Real Estate Marketing
Te c h n o l o g y
Dogs and deals What dogsledding can teach us about the real estate business Page 14
Competition Bureau moves to strike down CREA rules Page 3
Tales from the Torchbearers Page 12
Neighbours and secondary suites Page 42
REM MARCH 2010 3
MLS rules go before Competition Tribunal CREA’s proposed changes not enough as Competition Bureau files to challenge MLS rules.
he Competition Bureau’s decision to take CREA before the Competition Tribunal to determine the future of MLS access may not have been welcomed by CREA’s leadership team, but a vocal segment of the association’s membership fully supports the idea of having CREA getting its day in court before the quasi-judicial body. A number of comments posted on REM’s online Forum leading up to the Competition Bureau’s announcement on February 8 that it was ceasing negotiations and seeking a formal tribunal hearing are highly critical of any negotiations regarding access to CREA’s trademarked MLS system. “I cannot believe anybody or any organization would agree to entertain negotiations over the MLS system, which as so many of the Realtors have expressed, we support (and) pay for...This is our MLS system and it is not for sale!” one Realtor posted. Another wrote, “My main concern with negotiating with the bureau is that it appears that we are admitting to doing something wrong…If we in the industry (have) done harm to the public or individuals, then we should be accountable to them in a court of law…Take me to court any day.”
CREA had been in negotiations with the Competition Bureau since last October, when the bureau announced, based on the findings of its three-year investigation into CREA’s access rules regarding its trademarked MLS system, that it wanted key sections of those access rules removed. The crux of the bureau’s contentions against CREA are essentially the same as it expressed last October – that through CREA’s control of the MLS system and the limits it places on MLS information that is shared with consumers via CREA’s public Realtor.ca website, CREA is restricting competition in the residential real estate market and limiting consumer choice. In the Notice of Application filed with the Competition Tribunal, Melanie Aitken – the Commissioner of Competition – alleges that the restrictions CREA places on MLS access “impose minimum service requirements” on brokers and salespeople “which lessen or prevent competition substantially.” As a consequence, Aitken claims that consumer choice is being restricted as well, “...leaving consumers with only one option if they want to sell their home
using the MLS system – they must hire a real estate broker (salesperson) who will and must, because of the MLS restrictions, provide a bundle of services that includes services the consumer may not want to receive or pay for.” In its tribunal filing, the bureau singles out four key conditions contained in CREA’s existing MLS rules: CREA’s “Agency” rule and MLS Interpretations 1, 3 and 6. CREA, in its defence, says it had already notified the bureau that it was in the process of redrafting its MLS rules for presentation to its March AGM, to try to address the bureau’s concerns. Those drafted changes include a significant revision to the “Agency” provision, as well as complete deletions of two of the three Interpretations that the bureau has cited in its filing with the tribunal. In a dispatch to CREA members issued the same day as the bureau filed notice with the tribunal, CREA president Dale Ripplinger laid out a draft of the proposed revisions to the Interpretations, which will be introduced at CREA’s March AGM. Key among CREA’s MLS access revisions: the removal of Interpretation 1 – “The listing
Realtor shall receive and present all offers and counter offers to the seller” – and Interpretation 3 – “The ‘mere posting’ of property information in an MLS system is contrary to CREA’s Rules. A ‘mere posting’ occurs when the listing agreement relieves the listing member of any obligations under the Rules, including the obligation that the listing Realtor remain the agent of the seller throughout the term of the listing contract.” If CREA’s draft proposals are approved at the March AGM, only one of the three Interpretations specifically targeted by the bureau will remain in effect. That one – Interpretation 6 – is where CREA appears to be digging in, although its draft revisions do include rewording for clarification. In essence, Interpretation 6 states that only the listing Realtor’s name and contact information may appear on CREA’s public website, Realtor.ca; contact information about the seller cannot be included. Interpretation 6 is the same provision that CREA said last October it was still unclear about in terms of potential impacts from the changes being proposed by the Competition Bureau. “Removing Interpretation 6
By Kathy Bevan
would mean that buyers’ agents would be able to get sellers’ contact information directly from an MLS listing(s) instead of having to contact the listing agent,” Ripplinger wrote to members at that time, adding, “We are still exploring the full effect of deleting this Interpretation.” Up until the bureau ceased negotiations, Ripplinger was hopeful that CREA and the bureau would be able to reach an agreement. Just the week before the bureau announced it was taking its case to the tribunal, Ripplinger told REM that “both sides have worked incredibly hard to reach a solution” and “fortunately, we are not all that far from an agreement”, although he did mention that “there are still a couple of issues of significance.” He also added a cautionary note: “To use an analogy that Realtors will understand, we’ve all seen a house sale fall apart over appliances.” Much like a failed real estate transaction, there is no guarantee that the ultimate resolution of this dispute will completely satisfy either side. No date has yet been set for the Competition Tribunal hearing, when both CREA and the bureau will get to formally present their arguments. REM
$100,000 reward offered in Lindsay Buziak murder By Jean Sorensen he Greater Victoria Real Estate Board and CREA have joined with the Buziak family to post a $100,000 reward for information that would solve the brutal murder of 24-yearold Lindsay Buziak, a Re/Max Camosun sales rep. The reward, open for six months, is keeping public focus on the two-year-old murder. Saanich police held a news conference on the 2010 anniversary to release new details in the investigation. Police are looking for information relating to a middle-aged couple seen at the home as well as information on the name Paulo Rodriguez, the user name of the cell phone that called Buziak to her death. “Lindsay was intentionally targeted, she was intentionally lured to the home and she was intentionally killed,” say police in a news release. The Buziak murder may be fea-
tured in the U.S. – as a producer from NBC’s Dateline attended the news conference and has been in a dialogue with the Vancouver Island police department. Police say they have been following leads in Vancouver, Calgary and Washington State. Saanich Police say that Buziak was lured to a high-end property in the 1700 block of De Sousa Place in Saanich on Feb. 2, 2008 by a woman with a foreign accent who wanted to view the home at 5:30 p.m. She said she planned to make a home purchase that day. Buziak was not the listing agent for the house but agreed to a showing. Shortly after, a man called to say he would meet Buziak alone. Buziak was nervous about the viewing and asked boyfriend Jason Zailo to check on her later. Zailo called Buziak before arriving at the home at 6:15 pm but she didn’t
answer and he called police. At the home, he found the door locked but saw Buziak’s shoes inside. Zailo and a friend were able to enter via a back door and Zailo found Buziak’s bloodied body in the upstairs bedroom. She had died of multiple stab wounds. Sgt. Julie Fast, public relations officer for the Saanich Police, says Buziak’s homicide is not being looked at as a random targeting of a real estate agent. (In the past, there have been opportunity crimes that impacted on agents, such as robbery and assault). “We are looking for information, things that might have happened before and after,” she says, adding police believe there are individuals who have intimate knowledge of this murder. The information may also relate to Buziak’s personal, social or professional life. Buziak did not have a high-risk lifestyle, however, police say.
“We don’t know why she was murdered,” Fast says, adding that whoever plotted the murder used the fact she was an agent to lure her to the house. “That’s how it was set up.” Investigators now know that the cell phone used to call Buziak was purchased in Vancouver in late November 2007. The phone was activated late January 2008 in Vancouver under a user name of Paulo Rodriguez with a Vancouver address. Police have since determined that while the address exists, it is not connected with the crime. Police also believe the Paulo Rodriguez name is an alias. Fast says police are interested in hearing from anyone who may also have encountered that name. The phone was deactivated after the murder. Police continue to seek information on the couple. The woman is
described as blonde, Caucasian, 3540 years of age, and wearing a white, black and red/pink dress in large stripes or colour-block pattern. The man is described as Caucasian, approximately six feet in height, medium build, dark (possibly brown) hair, wearing a light to medium brown jacket and well dressed. A video of the press conference is available at the Saanich police department’s website. A spokesperson for the Greater Victoria Real Estate Board said a decision was made to match the $25,000 put up by the CREA. “She was a member of our board and we are distressed about what happened. This is our contribution to help in that regard,” he says. Anyone with information should contact the Saanich Police at (250) 475-4356 or Greater Victoria Crimestoppers at 1-800222-8477. REM
4 REM MARCH 2010
Multiple Listings By Jim Adair
Do you have news to share with Canada’s real estate community? Let REM know about it! Email: email@example.com
entury21.ca has added Chinese language support for sales representatives and brokers in the Century 21 System. “Cantonese and Mandarin are commonly spoken languages in Canada’s metropolitan centres such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal,” says Century 21 Canada President Don Lawby. “We now offer a unique advantage to franchises and sales representatives whose clients predominantly speak these Chinese languages.” Century21.ca already serves Canadians in the country’s two
official languages – English and French – and the addition of Chinese makes it the first trilingual, nationally branded real estate website in Canada, the company says. Brian Rushton, Century 21 Canada senior vice-president says, “We’re helping franchise owners and their sales teams reach an increasingly diverse Canadian housing market with a leading edge, echo-syndicated web platform at no additional cost to our brokers.” Steve Chow, broker of Century 21 King’s Quay Real Estate in Markham, Ont., assisted
by reviewing the Chinese translation of the web platform. Chow was a 2009 director of the Chinese Real Estate Professionals Society of Ontario.
■ ■ ■
Steve Peroff and his real estate team have joined Keller Williams Realty Centres in Newmarket, Ont. Formerly associated with Re/Max, Peroff has a 21-year track record of high-level performance and community service. He was ranked in the top 100 sales reps for Re/Max Canada for 11 consecuContinued on page 6
Century21.ca now offers Chinese language web pages.
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6 REM MARCH 2010
Multiple Listings Continued from page 4
tive years, and consistently ranked in the top 50 for unit sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board, which currently has approximately 29,596 members. Marvin Alexander, operating principal of Keller Williams Realty Centres says, “Not only is Steve one of the top Realtors in Canada, he also is a perfect fit for the culture and values of our company. Steve has a long-standing reputation for honesty and integrity within our real estate community and those merits are equally as impressive as his sales production.” Colleen Peroff, Kent Atkins, Pat Henderson, Janet Wasson and Lory Rumley are the other members of the team that will join Peroff at Keller Williams Realty Centres. The brokerage has also welcomed Darlene Martyn as team leader. Martyn brings over 20 years of human resources experience to the position, coupled with a solid managerial background, strong coaching skills and diverse business acumen, says the company. ■ ■ ■
Darryl and Christine Mitchell have joined Re/Max Professionals in Toronto and Mississauga. Darryl is now the broker/manager for Kingsway and East Mall Branches in Toronto. A Realtor for more than 15 years, he has more than 30 years of business management experience. He was previously with Royal LePage, managing offices in Oakville and Etobicoke, and most recently was Central Toronto Area manager. In 2007, he was chosen as Philanthropist of the Year for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Prior to his work in the GTA, Darryl and his wife Christine Mitchell owned their own franchised office for Royal LePage in Chatham, Ont. Their Chatham business grew organically and by
Cover photo: DAVE PARTEE
merger to become the market leader with more than 50 per cent market share. Christine is now managing the Dundas branch of Re/Max Professionals in Mississauga. Formerly the owner of a Better Homes & Gardens brokerage, most recently she was with TD Canada Trust as an area sales manager with the Mobile Mortgage Specialists. Her role involved nurturing Realtor and bank relationships. She also provided sales coaching and training to a team of mortgage specialists in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Mississauga. Christine replaces long-time Dundas manager Derek Levitt, who is spearheading a new coaching and mentoring program at the brokerage. “I will be less involved in the day-to-day management in favour of focusing on what I enjoy the most; coaching salespeople to reach their potential, set goals and help them plot their journey to reach them,” says Levitt. ■ ■ ■
Royal LePage Westwin Realty has expanded operations into the town of Barriere, B.C. The brokerage is owned and operated by Mike Mitchell and Kevin and Lyn Gannon. Its team of 65 sales professionals have been servicing Kamloops and surrounding areas since 1992. Barriere is the “Gateway to the North Thompson,” and is located just off the Yellowhead Highway 5 east of the Thompson River, north of Kamloops. ■ ■ ■
Sales rep Shayne Hanna has formed a partnership with Paul Curzon and moved to Re/Max Twin City Realty, which has several offices in the Kitchener/ Waterloo, Ont. area. Hanna, formerly with a Sutton Group office, says he and Curzon have 28 years of real estate experience combined. “I will be contin-
uing to service the Oxford County area. Paul will continue to service the Kitchener/Waterloo and Cambridge Tri-City area. Our partnership will cover all points in between. My joining Re/Max Twin City Realty will help to further enhance the exposure of Woodstock and Oxford County and what our region has to offer,” says Hanna. ■ ■ ■
The Aventure Realty Network of independent real estate brokerages has welcomed several new members in recent weeks, including: • Aztec Real Estate Inc. of Strathmore, Alta., led by broker/owner Rob Desjardins, with a team of 15 sales reps and brokers that are active in all facets of real estate, providing residential, commercial and rural service to Strathmore and surrounding areas. • Jack Broadfoot, broker/ owner of DynaTeam Realty of Edmonton, with his team of 22 sales reps. • Stan Mills, two-time president and a current director of the Lethbridge Real Estate Board and broker/owner of Sun City Realty with his staff of 20 sales reps. • Larry Matthews, broker/ owner of Hants Realty, who operates from three locations in Elmsdale, Shubenacadie and Stewiake, N.S., serving Halifax and Hants Counties. Matthews has more than 30 years in business. • Discover Real Estate, one of the largest independent brokerages in Alberta with over 300 sales reps and brokers. The company, operated by broker/owner Graham Mayne, grew from its origins in 1995 to the prominent position it enjoys today, says Aventure. • Atlas Realty in Medicine Hat, Alta., a full-service brokerage run by Neil Kelly. • Professional Realty Group of Edmonton, with broker/owner Russ Robideau, who has built one
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of the area’s largest independent brokerages with additional locations in Leduc and Morinville. • Another large Alberta independent, All Banners Realty of Sherwood Park, led by broker/ owner Danelle Bolinski with a staff of more than 120 sales reps. • Pemberton Holmes, under the leadership of Mike Holmes, is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected brokerages, says Aventure. The organization has been in business since 1887. Operating with more than 280 sales reps from its head office in Victoria, it expands its reach with branches in Duncan, Sooke and on Pender and Saltspring Islands. “With the addition of these new members across Canada, the
Aventure Realty Network adds a whole new dimension to the Canadian real estate industry,” says company president Bernie Vogt. “The bringing together of a group of strong and successful independently branded companies, who share a common vision of business practice and the ability to expand their reach, will widen the choices available in real estate. Aventure also announced that Steve Groner is working with it in the area of business development across Canada. “Steve’s great experience in dealing with the brokerage community has already made a significant impact on the organization and will add even more in the future,” says Vogt. REM
U.S. housing ‘a new normal’ “new normal” will prevail when the housing market recovers, according to a report released by the Urban Land Institute. “As the economy recovers, markets will stabilize but the old ‘normal’ will not return. Once nascent trends will emerge as major drivers, creating new markets in new places. Those who fail to understand these new trends will miss opportunities or find themselves building what is no longer in demand,” says John K. McIlwain, a senior resident fellow at the institute, in his new research paper, Housing in America: The Next Decade. McIlwain predicts that, even if unemployment begins to decline, home prices in the U.S. will fall an additional 10 per cent this year before stabilizing, foreclosures will rise, and more homeowners will walk away from “underwater” mortgages – owing more than the house is worth. Consumers will begin to severely question the idea of homeownership as part of the American Dream, as more than 15 per cent of households with mortgages are forced out of their homes, impacting 12 million to 15 million people, he says. “The emotional impact on the children and parents and disillusion about the ‘joys’ of homeownership will be intense; new attitudes to homeownership and the American Dream will emerge,” McIlwain wrote. The paper predicts 40 per cent of mortgages will be underwater this year, putting even homes with prime mortgages at risk. If even one in five homeowners elects to walk away from their home, the number of mortgage defaults will be double those in 2009, the report says. Underwater homes also affect other markets, impeding relocation to a new job, for example, or forcing families and seniors who might otherwise move to stay in their old home. In the next decade, the report predicts that annual home appreciation will slow significantly, between one and two per cent. At the housing boom’s peak, the homeownership rate was 69 per cent. Today, that number is 67 per cent and is expected to fall to about 62 per cent at the end of the decade. – Inman News REM
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8 REM MARCH 2010
Sales rep to compete at Olympics L
yndon Rush, a commercial sales rep with Royal LePage in Red Deer, Alta., has earned a highly coveted spot on the four-man and two-man Canadian Olympic 2010 bobsleigh teams competing at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Rush, along with Lascelles Brown will compete in the two-man bobsleigh and will be joined by Chris LeBihan and David Bissett to compete in the four-man bobsleigh. Rush’s father Jerry Rush is also with Royal LePage in Red Deer. “LD (as he is called by his family) is fortunate to be in com-
mercial real estate where he has evenings and weekends off and it is easier to schedule regular training times,” says Jerry Rush. “What other career could you have that would allow you such flexibility?” Royal LePage is one of the bobsled sponsors. There are some similarities between being a top seller and being part of Canada’s winning bobsledding team. The backbone of each profession lies with teamwork. “Both are competitive but require co-operation with your peers to do well,” says Lyndon
Rush. “In bobsledding, you need to network with the other teams to gain knowledge about the tracks and acquire new and better equipment. Similarly as a Realtor, you’re competing for customers but need to co-operate in order to serve those customers the best.” Lyndon played football for five years at the University of Saskatchewan before receiving a call from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton urging him to give the sport of bobsled a try. He has developed into one of the top pilots in Canada while specializing in commercial real estate for Royal LePage’s Team Rush. He is
married and has two daughters, Olivia and Amelia. “It’s an honour for Royal LePage to support Lyndon, and alongside Canadians everywhere, we are proud of his wins for Canada at the World Cup events,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. “We are very excited for him and definitely consider ourselves part of Team Rush.” Another sales rep, Bret Bresciani of Re/Max House of Real Estate in Calgary, was part of Canada’s 2009-10 World Cup bobsled team, but he did not qualify for the Olympics. REM
A model real estate agent
perfect complement to my fulltime real estate career,” she says. “I love it. The two careers gel with each other. Both are flexible and both are fun.” She says when she’s wearing her real estate hat, people don’t usually recognize her from her modelling work. But she often gets real estate referrals from people she meets in the modelling world. Wagman says her colleagues have been very supportive and think it’s great and fun, never being close-minded enough to think her modelling takes away from her full-time real estate
Real estate comes first, but Elaine Wagman also works as a “lifestyle model” for print ads, commercials and movies By Connie Adair hen Elaine Wagman’s 16year-old son Anthony keeps asking, “What are you doing now Mom?” it isn’t with teenaged distain. He’s just curious. After all, in his lifetime, his mother has been a social worker, a counsellor, a mediator and a university student. Most recently, she’s put her varied experience and education to work in her career as a fulltime real estate agent, and she models on the side. Wagman, a broker with Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty, started modelling when she was 37. When she tells people she models, many think of runway and high fashion work, but Wagman says she’s a lifestyle model. She has appeared in a variety of print ads, for ScotiaBank, Rona, Reitman’s and The Bay, among others. She has also done background work in commercials and movies. She does some runway work, most recently showing off wedding gowns at the Wedding Palace Bridal Show in Ottawa in January. Wagman got her first taste of modelling when she was 17 and a group of her basketball buddies were involved in a fashion show. “But I shelved modelling and went to university,” she says. She studied
criminology, and then got her bachelor of social work. She worked as a social worker and counsellor for about five years. Then, after being told she could not have children, she enrolled in law school, wanting a career she could “sink my teeth into because I couldn’t have kids,” she says. About mid-way through her first year, she was pregnant. She made an appeal to the university and was allowed to take an infant Anthony to school with her while she finished her three-year law degree in four years. “The University of Ottawa is a womanfriendly school,” she says. Deciding law was too demanding for a mother of a young child, she went back to work in addictions counselling, where she was able to set her own hours. “It was there I got my first taste of flexibility,” she says. She then put her family mediation certificate from Harvard to use and opened a private practice. She wound up that business when her own personal life started going “awry. I couldn’t be an effective mediator when my own marriage was going south.” Wagman became a real estate
agent in 2006 and is now a broker. She says she has accumulated a lot of skills and knowledge over the years and has found her experience helpful in her real estate career. She picked a small real estate office because she wanted to be able to call the manager or broker, ask a question and get an answer right away. “I love this office,” she says. Once she started real estate, she wondered why she didn’t do it sooner. “It offers flexibility for a single parent. I’m my own boss and can use my skills effectively. I always knew I’d be self employed, I just didn’t know in what capacity.” Her strong negotiation skills, attention to detail and personality are assets she lists in her real estate promotions. Potential clients will read, “She is a Harvard University trained negotiator who will work hard to get the best possible price.” She sells houses at a variety of price points and because of the number of people who have asked her about commercial real estate, is working to get her ICI licence. She is also honing her acting skills, her goal to expand from print modelling and background work to speaking parts. “Ottawa doesn’t have a market for full-time models, so this is the
Lyndon Rush will compete in the Royal LePage sponsored bobsled at the Winter Olympics.
career. “It’s great. If I’m available, I model. But if it’s a busy spring market or a time when I’m doing real estate, I can decline a job and they will call again,” she says. “Real estate comes first.” When she’s not selling homes or modelling, she says she’s “a halfdecent soccer goalkeeper, a ready and willing drumming student, a questionable but enthusiastic skier, a great cyclist as long as someone else carriers the gear, and a chauffer to her teenaged son.” Mostly, she says, she just has fun. REM
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10 REM MARCH 2010
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between them; • sickness benefits (15 weeks maximum), which may be paid to a person who is unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine; and • compassionate care benefits (six weeks maximum), which may be paid to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death. Self-employed Canadians who voluntarily opt in to the EI program are eligible to collect benefits as early as January 1, 2011. “It’s nice to know that Realtors now have the choice to balance career and family along with other working Canadians,” says Bruce Mullett, chair of CREA’s Federal Affairs Committee. Realtors who opt in to the program will pay the same EI premium rate as salaried employees in their province. They will not be required to pay the employer portion of premiums, which takes into account the fact they will not have access to EI regular benefits. Premiums, and resulting benefits, will be based on income. REM
Sales rep fined $68,000 for tax evasion Markham, Ont. sales rep pleaded guilty recently to four counts of tax evasion. Claudette Walker of Century 21 Leading Edge Realty was fined $68,000. A Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigation showed that Walker, self-employed, failed to report income of $215,412 on her 2002 to 2004 income tax returns. CRA says by not filing income tax returns for 2005 and 2006, she did not report taxable income of $121,609 in 2005 and $78,966 in 2006. In total, Walker pleaded guilty to evading federal income taxes of $70,000 and was fined $35,000. Walker also pleaded guilty to not remitting $35,135 in GST from January 2002 to December 2006 and was fined $33,000. CRA says that in addition to the fines imposed by the courts, individuals or corporations convicted of failing to file tax returns are still obligated to file the returns and pay the full amount of taxes owing, plus interest, as well as any civil penalties that may be assessed by CRA. The agency says that individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. “They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a full disclosure before the agency starts any action or investigation against them,” says CRA in a news release. “These individuals may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest.” For more information about the Voluntary Disclosures Program, visit www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures. REM
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ob Moore, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and CREA CEO Pierre Beauchamp announced at a news conference recently that self-employed Realtors can now participate in the Employment Insurance (EI) program. “A large majority of Realtors are self-employed,” says Beauchamp. “By creating a level playing field within the EI program, many of our members will no longer have to worry about taking time away from their careers to have a baby or care for a family member who is gravely ill.” Bill C-56, the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act, extends EI benefits for self-employed Realtors for: • maternity benefits (15 weeks maximum), which are available to mothers and cover the period surrounding birth (a claim can start up to eight weeks before the expected birth date); • parental/adoptive benefits (35 weeks maximum), which are available to biological or adoptive parents while they are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child, and may be taken by either parent or shared
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6:00 a Joey’s field trip: remember snacks 7:00 a Yoga 8:00 a 8:30 a Pick up signs 9:00 a Offer conference call with Julie 10:00 a 11:00 a 11:30 a Attend REBAC Connection Webinar 12:00 p Meet with potential buyer 1:00 p 2:00 p Read Today’s Buyer’s Rep Newsletter 3:00 p Uncle Bill’s birthday: send e-card 4:00 p Order marketing brochures from REBAC Print Shop 5:00 p Lily’s swim meet 6:00 p 7:00 p 7:15 p Update blog: add Green article from TBR HotSheet
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12 REM MARCH 2010
Realtors share their Olympic Torch stories
Pat Jamieson, a sales rep with Royal Lepage Community Realty in Medicine Hat, Alta., took part in the Olympic Torch Relay on January 17th in Bow Island, near Medicine Hat. She and other Realtor Torchbearers sent their stories to share with REM readers. bus we were shown inspirational Olympic videos. You guessed it – more tears.
Pierre de Varennes, broker of record/owner of Royal LePage Performance Realty.
Once I was in place on my corner I was feeling very excited and glad to be finally there. My grandkids, Aidan, 6, and William, 4 had signs saying “Go Nana Go”, my daughter and my husband were taking pictures and my sonin-law taking video. I felt like a star! I looked down the street and here was the flame coming to me for my “moment.”
Thom and Marland both participated in the Torch Relay – Marland in Ottawa on Dec. 12th and Thom in Niagara Falls on Dec. 21.
The torchbearer, Melanie, lit my Torch and we high-fived and did a dance and then I was on my way. It was exhilarating! Pat Jamieson with her grandchildren Aidan and William
applied online in January 2009 through rbccarrythetorch.com, and received a call at the end of October 2009 to say I had been “pre-selected” to carry the Torch on January 17. This was all very exciting and I felt quite emotional whenever I thought about it. I only shared the information with my husband until everything was finalized. Once my uniform arrived and I knew my route was in Bow Island, I shared this oncein-a-lifetime news with family and friends. I felt very honoured and proud to have been chosen and looked forward to this event with much anticipation. However, I started to think about things that could go wrong, like, “What if I fall with the Torch?” or worse, “What if I get there too late and miss it?” or “What if there is a snow blizzard that day?” I also wondered if I’d be able to do this without crying as I felt very emotional and tears would well up when I thought about it. The weekend of the event finally arrived. My daughter, son-
in-law and two grandkids arrived from Calgary. We went to the Leisure Centre to enjoy some of the free events in celebration of the flame arriving in Medicine Hat. I hardly slept that night for fear of being late. I had to be at the Bow Island Arena by 8:30 am even though my run wasn’t until 10:03 am. Arriving right on time, I was met by a VANOC representative who checked my ID and gave me my Torchbearer number, 036, and stuck it to my uniform jacket. There were seven other TB’s there too and after the representative gave us a talk about the history of the Olympics and Torchbearers (more tears welling up) she had us introduce ourselves. We were then given our individual Torches and after chatting to each other for a while we had some group photos taken on the ice rink. We had a short rehearsal in the street on how to pass the torch and go carefully on the very icy road surface. We then boarded the bus to take us to our individual locations for receiving the flame. On the
No tears, just smiles, waving and concentrating on staying horizontal on the slippery road surface. Lots of friends came to share my experience and cheer me on. I took the Torch into the morning break at the arena and the mayor made a speech outside on a small stage and there were lots of people and more cheering. Many people wanted their picture taken with the Torch and I was very happy and honoured to oblige. The whole experience was magical. I now have the Torch on display in my living room complete with the soot from the flame.
es Myers, a sales rep with Royal LePage State Realty in Hamilton, took part in the Torch Relay in Thorold, Ont.
win a gold medal in the Summer Olympics since 1968. Thom was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1985, and in 1992 was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Rob Marland, also a sales rep at the brokerage, competed in two consecutive Summer Olympics in 1988 in Seoul, and then in Barcelona in 1992. In Barcelona, he won the gold medal for rowing in the men’s eight. Marland was inducted into the Canadian
oyal LePage Performance Realty in Ottawa has a claim no other real estate office can make: they have two Olympic gold medal winners in their midst.
Olympic Hall of fame in 1994 and is also the recipient of the Sports Federation of Canada Achievement award.
Sales rep Linda Thom won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, in the women’s 25 metre pistol event – becoming the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal in the Summer Olympics since 1928, and the first Canadian to
“We are proud of Linda and Rob’s achievements. The dedication, perseverance and hard work required to be an Olympic athlete are qualities that have also served them well in their careers as successful real estate sales representatives,” says
“It was an amazing experience and I am so lucky to have been chosen to carry the flame,” he says. “Some of my clients and a lot of friends and family went to Thorold to cheer for me. I ran in the downtown section, where the mayor did a speech with the town crier. When the flames were lit, the mayor stood between us and posed for pictures. “The week before I was invited to the Thorold town council meeting, where some of us were presented with thank you certificates and pins. “There is no feeling like it. It really makes you proud to be a Canadian and to see everyone come out to be part of Canadian history.” REM
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14 REM MARCH 2010
Dogs and deals
What dogsledding can teach us about the real estate business key talent to our organization.” Although the local market softened during the past two years, Hartum says, “Edmonton has been relatively stable. The fundamentals are still relatively strong. It’s still a balanced market. We’re certainly not experiencing the pain some of the other key markets in Canada are.” While they may seem worlds apart, Hartum feels strongly that his career and his sport inspire each other. Here are the elements Hartum says dogsledding and commercial real estate have in common: • “Both are adventurous. There’s always variety. Just as no two deals or no two dogs are the same, you never know quite what to expect in dogsledding and in real estate. You have to be prepared.
Mark Hartum and his team. (Photo: Dave Partee)
uccessful leadership requires passion, consistent hard work, a supportive team, a sense of adventure, commitment, natural ability and boundless energy. For Iris and Ivy, it also requires a daily diet of ground beef fat, liver, poultry, kibble, corn oil, psyllium husk powder, egg powder, bone meal and probiotics. And regular belly scratches too. Iris and Ivy are Alaskan racing huskies, two of Mark Hartum’s strongest leaders, and members of a kennel that has won dogsled races at provincial, national and international levels. They live with Hartum, his family, and approximately 50 other elite sled dogs on an 80-acre property adjacent to Elk Island Park and Blackfoot/Cooking Lake Provincial Recreation Area near Edmonton. The Hartum kennel is now recognized as one of the top in the sport. Hartum’s wife Brooke and their children Mya, 8, Elle, 7 and Noah, 4 are also avidly involved in running, racing and caring for
the dogs. It’s a sport, a hobby, a passion and a lifestyle that Hartum says has enabled him to forge ahead in his demanding commercial real estate career. As one of Avison Young’s principals based in Edmonton, Hartum is a key figure in the city’s thriving real estate landscape. Hartum joined Avison Young three years ago, but has been in the industry for more than 15 years. His specialty is large downtown and suburban office buildings, representing both landlords and tenants, advising clients on substantial transactions and negotiating complex leases and agreements. Clients have included General Electric, Kraft Foods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, EBA Engineering, Maxaam Analytics and all three levels of government. “We’ve experienced tremendous growth in the past few years,” says Hartum. “We’re a privately owned principal company with zero debt. It puts us in a good position to expand and add
• “There are no short cuts. For example, the market (in Edmonton) was extremely hot – red hot – in the last five years, and those who took their foot off the gas pedal a little are now paying the price. Now that the market has softened a bit, they’re finding they’ve lost momentum and can’t keep up. It’s like that with the dogs. You can have all the raw talent and the right breeding, but if you slack off, skip out on training runs, nutrition and vet care, you won’t be able to keep up. You can’t fake the results. It takes consistency, discipline and commitment. • “To be successful at both you have to have some innate natural ability, some psychology skills, the ability to work long and hard and the determination to see something through to the end. You have to be a competitive but patient person. Things don’t happen overnight. Complex deals may take six to 18 months to come to fruition. It’s a lot of risk for a lot of reward, similar to trying to put a successful race team together.”
By Katherine Fawcett
• Whether it’s dogs or real estate, it’s critical to surround yourself with a great team. “With dogsledding, my family is a tremendous support. Mya, Elle, Noah, Brooke, everyone contributes, from doing chores around the kennel to training, racing and travel,” says Hartum. • You have to be able to handle complexity. “In a racing kennel, I’m the owner, general manager, coach and player. I’m responsible for the breeding program, the farm team and yearling development. I’m the equipment specialist, caretaker, nutritionist and veterinarian,” he says. “In real estate you need a high level of competency in finance, marketing, forecasting and negotiating. You’ve got to be able to handle non-stop high pressure.” • Passion. You have to enjoy what you do and be truly passionate about it, otherwise you’re not going to achieve the highest levels of happiness and success. “With real estate, I’ve always loved driving around looking at buildings, interesting architecture and new concepts in real estate development. I find it fascinating. It’s the same with working with dogs. I enjoy visiting other kennels, studying pedigree books and experimenting with new ideas and concepts.” Hartum’s biggest challenge today is that his real estate company continues to expand and require more attention at the same time as he wants to continue competing at an elite level in the most challenging unlimited class sled dog races in the world. “I try to keep it all in perspective,” says Hartum. “At work we have really talented employees. A great team. Even if I’m in another part of the world running dogs, I do have a Blackberry, laptop and a cell phone so I’m always accessible.” He says that
because many of his clients are not based in Edmonton, much of his communication is done electronically anyhow. At the time of our interview, Hartum was preparing his 20 fastest, strongest and most experienced dogs for three days of racing at the Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby in New Hampshire in February. After that, he is planning to attend races in southern B.C. and the Northwest Territories, and finally the Open North American Championships in Alaska in March. Hartum had returned from a training run on the trails behind his home just before we spoke. “I got home from work today at 5 pm, hooked up an 18-dog team and took off. It was absolutely flawless. A perfect run. No tangles, they took all the turns perfectly.” He said it was “one of the most peaceful runs I’ve ever had.” “It’s such a great stress relief. You’ve got to be so focused on it. There’s a lot of moving parts. Your leaders are 100 feet out in front of you. You have to be right there, in the moment. You don’t think of anything else.” He finished the run and gave each of the dogs their post-run treats, belly-rubs and behind-theear scratches. “Life is good,” he said as three puppies chased his kids around the yard. “Life is good.” REM
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16 REM MARCH 2010
Restrictive covenants SP7KHEX\HUZDQWVDUHIHUHQFHSODQ
Here we have all the markings for a court to act on equitable principles by forcing S to transfer to A. After all, there was an oral agreement, not matched by the person with priority, with a piece of paper, although drafted after the oral accord taking or placing the deal within the Statute of Frauds. On top of it all, the court held the lands were “unique” so S had to transfer it rather than pay damages. ■ ■ ■
By Donald H. Lapowich
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ave you come across a document that restricts the usage of a particular piece of property for the benefit of an adjoining piece or parcel? If drafted correctly as a “restrictive covenant” it will not only bind the people who originally agreed to the terms, but also subsequent purchasers of either or both of the properties involved. However, there are very specific requirements for this to work. One is that the covenant must be “negative” in nature. Take the case of a purchaser buying land used as a resort with a golf course and campground. That purchaser later subdivides the land into four parcels and sells three parcels to others, with a restrictive covenant imposed for all four parcels. An applicant wishes to purchase the last parcel but does not wish to comply with the restriction and goes to court. Because the covenant was “positive,” requiring successors to maintain a portion of land for a golf course, “it did not run with the land” and did not bind a successor purchaser.
Agent O recommended L as a builder to H, a fellow real estate agent. H contracted with L to build a custom home. Right from the beginning H learned that L could not pay $7,500 for a lot, which the agent H then put up. As one can easily surmise L, the builder, did not pay the tradespeople, did not obtain building permits and did not register under
The court found that the agent failed to perform her own due diligence.
■ ■ ■
the New Home Warranty program. A stop order was issued. When H sued O and L, the court found that H failed to perform her own due diligence and it was inconceivable H would proceed with a builder that could not come up with a small sum of money (deposit) to buy the land on which the house was to be built.
In another case, “A” agreed to buy land from “S” knowing that “T” had a right of first refusal. A and S had agreed on the price and closing date, unless T matched the oral agreement. A prepared a written offer to match the oral agreement and sent it to S. T did not match A’s offer but S notwithstanding accepted T’s lower offer.
Donald H. Lapowich, Q.C. Hon. FRGD is a partner at the law firm of Koskie, Minsky LLP in Toronto, where he practices civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on real estate litigation and acts for professionals including lawyers, real estate agents, insurance brokers/agents and dentists. REM
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18 REM MARCH 2010
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n my work as a business coach I meet with people every day who have dreams of creating success in their business. Sadly, most of them are saying the same thing: “I hate marketing; I just want to do what I’m good at without having to market myself.” The truth about getting more clients is that it’s not that difficult, it just requires following some simple steps. FOCUS: How do you get to where you want to be unless you know where you are going? I always teach my clients a visualization in which they imagine where they want to be professionally one year from today. How much money do you want to be earning? How many hours a week do you want to work? What kind of clients do you want to work with? STRATEGIES: Once you’re clear about where you want to be, you need to create strategies to get there. I tell people, “If you already knew what strategies to use, you’d probably already be there.” Strategies help you to chunk big visions into tangible, bite-size action steps ACCOUNTABILITY: How accountable are you to yourself? Most people I meet in business for themselves find it far too easy to slide in keeping their agreements with themselves. The magical thing about coaching is that when you have a witness to your accountability, you are much more likely to do what you said you’d do. Just knowing that someone cares and will ask you every week, “How did that action step go?” is huge incentive to staying on track. DISCOVERY: As a former psy-
chologist, one of my passions is helping people discover how they block them themselves and get in their own way of success. What I find is that everyone needs to reprogram some self-limiting beliefs, like “I don’t have what it takes to succeed” or “I don’t deserve to have a lot of money.” Another block is that most people suffer from subconscious sabotaging strategies, like procrastination. These need to be reversed. Finally, everyone I’ve ever met has a monstrous, overly developed inner critic, which I call the gremlin. In discovery you learn to identify the voice of you gremlin and learn to tame it way down. PERSPECTIVE: We all spin our wheels and get caught up in our narrow perspective. The best investment we can make in getting more clients is to have people around us that give us the option of another perspective. SUPPORT: If you are in business for yourself, you need all the support you can get. Who helps you? Who do you lean on? It is invaluable to have a support team or a committed ally in your corner. CELEBRATION: How often do you celebrate yourself? As a coach who teaches people how to get more clients, I find that learning to celebrate not only your successes but also your efforts is the way to a long a healthy career. Learning to stop, pause and validate yourself for what you’ve done keeps this process light, fun and exciting. Also, think of how impossible it is for your gremlin to beat you up, if you are busy celebrating yourself. It is one of the joys of my work that I get to help people truly celebrate themselves. With her 30 years of psychological expertise, Dr. Maya Bailey specializes in helping real estate professionals who want more clients, more free time, and a better lifestyle to create confidence, a positive mindset, and a stepby-step blueprint for success. For your personalized step-by-step success blueprint, visit www.90DaysToMoreClients.com. To contact Dr. Maya Bailey, call (707) 799-5412. REM
February 20th, 2010
An Open Letter to all Real Estate Professionals RE: Taking back the industry 2009 proved to be a defining year for real estate, creating two very separate and distinct categories of REALTOR®. Experienced professionals, who stayed the course, adjusting to new conditions and adhering to solid business plans, were ideally positioned for the turnaround and emerged victorious from the downturn. The fair-weather REALTORS® who were ill-prepared and panicked, who chose to bury their heads in the sand, were not. I think it’s time we formally acknowledge the elephant in the room. Last year, one in five realtors® failed to sell a home on TREB—the largest board in the world. The same problem likely exists in boards across the country. In addition there are several large brokerages where 70% of the agents did less than a deal a quarter. No one in the industry has addressed how threatening this actuality is to both the consumer and the profession. Our industry is overrun by indifferent agents who lack the knowledge and experience to service their clients adequately. The ease with which they can hang a shingle and tarnish our profession is astounding. Personally, I can’t believe that this reality hasn’t been challenged. With the exception of those sales associates that are new to the business—and we have some stellar rookies who have already achieved serious results in their first year in the business—and those that are winding down successful real estate careers, I find it hard to fathom that one in five agents sell nothing at all. Fifty-three per cent do not do a deal a quarter yet are prepared to provide guidance to buyers and sellers making the largest single financial transaction of their lifetime. Which begs the question: Just who is looking out for the real estate consumer? We need to create a plan of action—one that represents our collective voice—and your feedback is vital in this process. After all, the greatest opportunity to raise standards is through licensing and we’d like to see stricter rules governing the registration of REALTORS®. Some suggested recommendations that will immediately improve the industry include: 1. Introducing a one-year apprenticeship program that exposes new agents to buying and selling, as well as the art of negotiation before licensing. This will also mean hands-on brokers who have a vested interest in the success of their apprentices. 2. Establishing a referral license program, whereby inactive realtors® can earn a fee by referring their clientele to full-time real estate professionals. 3. Increase educational requirements. In the days and months ahead, we will call upon the leaders and directors of real estate’s governing bodies—as well as CREA, OREA, and other real estate boards and associations to support us in this cause. The open dialogue will lead to an improved model that will better protect consumer interest and the integrity of the real estate professional. Truth be known, we’d all benefit from an industry overhaul. The committed, dedicated professionals who have devoted their lives to listing and selling homes would welcome an opportunity to restore honour and dignity to the profession. After all, the apathy and lack of expertise among the non-committed affects the entire industry. We need to send the message, once and for all – real estate is not a fall-back profession. We want to hear your thoughts on the matter. Visit us now at www.takingbacktheindustry.com. It’s time to make your voice heard.
Michael Polzler Executive Vice President and Regional Director RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc.
Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. 7101 Syntex Drive, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 6H5 . Phone: 905-542-2400 . Fax: 905-542-2318 . Web Site: www.remax.ca
20 REM MARCH 2010
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