Page 1

Issue #265

July 2011

Canada’s No. 1 brokerage

Sutton Group West Coast Realty’s rise to the top Page 8

Sides disagree on impact of VOWs Page 3

Is cold calling effective or useless? Page 16

Ruling highlights danger of disclosure forms Page 34

Sutton Group West Coast’s Josh Heppner and Merrily Hackett

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at #SongForCanada or visit us on

REM JULY 2011 3

Sides disagree on impact of VOWs TREB president says the issue is “an overblown, non-issue for the vast majority of members” but Nova Scotia VOW owner says reaction “has been almost overwhelming.”


n application by the Competition Bureau to stop what it calls “anticompetitive practices” by the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) is nothing but an attempt at headline-grabbing by bureau commissioner Melanie Aitken, says TREB president Bill Johnston. In late May, the bureau filed an application with the Competition Tribunal alleging that TREB is denying real estate agents the ability to provide detailed and updated MLS listing information to consumers on the Internet, even though that information can be obtained by other means. The bureau says agents do not have the ability to set up password protected websites, known as Virtual Office Web sites (VOWs) that enable customers to search a full inventory of listings. “TREB’s leadership continues to impose anti-competitive restric-

and in the U.S. Those house-hunting websites sites were created after a deal was struck in 2008 between the National Association of Realtors and the Department of Justice. Johnston says there has not been much member demand for VOWs, “so it will turn out to be a very, very small issue at the end of the day as it has in the U.S.” He says only few members will want to create a VOW. But demand is high for the type of real estate information supplied by in Nova Scotia, says site founder Bill McMullin. He says the consumer response for the site, which updates all MLS listings in Nova Scotia by the minute, “has been almost overwhelming.” The site obtains MLS data from the province’s two boards, the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors and the Annapolis Valley Real Estate

McMullin says boards in Moncton and Edmonton have refused to allow with “efficient access” to MLS data. He believes the bureau sees such restrictions as anti-competitive. tions on its members that deny consumer choice and stifle innovation,” Aitken says in a statement. An inability to reach an agreement with TREB forced the bureau to seek a legally binding order from the Tribunal, Aitken says. But Johnston says TREB anticipates it will have a VOW policy in place by the end of the summer that will lead to websites in Toronto, based on

Board. It has served more than a million visitors since January 2010 and has had 280,000 unique visitors who have viewed 27.5 million pages of property data. “It’s very simple,” says McMullin. “If you provide the consumer with more data, you’ll satisfy them. They want more information. They will gravitate to the sources that provide the best data and more data.” McMullin says it is supposed to be members who decide how

they deliver information to their clients, and that the Competition Bureau does not like board restrictions that limit what data brokers can or can not provide. The existence of has made things easier for agents in Nova Scotia and has not affected the way real estate trades in the province, McMullin says. “There’s still a growing number of Realtors, the buyers and sellers keep doing their thing, and I think the market operates more efficiently. I’m not sure what there is to be afraid of.” He says most agents now recognize that it’s inevitable that the Internet delivers information, while “consumers much prefer to get basic facts through a self-service interface than they would through a human contact.” Johnston, however, begs to differ. “In my view, it’s still a person-to-person business, and always will be. The way you build trusted relationships as professionals is not through a computer, but face-to-face. I think there will be very little uptake on this. It’s an overblown, non-issue for the vast majority of members.” McMullin, meanwhile, is forging ahead to bring the model to other provinces, but has been met with resistance by most real estate boards he has approached. “We typically don’t see boards quickly embrace the concept,” says McMullin, who is licensed in Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and expects to be licensed shortly in Ontario. For example, boards in Moncton and Edmonton have refused to provide with “efficient access” to MLS data, he says. He believes the bureau sees such restrictions as anti-competitive. “If I can’t operate a legitimate business under my chosen business model as a licensed brokerage, I think that’s a symptom of a serious problem. TREB is obviously a popular target because of their size, but they’re not alone,” says


By Danny Kucharsky

Bill Johnston

Bill McMullin

McMullin, who also hopes to bring to Toronto. Johnston expects TREB’s VOW policy will be approved by the end of August after TREB members are given a minimum 60 days to provide input on the MLS rule changes recommended by the task force. He says the VOW that Toronto ends up with will not be exactly the same as what has been seen in the U.S. because more stringent privacy laws here will require more checks and balances. Still, “it should meet anyone’s reasonable expectations.” He says TREB had been close to making a deal with the bureau. “Just as it seemed we had come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, the commissioner chose to

launch her application. In my view, she’s simply grabbing headlines and trying to build her own career at taxpayer expense and is being totally unreasonable with us. We’re not prepared to put up with it.” Richard Silver, who becomes TREB president in July, wrote on his blog that he has seldom worked as hard on a deal. “However, since the start of negotiations, I doubt there was a deal to be made. I don’t think that the Competition Commissioner ever had any intention of an agreement.” Johnston adds that a TREB task force has been working on its VOW policy for almost a year and denies allegations by Aitken that the board is moving too slowly. “We’re doing it in an orderly manner in accordance with our rules and bylaws and we’re not interested in being pushed around by some woman in Ottawa who is trying to build her own career at our expense. And you can quote me on all of that.” Adds Johnston: “The commissioner wants a fight, she’ll have a fight. And she’ll look like an idiot by the time the Tribunal hearing comes along because we’ll have a policy in place and that is REM simply a given.”

4 REM JULY 2011

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

Capitale has been launched, including new lawn signs, billboards, TV ads and other marketing. Part of the company’s strategy, says Soper, is for Via Capitale “to capture more market share beyond Francophone Quebec.” Soper said the company is “monitoring the U.S. to determine expansion timing” there. BRES

owns the Real Living and GMAC brands south of the border. ■ ■ ■

One Percent Realty has expanded to the Ontario market, with a brokerage in Toronto and a branch office in Ottawa. Ian Bailey, founder of the Vancouverbased discount brokerage, says the firm “has really shaken up commission rates in Western Canada and we look forward to doing the same in Ontario.” Darren Chamish is the broker of record and owner/director of the Ontario office. He began his career with Sutton Group in 1995 and in 2002 joined One Percent Realty. Chamish opened a brokerage in Victoria and two branch offices on Vancouver Island, and later in 2010, as a joint venture, he opened a brokerage in Alberta with offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge. Bailey says that unlike many other discount MLS offerings in Ontario that require an additional two to three per cent to be offered to a buyer agent, One Percent Realty’s commission structure includes compensation to the buyer’s agent. For full MLS service, it charges one per cent plus $900 (with a $6,900 minimum). One Percent then shares this commission with the buyer’s agent. The company says they are “looking to hire more agents to keep up with the growing consumer demand.”

rookfield Real Estate Services (BRES) grew by 141 agents in the first quarter of this year, the company reports. It says the growth was “a result of the Jan. 1 acquisition of 23 franchise agreements with 247 Realtors operating under the Royal LePage and Via Capitale brands, which were partially offset by net organic attrition of 106 agents.” The attrition was mostly in Quebec, “where the introduction of Quebec’s new Real Estate Brokerages Act in May 2010 has resulted in dramatically fewer new entrants to the industry,” the company says. Phil Soper, president and

CEO, says, “We’re entering a period of more modest house price growth and lower transaction volumes in the Canadian real estate market. Despite these conditions, Brookfield continues to grow and expand its Realtor network” At the company’s annual meeting in May, Soper said the Consent Agreement signed by CREA and the Competition Bureau last fall “has not had material impact on BRES brands to date.” The former La Capitale has been rebranded Via Capitale. The name change was stipulated in the purchase agreement when the company was acquired, says Soper. A new branding campaign for Via

Darren Chamish

Tyler Becker

■ ■ ■

Hanane Outair

Ron Slegg, chairman of the board of Tim-Br Mart, has launched a new line of business as a real estate brokerage. His new company, Coldwell Banker Slegg Realty, is now open in Victoria. Tim-Br Mart is Canada’s largest dealer-owned building materials buying group, with 750 independent dealers across Canada and representing $3 billion in annual retail sales. Slegg Lumber is a large home improvement retailer with 11 locations throughout B.C. Local real estate veteran Michael Soderberg, with 24 years of experience in the Victoria market, has been appointed managing broker. Soderberg will oversee dayto-day operations, leading a team of 10 sales representatives. The new company plans an intensive marketing launch targeted to Slegg Lumber’s customer base throughout Vancouver Island and the lower mainland. Advertising


Don Kottick with speaker John Stratton and Johnson & Daniel Division broker Chris Reynolds.

The grand opening of Sutton Group – Central Realty (Photo: Renald Tremblay)

Brian Ledoux

Arvinder Dhaliwal

Brad Hockin

At the grand opening of Exit Realty on the Rock’s Corner Brook office, from left: Bruce Mullett, Sheena Young, Jerry Scott, Elaine Bishop, Mayor Neville Greeley, Anne Squires and Gary Bishop.

Continued on page 6

6 REM JULY 2011

Continued from page 4

inserts announcing the Coldwell Banker Slegg Realty team were distributed to over 130,000 B.C. residents at the end of May. Statement stuffers and other cross-promotion opportunities for the Coldwell Banker brand are planned, including a marketing campaign to capitalize on traffic at Slegg Lumber retail locations. ■ ■ ■

Acting Brampton, Ont. mayor Sandra Hames recently cut the ribbon with broker Jim Engineer at the grand opening of Sutton Group - Central Realty. “Everybody raved about the grand opening,” says Engineer. We had a draw for several prizes including a dinner for two, bottles of wine and the grand prize of a very nice camera with a tripod. We had a wonderful violinist who supplements his sound by synchronizing with recordings, which created very nice background music. It was soft enough to let people carry on a conversation. Over food and drinks, everyone had the chance to network.” During his 21 years with Sutton, Engineer worked as a sales rep and then a selling broker at Sutton’s previous Brampton office. He took on his latest role in November 2010. ■ ■ ■

Tyler Becker and Brian Ledoux have acquired Royal LePage Westwin Realty in Kamloops, B.C. from previous owners Mike Mitchell and Lynn Gannon, who will stay on with the brokerage in a sales capacity. Becker joined Royal LePage Westwin Realty in 2005. He holds a marketing entrepreneurship diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Ledoux is the current president of the Kamloops & District Real Estate Association and embarked on his real estate career 13 years ago. Royal LePage Westwin Realty has a team of 73 sales professionals.

Cover photo: DARLA FURLANI

■ ■ ■

Century 21 Landmax Realty, owned by Hanane Outair, is now open for business in Mississauga, Ont. “We named our company Century 21 Landmax Realty because we want to maximize our efforts in all our real estate deals,” says Outair. ■ ■ ■

Anne Squires, franchisee of Exit Realty on the Rock in Newfoundland, recently opened a sixth branch office. The grand opening of the Corner Brook office was attended by local dignitaries and agents including Exit associates who drove eight hours from St. John’s to be a part of the event. The new office is managed by top producer Gary Bishop, who joined the company along with his wife Elaine Bishop. The office is in the West Valley Shopping Mall and has over 2,500 square feet. With 90 agents, Exit Realty on the Rock is now the single largest real estate brokerage in the province and second in market share, the company says. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 New Star Realty in Toronto has a new owner, Arvinder Dhaliwal. She received her license in 2009 while working as the office manager of New Star Realty. She was inspired by her team members to take a leadership role and explore a new career as owner. “I have developed a unique system in the office to support the talents that each of my fellow colleagues have,” says Arvinder. She is also community minded, making contributions to several local charities including the Easter Seals Kids to Camp program where children with disabilities are able to spend time at summer camps that are fully accessible. The brokerage was established in 2008. ■ ■ ■

Ken Hockin Real Estate of Cobourg, Ont. has joined the Aventure Realty Network. Under the leadership of broker/owner Brad Hockin, the brokerage has been in operation for 37 years. With 14 Realtors, it offers a full suite of residential, industrial and commercial services. The brokerage is a multiple winner of the People’s Choice Awards for favourite real estate office, and serves the markets of Port Hope, Cobourg, Grafton and Northumberland County. ■ ■ ■

Gino Romanese, senior vicepresident of Royal LePage, hosted a luncheon to celebrate the company’s 2010 award winners in Toronto. The keynote speaker was John Stanton, the founder of the Running Room, one of Canada’s corporate and personal success stories. Don Kottick, vice-president and division manager of the Johnston & Daniel Division, says the talk on life-work-balance was “inspiring and motivational. I am sure after hearing John speak that many non-runners in the room will probably be going out to purchase a new set of Asics or Nikes.” ■ ■ ■

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates has launched an integrated marketing strategy built around its newly redesigned website, The website “was redesigned to serve as an integrated marketing solution for our network, providing a consistent, high-quality experience for consumers, whether they are browsing, or a broker- or agent-specific site,” says Wendy Purvey, the company’s chief marketing officer. “The new ecosystem approach takes advantage of our brand website’s economies of scale and technologies, providing a consistent consumer experience while still enabling affiliates to build on their unique identity.” All network listings now can be showcased on each site. The

Publisher HEINO MOLLS email:

Editor JIM ADAIR email:

General Manager JOHN COOPER email:

Senior Editor KATHY BEVAN email:

Director, Sales & Marketing DENNIS ROCK email: Brand Design SANDRA GOODER

Art Director LIZ MACKIN Graphic Design SHAWN KELLY

home page displays a rotation of some of the network’s most striking homes. When users mouse over the image, interactive boxes with additional information about the property appear, increasing overall search engine optimization. Every listing is accompanied by a unique property slide show video that allows viewers to listen to narration in their preferred language. Property list price also is displayed in dozens of currencies, all updated daily with the latest exchange rates. “Our content is translated by native speaking professional translators with real estate expertise, not computer translations,” says Purvey. ■ ■ ■

Louise Remillard, president

and founder of Profusion Realty, is now the exclusive agent in the Montreal market for the Haute Living Real Estate Network. As a member of the network, Profusion Realty will be published in each print edition of Haute Living Magazine, distributed in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and San Francisco. Created by former Sotheby’s Realtors in early 2009 and headquartered in Westmount, Profusion Realty represents the Christie’s brand in the Greater Montreal area. In two years, the firm says it has achieved a 20 per cent market share in the sale of properties over $1 million. The company also just launched a new website ( featuring its portfolio of distinctive properties. REM

Ceremony celebrates Canada’s priciest condo


he May 31 topping-off ceremony at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Toronto also celebrated the sale of the most expensive condominium sold in Canadian history. The $28-million penthouse was purchased by an international buyer. The penthouse occupies the top floor of the 55-storey West Residence building and encompasses 9,038 sq. ft. of living space. The suite, with panoramic views of Toronto’s towering skyline, features 12-foot ceilings, a floor-toceiling glass galleria and four expansive corner terraces. Included in the price is a staff residence in the adjacent 26-storey East Residence building. The staff residence provides the owners with the convenience of separate, private quarters for household staff located on-site. Located at the northeast corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue, the mixed-use development features a hotel and 210 pri-

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

Phone: 416.425.3504 REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule REALTOR® and REALTORS® are trademarks controlled in Canada by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify licensed real estate practitioners who are members of CREA. MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned by CREA and identify the services rendered by members of CREA. REM is published 12 times a year. It is an independently owned and operated company and is not affiliated with any real estate association, board or company. REM is distributed across Canada by leading real estate boards and by direct delivery in selected areas. Subscriptions are $40.95 per year (including $1.95 GST), payable by personal cheque. Entire contents copyright 2011 REM. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in REM are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN 1201-1223

vate residences in two 55- and 26storey towers. The development is 85 per cent sold, with a varied selection of suites in each tower available for purchase. Designed by architectsAlliance, the 55-storey West Residence tower is comprised of a 253-room Four Seasons Hotel on the first 20 floors, and 100 private residences above. The 26-storey East Residence tower has 110 condo units and is connected to its sister building by an elevated pedestrian bridge. Both towers share a courtyard designed by Claude Cormier Landscape Architects. The suite designs and finishes have been created by Brian Gluckstein Design Planning. They range in size from 1,000 to 9,000 sq. ft. and start at $1.9 million. Construction is well underway with first occupancies and the hotel opening scheduled for summer 2012. For information: REM

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Multiple Listings

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THERE’S A PLACE FOR AGENTS LIKE OURS: FIRST. The expertise of Coldwell Banker® sales representatives led to $159 billion CAD1 in sales last year in North America. A number that makes us the industry leader.

Our dedicated sales representatives also scored a 98% overall customer satisfaction rating


in our Ultimate Service ® platform for the 14th consecutive year. An achievement


unparalleled in our industry.


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Premedia Artist: Katy Clove

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than a real estate brand.


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Hear what top sales representatives are saying about Coldwell Banker Real Estate at

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© 2011 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. A Realogy Company. All Rights Reserved. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated. Coldwell Banker,® the Coldwell Banker Logo and “We Never Stop Moving” are registered service marks licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. 1

According to 2010 REAL Trends 500 report among brokers with greater than 500 closed sales and the REAL Trends Canadian 200 (Ranked by Closed Sales Volume for 2009). Prudential numbers do not include HomeServices of America.

cb13161PM_11.25x12_Canada_REM_QR February 16, 2011 3:28 PM

Job: cb13161 Client: Coldwell Banker Links Name CB9883_Coldwell.tif CB11035_AgentYoungBuyer.tif CB9883_Banker.tif CB11921_CB_Homepage.tif CB11921_YoungFemaleBuyer-Agent.tif CB11673_iPhone.tif CB13161_Mobi_Tag.pdf


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Closing: 2/17/11 Premedia: Katy Clove, 919.313.4157, Producer: Suzanne Moore, 919.313.4156, Notes:

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easy to see why we’re more

8 REM JULY 2011

Industry’s ‘best-kept secret’ is No. 1

Sutton Group West Coast Realty topped the Real Trends list as largest real estate brokerage in Canada last year. By Susan Doran


utton Group West Coast Realty has been named the largest real estate brokerage in Canada by U.S.-based research group Real Trends. With 17 offices and over 1,750 sales reps, Sutton Group West Coast Realty had 14,577 transaction sides in 2010 and a closed sales volume last year of a whopping $8.4 billion. The original Sutton Group office in Canada, the company was founded in 1983 by entrepreneurs Scott Shaw and Lance Tracey, who are still investors. The first office was in North Vancouver but the firm has since expanded across the province with the help of other partners. Sutton West Coast’s management group is led by CEO Josh Heppner and general manager Merrily Hackett. They say they’ll be opening two more offices within a few months and expect the company’s spectacular upward trend to continue. “We are probably the bestkept secret in the real estate industry,” says Hackett. “We’ve been so focused on our growth that we haven’t yet gone out and touted our success.” She says that the fuel propelling the company’s rapid growth is its commitment to determining Realtors’ needs in a competitive and tech savvy marketplace, and providing sales reps and consumers alike with an exceptionally high level of service. Heppner says, “In 2009 we recognized an opportunity for us to bring better value for Realtors in the market, which began a ‘rebirth’ of the organization. We brought all the offices under a common ownership group and transitioned into expansion mode.”

Corporately structuring the company under common ownership in this way, rather than going the typical route of having broker/owners operating individual offices, is the key to Sutton West Coast’s growth and success, he says. “We’re more market-driven than other Sutton offices,” says Heppner, who has a background in real estate technology. “Because of the structure and size of the company we’re able to combine resources and invest in key services that benefit Realtors and clients. We’ve built a great value proposition, which is the single biggest thing differentiating us.” This gives Sutton West Coast agents a competitive advantage, says Heppner. The firm’s market share in metro Vancouver is about 32 per cent, he estimates. The company traditionally operates on the 100 per cent commission model, with some commission splits in outlying areas. “We have no restrictions on growth,” says Heppner, adding that the company plans eventually to go “from sea to shining sea,” acquiring non Sutton Group offices as it goes. “Bigger Heppner.




The “great value proposition” and “key services” he frequently refers to when discussing Sutton West Coast Realty can be broken down into several offerings for sales reps, all of which, Heppner says, would be cost prohibitive for a single brokerage. These offerings include: * ongoing cutting-edge education and training (including a real estate ‘boot camp’ program) through a centralized training centre;

Merrily Hackett and Josh Heppner (Photo by Darla Furlani)

* an in-house conveying and transaction management platform that offers greater support to the increasingly mobile Realtor workforce; * the best technology available, allowing the company and its sales reps to have a significant on-line presence and giving consumers quick and comprehensive access to information; * universal access to all Sutton West Coast Realty offices for the brokerage’s Realtors, so when they are away from their home offices they can use the equipment and facilities at any other of the firm’s branches. This includes access to the managing broker at every location, so there is no wasted time if team consultation is required but a

sales rep’s own manager is busy. “We felt that since we were spending time, energy and resources bringing people in to work with us, we wanted to set them up to succeed,” says Heppner. “We knew we’d hit an artery when we announced that we were opening up a centralized training centre and 300 agents signed up the same day.” Improving the company’s online presence met with similar positive results – from salespeople and consumers alike, he says. “The vast number of consumers search for properties online and want a one-stop shop for listings,” he says. “They want instant gratification – one-click access. For a single brokerage, that could be cost prohibitive.

We thought it was a must to be a leader in technology. Fast forward to today; we’ve hit the milestone of over 100,000 visits to our website (suttonwestcoast. com) per month. We’ve married high-tech and high-touch technology and also added a customer service component … we wanted to make sure we make real connections.” Heppner feels blessed to be living on the west coast and says that although conditions are impossible to predict, the market continues to be “busy and multicultural,” with Asian and Middle Eastern buyers fuelling prices. Whatever happens, he says, “change is critical in this industry and we’ve committed to the process.” REM

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Real Trends releases 2010 broker rankings R Peppe


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eal Trends has published its second annual list of the 200 Largest Brokers in Canada and there’s a new No. 1. It’s Sutton Group – West Coast Realty, based in New Westminster, B.C. With 17 offices and 1,690 agents at the time the list was compiled, the brokerage had 14,577 “ends” or transaction sides in 2010. It also leads the Real Trends list of the largest brokers by closed sales volume in 2010. See the story on page 8. Re/Max offices hold down 137 of the top 200 positions on the sides list. Last year’s No. 1, the 15 Royal LePage corporately owned offices in Toronto, came in second on both lists for 2010. Nicolai Kolding, partner at Real Trends, says compiling the second list was easier than the first time out, but they know there are companies that didn’t make the list and should be there. “We wish we could have reached everyone,” he says. “There are even some we heard from after we closed the survey.” Sutton Group – West Coast Realty did not appear on last year’s list because they were not aware it was being compiled.

The top independent on the transaction sides list is CIR Realty in Calgary, at No. 18. Ray Stader, co-owner of CIR Realty, says, “The information that Real Trends is able to provide regarding the residential real estate industry across North America is crucial to the continual growth and improvement of CIR Realty and other brokerages.” CIR has over 700 sales reps, staff and management spread over four Calgary offices and 11 satellite offices outside of the city. It has been family owned and operated since 1983. Another significant newcomer to the list is independent Harvey Kalles Real Estate in Toronto, which ranks 14th on the sales volume list and 59th in transactions. The full list includes the largest 200 firms, plus 29 “up and comers”. Kolding says the 229 firms averaged 13.5 transaction ends and $4.79 million in closed sales volume. “The agents from the 229 largest U.S. firms, on the other hand, averaged 7.2 transaction ends and $2.04 million (US) in closed sales volume.” For more information visit REM

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(Ranked by closed transaction sides for 2010) 1. Sutton Group - West Coast Realty, New Westminster, B.C. 14,577 2. Royal LePage Real Estate Services, Toronto 10,979 3. Re/Max Realtron Realty, Markham, Ont. 8,444 4. Re/Max Real Estate (Edmonton), Edmonton 7,593 5. Royal LePage Team Realty & Royal LePage Gale Real Estate, Ottawa 7,537 6. Re/Max Real Estate Centre, Cambridge, Ont. 7,123 7. Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty, Belleville, Ont. 7,021 8. Re/Max Twin City Realty, Kitchener, Ont. 6,883 9. Re/Max Hallmark Realty, Toronto 6,700 10. Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre/Four Seasons, St. Catharines, Ont. 5,766


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Congratulations to Sutton Group - West Coast Realty for achieving the status of #1 Real Estate Brokerage in Canada!


This achievement reinforces that Sutton is the premier real estate company in Canada, a distinction earned by the daily successes of our phenomenal network of Sutton franchises and agents.

*Real Trends Top 200 Report, May 2011



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12 REM JULY 2011


By Bruce Keith here is a popular television program called The Good Wife. With a rather misleading title, it focuses on a very powerful legal firm and all the dynamics surrounding the business and personal lives of the characters. In a recent episode, one of the clients said to her lawyer, “I thought you were on my side, you’re supposed to be representing me!” This evoked a very simple yet pragmatic response from the attorney. “The best way for me to be on your side is


Negotiating and closing tips to know how the other side thinks.” That approach makes a lot of sense and certainly applies to the negotiations that go on every day in the sales business. Great salespeople are great negotiators. It is easy to recognize that to be a great negotiator we need to be good at understanding how the other side thinks. This isn’t something you should try to guess at. Just like a great attorney, it helps to ask some simple open questions: 1. Can you tell me more about where you/your customer is coming from? 2. How did you arrive at that conclusion? 3. Could you please tell me more about your/their position? 4. Where do you really want to end up here? 5. How do you mean? 6. What is it going to take to put this together? Great negotiating starts and

ends with give and take. The taking part isn’t hard; it’s the giving part that is tricky. By asking more questions, by understanding how the other side thinks, you will not end up giving any more than is necessary. One final thought... great negotiators are never attached to the outcome. Even if it’s true, do not reveal that you really “need this deal”. That doesn’t serve anyone very well... especially you. No excuses. ■ ■ ■

Here is an interesting definition of the salesperson’s job: “Help people overcome their fears so they can commit to something they’ll end up being glad they invested in.” Very interesting. Think about it for a moment – if you are just an order taker, all you have to do is “wrap up the product, put it in a bag and ring it up on the till”. That’s not selling! And it doesn’t pay near as much. Selling is all about helping the

consumer overcome their fears of making a bad decision. Eliminate their fear of loss. Once the customer is comfortable that their decision/investment is in their best interests, the closing part becomes simple. That’s when they are ready to buy. The way to get the customer to that stage is to be sure you answer all their questions and address their fears. Use the technique of “isolate the objection”. How? Ask good questions. Follow this sequence: 1. What’s the next step for you? 2. What’s preventing you from moving forward on this decision? 3. What do you need to know to help you be comfortable and make this purchase? 4. What expectations do you have so we can be sure that this is right for you? 5. Is anything else preventing you from saying yes? 6. Once we deal with this issue, are you ready to go ahead?

Sometimes in my seminars and coaching situations, people say to me, “Yeah, but asking those questions is hard.” I submit to you that asking the above questions is not hard; it just requires an adjustment in thinking. Living in a third world country, or not having enough money or having poor health – that’s hard! Taking on the challenges of mastering Q#1 to Q#6 and handling the objection, that’s not hard. That’s exciting. Do that and your customer’s fears will disappear. No excuses. Bruce Keith, the “Sales Coach”, began his sales career at IBM and 15 years later used his marketing and sales expertise to develop a highly successful real estate business. He is a master of teaching “what to say and how to say it”. His high energy and entertaining training style has allowed him to create a popular coaching and seminar business for numerous sales organizations during the last 12 years. REM

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Letters to the Editor Competition Bureau vs. TREB Melanie Aitken, commissioner of Canada’s Competition Bureau, is once again setting up our industry for a fresh round of public stonings. Once more she is making generalized, insinuating and misleading statements through the national news, which are contradictory to the pillars this industry is founded upon. The effects of her rhetoric will only continue to compound the damages she has already done to the reputation and strength of our industry. We are tired. Our patience has worn thin. This is not merely the diligence of our Canadian Competition Bureau at work; these are the legacy building actions and agenda of an individual who through her own statements displays an uninformed disregard for the intricacies and nuances of this industry or the legal foundations it functions upon. Whether she is right or wrong matters not in the eyes of the commissioner, who chooses to see herself as a sort of Robin Hood regardless of facts. She is in fact the equivalent of an arsonist who starts fires that continue to burn and spread through print, online and social media. No national marketing campaign by us has ever or will ever be able to counter the effects of her continuing statements to the media year after year. I am only one licensed agent but I would wager my next years earnings (and the year after that if they are to be had) that I speak for the vast majority of our 100,000 or so Canadian membership when I say we must take an unprecedented stand once and for all or risk the continued and accelerating erosion of our profession. To the CREA Executive Committee I ask: Please take any and all funds otherwise earmarked for TV and print marketing campaigns for this and the coming years and instead use those funds to recruit the best

legal and investigation team money can afford. Please do not once more allow us to assume the mere role of defendant against this latest attack. CREA must stand tall and aggressively seek vindication for every agent and their families across Canada. The public’s sympathy and understanding is not to be had however we attempt to ask for it, but we can and should be earning it back by demonstrating our confidence and determination as an industry from the platform of our federal legal system. The media is as much ours as it is Melanie Aitken’s. I think of the statement I have heard at many industry seminars over the years, “If we can not show the public we have what it takes to protect our own financial investment, how do we then give them the confidence that we will protect theirs?” Gather every public comment Aitken has ever made regarding our industry, compile the list of all the libellous statements and fabrications that have been made publicly in the last few years then put together a solid counter suit against both the Competition Bureau and Aitken. A legal suit will take years and may cost each individual agent $5 to $10 at the end of the day but it will show we have far too much invested to just roll over and play dead again. I sent out the above comments to select Realtors and brokers across the country earlier in June. This letter invoked an overwhelming response and gained viral momentum in the past couple of weeks. Aitken claims repeatedly to speak for the public at large on this yet it is the business interests of a few individuals that initiated it and have been the ongoing inspiration for her attacks against CREA and most recently TREB. In responses from our industry’s leaders to my correspondence, “Rest assured we have your best interests in mind” has been used more than once. I

REM JULY 2011 15

know I speak for many thousands of Canada’s licensed Realtors when I say to our industry’s leaders, we are not resting, and in summarizing the response of our national association to attacks by the Competition Bureau to date, “assured” is the last word that comes to mind. I just received a text message reminder that my MLS fees are due this month. $691.50, more than double what I paid a decade or so ago for a product our industry appears not to have the stones to go the distance to protect. Is it going to take a class action law suit by Realtors across Canada, or can I get some “assurance” that at least part of that $691.50 will be put towards taking long overdue, to-the-wall legal action against the Canadian Competition Bureau and Melanie Aitken? If we took this all the way to the Supreme Court perhaps we would also assure the public that the MLS is in fact a valuable service worthy of fighting to protect. The public hires us for our savvy, not our compromise skills.

Please send our CREA president your own thoughts. Mike Montague Sales Representative Sutton Group Incentive Realty Barrie, Ont. ■ ■ ■

It never ceases to amaze me how people on the government payroll can continue to use their unlimited resources and access to public funding to pursue personal agendas and to try and make a name for themselves. A news story says that Melanie Aitken, commissioner of the Competition Bureau, alleges that “the 31,000-member organization is uncompetitive and results in higher costs to the public.” If she is so concerned about one small segment of the community being exposed to anti-competitive practises and excessive costs, then why doesn’t she go after the big boys in the oil industry who rake in billions of dollars in profits and negatively impact the lives of every Canadian, not just a select few? Since she has a bee in her bonnet, why doesn’t she earn her

keep by going after the gas companies, who all charge the same prices on every corner and raise and lower their prices at the same time and by the same amount? If she doesn’t think that is anti-competitive then she has no business having her job. Where’s the “flexibility” at the gas pumps since she’s so concerned about flexibility in the MLS system and that agents are under restrictive practises, which is a complete crock. But no, she would rather pander to the egocentricity of a colleague from her legal fraternity whose only and sole desire is selfaggrandizement and free access to a system developed and paid for by the many hard-working Realtors who, over the years, contributed, enhanced and modernized what today exists as an effective tool serving their profession. Canadians? What a joke! Joseph Panchyshyn Century21 Heritage Group Thornhill, Ont. For much more reader reaction, visit REM

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Toronto gets green conference


he U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) says that 378 commercial projects in Canada have earned LEED certification – with 25 projects achieving LEED’s highest rating, Platinum. Over 2,600 more commercial projects are in the pipeline as registered projects. In Toronto, over 40 projects have certified, with almost 300 more in the pipeline. Canada’s LEED footprint totals 480 million square feet of high-performing, green buildings. “The business and civic leaders in Canada are front and centre in the green building movement, especially in Toronto,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president of USGBC. “Toronto’s world-renowned skyline is continuing to evolve and their commitment to designing, building and operating high-performance, energy-efficient buildings that are healthier for the community and future generations is an inspiration.” In 2010, Starbucks certified its first store in Toronto at Bathurst and St. Clair. The Financial District’s Royal Bank Plaza, Sun Life Financial Tower and 77 King St. W. all earned LEED Gold as existing buildings last year, as did Bell Trinity Square in 2009, home to Bell Canada, Hydro One Networks, Fidelity Investments Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Last year, Canadian engineering firm Enermodal earned LEED Platinum for its Toronto offices and has reported 37 per cent tenant energy savings and 53 per cent indoor water savings. Upper Canada College’s William P. Wilder Arena & Sports Complex earned LEED Gold and uses 35 per cent less energy annually than a conventional rink. This year Toronto will host Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, presented by USGBC. In its 10th year, Greenbuild will be held in Oct. 4-7 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the first Greenbuild to be held outside the United States. REM

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16 REM JULY 2011

Cold calling: Effective or useless? C

old calling is something Realtors either love to do or avoid at all costs. If you would prefer having a root canal to doing cold calls, a slight shift in thinking may be all you need. Instead of thinking of them as cold calls, find a positive word for it. Perhaps ‘marketing calls’ or ‘direct calls’ or even ‘money-making calls’ might make the task a little easier. Mike Cartwright, broker of record at Main Street Realty in Newmarket, Ont., says over the years he has had great success with cold calling. “The key to cold calling is the consistency of contact. I have listed and sold many homes from this type of prospecting,” he says. “To

be effective, you need to set a goal of how many contacts you want each day. In my case, my goal is to talk to 30 people per day. I cold call in the morning between nine and 12. I find if you wait until the afternoon, something will come up and get in your way. I track all my calls daily on my tracking sheet, so I can keep track of where I am in terms of reaching my daily goals. ” Cartwright continues, “For new Realtors, the idea of cold calling terrifies them. The reason is nobody likes rejection but you just have to realize two things: “1) Start the day thinking, ‘I have to get 29 no’s before I hear one yes.’ “2) Once you are successful at

cold calling and get a lead that leads to a listing and then a sale, take the money you earned and divide it by the number of people you talked to. That will tell you how much you earned with every phone call you made. “For example, I sold a house and made $5,000. I talked to 450 people to get that sale. That means I made $11.11 for every person I talked to. For the person who is terrified to cold call, just keep in mind that for every person that you call who says no, you made $11.11. Not a bad wage for a ‘no’. ” When you pick up the phone, don’t go into the call thinking that you are going to try and sell yourself. You are actually going to offer

Employment styles and taxes


hese days, it seems anything goes when it comes to work styles and employment arrangements. With changing attitudes about the importance of work-life balance; the pressures of caring for children, aging parents or both; and the fact that mobile technology lets us be present-while-absent, the old “nine-to-five-Monday-to-Friday” scenario isn’t the practical model it once was. Sam Kaner, a partner with Soberman LLP in Toronto, says that whether you’re a full-time employee, on contract or selfemployed, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants its share of your earnings. Knowing its rules about taxes and different work styles will help keep you current, compliant and less likely to be sent scrambling next April 30th. Here are eight points Kaner offers to help us understand how the CRA looks at different ways of working and how each can impact our wallets. What’s in a test? – There are key substantive tests or criteria that the CRA uses to determine who is and who isn’t an “employee”, Kaner says. These largely centre on expectations – those of both the individual and the employer. Reporting to work at a fixed time, job duties and the nature of the reporting relationship are all considerations. In contrast, the selfemployed usually work for two or

more client companies in a place of their own choosing and at hours they decide. It’s all employment – Whether one has a long history with the company or a short-term contract, the CRA considers both to be employees for tax purposes. The employer is expected to withhold income tax, CPP and EI from their paycheques and remit the amounts to the Receiver General for Canada. Although the area around employment vs. self-employment can get very grey at times, we still have to pay our taxes. Savings come from home – Essentially, Kaner says, the expenses that the self-employed and some commissioned employees incur to generate business income are fair game for tax deductions. Those related to the operation and maintenance of a home office, like utilities, rent – and, for the selfemployed, even mortgage interest – can be pro-rated in proportion to the whole amount and deducted accordingly. Some expenses are only half as helpful – There’s an automatic “implied personal element” when it comes to food and entertainment expenses, Kaner says. For this reason, the self-employed and commissioned salespeople can usually deduct only half their value. Commissioned sales representatives can claim many of the same expenses as the self-employed with the exception of items that are cap-

ital in nature. Strike the right balance – Employees who are paid commission often have some money withheld for taxes, Kaner says. Usually, they are asked to complete a taxdeduction worksheet that defines their particulars. The idea is to hold just enough money so that the individual has neither a large tax liability nor overpayment. For the selfemployed, paying quarterly instalments, based on prior year(s)’ earnings, is a must to avoid interest and/or penalty charges. Don’t forget the HST – The self-employed must track their incomes and outflows. They also must collect and remit any applicable HST or GST amounts. Compliance is the best medicine – For the self-employed, paying taxes regularly, promptly and responsibly doesn’t guarantee you won’t be scrutinized by the CRA, Kaner says. But consistent compliance, which includes keeping proper records, builds credibility that may preclude extra attention from them. Get professional advice – To better understand your tax responsibilities or get sound advice that can help working people of all kinds minimize taxes and protect their earnings, consult a chartered accountant in your community. Written by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. REM

By Toby Welch

Mike Cartwright

Michele Skawski

your time and your knowledge of the real estate industry. Instead of asking the person on the other end of the phone if they are thinking of selling, ask them if they know anyone who is thinking of selling. Through trial and error you’ll come up with a conversation that works and gets you leads that end with sales. The key to effective and successful cold calling is having the right attitude. Michele Skawski, a sales representative with RRSI Realty in the Caledon and Brampton area of Ontario, does not do cold calls. But while Skawski doesn’t cold call, she does do warm calling. “By warm calling, I mean the person I am contacting has some frame of reference to me,” she says. “People are inundated with advertising messages through TV, mail, the Internet and the phone; they have learned to tune it all out,” she says. “I think when we cold call, we put ourselves right into that category. I have cold called around listings, using the listing as a frame of reference, and found this to be a waste of time. When I put a plan together to contact the people at least three times (creating a warm calling environment), the results improved. I did a combination of: • “An unaddressed ad mail post card introducing the house for sale; • “Door knocked with the same marketing piece, introducing myself and asking if they had any friends or relatives who might be interested in moving into the neighbourhood, as well as asking if they were considering making a move; • “Then a follow-up call (if possible) or another door knocking campaign to tell them it was sold and to see if they had any interest in selling or knew of anyone else who might be interested in moving

because I had more buyers for the neighbourhood. “Again, you are better off contacting 100 people at least three times than 1,000 people once. “Whatever you do, consistent, ongoing communication is the key. You are better off communicating regularly with a small group than sporadically with a larger group. Make sure the communication has content that is valuable and relevant. When I started down this path, my broker said that the content of communication didn’t matter that much, it was simply the point of getting your name in front of the people. With experience, I have found that providing valuable and relevant information is a lot more effective. ” When cold calling, keep in mind the nationwide Do-Not-Call List. The CREA handout, The National Do-Not-Call List: Information for Realtors, makes it clear that as a Realtor soliciting business, you cannot call or fax people without prior consent. If someone has registered on the DNCL, you can only call them if you already have an existing relationship with the customer or individual. Before cold calling, check to see if the number you are about to dial is on the DNCL. Additionally, every broker office is required to keep their own DoNot-Call list of people who have asked to be put on the list. Everyone who works for the office needs to have access to the list at any time. Skawski shares some final thoughts: “People come into real estate thinking there is fast money in it. There will be opportunities to make some money quickly but for staying power, you need a longerterm vision as well. Connecting with people over time and in a way that differentiates you from all the others is the best way to create a successful business. ” REM




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Real Trends Top 200 Report Highlights* •R  E/MAX continues to dominate the most productive real estate brokerages in Canada, based on independent research.* • RE/MAX agents are the most productive agents in Canada.* • RE/MAX sells over a third of all residential properties in Canada.** *Real Trends - Canadian Top 200 Brokerages report, based on closed 2010 transactions. **Based on MLS sales, RE/MAX closed 2010 transactions.

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1. Sutton Group - West Coast Realty – New Westminster, B.C. 2. Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. – Toronto, On 3. RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc. – Markham, On 4. RE/MAX Real Estate (Edmonton) Ltd. – Edmonton, Alb 5. Royal LePage Team Realty & Royal LePage Gale Real Estate – Ottawa, On 6. RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc. – Cambridge, On 7. Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty – Belleville, On 8. RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc. Kitchener, On 9. RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. Brokerage – Toronto, On 10. Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre/Four Seasons – St. Catharines, On 11. Macdonald Realty Group – Vancouver, B.C. 12. Royal LePage Performance Realty – Ottawa, On 13. CENTURY 21 Conexus Realty Ltd. – Regina, Sask 14. RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc. – Mississauga, On 15. RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. – Hamilton, On 16. Royal LePage Your Community Realty Inc., Brokerage – Richmond Hill, On 17. Keller Williams Ottawa Realty – Ottawa, On

18. CIR Realty - Calgary, Alb  oyal LePage RCR Realty & Royal LePage York North Realty – Orangeville, On 19. R 20. RE/MAX Metro-City Realty Ltd. – Ottawa, On 21. Royal LePage Atlantic - Halifax, NS 22. RE/MAX Saskatoon / North Country / P.A. Realty – Saskatoon, Sask 23. RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) – Calgary, Alb 24. Royal LePage State Realty – Stoney Creek, On 25. RE/MAX Royal (Jordan) Inc. – Beaconsfield, Qué 26. RE/MAX West Realty Inc. – Toronto, On 27. Coldwell Banker Terrequity Realty – Toronto, On 28. Royal LePage Foothills – Calgary, Alb 29. Prudential Sussex Realty – North Vancouver, B.C. 30. Royal LePage Triland Realty – London, On 31. RE/MAX Camosun – Victoria, B.C. 32. RE/MAX 1er Choix Inc. – Québec, Qué 33. RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., Brokerage – Catharines, On 34. RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd. – Windsor, On

35. RE/MAX Performance Realty – Winnipeg, Man 36. CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc. – Markham, On 37. RE/MAX Platine – Brossard, Qué 38. RE/MAX House of Real Estate – Calgary, Alb 39. RE/MAX Alliance Inc. – Montréal, Qué 40. RE/MAX Professionals Inc. – Mississauga, On 41. RE/MAX 2000 Inc. – Laval-des-Rapides, Qué 42. RE/MAX Du Cartier Inc. – Montréal, Qué 43. RE/MAX Professionals – Winnipeg, Man 44. RE/MAX Real Estate (Mountain View) – Calgary, Alb 45. Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate – Edmonton, Alb 46. RE/MAX Executives Realty – Winnipeg, Man 47. RE/MAX Des Mille-Iles Inc. – Terrebonne, Qué 48. RE/MAX Premier Inc. – Vaughan, On 49. RE/MAX 2000 Realty Inc. – Toronto, On 50. RE/MAX Acces Inc. – Ste-Foy, Qué

Numbers Talk… *

•R  E/MAX dominated Real Trends Top 200 with 137 of the most productive brokerages  in Canada, an increase of 7 firms over last year. • RE/MAX agents, on average, were nearly 30% more productive than Royal LePage agents. • RE/MAX agents, on average, were nearly 70% more productive than Coldwell Banker agents. • RE/MAX agents, on average, were nearly 50% more productive than Century 21 agents. • RE/MAX agents, on average, were more than 80% productive than Keller Williams agents. *Based on brokerages who reported agent counts and average transactions per agent.

51. RE/MAX Crossroads Realty Inc. – Toronto, On 52. RE/MAX Chay Realty Inc. – Barrie, On 53. RE/MAX Vernon – Vernon, B.C. 54. RE/MAX Realty Services Inc. – Brampton, On 55. RE/MAX T.M.S. Inc. – Ste-Thérèse, Qué 56. RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside – Vancouver, B.C. 57. RE/MAX Crown Real Estate Ltd. – Regina, Sask 58. RE/MAX Kelowna – Kelowna, B.C. 59. Harvey Kalles Real Estate Limited - Toronto, On 60. RE/MAX Rouge River Realty Ltd, Brokerage – Toronto, On 61. RE/MAX Reference 2000 – Beauport, Qué 62. Royal LePage Kelowna – Kelowna, B.C. 63. RE/MAX D’Abord Inc. – Sherbrooke, Qué 64. CENTURY 21 Heritage Group Ltd. – Thornhill, On 65. RE/MAX Centre City Realty Inc. – London, On 66. RE/MAX Elite – Edmonton, Alb 67. Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty – Victoria, B.C.

68. RE/MAX 2001 Inc. – Fabreville, Laval, Qué 69. RE/MAX First Realty Ltd. – Pickering, On 70. RE/MAX Realty Professionals – Calgary, Alb 71. Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty – Mississauga, On 72. RE/MAX De Francheville Inc. – Trois-Rivières, Qué 73. CENTURY 21 First Canadian Corp. – London, On 74. RE/MAX of Nanaimo – Nanaimo, B.C. 75. RE/MAX Vision (1990) Inc. – Gatineau, Qué 76. RE/MAX Signature Inc. – Boucherville, Qué 77. RE/MAX Eastern Realty Inc. – Peterborough, On 78. RE/MAX Westcoast – Richmond, B.C. 79. RE/MAX Little Oak Realty – Fraser Valley, B.C. 80. RE/MAX Real Estate Services – Vancouver, B.C. 81. Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate – Winnipeg, Man 82. RE/MAX Select Properties – Vancouver, B.C. 83. RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. – Oakville, On 84. RE/MAX Professionnel Inc. – Granby, Qué

85. RE/MAX Avantages Inc. – Charny, Qué 86. RE/MAX Crown Realty (1989) Inc. – Sudbury, On 87. RE/MAX Condos Plus Corp. – Toronto, On 88. Coldwell Banker Case Realty – Scarborough, On 89. RE/MAX Del Mar Realty Inc. – Stoney Creek, On 90. RE/MAX Avant Tout Inc. – Rimouski, Qué 91. RE/MAX Nyda Realty Inc. – Chilliwack, B.C. 92. RE/MAX Treeland Realty – Langley, B.C. 93. RE/MAX Advantage – Sherwood Park, Alb 94. RE/MAX Landan Real Estate – Calgary, Alb 95. EXIT Realty Advantage – Fredericton, NB 96. RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. – Unionville, On 97. RE/MAX River City – Edmonton, Alb 98. RE/MAX Real Estate – St. Albert, Alb 99. RE/MAX Sarnia Realty Inc. – Sarnia, On 100.RE/MAX Realty Concepts Corp. – Kingston, On

The Most Productive Agents in Canada. 101. RE/MAX Imagine Inc. – Longueuil, Qué 102. RE/MAX Life Styles Realty – Maple Ridge, B.C. 103. RE/MAX Realty Specialists Ltd. – St. John’s, Nfld 104. Royal LePage Prime Real Estate – Winnipeg, Man 105. RE/MAX Ability Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – Courtice, On 106. RE/MAX Fortin Delage Inc. – Ste-Foy, Qué 107. Royal LePage Wolstencroft Realty – Langley, B.C. 108. RE/MAX Performance Realty Inc. – Mississauga, On 109. RE/MAX Centre City Realty – Prince George, B.C. 110. RE/MAX Realty One Inc. – Mississauga, On 111. Keller Williams Energy Real Estate Brokerage – Whitby, On 112. RE/MAX Crest Realty – North Vancouver, B.C. 113. RE/MAX Solid Gold Realty (II) Ltd. – Waterloo, On 114. RE/MAX 2000 Realty – Surrey, B.C. 115. RE/MAX Capitale – Québec, Qué 116. RE/MAX Realty Enterprises Inc., Brokerage – Mississauga, On 117. RE/MAX Excellence – Edmonton, Alb

118. RE/MAX First – Calgary, Alb 119. RE/MAX Nova – Halifax, NS 120. Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty – Burnaby, B.C. 121. RE/MAX Vision Realty Inc. – Toronto, On 122. Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty – Ottawa, On 123. RE/MAX Central Realty – Burnaby, B.C. 124. RE/MAX Colonial Pacific Realty Ltd. – White Rock, B.C. 125. RE/MAX Group Four Realty – Fredericton, NB 126. EXIT Realty Associates – Moncton, NB 127. RE/MAX Real Estate Central Alberta – Red Deer, Alb 128. Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty – Kitchener, On 129. RE/MAX Performance Inc. – St-Lambert, Qué 130. Keller Williams Referred Realty – Toronto, On 131. EXIT Realty Specialists – Saint John, NB 132. RE/MAX Sabre Realty – Port Coquitlam, B.C. 133. RE/MAX United Inc. – Mount Pearl, Nfld 134. Royal LePage Network Realty Corp. – Red Deer, Alb

135. RE/MAX Tremblant Inc. – Mont-Tremblant, Qué 136. EXIT Realty on the Rock – St. John’s, Nfld 137. Royal LePage Estate Realty – Toronto, On 138. EXIT Realty Metro – Bedford, NS 139. RE/MAX Kings Realty Ltd. – Mississauga, On 140. RE/MAX Niagara Realty Ltd. – Niagara Falls, On 141. RE/MAX All Points Realty Group – Coquitlam, B.C. 142. RE/MAX Fort McMurray – Fort McMurray, Alb 143. Prudential Grand Valley Realty – Cambridge, On 144. CENTURY 21 Ltd. – Brandon, Man 145. RE/MAX Georgian Bay Realty Ltd. – Midland, On 146. Coldwell Banker R.M.R. Real Estate – Whitby, On 147. RE/MAX Jazz Inc., Brokerage – Oshawa, On 148. RE/MAX Privilege Inc. – St-Hubert, Qué 149. Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate, Brokerage – Ancaster, On 150. RE/MAX Ultimate Realty Inc., Brokerage – Toronto, On

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David Medeiros RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc.

Peter DeGroot RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc.

151. Coldwell Banker Panda Realty – Edmonton, Alb 152. RE/MAX Professionals Saint John Inc. – Saint John, NB 153. Coldwell Banker Momentum Realty Brokerage – St. Catharines, On 154. Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty – Kelowna, B.C. 155. Royal LePage Credit Valley Real Estate – Brampton, On 156. RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd. – Ottawa, On 157. Coldwell Banker Coburn Realty, Brokerage – Ottawa, On 158. Keller Williams Golden Triangle Realty – Kitchener, On 159. RE/MAX First Choice Realty (Thunder Bay) Ltd., Brokerage –Thunder Bay, On 160. RE/MAX Banner Real Estate – Middleton, NS 161. RE/MAX Quinte Ltd. – Belleville, On 162. RE/MAX Real Estate Centre – Edmonton, Alb 163. RE/MAX Extra Inc. – Beloeil, Qué 164. RE/MAX Actif Inc. – St-Bruno, Qué 165. CENTURY 21 In Town Realty – Vancouver, B.C. 166. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd. – Stratford, On 167. RE/MAX Omega Realty (1988) Ltd. – Newmarket, On 168. RE/MAX Legend Real Estate Inc., Brokerage – North Bay, On

169. RE/MAX Lanaudiere Inc. – St.Charles Borromée, Qué 170. RE/MAX De La Pointe Inc. – Montréal, Qué 171. RE/MAX Masters Realty – West Vancouver, B.C. 172. Keller Williams Advantage Realty, Brokerage – Toronto, On 173. RE/MAX Pembroke Realty Ltd. – Pembroke, On 174. RE/MAX Land Exchange Ltd. – Wingham, On 175. RE/MAX Real Estate - Lethbridge – Lethbridge, Alb 176. Keller Williams ELITE Realty – Port Coquitlam, B.C. 177. CENTURY 21 Advantage – Red Deer, Alb 178. RE/MAX Accord – Edmonton, Alb 179. RE/MAX Action (1992) Inc. – Lasalle, Qué 180. Prudential Property Specialists – Bedford, NS 181. RE/MAX Immo-Contact Inc. – Duvernay, Laval, Qué 182. Keller Williams Realty South – Calgary, Alb 183. RE/MAX Orillia Realty (1996) Ltd. – Orillia, On 184. Coldwell Banker Parker Realty – Charlottetown, PEI 185. RE/MAX Futur Inc. – Châteauguay, Qué 186. RE/MAX Du Haut Richelieu Inc. – St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Qué

187. RE/MAX Defi (1996) – Valleyfield, Qué 188. RE/MAX 3000 Inc. – Montréal, Qué 189. RE/MAX Goldenway Realty Inc. – Toronto, On 190. RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc., Brokerage – Owen Sound, On 191. Coldwell Banker National Preferred – Winnipeg, Man 192. RE/MAX Advantage Realty Ltd., Brokerage – London, On 193. RE/MAX Welland Realty Ltd., Brokerage – Welland, On 194. RE/MAX Harmonie Inc. – Montréal, Qué 195. RE/MAX Bois-Francs Inc. – Victoriaville, Qué 196. CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd. – Oakville, On 197. RE/MAX Trent Valley Realty Ltd. – Trenton, On 198. CENTURY 21 United Realty Inc. – Peterborough, On 199. Keller Williams VIP Realty – Ottawa, On 200. RE/MAX Plus Inc. – Chambly, Qué

Up-and-Comers • RE/MAX Brokers dominated the Up-and-Comers Category with 16 of 28 positions. The RE/MAX Business model remains as relevant today, as when it was founded 35 years ago. 1. RE/MAX Drummondville Inc. Drummondville, Qué 2. RE/MAX County Town Realty Inc. Lindsay, On 3. Coldwell Banker All Points-Festival City Realty, Brokerage Stratford, On 4. RE/MAX Direct Inc. Gatineau, secteur Aylmer, Qué 5. Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray Fort McMurray, Alb 6. Keller Williams Solid Rock Realty Ottawa, Ontario 7. Coldwell Banker Rhodes & Company Brokerage Ottawa, On 8. RE/MAX V.R.P. Inc. St-Eustache, Québec 9. CENTURY 21 Colonial Realty Inc. Charlottetown, PEI 10. CENTURY 21 Professional Group Inc. Brantford, On 11. RE/MAX Quality Real Estate Moncton, NB 12. RE/MAX Immobilia Inc. Montréal, Qué 13. CENTURY 21 Bravo Realty Calgary, Alb 14. RE/MAX East Coast Realty Ltd. St. John’s, Nfld 15. RE/MAX Montreal Metro Inc. Montréal, Qué 16. RE/MAX North Country Realty Inc., Brokerage Huntsville, On 17. Prudential Fort McMurray Real Estate Fort McMurray, Alb 18. Keller Williams Realty Centres Newmarket, On 19. RE/MAX Impact Inc. St-Hyacinthe, Qué 20. RE/MAX De L’avenir Inc. St-Jérôme, Qué 21. EXIT Premier (1997) Realty Inc. Hawkesbury, On 22. RE/MAX Sudbury Inc. Sudbury, Ontario 23. RE/MAX Realty Professionals Ltd. St. John’s, Nfld 24. Coldwell Banker Redwood Realty Whitehorse, YK 25. Tradewinds Realty Incorporated Chester, NS 26. RE/MAX York Group Realty Inc. Aurora, On 27. RE/MAX Cornwall Realty Inc. Cornwall, On 28. RE/MAX Excellence Inc. Anjou, Qué

“RE/MAX is a culture of entrepreneurial agents. A culture of satisfying customers and making sure their journey into home ownership is an absolute dream come true. For nearly 35 years in Canada, RE/MAX has exceeded this expectation.” Pamela Alexander, CEO, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc.

“Since we converted to RE/MAX our company has grown by 200%” Ray Jarvis RE/MAX North Country Realty Inc.

22 REM JULY 2011


By George O’Neill


ust like all other aspects of your real estate business, determining how best to use on-line and digital marketing channels to get exposure for your firm and your listed properties is best initiated from a strategic perspective. Incorporating these new channels into your business plan is a must, not an option, since the vast majority of consumers are now gathering information about real estate primarily on-line. But for many brokers, it is still a mystery how to do so. To shed light on one approach let’s take a look at the process I went through. Prior to starting my own fully

Incorporating digital in your business strategy digital real estate brokerage, I developed a business plan outlining how we would enter and compete in the Toronto real estate market. But, before writing our business plan, I spent a considerable amount of time developing our business strategy. So what is a business strategy and how do you develop one? If it’s not formally written down already, you are most likely executing your business strategy daily and can say what it is and how it contributes to your business plan. But is it all inclusive and does it incorporate the required digital components that are so necessary today and going forward? For a number of years I worked as a management consultant at Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, helping other businesses define their digitally enabled business strategies. One framework we often used was the PEST analysis: P stands for

identifying major political trends that may influence your organization; E for the major economic trends; S for social trends; and T for technological. Take a mid-term view – one to three years – as the planning horizon. Anything more is most likely guessing and aspirational, which is fine, but hard to be specific about. The more specific and accurate, the better. PEST is very helpful when working through the following six major activities that can be performed to get you on the road to incorporating digital into your business plan. The starting point is to perform a competitive assessment of your business environment. The focus should be to identify key factors that create value for your business, industry changes expected over the next three years, how those changes may affect the nature of competition and how you can exploit those changes. Part of this assessment is to look at forces dri-

ving industry competition, including determining how powerful are customers and suppliers, what substitutes there are for your services and identification of potential entrants. Sizing up the competition and looking at emerging strategies is critical to understand where you may be able to compete best. Consideration of social media and other forms of digital marketing are examples of emerging strategies to integrate into your overall business strategy. The second major step in developing your business strategy is to look inward. Honestly size up your organizational capabilities. Define your mission, which is the reason your firm exists. List what it is your firm does best. Identify how you create value. Then look at the services you provide, how you market and then deliver those services. Summarize your business philosophy by outlining your company’s values and how you treat stake-

holders including staff, clients and suppliers. Also look at your firm’s financial position, significant business processes and re-investment policies. Next, perform a positioning assessment to determine your market position relative to your competitors’ in terms of margins, priceversus-quality and identification of opportunities where you can grow. The fourth step is to establish direction by identifying strategic objectives. For each opportunity identified in step three, perform a thorough PEST analysis to determine those that make sense to pursue. Look at information technology enablers to deliver on those opportunities, again with a focus on digital marketing and social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and good nowold-fashioned email. Strategic objectives define make-or-break Continued on page 48

What will you gain by becoming an SRES®?

m. I gained wisdo nd. I gained a frie iness. I built my bus ro. I became a he ork. I grew my netw

Seniors Real Estate Specialists® gain access to a network of 13,000 designees, customizable marketing materials, social networking, powerful business partners, and so much more. The largest and wealthiest group of buyers and sellers in Canada is over 50. Understand what motivates this growing market and build your business by earning the SRES® designation, the only 50-plus designation that is part of the National Association of REALTORS®. Gain a competitive advantage by taking the SRES® course. For more information, visit

REM JULY 2011 23

Living the equestrian lifestyle One-of-a-kind B.C. development built for the horsey set

By Jean Sorensen

The equestrian centre includes a covered indoor 80 x 250-foot riding arena, an outdoor riding ring, outdoor paddocks, a spacious clubhouse and two 20-stall barns (Above left). Buyers at High Point choose home designs from nine approved builders (Above).


angley Township, considered B.C.’s horse capital with an estimated 7,000 horses, has a new lynch-pin attraction -- an equestrian centre and clubhouse within a housing development at the Cressey Developments Group High Point Equestrian Estate Community. The new equestrian centre is a showpiece offering a covered indoor 80 x 250-foot riding arena, an outdoor riding ring, outdoor paddocks, a spacious clubhouse and two 20-stall barns with all the conveniences (including temperature controlled water for the horses), tack room and industrial laundry.

The equestrian centre’s facilities tie together High Point, a development deemed lowdensity with lots ranging from half an acre up to eight acres. The homes are crested on hills or clustered with green spaces yielding riding trails. “I don’t think you can find another place like this that is close to the city, has this amount of land available and can offer the low density that is required to make it a financial model and still have this kind of lifestyle,” says developer and president Scott Cressey. Smaller developments have grown from ranches in the U.S. or in Central

As well as lots for sale, several finished homes are also on the market in the complex.

B.C., but they are not within 45 minutes of a major city and do not offer spacious lots. Cressey says as a developer he saw the opportunity to work with the township, which wanted lowdensity housing, preservation of green space and an equestrian lifestyle in a unique, high-end development at the southern border of its jurisdiction. The 267 acres, when built out, will have 164 homes with an average lot size of 1.8 acres. There will be nine acres of open space, 90 acres of wetlands and nine km of trails. The trails connect to Campbell Valley Regional Park, which has 30 km of trails and is B.C.’s largest pubic equestrian park. Originally, says Cressey, the old gravel pit site was considered for a golf course. “We looked at the community and what it was all about,” says Cressey, adding that the township has a policy of sustaining its equestrian population. The decision to build an equestrian community starting in July 2007 was a “winwin” situation, says Cressey, as the township received 11 km of new sewer lines brought to the southern end of its jurisdiction. As well, many of the local farm residents in the area were still on

wells and the new community provided a new water system. Today there are approximately 44 lots remaining and they range in size from half an acre starting at $529,000, to eight-acre estate lots, with the bulk of the remaining lots in the half to two-acre category. Buyers purchasing lots more than two acres will be allowed to keep horses on their property under township bylaws. Cressey’s Jason Turcotte says that restrictions apply to the quality of construction and the minimum size of a home is 2,500 square feet. (The largest in the complex is now over 60,000 square feet.) “This is where the builders build,” Turcotte says. Many of the original buyers were involved in the construction industry or are tradesmen. (As well as lots for sale, there are several finished homes that are on the market in the complex as buyers are reselling). Homeowners have the option of purchasing or renting a stall in one of the two barns and have access to the arenas and outdoor ring when they are not in use. “We are told that as arenas go, that this one is the crème de la crème,” Turcotte says.

Scott Cressey

It is ventilated, covered and insulated. It also has shuttered windows to eliminate distractions for the horses while in the arena. Special events and riding lesson will be offered there. The 8,000-squarefoot clubhouse includes a 1,000-square-foot lounge with a 16-foot-long bar, leather club chairs, fireplace, large screen TVs, pool tables, floor to ceiling windows, covered patio with outdoor heaters, a large fireplace and three viewing lounges perfect for watching the equestrian activities. A glass wall joins the clubhouse to the equestrian centre. There’s also a 4,000-square-foot fitness centre with his and her steam rooms, yoga area, cardio, stretch and weight rooms in the clubhouse. Beside the complex is a tennis court. The community is surrounded by farms, greenhouses and agricultural land. There is a public elementary school nearby but the only high school in the area is private. High Point has a show home available for viewing on site. It also offers a web site at www., which provides a lot diagram setting out available sites. REM

24 REM JULY 2011

Use different ads for different target markets Tip No. 6 in the top 10 tips for writing great real estate ads By Ian Grace


n my last couple of articles, I promised I would talk about the power of creating an advertising campaign, rather than just individual ads in individual media. However, before I do that, there is another powerful tool I want to cover first – using different ad campaigns for different target markets. Target your market and talk to them only. This is vitally important – it is what professional advertising agencies do, with every product or service they sell on behalf of their clients. Think about it, every product we see advertised is aimed at a specific market. It may be aimed at men, women, seniors, children, affluent people, mass market,

brand-label conscious people – the list goes on. I talked before about your ads becoming a personal communication, which can be read by your prospective buyers as if you are talking directly to them. That is target marketing. However, ads I see all the time saying things like, “ideal for firsthome buyer or investor” are not target marketing and once you mix two very different markets into the same ad, you cannot communicate directly with either one of them. It’s like trying to have a conversation with an 80-year-old and a five-yearold in the same sentence – can’t be done. Now, before we look at communicating with each of those markets separately, let’s have a look at the checklist that will help you to choose the best possible target market for each property you list. In

some cases, as above, it will be two totally different relevant markets. In selecting your target market, the advertising experts will normally split this into three distinct areas, using one, two or sometimes all three, to ensure they are right on target. See how easy it makes it for you: Geographic – Where is the purchaser of this property likely to come from? The local area; particular suburbs; beyond the greater city area; another city, state or country. Demographic – Age, sex, income, singles, couples, families; occupation/profession/investors. Psychographic – Expectations and aspirations, hobbies, habits, preferences, likes and dislikes. For example, people who love entertaining, gardening, golfing, relaxing. By focusing on each of these three areas, it becomes so much

easier to determine who your ad campaign should be directed at, to generate the greatest (qualified) response. Now, if you look at the concept of running two totally different campaigns, aimed at two totally different markets in all the media you’re using, it makes absolute sense. In each case the ads will evoke a better response, as they read so much more personally and therefore more powerfully. In addition, you will be reaching two different markets at the same time, giving more chance of competition between prospective buyers from both markets. You remember the headline I used in the successful campaign that sold our investment property: Watch the waves ...... and the $$$s roll in! If we had been aiming to sell

the property to someone who would live in it, the headline could have been something like Watch the waves.....every day. Or Your view ...... every morning! Or Your view, your lifestyle ... every day! As you can see, the laws of common sense dictate that someone reading the first headline, who was looking for a place to live in, can say to themselves when they see that headline and the photo, “I’d love to live there and watch the waves every day. Let’s go and have a look.” An investor reading either of the two headlines could assume that the property would be a good investment with a high rental return (possibly with an ulterior Continued on page 50

Insurance Renewal 2011 RECO is pleased to announce that, through the program’s insurance broker Alternative Risk Services Inc., insurance coverage has been renewed with Lloyd’s for the policy period from Sept. 1, 2011 to Sept. 1, 2012. The insurance program is managed by Dion, Durrell + Associates Inc. Coverage includes Errors and Omissions, Commission Protection and Consumer Deposit insurance. Insurance renewal invoices will be mailed in early July to all registrants. The payment deadline of Aug. 12, 2011 cannot be extended in the event of a postal strike. A copy of the renewal package will also be made made aavailable avai vailab lable le for regis registrants regis g tra trants nts on RECO RECO’s RECO s website w webs ebsite ite at

How Ho w to p pay ay yyou ourr in ou insu sura su ranc ra nce nc e pr prem emiu em ium iu m Use yo y ur MasterC Cardd or Vi Visa to makke you y r insurance i p yment online pay li throug h gh MyWe yW b, REC RECO’ O’s exclu l sive i web po p rta rtall for for reggist istran rants ts. If yo y u ddon’ on t aalre lready adyy ha have ve a M MyWe y b aacco yWe ccount unt, crea reatin tingg one is eas easyy and fre freee, sim simply py ply visit to si sign gn up. On Once ce you you’re re logge loggedd iinn ttoo M MyWe yWeb, b, cli click ck on the Insur Insuranc ancee ttab ab locate loc atedd oonn tthe he lef leftt sside ide of th thee sscre creen en to mak makee yyour our pa payme yment. nt. Pl Pleas easee m make ake yo your ur pay paymen mentt aass ssoon oon as po possi ssible ble.. Paymen Pay ments ts can cannot not be ma made de by pho phone. ne.

Insurance payments are due by August 12, 2011. The total cost of insurance, including taxes and expenses, for the 2011 - 2012 policy period is $345.

NEW – Suspension process change Registrants who fail to make their insurance payment by the due date of Aug. 12, 2011 become part of the suspension process. These registrants are required to pay an additional $35 towards the program expenses of the suspension process authorized under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002. The total cost of insurance, including taxes and expenses after the due date is $380. Nonpayment results in suspension of registration effective Sept. 1, 2011.

Policy change

Retiring or leaving the business

Starting Sept. 1, 2011, the Extended Reporting Period – Insured Member, will increase from two years to five years. The Errors and Omissions insurance continues to cover registrants that have retired or left the business, at no additional cost, for a period of five years from the date of leaving the business for claims resulting from activities while registered, subject to the terms of the policy.

If you are planning on retiring or leaving the business you may wish to have your completed “Notice of Change: Termination” form and a copy of your resignation letter submitted to the Registration Department by Aug. 2, 2011 to avoid becoming involved in the suspension process.

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

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

Thank you for helping to raise over $420,000!

The 3rd Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter

was our most successful ever!

Who could have imagined that selling dishes, furniture and toys could save a woman’s life and give a young person the chance for a brighter future? On May 14, 2011, Royal LePage offices across Canada did just that at the National Garage Sale for Shelter. At Royal LePage, we are helping to break the cycle of violence and restore hope to women and children in communities across the country. Visit to support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Our Realtors, brokers and staff have raised more than $12 million to support women’s shelters and violence prevention and education programs. All administrative costs are covered by Royal LePage so 100% of every dollar raised helps create safer homes and communities.

Thank you for helping to raise over $420,000!

The 3rd Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter

was our most successful ever!

Who could have imagined that selling dishes, furniture and toys could save a woman’s life and give a young person the chance for a brighter future? On May 14, 2011, Royal LePage offices across Canada did just that at the National Garage Sale for Shelter. At Royal LePage, we are helping to break the cycle of violence and restore hope to women and children in communities across the country. Visit to support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Our Realtors, brokers and staff have raised more than $12 million to support women’s shelters and violence prevention and education programs. All administrative costs are covered by Royal LePage so 100% of every dollar raised helps create safer homes and communities.

28 REM JULY 2011


By Barry Lebow


hen I tell people that I specialize in litigation relating to real estate agency and to real estate stigma, even Realtors ask me to explain what I mean by stigma. Stigma is the effect that lingers after the cure. In real estate it can be something as simple as, “How clean is clean?” This refers to a property that, say, had an oil spill. The buyer may have full access to the reports from the environmental experts, but due to a migrating underground water supply, for example, they may feel that the oil may move back or that a neigh-

Dealing with real estate stigma bouring property that was contaminated could have their contamination issues migrate. For grow operations (marijuana grow houses) the problem of stigma is predominately related to mould. Houses can be cleaned and problems fixed but mould can result even a year later. The same goes for a house that had a water problem. Stigma can be real or perceived. Sometimes public opinion or word-of-mouth can result in the highest loss in value. Once the community knows of a problem, from a murder in the house to a grow-op, the word is out. In most provinces and states, Realtors must disclose but some of the laws are vague and the buyer is not always protected. Good advice? Recommend a qualified home inspector, one who is reputable. Check references and qualifications carefully and make sure they carry insurance coverage. Buyers should be protected by a buyer agency representation and be a client, not just a customer. A

buyer should know that a designated buyer rep works for them and their interests. For Realtors, there are two ways to protect yourself from future litigation should a stigma problem be found later. First, absolutely always type in the address of a house that you are listing or selling on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. If it is notorious, you may be surprised what you can find on a search. Next, always go into your local board’s MLS system as far back as possible to search a subject property. That last bit of advice should have been done by a Realtor recently. She listed a property and then the buyers found out just before closing that the house had once been insulated with UFFI. The buyers wanted a discount to close and the listing agent insisted she did not know. A simple MLS search would have found a previous listing on the same property where it was clearly stated that UFFI had been removed. She should have known. She should

have done her research. Her lack of doing so, of relying on the seller’s representation means she is now heading into the court system. Stigma can be measured in many ways, but the most difficult is by direct comparison. For example, say that you bought a house and found out from a neighbour that it had been the scene of a horrific murder. Your buyers are angry. They want to sue the seller and the listing and selling agents. In most jurisdictions, you were denied the right to a material fact. In some places like California, disclosure of a murder must be reported for three years. In Canada, only Quebec has a murder disclosure law. How does one measure the loss, if any? In a textbook situation, we would find various murder sites, compare their selling prices to similar and non-impacted houses in their area and then with enough data estimate a percentage loss to your house. The problem? Most murder sites are not readily disclosed and not all murders may have received excess media atten-

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tion, which does negatively impact value. The other problem is one of time. Did the murder happen last year or 10 years ago? Heck, in a small town, a 50-year-old murder still is well remembered. In most provinces, I have not found limitations on disclosure. In Ontario for example, once you had UFFI you are compelled to disclose that fact even though it may have been removed in 1981. Something is very wrong with that scenario. Unlimited disclosure harms the selling public who can be innocent of full knowledge of the history of their home and leads to more lawsuits involving Realtors. It is just wrong to not specify how long a former problem has to be disclosed. That one factor alone assists in stigmatizing real property. For a former grow operation we do find comparable sales. We track known grow ops and compare them to similar houses (without Continued on page 30

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REIC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 REIC Pursuit of Excellence Awards: REIC Emeritus

The Excellence Award, Sponsored by

REIC Emeritus is the highest honour that a member of REIC can receive. This award of excellence recognizes a member's sustained commitment and outstanding contribution to REIC at both the national and chapter levels.

Awarded to the Canadian candidate who attains the highest mark on the first submission of their Management Plan or first writing of the MPSA. All candidates in good standing are automatically entered by submitting their Management Plan or by completing the MPSA.

Recipient: Lucien Roy, FRI(E) CPM® CMOC Edmonton AB

Murray Bosley - Sales & Leasing Council Member of the Year Award This award is presented to an REIC member who holds a sales & leasing designation. This member is considered to be one of the foremost supporters of the council and their respective designation over the past year.

Recipient: Alex Pino, FRI Toronto ON

The Real Estate Management Council Member of the Year Award This award is presented to an REIC member who holds a property management designation. This member is considered to be one of the foremost supporters of the council and their respective designation over the past year.

Recipient: Susan Antoniali, CPM Coquitlam BC

The Finance Council Member of the Year Award This award is presented to an REIC member who holds a finance designation. This member is considered to be one of the foremost supporters of the council and their respective designation over the past year.

Recipient: Clarence Wedge, CRF Pickering ON

Recipient: Dale Harder, ARM® Nipawin, SK

The Literary Award, Sponsored by The Bentall Kennedy Literary Award (first presented in 1968 as the Claude Leigh Award) recognizes the best in real estate journalism and research as it pertains to Canada’s Real Estate Industry.

Recipient: Eugen Klein, FRI CLO CRES ARM Vancouver BC

The J.A. Weber Award This award pays tribute to the REIC member who, at the chapter level, has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Institute. The nominee’s efforts should have directly influenced the growth and recognition of an REIC chapter.

Recipient: Aldine Larsen, FRI(E) CPM White Rock BC

Chapter Administrator of the Year Award The award is presented to an individual who has provided outstanding contributions to the chapter's overall success during the past 12 months. These contributions include: organizing networking and educational events, recognizing member achievements and milestones and maintaining strong communication with the REIC National Office.

Recipient: Deanna Strange-Chard Fort Langley BC

Chapter and Corporate Award Winners: Community Service Award: IREM Edmonton Chapter Corporate Citizen of the Year: BC Housing Management Commission Association of the Year: Saskatchewan Housing Authorities Network Chapter Initiative Award: REIC Toronto Chapter IREM Outstanding Canadian Chapter Award: Real Estate Institute of Manitoba Donald Hill Award - Small Chapter: Real Estate Institute of Manitoba Donald Hill Award - Large Chapter: REIC Greater Vancouver Chapter Chapter of the Year Award - Small Chapter: REIC Nova Scotia Chapter Chapter of the Year Award - Large Chapter: REIC Toronto Chapter

Real Estate Institute of Canada Institut canadien de l’immeuble

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30 REM JULY 2011

Dealing with #


Continued from page 28

the grow op problem) and estimate a percentage loss. This works when the data is available, like it is in my home town of Toronto. Many stigma problems cannot be measured from the marketplace, such as a loss of parking that negates a value, a mould issue or a bad construction job. Comparable data is not available so I have learned to use empirical modelling and formulas that make common sense. Here is a true test for a real loss in value: Can you get a mortgage with the problem known to the lender? If the advance is reduced, if the rate is higher or they say no, you have stigma. Next major test: Can you get insurance? If no or highly rated you have a stigma problem. Do you believe in ghosts? To

find out if ghosts are real, go to your favourite search engine and type in “Ghosts Nyack” or use this link: place/the-ghost-of-nyack. Are ghosts real? That is a definite “yes” according to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. It’s a very interesting case and a good read for Realtors. Barry Lebow is a long-time columnist for REM. He started as a Realtor in 1968 and is an appraiser, arbitrator and educator. Today he specializes in being an expert witness in stigma and agency matters but is most active as founder & CEO of the Accredited Senior Agent professional designation program for Realtors, which now has 800 members and continues to grow. Barry is considered one of Canada’s most dynamic real estate facilitators. Phone 416-7849806 or email at REM

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he Ottawa Business Journal has named A.J. Plant of Exit Realty Matrix as a recipient of this years “40 under 40” award. “An extraordinary salesperson and manager for Exit Realty Matrix, A.J.’s recognition was no surprise to those who know him. A father of three, his generosity and inspiring heart have touched many people within Exit and in the community,” says Ed Martens, senior vicepresident of franchise sales for Exit Realty Corp. International. The awards were based on business achievement, expertise and leadership in community involvement. The nominees, some of the most promising professionals in the private, public and not-for-profit arenas, were scrutinized by judges who collectively spent approximately 100 hours reviewing and ranking each of the submissions. “A.J., on his own volition, has spent many hours at the

A.J. Plant

Exit head office in Toronto honing his speaking skills through our 30 Minutes with Exit series and voluntarily created and teaches a course called Turn Simple Connections into Big Dollars in both English and French to Exit associates to rave reviews. He has been a featured breakout speaker at our annual international convention and has participated at all Exit trainings and events,” says Joyce Paron, president – Canada. REM

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32 REM JULY 2011

Britain’s historic houses for sale at bargain prices By Nigel Burnham


s the British government’s drastic program of spending cuts continues unabated, hundreds of historic buildings – from Victorian libraries to windmills – are being sold off at bargain prices by councils desperate to raise extra funds. Among the buildings recently put on the market are the GradeII listed former St. Giles Hospital in Camberwell, south London, Conisbrough Priory near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and the 19th-century Lluesty Hospital in north Wales. Two Georgian terraces in Greenwich, south London, have also been put on the market by Her Majesty’s Courts Service, along with the public swimming baths in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Even central government is trying to reduce its own £270 billion estate, with sales totalling £115 million in the past nine months – including heritage buildings like the former Land Registry headquarters, c. 1862, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

The sell-off will include ornate Victorian libraries, town halls, courts, museums and less obvious publicly held historic properties – Suffolk County Council, for example, has been selling its windmills. Doncaster Council put Conisbrough Priory up for auction at a guide price of £275,000, while the Rotherham swimming baths went on the market for £150,000. Lluesty Hospital in North Wales sold at auction for £275,000 in February. Set in a courtyard and complete with a parapet, this classical building was bought by property developers who plan to build 70 houses in its 7.4 acre grounds. Auction house Lambert Smith Hampton, based in Yorkshire and London, says 14 councils listed about 100 of their properties for its most recent sale. While some of the public buildings could be too large and run-down for an amateur developer, others are more manageable. The trade publication Stock Market Review is advising househunters to monitor property auctions on a regular basis.

Property experts say that Britain’s “Big Council Sell-Off” is an ideal opportunity for shrewd buyers to snap up historic buildings at bargain prices. With its signature clock tower, turrets and wrought iron gates, St. Giles – which is being sold after being deemed too costly to maintain by health and social care organisation NHS Southwark – is a grand Georgian building way beyond the budget of the average house-hunter. But property experts say that Britain’s “Big Council Sell-Off” is an ideal opportunity for shrewd buyers to snap up historic buildings at bargain prices.

“People who want to renovate a former public building into a modern residential home may scoop a bargain if what they want does not sell well in the auction room,” said a spokeswoman. “The councils are using auction houses so it is best to keep up to date with brochures from local auctioneers because these will list what lots they have to offer in any forthcoming auction.” Heritage conservationists, however, are warning that the sale

of Britain’s historic buildings to developers is putting the country’s architectural heritage at risk because, while the government is keen for local groups to take on “heritage assets” when they come on the market – which could be an improvement in areas where local bodies are not looking after properties well – in many places community groups that could take on large or awkward buildings do not exist. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) fears that buildings that are not sold could end up being abandoned and boarded up to reduce running costs. SPAB secretary Philip Venning says, “The situation could well become something of a gamble for hundreds of historic buildings. While there may be some positive outcomes, SPAB is deeply concerned that great swathes of the nation’s built heritage will face an uncertain future under new ownership – or will simply be mothballed.” Ian Lush, chief executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, says, “The transfer of assets is both a threat and an opportunity. It is a threat because the number of historic buildings which are being declared redundant by public sector owners – and this is not just local authorities, but also includes the Ministry of Defence, fire services, health trusts and so on – exceeds the number of community groups and commercial developers able to take them on.” House-hunters looking for heritage homes already in tip-top repair might be more interested in three gems being sold privately, which have recently hit the market in the English county of Wiltshire: Salthrop House at Basset Down, near Marlborough, at a guide price of £3 million; Bolehyde Manor at Allington, near Chippenham, at a guide price of £4.75 million, and the exquisite, Grade I-listed Walton Canonry in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close, at a guide price of £6 milREM lion.

The Walton Canonry, Salisbury

Bolehyde Manor, Wiltshire

Salthrop House, Wiltshire

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34 REM JULY 2011

Ruling highlights danger of disclosure forms The real estate community is now on notice not only that agents have to “further verify” what their clients write into the (disclosure) form, but also that the attempted waiver of responsibility is not worth the paper on which it is written. By Bob Aaron


f there ever were any doubts about the risks to sellers and real estate agents of using the Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS), a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in May would seem to have put them to rest once and for all. In the case of Krawchuk v. Scherbak, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the trial decision and held the real estate agent and her employer Re/Max Sudbury Inc. jointly liable with the sellers for negligent misstatement in filling out the form. The court ruled that the real estate agent could not rely on the disclaimers in the form and that she could not act as a mere conduit for information about the property from the seller to the buyer. The court recognized that the agent had a duty to verify the information provided by the sellers, failing which she would be held liable with them for misrepresentation. The case began back in 2004 when Timothy and Cherese Scherbak listed their property on Boland Ave. in Sudbury with Wendy Weddell and Re/Max Sudbury. Weddell assisted the sellers in completing the SPIS. On the form, the question, “Are you aware of any structural problems?” was answered: “NW corner settled … to the best of our knowledge the house has settled. No further problems in 17 years.” Zoriana Krawchuk attended an open house, and with the consent of all parties Weddell became a dual agent. Krawchuck agreed to buy it, without a home inspection, for $110,100, which was $10,100 over the asking price. After Krawchuk moved in, she discovered that the founda-

tion walls were sinking into the ground below, resulting in the failure of proper support for the floor joists and building above. Correcting the problem required lifting the home from its foundations, replacing the foundations and moving the house back to its original position at a cost of $197,000 – almost double what the house and land cost in the first place. Krawchuk recovered $105,000 from her title insurer and then sued the sellers, the agent and Re/Max Sudbury for misrepresentation in failing to disclose the hidden defects. A significant component of her claim was based on the SPIS form completed by the sellers. The form is intended to protect sellers by disclosing correct information about the property to buyers. It doesn’t always work. The trial judge found the Scherbaks liable for negligent misrepresentation and awarded Krawchuk damages of $110,000 in addition to the $105,000 she had recovered from her title insurer. He dismissed her claims against the real estate agent and broker. The Scherbaks appealed the judgment against them, and Krawchuk cross-appealed the dismissal of her claim against the real estate agent. A three-judge panel of the court of appeal heard arguments last October and released its decision on May 6. The court’s ruling noted that the “issue of primary importance” in the case was “the duty of a real estate agent to verify information provided by the vendor about the property.” Writing for the appeal court, Justice Gloria Epstein upheld the judgment against the sellers, but

also made the real estate agent equally liable for “egregious lapses” during her representation of both purchaser and vendors as dual agent. The court wrote that the agent ought to have inquired further into the sellers’ incomplete disclosure that the foundation issues had been resolved years earlier. Failing that, she should have urged the buyer to hire a home inspector or make the offer conditional on an inspection. Having failed to protect the buyer made the real estate agent equally liable with the sellers for damages. The court awarded half of the $110,000 in damages against the sellers and half against

duties of real estate agents, it does emphasize how easily an experienced real estate agent can be held responsible in damages for failing to verify a seller’s statements on the SPIS form. The Scherbaks were found liable not because their knowledge of the condition of the property was incomplete, but because they failed to disclose their full knowledge of the condition of the house. They knew that there were serious structural problems but did not disclose these facts. At trial, the judge found as a fact that the agent had no reason to question the truth of the information provided by the Scherbaks about the foundation

After reviewing the law on reversing findings of fact by a trial judge, Justice Epstein wrote, “The trial judge’s conclusion that Ms. Weddell had no reason to doubt the Scherbaks’ representations was ‘clearly wrong’. The only available inference is to the contrary. The circumstances were such that Ms. Weddell should have verified the accuracy of the Scherbaks’ representations about the house and she did not.” Without actually defining the standard of care owed by a real estate agent in a case like this, the court ruled that Weddell and her company had failed to meet their obligations to their client. In her written decision,

Having failed to protect the buyer made the real estate agent equally liable with the sellers for damages. The court awarded half of the $110,000 in damages against the sellers and half against the real estate agent. In addition, the buyer was awarded $25,000 in costs of the appeal against the sellers and a further $25,000 in costs against the real estate agent. the real estate agent. In addition, the buyer was awarded $25,000 in costs of the appeal against the sellers and a further $25,000 in costs against the real estate agent. The costs of the 12-day trial have not yet been resolved by the parties, but could easily range well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for all parties involved. Although the outcome of this case may be viewed as being restricted to its particular facts, and it did not create any new

of the house. Normally appeal courts do not interfere with the findings of fact by a trial judge, but in a very rare move, the Court of Appeal said that the trial judge’s conclusion that the agent had no reason to doubt the owners’ representations was “clearly wrong.” “I appreciate,” wrote Justice Epstein, “that the trial judge’s findings of fact attract considerable deference and ought not to be interfered with absent palpable and overriding error.”

Justice Epstein endorsed judicial comments in Alevizos v. Nirula, a 2003 Manitoba court of appeal decision, which stated that the use of SPIS forms: “seems to present a ripe ground for litigation. Doubtless this is due in no small measure to the problems inherent in an informal ‘fill in the blank’ form which can have such serious legal consequences when problems subsequently develop in a real estate transaction. The wisdom of maintaining in use a form fraught with such inherent diffi-

REM JULY 2011 35

culties, exacerbated by the conflicting statements within the form concerning its purpose and effect, should be addressed by lawyers and real estate agents alike.” The Nirula case, wrote one of the Manitoba appellate justices, “should be taken as a warning about the routine use of the form.” The court in Krawchuk also dealt with the issue of whether the real estate agent was negligent in representing the buyer. After reviewing the governing Code of Ethics, Justice Epstein wrote, “In my opinion, in the circumstances of this case, given the requirements set out in the Code and the fact that Ms. Weddell had reason to doubt the veracity of the Scherbaks’ representations about the house, the authorities that indicate that a real estate agent’s duty to his or her client includes a duty to investigate material information about the property, are applicable. “Whatever the standard of care, given the obvious defects in this house, Ms. Weddell had to either further verify the assurances herself or recommend, in the strongest terms, that Ms. Krawchuk get an independent inspection either before submitting an offer or by making the offer conditional on a satisfactory inspection. The failure to do either was an egregious lapse.” A number of conclusions can be drawn from the case: First, the court twice says that the judgment only applies in the circumstances and on the facts of this particular case. As well, it does not create any new duties on real estate agents. But it does clarify what the obligations of an agent are and always have been when using the SPIS. Those duties include an obligation to “investigate material information” about the property, and in some circumstances to “further verify” statements made by the seller in the SPIS. Agents cannot be mere conduits, passing on information from seller to buyer without testing it and without being responsible for misstatements. Second, and perhaps even more important, is the appeal court’s treatment of the dis-

claimer in the SPIS forms. Justice Epstein quotes the disclaimers in the form (“The broker/sales representative shall not be held responsible for the accuracy of the information contained herein.”) She then proceeds to ignore the statement in the rest of the judgment, and nails both the broker and sales representative with responsibility for the accuracy of the information in the form. Those agents who continue to use the SPIS form may, in the past, have taken some comfort from the disclaimer. In light of the treatment of the disclaimer by Ontario’s highest court – in effect totally ignoring it – the real estate community is now on notice not only that agents have to “further verify” what their clients write into the form, but also that the attempted waiver of responsibility is not worth the paper on which it is written. Clearly, agents and sellers who continue to use the SPIS do so at their own peril. Real estate associations that continue to promote the SPIS in its current form across the country are leading their members into needless litigation. Earlier this year, I wrote a paper for the Ontario Bar Association, analyzing in detail all 49 Ontario court decisions concerning the SPIS since 1997. A reader’s letter published in this newspaper noted that this number was not a “big deal.” But Barry Lebow, a frequent contributor to REM and noted expert witness, tells me that for every reported case, at least another nine are settled. That would translate to 490 Ontario decisions, and another 1,500 in the rest of the country. “I am betting that my 490 number is very low,” Lebow tells me. In my view, at least 2,000 cases in 14 years is a very big deal, especially to the parties involved. At press time, no decision had been made on an application for leave to appeal the Krawchuk decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and real estate columnist for the Toronto Star. He can be reached at Visit his website at REM



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36 REM JULY 2011


Online E-Newsletter Are you looking for ways to increase your website traffic? By Marty Douglas




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he preamble to our Code of Ethics says, “Under all is the land.” With that real estate connection in mind, I looked back to past REM columns (July 2004 and August 2006) about trips to the Broken Islands Group on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Since then, the coastal freighter Lady Rose has ceased to operate and we have found another hideaway on the mainland of B.C. I present for your consideration, the community of Lund, gateway to Desolation Sound and Mile 0 of Highway 101, the Pacific Coastal Highway ending 15,202 km away in Chile. You could look it up at The weekend of the Lund Shellfish Festival was between the semi finals and the glory run of the Vancouver Canucks’ claim of the Stanley Cup. No hockey to watch and the only alternative was the Indy 500 – the pole sitter by the way, a Canadian, Alex Tagliani who crashed on Lap 147. Are there any sports at which we suck? Apart from bass fishing? Cow patty tossing? But I digress. Lund is accessible by roads and ferries, one ferry if coming from Vancouver Island, two if from Vancouver. It’s an 80-minute cruise across the Strait of Georgia from Comox in mid-Vancouver Island, which is how we approached. The Queen of Burnaby, showing every one of her 46 years and rust streaks where paint was just a distant memory, is a dowager of the B.C. Ferry fleet, crossing to Powell River and returning four times daily. But she has a good heart and her crew is fiercely proud. Customer service dictates no car left behind – at least not on our trip. Try that on a major route. Rolling off and through the harbour upgrades in downtown

Visiting Lund B.C. with Marty Powell River, we head north for about half an hour and arrive at the wharf and the historic Lund Hotel. Which pretty well sums up the municipal boundaries. Looking for those old-style green plastic motel key tags? You’ve come to the right place. No chance of demagnetizing these babies. By dinner time a community bus, a bulky version of a Handy Dart lift equipped conveyance, pulls up and smuggles us and our open beverages away for dinner at the Laughing Oyster Resort. The seafood buffet is amazing – with a bonus pork loin complete with crackling. That isn’t the sound of the surf; it’s the slamming of arteries. We’re here for the food and the entertainment – a three-piece combo with a Buddy Holly lookalike who teaches music at the local school and knows every song of the era. And plays them nonstop for two and one half hours! For some, the next morning is a painful crawl to the bar fridge for relief. For those who long ago graduated from hangover cure school, it’s over to Nancy’s Magic Bakery, across the parking lot from the surprisingly closed hotel restaurant. Then we see and taste Nancy’s food and realize the hotel simply surrendered to a superior breakfast. Cinnamon buns the size of dinner plates, huevos rancheros with chorizo or more traditional fare if you insist. Some go clam digging after a short water taxi ride to almost tropical Savary Island. I’m reading in the pale sunlight while others hike the local trails. Seafood sales are everywhere as festival merchants set up their tents. A parade of local musicians entertain. Live and cooked prawns, complete with tails and legs are causing kids to squirm on the dock. Wait until they see a geoduck! (Google “images for Geoduck” for an Xrated peek.) Divers arrive on a charter with Pacific Pro Dive, enjoying some of the best scuba diving in the world – clear, cold and teeming with life. A group of motorcycles, mainly Harleys, rumbles down the street

and into the parking lot. Like the divers they are largely grizzled and likely retired. A sort of Cheesy Rider. One is the former executive officer of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, Ken Mackenzie, doing a circle tour with eight friends, overnighting in Lund and then crossing to Vancouver Island to Victoria the next day before completing the circuit and returning to the Lower Mainland. In the late afternoon I’m stirred to action by a musician offering a wailing tribute to the many virtues of “plantain.” I escape to the Boardwalk Café – it’s on the boardwalk that circles half the harbour – for cod and chips and beer. Does it get any better? Well yes – if you count the surprise return of last night’s band. They have tracked us down to the hotel bar because everyone knows Lund hates a vacuum and they go wherever aging baby boomers crave a little more Peggy Sue. Everyone’s dancing and the difference between the old and young is simple – the youngsters’ lips aren’t moving because they don’t know the lyrics. Same routine – eat, drink and look for the after party because the band stops playing at 10. They’re old too! The next day is the local volunteer firemen’s Pancake Breakfast – two pancakes, three rashers of turkey bacon, one bison patty and homemade berry syrup – and a lot of backtalk from the firemen – we feel we’re in an episode with Seinfeld’s soup Nazi. When we complained of slow service, they said we were late. As we gathered for the ferry ride home, Dan summed up the weekend: “I don’t need to hear anymore Buddy Holly.” With that, he crossed it off his bucket list. Happy Canada Day. You can follow Marty Douglas on Twitter 40yrsrealestate or on LinkedIn and on Facebook. He is a managing broker for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., with offices on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast of B.C.; 1-800-7153999. REM

38 REM JULY 2011


By Debbie Hanlon


t’s been said that in the last 20 years the world has changed more than it did in the previous 100. Having made my start in real estate close to 20 years ago I can certainly attest to that. When I look back at it now, my first year in the business seems like something out of the dark ages, and yet in that first year I went to No. 1 in Canada. The reason I was able to enjoy that much success so early in my career and continue that success is because no matter how much things changed, one thing didn’t: people do business with people. It might scare you to know this,

The human touch but I remember real estate without the Internet, without emails or text messages. I can even remember a time before cell phones. Can you imagine that? Can you see yourself doing business today with a land line and a fax machine as your only means of communicating? Wouldn’t you feel lost if you were driving in your car or walking down a street, completely cut off from the rest of the world with no way of contacting anyone? Scary thought isn’t it, but that was reality when I was a rookie. I can remember standing in front of a house waiting for a client and having no way to send them a message unless I started a fire and sent up smoke signals. Today with cell phones, we literally hold the world in our hand and are never out of touch with anyone or anything unless the battery dies. Then we’re lost, off the grid, out of reach and aimless until the thing recharges. Because with that cell phone we can email, text, get information online, take photos and send them and, oh yeah,

we can call people as well. The danger of having that much power at your disposal is you can get lazy. Why call someone when you can send a text? Why send someone a handwritten note when you can zip off an email from the comfort of your couch? Why meet someone for coffee when you can tweet what you’re doing to the entire world? Why meet anyone face to face when you can simply Facebook them? Unfortunately a lot of agents today rely way too much on technology and have lost the one thing that truly makes them special – themselves. The interesting, interested, understanding, funny, forgetful human being they are that is unlike any other human being on the planet. That’s what clients want to experience. They’ll appreciate your knowledge and use of technology but they want you, a real live person, to work for them. I remember one of my Realtors found himself in a bit of quandary that would make most sales reps jealous. His business was growing

Unfortunately a lot of agents today rely way too much on technology and have lost the one thing that truly makes them special – themselves. so fast that he was finding it hard to keep in contact with all his clients and past clients. He couldn’t meet with each of them or he’d have no time to do his job. He had made them an email group but was afraid a group email would be too impersonal. So I told him, if you can’t go out and meet all your clients regularly, invite them to meet with you. From then on he held a client appreciation party once a year where he got the chance to chat with them and reconnect. It was nothing big and didn’t cost him a lot of money but these regular get-

togethers gave him instant payback in the form of new and repeat business. With all the technological ways of keeping in touch, let’s not forget the most important way, the human touch. Debbie Hanlon is the founder of Hanlon Realty and CEO of All Knight Inc. She is a three-time top 50 CEO winner and was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. She is currently an elected city official in St. John’s, Nfld. and is available for motivational and training seminars. Email REM

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40 REM JULY 2011

Is it time for Real Estate Idol? By Ronn James


yan Seacrest: “Tonight our sales reps will put their abilities to the test. Panel, what do you have to say about our sales rep’s listing presentation? Randy: “Naw, dawg, I wasn’t feelin it. It was too low for me.” J-Lo: “I love how you looked tonight. The Prada shoes and Kate Spade bag were a nice touch.” Steven: “You need to take it higher, much higher. That’s where the true superstars are...” No, it is not a singing competition but a sales test. Listing presentations, offer negotiations, open house conversion and finally obtaining a listing on the spot. How would you fair amongst your competition? On American Idol, young singers

express their life-long passion for their craft. They bring a fan base with them and mom and dad often lead the cheers as those who sing in the shower compete against those who have been trained all their lives to do one thing; sing. Imagine that our business had such a competition where equal opportunity existed for young and old, new and seasoned, skilled and not skilled to show their stuff in front of three potential clients for a live audience. What would you do? More importantly HOW would you do? I recently spoke to a new Phase 3 graduate in Ontario. This young man with 12 years of new home sales experience under his belt confided to me that he didn’t know the first thing about selling a house right out of the course. He’s not alone. How do these new agents compete? I know many brokers who must grin when faced with the fresh enthusiasm that brand new real estate agents bring. Poor new souls hoping to shadow or be mentored by a senior agent, these newbies

look to train and spar in a friendly environment to hone their new skill and craft. Imagine that same new salesperson optimistically looking at future financial reward, coupled with the potential perils that a CRA audit can bring when that financial reward is not well managed. Survival of the fittest has always been the underlying theme of any sales culture. The strong survive and the weak perish. It is imperative that we take a good look at what is involved in earning our stripes. I see three challenges: First is education. In my most recent Real Estate Council of Ontario update course it became obvious to me that we hear what we want to hear and know what we want to know. The instructor read out a scenario and asked the participants (experience levels ranged from two years to 30+) to comment. I am sure it comes as no surprise that despite the many years of combined experience at the table, we were unable to come up with a consensus. Regardless of the scenario, this is a common issue in our industry.

The second challenge I see is transparency. Real estate people do not often play nice in the proverbial sand box. This is due, in many cases, to the generational gaps in real estate professionals. If you are a boomer, your formal education likely involved covering your work and ensuring you weren’t caught cheating off another paper. Those who followed later, however, often studied in more collaborative settings. A group approach demonstrated that “we” was stronger than “me” and newer real estate professionals continue to crave this in our industry. Poor preparation and few mentoring opportunities make it a difficult road for this group. The closest thing they find is a modern day team where leadership and business operation struggles couple with micro management and instead create adversity in the group setting. The final challenge is what I call the “one set of rules” struggle. It is difficult to observe the policy makers in our industry shape things to suit their needs. Most sales reps you speak to today can share an experience where rules and policy

have been ignored. If the rep winning all the prizes does so at the expense of everyone else, who then is responsible to create change in a largely self-regulated industry? I do believe that salespeople would perform differently if they were being judged by three potential clients all wanting to hire the best representation for their needs. Considering these same sales reps would also be seen by both live and social media audiences, the stakes would inevitably be higher, flaws would be amplified and brilliance would likely hit some pretty high notes. With a track record that spans 27 years, Realtor Ronn James says his ambition is to educate the public and Realtors alike. He has landed appearances on Breakfast Television, CityLine, Real Life and as a host of radio shows. James has also been a regular contributor to New Homes and Condos For Sale Magazine, Toronto Sun and Canadian Homeplanner. Website:, phone 289-242-9050. REM

Beliefs versus reality

By Dr. Maya Bailey


was talking to a client the other day and it became clear to me that there is some confusion about which comes first; beliefs or reality. My client was comparing herself to other agents and putting herself down because she wasn’t getting the same results they were. Then she said to me, “That proves that I must be defective.” She had used that term about herself before, so I thought it was time to finally explore why she thinks of herself that way. Her reasoning was, “I’m not doing well in my real estate business; therefore

something must be wrong with me.” Actually she has it backwards. She is putting the “cart before the horse.” She doesn’t realize that her beliefs such as, “I must be defective” are actually creating her reality, not the other way around. Have you ever done that? Here are some self-limiting beliefs that my client discovered in herself: • I always screw things up • I’m not good enough • I need to please people • I’m not worthy And the last one.... • I must be defective Here’s a question for you: Can you resonate with any of those beliefs? If so, are you aware that those beliefs are creating your reality and not the other way around? Getting back to my client, I told her the truth – she is not defective because her real estate business isn’t going the way she wants it to go. Rather, it’s the other way around: her beliefs that she is defec-

tive are interfering with creating a successful business. Here are some categories of selflimiting beliefs: 1. Beliefs about yourself. Do you look at your business and think, “I must not be good enough”? 2. Beliefs about money. Do you ever think, “There’s never enough money”? 3. Beliefs about success. Do you ever believe “to be successful I have to work long hard hours, struggle and sacrifice”? 4. Beliefs about picking up the phone. Do you ever tell yourself, “If I call people, I’m bothering them”? Whether you’re aware of it or not, those beliefs are creating your reality. So, most likely what’s showing up in your reality is a lack of money, working really hard and inability to pick up the phone. Should you put yourself down for this? Absolutely not. This is not your fault, this is your conditioning. You,

like most people, have hidden selflimiting beliefs that are creating your reality. Just remember this: Your beliefs create your reality. For example, if you believe there is never enough money, then you’ll experience never having enough money. So what should you do? 1. Refrain from judging yourself. 2. Do a self-inventory of your self-limiting beliefs. 3. Increase your awareness of these beliefs. 4. When you find yourself thinking something negative like, “Success means working long hard hours,” change it to a more positive belief – “I create success easily by working smarter, not harder.” 5. Learn to install updated, empowered beliefs, such as: • I am more than good enough. • Money comes to me easily and effortlessly. • I work smarter, not harder. • I have a valuable service to

offer and people are happy to hear from me. 6. Self-limiting beliefs are often in our “blind spot”, so get outside support to help you with the process of discovering and releasing all self-limiting beliefs. In conclusion, become mindful about your thoughts because your beliefs are creating your reality. If you want a successful reality, then install success beliefs. In other words, change your thinking, change your life and watch your business grow so that you can achieve a multiple sixfigure income easily and effortlessly. Dr. Maya Bailey, Multiple 6 Figure Income business coach for real estate professionals, integrates her 20 years of experience as a psychologist with 14 years of expertise in marketing. To get your free report, “7 Simple Strategies to More Clients in 90 Days” visit www.90daystomoreREM

REM JULY 2011 41

Watch those contracts LEGAL ISSUES

improvements that the municipality required to the premises. This was not set out or discussed in the agreement. The tenant did not sign the “formal” lease and quit the property. The court held that the tenant taking possession and paying rent did not lead to the parties entering a “binding contract”. ■ ■ ■

By Donald H. Lapowich he words used in contracts and amendments must always be carefully considered and prudently devised. The plaintiffs purchased a number of condo suites and under their purchase agreement, the completion date was estimated as Sept. 28, 2007, but the contract could be cancelled if “completion date” had not occurred by Mar. 31, 2008. The plaintiffs paid substantial deposits. In March 2007, the developer sent a document entitled Receipt and Acknowledgement. It purported to extend the estimated completion date to September 2008 and “outside” completion date to March 31, 2009. Notwithstanding the plaintiffs signing of the “receipt” document, they cancelled the contracts in October 2008. The court ordered the defendant to return the deposits. Nowhere in the contract was there the use of the term “outside” completion date and attempting to amend to that “worded description – March 31, 2009” was of no effect. September 2008 passed and the termination was valid in October 2008.


■ ■ ■

In another case, the landlord and tenant agreed in an Agreement for Lease to a tenancy term. However, in the “formal” lease, the landlord attempted to have the tenant pay for installations and/or

In a different case, a tenant leased the landlord’s premises and subleased the exterior wall to a subtenant, so the subtenant could place advertising on that wall. Unfortunately, the tenant under the head lease failed to pay rent and the landlord took steps to terminate the lease. The subtenant attempted to stop the landlord by arguing that it would breach a contractual relation between the tenant and subtenant if the head lease was terminated. The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the tenant’s wrongful

The court held that the tenant taking possession and paying rent did not lead to the parties entering a “binding contract”. conduct would incidentally thwart the subtenant. However, mere knowledge by a landlord of a subtenant’s involvement with its tenant and of the likely consequences of terminating the head lease did not result in a “tort action” against the landlord by the subtenant. Donald Lapowich, Q.C. is a partner at the law firm of Koskie, Minsky in Toronto, where he practices civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on real estate litigation and mediation, acting for builders, real REM estate agents and lawyers.

42 REM JULY 2011

Generating newsletter content

By Mark Brodsky


enerating interesting content month after month can be one of the most challenging things about maintaining a regular email campaign. Personalized content is what will keep people opening your emails – a generic newsletter that has your photo on it, but is a ‘cookie cutter’ newsletter being sent out by hundreds of other agents, will

get deleted and ignored. However, with a little thought and planning, you can have a unique newsletter. You’ll find that your readers will tell you what is of interest to them. Most larger email services provide you with a report showing you which articles people clicked on. You can use this information to plan future email campaigns and content to maximize the effectiveness. Market news may not be the sexiest information out there, but if you can take a moment to offer your perspective on the numbers, it’s more likely that people will read it. Your clients are looking for your take. You’ll also find that people will click through to the numbers if the link is high. In addition to the market news, there are two main areas

of content. Your featured listings – Statistics show that the listings in your email will get more hits than anything else in your newsletter. People will click through to see the full listing, so you only need to include one photo – but if you’re featuring more than one listing, vary the photos so they’re not all exterior shots. When you’re including the details, spell out the full words rather than using the abbreviations from the MLS. Articles of interest – One of the benefits of the cultural shift towards a sharing of media is that it’s considered a compliment to share information. You don’t have to create your own content. You




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other items of interest. Two or three good articles can go a long way towards creating an email newsletter that engages people and keeps them opening your emails. Mark Brodsky runs Mark Brodsky Digital Communications, a company that specializes in email marketing and social media. In addition to email newsletters and targeted campaigns, MBDC co-ordinates the setup for major social networking sites and ensures that they’re co-ordinated, so one piece of content gets shared many ways.; Email REM

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can find an article on any subject, and as long as you’re not including the full article (only a paragraph at most) and you’re attributing it to the source (including the web address), you can use these in your newsletter. When deciding on content, you can choose to focus on hard news, such as mortgage rates or the nuts and bolts of renovation or softer news such as decor. For example, if you clientele is comprised of a high number of condo owners, articles on investing, decorating small spaces or balcony gardens may be of interest. If you specialize in a particular neighbourhood or area, use articles on new businesses, events and

By Dan St. Yves


t dawned on me recently that I’ve been writing this column going on a dozen years and I’ve never once during that span acknowledged my French Canadian heritage nor given a shout-out to all the hard-working Quebec Realtors. Bonjour, mes amis! Sadly, despite repeated traditional attempts at learning the language, my high school French just never took. Upon more honest recollection, that could have been because I didn’t really pay much attention. I do remember that one morning in class we were each asked to announce what we had for breakfast that day, in French. I came up with what I thought was a brilliant, witty answer: “le Tang”. I must have conjugated 1,000 verbs as penance that evening in detention. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t get le strap. If there’s one thing that has managed to stick with me after all the years that have passed since I

was in school, it was that damned conjugating thing. Day after day, class after class, a monotone group of children repeating that “I are”, “We are”, “You are”, “She is”, “They may be”, “I’m a Pepper”, “You’re a Pepper” in French, over and over and over –while trying to determine whether a spoon or a tractor was masculine or feminine. Like I was going to ask either of those to the junior prom! On a side note, wouldn’t it be cool if there really was such a thing as literal French immersion? You could just dive down into a big tubful of the language, and then climb out, towel down and you’d be chatting away like Gerard Depardieu accepting a trophy at the French Academy Awards...trés bien! What makes this lack of proficiency in the French language even more embarrassing is that my heritage is French Canadian, going back at least as far as my Mom and Dad. They are both amazingly fluent. Of course they used that to our disadvantage as kids, conversing right out in the open, knowing full well that my sisters and I were entirely unable to understand a word of what they were saying. Even dogs can kind-of sense when people are saying things like “go for a walk” or “food”. How was I sup-

posed to know that “cherchez les fenetres” meant we were going cucumber picking, on a rattan toboggan? At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it meant. Stereotypical as it may be (but like most young males growing up) the only French words that stuck were the ones I can’t repeat in this column. That presumes that every word I picked up in the schoolyard really did mean what the older kids assured us they did. Come to think of it though, I never did get a reaction when I called someone a “Mercredi beaucoup”. I really do regret that I didn’t pay more attention and learn a practical second language, especially one that just happens to be one of our official Canadian languages. That way, the next time I get a new DVD recorder with only the French language instructions, I could actually install it properly and not have my garage door open every time I press play. 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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44 REM JULY 2011

GOURMET COOKING for real estate professionals

By Carolyne Lederer


hese heavy cream recipes are not for the faint of heart but because they are made at home and have no preservatives, at least you know what you are eating. A little goes a very long way. Keep refrigerated until serving. They are beautiful served in crystal goblets at a formal occasion or special served in a see-through plastic goblet outside on the patio after a wonderful barbecue. Sounds like a heavy dessert, but you will find these recipes light and they go down well after a big meal. Guests

Spectacular indoor-outdoor desserts will think you have put in a lot of effort to please their taste buds. Most people who entertain on a regular basis will find that keeping these ingredients on hand will enable them to become instant gourmets when unexpected guests appear. Or, after a busy day at work or on the road, these concoctions can be whipped up in a big hurry (pardon the pun), prior to making your family meal. They can rest in the fridge while you eat your dinner, indoors or out.

Banana Flambé with Chantilly Cream Bananas are an excellent source of nutrition. Include them regularly in your diet and in school lunches. Although the price for bananas keeps creeping up, if you watch the store specials, you will find them at respectable prices from time to time. For this recipe you need firm, solid but ripe bananas. Don’t use mushy ones. Nearly everyone has a favourite receipt for banana bread or can toss

together an age-old favourite, the banana split. This recipe has been a favourite around our house for years and years. Recently I saw a version of this recipe billed as coming from a swank New Orleans’ restaurant. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here I’d been thinking myself terribly clever all these years, making up this recipe in less than five minutes – for more than 40 years. Melt a quarter cup of sweet butter and stir in a 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Don’t let this stay on the fire too long, just until blended. Sauté three bananas, quartered, in the hot butter and brown sugar for about three minutes. Sprinkle a little cardamom over the bananas and flambé with two ounces of Southern Comfort. Serve over Chantilly cream in individual serving dishes. Hot sauce will cause the edges of the thick cream (almost like ice cream) to go a little soupy, but that’s what’s supposed to happen. Aren’t you drooling already? To make the Chantilly cream,

use two 10 oz. containers of heavy cream, whipped; two-thirds cup of white sugar; and a half-teaspoon of vanilla.

Crème Chantilly Ananas 2 – 10 oz containers of heavy (35%) cream 2/3 c fine white sugar (not confectioners) 1 t vanilla 1 – 19 oz-20 oz tin “crushed” pineapple, drained (ideally buy the one in sugar syrup although it is very hard to find now) Whip the two containers of heavy cream until quite stiff, but still fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, mixing on the slow speed of the mixer, so as only to incorporate the sugar and not turn the cream into butter. Stir in vanilla. Refrigerate in the coldest part of fridge (near the back usually) until serving time. When ready to serve, fold strained/drained pineapple into the mixture and transfer to a large crystal or glass serving bowl. (So that guests can see the cream).

Serve dessert at the table in open wide-surface champagne glasses at a formal meal, or outside at the patio in plastic serving dishes after a backyard barbecue. This dessert is fluffy and light and very impressive; having been chilled, it has the consistency of ice cream. Serve Crème Chantilly Ananas after a heavy meal, when you do not wish to serve an overpowering final course, as a pièce de résistance. If you like, top the bowl with candied pineapple as a garniture or use a few soft centred chocolates. Serves eight. Carolyne Lederer is broker of record at Carolyne Realty Corp. Proudly putting her name to her work for 29 years, she serves Burlington and Brampton, Ont. residential real estate clients. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid 1970s prior to going into real estate. She also has a cookbook in the works. Email Carolyne at if you have any questions. or REM

Toronto firm wins passive house competition

C The home cities of these AVENTURE members were reported incorrectly, below are the corrections.

Musquodoboit Harbour Nova Scotia

Halifax Nova Scotia

Kelowna British Columbia

Kitchener Ontario |

anadian firm Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building has taken the top prize in an international competition to design a passive house for New Orleans. Acclaimed as “an incredibly thoughtful and viable response to this challenge,” the Low Cost, Low Energy House was selected from 65 entries from around the world. The competition was launched by the ArchDaily website and DesignByMany, a challenge-based design technology community. “Winning this award is hugely exciting,” says Paul Dowsett, sustainable.TO principal. He says it confirms that “it is possible to design an affordable and sustainable house that is also attractive – no matter the climate – and validates our approach to design and construction.” The challenge was to design a passive house for hot and humid New Orleans focusing on key components of The Passive House Standard and the 2030 Challenge. Submissions came from Canada,

Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, cooling units with an ultra high-effiIndonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the ciency on-demand water heater and U.K. and the U.S. According to the supplemental radiant floor heating. Canadian Passive House Institute, The use of low-cost, durable and the Passive House Standard is “the long-lasting materials and proven world’s most ambitious and scientif- construction techniques assures ically verified route to truly sustainable buildings, achieving 80 to 90 per cent energy savings over conventional construction.” Originating in Germany and Sweden, now there are more than 25,000 single and multi-family passive houses worldwide. Low Cost, Low Energy House features an airtight, A rendering of the award-winning Low thermal-bridge free and Cost, Low Energy House. super-insulated envelope combined with passive shading in value to returning homeowners, the summer and solar heat gains in says the company. winter; concrete floor topping for In accordance with post-Katrina thermal mass to radiate the heat building codes, guidelines and best into the space as required; highly practices, the house is raised seven reflective galvalume wall and roof feet above grade, securing its safety cladding; a balanced energy recov- during flooding and providing shadery ventilation system and split- ed parking, storage and outdoor livREM zoned high-efficiency heating and ing spaces.

REM JULY 2011 45

Good Works C

heekily titled the Underwear Affair (run and walk), the B.C. Cancer Foundation invites people to have fun as they help to “uncover the cure” for below the waist cancers such as prostate, ovarian and colorectal. Chris Shields, a sales rep at Sutton - Premier Realty in Langley, plans to participate in the 10-km run on July 9. His goal is to raise $10,000 through pledges and various fundraising events including his educational Homebuyers’ Boot Camp. Admission fees to the Boot Camp are donated to the foundation and donations of $20 or more qualify attendees for a tax receipt. “I felt it was important to try to raise a significant amount for cancer research and treatment because so many people are affected by the disease and it is a way to honour someone I greatly respect,” he says. “John Armeneau was a Realtor in the Fraser Valley who died of colon cancer. He was an outstanding and highly regarded Realtor who did everything he could to help develop the profession. He was involved in different associations and worked to increase ethics in this business.” ■ ■ ■

Brian Albert of Sutton Group Results Realty in Regina is helping to organize a golf tournament to support the Regina Humane Society. The Cathy Lauritsen Memorial Golf Classic will be held July 4 at the Wascana Golf and Country Club. For sponsorship information, email Albert previously organized a golf tournament to support Habitat for Humanity. ■ ■ ■

YWCA Peterborough, Victoria & Haliburton is saying farewell to the former Crossroads Shelter at 550 Water St. For more than 25 years, this historic home was cen-

tral to the YWCA’s shelter services and provided a sanctuary to women and children in the community. Proceeds from the sale of the 2 1/2 storey home will be used to create a capital replacement reserve for the new Crossroads Shelter, which opened its doors earlier this year. Exit Realty Liftlock handled the sale and recently broker of record Mary Ellen McCamus presented a cheque for her commission back to the YWCA. She says, “YWCA Crossroads Shelter is a much needed facility and it would not be possible without the financial assistance from local businesses. I believe very strongly in this type of community involvement and making this donation is one way Exit Realty Liftlock can give back and say, ‘Thank You, Peterborough, for all you do.’” ■ ■ ■

Coast Realty Group in Campbell River, B.C. recently helped build a garden in its backyard for its next-door neighbour, Radiant Life Church. Roy Grant, a sales rep at Coast Realty and a city councillor, says the garden will be used for the church’s lunch program, which serves about 75 people every Saturday and Sunday. “They don’t get a lot of that stuff and they love fresh vegetables,” Radiant Life Pastor Art Van Holst told the Campbell River Mirror. “We loved that Coast Realty came to us with this proposal.” “No other company is doing this, we’re leading the way,” says Grant. ■ ■ ■

With 130 Royal LePage offices across Canada participating this year, the 3rd Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter set a new record by raising $420,000 in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. That was a 33 per cent increase over last year.

In Fredericton, steady rain throughout the day could not dampen the spirits of volunteers from Royal LePage Gardiner Realty, who were prepared like Boy Scouts thanks to the loan of eight sections of tent by the Canadian Forces. All proceeds from the $6,152 raised go to the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation in Fredericton. Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka in Ontario’s cottage country raked in $5,712 to benefit Muskoka Interval House, Chrysalis House and Esprit Place. Royal LePage Lifestyles Realty in Lacombe, Alta, raised $5,744 for beneficiary Lacombe Victim REM Services Association.

Chris Shields will take part in the Underwear Affair July 9. From left, Colleen Jeffrey (Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka), Tracy Snider (AMJ Campbell), Jane Furter (Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka), Trisha Farquhar (AMJ Campbell) and Sherry Rondeau (Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka) take part in the sale.

Michael and Sandie Couchie, who run Royal LePage Lifestyles Realty in Lacombe, Alta., sport some of the headgear at their garage sale.

From left, Rita Kean, Angela Squires and Jim Reid from Royal LePage Gardiner Realty.

Recently Prudential Fort McMurray Real Estate took part in the Adopt-a-Roadway/Trail Program, part of the Community Clean Up in Fort McMurray, Alta. Groups agree to do four litter pick-ups during the spring and summer along the roadway they have chosen. The office had its best turnout to date with 17 agents and staff out picking up litter along Millennium Drive. Lunch was provided by the brokerage to all of the participants after the clean up. Mary Ellen McCamus, left, and Lynn Zimmer, executive director of the Peterborough YMCA.

46 REM JULY 2011


wo international real estate organizations, The International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) and FIABCI, the International Real Estate

Federation, took a formal step towards a more collaborative alliance and possibility a unified organization with the signing of an alliance during the ICREA board meetings in Berlin recently. Newly

installed 2011-2012 FIABCI world president Alexander Romanenko signed on behalf of FIABCI; 2011 chair Alan Tennant of Edmonton signed on behalf of ICREA. During the past 18 months the two organizations have met periodically to discuss opportunities to co-operate in order to optimize the combined strength of the two groups and maximize the benefits for the professional real estate community throughout the world, say the associations in a statement. Both groups have approved direct membership affiliation in each other’s organization.

Immediate past ICREA chair Peter Bolton King has been appointed to represent ICREA on the FIABCI board. Romanenko now has a seat on the ICREA board. The statement says the foundation of co-operation between FIABCI and ICREA is a shared core vision of the need for a global leading organization that embraces all sectors of the property industry. “Recognizing the economic and political challenges facing industry professional groups, both organizations acknowledge the benefit of co-ordinated activities to achieve an economy of scale for their

The new REIC National Board of Directors. Back row from left: Ron Fraser, John Zabudney. Middle row: Léo Ziadé, Sherril Carlson, Ron Penner. Front row: Winson Chan, Suzanne Longley, Chrystal Skead. Lower insert: Don Myhre. Top insert: John Cox Alexander Romanenko (left) and Alan Tennant sign the agreement of co-operation between the two world real estate organizations.

Sheldon Zamick, chair of the WinnipegRealtors organizing committee, presents a cheque to Roberta Weiss, chair of the Manitoba Real Estate Shelter Foundation.

respective member associations and individual practitioner members,” says the statement. In a message sent to both groups’ member organizations, Romanenko and Tennant say that “while the future will be exciting and different, there is no reason for our existing organizations to lose our history or organizational cultures. Our members, leadership and staffs have much emotional and intellectual equity in both FIABCI and ICREA. Thus, every effort must be made to move forward with respect for our traditions.”

The Executive Committee of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s Central Zone present a cheque for $3,000 to Susan Steen, executive director of Central Okanagan Hospice Association (centre). Committee members from left: Barret Watson, Greg Dusik, Cathy Cherka, Nancy MacKellar, Mike Craddock, Brad Bredin, Deborah Moore, Jesse East, Sheryl Lobsinger, Kevin Philippot and Rhonda Rohatynchuk.

At the PKAR cheque presentation, from left: Deb Reid, executive director, Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough; Mike Heffernan, PKAR 2011 Community Involvement chair, Jo Stewart, PKAR executive secretary; Ken Barrick, PKAR 2010 Community Involvement chair, and Jeff Boulet, guest at Respite House.

The Kingston and Area Real Estate Association’s annual bowl-a-thon raised $4,221 for the Kingston Youth Shelter. Presenting the cheque to Youth Shelter Director Jason Beaubiah is KAREA president Steve Harrington and bowl-athon organizers Dianne Gearing and Jan Patterson.

REM JULY 2011 47

Both organizations are dedicated to promoting and facilitating international trade in property, to delivering services for cross-border transactions and referrals in a more efficient and effective matter, and to representing the real estate industry worldwide and setting standards for property processes internationally. ■ ■ ■

Suzanne LeValley will serve as the 2011-2012 Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) national president. LeValley, along with the other members of the 2011-2012 REIC National Board of Directors, was sworn in during the 56th Annual REIC General Meeting in Saskatoon. “REIC has always been lucky to have great leaders at the head of this organization and as national president I look forward to adding to that history and the legacy of the institute,” she says. LeValley, from Calgary, has been a member of REIC for 18 years. In 2001 she formed her own company, Longley Condominium Services, to serve a growing condominium market in Calgary and the surrounding areas. During her upcoming year as president, LeValley says she hopes to meet with as many REIC members and visit as many REIC chapters as she can. She also hopes to meet with an array of different companies to help promote the value of REIC education and designations. “I’m here to listen to the members’ concerns and to help promote our education,” she says.

Joining LeValley on the REIC National Board of Directors for the 2011-2012 year is immediate past-president Chrystal Skead, Edmonton, vice-president Léo Ziadé, Longueuil, Que.; secretary/treasurer Sherril Carlson, Saskatoon. Real Estate Sales & Leasing Council: Chair, Winson Chan, Toronto; first vice-chair, John Zabudney, Winnipeg. Real Estate Management Council: Chair, Ron Fraser, Toronto; first vice-chair, Ron Penner, Winnipeg. Real Estate Finance Council: Chair, Don Myhre, Edmonton; first vice-chair, John Cox, Calgary. ■ ■ ■

The New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA) Government Relations Committee was recently presented with a gold award for excellence in external communications (government relations) by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) for its property tax election strategy and campaign. NBREA’s partner on the project was MT&L Public Relations. The award was for NBREA’s property tax election strategy and campaign entitled Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About. The campaign was designed to ensure property taxes became a primary election issue during the 2010 New Brunswick provincial election. ■ ■ ■

The Toronto Real Estate Board

will play host to the Ontario Realtors Care Foundation’s annual Motorcycle Ride for Charity July 13 to 15 as it sets out to reach a key milestone this year. This summer’s ride marks the culmination of a long-term goal to reach every real estate board in Ontario in order to raise funds and awareness of the foundation’s charitable endeavours. During the past three years the ride has taken participants to 33 of the 42 real estate boards throughout the province. This year’s event will make stops at the remaining nine Ontario boards. A three-day journey, the 2011 Motorcycle Ride for Charity will travel throughout Central and Eastern regions of Ontario. The ride kicks off at TREB with stops at the Durham Region Association of Realtors, the Northumberland Hills Association of Realtors, and the Kawartha Lakes Real Estate Association before wrapping up the day’s travels at the Peterborough and Kawarthas Association of Realtors. On day two, participants will make stops at the Bancroft, Quinte and Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Boards, remaining in Brockville overnight. The third leg of the trip will include a visit to the Cornwall and District Real Estate Board before reaching the final destination, the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Media and local politicians are expected to be on hand to greet Realtors at their various stops, where additional participants will

also join the ride. Last year’s ride raised more than $40,000, bringing the total raised since its inception to more than $170,000. The cost to register and participate in the ride is $25. Those who don’t ride can show their support by sponsoring a rider. Registrations and pledges can be made at 011_ride_home ■ ■ ■

The members of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s Central Zone have raised $6,000 to benefit the local hospice and women’s shelter. The Central Zone Committee recently donated $3,000 each to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association and to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. The donations are the result of fundraising efforts during the 2010 Golf Tournament, Annual General Meeting and Christmas Luncheon. The monies for the hospice association will go towards the training of additional volunteers as the request for hospice services and the need for practical and emotional support for the terminally ill and their families increase. Bedside vigil, respite for caregivers and patient advocacy are important components that require skilled volunteers. The shelter plans on using the funds for a variety of programs and services offered. During 2010, the shelter served 242 women and 155 children for a total of 397 who stayed for 4,210 overnights.

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The shelter handled 1,670 crisis support calls, and offered 554 group counselling sessions and 500 individual counselling sessions last year. ■ ■ ■

The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors recently presented $11,000 to The Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough. The money will be used to make adaptations to Respite House, which currently can accommodate only one child at a time because of accessibility issues. Respite House is a place for children who have special needs and adults with intellectual challenges to stay when their families need a break. PKAR members raised the funds at the Annual Silent Auction, Charity Golf Tournament and some smaller fundraisers throughout the year. ■ ■ ■

The WinnipegRealtors second annual Gimme Shelter fundraiser raised over $50,000 in support of the Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation. Roberta Weiss, chair of the MREA Shelter Foundation, says, “Gimme Shelter provided a wonderful opportunity for Realtors to socialize, be entertained by other Realtors and associates and to contribute generously to the Shelter Foundation. All monies raised stay in Manitoba and are used to support shelter-related charities and improve the quality of life for Manitobans.” REM

48 REM JULY 2011


By Stan Albert


he bridges to success are often fraught with twists and turns that sometimes impede our progress. But steadfast innovation and a passion to cross those bridges will result in a continuous series of successes.” – Stan Albert So, as I write my 75th column for REM, I turn 75 this month. Mark Twain once said, “Age is just a matter of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Stan’s advice on his 75th birthday What have l learned in the past 40 plus years in this business? Everything in our industry has changed 360 degrees several times over. Paper listings and MLS books have all gone into cyberspace. We are now living in a high-tech paperless world and it’s more and more streamlined every year – actually, even every six months. From Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we can stream our listings and other vital information to our colleagues and to the consumer across the globe. Years ago, when I started writing for REM, I predicted that those who didn’t get into technology would be left behind, wondering what happened to their business model of using mailers and other like marketing materials to source out new clients to add to their data base. Is that business model dead?

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The Accredited Senior Agent Designation It is NOT just an education seminar, it is an ongoing, active program dedicated to bringing education to the members, promotion, media attention and best of all, teaching them how to make money in the most rising market, the senior’s demographic. To find out more, to see if you qualify, about the course and the location of our upcoming courses contact us. And yes, our core material is approved for 11 continuing education credits in Ontario for 2 days 416-784-9806 Toll Free 1-855-TALKASA (825-5272) Fax Toll Free 1-888-594-6040 Check out our listing presentation at

Not really. I believe that a progressive agent will do a composite of the use of the technology available to him and still use mail-out material. And yes, there are agents who will actually go out and door knock an area to develop additional client bases. Are the challenges we now face more difficult than what we had in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s? They sure as heck are. We as an industry have survived three recessions in my lifetime and still have a vibrant and burgeoning profession that many are still clamouring to enter. The last figures I heard, in Ontario at least, was that about 30,000 per year are entering the industry and approximately 2,500 or so register with the Toronto Real Estate Board! How many actually practice real estate is a sore point with some of us, but that’s another column in a future issue. Recently at our monthly sales meeting we had Pam Alexander, CEO of Re/Max Ontario /Atlantic Canada, address over 150 of our agents about the Competition Bureau suing TREB in order for the public to fully access the history of all the listings on the MLS. Her address was simple and to the point. “We’ve been through a lot of difficult times and we’ve survived so many challenges,” she said. “If we keep sharpening our skills and providing great service as we have in the past, we will do more than survive after the current pending litigation is over.” When I started out, we had to face interest rates of six per cent. In the late ’70s and early ’80s we experienced 18 to 24 per cent interest rates, with “vendor take backs.” Did we fold our tents and leave the business? Some did, but those who stayed on lived through it and some of us are still around to tell the tale. In any industry change is inevitable, so get used to it. Learn to compete in these challenging times. Charge more for your services and not less, because you have the talent and

the resources to give consumers the benefits of your years of training. Show your skills off with your track record of sales. For those who are newer to our business, show what your brokerage has done in the past year. Many of us realize that this is a relationship business and that in order to maintain a steady income; we have to nurture those relationships. Write a note to your client and mail it (provided Canada Post is not on strike) or email or better still, drop by your contacts’ homes with a small token of your appreciation for their past business or their constant stream of referrals. Speaking of relationships, don’t ignore the wonderful efforts and team work that your support team gives you. Catch them doing a great job and tell them that you appreciate the awesome tasks that they do daily. By using these simple ideas, you will protect your clientbased referrals and assure yourself of a great future. I realize this article may seem somewhat rambling at times, but

here’s my point: Behave like a business person and not just a commission-based salesperson. Over the years, many of you have emailed me your comments about my columns and I truly appreciate your kind words. Many of us older statesmen in the business would like to hear from you about the current issues with the Competition Bureau. This is not just TREB’S fight – it impacts every agent in Canada. The outcome is probably inevitable. The bureau will win in the end, but perhaps not without a fight. Be in touch with your MP and tell them that you’re dissatisfied, tell them that you work hard for your fees and that when the bureau has its way, it will decimate the functionality of the boards across Canada. Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at Stan is now celebrating 40 years as an active real estate professional. REM

Incorporating digital Continued from page 22

issues that will help your firm develop a long-term competitive advantage. The next step is to develop detailed action plans. Create a worksheet for each strategic objective listing the strategic thrust (categories of initiatives that may require around 12 months to achieve) and associated actions that will achieve the strategic thrust and contribute to the objective. Each action must identify who will carry it out, what the specific action is, how the action will get done, when the action will occur, and how much it will cost to undertake. You may have several strategic thrusts to achieve any one strategic objective, and most likely many action plans associated with each thrust. The final step is to execute smartly using appropriate digital tools. This is really where integration of traditional business strategy and digital strategy shines. Digital tools, when deployed effectively, can save your firm money and improve client service. George O’Neill is CEO and broker of record at O’Neill Real Estate Limited, a boutique full-service digital brokerage based in The Beach, Toronto. He is also the founder of remarkto, the largest Ontario marketing discussion group for real estate with meetings every two months to share information freely. See and for additional information. Email REM; Phone 416-946-1300.

REM JULY 2011 49

Security tips to keep your information safe By Leyland Brown


here is no time like the present to get a data security strategy in place to protect your valuable business information. After all, hackers and viruses won’t wait. Consider how valuable data is to your business: where would you be without your client information, listings, market statistics and comparables? Yet your PC and everything on it could be under attack – and you might not know it until it’s too late. We’re all facing more complex challenges than ever when it comes to computer security, particularly in light of ever-evolving computer viruses and persistent hackers. In some cases, we’re even becoming more lax. A recent Angus Reid study of Canadian small and medium-sized business owners, including real estate agents, revealed that more than 70 per cent say it’s okay for employees to use business laptops or netbooks for non-work related activities, such as personal email and social

networking. This translates into a big risk because it means important business resources and data are being potentially exposed to online threats. No company, large or small, can afford a security breach or significant loss of data. The repercussions are staggering: loss of revenue, customer confidence, productivity and reputation can bring business to a grinding halt. It’s frightening and even a bit overwhelming. But, even if you aren’t IT-savvy, there are steps you can take to address existing security threats and stay on top of new ones to protect your valuable assets from becoming compromised. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 1. Find out where you are vulnerable. For this, you will likely need an IT expert who can identify your exposure to today’s IT security risks, tell you how your current IT security measures compare to industry standards and help you develop a plan to safeguard your data. Don’t underestimate the

importance of this step. You might be surprised to find out just how many holes there are in your PC or network. 2. Back up your data. With the countless hours that go into building your business reputation as a Realtor, it is critical to protect your investment by backing up your data, both on a remote hard drive and online. Be vigilant about using secure connections, anti-spy software and data backup as part of your business routine. 3. Keep your notebook secure. Real estate is a mobile business and that often goes hand-in-hand with mobile technology. But having your notebook fall into the wrong hands is not an option. When you are shopping for a notebook, look for one with security built-in at all entry points – even your USB ports and your screen should be protected. 4. Invest in a commercial PC. Unlike those that are intended for consumer use, commercial PCs are designed with the rigorous

demands of a business environment in mind. They feature professional operating systems and more advanced tools to protect valuable data against theft and loss. 5. Consider biometrics. You may have heard of technology that can allow you to log on to Windows using your fingerprint instead of a password, but did you know that you can even log into your laptop and favourite websites using just your face as your password? All you have to do is sit in front of the computer so the webcam can capture your image. 6. Protect your desktops and workstations, too. They are a substantial investment and you want to make sure you have security in place to keep them safe. There are many ways to do this. Some options include a solenoid hood lock that eliminates the need for a physical key by making the chassis lockable through a password or remotely over the network; a rear port controller that clips into the back of a computer to secure input

devices and prevent the removal or addition of cables; or an integrated work centre that not only saves space by integrating the monitor and the PC, but also works with a standard Kensington lock to secure both the monitor and PC at once. 7. Don’t forget about end-oflife disposal. Deleted files aren’t actually wiped clean from your system’s hard drive. The system removes the markers that identify the data and the space on the drive is available to the system for storage again, but the actual data still remains. So when you are ready to redeploy a computer or dispose of it, you need to be sure that the data is properly erased. Leyland Brown is responsible for all aspects of HP Canada’s client computing business, including sales, marketing, operations, supply chain and total customer experience for the Personal Systems Group. For more information, visit or call HP Canada’s SMB Call Centre at 1-866-352-1086. REM

50 REM JULY 2011


By Heino Molls


his July 1 many of us will celebrate Canada Day by watching Peter Mansbridge on the CBC in Ottawa with great pride. Many of us will also be watching the rest of the world with hope and in many cases fear. Most of us have concerns about trouble spots of social unrest in the world in Africa, Asia and the areas within the so-called Arab Spring. What can be done for world problems? Here is what I think from my REM point of view. It occurs to me that all the trouble spots in the world have one thing in common – a lack of property ownership. The only thing that is consistently missing is the right to own, buy and sell real estate. It seems to me if that one simple thing was changed, we would have peace and no trouble spots anywhere. If anyone thinks that sounds too goofy or off the wall, okay. Go ahead and tell me the right answer. I think we are all tired of hearing that the solution isn’t simple. I have lost all patience for experts who pontificate that the problems in the world are more complex

Use different ads Continued from page 24

motive of living in the property in years to come). Another example of a property where first-home buyers or investors are equally feasible markets: some headlines could be as simple as: (Could this be) your first home? Or Secure your future with this great investment. Most sales reps never think about the idea of running two dif-

Real estate is the foundation of freedom than we are able to understand. It all comes down to the simple aspiration to have a family home. Just the chance of property ownership. That’s the key to it. No one should be denied the opportunity to buy a home. Everyone must have a fair chance to own property. All we need are rules to keep things fair. To have fair rules means the creation of fair common law. Good common laws mean jobs for judges, lawyers, elected officials, managers and even tax collectors. A fair economy decides democratically who the leaders will be for a limited time through fair elections. All of this means freedom and the foundation of it all is home ownership. Here in Canada, while we may be ahead of these other folks, we by no means have a completely fair situation. We may have economy and we may have aspiration here but we must remain vigilant to keep moving forward. We still have people who cheat and steal. We still have corruption. We still have situations that are not fair. Here in Canada we talk of honour for First Nations but our clash of cultures does not seem to permit property ownership on the vast majority of First Nations reserves. That is hard for me to understand as I believe so profoundly that home ownership is the foundation of freedom. I don’t deny that I have ferent campaigns for the same property, so the minute you do it for any of your properties, your ad campaigns will be different, they will stand out and they will achieve way more results. All too often, I see sales reps with totally different ads in different media. They don’t even look like each other. In this case, it means that each ad must start from scratch with the readers rather than having an accumulative effect to get the best results. Once you understand how campaign advertising taps into your prospects’ conscious and sub-

a great deal to learn about that. My children have First Nation heritage in their ethnic makeup and I want to share the wisdom of this culture with them. But I do not understand why property ownership is not permitted on reserves. Here in Canada we encourage property ownership, the more the better, but we have to watch out that the ownership of property, especially commercial property, is not in the hands of just a few wealthy people and corporations instead of ordinary working stiffs. I worry sometimes that we are moving toward that, especially in the areas of media. I worry about a handful of companies having control over all communication properties such as Internet and cell phones. I worry about one company owning all the sports properties in one city. I fear that will happen very shortly in Toronto for example. Real estate is the foundation of freedom but it must be treasured and protected. Complacency is the foundation of losing freedom. I urge everyone to celebrate our freedom on July 1 but let’s not forget that we still have work ahead of us. The only way forward is to work together. Peacefully. Heino Molls is the publisher of REM. Email REM conscious minds, to give your properties “top of mind awareness”, you will see how obvious and simple it is – and how amazingly powerful! Known internationally as “Mr. Real Estate Advertising”, Australian born Ian Grace is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on real estate advertising. Since 1994, he has delivered his programs throughout Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. His articles about real estate advertising have been published around the world. REM

Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, visit To add a listing to this calendar, email Agent Reboot Wednesday, Aug. 3 The Toronto Congress Centre Toronto ent-Reboot-2011-Toronto/ Realtors Association of Edmonton Suites and Homes Trade Show Tuesday, Sept. 20 Mayfield Inn Suites and Trade Centre Edmonton Century 21 Canadian Conference 2011 Sept. 23 – 25 Shaw Conference Centre Edmonton Garlice Mak 2011 Sutton National Conference Sept. 26 – 28 The Mirage Resort and Casino Las Vegas Niagara Association of Realtors Harvesting Your Business Trade Show Thursday, Oct. 13 Niagara Falls, Ont. Crystal Henderson 905-684-9459 27th Re/Max Canadian Conference Hosted by Re/Max of Western Canada Oct. 13 - 15 Quebec City Conference Centre Quebec City Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board Technology & Trade Show Wednesday, Oct. 19 Blue Mountain Conference Centre Collingwood, Ont.

CREA MTC Technology Forum Monday, Oct. 24 Hilton Toronto Toronto Anik Aube - Ottawa Real Estate Board Annual Tradeshow Thursday, Oct. 27 Ottawa Wilda Brown The Professional Home and Property Inspectors of Canada Inspection Connection 2011 Oct. 28 - 30 Four Points by Sheraton Kingston, Ont. Realtors Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound Trade Show Wednesday, Nov. 2 Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre Owen Sound Marilyn Newbigging – NAR Realtors Conference and Expo Nov. 11 – 14 Anaheim, Calif. Mississauga Real Estate Board 2011 Annual Election Meeting and Trade Show Wednesday, Nov. 23 Mississauga Convention Centre Mississauga, Ont. Gay Napper – 905-608-6732

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

The results speak for themselves.



33% 30%


CREA vs. KW Canada | 2010 Agent Growth

27% 24% 21%


18% 15% 12% 9% 6% 3% 0%



Source: Canadian Real Estate Association 2010

Keller Williams Realty is outpacing the market. Find out why. | | 855.637.8340

GEN_SHOPPER_REM_WINNER_Layout 1 11-06-08 6:19 PM Page 1

Shopping for a home can be this easy‌ Genworth Financial Canada understands the importance of providing your clients with the information they need to make smart homeownership choices. Our promise is to help them with homebuying basics such as down payment options, maintaining good credit and staying on budget. Encourage your clients to find us on Facebook. Visit

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July issue of REM.