December 2014

Page 1

Issue #306

December 2014

RCMP apologizes to sales rep for damage to reputation Page 3

Subdivision sales

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Page 18

Selling on Salt Spring Island Page 22

Small marketplace, big results Jennifer Gale’s innovative programs pay off Page 8



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RCMP apologizes to sales rep for damage to reputation T

he RCMP has issued a formal apology to Ottawa commercial real estate professional Gillian Burnside for “any damage caused to her reputation” after her help with a covert security project turned into a publicity nightmare. “It started out as an honour – an opportunity to secretly assist the RCMP’s Technical Investigation Services Branch with commercial real estate services to secure and lease premises for a national covert security project identified only as project RAVE,” says a news release by Burnside. But it turned into negative publicity when a frontpage story appeared in the Ottawa Citizen’s City section in 2011. The headline was, “RCMP lease case leads to search of realty office.” The article followed a series of earlier stories beginning on Feb. 5, 2010 that linked Burnside’s then boyfriend, an RCMP superintendent and “top covert operations expert”, to an alleged fraudulent

$3-million lease agreement, and falsely stated among other things that his “realtor girlfriend” benefitted from a $70,000 commission on the deal, says Burnside’s release. Burnside started legal action to defend her reputation and recently reached a mediated settlement with the RCMP. “The RCMP hereby offers a public apology for any damages caused to Ms. Burnside’s personal and professional reputation as a result of the publicity garnered after an unknown source provided RCMP information to the media about her acting on behalf of the RCMP in a 2009 real estate transaction,” says a statement released by Burnside and the RCMP. “Further and in hopes of correcting negative publicity when Ms. Burnside was named in media reports, the RCMP acknowledges that Ms. Burnside acted professionally and provided valuable commercial real estate services to the RCMP. The RCMP has never

asserted that Ms. Burnside acted improperly when providing those services. The RCMP would not hesitate to recommend Ms. Burnside’s commercial real estate services to others.” Burnside says that “what happened after that newspaper story came out has been a nightmare. The article and associated negative comments spread on news sites and blogs across the Internet.” She says she couldn’t defend herself against any of the allegations due to her agreement with the RCMP. “With this agreement in place, and with the incorrect and biased tone of the disclosed information given to the media, I felt defenseless,” she says. “Anyone who did an Internet search on my name with the words ‘Ottawa’ or ‘real estate’ would incorrectly assume that I was involved in some sort of fraudulent activity with the nation’s police force. My reputation as a Realtor was tarnished, something that I have had to overcome.”

In her news release, Burnside says, “The insult in all of this is that it took years to disclose the truth – that the process of my selection as a Realtor to help the RCMP find a location for project RAVE was completely legitimate. I was a strong candidate because I had the right skill set, and in fact I represented the key ‘known and trusted’ element of a covert operation,” she says. The investigation of Burnside’s then-partner garnered no criminal charges and all internal RCMP charges were dismissed. The final verdict was announced and published in the Ottawa Citizen on Jan. 31, 2014. The RCMP told Burnside they have not yet identified the “unknown source” that prompted the writing of a series of stories for the newspaper. Michael Church, managing director of the Ottawa office of Avison Young Canada and Burnside’s current boss, says, “All we have to trade on is our reputa-

Gillian Burnside

tion and integrity. A story like the one that appeared in the local paper, and now lives in perpetuity on the Internet, can cast a long shadow.” “I have turned the page on this difficult time,” says Burnside. “I needed the RCMP to act on the integrity they stand for, and I am pleased that in the end, they did the right thing.” She says details of any financial compensation are not available under the terms of the mediated REM settlement.

RECO surveys consumers’ real estate regrets

Is it time for listing retainers?


By Tina Gardin

survey by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) says 41 per cent of Ontario homeowners and 45 per cent of first-time homebuyers wish they had done something differently when buying or selling their home. Among things buyers/sellers reported wishing they had approached differently was having a better grasp of the process, seeing more houses, having a home inspection, spending more time researching and interviewing real estate professionals before selecting one and understanding the contracts involved better. A further 32 per cent of firsttime homebuyers reported that they did not feel prepared and knowledgeable about the process, and only half of Ontario homeowners aged 18 to 34 felt they were prepared and knowledgeable about it. “These results are a telling reminder that a good understanding of the real estate process can lead to fewer long-term regrets,” says RECO Registrar Joseph Richer. The study was hosted on the Angus Reid

Forum for RECO as part of a province-wide public-education campaign to inform Ontarians about common real estate myths. The campaign also includes an interactive online quiz that invites Ontarians to put their real estate knowledge to the test. Among the survey’s findings: • 52 per cent of those surveyed incorrectly think buyer and seller representation agreements are standardized, when many terms and conditions in real estate contracts, such as how long they will remain in effect, are actually to be discussed between the brokerage and the client. • 43 per cent report there were sections of the real estate contract when they bought or sold a home that they did not fully understand. • More than one-third of Ontario homeowners (36 per cent) mistakenly think that after a real estate contract is signed, a buyer or seller has a trial period during which they can cancel it, and an additional 33 per cent said they do not know.

• 26 per cent incorrectly believe that signing a representation agreement to buy or sell a home with one brokerage doesn’t limit a buyer or seller from working with representatives from another brokerage (21 per cent did not know). • A majority of respondents (58 per cent) could not identify the conditions under which a real estate professional could represent both a buyer and a seller in a transaction. • Only 42 per cent correctly know that real estate professionals may represent both sides in a deal only if the parties agree to “multiple representation” in writing. (Nineteen per cent incorrectly think real estate professionals are able to act for only one party.) • 55 per cent incorrectly believe that if you place a conditional offer on a home and the deal doesn’t proceed, you automatically get your deposit back. The survey was conducted online from Oct. 10 to 14 among 1,043 randomly selected Ontario adults who own their home. REM

here are many misnomers around the process of selling a home and the role that the salesperson plays in the process. One of the most misunderstood elements of the process is the MLS system. Salespeople and consumers are often surprised when they discover that typically three-quarters of the listings on MLS at any one time do not sell. This is interesting when you consider the emergence of mere postings on the heels of the Competition Bureau’s campaign to allow various service levels. Posting fees are non-refundable. Whether you are a fan of posting fees or not, they are a nod to the reality that there must be a value placed on the actual service of placing a property on the MLS. As an entity, the MLS is a direct result of the investment of Realtor time and money. The board fees, the national and provincial organizations, the collection of data and the structure of policies and bylaws all culminate to provide a reliable valuation system. This arguably sustains the marketplace for the largest consumer investment of all. Is it reasonable to expect access to this expensive, labour-intensive system on a contingency basis alone when the failure rate is so high? Couple board fees, virtual tours, collaterals, staging, photos and advertising and the financial burden can become onerous for the salespeople if the property doesn’t sell. Perhaps a posting retainer will soon become the norm for those salespeople who would like to operate a sustainable practice and an elevated, consistent level of service.


Tina Gardin is the broker/owner of Sutton Group Quantum Realty Inc., with offices in Lorne Park and Oakville, Ont. It’s the exclusive home of the The New Age of Real Estate Program. REM


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


e/Max Camosun in Victoria, previously owned by Wayne Schrader, has been sold to three partners of Re/Max of Nanaimo. After 25 years of ownership, Schrader sold his interests to Mike Heinrich and a father-and-son team, Charlie and Graeme Parker. They have owned the Re/Max of Nanaimo franchise since 2007. The deal includes Re/Max Camosun offices in Victoria, Westshore, Oak Bay, Sidney and Sooke. Schrader has worked in real estate since 1980 and bought the Re/Max franchise when it was one small office on Douglas Street in downtown Victoria. All 170 real estate agents and 18 support staff will remain with the Camosun offices. Schrader will stay on to help with the transition up until the New Year.

Oakville. The company has joined the Royal LePage Network and will operate under the banner Royal LePage Realty Plus Oakville. Racioppo opened Royal LePage Realty Plus in 2004. Since then the office has nearly tripled in size, from 40 sales professionals to more than 115 now. Reed started selling real estate in 1985 and earned his broker’s license in 1998. In 1999 he opened his own brokerage. Dan Levy is broker of record for the new brokerage. An industry veteran, he started selling in 1964 and moved into management 11 years later. Levy has been a senior branch manager, district manager and area manager for Royal LePage since 1994.

leveraging mobile and cloud-based technologies and reliable business systems.” Royal LePage Vidorra’s office is in Saskatoon’s historic Rumbley building. ■ ■ ■

Blair Thompson is now broker/owner, along with Norm Bauer, at Re/Max Four Seasons Realty in Collingwood, Ont. Thompson has spent most of his life in the area and has seen the small town transition through changes and growth. He says the acquisition of the Collingwood and Thornbury offices are an excellent opportunity to grow with the area.

tion within a Korean-Canadian community, which grew significantly in the 1980s and 1990s. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the brokerage establish itself in the pre-construction world, setting an all-time record in 2011 with 1,100 new condo units sold. Stan Cho is managing Royal LePage New Concept, which has 150 salespeople serving Toronto, Thornhill and Mississauga. ■ ■ ■

A Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) Hearing Panel suspended Bryon Howard’s real estate licence on Oct. 16 for three months. The panel also ordered Howard to pay fines and costs totaling $54,500 and complete additional education. Howard was

registered as a real estate associate with Keller Williams Realty South or Signet Commercial or Re/Max First during the conduct in question, says RECA. The panel found that Howard “participated in fraudulent or unlawful activities in connection with real estate transactions” as well as several other offences. ■ ■ ■

Slavens & Associates, a boutique brokerage in Toronto, recently opened a second office at 192 Davenport Rd. in the exclusive Yorkville neighbourhood. Richard Sherman, broker of record, Darren Slavens, managing partner and broker, and Daniel Pustil head up Continued on page 6

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Carlo Racioppo, broker/owner of Royal LePage Realty Plus in Mississauga, Ont., has entered into a partnership with Gary Reed, broker/owner of the brokerage formerly operating as Coldwell Banker Home & Family Realty in

Norm Fisher recently opened Royal LePage Vidorra in Saskatoon, Sask. Vidorra is Spanish for “good life”. Fisher says the brokerage will “strive to help our clients achieve the good life through home ownership” and it will “help our agents enjoy the good life by guiding them to do business efficiently,

John Cho, broker/owner of the company formerly operating as Century 21 New Concept in Toronto, has joined the Royal LePage Network. The company now operates under the Royal LePage New Concept banner. Cho entered the business in 1979 and opened his first Century 21 brokerage in 1989. He attributes much of his company’s initial success to its strong market posi-

Carlo Racioppo

Gary Reed

Dan Levy

Blair Thompson

Darren Slavens

Norm Fisher

John Cho

Stan Cho

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■ ■ ■

The owners of Re/Max Camosun and Re/Max of Nanaimo, from left: Graeme Parker, Mike Heinrich and Charlie Parker.

The Royal LePage Real Estate Services Plantation Place branch in Mississauga had a pumpkin carving contest to celebrate Halloween. Shown are some participants who had never carved a pumpkin before.



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Multiple Listings

Open house guide to nosy neighbours and lookie-loos T

oronto brokerage says while the ritual of holding an open house attracts many potential buyers, they only account for five per cent of sales. Sales reps hold open houses to attract new listings, but many open houses also attract nosy neighbours and lookie-loos out for some free weekend entertainment. “TheRedPin’s philosophy is all about customer service, so we do open houses on our listings because clients are accustomed to this norm. We’re working to shift this mindset,” says Rokham Fard, co-founder “There are some networking benefits, but an open house is just that – open. That guarantees you will get people coming through who have no intention of buying the home.” The brokerage commissioned body language expert, author and keynote speaker Mark Bowden of Truthplane to develop what they are calling “the world’s first comprehensive field guide for identifying ‘lookie-loos.’ ” “One surefire way to tell who’s serious and who is snooping is to look at what, and how, they touch things. A snoop will simply push open a door, while a buyer will handle the doorknob to feel for quality,” says the company. “A snoop will lean against the kitchen counter, while a real buyer will run his hands over it. The latter indicates the buyer is

already feeling a sense of ownership in the home.” TheRedPin says, “A lookieloo enjoys poking around other people’s homes; for many, it’s a hobby, or cheap weekend entertainment. If a visitor has kids tagging along, they are probably a serious buyer; no one out for fun would drag whining children along. Similarly, if parents or inlaws are in tow, it’s likely you’re dealing with serious buyers.” It says someone who is serious-

Continued from page 4

the management team. “This is a natural progression for our brokerage,” says Slavens. “It has always been our goal to remain a boutique and this office allows us to stay true to our vision.” The brokerage sells both residential and commercial real estate.

Others may instead feel amused by their cover being blown and respond with a smirk. This smirk is known as the “duper’s delight,” and is a widely acknowledged “tell” in any dishonest situation, Bowden says. TheRedPin says a real buyer is looking for a move-in ready home that will require little work before the truck arrives. If a visitor is talking about grand plans like tearing out walls, gutting the kitchen and bathroom, or even

One surefire way to tell who’s serious and who is snooping is to look at what, and how, they touch things. ly looking to buy will answer any questions succinctly. So if simple questions result in rambling, tangential soliloquies, you’re likely dealing with a lookie-loo. “People who are trying to deceive will go into far too much detail when responding to simple questions,” says Bowden. “Real buyers will keep their answers short and sweet.” Lookie-loos who get caught in the act will likely respond in one of two ways, both of which involve the mouth, he says. Some will be angry at being caught; this will manifest itself with a tight upper lip and a slightly dropped chin.

critiquing the furniture and drapes, they are likely a lookieloo, it says. Couples will look for a home together, but some will also spend their weekends open-house-hopping for sport. While it seems counterintuitive, the couples who disagree and argue are likely the true potential buyers, the brokerage says. “Searching for a home is a process,” says Bowden. “Couples discover what they like and don’t like by looking and discussing. If two people are in complete agreement, they’re probably voyeurs, REM not buyers.”

■ ■ ■

Newport Realty in Victoria has been named Western Canada affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, a division of the auction house and a global player in the luxury home market. Founded in 1979, Newport Realty is led by president John Hayes, managing partner Jack Petrie and managing broker Michael Ziegler. It has 70 real estate agents in Greater Victoria. “This Christie’s partnership will open more doors for us and provide a higher profile and level of service for our valued clients,” says Hayes. “It is a dynamic era for all of us at Newport Realty.”

John Hayes

The brokerage also recently acquired Gordon Hulme Realty in Sidney, B.C. ■ ■ ■

The Kingsway branch of Re/Max Professionals in Toronto has relocated to a new contemporary space at 4242 Dundas St. W. The move comes as the previous Kingsway location in Humbertown Plaza is being redeveloped. The new location provides as “designer feel,” open layout and high-tech equipment for salespeople, the company says. REM

Michael Ziegler

Jack Petrie




Director, Sales & Marketing DENNIS ROCK

Distribution & Production MILA PURCELL

Digital Media Manager WILLIAM MOLLS

Art Director LIZ MACKIN


Graphic Design SHAWN KELLY

2255B Queen Street East, Suite #1178 Toronto, ON M4E 1G3

Phone: 416.425.3504 REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule REALTOR® and REALTORS® are trademarks controlled in Canada by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify licensed real estate practitioners who are members of CREA. MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned by CREA and identify the services rendered by members of CREA. REM is published 12 times a year. It is an independently owned and operated company and is not affiliated with any real estate association, board or company. REM is distributed across Canada by leading real estate boards and by direct delivery in selected areas. For subscription information, email Entire contents copyright 2014 REM. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in REM are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN 1201-1223

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The new Kingsway branch of Re/Max Professionals.

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Small marketplace, big results

Jennifer Gale didn’t “know one single soul” and was broke when she launched her real estate career in Western Ontario. Now, her innovative programs have earned her a spot as a top producer. By Kelly Putter


f Jennifer Gale was a betting woman she’d stake a fortune on her father, a highly competitive horse jockey, for imparting her with a strong backbone, an unparalleled focus and a killer instinct that’s earned her a spot as one of the top sales reps in Woodstock and Oxford County in Ontario. “I’m a fighter and I won’t let anything tear me down,” says the 38-year-old Re/Max a-b Realty agent and single mother of two. “I’ve encountered a lot of circumstances where it would have been easy to fold and I didn’t. For whatever reason, adversity propels me.” Them’s fighting words, for sure. Gale grew up in the small town of LaSalle outside of Windsor where she watched her father, a celebrated standard bred horse driver, suffer 47 broken bones over his career but still keep showing up for work. “That instilled in me a fighting spirit,” she says. “There’s an attitude of ‘I’ve got to make it happen. No one else is going to do it for me.’ ” Her success is definitely not of the horseshoe kind. Gale overcame a number of obstacles before recently hitting the Re/ Max Platinum Club, a marker that means she’s reached earnings of $250,000-plus, an almost unheard of feat in a smaller marketplace such as hers. “When I started out I did not know one single soul in this community and financially, I was on hard times,” she says. “I sold my first six houses without a car or cell phone. I was a single mom and I was hungry.” A big-city girl previously living in Etobicoke, Gale left the bright lights behind nine years ago to build a life in

the restaurant business with her then-husband. The couple sank all their money into Buddie’s, a restaurant and bar in Innerkip, about 12 km north of Woodstock. It lasted a year and Gale learned the hard way that feeding the public is not as glamorous as it looks. “I couldn’t stomach people not giving me a tip,” she says with a laugh. “I couldn’t stand it. I mean, at least leave me a quarter!” But perhaps it’s her hospitality background that has helped shape her real estate practice today. Her approach to marketing is fresh and modern and perhaps a bit unconventional, given that she’s practicing in a relatively conservative town known for its agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Gale has been known to throw feasts and spa parties to elicit interest in her higherend real estate holdings. Key agents, home inspectors, lenders and top-notch clients are often invited to partake in these catered and well-stocked affairs. She’s also held spa parties for female clients, including agents and mortgage brokers. Gale views the expense as the cost of doing business. Besides, she adds, it’s always a great night out with colleagues and friends. “That’s more my element. I would rather approach people that way than try to hard sell them. It’s real and it’s relaxed and it’s who I am. I want to create an energy. I like the idea of bringing more urban ideas into a smaller community and I think we’re ready for change and progression.” Is the schmooze and booze working? Seems to be. While Woodstock and Oxford County

is comparatively small, she works hard at developing strategic relationships with high producers in surrounding cities such as London, Windsor, Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo for maximum agentto-agent referrals. She has also developed core relationships with investors, builders and even a private sale company. Gale has also implemented a successful investor program that she ties into her threeperson property management company. About four years ago, she recognized a need in the marketplace for smaller landlords, the type who hold two or three properties. Today, she also finds tenants for her landlords, allowing them the freedom to buy more properties because the whole process has become seamless and headache-free. “We sell homes to investors and guarantee a tenant before closing,” she says. “There’s a little more leg work but the return is worth it. We’ve developed some key relationships with people who own a lot of property and who ultimately sell properties. Last year, we had one client buy 11 properties and rent them all out. It’s a really small, minute niche that a lot of Realtors shy away from.” A former interior designer, bartender and event planner, Gale is a firm believer that life, like business, is all about the experience and the energy you bring to it and draw from it. This philosophy has become something of a mantra at home with her daughters Lola, 8, and nine-year-old Chloe. “I try to teach my girls about good values and happiness and how to have fun,” she says. “I want them to look at art and

Jennifer Gale (Photo by Rachael Little)

design and the beauty in life. We talk about people that have struggles in the world and see the beauty in someone overcoming something and realize there are greater issues than the problems we have. There are beautiful stories out there about how people overcome adversity. Those stories can help put things in perspective so they can get over smaller things like people making fun of their hair that day.” Gale’s growing business success hit a plateau a few years ago so she decided to hire a coach to help her over the hump. She implemented simple but invaluable strategies such as waking up an hour earlier and posting her business goals around her home and work space. She worked out

feverishly, which she says was a game changer. In a short time, she managed to hit and even surpass her goals. Gale is now in the midst of forming a real estate team with Valerie Mounsteven, formerly of Royal LePage, and a full-time assistant, Karie Montgomery. The trio is looking at building an even bigger team under the Re/Max banner. They’re hoping to bring a fresher look to their business and they’ve hired a graphic designer to help revamp and rebrand the team’s look. “We have an amazing chemistry together,” says Gale of Mounsteven and Montgomery. “There will be learning curves but we’re in it together and we have a really good team energy.” REM


Franchise promises brokerage benefits without the hassle

By Tony Palermo


ealty Point is a new franchise model that promises high-income real estate brokers the benefits of running their own brokerage without the administrative hassles or hefty monthly expenses. “There are significant advantages for high-income real estate agents to operate as a corporation,” says Realty Point president and founder James Hussaini. “But running your own brokerage is a huge hassle. It involves a lot of paperwork, rules to keep up on top of and carries substantial administrative and operational costs.” He says his company’s system “takes care of the pain of running a brokerage while still providing the advantages and lets Realtors focus

on selling and making money.” Hussaini says one of the main advantages for operating as a corporation is the significant tax savings it can provide. As a sole proprietor, all business income is taxed at a personal tax rate and the more you make, the more tax you pay. High-income earners can pay over 40 per cent of what they earn to the federal and provincial governments. But corporations pay a fixed tax rate of just 15.5 per cent on the first $500,000 of profit. This allows for significant tax deferral and lets salespeople pay the higher personal tax amount only on the money they draw from the business for their own personal use. “That’s another huge advantage to this tax deferral strategy,”

says Hussaini. “It’s better suited for varying income cycles. By running your own brokerage as a corporation, you can keep your money in the corporation until you need it, saving you from paying more tax than you need to.” Operating a brokerage also carries a huge overhead, says Hussaini. There’s the cost of the building, the utilities and insurance on the building and substantial administrative and operational costs in terms of employees, software and equipment. Hussaini also says that being a great salesperson doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good business owner, operations manager or administrative person – all skills required to operate a

successful brokerage. Here’s how Realty Point works: Brokers buy a franchise for an initial cost of $5,000 for a five-year term and pay a flat monthly fee of $500. Each transaction (actual closes) also costs $500. In return, the broker receives a fully furnished and equipped private office, use of a state-of-the-art boardroom, access to the latest back-office technology and remote storage using cloud-based technology and full administrative services including reception, appointment making, transaction co-ordination and support, monthly reconciliations and new recruit co-ordination. The brokerage currently operates out of three physical locations

Coldwell Banker site allows sellers to upload info to listings


oldwell Banker Real Estate recently unveiled a new digital platform that allows sellers to actively participate in marketing their home by sharing personal stories, photos and videos. The company has completely redesigned its consumer website, “Seller participation fills a void in the real estate process,” says Sean Blankenship, senior VP of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “Up until now, digital real estate platforms have lacked the tools to truly capture a home’s character and personality. Our new platform will now solve the age-old question ‘what if the walls could tell a story?’” A recent study conducted by the Coldwell Banker brand in the U.S. found that 87 per cent of consumers feel the process of buying and selling a home could be improved, the company says. “For years, the real estate industry has focused on targeting buyers. In many ways, sellers are being ignored in the existing process,” says Blankenship.

“That’s why Coldwell Banker has taken a more personal approach by empowering sellers to be as involved as they would like in the selling of their home. This will in turn benefit buyers all over the world.” Hollywood actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman are among the first sellers to take advantage of the new platform. Their home’s listing on the Coldwell Banker digital platform provides a personal account of what the home meant to them. “We love this house and so do our two girls. We’ve had the best dinner parties and holiday feasts,” wrote Macy on the home’s listing page. “Felicity and I’ve spent hours on the back deck watching the fantastic colour as the sun sets over the ranch. We put a secret door between the kids’ bedrooms which has been a huge hit….” Sellers are now invited to upload stories, photos and videos to their listing page. Once approved by their sales rep, these

The new home page for Coldwell Banker’s re-designed consumer website.

personal contributions from the seller will be displayed alongside the agent’s images and listing description. The brand plans to launch a seller dashboard that provides real-time feedback from buyers on how the seller’s listing is performing. The ability to access this information will allow sellers and their agents to determine how to best market the home, the company says. Nearly three-quarters of consumers surveyed by the company agree that too often real estate listing descriptions incorrectly portray the home for sale. Coldwell Banker says its new digital platform gives buyers more

transparent and authentic information directly from sellers. Buyers will have the ability to rate different home features, the home description, photos, videos and more. Additionally, buyers can take their own photos of a property, write notes and create comments to be shared through the platform with their selected circle of friends and family. Andy Puthon, president of Coldwell Banker Canada, says, “Our new site offers a greater degree of Canadian content than ever before, while leveraging the overall digital strategy that encompasses our global brand.” REM

James Hussaini

in Toronto, Markham and Oshawa. Hussaini plans to add other locations. He says another advantage to Realty Pointy is brokers build their own brand, not someone else’s. When it comes to naming the franchise, the only requirement is that “Point” is added to the end of it. In other words, if your brokerage is called ABC Realty, your new franchise name will be ABC Realty Point. Your brand name always comes first, and not the other way around. “These are not mini-brokerages that operate under another banner,” says Hussaini. “Your brokerage is totally independent. And, Realty Point is a lot cheaper than the other systems out there.” While the company provides the turn-key brokerage solution, salespeople still need to get their broker of record licence and are ultimately responsible for signing off on all transactions. Hussaini says he started in the real estate industry in 2003 and in his first year was named Rookie of the Year in his firm. By 2006, he was operating his own brokerage and that’s when the reality of what he was paying for rent, and administration and operations costs, hit him. The tipping point was when his best-performing agent surprised him one day and said she was opening her own brokerage. When he asked why, she said it was because her accountant told her she needed to incorporate to save money and to run her business more efficiently. Realty Point is holding a formal launch information session on Wed. Dec. 10 between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm at 240 Duncan Mill Rd, Suite 600, in Toronto. To register or receive more information, visit or phone: 1-800-410-8516. REM

We are where our clients are. In the best locations. From a small boutique shop in Europe to more than 550 shops in the best locations around the world, we’ve delivered quality service and personal attention to the clients who’ve welcomed us. Wherever you find beautiful properties, premium service, and extraordinary living, you will find Engel & Völkers, the world leader in luxury real estate. Boutique brokerages opening soon in Aurora, Calgary, Oakville, Victoria & Toronto.

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©2014 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. This advertisement is not an offering of a franchise, and where required by law, an offering can only be made 14 days after delivery of the applicable franchise disclosure document.


Anti-spam rules: There’s more to come

By Martin Rumack


anada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. It may affect you whether or not you are located in Canada, and whether or not you are spammer. The effect of the wide-sweeping legislation impacts a number of your regular business activities including: 1. Sending e-mail messages to existing or potential customers and clients; 2. Operating your company website; and 3. Offering a downloadable app or other software for the public’s/customers’ mobile phones or computers. The enforcement of the new rules is supervised by three regulators in orchestration with enforcement offices and the courts. Any

individual who believes they have been affected by your non-compliance can commence a private lawsuit against you. The business community is and should be concerned that this may lead to a new subject matter for class-action lawsuits. CASL is coming in phases. Most of it came into force on July 1, 2014 and will be followed by the provisions related to computer programs coming into force on Jan. 15, 2015. The provisions relating to a Private Right of Action will be enacted on July 1, 2017. Section 6 of the CASL contains the basic prohibition against sending “commercial electronic messages” without initially obtaining consent and complying with the form and content requirements (including the mechanism to unsubscribe). Commercial electronic messages are defined broadly to cover emails or other electronic messages that have as one of their purposes “encouraging participation in a commercial activity”. Whereas the United States Anti-SPAM Act, established on Dec. 16, 2003, relies on an “optout” consent basis (a functioning unsubscribe mechanism), the CASL requires an express “opt-in”

consent from recipients. Additionally, all requests for consent and almost all commercial electronic messages must meet the required sender and contact person identity and the withdrawal of consent requirements. The same “opt-in” consent requirement also applies to the installation of a computer program on a computer, smart phone or other computing device. Almost all computer programs are covered by the legislation. There are specific requirements for the form and consent of certain user notices and acknowledgments. The CASL encompasses other activities including the use of address harvesting tools, the inclusion of misleading sender and subject matter information in an electronic message and the alteration of transmission data in an electronic message. The scope of the CASL is not limited to activities in Canada. The law applies to electronic messages where the computer system used to send or access the message is located in Canada. In the case of computer programs, the law applies if the computer program is installed on a computing device in Canada, or if the person who installs or directs the installation of the pro-

gram is situated in Canada. The result is that organizations outside of Canada who send messages to computers located in Canada or install computer programs on devices in Canada, will be subject to the CASL. The limitations on spamming are broad in nature, so you have to carefully study the exceptions to determine those situations in which the legislation does not apply to your message, or in which you need no consent to send your message. These include responses to commercial inquiries, internal business communications, legal communications and family or personal communications. There are certain other exceptions for many businesses. These include: 1. Business to business communications – Commercial electronic messages sent between different organizations (or their employees, representatives or consultants) provided the organizations have an existing relationship and the messages concern activities of the recipient organization. 2. Charities – Messages sent by charities, with the primary purpose of raising funds for the charity, and if it is a registered charity in accordance with Canada’s Income Tax

Start planning your retirement now

By Lior Zehtser f you’re like me, you brush off any advice or suggestions someone gives you about retirement. “I have lots of time to think about retirement” you probably think to yourself (or thought to yourself at some point). But as we all know, people get busy, life moves quickly and out of nowhere retirement is around the corner. As


a real estate agent, you may have been lucky enough to cash in on some large cheques. But without proper planning, you’ve now wasted precious years without taking advantage of compound interest, tax-free savings and tax-deferrals. Keep reading to understand your options at any point in your life. For those of you who are thinking of retiring soon, there’s still ample opportunity to ensure you are financially ready for your glory years. Retirement isn’t what it used to be: The cost of living has increased and government benefits and pensions aren’t what they used to be. Many are not even thinking about retiring at 65 years of age like they used to. Start thinking now about what you can do to supplement your retirement income: A possible part-time contract position

related to the real estate industry, where you can use your wealth of knowledge? Real estate coaching and consulting? Lead management? TFSAs: Whether you’re young or old, you should max out your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). This government registered account provides you with tax-free interest or gains. Your TFSA is used as a vehicle to invest in safe investments (GICs, bonds) or more risky ones (equities). The general rule of thumb is to move your money to safer investments as you slowly reach retirement so that you don’t experience extreme volatility close to retirement (and risk losing a significant portion of your investments if the stock market has a rough week or month). RRSPs: Any contributions you make to RRSPs in a given year will reduce your personal taxable

income. For example, if you earned $40,000 in one year and contributed $5,000 to an RRSP account, your taxable income is now $35,000 (as opposed to $40,000 before the contribution). Remember that since the funds were contributed to your RRSP account before being taxed, you will have to pay tax on these funds when you withdraw the money. But the assumption is that upon retirement, your tax rate won’t be as high as when you are working, thereby reducing your ultimate tax debt to the government. Your RRSPs are working for you by earning investment income during all those years. There are a lot more rules and regulations when it comes to RRSPs so take some time to read the vast amount of literature available on the net.

Act. The exemption does not assist non-profit organizations. The new CASL creates significant changes for many current businesses practices, whether large, medium or small. Businesses must review in detail their policies and day-to-day practices regarding electronic marketing, customer communications, software and network management. Speak to your legal advisor to obtain advice relating to any interpretation issues as it applies – if it does – to your business. Develop, outline, introduce, implement and observe, monitor and update your compliance plan. In my opinion, the CASL could and should have been dealt with much less red tape, bureaucracy and at significantly less cost and upheaval to Canadians. What else is new when the government gets involved? Toronto lawyer Martin Rumack’s practice areas include real estate law, corporate and commercial law, wills, estates, powers of attorney, family law and civil litigation. He is co-author of Legal Responsibilities of Real Estate Agents, 3rd Edition, available at Website: REM

Your home: If you’re in a booming real estate market you can take advantage of the increase in your home’s value in a few ways: 1. Downsize and cash in on the huge boom over the past number of years. 2. If you’re mortgage-free or close to it, re-finance your home at a low rate of interest and invest that money at a higher rate (earning a spread). But speak to a professional first, as this can carry some risk with it. 3. Rent out a basement or portion of your home to supplement your income. Lior Zehtser is a chartered accountant and partner of ConnectCPA, Chartered Accountants ( His diverse experience in taxation, accounting and real estate comes from working in both public practice and industry. He was as a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers and holds a real estate license with the Toronto Real Estate Board. Email REM

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Is your brokerage website so 2001? By Amanda Ross


wenty years ago something happened that changed our world forever and brought science fiction of the past to the present and information to anyone, anytime. The Internet became commercially available. Within a few years, businesses everywhere started creating websites to showcase their products and/or services. That included real estate agents and brokerages. It was all so new and exciting to have a “website” and “domain”. The next step was to figure out what exactly they should be putting on the website. Some standards arose and pages called About Me, Sellers, Buyers, Featured Homes and Our Agents became the norm. Set it and forget it was the idea then. Create a website and they will come. Now we live in a very different, highly connected, excruciatingly tech-savvy world. The problem is that many websites haven’t moved as quickly. I’ve looked at a few that say 2001 all over them! The online community is everchanging, growing and thriving

and it will continue to do so, but that doesn’t mean you have to change your website every year. Perhaps every two to three years, though. Any longer and you’ll start to look out-of-date. So, here we are coming to the end of 2014 and I ask you to take a look at your website. You need to know why anyone would come to it. Who are the people that are checking you out? As a brokerage, you’ll have your own agents, their clients, potential clients and potential recruits. Your agents and their clients generally want the same things – they want to see that their listings are being posted to the brokerage website with their name attached. They want their photos and video linked to the listing as well and they want it to be completely automatic. Your website could easily be a lead source if you add some additional advertising layers in with Facebook posts, ads and YouTube sharing. Potential leads are looking for something a bit different. This group wants to see homes. They want to be able to search, browse and easily share the ones they like and learn about open houses. Another reason they come is to find an agent. Hence, having a photo and bio of every agent is important. For larger brokerages you also need an easy-to-search platform.

The online community is ever-changing, growing and thriving and it will continue to do so, but that doesn’t mean you have to change your website every year. Perhaps every two to three years, though. Have a signup form of some kind, whether it’s to gain access to all listings through a VOW feed, or to download a document about each neighbourhood you serve, statistics or something that interests them enough to give you their contact details. Potential recruits are a completely different thing. This is where I find many of these websites lacking. A recruit will be looking at a few different brokerages – especially a newbie because they’re told to do this in their training. What makes you stand out over your competition? If they went to Brokerage A’s website and found tons of great information and then went to Brokerage

B’s and only found one page with a short overview and contact form, who do you think they’re calling first? Recruits want to know about: 1. The leadership team, so add a page with photos and a brief bio. 2. The brokerage history, how long it’s been around, some highlevel stats about homes listed over the years, number of solds. 3. Your involvement with the community or that you encourage it through your agents. 4. What training will be available to them, how long it will take and what the process will be. 5. A mentor program, if you offer it.

6. What kind of “vibe” your office has (best to get them in and have a meeting so they can see for themselves). 7. What support will be offered through the admin team. 8. What your agents think about being part of your brokerage. Get as many testimonials (videos are best) from your agents and post them to YouTube and connect them to your website and social media. 9. How easy it will be to sign up with you. 10. What investment will be required by them. I would leave this to discuss during a live interview, but you may touch on what you offer. A good-looking website is also a big plus, but information is still gold. You can use a template website or make your own with some tools out there or hire someone to create one for you (I’m a Wordpress fanatic - it allows for a ton of customization). Amanda Ross is the owner and creator, educator and strategist of RealtyBoost (, where she helps brokerages and sales reps build strong brands, smart strategies and more knowledge that brings value to their clients. Follow Amanda on Twitter, @ImAmandaR and/or RealtyBoost at @RealtyBoostCA. REM


Arizona setting ‘great getaway for Canadians’ I

f you have clients who are dreaming of a true western experience (down to horseback riding through the desert) who want the glamour of an authentic southwest-style home in a rugged and diverse landscape, yet want the option of being waited on hand and foot, you might want to tell them about a place you know in Arizona. The Residences at The RitzCarlton, Dove Mountain is set high in the Sonoran Desert just northwest of Tucson at the foot of the Tortolita Mountains. The 800-acre resort community is on “high desert, with lots of vegetation and is tucked into the mountains,” says Dove Mountain’s community developer David Mehl, who bought 6,200 acres in the mountains in 1984. He says he chose “the best part of the mountain” for the Dove Mountain community. Work began in 1996 and is now about 40-per-cent complete. The picture-postcard setting has thousands of majestic saguaro

cacti and dramatic views in every direction. Some home sites are adjacent to a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Others are in open spaces showcasing the desert landscape and mountains. Customizable and custom homes, which range from 1,900 to 5,400 square feet, are designed to bring the outdoors in. Highly customized plans are offered so buyers can make the home their own, Mehl says. Custom estate sites are available for those who don’t mind waiting 10 to 12 months for the home of their dreams. For those in a hurry to enjoy the serenity and beauty, there are some alreadybuilt spec homes for sale. As you might expect with a property associated with the RitzCarlton, top-quality services and amenities are offered. Ownership in the Dove Mountain community includes access to The RitzCarlton Hotel and Spa, which opened in 2009, and golf memberships.

The community has a 45,000square-foot clubhouse that includes a fitness centre, tennis courts and restaurants. Housekeeping, valet, concierge and gourmet delivery services are available. The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Resort and Spa includes 225 guest rooms. Five restaurants within the community offer everything from causal pool-side grill and alfresco dining to gourmet. Ritz-Carlton would not have come if this community wasn’t unique, Mehl says. Buyers love the location, 25 miles northwest of Tucson and within 90 minutes of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, but it is the serenity and spectacular setting they love most, he says. “It’s a great winter getaway for Canadians.” Buyers range from 40 to 70 years of age and include professionals who are partially retired, retired or work remotely. Canadians are allowed to live in the United States for six months of the year, and Dove Mountain

The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

residents stretch their stays to the max because they enjoy it so much, Mehl says. The first person to buy a home in the mountain resort was a Canadian and other snowbirds have since followed suit, drawn by an unbeatable combination of sophisticated homes, top-quality services, outdoor activities and a beautiful desert location. It is adjacent to the 3,000-acre Tortolita Mountain Park and 2,400-acre Tortolita Preserve.

Prices range from the high $600,000s to $2-million. Dove Mountain pays referral fees to agents. “We are friendly and make it easy for the agent,” Mehl says. “We hired a terrific salesperson, Rich Oosterhuis. People may recognize his name. His dad, Peter Oosterhuis, is a famous golfer. It doesn’t hurt that Rich has golf background.” For information: 877-4517205; REM

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35 Years Congratulations 35 Years of Service

RE/MAX INTEGRA, Ontario-Atlantic Region would like to acknowledge and thank these Broker/Owners for their dedication of Service to the Real Estate Industry, their local offices, their agents and to RE/MAX. Please join us in congratulating each of these Broker/Owners for their exemplary years of service, their consistent contribution and leadership in their respective markets.

30 Years 30 Years of Service

of Service


25 Years 25 Years KEITH BRADBURY RE/MAX United Inc.

GEOFF MCGOWAN RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd.

of Service

of Service

BOB ARMSTRONG RE/MAX Georgian Bay Realty Ltd.

PETER DEGROOT RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc.

CATHY GREGORCHUK RE/MAX Crown Realty (1989) Inc.



CARL VANDERGOOT RE/MAX Centre City Realty Inc.

JANET EATON RE/MAX Hometown Realty Inc.

ALEX PILARSKI RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.

LEO WEEL RE/MAX Clearview Inc.



By Debbie Hanlon


o the math and a subdivision would seem to be the best way to make the most money with the least amount of work for a real estate agent. All of a sudden you have 10, 12 or 20+ brand-spanking new listings and each one of them will make you money once they’re sold. On top of that they’re all right there in one place, so you don’t have to run all over town to show them. On top of that again they’re typically aimed at the same market segment so you don’t have the headache and costs of marketing your two-apartment in the west end one way, your fixer-upper in

Long division, short division, subdivision - Part 1 the east end another way and the waterfront house you have listed yet another way to yet another market segment. Sounds great, doesn’t it? There is just one problem; most agents think a subdivision is a subdivision. It isn’t and that’s the first thing you have to realize when you get one. According to the dictionary a subdivision is “an area of land that has been divided into smaller areas on which houses are built.� To the developer who builds them, that’s just what it is. To the municipal council who taxes them, that definition will do just fine. Unfortunately for a lot of agents, that definition is as far as they go when it comes to understanding what they have and how to market it. We need look no further than the candy-coated world of wedding rings and true love forever to draw a parallel that will help us see the difference between what people think a sub-

division is and what it really is. Pop quiz: you and your one and only have decided to make it official, tie the knot and combine RRSPs. What you’ll need, other than patience, understanding and compromise, is wedding rings. You’ve narrowed your choices down to two styles that are similar in price and both are in the same jewelry store. Ring A has a poster above it that says, “This ring is made from the finest metal ingredients that have been scientifically bonded under the correct temperature to ensure molecular strength no matter what household chore you do while wearing it.� Ring B has a poster above it that says, “Because your love deserves it.� Which ring do you think most recently engaged couples would opt for? Anyone who said ring A, please go to the nearest nerd convention and we’ll talk later. Most of you would agree that ring A is lacking something. It’s

being sold as a physical object, while ring B is being sold as a reflection of the love that brought you to that store. A is an object, B is a lifestyle statement of an ideal. It’s not much of a shift to move this example over into the world of subdivisions where the same marketing philosophy should apply. A regular stand-alone listing is usually sold on the physical merits of the house, age, improvements, number of bedrooms and so on. Only a small portion of the marketing addresses the neighbourhood unless there’s something obvious, like it’s close to schools or malls. Most people can drive down the street the house is on and determine if they like that neighbourhood or not. Your subdivision can be sold as brick and mortar as well, physical buildings where you can sleep and eat that will keep you dry and warm while you do so. You can also sell the neighbourhood in the same

way as with a stand-alone listing. That would be fine if a subdivision was a subdivision, but as I said before, it isn’t. I know what you’re thinking: “Well Debbie, if a subdivision isn’t a subdivision, what is it?� First let’s be clear on what a subdivision is not; it is not a house, it is not a collection of houses and it is not just a neighbourhood. A subdivision is a community that you help give birth to. Sound a little heavy? Don’t worry, in my next column I’ll help ease the labour pains and give you some tips and techniques on how to market and sell any subdivision that’ll add up to money in the bank. Happy selling! Debbie Hanlon is a real estate broker who has helped train hundreds of sales reps and brokered and managed a national real estate franchise. She also founded an independent real estate firm. Currently she coaches sales reps all over the world. She is the CEO of All Knight Inc, a global educational mobile company, as well as a published children’s author and the creator of the national I’m No Bully Show. bieandfriends

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How I Quadrupled my Real Estate Business Because of One Short Meeting I Almost Missed

By Sam Wilson (Lakewood, CO) By Sam Wilson

I spent a lot of time at that 2011 conference talking to other members to see what they were getting out of the program. I was completely motivated to really start implementing this system that had changed so many lives. Between 2002 and now, Craig has made it even easier. 90% of the material is now online and dead-easy to access and implement with a simple click of the mouse. You get all his ads and how and where to run them; all the backend follow up materials such as scripts, reports and so on; his entire listing and buyer presentations (these are key). He really just gives you everything to get qualified leads pouring into your business eff fortlessly and inexpensively, and then gives you the tools to just as easily convert that business into contracts and paychecks. The result: in 2013 I sold 80 homes with just one assistant and one OSA. Today I have 6 OSA’s, 3 staff members and one ISA. I generate 400 leads and close 8-10 deals a month. Now that I understand how it works, I’m in the process of hiring 10 more OSAs by the end of 2014 so I can at least

double my production for 2015. Here’s the best part, I’m personally only doing about 2 deals a month myself right now and my plan calls for me to sell zero homes myself in 2015, and still net over $500,000. I’m honestly working a lot less and my wife and I already have 4 weeklong vacations planned in the next 12 months. I only wish I listened to the rest of those CDs, read the entire manual and jumped on all of it in 2002‌.if I did, I’d probably be retired by now! n



Hi, my name is Craig Proctor, and I’ve had the privilege of sharing my proven real estate system with over 30,000 agents from all over the world. This is the same system I used myself in my own highly successful

real estate career right here in Canada. (As you may know, I was twice named the #1 RE/MAX agent in the world and was in the top 10 for RE/MAX International for 15 years.) You may have seen my information in this publication before and wondered if it was for real. Well, Sam’s experience is NOT unique. It’s indicative of what happens when you send for my free Book & CD and follow my system. If you’d like to hear agents like yourself who are successfully using my system, you can call my toll free eavesdrop line at 1-800-700-0958. everything you want to know about my Quantum Leap Real Estate Success System in detail and it won’t cost you a penny.

Here’s how‌ !

I got into real estate in 2002 and, like most agents, I struggled to figure out the business. As part of my search, I read an article, much like this one, and called an 800# to listen to a recording from this guy, Craig Proctor from Canada, who I found out was the top RE/MAX agent in the world. It was good and I ordered his stuff – books, CDs, reports and the rest of it. I enthusiastically listened to only one of the CDs and read about a quarter of the huge manual. I tried the $1,000 USP guarantee and ran a few classified ads. It worked, but I just didn’t follow through with anything. I never even unwrapped any of the other CDs or read the rest of the printed materials. Then someone called to invite me on conference calls and to come to something called a SuperConference. I blew it off and moved on to just doing business by referral for the most part. I struggled to do 20-30

deals a year by myself, working 70-80 hours a week, until 2008 when the US market crashed, and I focused on getting bank foreclosure listings. Then in 2011, when the market improved and the bank foreclosure business dried up, I needed to get back to “regularâ€? real estate if I wanted to stay in the business. So I signed up for the KW Family Reunion in March of 2011. I dragged through the entire 3 days going from breakout session to breakout session‌. endless presentations of ways to sell more houses. None of it interested me, and in fact seriously made me consider getting out of the business altogether. Completely discouraged and exhausted, I went to the very last breakout session of the entire conference. It was Craig Proctor talking about the Quantum Leap system. What Craig shared in that short meeting was the most sensible thing I had heard all week. It was completely logical and made far more sense than anything else presented and, without hesitation, I signed up for the SuperConference in Orlando in May 2011.

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By Marty Douglas “The thing I hate about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” – Phyllis Diller.


erry Christmas and best wishes for the season and New Year from all of us here at – oh wait, there’s just me. Perhaps I dabbled in the eggnog a tad early. Speaking of the New Year, I hope that your planning includes the best little real estate conference in North America, the Banff Western Connection, Jan. 29 – 31. Networking, technology, education combined with wonderful food in an incredible setting. And you can ski! Check out the programs and register online at . If you haven’t visited the Canadian treasure of Banff in winter, what are you waiting for? A trip you can’t write off? Now to the serious business of earning a living so you can get to Banff – writing effective offers. My family has been in the real

Offers with no deposits estate business as licensees, property owners and developers for more than 50 years. My mom and dad were licensed from the late ’50s until, in my mom’s career, 1988. I started my career in 1970 and am still stumbling along. My sister and brother have built and owned everything from modest singlefamily dwellings to houseboats to waterfront acreages. My daughter, having worked for the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) as a licensing clerk, is now a seller of her third home. And this is where the column begins. Within two weeks of her listing her home she considered three offers, none of which included a deposit with the offer or upon acceptance. All contemplated a deposit upon removal of conditions. There are many excuses for this practice and most involve a lazy salesperson or a buyer who actually had or imagined a bad experience retrieving a deposit. Here’s what the RECBC has to say on the matter in its Professional Standards Manual. “(i) Need for a Deposit – Contract law does not require that there be a deposit in order to create a binding Contract of Purchase and Sale. The requirement that a contract include some form of consideration is satisfied by the mutual exchange of promises by the seller and the buyer. However, it has long been recognized that including a deposit, often an

amount between five per cent and 10 per cent of the offered price, represents an expression of the serious intention of the buyer. “The Council is aware that some buyers’ agents are drafting offers that do not provide for any deposit to be paid until after subject removal. One reason stated is a concern that the seller will not authorize the release of the deposit to the buyer if the buyer does not remove the subject clauses. “Some consumers, and perhaps even some licensees, are under the misconception that a Contract of Purchase and Sale is not binding on the parties until all subjects have been removed. The obligations under a contract are created once there has been an offer and acceptance (including counter-offers, if any). Some buyers believe that not including a deposit makes it easier for them to not proceed, if they choose, with their obligations under the agreement. “Buyers’ agents need to be cautious that buyers do not assume that, by not providing an initial deposit, they have somehow diminished their responsibility to make best efforts to satisfy the terms and conditions of the contract and to remove subject clauses.” “It is the Council’s view that listing brokerages, in situations where buyers offer no deposit until removal of subject clauses, should advise sellers of the merits of a deposit being received from buyers. Increasing a deposit can be

accomplished by way of a counteroffer from the seller.” The emphasis in the last paragraph is mine. By the way, I love the title of the reference, Professional Standards Manual. What that means is that if the practise or the clause or phrase you use isn’t in here, chances are you’re not a professional. These are “professional standards”. The amateur standards are found in the Coles Notes version. And this just in from the reporting of suspicious activity desk. It wouldn’t be year-end without a FINTRAC observation. Your FINTRAC correspondent couldn’t help but notice a recent FOI request by the CBC asking for details of the number of suspicious cash transactions in British Columbia casinos, reported to the provincial government and presumably on to the feds. From the Vancouver Sun: “Gamblers flocked into four Vancouver-area casinos over a recent three-month period hauling bags of $20 bills that added up to millions of dollars in suspicious transactions, according to information provided by the provincial Finance Ministry in response to a freedom of information request from the CBC.” From the same news story, an online follow-up stated: “A CBC News investigation has discovered a rush of suspicious money

totalling almost $27 million flowed through two B.C. casinos this spring. Most of the mystery money that came in from midMarch to mid-June arrived in bundles of $20 bills – a common currency used to buy street drugs.” Mathematics reveals the nationwide scope of the money laundering. The Dogwood province rinsed $27 million IN CASH through the laundry in three months. B.C. has 13.1 per cent of Canada’s population (2011 census). Extrapolate that to an annual haul of $108 million in B.C. alone, then convert for Canada and you could argue the nationwide total exceeds $800 million. Thanks FINTRAC. Nice work. I’m on holidays when you read this – somewhere between Panama and New Orleans, closing my offshore accounts. Contact Marty Douglas by email at . Follow or connect with Marty on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He is a managing broker for Re/Max Ocean Pacific Realty in Comox and Courtenay, B.C. He is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C., the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

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“Perfect storm of change’ on Salt Spring Island

Selling real estate in B.C.’s Southern Gulf Islands is a unique experience because in secondary home regions, people act on their dreams, says managing broker Li Read. By Gayle Mavor

People move to Salt Spring Island “with a desire to live in an artist community, to do sustainable farming, to explore eco-housing design, to practice alternative approaches to healthy living and to enjoy a sense of apartness without being completely away from it all,” says Li Read. (Photo by Gayle Mavor)


alt Spring Island, the largest of B.C.’s Southern Gulf Islands, is the canvas that managing broker Li Read has painted with sales since 1989. She relocated to the island from Vancouver 27 years ago to provide care for an ailing family member. Li (rhymes with see) may be the only real estate professional you’ll ever meet whose fictional vignettes, her very own version of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, offer potential clients a pretty accurate snapshot of island life. Ozzie Jurock, president of Jurock’s Real Estate Insider newsletter, describes Li’s true love for the island as one of her strengths as a local expert. “If you’ve ever gone for a walk with her, her local knowledge is astounding,” he says. “That and her progressive approach to technology means that she’s the Realtor of note there.” In mid-September, she was on stage addressing an audience of 500 at Jurock’s annual Real Estate Outlook 2015 conference in Vancouver. You have to sell the area first,”

says Li. “You have to get people to come here.” As president of the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce, (a two-year term), she’s passionate about doing just that. She is active on all the main social media channels including YouTube. She’s always been a natural champion of local events. Although Salt Spring is home base, she has listings on every island in the vicinity including water-access-only retreats with multi-million-dollar price tags. In August, she had five waterfront listings on the island. She also lists and sells building lots. Her most recent endeavour is Skywater Acres, a new development on Salt Spring’s south end, which has five to 78-acre parcels. In 2002, tourist visits in B.C. lined up like this: Whistler. Tofino. Salt Spring. In 2012, Salt Spring slid to around 18th place. It would be easy to blame that change on the cost of ferry travel. A report, Boatswains to Bollards: A Socioeconomic Impact Analysis of B.C. Ferries issued in September did just that, detailing how skyrocketing ferry fees killed $2.3 billion in

economic activity in the last 10 years. But Li isn’t so sure it’s that straightforward. “The Gulf Islands are selfqualifying,” she says. “The people who are meant to live here will come, regardless of perceived barriers. Customers scan the Internet from all over the globe now. They have the opportunity to buy anywhere in the world. The competition of choice in the recreational/rural market is stiff.” No one has to move to Salt Spring or to Parksville/Qualicum or Sechelt. “These are ‘by choice’ regions,” she says. “In secondary home regions, people tend to act upon their personal dreams.” From late 2008 to early 2014, discretionary and recreational properties have been slow to recover. Jurock went so far as to use the word “disaster”. Li’s first entry into the business was with NRS. She then worked for a Re/Max brokerage for 11 years, seven of those as a managing broker. Two weeks prior to the 2008 crash, she joined Sea to Sky Premier Properties, a brokerage she refers to as an Internet-based business, complemented by agents who work from Whistler and West Vancouver.

Before the Internet, Salt Spring was mainly a place for retirees. “I’m seeing a shift in the demographic with different values,” she says. “In recent years, young families, entrepreneurs and knowledge workers with decent incomes are able to live on the island and work remotely. They might commute off island a couple of times a week by float plane or ferry. People arrive with a desire to live in an artist community, to do sustainable farming, to explore eco-housing design, to practice alternative approaches to healthy living and to enjoy a sense of apartness without being completely away from it all. We’re under an hour to Sidney and Victoria,” she says. Li says current potential buyers seem to be from Vancouver, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. There are fewer Americans than there were a few years ago. She says there’s a smattering of buyers from the U.K. and other parts of Europe. Some Chinese buyers are seeking summer places. “It’s a very cosmopolitan mix.” Recently, Li says she noticed an uptick in people from other provinces who are “interviewing” coastal areas. “Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands are always in competition with Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast,” she says. She surmises that these potential buyers may be planning to retire in one to three years and they’re trying to decide where they might be happiest. The last time there was a downturn in the economy, Li capitalized in a way that’s still serving her. In 1995, she enrolled in an intensive course at The University of British Columbia called Multimedia Studies. She learned to build a website using hypertext markup language (HTML) and Flash.

Few salespeople had a website then. She believes she was the first in her region. “People were just beginning to use pagers. Fax machines were new. I didn’t really know what I was doing,” she says. The past few years, she says, have been the “perfect storm of change.” It’s not easy to predict what’s going on in the market but she believes that there are indicators that suggest another uptick. Selling recreational/rural property is not for the impatient. It means a more intense experience with the buyer. “I’ve been communicating with them on the phone or Internet, sometimes for months. I pick them up at the ferry, they’re in my car for one to five days and we really get to know each other.” Listening, she says, is her greatest ally. “For five months – July, August, September and October – life is intense. You have to read between the lines, not only hearing their dreams but interpreting what they are saying, comparing that to the inventory and comfortable price ranges.” In the end, she says, “What buyers purchase rarely ends up looking like what they thought they came to buy. Discovering a secondary market means bumping up against other life choices. You have to be open to the element of surprise.” REM Li Read


Expectations of professionalism LEGAL ISSUES

By Donald H. Lapowich


ach new listing brings its own unique issues and at times problems for a real estate professional. There may be times when you will enter into a specialized area that you are not completely familiar with, but which you must enter to properly represent your client’s interest. The goal is to serve the client and avoid errors and omissions claims against you (lawyers, real estate brokers/agents, insurance brokers/agents, engineers, architects and others). Remember that the specialist that you choose must have the knowledge and training in the challenging area requiring services. First, you must choose carefully and second, you must recognize the specific area of specialism in order to avoid an errors and omissions claim. Working in conjunction with the specialist (whether in your own field or in a related area, such as legal, environmental, health, boundaries) can involve problems of co-operation. If a case is brought, exactly who is responsible? You will be responsible if you do not recognize the need for the specialist and if the specialist you choose is not knowledgeable in the area demanding attention. I I I

Arbitration: Has the reality profession and its governing organizations, directors, officers and other real estate promoters ever considered inserting a clause in an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (standard form) that any civil disagreement or action against any

and all real estate professionals involved in the transaction shall be resolved by arbitration only and not by a civil litigation proceeding? Whether a court would uphold such a clause is food for thought. It certainly might be a better procedure than the open court system. It would be a private proceeding, fast and allow the parties to choose the arbitrators and get on with their business. I I I

Clauses in an agreement – interpretation: In a recent case, the vendor sold its property for $1.6 million. The vendor took back from the purchaser a mortgage for $800,000. The mortgage agreement indicated that if the purchaser did not obtain zoning approval, the vendor would have an option to repurchase the property for $1.2 million free of liens and encumbrances, except for the $800,000 vendor take-back mortgage. The agreement in handwriting stated “for greater certainty” if the vendor exercised the option to purchase he would pay $1.2 million to the purchaser and the vendor take-back mortgage would be deemed to have been satisfied in full. As the purchaser did not obtain the zoning, the vendor exercised the option. Both the vendor and the purchaser in the action looked for an interpretation of the agreement wording. The judge found that if there was any ambiguity, it was completely removed by the sentence that said “for greater clarity (certainty)”. On appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed with the application judge’s interpretation. The words used by the parties themselves, especially the handwritten “for greater certainty”, led to the court’s conclusion. (457351 Ontario Inc. v. GolfNorth Properties Inc., 2013 ONSC 5298) 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 REM estate agents and lawyers.


Building a real estate investment portfolio, Part 3

By Eddy Boudiwan and George Hill


btaining a mortgage is an integral component of purchasing a rental property. You can expect to put between 20 and 35 per cent as the down payment and the rest is the mortgage. In investing, you have to use leverage to help you grow and increase the potential return on your investment. For example, you buy a property worth $100,000 and you put down $25,000. If the property is now worth $110,000, the extra $10,000 in upside is approximately a 40-per-cent return on

your investment. This is leverage at play – available in real estate but not in stocks or bonds. A traditional bank mortgage is not the only way to buy and finance investment properties. Let us look at a few other options that can be used creatively. It should be noted that some tools are riskier than others and are better left for experienced investors. Cash: This is a traditional method for down payment on a rental property, generally 20 to 35 per cent down. Cash can also be used to fully purchase the property with 100-per-cent down. Bank mortgage: Considered the traditional way of financing a rental property, by placing a mortgage of 70 to 80 per cent of the purchase price. We are often asked, “Should I choose a fixed or variable mortgage?” The answer is, it depends. If you are buying an asset that is turn-key and you plan to hold it for a long time, you may want to fix your mortgage, so as to keep expenses predictable. When buying an undervalued asset it

may make sense to use a variable rate while you are improving it. Once improved, refinance the asset at a higher value, with a new lower-rate, long-term fixed mortgage. Private money and vendor take back (VTB): You can use these vehicles as a second mortgage or stand-alone option. They will cost you more in interest as opposed to the traditional mortgage. VTB is typically used when the seller agrees to supplement your first mortgage with an additional percentage of down payment held by the seller, at a higher rate. For example, you take a 75-per-cent mortgage and the seller agrees to hold 10 per cent of the 25 per cent required down payment, for a premium. This drives your effective down payment contribution to 15 per cent, stretching your funds for investment. Be careful with the VTB and private money mortgages, and run your numbers meticulously, to ensure that your net operating

income from the property can handle the additional payments. We have used this method in the past, allowing us to improve on undervalued properties with the money saved via the VTB on the down payment. The improved properties were then refinanced at 75-per-cent loan-to-improved higher value, with a low interest mortgage. We were able to recover most of our initial capital taxfree while holding a stable asset, still with significant equity built in and a great yield from the ongoing rental revenue. Home equity line of credit (HELOC): Another option is to tap into the equity in your home. Ensure that the cash-flow from the property covers the property expenses, in addition to the HELOC interest you are paying (which is tax deductible). Joint venture (JV) funds: Investors who have exhausted their liquid capital typically turn to joint venture funds. The expert investor finds and manages the deal and invites money partners to

invest the cash required, in a marriage of resources. Each JV deal encompasses the following components: debt (the mortgage), investment expertise (the work) and down payment. The money partners put down the capital and the expert partner handles all the work, for a portion of the net profit on exit and some ongoing fees. When entering this type of agreement, you must be aware of who will be guaranteeing the mortgage. You must perform your due diligence on the operator and have your own lawyer oversee and manage the JV agreement. Real Estate Rangers is a real estate investment team that locates, operates and maintains properties for investors. Eddy Boudiwan ( and George Hill ( are the co-founders of the company. They have partnered with Taft Forward Management as their acquisition arm. REM

SEO a priority – but agents want help t my company, WebsiteBox, we recently surveyed 342 real estate agent site users in Canada and the United States about their search engine optimization (SEO) attitudes and activities. Here is a summary of what we found and our interpretation of the results. Where leads come from now: • A whopping 61 per cent said their primary source for leads is referrals. • Only five per cent said SEO provided their primary source of leads now. • Two per cent stated that payper-click (PPC) marketing is their main lead source. • 7.8 per cent said they are paying for leads from one or more sources. Other lead sources, such as print, were also lesser contributors, though only outdoor ads use (at three per cent) was lower than SEO.


This isn’t unexpected, as real estate professionals who provide good service and ask for referrals almost always do well. Which lead source could be No. 1 in the future? • SEO jumped to 31 per cent, while referrals dropped to 45 per cent. • PPC doubled to four per cent as a lead source they think could be much better. The response to this question indicates a shift in perceptions. While a majority considers referrals their best lead source now, many see the potential of lead generation from their websites. The doubling of the PPC percentage may tell us that they would even consider paying for clicks to generate traffic. We asked, which SEO activities do you spend time on now? • Keyword research – 54.3 per cent

• Content, website and blogging – 45.9 per cent • Website code, meta-tags, URLs – 35.9 per cent • Multiple other activities were each below 20 per cent, but “I haven’t tried anything” came in at 23.3 per cent. Real estate agents responding to this survey say they’re spending time on activities they know work for SEO, so it must be frustrating to continue to be buried far below the first page in results. With the majority all saying they spend time researching keywords and creating content that uses them, the next set of results is telling when it comes to how much they get done. We asked, what is most challenging about content creation? • 42 per cent say they can’t think of good content topic ideas. • 31.6 per cent know blogging is effective, but they don’t know what

to blog about. • 33.1 per cent think that it’s just too big a job to create a great website. • 17.5 per cent are thinking about hiring writers, but they don’t know what it will cost. Is it mostly a case of not seeing the forest for the trees? Perhaps. Simply making a note of client questions, such as, “What’s a good first-offer strategy?” to “What does title insurance cover?” can generate titles for dozens of articles or blog posts. Agents have answered these types of questions over and over throughout their careers. Now they need only start with the answers as content titles and create content that will work for SEO and for site visitors with those questions. The survey responses that define the job: • A whopping 90 per cent

By Peyman Aleagha

agreed with the statement: “I really should spend more time learning and doing SEO.” • 77 per cent want to be in charge of their SEO, not farm out the task. • 52.9 per cent want to spend less than five hours per month on SEO. • 27.4 per cent would be willing to spend from six to 10 hours per month on SEO. • 84.4 per cent want to spend from zero to $500 per year on SEO. • Now for the kicker: 69 per cent said, “The current SEO tools available just don’t get the job done.” Peyman Aleagha is founder and CEO of WebsiteBox, a Toronto-based company that offers real estate websites and tools. Email REM



By Chris Chopik


BC recently announced the results of the 2014 Home Location Study by RBC-Pembina and the trend is clear. Researcher Cherise Burda says “location efficient homes” are becoming more important to Canadian homeowners. “This Toronto-based study reflects trends that we see in report after report from all major Canadian cities,” she says. The study says that 81 per cent of respondents would give up a larger yard for a more walkable, less car-intensive location. A location-efficient neighbourhood is one where amenities and transit are more easily accessi-

The value of ‘location efficient homes’ ble and where a car is not a necessity. Only 19 per cent of survey respondents would choose a large home and yard where the car is required and commuting takes more than 30 minutes. The study examines home buyer values relating to home size and type preferences compared with location preferences. While demand for detached homes is still a top priority for consumers, more buyers are considering location-efficiency as a top priority when purchasing. As Realtors we see this trend reflected in the commonplace use of WalkScore in listings. The RBC-Pembina study hopes to go beyond the simple WalkScore to discover the underlying motivations and to measure the priority impact on buying behaviour. Burda says, “The real estate industry has real opportunity to make location-efficient information and costs more apparent.” Of course Realtors are experts in selling location, it’s what we do.

I would not use a poor WalkScore to market a home in the suburbs, or in a rural location. There are different priorities to marketing properties outside of urban centres. What this research really shows is that consumer demand is growing and the way we tell the story of location can become more impactful with purchasers, bringing more value to both our buyers and sellers in Canadian cities. Consider the information in this study as a clue for targeting your marketing to specific buyers. For example, the study notes that

the “zoomers, boomers and elders (60+)” prefer walkable areas, as do millennials (under 35), though Burda says that “there may be a supply problem. The availability of affordable family-suitable housing in cities may be a contributor to why families are choosing more car commuter-oriented locations.” This means we have a real opportunity to get behind the value proposition for urban living and to match it to market segments. The system I use to describe this is Recapturing Time and

Consider the information in this study as a clue for targeting your marketing to specific buyers.

Money Through Real Estate. The bigger picture reflected in this study is that lifestyle preferences are changing in Canada. As cities become more congested and the cost of car ownership increases, we see millennials preferring car sharing, bicycles and transit. As the aging population encounters mobility issues while optimizing lifestyle dollars, we see similar location-efficient demand shifting for different reasons. This shift is a fascinating opportunity to help clients revision their lives while they reduce their time behind the wheel and improve their quality of life. It is really what we have always done as Realtors, with a different awareness of the changing landscape of real estate in Canadian cities. Chris Chopik is a Realtor with Sage Real Estate in Toronto. He teaches the NAR Green Designation in Canada. 416-993-4870 Twitter - @evolutiongreen REM

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Good Works M

ore than 1,000 Royal LePage sales representatives, broker-owners, managers and business partners convened in Toronto for the Royal LePage National Sales Conference recently. Fundraising for the company’s charity, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, took centre stage on both the official agenda and at pre-conference gatherings, raising a record-breaking $120,000. Delegates from across the country connected with their peers and drew inspiration from speakers

including astronaut Chris Hadfield, marketing expert Scott Stratten and Olympic Gold Medalist Jon Montgomery. They attended an array of events held in support of the foundation, including a Toronto harbour boat cruise (hosted by Royal LePage Supreme Realty), an evening at the Hockey Hall of Fame (hosted by Royal LePage Signature Realty), a golf tournament at Glen Abbey (hosted by the Kate Vanderburgh Team of Royal LePage Real Estate Services), the Wee Dram for Shelter scotch tasting (hosted by

Reid Greiner, with the help of George Grdic, both of Royal LePage Real Estate Services) and a weekend-long motorcycle ride through cottage country with participants from across Canada. During an evening to explore the city, Brandy Hyland and Erin Gregory of Royal LePage Connect Realty collected donations at a photo booth at a popular Toronto nightclub. Royal LePage Estate Realty sponsored the Balloon Pop for Shelter, collecting donations from delegates who took their chances at winning prizes as noted inside each balloon. There was also a silent auction. A collaborative art project spearheaded by Genworth Canada encouraged all conference attendees to leave their mark on a large canvas, which was auctioned off for more than $5,000. This one-ofa-kind piece will be hung in the office of the highest bidder, Robert

The staff at Avison Young Winnipeg recently helped out at Red Road Lodge.

Avison Young’s Vancouver staff constructed a fence and vegetable garden boxes and weeded and power-washed at the YWCA Alder Gardens housing project for single mothers and their children as part of Avison Young’s Global Day of Giving.

Royal LePage Access Real Estate in Salmon Arm, B.C. recently presented proceeds raised at their office’s National Garage Sale for Shelter. A cheque for $3,628.44 was donated to Jane Shirley, executive director of the SAFE Society in Salmon Arm, B.C. From left: Lisa Nobbs, Erin Leek, Shirley Barker, Tara Gallant, Jane Shirley (SAFE Society), Doug Hubscher, Marv Beer (broker/owner), Susi During, Steve Lewis, Al Bingham, Mary Gould, Jeremy Osborne, Sara Jardine and Jill Bingham of Royal LePage Access Real Estate.

The Kate Vanderburgh Team sponsored a golf tournament at Glen Abby. From left: Genevieve Abbott, operations manager; sales representatives Jeff Monsinger, Kate Vanderburgh and Josie RaccoAttardo; and marketing manager Virginia Rowe.

The victorious team from Century 21 Infinity Realty.

Curtis Cottrell, VP of marketing, with Merrily Hackett, managing partner at Sutton Group West Coast Realty’s XLR8 conference.

On Halloween, Re/Max Blue Chip Realty in Yorkton, Sask. participated in the First Annual Pumpkin Walk. “We had a booth set up where we handed out close to 500 glowing helium-filled Re/Max balloons,” says Doug Jonassen, marketing manager. “We were also the sponsor of a fire show entertainer that had the crowd’s attention for his half-hour show.”

Sutton Group Signature Realty staff and salespeople spent a day assembling a new playground and donated $3,500.

Nirm Blatchford, VP of development, Easter Seals B.C., left, receives a cheque from Michael LaPrairie and staff of the Century 21 In Town Realty team.

Chili Bowl sales reps from Royal LePage Burloak, from left: Robert Simek, Jules Morris, Michael Brejnik and Ken Parkin.


Nimmo of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. In the live auction overseen by Kent Browne, broker/owner of Royal LePage Team Realty and Royal LePage Gale Real Estate in Ottawa, attendees bid on private excursions and exclusive events. The infamous Royal LePage faux fur coat, which is auctioned off at every conference, was sent home with Brad Johnstone, broker of record at Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre. Not to be outdone, an enormous stuffed animal “Royal LeMoose” – once owned by a women’s shelter in Regina – was auctioned off for $15,000 to 14 eager bidders, who will circulate this moose dressed as a Mountie to Royal LePage brokerages across the country during the next two years. ■ ■ ■

For Ela, a four-year-old girl with a neurological disorder, childhood hasn’t held all the joys that it should. Recently she got a reason to smile when Sutton Group Signature Realty in Mississauga, Ont. donated a playground through Million Dollar Smiles. Several people from the office volunteered a day to build it. Ela was in awe at seeing the beautiful, new playground in her backyard and to be cheered on by the crowd. “The day was an incredible team-building experience that was very fulfilling, emotional and humbling,” says Peter Vukojevic, broker/manager. Million Dollar Smiles (MDS) is a grassroots non-profit organization started several years ago by

Anna Lopes. MDS provides giant teddy bears, gift cards, digital devices (such as iPads for teens) and highly durable and safe playground equipment. To provide a playground to a child, a group must volunteer a day to assemble it and a minimum of $2,500 to cover the structure costs. The Sutton office donated $3,500. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 In Town Realty and Centum Pacific Mortgages in Vancouver recently hosted a charity golf tournament to raise funds for Easter Seals B.C. Through the tournament and other fundraising efforts throughout the year, they raised $4,872, which will be used to pay for children with disabilities to attend Easter Seals Camp Squamish next summer. ■ ■ ■

Staff from Avison Young Winnipeg recently lent a hand to Winnipeg’s homeless community at Red Road Lodge, a 40-room transitional housing facility that provides shelter and employment. All residents must be sober and drug free. Siloam Mission, another organization helping people in Winnipeg, hands out donated clothing to the poor and homeless, but used to throw out the children’s clothing. Red Road Lodge saw an opportunity to assist and put a program in place to take the children’s clothing, sort it and ship it to reserves up north where items are very expensive. Avison Young assisted in the process of sorting

the clothing at the mission and transporting it back to Red Road Lodge. AY also purchased pizza for over 40 of the volunteers, staff and residents at Red Road Lodge. ■ ■ ■

Mike Doiron, a salesperson with Exit Realty Associates in Dieppe, N.B., is trying to raise $25,000 to help expand a women’s medical clinic in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. “After visiting the DR Congo in the spring of 2007 I was moved by the plight of the Congolese women and girls,” he says. “In Eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world.” In November, Doiron is donating the commission from all his new listings to the expansion of the Clinic Papillon. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in Victoria hosted more than 100 salespeople, clients and suppliers at its annual Golf Party in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. This open invitation event featured oncourse contests, dinner, live and silent auctions and draw prizes. It raised $20,033 to benefit Sooke Women’s Transition House, Victoria Women’s Transition House, Margaret Laurence House and the Cridge Transition House for Women. “With the $20,000 raised this year, we have now achieved a 10year fundraising total of over $179,000,” says managing broker Bill Ethier. ■ ■ ■

Andrew Holt Auctioneer Kent Browne, broker/owner of Royal LePage Team Realty and Royal LePage Gale Real Estate in Ottawa, with Royal LePage Shelter Foundation executive director Shanan SpencerBrown. Mike Doiron

Dan and Anne-Marie Grantham have joined forces to create Sutton Group - Preferred Realty’s “#1 Selling Team” in London, Ont. Since 2000, the couple has donated more than $75,000 of their income to charities including Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Women’s Community House, Forest City Community Church and Habitat for Humanity. Dan has been making charitable donations since he got into real estate in 2000. “Anne-Marie and I just partnered this year and will be continuing to make a contribution on each sale to a charity of our client’s choice,” he says. ■ ■ ■

After a postponement due to tropical storm Arthur in July, organizers from Royal LePage Gardiner Realty in Fredericton were grateful for the unseasonably sunny and warm weather when they sponsored the first annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event recently. Sixty-two male participants collected pledges and walked a route through the community’s downtown beginning and ending at Fredericton’s historic City Hall, wearing the event’s signature red high heels, to raise awareness of gender-based violence. The event raised $15,862 for Fredericton’s Women in Transition House. ■ ■ ■

Staff from Century 21 Infinity in Oshawa, Ont. was recently recognized as the top fundraising team for their support of 5k on the Runway, a fundraiser for Hearth Place, a cancer support centre serving cancer patients and their families in the Durham Region. About 35 agents, friends and family members took part in this event, which was held on the Runway of the Oshawa Municipal Airport. They raised more than $3,500. The trophy they won is an actual airplane propeller. ■ ■ ■

Tapping into their community’s passion for cycling, Royal LePage in the Comox Valley recently hosted the first annual Royal LePage Petite Fondo ride in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation – a scaleddown version of the popular Gran Fondo event. Riders were offered three choices for distance through the Comox Valley’s quiet country roads and amazing mountain views, all departing from the Royal LePage office in Courtenay, B.C. The 35-km and 75-km rides had cyclists stop for tastings at the Beaufort and Blue Moon wineries, while the family ride kicked off with bike decorating and included a stop for ice cream before returning to the office for the post-ride barbecue. Royal LePage in the Comox Valley agents Lisa Zuk, Tina Vincent, Rob Saunders, Chris Brulotte, Monica McDermit, Mark Fleming, Carla Arnold and Barbara Magnessen rode in the event alongside family, business partners and community members. They raised $7,188 to benefit the

Comox Valley Transition Society (Lilli House). ■ ■ ■

The XLR8 Real Estate Conference hosted by Sutton Group - West Coast Realty attracted more than 650 salespeople recently, to hear high-calibre speakers and enjoy a team rally, an exhibitor showcase, breakout sessions, a fashion show, a cocktail party and draws for prizes. “Sutton West Coast has 1,700 Realtors so participation was very high,” says Curtis Cottrell, VP of marketing. “We made sure to have a fundraising component for our key charity, the Burn Fund. Firefighters in their gear showed up to help sell 50/50 tickets and pose for photos. From ticket sales at this conference, one lucky winner and the Burn Fund each received $1,700.” ■ ■ ■

Saira Waters and Tasha Noble of Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in Victoria welcomed guests to their second annual Raise the Roof for Shelter at The O Bistro in the Oswego Hotel recently. Guests were treated to canapés, a silent auction and the opportunity to mix and mingle. In just two hours, they raised $3,340 in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and three local women’s shelters: The Cridge Centre for the Family, Victoria Women’s Transition House and Margaret Laurence House. ■ ■ ■

Andrew Holt, 27, a sales rep with Sutton Group - Quantum Realty in Mississauga, Ont. has a spent most of his life coping with Crohn’s, a disease that is becoming increasingly common among Canadians and has no definitive cause and no cure as of yet. “When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s at eight years old, I was one of the youngest cases in Canada,” says Holt. “When I was growing up, it was a disease that not a lot of people had heard of. My classmates didn’t understand. Although I had great support from family and doctors, it was really helpful to have the support of people who have personal experience with the daily realities.” This month Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is launching the “Make it stop. For Life” awareness Continued on page 29


ronment (average age of inhabitants, education level, family type). Representatives from the city and history enthusiasts informed participants about the neighbourhoods being visited, as well as the various housing programs offered by the city. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Vidorra


Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Norm Fisher We are pleased to announce that Norm Fisher has opened his own brokerage and joins the nationwide Royal LePage network as a business owner. His company will operate as Royal LePage Vidorra, effective November 3, 2014.

enjoy ‘the good life’ by guiding them to do business efficiently, leveraging mobile and cloud-based technologies and reliable business systems.”

Norm first joined Royal LePage as a sales manager at Royal LePage Saskatoon where he shared responsibilities in running the office with its broker-owner Daryl Miller. In recent years, Norm has built one of Saskatoon’s most productive real estate sales teams now selling over 100 homes a year in the Saskatoon area.

203- 224 Pacific Avenue Saskatoon, SK S7K 1N9 Phone: (306) 934-4535 Toll Free: (888) 978-6676 Fax: (888) 424-8238

Vidorra is Spanish for “good life” and about his brokerage name, Norm says: “Royal LePage Vidorra will strive to help our clients achieve ‘the good life’ through home ownership. And, to help our agents

Royal LePage Vidorra’s office is located in the historic Rumbley building at:

Please join us in congratulating Norm, and wishing the team at Royal LePage Vidorra much success. For more information on the Royal LePage Franchise Network please contact †

†Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.

IABCI, the international real estate federation, was one of the organizations representing property and related professional services from around the world that met at the United Nations in New York recently to establish the International Ethics Standards Coalition. The coalition, which is made up of leading professional bodies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, North and South America aims to develop and implement the first industry-wide ethics standards for property and related professional services. Member organizations of the coalition, many of which already have their own codes of conduct focusing on things like trustworthiness, integrity and respect, will seek to align fundamental ethics principles through the new international standard. The ultimate goal is that professionals will undertake their work in an ethically consistent way, regardless of where in the world they are locat-

ed and the nature of their work, says FIABCI. The coalition hopes the new International Ethics Standard will be ready in early 2016, following which the member bodies of the coalition will implement it through their own training and guidance to professionals. ■ ■ ■

The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) and its brokers, in collaboration with the City of Montreal, recently invited future homeowners to join them in visiting eight vibrant neighbourhoods as part of the fifth edition of the free Discover Montreal’s Neighbourhoods event. Participants learned about the housing options in the different areas, as well as neighbourhood life and heritage treasures. The eight guided tours, which each lasted for 2 1/2 hours, included participation from local brokers equipped with market statistics as well as data about the living envi-

Whitney Blaisdell with Gord Archibald, EO of the ARR.

Royal LePage New Concept, Brokerage John Cho

Toronto, Thornhill, and Mississauga, Ontario

We are pleased to announce that John Cho broker/owner of the company formerly operating as Century 21 New Concept has joined the Royal LePage Network,effective November 1, 2014. The company now operates under the new name Royal LePage New Concept.

Today’s announcement adds 150 sales professionals to the Royal LePage sales force in Toronto, Thornhill, and in Mississauga.

John Cho began with Century 21 when he entered the business in 1979. He opened his first brokerage with the company in 1989.

1993 Leslie Street Toronto, ON M3B 2M3 Tel: (416) 449-7600 Fax: (416) 391-5243

John attributes much of his company’s initial success to its strong market position within a Korean-Canadian community, which grew significantly in the 1980s and 1990s. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the brokerage establish itself as a powerhouse in the pre-construction world, setting an all-time record in 2011 with 1,100 new condo units sold. The company continues to perform well in both markets. John is a well-known and active member of his community and is currently the CEO of the Korean Canadian Business Association of North Toronto ( Stan Cho is managing Royal LePage New Concept. †Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.

The Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC). “The Appraisal Institute of Canada is pleased to be among the first valuation associations to recognize the importance of international valuation standards,” says Scott Wilson, president of the institute. “AIC’s professional valuation standards – the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice – fully comply with the IVSC’s international valuation standards. As a result, AIC members have earned a strong reputation of providing valuations that national and international investors, regulators, governments and lenders can continually rely on.” AIC is one of the founding organizations of IVSC. With the advent of International Financial Reporting Standards, the global financial crisis and the transition within Canada to International Accounting Standards, the insti-

John, Stan and the sales professionals of Royal LePage New Concept can be reached at any one of their three locations: 333 Dundas St. E. Suite 207 Mississauga, ON L5A 1X1 Tel: (905) 624-2001 Fax: (905) 624-4923

Organizations representing property and related professional services from around the world met at the United Nations in New York to establish the International Ethics Standards Coalition.

5 Glen Cameron Road, Suite #5 Thornhill, ON L3T 5W2 Tel: (416) 223-3535 Fax: (416) 223-2004

Please join us in welcoming John, Stan, and everyone at Royal LePage New Concept to Royal LePage. For more information on the Royal LePage Franchise Network please contact †

Representing the local charities receiving grants, Marla Somersall accepts cheques from Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation board member Brian Canart and Brandon Area Realtors president Cam Toews.

Gord Archibald, EO of the ARR, with Zach Horvath.

Above from left: Julie Huestis, BASAC counsellor; Tracy Voigt, Realtor, Battlefords Mayor Ian Hamilton; Battlefords MLA Herb Cox; Stephanie Lees, Realtor; Al White, Realtor; and Nicole Whitton, BASAC executive director.


tute says it recognized and fully supported the need for valuation standards that addressed emerging global valuation requirements. “The stability of Canadian real estate markets has been evident in recent years with international investors pursuing Canadian assets,” says Keith Lancastle, CEO, AIC. “These investors have recognized the quality of the work our members produce. The signing of this MOU represents another step towards the recognition of our members as valuation professionals of choice in Canada.” ■ ■ ■

The CREB Charitable Foundation supported five local charities with its annual Governors’ Grants funding program this year. The recipients were Bethany Care Foundation, $25,000; Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, $20,000; Children’s Cottage Society of Calgary, $20,000; Horizon Housing Society, $10,000 and Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta, $25,000. “Every year, the Charitable Foundation’s board of governors receives numerous grant applications for various projects and works very hard to vet and select the charities to receive funding,” says Joanna Barstad, foundation president. The Governors’ Grants recipients were celebrated at a

Good Works Continued from page 27

and fundraising campaign. As part of the campaign, Holt will speak as an ambassador in front of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is also involved in research as the founder and a major contributor to the GEM Project, which is analyzing the possible genetic, environmental and microbial connections. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Village in L’ile Perrot, Que. hosted a Casino Royal evening with proceeds benefitting a Montreal women’s shelter, La Passerelle. More than 150 guests came to play professional casino games – for fun and prizes – and bid on an array of silent auction items. “We have raised thousands of

reception held at CREB recently. ■ ■ ■

Whitney Blaisdell and Zach Horvath are the latest recipients of the Association of Regina Realtors Scholarship. Both put the $1,000 to good use. Whitney, who graduated this past spring with a Bachelor of Education in Arts Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art, says the award allowed her to spend less time working and more time focusing on finishing her two degrees. She is a French teacher at Arcola Community School, where she says she’s living her dream. Horvath is in his third year of the Bachelor of Science program, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Biochemistry. He says the scholarship made it possible for him to focus on school without having to work during the semester. He plans to become a doctor, with a focus on cancer research. The ARR has awarded two $1,000 scholarships every year since 1977. The University of Regina selects the recipients based on criteria including graduation from a Regina high school, high academic standing and demonstrated ability in such areas as leadership, athletics and fine arts. ■ ■ ■

Improved voter turnout for the dollars in recent years for this very important cause,” says broker/owner Grant Staley. “Our Casino Royal event was well received by our community with many guests already excited for next year’s event.” ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services’ 5th Annual Charity Halloween Chili Bowl raised money for Halton Women’s Place and The Carpenter Hospice. There were 112 bowlers, including the brokerage’s sales reps, administrative employees and community sponsors. Many of the participants dressed up in Halloween costumes and prizes were awarded for the best outfits. Over the past 12 years, Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services has raised more than $225,000 to support the shelter and hospice. REM

recent municipal elections was the goal of an election campaign initiated by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). The board set up a website called No Vote, No Voice, a free non-partisan “virtual podium” for municipal candidates running in the districts comprising VIREB’s coverage area. Voters could get details on specific individuals at Information presented on the website was divided by riding and candidates were listed in alphabetical order. “Voter turnout in B.C. has traditionally been low,” says Blair Herbert, VIREB president. “We hope that No Vote, No Voice will encourage more Vancouver Island residents to participate in the democratic process by providing candidate information at the click of their mouse.” ■ ■ ■

The first Shelter Invitational Golf Tournament hosted by the Brandon Area Realtors raised $8,000, which was donated to the Manitoba Real Estate Associations’ Shelter Foundation in support of shelter related charities. The foundation matched funds for a $16,753 donation. Samaritan House Ministries – Mary’s House received a grant of $10,648, while Safe and Warm Shelter, care of Samaritan House Ministries received $6,000. ■ ■ ■

A $5,000 grant, funded by the Association of Saskatchewan Realtors (ASR) Quality of Life Legacy and awarded to Battlefords and Area Sexual Assault Centre (BASAC) in April, has been used to fund the continuing Girl Power program. Recently ASR representatives and others, including Battlefords Mayor Ian Hamilton and MLA Herb Cox, were on site at BASAC to take part in a session from the Girl Power program. “Girl Power is a 10-week program for adolescent girls between the ages of 9 and 12 years, and is a preventative program in that it introduces girls to concepts and skills prior to difficult issues typically faced by teens,” says Nicole Whitton, executive director of BASAC. “This empowering program is aimed at lifting the confidence of adolescent girls by helping them to understand media images and social expectations of women in the world today.” REM

For more information call 1-604-962-4333 or visit Phone: 905-624-4455 Fax: 905-624-4458

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Re/Max Integra honours brokers for 25+ years Re/Max Integra, OntarioAtlantic Canada recognized five of its broker/owners and managers for 25+ years of service at the annual Broker/Owner Meeting in Muskoka, Ont. Bob Armstrong of Re/Max Georgian Bay Realty has 25 years of service. He started his career with Re/Max in 1989 and currently has six offices with 43 associates. He has been in the real estate industry for 41 years after starting in 1974 at Fitzgerald Real Estate. Leo Weel of Re/Max Clearview in Stayner, Ont. also

celebrated 25 years of service. He started his career as a sales rep with Century 21 in 1988 and joined Re/Max of Wasaga Beach the following year. In 1996, he founded Re/Max Clearview with broker Sheila Campitelli. Another 25-year man, Geoff McGowan of Re/Max Affiliates Realty in Ottawa started his career with Re/Max in 1984 as an agent. Now he has two offices with 80 associates. McGowan has received the Re/Max Hall of Fame Award, followed by the Lifetime Achievement award and the Circle of Legends award. Marilyn Ruttan, 25-year Re/Max veteran, began her career in real estate in 1986 and by 1989

had obtained her brokers license. She bought a franchise in 1989 and opened as Re/Max of Wasaga Beach in November of that year. Celebrating 30 years with the company is Bob Stephens, general manager of 13 offices with Re/Max Real Estate Centre in south-central Ontario. A former president of the Cambridge Association of Realtors, he partnered with his wife Louise in 1993, which he says had a profound and positive effect in changing the direction of his professional and personal life. He has owned and managed successful offices throughout his career.

Exit recognizes top Canadian performers Exit Realty Corp. International announced the recipients of several top awards in Canada for the most recent production year. They were honoured at the company’s 16th annual convention at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. by Steve Morris, founder and chairman. Nathalie Gratton, franchisee

of Exit Realty Premier in Hawkesbury, Ont. won the Broker/Owner of the Year Award for Canada. Philip Duplisea and David Sawler, franchisees of Exit Realty Advantage in Fredericton and Oromocto, N.B. took Largest Grossing Single Office in Canada honours for the eighth consecutive year. Anne Squires, franchisee of Exit Realty on the Rock in Newfoundland and Labrador was, for the fourth consecutive year, the winner of Largest Grossing Office (Multiple) in Canada. The following recipients won top honours for all Exit offices in North America: • Carson Beier, franchisee of Exit Realty Solutions in Spruce Grove, Alta., Top Grossing Sales Award. Beier won a Platinum Sales Award (for closing 100 or more ends in the production year) and the Ruby Circle Designation (recognizing over 500 cumulative sales transaction ends in his career with Exit). He was also awarded

the Million Dollar Circle Designation (for closing over $1million in gross commission for the production year). • Jon Walker, franchisee of Exit Realty Inter Lake in Bridgewater, N.S. took home the Esprit de Corps award. • David Bathurst, sales rep at Exit Realty Metro in Dartmouth, N.S., received the Nasby’s Knuckles award – named after Bill Nasby, Exit’s VP of personal development, in recognition of achieving specialization in door-to-door canvassing. Canadians also took home $50,000 of the $75,000 grand prize monies awarded at the Chairman’s Ball black tie gala finale of the convention Scott Grace, franchisee of Exit Real Estate Professionals in Lower Sackville, N.S. and Katherine Antworth, sales rep at Exit Realty Charlotte County in St. Stephen, N.B. each won a $25,000 grand prize. They were among 22 contestants out of more than 1,400 in attendance. REM

Katherine Antworth with Steve Morris, founder and chairman, Exit Realty Corp. International. Scott Grace, left, with Steve Morris

From left: Erika Gileo, COO, Exit Realty Corp. International; Steve Morris; Erica Nasby, trainer; David Bathurst, sales rep, Exit Realty Metro; Bill Nasby, V.P. personal development; and Tami Bonnell, CEO. Philip Duplisea and David Sawler

Leo Weel

Geoff McGowan

Marilyn Ruttan

Carson Beier

Bob Stephens

Nathalie Gratton

Anne Squires

Jon Walker

From left: Walter Schneider, Re/Max Integra president and co-founder; Bob Armstrong of Re/Max Georgian Bay Realty; Pamela Alexander, CEO and managing director, North America; and Gurinder Sandhu, EVP, regional director and CFO.


Brokerage models: Give a person a fish

By Michel Friedman


ere are some ads (paraphrased) that I found on different bulletin boards, job seek lists, websites and social media sites: “We have so many leads, we need salespersons to give them to.” “We are ‘raining leads’ – join us and get some.” “Leads provided.” “Assistants needed to handle leads.” If a new salesperson is looking for a place to work, they have lots of choices. I have no problem with companies charging their salespeople more or less commission. I have

ferent models. Some are franchises who (sometimes) have to pay a hefty fee to the franchise as a fixed monthly amount per salesperson or a percentage from the top of the gross commission income. Other brokerages provide offices, work stations and elaborate services to salespeople. This costs the broker money, so they charge the salesperson back to recover those costs. Some brokerages have a selling broker, which makes it easier for the broker to “carry” the office expenses. Some offices have nonselling brokers. Some brokerages work on the principal of less salespeople making more deals per salesperson, while others work the “numbers game” or “volume game”. All options are valid and each salesperson must decide what is important and what works for them. I spoke to salespeople who from the first day they graduated decide to join a brand name and pay hefty monthly fees and percentages. They were thinking they had nothing going for them

We all like a free market and competition, except when it has to do with our own income. no problem with salespeople charging the public more or less commission. I have no problem with salespeople working real estate part-time. I don’t even have a problem with salespeople who respond to ads similar to those above, although I am surprised at how naive they are, thinking this will be a solution to their real estate career problems. Commissions brokerages charge their salespeople: Different companies operate dif-

and the brand would be their saviour to get consumers to work with them. On the other hand I have met with veterans of these same brand name companies who decided to leave, saying, “I realized it was me the consumers trust and gave the business to, not the brand I belong to.” Both arguments are valid. Commissions charged to the public: Whether we like it or not, cheaper and cheaper is the direction things seem to be going in

every aspect of life (except taxes and government controlled items). WalMart is not what they are today because of exceptional service. We all like a free market and competition, except when it has to do with our own income. Wake up. On a recent visit to Quebec City I noticed more than 50 per cent of For Sale signs were by a “no-salesperson” company. This is just a fact of life. Prices of real estate are up. Commissions are down. Live with it. Part-time salespeople: Of course it would help us if there were no part-time salespeople in our industry or if there were only 30,000 salespeople in the country and not 109,000. Of course it will help us if we can charge six-percent commissions. Of course it will help us if we can work independently and not have to pay brokerage fees and of course it will help a broker to be (like things used to be) on a 50/50 split with their salespeople. However, you cannot stop progress, you cannot stop competition and you cannot go back in time. My personal take on part-timers, which goes along with free market philosophy, is this: As long as you disclose to your client that you are a part-timer and as long as you make arrangements within the brokerage and disclose to your client that you have backup and that your services will not compromised because of your other job, you’re okay. Now about those leads. Here are my questions to brokers advertising to hire salespeople and provide them with excess leads: 1. Do you really have so many leads coming in that your existing salespeople cannot handle them and you need more salespeople? 2. Did you offer those leads to all your salespeople and did they say they cannot handle so much business, before you offered those leads to new salespeople? 3. Will you give a lead to a new, less experienced salesperson over an experienced provenresults salesperson in your office? 4. If you have 50 salespeople in your office who do on average six to nine deals a year, would you help your existing salespeople make more deals by providing

them with incoming leads or would you rather keep their production at the same level and hire another new salesperson for those leads? Questions to salespersons responding to these ads: 1. Do you really believe you (as an unproven salesperson or new registrant) will be handed a quality lead and the broker or team leader will risk losing the income, rather than giving it to an salesperson with a proven record? 2. Will the team leader providing you with the lead (let’s say it is a buyer), allow you to put your name as the selling salesperson or is it going to be the team leader whose name will appear as the selling salesperson? 3. Will you be taught how to generate leads for yourself (and do you have the motivation to learn to generate business for yourself) or do you want to keep being dependent on others “handing” your business?


4. How much of your commissions are you willing to give up to get a lead as opposed to generating the lead yourself? I have heard of cases of 75 per cent payout to the lead provider. 5. Are you familiar with the expression, “Give a person a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a person to fish, you feed him for life”? There are no easy solutions. We must work hard for our money. We can do the legwork (door knock, cold call) or spend the money on farm newsletters, advertising and social networking. By getting the education (training) and learning how to “fish”, then practising it, you will be fed for life. Michel Friedman is broker of record of Orange Square Realty Inc., a Toronto-based brokerage offering a 100-per-cent concept along with full service, with over 100 salespeople. 416-840-6888 REM



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Real Estate Technology Western Canada boards choose Paragon MLS system The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Realtors Association of Edmonton have entered into an agreement with the MLS division of Black Knight Financial Services to replace their current MLS systems with the Paragon system during the summer of 2015. It’s the first time the company has sold a system in Canada.

“While each collaborating board has unique business and system requirements, we work together in the interests of all our members,” said Rob Philipp, CEO of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “When the new systems are installed in 2015, we will achieve the financial and support benefits afforded a larger organization, yet retain the local controls so important to our individual associations.” Black Knight MLS managing director Rich Lull says: “We are very impressed with how excep-

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tionally well-prepared these three boards were to communicate their requirements and their vision, and are fortunate to have this group as our inaugural partner in the Canadian MLS market.” The company says that Paragon MLS is a dynamic software platform that helps make it easy for real estate professionals to manage their businesses and collaborate with clients using PC or Mac platforms or on mobile devices. In addition to Paragon’s device and browser flexibility, the Black Knight system was selected for its intuitive design, multitasking capabilities, ease-of-use, professionally branded comparative market analyses and Client Connect portal to enable real estate agents and their clients to collaborate by sharing access to the MLS system, the company says.

Cell phone boosters for rural areas Toronto-based Wireless Solutions says that anyone who has a cell phone or wireless Internet and has driven in rural areas or cottage country knows that cell phone coverage can be poor or even non-existent in many areas. “Cell boosters have been around for some time, but good quality ones (that actually work) have been limited to mostly buildings and can be quite expensive – upwards of over $1,000,” the company says. “Wireless Solutions has a line of robust, affordable powerful cell


A mobile cell phone booster kit from Wireless Solutions

phone/Internet boosters that can ‘raise your bars’ on your cell phone from one bar to full ‘bars’ where coverage is poor and boost your wireless Internet.”

The company offers two types of cell phone boosters: Mobile, for vehicles and boats, which work with a cigarette lighter adaptor; and in-building systems. All booster packages come as kits, with everything that’s required to “plug and go” the company says. Mobile kit prices start at $399 and building boosters start at $429. REM

Royal LePage book commemorates 100 years


s a follow-up to its 100th year in 2013, Royal LePage has published a book to chronicle the company’s storied past. The book, 100 Years of Helping You Home, takes readers through the early days with an entrepreneurial A.E. LePage at the helm. At just 26 years of age, A.E. LePage established the company in 1913. From those early years, the book provides a detailed account of how the company rose through several decades to become the largest and highest-volume real estate company in the country, only to fall on hard times during the1980s and early ’90s. The initial contributing factor to the downturn was mortgage interest rates that spiked as high as 22.75 per cent in August 1981. Then came the entrance on the Canadian real estate scene of new competitors with starkly different business models from the A.E. LePage company, which at the time was a structure of geographic divisions and corporately owned brokerages across the country. The book outlines how the company fought back to become market share leaders in many communities across the country. It also provides a snapshot of the Royal LePage 100-year celebrations that took place last year from coast to coast. One Hundred Years of Helping You Home is available on the Royal LePage online retail store for Royal LePage sales reps and staff. Anyone else who would like a copy may contact Mark Frenette at Royal LePage at 416-386-6016. REM Show listings in 5 places with Agent iFrame. $4.95/mo.

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Training manual By Dan St. Yves


decided to haul out my 1994 copy of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s Real Estate Salesperson’s and Sub-Mortgage Brokers’ Pre-Licensing Course Manual, just for giggles. The first thing that struck me when I found it was that it was actually politically correct in the gender aspect, even back in 1994. The second thing that occurred to me was that in the 11 years I was licensed to work in the business, I don’t recall ever coming across a mortgage broker for submarines. I thought it would be fun to look at some of the course outline items that a prospective licensee was required to study and get tested on, but that may have never come up in the course of a career, even one as brief as mine. For example: Real Property Statutes: Perhaps explaining how I barely passed the exam on my first try, I see now that this refers to the various provincial governments’ oversight of legislation regarding land registration. I always thought it meant those garden gnomes and other miscellaneous decorative statues landowners displayed on their properties. Fee Simple: “A freehold estate”. “Ownership of real property”. Interesting… Not at all something with “fi-fo-fum” in between those two words. Invitation to Treat: Again, this actually refers to real estate, specifically something like a newspaper advertisement that invites offers from the public on a property. It’s not asking your boss to buy lunch when you’ve had a really slow month in listings and sales. Standing Offers: An offer is a promise made by one party to another. A standing offer can be made to the public at large and

they can be accepted by anyone. Despite the name, these particular offers can be made while sitting down. Frustration: This is the condition by which a contract has been made, but before it can be enforced, events outside of the control of the parties destroys the property, so that it is not in the intended form written into the contract. (Or something close to that. I thought I had better stop plagiarizing the training manual, even if it is almost 20 years out of date.) This condition does not apply to the daily business of dealing with your clients, your broker/owner, your co-workers, your board colleagues, your spouse, TV weatherpersons or your psychic advisor. Termination by Breach: Oddly enough, this is pretty much exactly as it sounds. This situation occurs when a contractual promise is not performed, and has

nothing at all to do with the maritime cavorting of large aquatic mammals. Gross Income: Part of the formula calculation used to determine Gross Debt Service, not your anticipated financial shortfall in the first year of your real estate business. Real Property Taxation: Real estate licensees must have a basic understanding of this concept, yet it completely escapes the average politician charged with administering that tax, using the funds from that tax or even being able to account for that tax if grilled under sworn public testimony. Well, that was fun. I’ll have to give this another go soon! Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at, or contact him at REM

Royal LePage Realty Plus Oakville, Brokerage Oakville, Ontario Carlo Racioppo

Gary Reed

We are pleased to announce that effective October 29, 2014 Carlo Racioppo broker/owner of Royal LePage Realty Plus in Mississauga, has entered into a partnership with Gary Reed broker/ owner of the company formerly operating as Coldwell Banker Home & Family Realty, Brokerage in Oakville, Ontario. The company has joined the Royal LePage Network and will operate under the new name ROYAL LEPAGE REALTY PLUS OAKVILLE. Carlo first started selling real estate full-time while in university, and was one of the top salespeople in the largest independent firm in Mississauga: Nu-Vista Realty. He opened his own brokerage in 1990, which he ran for eight years. From 1999-2000 he was a Royal LePage corporate manager. In 2004 he joined the Royal LePage Network opening Royal LePage Realty Plus in Mississauga. The office has since nearly tripled in size since its opening from 40 sales professionals to over 115 today. Gary Reed first started selling real estate in 1985, and earned his broker’s license in 1998. In 1999 he opened his own brokerage. Acting as Broker of Record for Royal LePage Realty Plus Oakville is Dan Levy. An industry veteran, Dan first started selling in 1964, and moved into

management eleven years later. Dan has been a Senior Branch Manager, District Manager and Area Manager for Royal LePage since 1994 more recently working with Carlo’s brokerage in Mississauga: Royal LePage Realty Plus. Today’s announcement adds 45 sales professionals to the Royal LePage sales force in Oakville. Servicing Oakville, Mississauga, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto area Royal LePage Realty Plus Oakville can be reached at: 2347 Lakeshore Road West Suite 3, Oakville, Ontario, Canada L6L 1H4 1-800-695-7283 • 905-825-7777 (fax) 905-825-3593 • Please join us in congratulating Carlo, and welcoming Gary and everyone at Royal LePage Realty Plus Oakville to Royal LePage. For more information on the Royal LePage Franchise Network please contact

† †Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.


Trade Shows and Conferences


For complete listings, visit To add a listing to this calendar, email CAAMP 2014 Mortgage Forum Nov. 23 - 25 Palais des congrès Montreal

Banff Western Connection Jan. 29-31 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel www.banffwesternconnection. com

International Council of Shopping Centers RetailGreen Conference Dec. 2-3, Phoenix

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

By Heino Molls


t’s almost a wrap for the trade shows of 2014. As the year closes and planning for the year ahead begins, make this area of REM one of your monthly stops to regularly review what trade shows and conferences are scheduled. In addition to your board’s regular Annual General Meeting, have a look to see what other shows and conferences may be of interest for you to attend. Plan your holiday around a trade show and learn as you vacation in the host city of your choice. The Banff Western Connection promises to be

REM’s trade shows update informative and stimulating with powerful speakers and a host of sponsors and exhibitors delivering an array of new products and services you need to know about. Looking ahead, the annual RealtorQuest conference and trade show in Toronto in May will no doubt have new trends and ideas that will be rolled out

There are many new trade shows and conferences firming up dates and speaker line-ups.

for the first time, along with proven real estate tools and products that you know and trust. This is Canada’s biggest, can’t miss, real estate trade show. Come to Toronto and see it and while you’re there catch the Blue Jays or choose from a wide range of things to do in Canada’s largest city. There are many new trade shows and conferences firming up dates and speaker line-ups that should be on your must-see for 2015. And watch for the Atlantic Connection, which is in the planning stages for July 2016 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Check this section in each issue of REM for the latest information available on real estate trade shows and conferences! Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email REM

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