, www.colourtech.com


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December 2010