Page 1

Issue #330

December 2016

Are full service brokerages in trouble? Page 3

Sally McGarr passes the torch Page 8

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Going to extremes to sell a house Page 26

Selling accessible real estate Jeffrey Kerr’s niche as expert in barrier-free housing Page 10

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Are full service brokerages in trouble? Pressure from a weaker real estate market, top agents demanding better compensation packages and rising overhead costs are putting real estate brokerages in jeopardy. The pressures are real, but you can still run a profitable real estate brokerage if you have a solid business model. By Tony Palermo


n an interview for a REM article recently (Former Royal LePage Foothills agent warns all commissions are at risk), long-time Royal LePage Foothills broker Ted Zaharko said that brokerages in Western Canada aren’t taking in nearly money enough from their salespeople compared to other parts of the country. He described the difference in the financial models between the east and west as “a real problem” and part of the reason for his financial demise. We wondered: are the financial models really that different from one coast to the other? If so, at what level are the differences occurring and why are the models so different? Royal LePage Foothills was a full service brokerage. A few months after it closed its offices, Discover Real Estate, a discount brokerage with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Strathmore, told its nearly 400 agents that they would have to find work with another brokerage. Two different brokerages – two completely different models – but both in Alberta collapsing only months apart. Both brokerages cited market pressures as major contributing factors but how does that explain all of the other brokerages that are surviving? And how about the agents? Are they helping to fuel the financial challenges being faced by brokers by trying to squeeze more out of them?

East versus west: examining the differences Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage, says for Canada’s major real estate brands, the compensation model doesn’t change between the master franchiser and the brokerage based on where the brokerage is located. “It’s not like an Air Canada flight where you wonder if the guy

beside you paid half of what you did,” says Soper. “Within each major brand, everyone pays the same right across Canada in terms of licensing and cost per agent.” He says it typically works out to be about 2.5 per cent or less of gross. The differences occur, he says, at the brokerage level where every owner sets their own business model and financial structure and how they handle splits with their agents. Many brokerages offer a few different compensation options for their agents to choose from and the structure of those options vary by region based on the different competitive pressures of the local market. Soper says that’s where you see the major differences between how brokerages in the east operate versus those in the west. “British Columbia and Alberta are the toughest markets in Canada for a brokerage to operate, period,” says Soper. “Brokers need to have a sharp focus to run a brokerage here.” Market pressures aside, another reason for the differences, he says, have to do with how the real estate business has evolved in the west, where brokers tend to take in less because most of the fee is redirected back to the agent. The brokerage, in order to be successful, has to ask the agent to absorb more of the costs associated with servicing a client. “If you offer 95 per cent commissions back to your agent, you better make sure 95 per cent of the costs associated with servicing the client are directed back as well,” says Soper. To illustrate his point, he says what an agent in Ontario would take for granted as a service provided by the brokerage, in Alberta or British Columbia, an agent would likely say, “my brokerage doesn’t do that for me”. If it did offer the service, it would likely involve an additional charge. Soper says he has no idea how

Phil Soper

Corrine Lyall

Todd Shyiak

Gurcharan “Garry” Bhaura

George Bamber

Howard Drukarsh

it evolved to be this way in the west – that it’s been like this for at least the 14 years he’s been a part of Royal LePage. But he says the relationship between brokerages in the west and their agents has evolved to become the least efficient way of doing business in the country. “What you have in Alberta and British Columbia are thousands of little islands of purchasing people – agents – all getting their own technology, their own training, their own whatever,” says Soper. “The agents have the revenue; therefore they must have the expense. It’s the reality of the market, but it’s not efficient.” He says it’s like having a big company like General Motors tell every employee they have to go out and sign a contract with a cell phone service provider, rather than General Motors using their purchasing power to negotiate a better rate with one service provider, under one contract, and then distributing those savings to each employee. “Most professional services

firms operate as a collective because one-offs are a less efficient model that carries a higher risk,” Soper says. Still, efficiencies aside, there are many successful brokerages of all types and models that operate in the west. “East or west, you can make money in this industry in a number of different ways; you just have to make sure your business model is structured for your local market,” says Soper. “We don’t operate a fee-for-service model – every agent gets the same level of service,” says Corrine Lyall, broker/owner of Royal LePage Benchmark in Calgary, which took in several agents from the former Royal LePage Foothills in late 2015 when the brokerage ran into financial problems. Lyall says she offers different compensation programs to her agents based on their production level. In general terms, the more the agent produces, the less the brokerage takes in, eventually cap-

ping out at a certain amount. It’s a model that works and that, she says, most agents understand and are willing to work with. “At the end of the day, the brokerage has to attain a certain level of profitability,” says Lyall. “It’s like any business. Your income needs to be higher than your expenses.” Soper agrees, adding that it means a broker has to be willing to say “no” and to accept the consequences. “Some brokers are not leaders,” says Soper. “They operate in fear of their top agents and give them the power. There has to be a stake in the ground where the broker comes back and says ‘whoa – we both need to be successful in business.’ That takes a great deal of courage and hard work, but it’s critical.” Soper says he presented to a large gathering of Royal LePage faithful in Vancouver last fall. The theme of his presentation, titled Continued on page 40


Multiple Listings By Jim Adair, REM Editor - Edited this month by Maryjean Lancefield

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


otheby’s International Realty Canada has expanded to Kelowna, B.C. “Kelowna is a robust real estate market with a strong, long-term market,” says Tom Stratton, managing broker for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Kelowna. “Continued expansion in the Okanagan has been one of our objectives and we are proud to be able to grow with the community.” Justin O’Connor, a top sales associate at Sotheby’s, is the new owner of the downtown Kelowna office. He is also president of the

Canadian Home Builders’ Association Okanagan chapter. ■ ■ ■

The Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and The European Group of Valuers’ Associations (TEGoVA) say they applaud the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. The accord will enhance the existing agreement between AIC and TEGoVA that recognizes each other’s designations, standards and qualifications to complete quality

real estate valuations, the organizations say. AIC-designated appraisers – Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (AACI) and the Canadian Residential Appraiser

(CRA) – are recognized on par with their European counterparts, the TEGoVA Recognized European Valuer (REV) and TEGoVA Residential Valuer (TRV). ■ ■ ■

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) recently announced the selection of Christine Zwozdesky as chair of council and Brian Klingspon as chair-elect. Zwozdesky was appointed to council in 2013 and began a sec-

ond three-year term on Nov. 1. She has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, and is past president of the Building Owners and Managers Association – Edmonton chapter and Edmonton’s Commercial Real Estate Women chapter. Currently, she is a director of the Capital Region Housing Corporation Board and chair of the Real Property Committee, and has served on multiple RECA advisory committees. She is a principal with Alexson Solutions. Klingspon has been a member of council since November 2013 and is an appointee of the Alberta Real Estate Association from the Realtors Association of Edmonton. He has been in the real estate business for more than 25 years, serving as the broker for two brokerages in Edmonton, and working as the regional executive director in Western Canada for Realty Executives. Zwozdesky and Klingspon will serve in these positions for a oneyear term. ■ ■ ■

Anita Springate-Renaud, right, owner and broker of record of Engel & Völkers Toronto Central with Sonja Bata, founding chair of Bata Shoe Museum, at the official opening of Engel & Völkers Toronto Central.

Justin O’Conner

Christine Zwozdesky

Ron McIntosh

Rick Clarke

Brian Klingspon

Michel Friedman

Gabriel Bianchi

Eryn Richardson

Engel & Völkers North America opened its newest shop, Engel & Völkers Toronto Central at 85 The Donway West, on Oct. 31. Anita Springate-Renaud, owner and broker of record, kicked off the celebration. She was joined by Special Olympic athletes Abbas Syed, Nerissa Pooran and Mike Wimbs. Anthony Hitt, Engel & Völkers North America CEO was also on hand. “With a thriving real estate market, Toronto Central has seen an increased demand for quality service from buyers and sellers around the world,” says SpringateRenaud. The brand also officially opened its brokerage in Bromont, Que., on Nov. 1. Continued on page 6

Engel & Völkers celebrates the opening of the shop in Bromont, Que.

John Smulders

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CREB subsidiary offers services to other boards

Multiple Listings Continued from page 4

Owners Luce Deslauriers and Alexandre Fortin hosted the event along with Engel & Völkers sales representatives. Hitt and Pauline Quinlan, mayor of Bromont, made brief presentations. “The new shop is in an ideal region to expand Engel & Völkers’ Canadian footprint,” says Hitt. “Alex and Luce’s knowledge of the local marketplace paired with Engel & Völkers’ international platform will best serve the comprehensive needs of Bromont real estate buyers and sellers.” “With a truly booming real estate marketplace, Bromont is experiencing increased demand for quality service,” says Deslauriers. ■ ■ ■

JLL has acquired PMX Inc., a Toronto-based project management firm that specializes in public and private infrastructure projects. The acquisition expands JLL’s existing Project and Development Services (PDS) across Canada. “PMX is an excellent fit for our growing PDS platform,” says Brett

Cover photo: MARKO SHARK

beyond knowledge-sharing into service delivery. REB Resources will allow other boards to leverage our in-house expertise like never before.” The new entity offers support services in technology, professional development and administration on a contract basis to other real estate boards and associations. In future, it will look to providing services to other not-for-profit organizations outside of real estate, Tennant says. The idea for REB Resources came about when other boards and associations asked why CREB doesn’t offer a la carte services.

CREB had been sharing processes for years and it “felt like we were giving away member equity,” Tennant says. But he adds that making a profit is not the goal and the board just wants to cover the cost of providing services. Creating a subsidiary was also the safest way to charge for services without putting the board’s nonprofit status in jeopardy. He says the board wanted to do things properly, similar to keeping their charitable offering separate. “We don’t do that from the main mothership.” REB Resources is 100 per cent CREB owned and the board’s offi-

Miller, JLL Canada’s president. “The combined business allows JLL to meet the increased client demand for comprehensive real estate services, particularly for largebuild projects in the public and private realms.” About 20 PMX employees joined JLL, including founding principals Tom Finan, Les Medd, Ed Bush and Sevag Kupelian. The leadership team has more than 100 years of combined project management, engineering and construction management experience. ■ ■ ■

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has expanded its Coldwell Banker Previews International luxury program by enhancing its Previews agent certification program, broadening its global marketing offerings and increasing its digital and print content. Coldwell Banker’s Previews certification course includes an immersive approach to learning how to operate in the luxury real estate market. The new program, which pairs the experience of successful luxury agents with resources, provides learning, networking, market-

ing resources and mentorship, the company says. A completely redesigned luxury website, ColdwellBankerPreviews .com, is designed to help collaborate and share marketing materials for listings with their peers in over 75 countries globally. Coldwell Banker also unveiled its quarterly Homes and Estates magazine. The magazine features top listings alongside luxury lifestyle content and will be available globally on newsstands. The magazine will also be distributed to subscribers of Unique Homes and can be downloaded from the Previews Inside Out blog. ■ ■ ■

The Rick Clarke Team has returned to Century 21 In Town Realty and will be based at the company’s third location in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood. Working alongside owners Heather and Michael LaPrairie, Rick Clarke will manage the office with his team, each of whom has a specialized role to help meet their client’s real estate needs, the company says.



Director, Sales & Marketing AMANDA ROCK

General Manager MILA PURCELL

Digital Media Manager WILLIAM MOLLS

Art Director LIZ MACKIN


Graphic Design SHAWN KELLY

Alan Tennant

cers are officers of the new entity. CREB members are supportive and reacted favourably, Tennant says. Their only concern was if it would hinder the quality of serClarke joined Century 21 in 2012 as a franchise owner in Coquitlam, B.C., before moving to Century 21 In Town Realty the following year. In 2015, the team moved to a Keller Williams brokerage in Burnaby. ■ ■ ■

Michel Friedman is now manager of Re/Max Premier’s Jane Street location in Vaughan, Ont. Gabriel Bianchi, owner and broker of record, says Friedman has been in the real estate industry since 1990 and has “done it all”. “Michel’s knowledge of the real industry is valuable to our 350+ agent brokerage. We are looking to Michel’s knowledge to assist and grow the company, provide training and coaching to our agents and to assist in improving all aspects of our organization.” Friedman says, “I started my career at Re/Max and I am honoured to be invited back.” ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Heritage Group has added new members to its management team in its Thornhill and Richmond Hill offices.

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

Phone: 416.425.3504 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 2016 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. 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 complies fully with the CREA’s Trademark Policy (section ISSN 1201-1223

vices they get, and the answer is no, he says. For now the focus is on Alberta, with “an eye to partnerships further afield,” he says. Professional development such as dispute resolution may have limitations, but as for other services, Tennant says, “We’re not limiting ourselves to only Alberta boards, and not just to the real estate industry.” Other non-profit centres may find payroll, accounting, performance management and job descriptions a challenge and welcome help, he says. REM – Connie Adair Ron McIntosh joined the management team in Thornhill. He was previously owner/operator of a major franchise brokerage. Drawing on his experience as a business development manager, he will support training initiatives and focus on daily operations, coaching, guidance and mentoring of agents. McIntosh also has certifications in home inspections and mould and air quality. Joining as general manager, Eryn Richardson will provide support to sales representatives, management and administration. He has a background in real estate sales. In 2005, he established a real estate sales team as co-founder and owner. The Home Team grew into the No. 1 producing sales team serving Newmarket and surrounding areas with Century 21 Heritage Group, the company says. In April, John Smulders joined the team as manager of the Richmond Hill office. He brought 25 years of combined experience in real estate and management. He has practical experience as a broker. REM

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he Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) has launched a for-profit subsidiary that will provide a la carte services for other Canadian real estate boards. The company, REB Resources, is a logical extension for the board, which has a reputation for innovation and leadership, says CREB CEO Alan Tennant. He is also president of REB Resources. “We are well regarded for our willingness to share what we know and do with other real estate boards,” says Tennant. “But more and more, we see a mutually beneficial opportunity that extends

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Sally McGarr passes the torch

Her chutzpah and dedication has helped Sally McGarr Realty become the longest operating, fully independent boutique brokerage in the Niagara region of Ontario. By Kelly Putter

Sally McGarr


ou can tell Sally McGarr enjoys telling the story about how at 40 weeks’ pregnant she presented an offer to clients on a beautiful evening in 1991. A few hours later in the early morning hours of May 22, she gave birth to her youngest daughter Raiana. She phoned her unsuspecting clients that day to tell them she’d had a baby overnight and they all shared a good laugh. True to form, McGarr was back at work within the week with her new baby tucked in safely by her side. “There are photos of her nursing me in the office,” says Raiana Schwenker, who today works at the real estate company that is known for its bright pink for sale signs. “I grew up running around that office. Going into real estate was pretty organic for me.” It is that kind of chutzpah and dedication that has helped Sally McGarr Realty become the longest operating,

fully independent boutique brokerage in the Niagara region of Ontario. Never one to crow, McGarr is reticent about citing the awards she’s won and the sales goals she’s surpassed in a career that has spanned more than three decades. There was a time when she decorated her office with plaques and trophies, but she has packed away the hardware perhaps as a symbolic gesture to the next generation of real estate professionals who will succeed her. McGarr is passing on the torch and she’s doing so with style. To mark the occasion, a new website, a big social media presence, a newspaper ad campaign and a catered lunch for clients, staff and colleagues within the McGarr real estate community have either taken place or are ongoing. The company is also officially changing its name from Sally McGarr Realty to McGarr Realty. Schwenker is marketing and creative director, who oversees

the company’s social media. Married with three children of her own, Schwenker gave birth to her youngest about a year ago. On her way home from hospital with newborn in tow, Schwenker, ever her mother’s daughter, went on a home tour of new listings. McGarr points out how her daughter is a chip off the old block and is a sensible choice to succeed her along with Raiana’s husband Cam Schwenker, a salesperson, and long-time staffers and real estate reps Patrick Burke and Jim Broderick.

leads the team who will take over from McGarr. “Because we are very collaborative and group based, you see people here going outside of what’s expected for the greater good. The thinking is if I have a great month and you do as well, then there will be a spill over effect that helps everybody share their experiences, progress and grow. What helps people advance quicker and get over their hurdles is that willingness to contribute. That collective mindset then goes on to breed loyalty, which creates a cycle effect.”

“As a kid, driving to school with her meant listening to her phone conversations with clients, witnessing first hand her level of client service and hearing her problem solve and expertly negotiate offers,” recalls Raiana, 25. “While I was annoyed I couldn’t have the radio loud, and was too young to realize I was getting firsthand experience from an amazing mentor, I picked up a lot. I learned the lingo and the ins and outs of how the business worked. I grew up sitting in on office meetings, sometimes begrudgingly, but I could see from the moment I got started in this business that having that calibre of mentorship from such a young age was beyond valuable.”

The company also invests in mentoring programs, goal setting, training and coaching for staff and even devotes a senior position to the rather unique title of director of people and culture. That’s held by Broderick, one of the newly rebranded brokerage’s partners. But McGarr is fully aware that her success didn’t come about in isolation and she is quick to credit her staff.

McGarr started her firm in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, she still employs three of the original four staffers who joined her company back then – administrator Emma Trozzolo and sales reps Randy Hart and Vaughn Aloian. So how does she engender loyalty? “The piece of the puzzle is the culture and the overall atmosphere here,” says Burke, who as managing broker and director of operations and strategy

“I could not have survived this long without someone as talented and caring as Emma is,” she says. “It’s like a marriage. We have a lot of respect for each other and a lot of empathy. The employees here have treated the company as if it’s their own.” In the early ‘80s, McGarr was a single mother with two young kids working three jobs to make ends meet. Feisty and determined, she decided she wanted a better life for her family so she got her real estate license, followed two years later by her broker’s license. After a few stints with a small brokerage and then a larger franchise, McGarr decided the time was right to strike out on her own. A few years later in January 1991, McGarr

purchased a large commercial property in downtown St. Catharines and moved her office into the building. That’s when the economy took a nose dive and the real estate market sank. McGarr was pregnant with Raiana, but not revealing it to anyone. McGarr doesn’t think of herself as a feminist but she does concede to being an advocate for women in business. And though she has heard the odd salacious comment about how women in business advance, she chose to ignore the insulting remarks. More than once some competitors, who suspected she was pregnant, would inform potential clients about her condition, suggesting that McGarr’s pregnancy would get in the way of her doing her job. “I told clients I’m pregnant but I’m not dying,” recalls McGarr with a laugh. “And every time I said that I got the listing. If anything it made me stronger.” With 33 salespeople and eight support staff and an office in Niagara-on-the-Lake, McGarr may be passing the torch but she’s not yet leaving the stadium. As broker of record, and now specializing in higher end luxury homes, expect to see her guiding the new management team for some time. “My mother is so well respected in this region and not just by clients, but also among Realtors,” says Raiana. “I’m not naming names but other Realtors have asked her to sell their homes and on more than one occasion. I would not be surprised if she continued selling for the next 15 years.” REM

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42 New Markets Entered

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50% Increase in Average Sales Price

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Selling accessible real estate

It started as a mission to help out his aunt and led to Jeffrey Kerr’s niche as an expert in barrier-free, accessible real estate. By Susan Doran


hen the date to move into the Toronto condo apartment she’d purchased preconstruction finally arrived, Jeffrey Kerr’s aunt, who had multiple sclerosis, manoeuvred her wheelchair through the door and looked around with growing alarm. It did not take her long to realize that the unit, which she had been assured was wheelchair accessible, was actually anything but. She knew she would not be able to live there. She made the decision to sell the condo immediately and asked Kerr for help. A sales rep with Re/Max Unique in Toronto, he was happy to come to his aunt’s aid. He began to research the opportunities available for buyers and sellers of accessible properties. That’s how he stumbled upon the discovery that accessible housing, while very much in demand, is largely under-serviced by the real estate industry in the Greater Toronto Area and in many other markets as well. “I spoke with the organization that is now Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, and they strongly encouraged me to become involved with their membership as there was such a need for real estate agents who understood the challenges of the accessible housing market,” Kerr says. “Referrals started coming in immediately from them and from other organizations. That was 13 years ago.” So he can thank his aunt (and let’s not overlook the influence of his mother, a retired physiotherapist), for steering him into a very specific niche market. “A lot of agents position themselves as community experts, but I’m a disability expert,” he says. “My goal is to connect buyers and sellers in this speciality niche. It gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. I still love the ‘ah-ha’

moment when someone realizes that I exist, a specialist in barrierfree real estate who can meet their unique needs.”

homes and assisted living facilities are in short supply and increasingly baby boomers are opting to age in place in their own homes.

A prolific writer on the topic of accessibility, Kerr recently had a book published titled Barrier Free Real Estate: Achieving Freedom at Home.

Kerr says that his clientele comprises “a fairly broad group,” including people with mobility challenges looking to buy or sell existing retrofitted homes or renovate to suit their requirements, as well as those looking for wheelchair accessible rentals. He does a lot of work with various local facilities for those with mobility issues (including the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute), where he is part of the team determining and securing suitable housing options for those “who have had a motor vehicle or other accident that has changed their lives dramatically,” he explains.

He explains in the book that a barrier-free, accessible house or condo “is a home where anyone with a mobility challenge – for example a child in a wheelchair; an adult with vision problems, or a senior with a walker – can live comfortably and safely” without their movements being restricted by elements such as the home’s architecture, layout or features. Despite his expertise in this segment of the market, Kerr – like the rest of us – sometimes struggles with the terminology, he admits. “A lot of people don’t like the word ‘disability.’ I am very conscious of the terms I use and I ask if they are acceptable. The best advice I can give to real estate agents is to get to know your clients and take your cues from them.” Kerr has been a sales rep with Re/Max Unique for over 17 years – his entire real estate career. He has his broker’s license and has thought about setting up accessible housing training in order to share his expertise with other agents, as he has found the available training limited. “Agents get parachuted in and don’t know how to help,” he says. They might want to consider finding a way to get up to speed. Today with the aging baby boomer population causing what some researchers refer to as ‘a tsunami of seniors,’ the need for accessible housing is on the rise, with demand far exceeding supply, Kerr says. In his opinion demand is becoming unprecedented, particularly since retirement

In other cases his clients may have “a progressive disability such as MS,” or they may be families with children whose disabilities are no longer manageable in their current home, Kerr says. “Maybe when the kids were small they could be carried up and down stairs. But kids grow, and that is often when I get brought in.” Although accessible housing options are improving, in Toronto and many other cities there is still a shortage of wellbuilt and affordable accessible accommodations, says Kerr. The upshot is that he often winds up talking himself out of a job... although he is confident “it will come back to me,” he says. “It’s a question of helping clients make the decision that’s best for them and giving them options,” he says. “I empower clients to live on their own terms and not to be forced out of their homes due to mobility challenges such as not being able to get up stairs.” Often he can offer suggestions for “easy modifications” – a new

Jeffrey Kerr (Photo by Marko Shark)

bathroom, an entrance ramp, a chair glide for getting upstairs, an elevator – so they can continue to live at home for many years, he says. He leaves doing the actual modifications “to the experts,” while pointing his clients in the direction that works for them. This may also involve helping clients connect with appropriate agencies and services. Increasingly he finds himself doing this type of consulting with clients, while unsure yet exactly how to incorporate it into his business plan financially. “It’s part of my evolving business, of where I am positioning myself,” he muses. “I like to be a great resource for my clients.” To this end, he obtained a Master Accredited Senior Agent designation from the Academy of Seniors Real Estate in Toronto. A lot of agents unfamiliar with the accessible housing market will advise clients to tear out

accessibility features before they sell. Kerr does not. Instead, he targets the right buyer, he says. Accessibility modifications “will maintain value and actually increase it to the right buyer,” he says. “It comes down to networking.” His advice is for agents to do their research, call appropriate organizations in the area and ask if any of their members are looking for an accessible home. There is something else that sets Kerr and his specialty niche apart, and that’s that they may have significant insulation from market fluctuations. Accessible housing purchases and sales are “not market driven, but rather are circumstance driven,” particularly in regards to personal injury clients, Kerr says. “So to a large degree, I am not as concerned with the ebbs and flows of the marketplace, as my clients are making a move whatever the market is doing.” REM





EXIT Realty fun night under the stars capped off with a spectacular fireworks display which lit up the night sky launched from aboard a vessel in the Caribbean Sea

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From left to right: Tami Bonnell, CEO, Steve Morris, Founder & Chairman, Erika Gileo, COO Top real estate professionals from across North America converged on the fabulous Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas for what would be the most incredible real estate convention in EXIT Realty’s history. For the first time ever, the real estate franchisor took its annual extravaganza off-shore and EXIT Associates gathered in droves for the 4-day event jam-packed with equal doses of motivation, inspiration, education and fun. The company pulled out all the stops for this, its 20th anniversary celebration. Almost 2,000 attendees were captivated by 20 world-class speakers and a fun night under the stars capped off with a spectacular fireworks display which lit up the night sky launched from aboard a vessel in the Caribbean Sea. Momentum and excitement surged throughout the week coming to a dazzling conclusion at the black-tie, gala Chairman’s Ball where 3 EXIT Associates won the annual grand prize draws and walked away with $25,000 each. The packed dance floor shook as 1,400 hundred people danced until the wee hours of the morning. EXIT Realty Corp. International opened for business on September 3, 1996 in Ontario, Canada with very little money and a great big goal; to become the largest and most productively successful real estate company in North America, bar none. The dream of EXIT started 13 years earlier, in 1983. While building and running some of the largest real estate offices in the world, Steve Morris, Founder and Chairman, invented the answer to many of the problems in the real estate industry; the magical EXIT Formula of single-level residuals. With this idea, he would revolutionize the business. How many people get a great idea and never pursue it? We, as human beings, are pure potential, inventiveness and creativity. At the Convention, Morris addressed a packed house on the theme of “Abracadabra”, a word derived from an Aramaic phrase meaning, “I create as I speak”. Morris spent over half

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his life studying the human mind and how the proper use of this mechanism can lead to unlimited achievement, success and gratification. His experience working for Revlon taught him marketing. His experience on the floor of the stock exchange taught him that many people follow the followers instead of the leaders and to succeed one has to do something different. His experience in the insurance industry taught him the value of residual income. The recruiting records he broke taught him how to get, keep and grow top-producing real estate professionals and build successful brokerages. Everything in Morris’ life built in a crescendo to the launch of EXIT Realty. He had 20 years of real estate brokerage management under his belt and he had been gifted with the concept of EXIT. It was his responsibility to bring her to life; to create as he spoke. One of the highlights of the Convention was the trio of leaders who took the stage to speak on the company’s history. Joyce Paron, President of the Canadian Division of EXIT Realty Corp. International spoke about the company’s past. “The opening of the first EXIT office was in the spring of 1997,” she remembered. “There were nothing but smiles, handshakes and a true sense that something very special was underway. The atmosphere was invigorating and celebratory; the people, their faces and the emotion forever seared in memory. The dream had come to life; we finally had an EXIT office open.”

Award Ceremony during EXIT Realty’s 2016 Annual Convention Craig Witt, President of EXIT’s North U.S. Division, spoke on the company’s “present”, including the myriad resources and progressive technology tools available to all Associates. Tami Bonnell, CEO, spoke about the future of the organization and plans for deliberate and aggressive expansion across the U.S. and Canada and presented Morris with a gold pocket watch to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary.

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Morris, too, reminisced about the early days. “Searching for our name took six months and during that time it became obvious to me that the word I was looking for was strategically located above every corporate door in North America, namely EXIT. Everyone is looking for a way out and the word EXIT suggests safe passage. Ultimately this particular word is one of the most highly advertised words in the world and carries with it tremendous subliminal effect; in fact, it’s hard not to notice the EXIT signs!” He continued, “Then we needed a corporate logo and color. I designed a logo that would be reminiscent of the famous sign in Hollywood, rising proudly from the hill with the building identifying us with real estate. Studies show that the color teal is one of wisdom and evokes feelings of credibility and trustworthiness and everyone looks good in that color!” From the very beginning EXIT Realty took the position that the real estate salesperson is ultimately the main asset of the corporation who generates all the front line money that pays all the bills and creates all the profit for the broker. With this in mind, the company places great value and resources on training Regional Owners, Broker/Owners and Associates, structuring systems specifically to get the most and the best out of each one of them accordingly and specializing in self-image modification. Education is a key part of the company’s Convention and the three keynote speakers covered the gamut. Craig Proctor, Founder and

2016 Breakout Session CEO of Craig Proctor Coaching shared the secrets of his “Reverse Prospecting” system and invited EXIT Associates onto the stage to share their own success. Rick DeLuca enthralled audiences with his journey from undercover narcotics cop to Nevada’s REALTOR® of the Year, his company recognized by REAL Trends as the #1 per-agent-production company in the U.S. His 192 agents led the nation averaging 48.6 closed transactions per agent per year. One

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Tami Bonnell, CEO presented Steve Morris, Founder & Chairman with a gold pocket watch to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary of the most riveting sessions of the week was delivered by Dave Blanchard, CEO of the Og Mandino Group and author of Today I Begin a New Life. Morris later commented that Blanchard’s address was one of the finest he’d ever heard. Always popular with Convention attendees are the intense, information-packed breakout sessions featuring expert speakers from the EXIT Realty family; a further opportunity to learn from peers who are successful in their own communities. In The Bahamas, topics included building a better brokerage, financial strategies for REALTORS, health and wellness, strategic marketing and more. EXIT believes in developing the most and the best in its Associates and invited three to share what EXIT means to them on the main stage. Angelina Nelson, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Legacy in Utah, Bill Leib, Broker/Owner of EXIT First Capital Realty in Ohio and Sherese Renee Seevers, Director of Operations at EXIT Elite Realty in Washington, DC, tugged at the heart strings of the audience, each being rewarded with a standing ovation. An important element of the speeches delivered by Nelson, Leib and Seevers and one of the key components of EXIT is the company’s unique business model. Morris spent countless hours conceptualizing and developing the EXIT Formula of single-level residuals. Based on the premise that if agents could get a piece of the action for assisting management in the recruiting process thereby helping to build the business, they would have a vested interest in the success of the company and a culture of mentorship would be created. In this way they could earn more than 100% of their own commissions and could enjoy the leverage of unlimited income potential. Add to that retirement and beneficiary benefits not to be found anywhere else in the real estate industry and a financial future was created where one never existed before. The ingenuity behind EXIT’s 10/7/5 Formula is that single-level sponsoring bonuses are paid by EXIT Realty’s head office based

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on closed transactions. This was strategically designed to far outflank all multi-level marketing systems. The International Business Awards, the “Stevies®” sat up and took notice, awarding EXIT Realty Corp. International a Distinguished Honouree Medal in the category of Most Innovative Company of the Year in North America. Also of note, Tami Bonnell was named a finalist in the category of Executive of the Year – Services in North America at the American Business Awards and a finalist in the category of Best Executive, Service Business by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Christina Luis was named a finalist in the category of Employee of the Year by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and COO, Erika Gileo, won the Stevie award in the category of Executive of the Year – Real Estate at the International Business Awards. EXIT Realty prides itself on the excellence and dedication of all of its corporate executive and employees, their average length of service being an unprecedented 10.2 years. Four individuals were recognized as EXIT Icons during the award ceremony in The Bahamas. Erika Gileo, Tami Bonnell and Joyce Paron were joined by newly-named Senior Vice President, Christina Luis who was surprised with her promotion on stage. Luis, who joined EXIT before it was a company, later commented, “I was 18 at our first meeting and now at 41, I am grateful, awestruck and humbled to still be in Steve Morris’ life. EXIT has never just been a job for me; it’s my extended family, and the fact that people in that audience who never met me were crying right along with me, proves beyond any doubt that we are all family.”

EXIT extends its corporate culture of family to its charitable involvements. A portion of every transaction fee collected by EXIT Realty Corp. International is pledged to the company’s non-profit of choice, Habitat for Humanity®. At the Convention, a pledge of $500,000 was announced bringing the company’s total pledges to-date to $3.5 million. EXIT also sets aside a portion of transaction fees received to pay Administrative Bonuses to the support staff in its brokerage offices.

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” - Morris Code Twenty years of EXIT is only the beginning. Since the company’s first 10% sponsoring bonus was paid in 1997, its first 7% retirement residual in 1998 and its first 5% beneficiary benefit in 2001, todate it has paid out more than a third of a billion dollars in singlelevel residuals to its Associates. From the sale of its first franchise in Canada in 1997 and its rapid expansion into the U.S. in 1998, in the first 7 years of the 21st century the company sold 1,600 EXIT franchises which overwhelmingly demonstrated the popularity of this system. Under the leadership of CEO, Tami Bonnell, EXIT Realty is looking forward with great excitement to achieving its goal of 3,600 productively successful brokerages home to over 100,000 agents who love and respect the company. Together, arm-in-arm, they will pave a new yellow brick road into the future.

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Lock picking hobby raises eyebrows Some security experts in Canada are teaching anyone who is interested how to open a variety of locks without using a key. By Diane Slawych


ssst! Want to learn how to pick a lock? Actually there’s no need to whisper or hide in the shadows, not anymore. Some security experts in Canada are teaching anyone who is interested how to open a variety of locks without using a key. If this is all news to you, you’re not alone. Many members of the public first learned about this increasingly popular, albeit unconventional, hobby during the annual Maker Festival at the Toronto Reference Library in July. A large table was strewn with various locks, lock picking devices and manuals, and visitors were invited to give locksport a try. About a dozen people, most of them youths, were highly engrossed in the challenge. “I did it,” said one teenager triumphantly, explaining he’d just picked his second lock in under an hour. Others struggled while con-

sulting a computer screen that displayed the internal structure of a typical lock. Experienced lock pickers were on hand to facilitate the session and answer questions. But the first reaction of many adults when they arrived on the scene was typically one of dismay and shock. “Is this legal?” one man mused to no one in particular. “Great, they’re teaching people how to break into homes,” said another. “No wonder so many bikes get stolen,” chimed a third observer, who, after a few moments, conceded the skill could come in handy if you ever locked yourself out of your home or car. Just then, coincidentally, information popped up on a screen explaining the code of ethics by which these hobbyists were expected to abide. “The first thing we cover when we’re teaching is basically two

rules,” says Paul Lariviere, a Toronto security consultant. “Don’t pick locks you don’t own and don’t pick locks you rely on. Some people practice on the front door of their house, but it’s possible to damage a lock and then you’d be in a worse state.” The group with the display at the Maker Festival was the Toronto chapter of TOOOL (The Open Organization of Lock pickers). It has chapters around the world including dozens in the U.S. and at least two in Canada – in Toronto and Montreal – that meet regularly. You may wonder who exactly is attending these gatherings and why. “It varies greatly,” says Lariviere. “Some are locksmiths and do it for a living; some are security consultants like me. And there are regular people that are curious and like to tinker with

things. They see it as a mechanical puzzle to solve, a challenge and a fun pastime.” At one of the meetings the group went to a local dollar store and purchased several items they attempted to use as lock opening devices. Some people seem to have a knack for lock picking, says Lariviere. One Christmas he brought all his locks and tools to a family gathering and taught everyone what he knew. “Months later my aunt drove all the way to the cottage and forgot the keys but she managed to open the door, so it saved a lot of time and money.” Naturally some homeowners wonder if they should be wary of the increasing interest in lock picking, in case it attracts criminal elements, but Lariviere thinks there’s no reason to worry. “They (the robbers) would have to invest a lot of time in learning it and dif-

ferent locks have different quirks. It’s just not worth their time to put in months or years practicing,” he says. “They could go through a broken window. There are lots of ways to get into a house. Lock picking is not common. They’d be exposed, out in the open.” As a security consultant, friends often ask Lariviere for advice. “Someone I went to school with was buying her first house after graduation and asked me what I’d recommend for a pickproof lock for her home and I told her not to bother spending her money on that because she has windows and other easier points of entry. Take the money and get an alarm system,” Lariviere says, adding homeowners need to think in terms of layers of security. “There’s not one thing to solve it all. You need layered protection.” REM




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Welcome to Santa’s house Story and photos by Diane Slawych


anta Claus gets to see the inside of many people’s homes on his travels around the globe while distributing gifts during the Christmas season, but rarely does anyone get a peak inside his abode. That’s partly because of its remote location near the Arctic Circle. But if you make the effort, you’re certainly welcome, as I discovered on a trip to Rovaniemi, Finland, which is billed as the official hometown of Santa Claus. From the centre of town, we drove a further 20 minutes to a secluded forested area in Joulukka, where a kindly elf with long curly locks, an upturned nose and a high pitched voice, appeared seemingly out of nowhere to greet us. Following a dirt path, we were lead to a peculiar cavern – a large sod and rock covered earthen mound. It was mid-autumn and the snow had not yet fallen. This is command central for Christmas preparations and every year thousands of visitors from around the world come to see Santa on his home turf. On this brisk morning, however, we seemed to be the only ones here. Our elf guide ushered us through a large roughly hewn timber door. Inside the dimly lit, cosy hideaway, we received a behind the scenes tour of what is essentially Santa’s home office. A map on the

wall pinpointed the locations of elves around the world (including in Canada). There was the radar screen that is checked before reindeers are cleared for take-off, the elf meter (every person has a bit of elf in their heart) and a kindness meter (to increase the amount in the world, we’re asked to close our eyes and think about something “extremely good”). In the mail room, meanwhile, a green light flashed whenever a new letter arrived for Santa, and on a nearby desk were several letters awaiting a reply. Scanning the shelves I noticed a few books that could only belong to someone like Santa. Alongside two volumes of The Christmas Encyclopedia and The Art of Being Kind were some practical tomes: Christmas Management: So Many Projects, Not Enough Time, and 1001 Ways to Solve Logistical Problems on Christmas Night! (And I thought it was all magic). Somewhere in this cavern there was a secret door and to open it, the elf tells us, requires “10 nice people (we are a group of 10), an elf and a Christmas song.” At that prompt, we launched into an offkey rendition of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, when some creaky sounds began to emanate from a wall and a hidden door opened into a secret room. “Welcome to Lapland and to

my place,” Santa chimed with open arms. “You came by train?” We nod. Without access to reindeer we had few other choices. “How do you manage to be in so many places on one night?,” someone asked Santa. “Look at the diploma on the wall,” he motioned. The document, purportedly issued by Guinness World Santa Claus welcomes us with open arms to his home (on left) in Finland.

A kindly elf welcomes visitors to Santa’s home in Finland.

Records, reads: “World record for the fastest time around the world: Santa Claus.” Santa has many other degrees and citations on display here including one from The Arctic Circle University Schools of Wishes “conferred on Santa Claus the degree of Doctor of Wishes.” Then there’s his certificate in rein-

deer handling and the art of flying, from the faculty of the college of Christmas and Holiday Elves Committee and the Parliament of Reindeers. Before we left Santa gave us each a gift – a little wooden cup with a leather strap, called a kuksa. Traditionally, these Finnish drinking cups were hand carved from

birch by the Sami of Northern Scandinavia. Now similar looking versions are often sold as souvenirs for tourists. “To make the wood last long,” our elf advises, “the very first drink out of a kuksa has to be very, very strong.” Santa’s modest home is not nearly big enough to store all the letters and cards that arrive each day (in one year alone he received 700,000 items from 184 countries), so they are sent instead to the Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle. You can see some of these letters and also send a Christmas card or gift from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office. The letter or package is stamped with a special Arctic Circle postmark and can be held back and sent just before Christmas if you so choose.

Our home inspection was extremely detailed and comprehensive. We feel very confident in our new home based on the time and care that was put into our inspection and having this all documented in the full report. We appreciate the full report with pictures to refer back to once we move into our new home. DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT! READ MORE THAN 7,000 REVIEWS FROM REALTORS® AND CLIENTS AT AMERISPEC.CA.



13 Women Who Are Changing Real Estate If you don’t have a real business system, you don’t really have a business at all. What you have instead is a “job�, and for many, it’s a really horrible job: one that consumes your time, keeps you

away from friends and family, and doesn’t pay very well. The fact is that agents leave our industry in droves, not because they’re not great at working with

clients, but because they simply can’t make the business work. They don’t have enough leads, they can’t find enough time to properly follow up and thus convert their leads, they don’t know

exactly why they win or lose a listing. Even though they work very hard, too much is left to chance. Trying to “do it all� without a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t ultimately becomes the trap that swallows them. A profitable and “real� businessMUST be based on a solid system. In real estate, that means a

Read More About These 13 Women at Lauren Parente, Vaughan, ON “I was a stay-at-home mother when I started my real estate business and admittedly ‘green’ (dare I admit I had never even installed a lock box), but I had a desire to succeed. Fast forward just over a year and a half and not only do I have a team of 8, but we are well on track to hit $750,000 in GCI this year.� Debbie Renna-Hynes,  A teacher for 25 years, Debbie is now CEO of The Renna Hynes Team and a multiple award winner, including REALTOR Associate of the Year. Featured on the cover of Top Agent Magazine, she ranks as one of the top agents in her Board and in NY State. “I have always known that education is important in any business,� she says. Marnie Bennett, Ottawa, ON “I was the #1 Agent for Keller Williams International - but truth be known, I had no systems, no direction, no lead generation systems -- just ‘old school’ real estate. Within 3 years of using Craig’s system I was making annual GCI of $6.6 million. I have my own brokerage, a team of 40 and have built a legacy for my children.�

    Brampton, ON “I’ve been licensed for 10 years and for 7.5 years I followed the pack, cold calling, door knocking, praying for success, living with stress. With Craig’s System, my business took off immediately, doubling my production. I’m now in full control of my business, my income and my future.�

Laura Petersen,    After 20+ years of business management / ownership, Laura became licensed in 2005 and bought FrontGate Realty in 2008. Selling hundreds of homes with Craig Proctor’s system, she is ranked in the top 1% of Realtors in North America and was named one of the top 10 Realtors in Orlando by Orlando Style Magazine. Dione Irwin,   “I wanted to do well from the very beginning so, right from the start, I embraced what Craig Proctor taught. Frankly, everything changed once I did. In our first full year in real estate, we completed 65 transactions. Within 4 years, our annual GCI was $1.87 Million. We never thought we could achieve this level of success.â€?     !   " “I’ve just finished my best year in this business, reaching my goal by breaking over 700,000 in GCI. Despite the fact that my husband and I are about to welcome our first child, we have NEVER been this busy in our business. Much of the credit for this goes to my coach and mentor Craig Proctor whose system I have been following.â€?

     Mississauga, ON “I started in 1989 by flipping houses. As time went on I realized I’d hit a ceiling. I knew there had to be a BETTER way but I just couldn’t attain it and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. When I started with Craig Proctor’s system I was ready to quit. Today, a short 2 ½ years later, my income jumped from $100,000 to $335,000.â€? #  $  % At age 26, by using the Craig Proctor System, Audrey Bien-Aime and her husband/partner earned over $1 Million GCI and is on track to do $3 Million GCI in 2016, ranking # 2 in Montreal and #14 in all of Canada. Audrey was recognized in REP Magazine as one of the top 100 Women who are shaping the future of the industry. Lynn Horner Baker, Marietta, GA “My life is great since learning to implement Craig’s system. Both transactions and GCI are up 50%. I work 30% less hours than I used to and take 3 extra weeks off per year. The growth in my business has not only allowed me to take weekends off, but also to travel more and spend more time with my children and grandchildren.â€?

Many of the top agents in the world also credit their success to this system ‡ %U\DQ 3HOOLFDQ  5(2 $JHQW LQ 19 ‡ 1DWKDQ &ODUN  5(0$; $JHQW LQ 5, ‡ 0DULDQD &RZDQ  ZLWK &ROGZHOO %DQNHU IRU *&,



    Tempe, AZ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everyone talks about more clients and closings,â&#x20AC;? says Royse, a 33-year veteran and icon in the Metro Phoenix area, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but the ONLY place that offers training on increasing profit per transactions is Craig Proctor Coaching. Through Craig Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve discovered that my clients are happy to pay for the better service, marketing and results I offer.â&#x20AC;? Kristin Stampini, &    â&#x20AC;&#x153;Craig made it so simple and the dramatic growth in my business has come about because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve basically just listened to what Craig told me to do and implemented it. Craigâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s system is so simple. I would never have gotten where I am today without him. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think about it. Just do it. Learning from Craig is the best thing Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done in my life.â&#x20AC;? ' () # Toronto, ON â&#x20AC;&#x153;My income was down and I was burnt-out. Implementing Craig Proctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s System 2 years ago, I found my way back to a business I realized I was still very passionate about. My business will more than double, and I now have a team and a clear road map to grow my business while still having time to enjoy my life.â&#x20AC;?

system to generate leads, a system to convert those leads to face to face appointments, and a system to convert qualified prospects into paying clients (both buyers and sellers). The thirteen women featured here are from big and small markets across North America. Each of them attributes their success to the same real estate system, pioneered by Craig Proctor. Not only is Proctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s system responsible for more Millionaire Agents than any other real estate system, but Craig Proctor was a highly successful AGENT himself for more than 20 years. No one in Canada has sold more homes than Proctor has, and by sharing the system he used to achieve his own success, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been able to help over 30,000 agents worldwide to transform their real estate jobs into highly lucrative real estate businesses. This is the same system Proctor used himself in his own highly successful real estate career right here in Canada. As you may know, he was twice named the #1 RE/MAX agent in the world and was in the top 10 for RE/MAX International for 15 years. In fact, for 6 years straight, no one listed or sold more homes in the Greater Toronto Area than Proctor did. (Source: TREB Statistics) If you do not have a clear, detailed business system (key word, system) that you are using to move methodically to your goalsâ&#x20AC;Śa plan you could show a banker or investor or new partner or key associateâ&#x20AC;Śa plan you have reasoned, complete confidence in, then why wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you examine Proctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ultimate Real Estate Success System â&#x20AC;&#x201C; free? For a limited time, you can do exactly this by attending Proctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upcoming Free Discovery Day. You can get more information or register at

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Over 10.5 million international visitors to Learn how to take advantage of international opportunities by visiting

REALTORÂŽ. Member of The Canadian Real Estate Association and more.

Over 1.9 million leads generated Visit to makes sure your profile is up-to-date

Top 3 keywords in 2016 Waterfront, In-Law Suite and Bungalow, visit to find the latest insights reports

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The open house, Part 2: To have and to hold Allowing strangers into one’s inner sanctum is certainly an invasion, but that’s the whole idea. You want as many people as possible viewing your listing. By Ross Wilson


hy do you hold open houses? To appease a seller? To look busy? Because your seller demanded it? A homeowner may have to be convinced of the merits of opening their doors. Allowing strangers into one’s inner sanctum is certainly an invasion, but that’s the whole idea. You want as many people as possible viewing your listing. So, they’d better get over it. By restricting your marketing to more passive promotion, they’re essentially tying one of your arms behind your back. Opens are also a great way to placate a frustrated seller who may have over-priced their prop-

erty and as a result, aren’t getting much action. With warm bodies meandering around, possibly oblivious of the high asking price – and still no offers appear – your stubborn seller may finally get the message. In exchange for a couple of hours of your time sitting on your fanny, you may win a price reduction, hence a more realistic listing, not to mention an otherwise free opportunity to develop a few leads. I’d say that’s a fair exchange. Some homes are suitable for an open house and some are not. If the listing is a showplace – particularly the exterior – then it’s more likely to attract visitors. Provided of course that it’s priced right, once a qualified buyer sees it up close, the

chances of an offer are good. However, if the listing is plain, tired or rough with poor curb appeal, an open may not be the right marketing method. In such a case, the only possible benefit of holding one is the slim chance of generating leads. But a butt ugly property is unlikely to attract attention. It’s a classic example of judging a book by its cover. Buyers will probably believe an unattractive exterior means the same inside. It’s common practice for newer agents, who have yet to become busy listers, to “borrow” suitably attractive listings from other agents. If this applies to you, instead of using the personalized open house signs and feature sheets or brochures of the

listing agent, buy your own. Promote yourself; it’s your business practice. Advertising an open house in the local newspaper or distributing professionally printed invitations around the neighbourhood are good ideas. But once advertised, you must commit to holding it – even if the weather is gruesome. Even if the home has sold conditionally or you have a hot prospect wanting to view other homes that same afternoon, it’s imperative that you or a substitute attend. Otherwise, you lose credibility (as does our industry) in the neighbourhood. Newspaper ads can indeed spawn visitors, but I’ve found strategic placement of numerous professional-looking signs at

main intersections usually attracts sufficient traffic to justify the time and effort. And by not having committed to a newspaper ad, if you think you might be busy with buyers, you can cancel or postpone your open at the last minute. Plus you’ve saved a few ad bucks. Obviously, though, you might have to deal with a disappointed seller. Before the day arrives, both you and the property must be properly prepared. Set the stage. Recruit your sellers to do their part, making sure the home is groomed and polished, inside and out. Ask them to mow the lawn, manicure the gardens, trim the bushes and sweep the walk. Continued on page 26

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Going to extremes to sell a house Pokémon Go, pool parties and $1 listings


orget the Tim’s gift cards, Air Miles and freshly baked cookies at open houses. Real estate agents are going to extreme lengths to sell homes. Sleepovers are becoming a popular trend. Giving a prospective buyer the chance to spend a night in a house they are debating purchasing gives them an authentic feel for what it would be like to live there. A bottle of wine and a box of snacks make the night even better. Touring a home for an hour or two and taking photos is great but nothing beats sleeping in a place to get a true picture. This is the ultimate “try before you buy” example. Offering a moving truck for clients to use when they buy or sell with you has gained popularity in recent years. But California real estate agent

Pokémon Go has inspired some agents to jump on the gaming bandwagon. This is evident in a Zillow ad for a Washington home: “3 Pokémon Go gyms, 5 Pokestops. Confirmed Squirtle sighting in backyard.” With Niantic (the company behind the popular game) lining up to sell locations, this fad might not vanish anytime soon, leaving it a viable marketing option. Analysts encourage retailers to use Pokémon Go to increase traffic and motivate engagement and savvy agents are using it, too. Internet video home tours are a common marketing tool but some agents are kicking them up a dozen notches. The Corcoran Group spent $50,000 to create a video for a penthouse they were selling in New York City. While that may seem

An Oregon agent listed an empty residential lot. He placed a door in the patch of dirt and garnered a lot of buzz for the “open concept” home. Jeffrey DeJesus took it a step further. He not only provides clients with a moving truck at no charge, he also throws in people to help you move. And pizzas. Listing a house for $1 may sound loonie but it’s an extreme strategy that has worked. Broker Manjit Singh of HomeLife Superstars previously had a semidetached Brampton, Ont. home listed for $899,000. He couldn’t find a taker. So he listed the property for $1 to start a bidding war. Genius or ridiculous, it was a marketing ploy that caught attention and got people talking. The raging popularity of

extreme, it’s no longer surprising to hear of agents forking out big bucks for videos that showcase a listing in the best light. Another spin on online videos involves going beyond a regular tour and showing off the lifestyle a buyer could expect from a home. Vanessa Shelley of Re/Max Rouge River Realty in Oshawa, Ont. posted such a video on a listing she had that was sitting empty after extensive renovations. The video shows her bathing with a rubber ducky, drinking coffee on the deck, doing cartwheels in the sizable backyard, cooking in the impres-

By Toby Welch sive kitchen, and crawling through the numerous storage spaces. Ramping up videos is an effective way to get more traction and draw attention to listings. Incentives have been around as long as property has been sold, but the incentive ploy has been kicked up to new levels. Forget throwing in the hot tub in the backyard or leaving the pool table behind. One real estate agent stocked a fridge with $1,000 worth of beer, which will stay in the home after the sellers move out. Another freebie incentive is paying green fees for a year on a house that borders a golf course. Other popular incentives include throwing in all the furniture at no charge, giving a free vacation with the home sale and leaving a car in the garage. Incentives work as they make buyers feel like they are getting something for free. More examples of agents going beyond the norm to sell a house: • Turning open houses into flashy parties and inviting A-listers. • A California sales agent hired a professional crew to stage and film a movie that features the house as the main star. • Forgoing a regular open house and highlighting how kidfriendly a neighbourhood is by hosting a carnival. (The event included a bouncy house, face painting, a petting zoo and balloon artists.) • An Oregon agent listed an empty residential lot. He placed a door in the patch of dirt and garnered a lot of buzz for the “open concept” home. • In the higher price point, one agent created a custom iPad app that highlighted the property. She had the app installed on a stack of iPads that she gave to prospective buyers. • Hosting art exhibits at open houses. • Throwing a pool party, if the home has a backyard pool.

The raging popularity of Pokémon Go has inspired some agents to jump on the bandwagon. (Photo: Sadie Hernandez)

• Having professional musicians play softly in the background during an open house. • A broker in New York hosts sexy photo shoots at his properties, aiming to portray a lifestyle that he believes potential buyers are looking for. • Holding a smudging ritual to clear the home of any negative energy. The process involves giving the home a smoke bath by burning sage leaves as you slowly walk around the home. But how far is too far? When a marketing tactic isn’t legal

(such as selling raffle tickets or holding an essay contest with the home as the prize) or appears to be a one-way ticket to a lawsuit (like the agent who set up the roller coaster through a listing for easier touring), it may be too far. If an idea feels sketchy, it’s probably best to forego it. Extreme marketing techniques can offend or turn off people. Some may even hate what an agent has done. But few will be able to forget it or ignore the unconventional, out-of-thebox methodology. REM

The open house, Part 2 Continued from page 24

Stow bicycles, toys or refuse from around the property in the garage or shed. Insist the place be spotless, including windows and doors. Advise them to put away valuables or anything fragile that’s precariously perched and might be knocked over by a rambunctious child. It’s unlikely this will happen, but why tempt fate? While cracking the whip in this regard, I’ve been called a task-master by my sellers. But it’s all standard stuff that they should do anyway prior to even listing their home. If you lack staging skills, recommend professional help. The closer the property resembles a model home, the greater chance of achieving the mutual goal of a sale. Remember – you’re a team. Work together. In the next column, I’ll address when it’s appropriate to limit entry to your open house. Ross Wilson, broker with iPro Realty, has enjoyed a rewarding four-decade career encompassing a highly productive referral sales practice and extensive experience as a brokerage owner, manager, trainer and mentor. His new book, The Happy Agent – Finding Harmony with a Thriving Realty Career and an Enriched Personal Life is available where print and e-books are sold, including the TREB, BREB, RAHB and OMDREB stores. Visit RealtyREM


Marjan Mazaheri


Owner, Coldwell Ban ker Prestige Realty OUR LOCATIO NS: Offices in Vancouver and N orth Vancouver WHY I DO WHA T I DO: To crea te a home where all agents can work toge YEAR I ENTERE D REAL ESTATE ther. : 1996 :




2008 L BANKER SYST EM: The stro ng, established nam worldwide network, e, and sound business so lu ti on s th at Coldwell Banker offers to myself and my sales associates. BIGGEST ACCO MPLISHMENT: Growing a start-up operation through an to build a brokerage M&A, with three successful of fi ce s. BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED : Always con sider other people’s but remember to mak point of view, e your own best judg ment. WHY I JOINED



Building a Culture of Caring and Trust

When I started my company, I wanted to create something different from what I’d experienced in other brokerages. My goal was to build a business with a supportive, caring culture where everyone could take pride in each other’s success. I sought to align with a strong, respected brand name to build an operation people would be proud to be part of. Today, we’ve grown to 80 agents who are all treated like extended family, and that is the culture of Coldwell Banker. Marjan Mazaheri, Owner Coldwell Banker Prestige Realty Vancouver, BC © 2016 Coldwell Banker LLC. All rights reserved. Each office is independently owned and operated. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker LLC. Each sales representative and broker is responsible for complying with any consumer disclosure laws or regulations, as well as applicable Real Estate Association rules and codes of conduct. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

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A pained bungalow and sympathetic reno Another round of real estate bloopers By Peggy Blair


h, fellow Realtors: You’ve been getting better at catching those typos and errors, so it’s taken me a while to gather enough for another column. But here we go! I love listings that have a Shakespearean quality to them, like this one I ran into this week: “This home is a mix of old word charm and modern amenities.” It makes me want to add a “Foresooth!” somewhere except I’m not sure I know what it means. This recent listing appeared to have French old word charm in mind. The property for sale had “old charm but modern touchees.” Sometimes a sales rep will list a property where the lack of punctu-

ation is what makes me giggle. Like this one with a “freshly painted fenced backyard.” I guess you would market it to those folks who hate cutting grass. Or perhaps you not only like cutting grass, you keep the clippings. In which case, this “washer and stem dryer” are just up your alley. Then there’s this one: “backyard backs on to green space roof.” I’m trying to imagine what kind of green space needs protection from the rain. At times it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the wording in a listing, it just strikes me as funny. For example: “This home has undergone a recent sympathetic renovation.” It brings to mind tradespeople profusely apologizing to the house as they knock down the interior walls or rip up the flooring: “So sorry, forgive me.” Like parents

with the old “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” Bam, bam, bam. Then there was this new listing I saw for a “Freshly pained spacious brick bungalow.” Poor house. I stumbled on to this one for a home that is “bellowing at the seams with upgrades.” That’s one angry house. See what happens when you don’t have sympathetic renos? I have a feeling that auto-correct is responsible for some bloopers I ran across like this inadvertent gem that made me laugh out loud: “Please add lot perineum for corner unit.” (For those who don’t have time to Google it, the perineum is just below the anus, not exactly a premium location.) Then there’s this recent listing, where a missing word or two has narrowed the buyers’ market to disabled time travellers: “This home is wheelchair friendly, in

2008.” If you come across any buyers who needed wheelchair access eight years ago, be sure let them know. I’ve seen listings where the fact that a home was pet and smoke free was a selling point for those with allergies but this was a new one: “Must see: smoke and pee free.” Now, I know people often go outside to smoke; this makes me wonder where the sellers did their other business. Maybe outside in that green space, which might explain the roof. I ran into a few listings recently where the salesperson didn’t use quite the right words to convey their sentiments but I knew what they meant. Like this one, where the sales rep seems to have been a bit confused about what exactly a “perq” is: “Main bath also tastefully renovated with

heated floors, just another quirk!” Or this example of creative spelling: “This is a must see for cottage conisuierrues.” And then there was this one: “The garden is wonderful with perennially gardens.” Once a garden, always a garden, I guess. My personal favourite? “This home has been Lovingling cared for.” I love that. Or perhaps I should say, I lovingling it. Finally, I know we tell sellers to decorate with neutral colours but I had to laugh when I saw a new listing that said, “The whole home is fleshly painted.” I don’t even want to know how the tradespeople achieved that, but I hope they were sympathetic. Peggy Blair is a sales representative with Royal LePage Team Realty in Ottawa. A former lawyer, she is the award-winning author of the Inspector Ramirez series published by Penguin Canada and Simon and Schuster Canada as well as internationally. Her most recent book, Umbrella Man, is now in bookstores. If you come across any real estate bloopers that tickle your funny bone, be sure to send them to her at peggyREM

Step this way to freedom from fear By Dan LeFave ear is our greatest enemy. Millions of people are afraid of the past, the future, living fully, old age, death and selling. Fear is a thought in our mind and we are afraid of our own thoughts. Fear stands behind business failures, sickness and bad human relations. We are born with only two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of noise. These are our internal alarm systems given to us by nature as a means of self-preservation. Normal fear is good. We hear an automobile coming towards us and we step out of the way to survive. The sudden fear of being run over is overcome by our actions.


All other fears were given to us by our parents, relatives, teachers and everyone who influenced us in our youth. Abnormal fear takes place when we let our imagination run wild. There are many people who are afraid to make sales calls, ride elevators, climb mountains or go into the water. They may have endured an unpleasant experience in the water while in their youth, such as having been pushed in when they didn’t know how to swim. A friend had a bad experience when he was about 16 years of age. He almost drowned and still has a fear inside his head. He can still remember the water engulfing his head and gasping for air until he was pulled out at the last moment. This experience embedded into his subconscious mind and for years after, he feared the water. The same goes for business and sales calls. The answer to abnormal fear is to mentally move to the opposite.

There is no movement if we remain in fear, instead there’s physical and mental deterioration. When we experience fear, immediately we have a desire for the opposite to what we’re afraid of. Give your attention to the thing immediately desired, because the universal mind knows what your intentions are by what you give attention to. Get absorbed in your desire, trusting and knowing that the subjective always overturns the objective. This attitude will give you self-confidence and raise your potential to overcome your fear. The unlimited power of your subconscious mind moves on your behalf, and cannot fail. Peace of mind and assurance are yours. You can overcome all abnormal fears when you understand that the power of your subconscious mind can change the conditions and circumstances or your life and bring into reality your deepest desires. There is a process and technique for overcoming all fears. It

works marvelously. Suppose you are afraid of following up with clients. If you are afraid of following up with clients, begin by sitting quietly for five or 10 minutes three or four times a day and imagine you are following up flawlessly. This is a subjective experience. You are mentally projecting yourself into the steps to following up. You see yourself making the call, meeting with the client and having them be happy to hear from you. It is a vivid, real and fun activity of the mind. It is not just idle daydreaming, for what you are experiencing in your imagination will be developed in your subconscious mind. Then you will be compelled to express the likeness of the image you impressed on your deeper mind. This is the law of the subconscious. The subconscious mind is open to suggestion and is controlled by suggestion. When we quiet our mind and relax, the thoughts sink down from our conscious mind into

our subconscious like seeds being planted in a garden. As these positive seeds grow and prosper you become controlled, serene and calm. The quickest way to overcome fear is to sit down for about five minutes and say to yourself slowly, quietly and positively, “I am going to master this fear. I am overcoming it now. I speak with poise and confidence. I am relaxed and at ease.” Work with the law of your mind and overcome your fears. Dan LeFave is the “Prepare for anything” coach, author,speaker, habit-changer and the creator of the online program Waking Up Productive - 12 Strategic Ways to Multiply Your Productivity While Working Fewer Hours. He has been profiled on radio shows, in magazines, articles and podcasts, from Manhattan to Vancouver. He says, “The thoughts you habitually think have the tendency to actualize themselves in physical conditions.” REM

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The caveman real estate professional By Dan St. Yves





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n the mid 1970s, scientists unthawed a frozen caveman that had been found in the foothills of Alberta. As the befuddled caveman came to understand the modern language of his new time, the researchers were amazed to discover that he had been a prehistoric real estate agent. A prominent real estate writer talked to him and only now are those meeting notes surfacing: Q: In 1975, we have a saying about real estate – “location, location, location”. How important was that for prehistoric man? A: Well, we had always wanted to list caves that were on healthy mastodon migration routes. I mean we may have been hunters and gatherers, but without footwear, the less traveling we had to do for both of those was a great relief. Do you have any idea how hard it is to set up mastodon traps when you have gout? Q: We’ve had issues with construction quality in some housing projects and that has led to property inspections to protect consumers. How wellbuilt were early homes for your own clients? A: Well built? Our homes were only as solid as the caves we came upon. Our biggest problem in showing homes was stumbling across a sabre-toothed tiger coming out as we were approaching. That was one sure-fire way to find out who would win a footrace. Q: Did you have any sort of dress code when you were working in real estate? A: That depended on how hard the tigers fought back. Sometimes I’d have a pretty sweet loincloth, other times I’d just be happy to come across

enough river mud to smear over me for cover. Man, I would have killed to have a pair of those bell-bottom trousers you’re wearing right now! Q: Modern homes have so many amazing amenities, like running water, electricity and shingles. What would a really tricked-out cave have looked like for you? A: Again, pretty much just mud or dinosaur blood for cave drawings. It wasn’t until that one night where Bob was losing at poker and he started banging a

A: It was only as secure as the next hungry sabre-toothed tiger that roamed in while we were sleeping. There are only so many caves out there, after all. How do you think we got new listings? Q: Well, I’d like to wrap up. What is the one thing about your real estate business that was the most innovative? A: Before the big freeze, we had started to talk about getting more organized and developing some sort of system to track listings and sales. But once we got that whole fire thing perfected,

Our biggest problem in showing homes was stumbling across a sabretoothed tiger coming out as we were approaching. That was one sure-fire way to find out who would win a footrace. couple of rocks together in frustration that we accidentally invented fire. That really stepped up our game going forward! Q: How did your people arrange mortgages? A: Mortgages? Q: Lending money for the homes… A: Well, we did have clubs that sort of sorted things out when we wanted something. The bigger club usually won those arguments, as well as the cave. Q: What about security? Did you have any sort of effective security systems on your doors and windows? A: Have you never seen a cave in real life before? Q: Sorry, I guess it was more of an open air housing concept.

we got pretty complacent about anything too complicated, what with being so much better fed from cooking our meals. I mean, what would you rather have, a multiple listing system, or a great rack of barbecue ribs? Q: Well, maybe we better talk further about that concept another time, but you’re right, a rack of ribs sounds great right about now. A: I’m buying. Hey, who do I have to club around here to get a pair of those bell bottoms? 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

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rince Albert real estate professionals got a chance to see the impact the $5,000 grant from the Association of Saskatchewan Realtors (ASR) Quality of Life Legacy Fund had on two Prince Albert YWCA programs, Homeward Bound and Kindred Spirit. The Kindred Spirit program, which started this year, provides housing and support for mothers and their children during family crisis. Homeward Bound seeks to end homelessness by providing timely access to permanent hous-

ing and offering support and services to clients. “Our program has matured and our clients have matured with us,” says Homeward Bound supervisor Rob Dunlop. “We know these grants are going to good causes, but to come right to the source, and see firsthand the difference that a little compassion and support can make in someone’s life, is eye opening,” says Kevin Wouters, ASR president. ■ ■ ■

Cheryl Skowronek of Cornerstone Properties in Winnipeg shows off her catch at the MREA Shelter Foundation’s Fishing Derby. She won the Helix GPS Fishfinder grand prize.

The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) hosted a Harvest Open House for the media in late October. “LSTAR has been serving the real estate needs of London and St. Thomas for over 75 years and we thought it was high time we threw open our doors,” says John Geha, LSTAR’s CEO. “We have collaborated with area art galleries and individual artists to mount a vibrant art show featuring 60 works by 18 local artists as well as a tapas lunch prepared by Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s YOU Made it Café, the Sweet Onion Bistro, Windemere Manor and Sticky Pudding,” says Stacey Evoy, LSTAR president. LSTAR also hosted a forum for candidates for its 2017 Board of Directors, followed by a presentation on the importance of governance by Bill Harrington, CREA’s general counsel.

From left: YWCA CEO Donna Brooks, Realtor Krystal Hammersmith, Kindred Spirit supervisor Tami Popoff, ASR CEO Bill Madder, ASR director Carmen Cartier, Realtor David Harradence, Homeward Bound manager Dave Hobden, Kindred Spirit support worker Raelene Beaulac, ASR president Kevin Wouters and Homeward Bound supervisor Rob Dunlop.

The industry panel at the LSTAR conferece, from left: Tom Weber, Anthony Passarelli, Joe Kireta, Jed Chinneck and John Geha, LSTAR CEO. Donna Kirsch of Gateway Real Estate and MREA Shelter Foundation chair Brian Canart with the cheque from the fishing derby.

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The Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation’s Hooked on Shelter Fishing Derby reeled in $5,250 for shelter charities recently. Donna Kirsch of Winnipeg’s Gateway Real Estate exceeded her goal in her first year organizing the derby. The event has raised more than $60,000 over the past decade. Throughout the day, anglers emailed Kirsch photos of huge catfish being pulled from the Red River near Selkirk, about 35 km north of Winnipeg. The catch of the day was a 98.5 cm master catfish caught by Susan Greschuk. ■ ■ ■

CREA has achieved Gold Level certification in Excellence Canada’s Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard. Gold level certification acknowledges that an organization has met and exceeded strategic

goals on excellence, innovation and wellness issues. Founded by Industry Canada, Excellence Canada is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing organizational performance across Canada. “Realtors can be proud of their national association,” says Cliff Iverson, president of CREA. “The Gold Level certification is a tangible sign that CREA is committed to achieving excellence through continuous improvement.” CREA’s CEO Gary Simonsen adds, “This award is a clear testament to CREA’s achievements and our continued commitment to being among the best Canadian organizations to work for.” ■ ■ ■

Kingston and Area Real Estate Association (KAREA) members laced up their cleats to raise $1,281 for Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) at Presenting the cheque to Southern Frontenac Community Services, from left: John Dirksen; Nona Mariotti, SFCS board of directors; Adam Rayner, president of KAREA board of directors; and Andy Mills, SFCS. From left: Joe’s Place executive director Joe Dueck; ASR CEO Bill Madder; and Realtors Jennifer Patterson and Marlene Williamson. Members and staff from the Ottawa Real Estate Board took part in a Habitat for Humanity build day.


their annual charity lob ball tournament in September. Volunteers Liza Tallen, Jamie Quinn, Steve Harrington, Samantha Moore, John Dirksen, Ken and Lorraine Rolston, Adam Rayner and Colleen Emmerson organized the event. ■ ■ ■

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) says it welcomes the appointments of new members to the Real Estate Council of B.C., including Robert D. Holmes as chair. “We have stressed the importance of having council members who are thoroughly familiar with the practice of real estate in B.C., including current industry experience and expertise,” says Robert Laing, BCREA CEO. “We are happy to see that will be the case with the new council and look forward to supporting them in their efforts.” Council composition was a major concern raised by real estate brokers and agents across the province, and formed part of the public submission BCREA made to the provincial government. ■ ■ ■

On Oct. 19, the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s (OREB) Realtors Care Committee, president, president-elect and board staff helped build a Habitat for Humanity home on behalf of the Ontario Realtors Care Foundation. For the fourth year in a row, the OREB’s Realtors Care Committee participated in a Habitat build day using the funds donated from the previous year. “This is the second Habitat build I have participated in with OREB and it’s a great feeling to help make a difference in the life of a local family,” says Shane Silva, OREB president. ■ ■ ■

The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors hosted its second annual London Housing Industry Networking Conference and Lender Show for more than 300 real estate and housing industry professionals. Anthony Passarelli, CMHC’s senior market analyst, provided CMHC’s fall housing forecast and insights into the region’s demographics. There was also a panel discussion that examined the impact of the new federal mortgage regulations.

Mike Moffat, assistant professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, gave the keynote presentation on the ever-shifting landscape of the Canadian real estate industry. “It’s very important for real estate professionals to understand at a macro level the forces at work in our current market,” says Stacey Evoy, LSTAR president. “Events like this provide a bird’s eye view of what’s really happening, both now and in the near future.” ■ ■ ■

CREB Charitable Foundation has awarded $180,000 in grant funding through its Investing in Hope program to local non-profits selected by real estate professionals. The charitable foundation typically awards 15 grants through the program, but its board of governors unanimously agreed to inject an extra $30,000 this year, so 18 organizations will each receive a $10,000 grant. The additional funding was applied evenly across the foundation’s three areas of focus – enhancement, shelter and care – and will assist with a specific operational or capital need.


a t o g e v ’ e W ! t a h t r o f e g a g t r o m

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Local real estate professionals experienced how much fun teens have on Friday nights in Moose Jaw hanging out at Joe’s Place, a recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Association of Saskatchewan Realtors (ASR) Quality of Life Legacy Fund. Joe’s Place, which encourages a healthy, substance-free lifestyle, provides a high-energy environment for youth to hang out with friends. From playing billiards and video games to wall climbing and rip-sticking to designing costumes and repairing motorcycles, opportunities abound at Joe’s Place. Executive director Joe Dueck says that sometimes what seems like simple fun and games can have a profound effect on an individual. “You get some kids, they’re having a rough day, and they get to the top (of the climbing wall), and everyone cheers. Just like that, they’ve got a win under their belt,” says Dueck. The grant will support Outdoor Adventures, which provides funding for youth to attend camps and retreats, and Work Skills Training. REM

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Colin Hartigan, Helen Hutchings receive international awards Two Canadians were recognized with international awards at the recent Coldwell Banker international conference, the 2016 Generation Blue Experience. The winners were nominated by their peers and selected from approximately 84,000 professionals affiliated with the Coldwell Banker network worldwide. Colin Hartigan, owner of Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray, in Fort McMurray, Alta. was given the Chandler Barton Spirit Award. Named after Chandler Barton, president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate from 1989 to 1996, this accolade honours his “can do” attitude. Hartigan earned the award for his inspiring efforts during the Fort McMurray wildfire and its aftermath. Demonstrating the “can do” spirit that previously ranked him as Canada’s top Coldwell Banker agent, Hartigan tirelessly rebuilt his brokerage operations and devoted his personal and business resources to help displaced residents in the ravaged community, the company says. Hartigan used his own home to house firefighters who came from across North America and around the world to battle the blaze. “My proudest accomplishment for the year, which is ongoing today, is my role as the Community Chair for the 2016 Community Campaign for the United Way of Fort McMurray to raise $8 million,” says Hartigan. “I feel it’s all about attitude and passion to find success and surrounding myself with excellent character type people.” Helene Hutchings, sales representative with Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty in Stittsville, Ont. received the Coldwell Banker Hero of the Year Award. This annual award is presented to an

individual, office or company affiliated with the brand who strengthens their community through exceptional charitable efforts. Hutchings dedicates countless hours to support children with cancer through her organization, Hair Donation Ottawa. She founded the non-profit in 2011 and since then it has raised more than $370,000 for the Ottawa Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario for Viral Oncolytic Research. More than 15,000 inches of hair has gone towards the manufacture of free wigs for children with hair loss in the Ottawa region. Hutchings was inspired to start the non-profit after she overcame her own battle with cancer in 2010. “Hair Donation Ottawa wouldn’t be possible and as successful as it is today without the tremendous support from our volunteers who are equally as passionate about the cause as I am,” Hutchings says.

CCIM Institute honours two Canadian CCIM designees CCIM Institute honored Sandy G. Shindleman, president and CEO of Shindico in Winnipeg, and Bruce Harvey of Re/Max Professionals in Winnipeg with the Susan J. Groeneveld, CCIM, Visionary Award during the organization’s Annual Governance Meetings in Atlanta recently. Multiple CCIM leaders lauded Shindleman and Harvey for their vision, dedication and efforts to promote CCIM Institute globally. To earn the award, individuals must be nominated by a minimum of 10 individuals in the commercial real estate industry, including members and staff of CCIM Institute. “Canada was CCIM Institute’s first international market,” says 2010 CCIM Institute president Richard Juge. “Sandy and Bruce were critical in venturing outside of the U.S. border and they con-

tinue to assist in instructing and being involved in both the chapter and membership side of CCIM Institute.” “For more than 30 years, Sandy and Bruce have worked to extend our CCIM education and membership across Canada,” says 2017 CCIM Institute first vice president Barbara M. Crane. “They have also spent many years serving CCIM Institute as exemplary members of our Instructor cadre, Board of Directors and CCIM Foundation leadership.”

Regina’s Carla Browne wins Century 21 Brand Leadership Award Carla Browne, owner of Century 21 Dome Realty in Regina, is the inaugural recipient of the company’s Brand Leadership Award. It was presented in recognition of outstanding leadership and brand loyalty. Browne started her career in real estate with Century 21 in 1993, and having done every job in the office since then, knows the industry and brand inside out, the company says. In 2011, after successfully managing four offices as a provincial broker, she took ownership of Century 21 Dome along with her partners. “Despite being licensed, my mission has never been to sell real estate myself. I love the operations side of the business and am dedicated to growing our office by supporting our sales representatives,” says Browne. “I know that supported agents are profitable, successful agents, and for me, that has always started with the brand and the people behind it.” “Carla’s contributions to her community, the Century 21 brand in Canada and the real estate industry in general, extend well beyond her beloved province of Saskatchewan,” says Martin Charlwood, CEO and vice chairman, Century 21 Canada.

From left: Colin Hartigan, Andy Puthon, president of Coldwell Banker Canada and Charlie Young, president & CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

U. Gary Charlwood, founder of Century 21 Canada, and Carla Browne.

Sharon and Gary Busch

Helene Hutchings

Bill Blackall

From left: 2016 CCIM Institute president Steven Moreira, Sandy Shindleman, Bruce Harvey and Susan J. Groeneveld, for whom the award is named.

Saskatoon’s Century 21 Fusion named brand’s Franchisee of the Year Century 21 Canada’s Franchisee of the Year Award was presented to Gary and Sharon Busch, owners of Century 21

Amanda Westrheim

Michael Le Page


Fusion in Saskatoon, during the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 40th anniversary Canada Conference in Vancouver recently. Candidates for the award are selected by peer nomination and evaluated based on a variety of factors that include sales, growth and their overall contribution to the system and local community. Gary Busch started his career in real estate with Century 21 in 1992. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To this day, I still remember what a competitor said after failing to recruit me, despite a relentless pursuit: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a tough one to crack, Gary; your blood runs gold,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; and that still rings true. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m incredibly proud to be a part of the Century 21 organization and the business it has helped me build.â&#x20AC;? His firm has more than 90 sales reps. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day one of an agentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s career or a seasoned veteran looking to take their business to the next level, Gary and his management team have always maintained a laser-like focus on growth and professional development,â&#x20AC;? says Brian Rushton, executive vice president, Century 21 Canada.

Kelownaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Amanda Westrheim named Century 21 Sales Associate of the Year Amanda Westrheim of Century 21 Assurance in Kelowna, B.C. is Century 21 Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sales Associate of the Year. Candidates for Sales Associate of the Year are selected by peer nomination and evaluated based on a variety of factors that include sales, growth and their overall contribution to the system and local community. Westrheim started her career in real estate as soon as she graduated from high school, taking on administrative roles for Century 21 Assurance until she was licensed in 2011. In her first year she became the top producing agent in her office and received the brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award for sales excellence, the Centurion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have always known that I wanted to be a Realtor, so to receive this type of acknowledgement, so early on in my career, is surreal and beyond encouraging,â&#x20AC;? says Westrheim. Last year Westrheim became a Double Centurion producer, an achievement that requires a

gross closed commission of at least $484,000 or 134 units. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To be named Sales Associate of the Year is an incredible honour at any stage in a Realtorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s career, but to receive this recognition just five years in is quite exceptional,â&#x20AC;? says Brian Rushton, executive vice president, Century 21 Canada.

ACMO and has more than 30 years of condominium management experience. He is a board member for the National Association of Condominium Managers and reserve fund instructor for the Canadian Condominium Institute. Le Page lectures at industry events and is the author of numerous industryrelated articles.

Bill Blackall presented with Century 21 Lifetime Achievement Award

Engel & VĂślkers inducts three advisors into Private Office

Bill Blackall of Century 21 Prudential Estates (RMD) in Richmond, B.C., has been recognized with the Charlwood Lifetime Achievement Award for his 40 years of service to Century 21. Blackall opened the doors to Century 21 Prudential Estates in 1976 and has been part of the Century 21 team ever since. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I often get asked why I have stayed with Century 21 for as long as I have and the answer is really quite simple: world-class support,â&#x20AC;? says Blackall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve felt incredibly supported from the moment that I took a risk and signed the first franchise agreement back in 1975. That moment helped change the Canadian real estate industry forever and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m incredibly proud and grateful that I was a part of that.â&#x20AC;? Now Blackall runs the real estate and property management company alongside his youngest son Michael.

Associaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Michael Le Page honoured by ACMO Michael Le Page, president of Associaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Maple Ridge Community Management (MRCM) in Mississauga, Ont., was selected as the Industry Leader of the Year by the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO). â&#x20AC;&#x153;The award is indeed an honour; however, it is shared with the team I have the privilege of working with. Their level of engagement and commitment to our clients, our team and our shared success has allowed MRCM to accomplish great things and prepare for even more in the future,â&#x20AC;? says Le Page. Le Page is a member of the

Engel & VĂślkers North America has added three new Canadian members to its Private Office network. Rachelle Starnes of Engel & VĂślkers Calgary, John King of Engel & VĂślkers Ottawa Central and Martin Rouleau of Engel & VĂślkers Montreal were honoured at a ceremony held at the firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Park Avenue offices in New York City. To join Private Office, advisors must be nominated by their brokers and receive endorsements from their clients before their names are submitted to head office in Hamburg, Germany, for the final decision. As Private Office Advisors, the group gains access to marketing tools and opportunities developed specifically to work with the luxury brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest networth clients, the company says. They also work together as the preferred contacts for international referrals that require the highest levels of service and market expertise, it says.

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Canadian sales rep wins international award Sandy Casella, sales representative at Re/Max Realty Enterprises in Mississauga, Ont., won the Quantum Leap Award at the Craig Proctor Super Conference in Toronto recently. Casella received the award for making the most significant gains in her real estate business during the past year. Casella also coaches other real estate professionals in North America and has co-written a new book, Selling Your Home for Top Dollar, available at REM

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The top 3 reasons real estate teams fail With the dismal rate of success for real estate agents trying to build a team, know what to look for and how to solve these common issues up front. By Kathleen Black


fter coaching hundreds of real estate teams full-time since 2009, I believe in the power of team environments. When a new member joins the team, their success has more to do with the team environment than the member. Through my experience coaching teams, I have found three difficulties facing team leaders: compensation, training and recruitment. They aren’t entirely roadblocks, because to every problem there is a solution, but they are the most common obstacles facing a team leader. With the dismal rate of success for real estate agents trying to build a team, know what to look for and



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how to solve these common issues up front.

1. Compensation structure After making the transition from a salesperson on a top producing team to an elite coach, I was able to pinpoint the first and most prominent mistake made by team leaders – the compensation structure. I see a lot of team leaders not setting themselves up to be compensated for their new role as team leader. A lack of compensation for that role creates a broken equation where the team leader returns their focus to sales, instead of working to grow their team business and nurture the people on their team. I like to emphasize the need for a connection between building the business and being compensated for the role of team leader. It is essential for the team leader to see the value in being the leader and to recognize the need to compensate themselves accordingly. In determining what works best for compensation structure, I reinforce the idea of compensating for your value and what you bring to your team, as well as considering the future of the team. When coaching clients, we evaluate every influencing factor, but what makes the custom structure so effective is

that it is always targeted towards the goal of where the team will be in the future, instead of where the team is currently. Ten years down the road, the team will not be composed of the team leader and one team member, so capping at a 50/50 split is extremely restrictive. I always recommend taking into account the vision; if your team will have a lead conversion partner and a licensed assistant and a manager, prepare for that from the beginning. Also account for a team’s expenses, such as marketing, overhead and any additional costs that the team carries. This way, the team has the resources to continue to grow and build, which is in the best interest of everyone involved.

2. Training The second difficulty that team leaders face when building a team is training. A top producer doesn’t necessarily make a top trainer. I identified with that personally when I first made the change to being a coach. I found a way around this particular challenge with the implementation of many training certifications and systems. When training, shadowing is generally the path taken when showing someone the ropes, but the mistake here is that every person does it differently every single

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time. This inconsistency doesn’t work to effectively prepare an agent for success when they are on their own. The team leaders that I coach work on the idea of mastery. Everyone follows the same steps, so everyone knows what it takes to be successful. At that point, the agents approach the situations with their own personalities and interpretations, but they have been empowered with a set system to be successful.

responsible for a decision to invest $20,000 to $25,000 of training someone with no guarantee in return on that investment. Though there is no perfect equation for selecting the ideal future team members, I think you can get pretty close if you use the right filters. When our clients look to recruit, we start with a DISC personality profile review, because team leaders need someone who

I see a lot of team leaders not setting themselves up to be compensated for their new role as team leader. When it comes to enforcing the training, I say, “Know it so well you can’t forget it.” Learning it all with intensive training and weeks dedicated to the art ultimately pays off more than any other implementation of the systems. Learn it once and never have to think about it again. This comes back to the idea of being empowered to be successful.

3. Recruitment systems Recruitment, or lack of recruitment systems, is the third major difficulty faced by team leaders. The lack of recruitment systems has team leaders not looking into the business they want 10 years down the road, but instead recruiting people who don’t complement the direction in which they want to take their team. One common example of this is taking someone on who is easy and comfortable. There won’t be a push from them to help to achieve the levels of success that the team leader had envisioned. When looking at recruiting, a team leader isn’t just faced with a few interested candidates; they are

both upholds the team’s standards and values, and can contribute to the team’s continued drive to succeed. That is by no means the last step, but with further tests and questionnaires as part of our process, it is a telling starting point. Ultimately, I encourage team leaders in any stage of growth to keep in mind compensation structure, know their worth as a team leader and concentrate on training and recruitment. Know the direction you want to take up front. Otherwise the best laid plans will sabotage your growth in the future. Kathleen Black has taken her experience as a top-producing Realtor and built it into a dynamic, resultsdriven consulting company, Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, where she serves as CEO, speaker, trainer and elite coach. The systems she used in her daily real estate business to get her to the top are now the backbone of a real estate consulting company specializing in helping real estate professionals across North America build top teams.; email REM

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From left to right: Gary Simonsen, CREA CEO; Dale Ripplinger, Association of Regina REALTORS® and 2009 CREA President; Cliff Iverson, CREA President

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Good Works R

eal estate agents know better than anyone the value a home brings to the well being of a family. So when the opportunity arose for Nelson Goulart, broker of record/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service in Mississauga, to raise money so a family could build a home, it was a cause he couldn’t resist. Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens, partnered with U.S. based charity New Story, a non-profit organization that helps families in storm ravaged countries build homes. She committed to building 80 homes, Goulart says. He vowed to raise $6,000 to help one family realize their dream of homeownership and it took just weeks to do so. “We hit our target. We now have one house being built and a family (Odilia and Octavio and their

three children) has been selected to move in once it’s complete.” Through the New Story program, 100 per cent of monies raised go to the family so they can build a home with running water, electricity and a garden in the back. Building self-sustaining communities is the end game, says Goulart. “It’s a new approach to charity.” He took the idea to his team and he says his agents were “deeply moved by the idea.” They reached out to their database and the industry. “We had good response. Once people find out 100 per cent goes to the family” they are on board, he says. The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and New Story Program, launched in September, has another feature donors find important – a pay-forward model. A family gets an interest-free loan and as it is paid back,

the funds go to help another family. “It gives people pride. No one wants a hand-out,” Goulart says. So by donating, you not only help one, you help several. The charity also provides donors with a video so they can see the family receiving the keys to their new home. ■ ■ ■

Jack Wruth and Doris Shank, co-owners of Re/Max Blue Chip Realty in Yorkton, Sask., are donating a house valued at $169,900 to The Health Foundation. “We think the work the foundation does is very important for everyone who lives in this area,” says Wruth. “The other key reason we decided to donate this house is that we all know a new regional hospital is coming to Yorkton; we can all see it is needed. We wanted to help the foundation move the process forward, to help them create awareness of the need for a new hospital and to help them begin the fundraising that will be needed.” The couple suggested that the foundation establish a lottery with the house as the first prize. An application for a lottery license has now been submitted.

“Our team of agents can help to market the lottery and we at Re/Max have billboards and other marketing tools that will be useful and we will make available to the foundation,” says Wruth. “This is an amazing donation and we are very grateful to Mr. Wruth and Mrs. Shank for their generosity; this is one of the largest donations we have ever received,” says Ross Fisher, executive director of The Health Foundation. ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services held its seventh annual Charity Halloween Chili Bowl on Oct. 27 at Burlington Bowl to raise money for two local charities. Over the past 13 years, the brokerage has raised more than $270,000 in support of Halton Women’s Place, the only women’s shelter in Halton Region, and the Carpenter Hospice. This year’s Chili Bowl raised $4,246. “Our teams really outdid themselves this year,” says JoAnn Landry, president and broker/ owner. “Our committee, led by Brenda Macdonald, garnered tons of support from sponsors and participants. We had the largest group of bowlers yet.”

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Recently employees in Avison Young’s 79 offices in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Europe dedicated the day to participation in volunteer projects to promote social, economic and environmental sustainability in their respective cities. Mark Rose, chair and CEO of Avison Young says, “This annual initiative is also our way of giving back to the communities that support our company and our causes throughout the year.” Each Avison Young office chooses its own community volunteer project in consultation with the charity that will receive the assistance. These are the Canadian charities to which Avison Young employees donated their time: Calgary: Women in Need Society Edmonton: Food Bank of Edmonton Halifax and Moncton: Boys and Girls Club, Dartmouth, N.S. Lethbridge: Canadian Blood Services Montreal and Quebec City: Moisson Montreal Ottawa: The Ottawa Mission Regina: Carmichael Outreach Centre Toronto HQ, Toronto North, Avison Young Winnipeg participated in the local Koats for Kids program.

Nelson Goulart

Rob Maar

From left: Re/Max Blue Chip owners/brokers Jack Wruth and Doris Shank present the ceremonial key to the donated house to Ross Fisher, executive director of the Health Foundation in Yorkton, Sask.

Royal LePage Real Estate Services West Toronto offices raised $20,000 at its Annual Charity Golf Tournament for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. The offices presented the funds to the Redwood Shelter and Women’s Habitat. From left: Bloor West Village Branch broker/manager Gus Monteleone; Gia DeJulio, VP of the Board for Women; Leah Odle-Benson, board member for The Redwood Shelter; and Kingsway Branch broker/area manager Al Orlando.

The Champs at the Royal LePage Burloak Halloween Chili Bowl: sales reps Elaine Blamauer, Cathy Buttrum, Brian Maguire, Linda Maguire and administrative assistant Kristy Moran.

Sutton Group – West Coast in Victoria donated $3,000 to the Cops for Cancer ride.

Broker Mark Faris presents a cheque for the purchase of 25,000 Shelter Blooms to Royal LePage Shelter Foundation fundraising and communications coordinator Carly Neill.

Cliff Baron bought 250 pumpkins and gave them away in a local park.


Toronto West: Melanoma Network of Canada Toronto (property management): Youth Without Shelter Vancouver: Westminster House, Treatment Centre for Women Waterloo Region: Guelph Humane Society Winnipeg: Koats for Kids ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Heritage Group was the first official sponsor of the horse and wagon rides at the Newmarket Farmers’ Market since its establishment in 1999. The free rides took place on the second and fourth Saturday mornings of each month from June until October. The horse and wagon rides started at the farmer’s market and took people on a 20-minute tour through the downtown historical district, sharing information on the town’s historical happenings and its heritage. ■ ■ ■

The Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast took place in September and Sutton Group - West Coast Realty (Victoria) supported the event with a $3,000 donation. Cops for Cancer is an annual bike ride to raise funds for the

Canadian Cancer Society. More than 100 law enforcement and emergency services personnel cycled through more than 60 communities across the challenging terrain of Vancouver Island, northern B.C., the Fraser Valley and the coast of British Columbia. Cops for Cancer 2016 raised $487,445. “Most people have a co-worker or loved one who has been affected by cancer, so we felt it was important to support this event,” says Julie DeMelo a real estate agent who volunteers on Sutton Group West Coast Realty’s donation committee along with Deborah Farley and Danielle Moreau. ■ ■ ■

The Faris Team Brokerage with Royal LePage First Contact Realty in Barrie, Ont. kicked off the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation’s annual tulip fundraiser with the largest single purchase of Shelter Blooms ever – 25,000 bulbs – providing $12,500 to support the foundation’s work. The Shelter Blooms program raises funds to support domestic violence prevention and teen healthy relationship programming aimed at breaking the cycle of family violence in Canada. “We’re excited to give a pack-

Century 21 Heritage Group was the first official sponsor of the horse and wagon rides at the Newmarket Farmers’ Market.

age of tulip bulbs to more than 2,000 of our clients in Simcoe County and area,” says Faris. “Supporting Shelter Blooms is a perfect way to say thank you and serves as a visual reminder of our commitment to helping the thousands of women and children who seek safety from violence.” ■ ■ ■

Avison Young Winnipeg participated in its Global Day of Giving by supporting Koats for Kids, a local United Way program. Koats for Kids, which started in 1989, distributes thousands of pieces of outerwear every year from October to February. Organizers and volunteers spend hours sorting, washing and mending all the donated clothes and boots and filling the orders that are sent through schools, day cares and community programs. This year, half of the Avison Young team helped sort and fill the orders and the other half delivered clothing and boots to different schools across the city. ■ ■ ■

Three brave real estate professionals from Century 21 Explorer Realty went over the edge at Drop Zone Ottawa, a fundraising event

Men (and a dog) from Royal LePage Gardiner Realty raised more than $21,500 at their annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

for Century 21’s charity of choice, Easter Seals. Participants were broker of record Ralph Shaw, broker Angela Havey and sales rep David Cousineau. This annual event sees participants rappel down the 20-storey Morguard Building in downtown Ottawa.

but we invited them to make a donation to the United Way. “The event raised $605…then I donated another $395 to top it up to $1,000. The United Way does a lot of great work in our region, so I wanted to help them while doing something fun for the community,” says Barron.

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Royal LePage Gardiner Realty in Fredericton, N.B., hosted its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event recently. More than 90 men donned red high heels and walked a full mile along a downtown route to raise funds and awareness for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and Fredericton’s Women In Transition House. Organizer and Royal LePage Gardiner Realty broker/owner Lincoln Thompson says, “We are very proud of the $21,550 raised in support of women and children escaping violence and rebuilding their lives.”

Royal LePage Supreme Realty in Toronto recently hosted 100 guests on a charity boat cruise, raising $14,000 in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and the Children’s Breakfast Club. “After forming a social committee earlier this year, our first order of business was to determine how we could deepen our commitment to giving back,” says organizer and Royal LePage Supreme Realty sales rep Gary Fraga. “The idea of a boat cruise was born and with the support of Scotiabank, we were thrilled to donate all proceeds raised to two great charities.” ■ ■ ■

Rob Maar of Re/Max Sabre Realty in Port Coquitlam, B.C. gave back to his community in many ways, including his support of the Easter Seals 24-Hour Relay. After Rob died in a tragic accident in July 2015, his wife and real estate partner, Sandra Parsons, and other colleagues wanted to continue his efforts and honour his dedication to helping others. This fall, they organized the 24-Minute Run to raise funds for Zajac Ranch for Children in Mission, B.C., which provides summer camps for children with chronic, life-threatening and debilitating conditions. The event raised $10,473 for the ranch and, to date, $23,768 has been raised in Rob’s memory. ■ ■ ■

Taking part in the Drop Zone Ottawa event, from left: Ralph Shaw, broker of record, Century 21 Explorer Realty; Angela Havey, broker; and David Cousineau, sales representative.

From left: Gary Fraga, sales rep; Stephen Elliott, Scotiabank home financing advisor; Stephanie Pacheco, sales rep; Sadia, a Women On The Move leadership program graduate (The Redwood Shelter); and Manny Andrade, Royal LePage Supreme Realty owner/broker of record.

Sales rep Cliff Barron of Sutton Group – Signature in Mississauga, Ont. came up with an idea to help both the community and the United Way this Halloween. He purchased a hefty load of 250 pumpkins from local farmers and gave them away, with the help of United Way volunteers, at a local park. “We were in the park giving away pumpkins and meeting people for about five hours,” says Barron. “We told people they could take the pumpkins for free

■ ■ ■

■ ■ ■

The seventh annual Paula Mitchell golf tournament brought together 40 golfers to support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Nearly $5,000 was raised, and all the money was donated to Honeychurch Family Life Resource Centre in Brampton, Ont. “We were pleased to welcome the director of our local shelter to this year’s event,” says Mitchell, a sales representative with Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty. “She enlightened us on how the shelter makes a difference in the lives of women and children who have experienced abuse.” ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in Victoria held its 12th annual Royal LePage Shelter Foundation Golf Party recently. More than 100 participants enjoyed a round of golf and dinner, and participated in a 50/50 draw and silent and live auctions. A record breaking $27,163 was raised for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. One hundred per cent of the proceeds will help support four Victoria area women’s transition houses: Victoria Women’s Transition House, The Cridge Transition House for Women, Margaret Laurence House and The Sooke Transition House Society. REM


Full service brokerages Continued from page 3

Share the Wealth, was that by working together everyone on the team could be successful. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Agents canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think of it in terms of win or lose,â&#x20AC;? says Soper. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m only happy if my broker is broke.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s being short-sighted and it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t create happiness.â&#x20AC;? He says there was resounding applause and several top agents approached him afterwards saying â&#x20AC;&#x153;I get it.â&#x20AC;? That being said, Soper says he also knows they werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lining up at their brokerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s door to offer more money back. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But it gets everyone thinking â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it helps to stop the trend,â&#x20AC;? he says.

A race to the bottom Todd Shyiak, vice president, Century 21 Canada, says that a good agent recognizes the importance of working with a quality broker. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A good, full-time agent recognizes that they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be an island unto themselves,â&#x20AC;? says Shyiak. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They recognize the need and value in having good oversight, management, training, mentoring,

technology and networking opportunities.â&#x20AC;? He says itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a mistake for agents to think they can do it all themselves â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and that â&#x20AC;&#x153;those who believe they can are shooting themselves in the foot.â&#x20AC;? Shyiak says a strong broker who has a solid business model and is a good business person will give an agent the tools to survive and thrive in any market. It becomes especially important, he says, when times get tough, as they currently are in markets like Calgary. Still, Shyiak admits brokers are increasingly facing a â&#x20AC;&#x153;downward pressureâ&#x20AC;? on what they can charge agents because there are some agents, top producers included, who continue to shop for what he calls â&#x20AC;&#x153;warehouse model brokeragesâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; those who charge the lowest possible fees and offer the lowest possible services. Shyiak says this is creating pressure on full service brokerages who feel they have to lower their fees, especially in hot markets like Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, where Shyiak says there is a lot of competition to recruit agents, and a lot of options

for those agents to choose from. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brokers have to hold the line and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give away the farm,â&#x20AC;? says Shyiak. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is a race to the bottom that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be a part of.â&#x20AC;? Gurcharan â&#x20AC;&#x153;Garryâ&#x20AC;? Bhaura, broker of record with Century 21 President Realty in Brampton, Ont. agrees that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important for brokers to take a firm stand against agents who are pressuring them for more commissions. In his words, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s simple: â&#x20AC;&#x153;No means no.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Broker viability is very important,â&#x20AC;? says Bhaura, who operates a full service brokerage out of one office that services approximately 135 agents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m operating in one of the toughest markets in the entire country where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of competition.â&#x20AC;? Bhaura believes most agents understand that a brokerage needs to remain profitable, and will stay with a brokerage that offers full services and good management and support. Still, he too noticed a swing where top talent was going towards lower-fee structured brokerages â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but he says heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s starting to see some of those same agents return to traditional full service brokerages because they realize the value in what a full service brokerage provides.

Overhead is a killer But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just the local market pressures â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or those from agents â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spelling the demise of some brokerages. Overhead, especially when it comes to office space and all of its attached costs, is a huge expense that some brokerages need

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some brokers are not leaders,â&#x20AC;? says Soper. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They operate in fear of their top agents and give them the power. There has to be a stake in the ground where the broker comes back and says â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;whoa â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we both need to be successful in business.â&#x20AC;? to get a handle on. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I started in the 1980s, a brokerage could have eight offices with only 30 people working in each office and still make a lot of money,â&#x20AC;? says Shyiak. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now, not only do you need a well-run organization, you also need a lot of people to support each office because of the competitive nature of the industry.â&#x20AC;? Broker George Bamber of Century 21 Bamber Realty in Calgary puts it bluntly: he says running a brokerage in any market comes down to common sense and being a good leader. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got four different programs for my agents to choose from

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and I feel no pressure from my agents or top producers when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re talking splits,â&#x20AC;? says Bamber. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To run a brokerage, you need a solid business model. You need money coming in and you need to keep your overhead low. If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do that, you need to be in a different business.â&#x20AC;? Bamber operates out of one office, which he owns, and has approximately 180 agents working with him. He says that overhead, especially when it comes to having too many offices, can â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and will continue to â&#x20AC;&#x201C; spell the end for brokerages. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here in Alberta, sales have been down every month from this time last year,â&#x20AC;? says Bamber. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And, with the leases some brokers have committed to and the other overhead they have, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m telling you, there are going to be more issues.â&#x20AC;? Shyiak agrees, and said brokerages that have stretched themselves too thin or werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t charging enough in the good times to carry them through the bad are going to be in trouble. In fact, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s had brokers tell him they look forward to the tougher markets because they know other offices will close. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They consider it an opportunity to pick up talent from the other offices that are closing,â&#x20AC;? says Shyiak. Continued on page 41


Full service brokerages Continued from page 40

Value model for agents Howard Drukarsh is president and broker of record of Right At Home Realty, a value brokerage with over 3,400 agents that operates out of six, soon-to-be seven, offices in the GTA, all of which are corporately owned. “Our model is bricks and mortar and has been from the beginning,” says Drukarsh. “All of our new branch offices are high-profile, retail locations featuring modern, high-tech facilities designed to give our agents a comfortable and attractive work environment.” Drukarsh agrees that the real estate industry is a competitive business and always has been, but the industry is changing, he says. The Internet has really “opened everything up” and is the biggest change from when he started in real estate years ago. Agents and brokers need to adapt and change their business model if they want to survive, Drukarsh says. It’s the reason he and his partners created Right At Home Realty back in 2004. The company’s financial model is simple: the agent pays $89 per month ($59 per month if you’re a new agent who signs a one-year agreement) and $295 per transaction. The agent keeps the rest. No franchise fees. No extra charges. As Drukarsh points out, the majority of agents are independent contractors who run their business like they want. The difference with the Right At Home business model, he says, is the majority of the transaction earnings go back to the agent, who now has the financial freedom to invest back into their own business how they want. “We’ve created a value model for agents that can help them weather the storm in down times because we keep our fees so low. And when it’s a hot market, it just means they profit even more.” Drukarsh says some people have tried to unsuccessfully copy his model; others have questioned his company’s viability. He says his business model works because of the sheer number of agents he has on board. “Our model wouldn’t work if

we only had 100 agents,” says Drukarsh. “And, given our scale, we are very financially secure and can weather the storm in a down market, as can our agents because of our low fees.” In his words, “it’s a win-win.” He says in his experience down markets are the most active recruiting times for Right At Home, and says it’s because agents realize the low fees can help them easily weather a downturn without concern of franchise fees building up month-after-month with no relief in sight. “And, agents who are working in commission split models realize that the costs of continuing to operate that way are making it difficult to stay in the business,” says Drukarsh. “So, in a down market, we maintain our own agents and attract many, many more from other brokerages.” The take-away: whether you’re located in the east or west, and whether your brokerage is modeled as a full service or value-based (or any combination in between), all of our experts agree it really does come down to the basics – you can still run a profitable real estate brokerage if you have a solid business model. REM


New DealTap raises funding with help from FCT DealTap Group recently raised funding, including an investment from title insurance provider FCT, to double its workforce to support the DealTap 2.0 transaction platform in Ontario, the company says. “We feel the investment

shows a high level of confidence in our vision for modernizing real estate transactions,” says Milan Baic, the cochief executive officer. DealTap works as a cloud application on various devices on multiple platforms. It allows buyers, sellers and agents access to centralized documents, and to sign, amend and track changes in real time without downloading complex software, the company says. Brokerages and teams can “use data-powered insights to reengineer their operations and ensure the highest level of compliance on every transaction,” it says. “When you combine offer creation, negotiation and digital signatures with the ability to truly understand and track your business in a secure and compliant way, you open the door to a new standard for everyone,” says Michael LeBlanc, CEO of FCT and DealTap board member.

Milan Baic

Michael LeBlanc


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By Heino Molls


he English Oxford Dictionary defines philanthropy as, “The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes”. It is hard to argue that as a group, Realtors may be the largest collection of philanthropists in Canada. Of all the industries, of all the business communities and of all the working associations it is by far the real estate industry is the most active, per capita. When it comes to doing good work and raising money, it is simply in the

Real estate philanthropy DNA of Realtors to be at the forefront. Charity is so prevalent in real estate that years ago, REM had to create an entire section to report on all that is done. Every month the Good Works column in REM is full to the brim. Most of the charity items featured in REM are not big social items. Realtors are involved in large scale grand fund raisers that you see on TV or hear on the radio, but by far most of the things that Realtors put on are small events. These are barbecues, golf tournaments, men walking in women’s high heels, car demolition derbies, yard sales, dances, baseball tournaments and many other events. Every time I think I have seen or heard it all, something new rolls into the editorial department of REM, like that man who jumped off the top of a real estate

edged, beyond the pages of REM. The good people at the Realtors Care Foundation are stepping up this year to provide extra recognition to these extraordinary people. You are being asked to help and I hope that you will take action now and do it! You are being asked to nominate one good soul, one good Realtor, who best exemplifies all the qualities and goodness of philanthropy that exists in this business. The person selected will receive

$5,000 for their cause. Please go to nomination form and provide recognition for the one person in your office or in your market area who is most deserving of recognition on a national stage. Please do it now, before you forget, because the deadline of Dec. 2 is almost upon us. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email REM

Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, see To add a listing to the calendar, email Global Property Market Toronto Trends and opportunities related to international commercial real estate investment and development Tuesday, Nov. 29 Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Banff Western Connection January 26 – 28, 2017 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Banff, Alta.

Toronto Real Estate Board’s Realtor Quest May 10-11, 2017 Toronto Congress Centre Toronto

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You are being asked to nominate one good soul, one good Realtor, who best exemplifies all the qualities and goodness of philanthropy that exists in this business. The deadline is Dec. 2.

office building in Toronto for charity and that staggeringly beautiful woman I saw years ago in Edmonton who was dressed up as Diamond Lil to raise money for those less fortunate. All those small events, all that neighbourhood and local energy, they all add up. How much? Well, CREA’s estimate is north of $75 million. Knowing how conservative my pals over at CREA are I will bet you it’s around $100 million a year. That’s a lot of money. A lot of that goes to the Realtors Care Foundation. The bottom line is that every single penny is for the good of others. Realtors’ philanthropy goes further than simply raising money. The people in this business are full hands on, right up to their elbows, actively helping those in need. Go look at organizations such as Meals on Wheels, check out the coaches on the local hockey or baseball teams, ask the organizing committee of an event. I will wager that you will find at least one local Realtor involved at every event, time and time again. So here’s what all these Realtors get for doing all they do and giving all they give: they get some incredible satisfaction from helping their neighbours and people beyond their community, like all those souls in Fort McMurray who had to flee their homes this year. The satisfaction of helping others grows sweeter by the amount that is done and given. Beyond that they get nothing. So much of what Realtors do across the country is rarely recognized or acknowl-

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December 2016  

December issue of REM for 2016.

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