Huge changes coming to organized real estate Page 3
MacDonald brings HomeLife back to Atlantic Canada Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 42218523 - Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to 2255B Queen St. E., #1178, Toronto ON M4E 1G3
New show, brokerage for Sandra Rinomato Page 12
Royal LePage goes commercial
Phil Soper explains why the firm is relaunching a commercial division Page 8
REM MAY 2012 3
CREA Futures plan moves forward Major changes could be in store for organized real estate in Canada
REA members have given the thumbs up to a new vision for organized real estate in Canada, one in which technology is cutting-edge, internal decisions by boards and associations are made quickly, and consumers have access to detailed, high-quality information. In total, the plan offers 23 recommendations for change, all of which were approved for further study at CREA’s Annual General Meeting in Ottawa at the end of March. Some of the proposals, such as having a third party operate Realtor.ca and CREA’s technology services and a restructuring of the country’s MLS systems, are likely to be controversial. “The acceptance of the plan is only the first step,” says Gary Morse, immediate past-president of the association, and a key driver of the Futures project. “The next questions we need to answer are, what changes do we make, how do we make them, and over what time frame?” To determine those details, an implementation team is being struck this month. It will be made up of leaders of organized real estate from all levels, and their job will be to identify and create smaller working groups to study each of the propositions in detail. Those working groups will put together a set of proposals, timelines and recommendations for the Special General Meeting in Winnipeg this fall, when motions could be voted on or tabled for even further study. Technology is one major area for proposed overhaul. The plan advocates for the restructuring of the 80-plus MLS systems into a single, national data feed. The new system would represent a centralized catchall for high-quality data, currently only available to Realtors on MLS systems at the local level. The plan also envisions creating a mechanism by which for sale by owner and non-MLS data could be made available on Realtor.ca. “Consumers are more informed than ever,” says Morse. “We have to make sure we are providing them with the best informa-
tion in an efficient manner.” Also under consideration is the prospect of having a third party operate Realtor.ca and CREA’s technology services, something that could offer potential revenue streams while also keeping pace with the rapid changes in technology. To make the decision-making process more streamlined, the Futures plan also proposes an outside review of the 100 or so boards and associations in organized real estate to determine if roles and responsibilities currently allocated to each level are appropriate or necessary. Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, attended some of the Futures planning sessions. He says he heard “some amazingly frank discussions with the executive officers of some boards, where people have agreed that we have too many boards in the country and that there should be consolidation. And as they are looking around the room, they know a significant number of them are going to be out of a job.” Don Lawby, president of Century 21 Canada, says he is in favour of some of the propositions pertaining to governance and technology, but cautions CREA against creating a homogenized, one-size-fits-all plan. “The industry is made up of a significant number of competitors and they need the ability to differentiate their services,” he says. “CREA needs to provide the tools, systems and programs for the industry, and the industry needs to modify them to give themselves a competitive advantage in the marketplace.” Morse says proposed changes must be inclusive of all members, and cannot be focused on the interests of one group (franchisees and franchisors) over another (independent brokers and consumers). “We have to be better at what we do for our members while taking into consideration consumer needs and expectations,” he says. But Soper says that with the national real estate brands control-
ling more than 90 per cent of residential real estate transactions, the franchisors are watching developments closely. “I think CREA is doing exactly the right thing in stepping back and evaluating what they stand for to their members and consumers,” says Soper. “If CREA focuses on providing services to its members, I believe they are going in an excellent direction. If they decide to get into retail consumer real estate services, I believe it’s a mistake.” Lawby is also unconvinced that CREA should be involved with customer service or selling, something he does not view as the association’s core function. For example, he questions how a proposed “Rate your Realtor” mechanism on the CREA site will be used. Will feedback go to the sales office or stay within CREA? The latter, he says, is problematic because Realtors don’t work for CREA. “It’s one thing to have a plan on paper, but it’s another to explain exactly how it will work. The devil will be in the details,” Lawby says. Morse says the details will be the focus of working groups this summer. Those groups of people, chosen by organized real estate as experts in a particular area such as technology, will evaluate the feasibility and workability of each recommendation and present their findings at the October assembly. CREA is promising many ways for members to learn about the issues and engage in the debate. The CREA website will offer various online and mobile tools like micro-sites, forums and phone apps in the coming weeks and months to provide members with avenues to provide their own ideas, suggestions and feedback. “Realtors would be wise to pay attention to this process,” says Lawby. Having attended the AGM in Ottawa not knowing what to expect, he walked away believing in the value of the process, one that he describes as “good”. He encourages Realtors to get involved and make their voices heard.
By Carrie Brodi
As for the value that the Futures plan offers to members: that is not yet quantifiable, either fiscally or in terms of relevance of Realtors in the minds of Canadian consumers. “The value today is the fact that we are doing this,” says Morse. “Down the road, the value will be
the benefits that come as a result of the outcome of these recommendations.” Soper says, “With various regulators and our own members saying it’s time for a change…we know it is the time to take some bold steps.” – with files from Jim Adair
4 REM MAY 2012
MacDonald brings HomeLife back to Atlantic Canada By Jim Adair
omeLife Realty Services has partnered with real estate veteran Francis MacDonald to expand the brand in Atlantic Canada and beyond. MacDonald, 60, is president and CEO of the new HomeLife Atlantic, and was named vicepresident at the corporate level for HomeLife. His Halifax brokerage, which has 28 agents, will be the base for expansion plans that would see up to 36 new HomeLife offices across Atlantic Canada during the next three to five years. “I was one general short in this company,” says Andrew Cimerman, HomeLife’s founder and CEO. “And I found my lost brother, Francis MacDonald. He has the knowledge, energy to spare and the commitment to win and win big. And he doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be taking on a lot more than Atlantic Canada.” MacDonald has been in the business for 34 years. He was the first to bring the Prudential banner
to Canada in 1992, when he acquired 34 real estate offices from Central Guaranty Trust. Although the Prudential experiment didn’t work out, “all of those real estate offices still exist,” he says. MacDonald then ran a Coldwell Banker franchise for several years before signing on with GMAC in 2004. “I was thinking of going independent and building an Atlantic Canada connection again, because at one time I had 36 offices,” says MacDonald. “I met with Andrew, looking to draw a bunch of information so I could do my own mission. To my surprise, I realized the values and focus and direction HomeLife has is comparable to what I was trying to develop. Rather than try and invent the wheel myself, I decided to jump on board.” “Francis is going to go out and broadcast the HomeLife story,” says Cimerman. “We have a higher standards product that’s upscale and community and people-orient-
ed. That’s not what I see with our competitors. They enjoy the big fees and the big ride but I think the gravy train is over. We are the most aggressively priced and the most affordable product, bar none, among the top competitors. We bring more value for the money than any other brand without question, but people have to know that. “The competition for the business is tough and a lot of agents are not making money and are paying exorbitant fees. At some point it’s got to hurt too much.” HomeLife is a well-known brand in Atlantic Canada. At one point the former HomeLife Pat King franchise had 26 offices. This year, before the launch of MacDonald’s new franchise, HomeLife had seven brokerages, spread throughout all the Atlantic Provinces. “My plan is to get between 400 and 500 agents,” with about 100 in the flagship Halifax office, MacDonald says. Brokers will have the option of starting their
own HomeLife franchises or partnering with MacDonald to open a branch of HomeLife Atlantic. He says many smaller companies have a hard time developing training systems for agents because the brokers are busy selling real estate themselves. “As a regional Francis MacDonald (left) and Andrew Cimerman organization, we can bring in trainits systems and services, including ers, bring in support systems, look the development of new training after accounting, and do a lot of courses for brokers and agents. It the stuff that small brokerages may has adopted the motto “no agents not be able to do because it’s too left behind”. It also has a new time-consuming. A lot of brokers community outreach program are really excited when you bring called “No family left hungry”. them the opportunity to give up Collection boxes are being distribthe hassles so they can do what uted to brokerages so agents and they do best.” the community can fill them with HomeLife has been upgrading items to be donated to local food banks. On the promotional front, HomeLife is using billboards across the country to promote its “Green “we will never take away what they & Gold, Got it Sold” slogan. have” and they are “all for what we MacDonald says that in his are doing.” experience, major franchises have The firm is actively recruiting difficulty serving the needs of bronew agents. Sales reps are not paid kers in Atlantic Canada, “not only commissions – they receive a salary because of geography but because and get a bonus if the customer of dollars and cents. This company reports 100-per-cent satisfaction recognizes that if you can find the with the way the deal goes down. right people in that area, they can “I’m looking for people who be an extension of the brand. The actually believe in the art of selling biggest value of a brand is the peoand like selling homes and want to ple who work with that brand. give good customer service,” says “Now that I have a 25-year-old Gidamy. “Every agent has their son (Brendon, his director of busiown back-end person here to proness development) who is getting vide research and analysis. They into the business with me, it’s have complete tech support and going to afford me the opportunity amazing tools in order to offer custo share what I have with the brotomer service.” kers in Atlantic Canada,” he says. While the majority of “I want to share my successes. I TheRedPin.com’s work is still on have a system that works – it is drithe new-home and condo side, ven from the top down, like Gidamy is confident the resale side HomeLife. I believe everybody has will grow as more people become the ability to be a successful agent aware of the benefits the company or broker. Real estate is all about offers. relationships and systems that are Gidamy says the company plans going to help you develop and to expand to other Canadian cities. maintain those relationships.”
Internet Realtor says there’s ‘nothing to fear’
ealtors have nothing to fear from TheRedPin.com, says Rokham Fard, one of the company’s co-founders. In fact, if you’re a sales rep in the Greater Toronto Area who enjoys providing great customer service but don’t like spending a lot of time prospecting and advertising, TheRedPin.com wants to talk to you. A member of CREA, it was the first company to launch a virtual office website after the Toronto Real Estate Board’s controversial VOW policy was approved. Farnham says the technology-based brokerage’s website offers up to 120 more data points on listings than are on realtor.ca. Combined with its extensive listings of new home and condominium offerings, TheRedPin says it has a database nearly 1.6 times the size of the MLS system in Toronto, making it the largest residential database in the GTA. It’s also updated several times a day, so new listings appear on the site much faster than on realtor.ca.
For all clients, the company offers 25 per cent of its commission as cash back, but Fard says it is not a discount brokerage. It is a full-service firm, offering everything a homebuyer needs to guide them through the negotiation and purchase of a home. “We’re a customer experience company – I wouldn’t even call it a brokerage,” says TheRedPin.com’s broker of record Tarik Gidamy. “We’re trying to be really different from other brokerages.” The customer’s experience begins on the website, where 94 per cent of homebuyers begin their real estate search, says the company. “We believe in the freedom of information and in providing you with tools and data, so you can do your own searches and decide when is the right time to reach out to our experts for their advice and support,” says TheRedPin.com. Customers sign up for access to listings “with far more data than they could find anywhere else,” including school rankings and ratings,
days on the market and more than 100,000 local businesses linked up to each listing. If clients are interested in buying a new home or condo, there’s access to “VIP listings and exclusive preconstruction condo projects in the GTA with all of their floor plans before anybody else,” the company says. In being first to offer a VOW, “we wanted to make a statement that we are a technology company that is re-engineering the industry. We want to be first in all aspects, and keep coming out with stuff before everyone else does,” says Gidamy. “There will be other online players, but it’s all about execution.” Gidamy says some brokers have asked him to remove their listings from the site. “They are doing their clients a disservice by taking a listing and telling the client they will give their property the most exposure anywhere, and then asking us to take them down.” But he says many other top Realtors know that
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6 REM MAY 2012
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: email@example.com
have built their business by exceeding client expectations while always looking for new fresh ideas on how to develop better systems within their business that creates a business worth owning.” ■ ■ ■
Sébastien Parent and Michel Bouchard, owners of the real estate agency formerly operating under the name Bouchard Parent Associés Inc., have joined the Royal LePage franchise network. The company will now operate under the name Royal LePage Tendance. It already has eight experienced brokers, working mainly in the centre-east of Montreal, but also serving Greater Montreal and its suburbs.
to start his own firm. The brokerage is primarily geared towards experienced agents and is developing a mentoring program for newer salespersons. Tony Cuzzi and Trish Voisin have joined the team from another large brokerage. The office is located in an old Victorian home near downtown Kitchener. “The doors are now open and the phones are ringing. The core values of this brokerage is to maintain a high level of professional and personal service to the consumer while providing affordable broker services to the sales representatives,” says the company in a news release.
ues with another 234 billboards in markets across Canada. Cities included in the campaign are Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford in Nova Scotia; Moncton and Fredericton, New Brunswick; Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Oshawa, Ottawa and the GTA in Ontario; Winnipeg, Brandon and Steinbach in Manitoba; Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan; and Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta. HomeLife says the campaign is to “reinforce brand awareness in the public consciousness and encourage new business for its brokerages and members across the country”.
Juliana and Eric Vallee, one of the top-producing real estate teams in New Westminster, B.C., recently made the move to Keller Williams Elite Realty. “Since being exposed to the Keller Williams systems and models two years prior, I quickly implemented them into my business and I was able to achieve Rookie of the Year for 2011 from the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board,” says Juliana Vallee. “We know success lies in surrounding yourself with like-minded positive people,” says Matt Kirby, team leader/CEO for Keller Williams Elite Realty. “The Vallees
omeLife Realty Services recently rolled out a national billboard advertising campaign featuring the tagline, “Green and Gold Got It Sold!” The campaign began with 100 billboards placed across the Greater Toronto Area and contin-
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The newest real estate brokerage in Waterloo, Ont. is Authentic Real Estate Corporation. Rick Berenz, the broker of record, has been a licensed real estate sales representative locally for 28 years and says he felt the time was right
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Anne Squires, franchisee of Exit Realty on the Rock, has a new office in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Nfld. “This is Anne’s seventh office. She is relentless in her pursuit of growing the largest and most successfully productive brokerage in the province,” says Joyce Paron, president – Canada for Exit. Continued on page 8
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8 REM MAY 2012
Royal LePage reboots commercial division By Jim Adair
oyal LePage recently launched a new commercial division, less than 10 years after its former commercial operation was sold to Cushman Wakefield. Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, says the new Commercial by Royal LePage will have some key differences from the former division. “We are a service provider, whereas back in the day we were the brokerage,” he says. “While we will own a brokerage in the Greater Toronto Area, the idea is to provide the services and operate with entrepreneurs in local markets.” Soper says Royal LePage “never got out of the commercial business, in that there were always practitioners in every province. Out of 14,000 agents, we have about 1,700 who do commercial transactions – we call them ‘resimercial’. They sell houses but also may sell a strip shopping centre.” Recent years have been difficult for commercial firms, says Soper, resulting in some consolidation and shrinking among major brokerages. “We saw a gap open up
Multiple Listings Continued from page 6
“Anne has a reputation for incredible passion, action orientation and a deliberate attitude to do everything first class. She is a people person who understands the value of each and every individual. Exit Realty on the Rock is home to 85 agents across the seven locations, with the 9,000-square-foot flagship office located in St. John’s. ■ ■ ■
Tony Slavin has been named branch manager of Right At Home Realty’s new Durham Region branch in Whitby. Slavin is a former banker and mortgage broker who has run his own real estate brokerage and worked with Sutton, Re/Max and Century 21. Don Kottick, president of Right At Home Realty says, “With our focus on growth and professionalism, Tony is the perfect complement to our strategy. Tony is a highly acclaimed manager who is known
in the marketplace – what we refer to as the mid-market was underserviced.” That’s transactions of less than $10 million, with about 80 per cent worth less than $5 million. The division will include only stand-alone commercial offices. Soper says there will be about 150 Realtors in total, noting that in its heyday, the former Royal LePage Commercial division had between 500 and 600 members. Don Patterson, managing director, commercial for Royal LePage Kingsbury Realty in Mississauga, Ont. has been helping plan the relaunch. He says Royal LePage’s national network of Realtors is a huge advantage. “If one of my guys has a buyer for a $5million shopping plaza, we can put that out on the network. Quite often something like that is not going to be listed on MLS. So one of our offices in Windsor or Calgary may say yes, we can find a plaza for you, it’s not listed but ‘nothing’s for sale and everything is for sale.’ And we can put a deal together. “Or if someone is working with
a Subway or a Kelseys looking for locations across Canada… one of my guys can say, okay, you are looking for a location in Brandon, Man., here’s who you should call. And they will work with local Realtors. “The network also presents the opportunity to gather referrals from Royal LePage’s residential Realtors.” The firm has created a new dedicated website (www.royallepagecommercial.com) and is building is own database of listings. “We needed to build a listings database engine that would display the kind of info needed to evaluate a property from afar,” says Soper. “We will also load ICX listings, but we realized we had to go beyond that because many transactions don’t find their way onto the boards’ systems.” Patterson says the network will also offer regional and national conferences and training opportunities, providing another chance to share ideas with practitioners across the country. In terms of compensation, Soper says, “In the full-service,
throughout the GTA for his knowledge of technology, training and development.”
who goes out of their way to promote good will and team spirit within the Re/Max organization. “My sales teams are developing for both locations and future expansions are always reviewed. I look forward to extending our unsurpassed service and premiere community citizenship into the Vegreville area,” he says.
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Twenty-five year real estate veteran David Yetman recently opened his own brokerage, Century 21 All Points in downtown Halifax. Yetman says he has seen it all during his years in real estate and hopes to help everyone from firsttime homebuyers to military relocations to retirees looking to downsize. The brokerage will also be a strong supporter of Phoenix House in Halifax, helping at-risk youth between the ages of 12 – 24. ■ ■ ■
Shawn Jacula, broker/owner of Re/Max Prairie Realty in Vermilion, Alta. is opening a second office in Vegreville on June 1. Jacula recently won three awards at the annual Re/Max of Western Canada Awards Gala, including the Spirit of the West Award, presented to an individual
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Keller Williams Lifestyles Realty in London, Ont. recently welcomed sales rep Owen Price to the brokerage. Team leader Wanda Feeney says, “Owen is well known and respected and we are thrilled to be in business with him.” He was recognized at his previous company as a Chairman’s Club member and a Lifetime Award of Excellence recipient. ■ ■ ■
Kristopher Snarby, a sales rep with Exit Realty Inter Lake in Liverpool, N.S. was one of only three Canadians invited to repre-
probably more expensive models like Royal LePage, the lion’s share of the fees we charge are routed right back to the agent – whereas in the traditional commercial houses, they are split 50/50. The brokerage takes an equal share of the fee and provides a vast array of services. “We felt in this mid-market there was probably a spot in the middle, where brokerages could do more for the practitioner, but it would appeal to those who were more independent and didn’t need a half-dozen people to accompany them on a call to a client.” Soper says while the large commercial operations tend to operate with big teams and lots of support staff, Royal LePage felt its members could support more costs within their own brokerage. “So we cut it in the middle between what a big house would get paid and a residential brokerage would get. It’s more services than you would find in a residential brokerage but more independence and a greater share than what you would find in most commercial” operations. sent Canada as part of the world youth choir at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway. The choir performed for the Nobel Laureates, King and Queen of Norway and other international dignitaries. The choir also helped celebrate the 200th anniversary of the University of Oslo by presenting a concert at the University of Aula. Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. ■ ■ ■
Re/Max of Western Canada says it is the first in the real estate market in Canada to announce its new augmented reality feature, Live View on the Re/Max mobile real estate search app. This new feature is available on iPhone and Android devices. When you locate a property that interests you, the app overlays the sale information on top of the physical property when looking through
Paterson says in most cases commercial Realtors have a different mind-set than residential sales reps. “You have to be here from 8 to 5, it’s not evenings and weekends,” he says. “That’s why it’s a struggle for residential people who say, can I do commercial as well?” He says some commercial Realtors from the larger companies tend to look down on residential salespeople if they believe they are not qualified to do commercial deals. On the other hand, Patterson jokes, he would “be a disaster” if he tried to sell a house. Instead of staging a lovely room with a cathedral ceiling, he says he would stack boxes in it to show its cubic capacity, and would suggest putting a wall in the middle of the master bedroom to maximum income and create a 10-year cash flow chart. “Realtors on both sides have professional skill sets, but they are very different,” he says. REM the camera view on your GPS enabled smartphone. The app allows consumers to save the property in a list of “saved listings”, which can be connected to a remax.ca account, making it easy to reference while in the application or on a computer. Clients can also request more information on the property and have an agent contact them. ■ ■ ■
Donna Beach has joined Keller Williams Edge Realty in Burlington, Ont. as team leader. “Donna’s expertise as a top Realtor in the Burlington and Oakville markets, combined with her love of education and training will provide unparalleled support and leadership for our Realtors and market centre,” says Penny MacKenzie, operating principal. Beach says one of her favourite quotes by Bob Buford is, “If you have lived the first half of your life for success….then strive to live the second half for significance.” REM
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By John Geha
s real estate professionals, we’re aware that the “red hot” market and the days of double-digit home appreciation may be behind us. The consumer’s perception of the market is also changing, fuelled by Canadian media reporting contradictory stories that could leave the consumer confused and full of indecision. Looking ahead in 2012 and 2013, CREA is forecasting little growth in sales, and predicting that home values in most markets will be little changed or even down slightly from 2011. So where does this leave you, as a real estate professional? As I see it, there are two options. You can either work harder to earn a bigger share of a lessening sales pool or you can work smarter by doing things differently to hopefully improve profit for years to come. In a challenging market, smart agents step up their networking to the next level. It’s simple economics...if you want to maintain your sales levels, and your current base is shrinking, you need to broaden that base. And you do that by going outside your current circles. Canada is becoming a truly international market, a hot prospect on the global stage. Now is the time to seize that opportunity and extend your reach beyond your current boundaries. Many international buyers, particularly Asian buyers, are looking to Canada. Our stable economy, house prices that are a “bargain” on an international scale, and Canada’s reputation as an immigration-friendly country all add to our global appeal. I recently met with Coldwell Banker franchisees from around the world, and discussions with Brazil, France, China, and Latin American countries inevitably turned back to Canada. The eyes of the world
Close the profit gap with global networking are on us. Of course, there are other reasons why Canada is now so accessible to foreign buyers. One reason is our ability to communicate through social media. If you want to access out-of-market buyers, you need to communicate globally. You also need to understand the power of video and incorporate it into your sales proposition and your networking efforts. Globally, the importance of video intensifies. When I attended this year’s Inman conference, it was revealed that 93 per cent of foreign buyers viewed their property on video first. Here’s another stat you should know, and I consider it one of the most important in real estate today. It comes from social media company Postling.com, which says 73 per cent of homeowners are more likely to list with a Realtor offering to do a video. Yet only 12 per cent of Realtors have YouTube accounts. That’s a major disconnect between what the consumer wants, and what most of our industry offers. It also means if you’re not doing video, you’re missing business. If there’s any doubt about the power of video, let me share a recent example with you. A soldier stationed in Afghanistan was within a few months of returning home, and like most consumers, he started his home buying search online. He quickly became frustrated after viewing what he described as “the same six photos” for property after property. Then he found a video for a listing in his search area that was posted to our YouTube channel, Coldwell Banker OnLocation. What’s remarkable about this story is that even though the home didn’t meet his criteria, he was impressed enough to email the Coldwell Banker agent, congratulating her on taking the time to do a video. Interestingly, that video was of a rather nondescript low-end prop-
erty, and the agent had initially wondered whether she should even post it. To her credit, she did. That was the start of a relationship that began thousands of miles away and ultimately resulted in a sale for three times the price of the listing on that first video. There are hundreds of other stories like that one. In addition to social media networking, face-to-face professional networking remains the life’s blood of our industry. The time is right to get involved. Canada’s growing appeal on the international scene is encouraging the growth of specialized networking groups and trade organizations. As the president of the first international chapter of AREAA, a non-profit trade organization specializing in Asian buyers, I had the opportunity to speak about our Canadian market at a recent Global Summit in New York. As sales professionals, you have opportunities to spread the word on an individual level. Networking events such as company and industry conferences are more than just a good idea – in a challenging market, they’re essential. Membership and registration fees should be budgeted for as part of your annual business plan. Remember, these opportunities help build relationships that will generate referral income for years to come. Consistently, agents who are actively involved in outside networking are the ones who succeed, regardless of changing market conditions. Make a smart investment in your future and go for it. John Geha is president of Coldwell Banker Canada Operations ULC, and has been appointed president of AREAA Canada, the first international chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, a non-profit trade organization focusing on Asian home buyers and sellers. REM
REM MAY 2012 11
KNOW YOUR LISTING
Mortgage Business erico Canada recently announced that The Mortgage Management Group headed by Calum Ross has joined the network. Ross is a prominent figure in the mortgage broker community and is regularly featured in the media as a mortgage expert, including appearances on Canada AM, CTV, City TV and Inside Toronto Real Estate. He holds a B.Comm and MBA in finance and recently completed the Comprehensive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.
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Origin, an independent Vancouver-based brokerage, has joined Dominion Lending Centres. “Origin is a well-managed, highly dynamic B.C.-based brokerage with a strategic vision similar to that of Dominion Lending Centres,” says Gary Mauris, Dominion Lending Centres president. “It’s clear that both companies are intent on empowering brokers across the industry, and fostering a culture that embraces continuing education and training.” Since its launch in spring 2006, Origin mortgage brokers have assisted more than 12,000 B.C. mortgage clients, the company says. It has 45 mortgage brokers producing a combined annual volume of $450 million. ■ ■ ■
personal websites. Each site will have the ability to host videos and image slideshows. New style options are also available to ensure each individual website reflects the personal style, the company says. Centum mortgage professionals will also be the first to experience the newly launched Expert Mobile tool, designed by Davis + Henderson Corporation (D+H). Expert Mobile is designed to give mortgage brokers smartphone access to client applications that are already in the pipeline. Brokers can view their client applications, communicate with lenders and keep their clients informed while on the go, the company says. The tool also includes a prospect application that allows brokers to submit customer leads from their smartphones directly to the D+H Expert Mortgage Origination system on a broker’s computer or laptop. It is compatible with Blackberry, iPhone and Android technology. REM
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Busy REALTORS® like you need the most up-to-date information possible—data that’s easily accessible. A Parcel Register is the provincial ownership record and holds the most recent and complete title information available for a property in Ontario.
Centum Financial Group has launched a new website with an updated look and feel. Visitors can search more quickly for Centum Mortgage Professionals by location and name and agent preview links will direct users to each individual’s personal website for more details, the company says. It also offers brokers the ability to customize their Centum’s new website
Property tools that make you the expert.
GeoWarehouse.ca | 1 866 237 5937 * An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.
12 REM MAY 2012
New show, brokerage for Sandra Rinomato
Television’s most popular Realtor has developed a new show on HGTV and opened her own brokerage By Connie Adair
andra Rinomato has multi-tasking down to a fine art. The former host of Property Virgins is launching a new HGTV show, Buy Herself. She has opened her own full-service brokerage, Sandra Rinomato Realty. She coaches and does as much charity work as she can fit into her schedule, which is hectic to say the least. The popular television personality (Property Virgins was consistently HGTV’s No. 1 show with much of its success attributed to Rinomato’s hosting abilities and her no-nonsense approach to real estate) begins her work day around 6 am, when she checks emails and then heads out to the set. During make-up and wardrobe, she takes phone calls. Once she’s on set, she focuses on her single female client, helping the woman navigate the home-buying experience. During lunch hour, she squeezes in more emails and phone calls. At 7 pm she’s home to tend to her family and then she puts in several more hours on the computer until lights out at 11 pm. This scenario plays out five days a week, with this season’s filming of Buy Herself wrapping at the end of May. After 130 episodes of the wildly successful Property Virgins, Rinomato says she wanted to try something different. She came up with the idea for Buy Herself. She says she had a single aunt who worked with the airlines some years ago. “When she was in Hawaii, she wanted to buy a condo
but she couldn’t get a mortgage because she didn’t have a husband to co-sign the loan. I remember hearing that story and wondering why her brother could buy one and she couldn’t,” says Rinomato. Times have changed, with four in 10 single women owning a home, while only one in 10 single men are homeowners, she says. “Women are not waiting to be hooked up before becoming homeowners. The security used to be going from dad’s arms to husband’s arms. Now that security comes from home ownership.” H o w e v e r , taking the plunge isn’t something all women feel comfortable doing, especially immigrants. One woman who is of Indian background, in her 30s and living with her parents, heard about the show. She wanted to buy her own home but “didn’t want to step outside the box and make ripples in the family. The family was supportive but she was held back by her own guilt,” Rinomato says. “It was great that I could help her. If there hadn’t been a series, she wouldn’t have (bought).” Rinomato can relate. Her Italian background places much emphasis on a woman being a wife and mother. “Many immigrant women don’t feel home ownership is their right,” she says. As she did on Property Virgins, Rinomato strives to educate
viewers about the buying process and stresses why people shouldn’t buy without representation. “Realtors learn and continue to learn. I’ve been in business for 15 years and I’m still learning. How does the ‘average Joe’ think they’re going to do it
every day.” Children also find her appealing. “One four-year-old girl watches with her mother. It’s fascinating,” she says. Rinomato also has her share of Realtor fans. A story written about Rinomato by REM columnist Stan Albert consistently achieves a high number of hits at www. remonline.com. If being a celebrity and a Realtor isn’t enough, Rinomato opened her own brokerage last summer, choosing a Bloor Street location near High Park in Toronto. The location, between two subway stops, caters to her clients, many of whom don’t own cars. She grew up in nearby Etobicoke. “I used to play in High Park. The area has unique and interesting independently owned shops and the architecture is diverse.”
Photo by Darren Goldstein / DSG Photo
(without an agent)?” Both shows strive to educate and entertain, and viewers are not limited to women, or first-time buyers. One of her biggest Property Virgins fans is Del from Vancouver, she says. “He’s a 98-year-old Second World War veteran. Del watches
She had thought about opening a brokerage for several years, but a number of reasons made the timing right. She was paying almost six figures for team fees and she wanted to expand. It was a paradigm shift, she says, from working out of a boutique broker to having her own company. Sandra Rinomato Realty has a team of three plus one independent agent, and is looking to open a new office in downtown Toronto. Rinomato is also continuing her charity work. She has raised $30,000 for breast cancer research, and $40,000 for Toronto General Hospital, and she has
donated time to the Ontario Lung Association and other charities. In April she will participate in a CN Tower climb benefitting the World Wildlife Fund and on May 31, she’ll MC the Arthritis Research Foundation’s Kick Up Your Heels event. “Charity work is something I feel everyone should do. Saying you’re too busy is not an excuse. There are so many needy people and animals. I do what I can, when I can,” she says, tackling all of her tasks with the energy and bubbly personality her fans have come to expect. Days are full for Rinomato, but not too busy to work out and to spend time with her family. “Anyone who is licensed and working realizes how taxing a real estate career is. It’s a customer service job and dealing with people can be exhausting. Even when you’re not with clients, you’re networking, marketing, doing accounting. The key is to keep balanced, to rejuvenate your soul. You’re no good to anyone if you’re burned out,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to turn off your cell phone. Train your clients that on Sundays you won’t respond unless it’s been predetermined. Give your best and all, but treat yourself well.” Buy Herself can be seen Mondays at 10 pm on HGTV Canada. To watch full episodes, visit www.hgtv.ca. Rinomato is looking for experienced independent agents to join her brokerage. Contact her at 416-5653001 or contact@rinomato. com. REM
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2012 Election of Directors — Here are your candidates Election of Directors is conducted by online voting only. Online voting instructions were mailed to registrants the week of April 9, 2012. Online voting closes at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Region 1
MICHAEL APPLETON, Salesperson Sage Real Estate Limited, Brokerage, Toronto E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 23
VOTE FOR MICHAEL APPLETON-YOUR ADVOCATE AT RECO Our industry is currently being attacked on all fronts by the government, consumers and biased media. RECO’s clear mandate is one of consumer protection. I feel it is important that the Directors of RECO display a tempered judgement and grounded sensibility in facilitating any dispute between the general public and those in the real estate industry. It is of extreme importance that the real estate salesperson be fairly represented and protected in this environment. MY CREDENTIALS: - Active real estate salesperson (for 23 years) - Manager (for 10 years) of a successful Toronto real estate brokerage - Top real estate sales trainer (for 26 years) with three major real estate corporations - Popular teacher at TREB (with a curriculum of 5 CEU courses) for the past 20 years
Morguard Literary Award four times (in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005) in a nationwide competition for the best article on the real estate industry My objective for running in this election is to “equal the playing field” in providing as much protection to the real estate salesperson as is currently being enjoyed by the consumer. My skills in negotiating and conflict resolution will enable me to be a strong advocate for YOU at RECO. I need your vote in order to start protecting your interests. Thank you.
- Only person in the history of Canadian real estate to win the Real Estate Institute of Canada’s
ROBERT JOSEPH BUCKLER, Salesperson Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd., Brokerage, Thornhill E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 1.5
As a recent Realtor®, specializing in residential sales & leasing (mostly condominium), I bring a wide variety of experience including several years of condominium management. I launched my own consulting firm, Beredan Management & Consulting Inc. in 2009, which specializes in providing a variety of condominium consulting services to developers, condo corporations, and condo management firms. In 2006, I obtained my Registered Condominium Manager (R.C.M.) designation, offered by the Association of Condominium Managers (ACMO) and have taught Condominium Law for ACMO ever since. I have developed and edited property management course materials for ACMO, the Canadian Condominium Institute-Toronto chapter, as well as the Institute of Housing Management. I am a Court-Appointed Administrator for two Condominium Corporations in the Toronto area to restore these communities back to health. I am a current volunteer sitting on the Canadian Condominium Institute-Toronto Education and Toronto Real Estate Board Condominium committees. I formerly sat on the ACMO Professional Development committee for six years. I also chair the city of Vaughn’s Property Standards Committee. I look forward to the privilege of representing my colleagues in real estate to uphold RECO’s standards and professionalism within our industry.
DAVID ESHO, Broker Homexperts Real Estate Inc., Brokerage, Brampton E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 23
I am a former Economics Professor turned Realtor with an educational background in Economics, Marketing and Administrative Studies. A civic minded person who ran for the Office of Regional Councillor in the City of Brampton, Peel Region. My speciality is selling and leasing residential properties. I also have extensive experience in selling & leasing commercial and investment properties. I will like to work on a committee that will bring RECO closer to the 3 levels of Government. Real Estate is an important segment of the economy which often act as a catalyst to a buoyant economy.
WALTER LEAR HAYDE, Broker Re/Max Legacy Realty Inc., Brokerage, Mississauga E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 11
Immediate Past President 2011 and Current Chair of the Nomination Committee and Director 2005-2012 of the Mississauga Real Estate Board (MREB) Chair of Membership, Education and Related Services during my tenure. Committee Member of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Arbitration & Ethics Panel 2012-2013 Committee Member of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Standards Forms Committee 2010-2013 Panel Member on the Arbitration Roster (Residential Division) of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) 2007-2009 Panel Member on the Professional Standards Complaint Review Roster of the Toronto Real Estate Board 2011-2013 President of the Indo-Christian Cultural Association (ICCA) 2007-2009 and presently serve on their Executive Committee. I am a firm believer in organized real estate and the contributions made by thousands of volunteers at the Local, Provincial and National Boards and Associations, I respect the need to protect the public’s interest in one of the largest transactions they will ever make when purchasing their homes or investment properties. I believe that the role played by REALTORS® is very important and that we adhere to the highest levels of competency, integrity and professionalism when representing both Clients and Customers. As a Real Estate Broker and an Accredited Buyer Representation, ABR® I enjoy working with people and the true test of my success is the referral business I receive from past clients as an endorsement of the services I have provided. I look forward to serving as a Director on RECO to further increase my knowledge/skills to serve the interests of others.
3300 Bloor Street West, Suite 1200, East Tower, Toronto, Ontario M8X 2X2 The content contained in the candidate profiles is supplied by each candidate.
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2012 Election of Directors — Here are your candidates Election of Directors is conducted by online voting only. Online voting instructions were mailed to registrants the week of April 9, 2012. Online voting closes at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Region 1 continued
GEORGE KALKOUNIS, Salesperson Southvale Realty Inc., Brokerage, Toronto Email: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 5
Mechanical Engineer with more than 40 years experience with the Provincial Government and large corporations in numerous fields/function of Real Estate Development, Construction, Facility Management and Administration of large Real Estate portfolios – provided leadership and direction to teams involved in development and implementation of policies and standards promoting government initiatives/priorities and performance. Expert in real estate matters particularly as relate to engineering, design, development, construction, project management, contract administration, purchase and sales, leasing, development of contractual agreements and handling of related legal matters; proficient in negotiations and expert in using latest technology related to systems and services. Willing to contribute to the support of RECO’s mandate.
BRIAN MADIGAN, LL.B, Broker Re/Max West Realty Inc., Brokerage, Toronto E-mail: BRMadigan@rogers.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 7
Real estate broker, commercial and residential, real estate litigation advisor, venture capitalist and educator, approved RECO Education Provider (Disclosure Laws), Continuing Education Course Developer and Instructor (Agreement, Chattels and Fixtures, Surveys, Boundaries and Adverse Possession, Competition Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, Risk Management, Liability under Law of Torts), published over 2,300 articles on real estate for the consumer emphasizing ethical practice by real estate practitioners, developed independent comparative performance index for real estate; served as mediator and arbitrator in real estate matters; accepted as expert witness by Superior Court of Justice in Ontario related to professional standards; graduated Osgoode Hall Law School in 1974, practiced law in Toronto for 25 years, commercial and negligence litigation, professional discipline experience as advocate, prosecutor and chair, professional liability experience; over 1,000 court appearances including Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Appeal; closed over 5,000 real estate transactions; served on Board of Public Hospital, Foundations, and Chairman of Investment Committees for publicly funded pension plans, advisor to Insurers underwriting corporate governance policies; previously Speaker, Canadian Bar Association, Lecturer, Law Society of Upper Canada, Instructor Bar Admission Course; Director, numerous non-profit organizations. As a member of the RECO Board, I would encourage professionalism, foster education, permit accredited specialization, allow personal incorporation of real estate practices. Please confirm your commitment by exercising your right to vote!
RENUKA SELVAKUMAR, Broker of Record Royal Properties Realty Ltd., Brokerage, Ajax E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 4.6
-Practicing Real Estate since October 2007 to Present
-Assisted fund-raising events for Rick Johnson MPP and Christine Elliott MPP 2008
-Practicing as a Mortgage Agent since June 2008 to Present
-Sri Meenatchy Amman Society – Treasurer 2006-2009 (Member of Board of Directors)
-Broker of Record for Royal Properties Realty Ltd., Brokerage since June 2010 to Present
-Coordinated Walkathon for Breast Cancer Society “Walk for Hope in August 2011
-Principal Broker for Mortgage Alliance R&R Mortgages since May 2011 to Present
-Coordinated fund raising events for SickKids Foundation “Holiday Gala 2010” and “Old Hollywood Gala 2011”
-Sri Meenatchy Amman Society – Vice President 2010-Present (Member of Board of Directors) -Volunteered for Red Cross 1998 -Weston C.I. Treasurer of the school governing body 1998 -Sri Meenatchy Amman Society-Leader of Youth Club 1998-2000
Expertise include: -Teaching and Training Real Estate at the office -Compliance Officer for both Real Estate and Mortgage Firm
ROBERT SOPRONEY, Salesperson Re/Max Realty Enterprises Inc., Brokerage, Mississauga E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments: Member of RECO Discipline and Appeals Committee (Since 2000)
Years Registered: 37
TREB Hearing Panel (10 years)
MREB Chairman of Operations/Social Committee Chair/Member of Nomination Committee/Web Design Committee.
MREB Investigation/Hearing Panel (1995-2000)
City of Mississauga – Public Advisory Committee – 3 terms (9 years), last term as Vice-Chair.
MREB Director 1998/99
When elected expect my duties to be carried out in a precise conscientious manner, no disappointments!
3300 Bloor Street West, Suite 1200, East Tower, Toronto, Ontario M8X 2X2 The content contained in the candidate profiles is supplied by each candidate.
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2012 Election of Directors — Here are your candidates Election of Directors is conducted by online voting only. Online voting instructions were mailed to registrants the week of April 9, 2012. Online voting closes at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Region 1 continued
SCOTT C. WEBSTER, Broker Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage, Toronto E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 10
Manager/Broker – Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc. 2010 – Present Manager/Broker – Trinity Global Realty/GMAC Real Estate 2009-2010 National Director of Member Services – GMAC Real Estate Canada 2005-2009, overseeing approx. 85 locations throughout Canada TREB Professional Standards Review Panel 2011-Present Real Estate is my passion and I am focused on the betterment of the real estate industry as a whole, I believe that as a member of the board of directors of RECO I will be a in a position to add real value and assist in shaping policies and strategies that speak to the needs and wants of our members in a meaningful way. I have a broad mix of experience in the real estate industry and have excelled at every role I have filled. I believe that my past experience and drive to succeed make me the ideal candidate for a seat on the RECO board of directors and I ask for your vote to make it a reality.
MIKE CUSANO, Broker Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage, Hamilton E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 21+
Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage – Broker/Manager. President in 2007 of the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton Burlington with past and current involvement on many RAHB committees and task forces. Two term Provincial Director from Southern Ontario for the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) – Provincial jurisdiction including Hamilton, Burlington, Niagara, KitchenerWaterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, Guelph and Simcoe. Past Chair of OREA Finance and Audit Committee. RECO-REALTOR® Relations Task Force, Education Committee and Instructor Review Panel. During my term as an OREA Director, I believe I have demonstrated to you, my resolve for effective delivery of education programs, continued E&O insurance review and a framework for guidance during CCD issues. As a dedicated volunteer, I have a passion for understanding REBBA 2002, while being ever mindful of promoting effective communication and balance between RECO, Consumer Protection and the Registrant. I believe strongly in the real estate professional’s value message earmarked to the consumer, that of being Educated, Regulated, having Expertise and Knowledge. I am committed to provide, open communication with Registrants and effective representation at the RECO Board of Directors table. I respectfully ask for your vote. Thank you.
LEROY D. DIRCKX, Broker of Record Atlas World Real Estate Corporation, Brokerage, Lions Head E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 20
I have worked in real estate since I was 18 years of age. I am currently an owner and the Broker of Record of Atlas World Real Estate Corporation; now with four offices in Grey and Bruce counties. I have a degree in Philosophy from York University in Toronto and have spent most of my life since then both living and working in rural Ontario. I am accomplished in recreational real estate with a strong presence in small business, residential and investment real estate. I have committee work experience on my local board and am committed to strengthening the perception of Realtors® with the public in all of Ontario.
GEORGE LAVALLEE, Broker Century 21 Home Realty Inc., Brokerage, Mannheim E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 34
I have a B.Sc. from the University of Pennsylvania. I owned my own office for 28 years and currently licensed as a Broker. For the past 6 years I have been on the RECO Board of Directors thoroughly enjoying the challenges of participating in such a professional, caring group. I have been Chairman of the Board 2010, Chair of the Insurance, Finance, Governance, Commercial Real Estate Advisory Group and Audit Committees., plus having served on the Legislation and Regulations Committee and Registrar’s education group. In 2005 I was President of Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors and have served on numerous Committees and task forces plus I am a member of the Guelph & district Association of Realtors, having served 6 years on their finance team. I was the Century 21 district Council Chair for District 7 representing south central Ontario on the national level. In my opinion it is imperative to have some experienced people on the RECO board as I witnessed that when I first got on the Board and found it very helpful. This is my last possible term as there is a 3 term limit and I look forward to serving the Board as I am always prepared for meetings, actively participating and trying my utmost to be fair to all parties concerned.
3300 Bloor Street West, Suite 1200, East Tower, Toronto, Ontario M8X 2X2 The content contained in the candidate profiles is supplied by each candidate.
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2012 Election of Directors — Here are your candidates Election of Directors is conducted by online voting only. Online voting instructions were mailed to registrants the week of April 9, 2012. Online voting closes at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Region 3
BARBARA BRINDLE, Broker Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage, Barrie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 22
Barbara was licensed in 1990 and received a lifetime achievement award in 2010. Her passion for the profession led her to become an Instructor for the Ontario Real Estate Association in 1997 and she taught the Provincial Licensing courses for OREA for several years to new licensees. When mandatory continuing education evolved, she was selected by OREA to present the RECO Legal Update Course and the CREA Code of Ethics to Realtors across Ontario. Barbara became an approved Instructor for the Real Estate Training Institute of Ontario in 2000 where she delivered continuing education to thousands of Realtors across Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces while maintaining a successful Real Estate practice in Barrie. She has an in depth knowledge of the Regulatory requirements set out by the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act and she is astutely aware of matters affecting the industry today. In addition to her Brokers Licence, she holds a P1 License with the Law Society of Upper Canada and specifically studied Tribunals, Legislation and Administrative Law in matters pertaining to Real Estate. Her desire to contribute to the profession is demonstrated by her continued efforts to bring quality training and development to her peers. She is an approved Instructor for the National Association of Realtors® and facilitates several designation programs such as the ABR, SRES, CIPS and CRB to Realtors across Canada. She welcomes the challenge and opportunity to serve as a Director with the Real Estate Council of Ontario and be a voice for the members of Region 3
GLENDA BRINDLE, Broker Royal LePage Team Realty, Brokerage, Ottawa E-mail: email@example.com Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments:
Years Registered: 25
Chair: for RECO
Committee Member: For RECO
Finance Committee – 2008-2009
Audit Committee – 2007-2008
Insurance Committee – 2007-2008 + 2010 – 2011
Legislation & Regulations Committee – 2011 – 2012
Commercial Real Estate Advisory Group – 2011 – 2012
Insurance Committee – 2006-2007 + 2011 - 2012
RECO Director Current - 2012
Ottawa Real Estate Board
RECO Chair – 2010
Served as a member on various committees. Served on Task Forces when required.
RECO Vice-Chair – 2009
OREA – Communications Committee and served as a Governor for the Realtor Care Foundation.
Ottawa Real Estate Board President – 2004 Director – 1999-2003 2nd Vice President of Ottawa Board
I am seeking re-election to continue to be your voice and bring your concerns to RECO. Please feel free to call me with any questions you may have. It has been an honour to serve my fellow Brokers and sales representatives.
Chairman of Political Action Committee and Chairman of MLS
LAURA ROBERGE, Salesperson Re/Max Lakeshore Realty Inc., Brokerage, Cobourg E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Area(s) of expertise, committee experience (RECO, real estate, other), additional comments: Past Governor on the Board of Directors (Ontario Real Estate Association Foundation)
Member of the Cobourg Rotary Club
Past President of the Northumberland Hills Real Estate Board & Committee Member for 8-10 years
Recipient of 2 Civic Awards from Town of Cobourg
Past Chair of the Northumberland United Way
Years Registered: 25
Recipient of the National Volunteer Award from the Government of Canada Recipient of the Hall of Fame Award from Re/Max & 3 Platinum Awards in 2004, 5 + 9
On-going Committee member of Northumberland Hills Hospital Past fundraiser for Northumberland Hills Cancer Walk & Dragon Boat Survivor Thrivers
18 REM MAY 2012
Selling new homes in Old Montreal McGill Real Estate fills a niche in the Montreal real estate market
t is December 2011. Patrice Groleau and Debby Doktorczyk are both on vacation and will return the same day, their voice mails announce. It was “our first holiday together in two and a half years,” says Doktorczyk a few days later in the glassed-in meeting room of McGill Real Estate. The two Quebecers were a couple before launching their real estate agency in 2006. McGill Real Estate in Montreal specializes in selling new projects from plans. “We have a business model that is different (from other agencies),” says Groleau. We never intended to expand our team and to have 200 agents. We don’t want to manage people all day.” The brokerage represents 20 property developers in Greater Montreal who make use of the services of McGill’s 30 agents to sell their residential developments. Often these are industrial buildings converted to condominiums, as with Nordelec in the booming neighbourhood of southwest Montreal, near the Lachine Canal. It is a 600-unit project by Elad Canada.
McGill Real Estate sells in several neighbourhoods, but its primary sector remains Old Montreal, as evidenced by one of its most recent projects: BANK, a prestigious project on rue Saint-Jacques, right in the old financial heart of the city. The 1907 building will retain its Neoclassical facade and house 43 residential units, built by Pur Immobilia. Doktorczyk comes from a family of diamond prospectors (her mother had a shop in Antwerp, Belgium) and she owns a diamond distribution company. She has the entrepreneurial fibre needed to engage in the renovation and sale of homes, which began in 1999 with a brand new loft that Doktorczyk transformed. Trained in interior design, she took down walls and chose different materials from those proposed by the builder. Compliments poured in from visitors. After this first loft there was a duplex, and then a triplex followed by several multiplexes. She saw to the design of the units and she managed the job sites. At the time Groleau was working full-time in finance, and despite the comforts and chal-
lenges offered him by his job, it was lacking something, he says. There was no passion in his work. His girlfriend said, “Just quit.” In the high-ceilinged meeting room of their “baby”, the green eyes of Doktorczyk, 39, exude a quiet confidence. In 12 years she has become president of a growing company and the mother of three children. Her spouse completed his real estate training a few years after her and they worked in co-operation with other brokers so they could “be replaced” and start a family, says Patrice Groleau, 34. McGill Real Estate is represented by a contemporary logo (grey and white with a touch of red), designed by “…the friend of a friend.” More than once during his interview with REM, Groleau noted the importance of their network of family and friends to explain their early success. One of his friends, Philippe Boisclair, brother of André Boisclair (former leader of the Parti Quebecois) and one of the partners in Développement McGill, a Montreal development company, helped Développement McGill become their first corporate client.
By Valérie Vézina
With offices adjacent to those of DevMcGill, McGill Real Estate is now located in an area of Old Montreal that has been transformed in recent years and where one can still find busy cranes. At the outset the company had offices on McGill Street – hence the name, which takes advantage of the reputation of its university namesake. The two founders now spend more time consulting with their clients. It may take several months before the construction of a sales office, says Doktorczyk, and among other tasks, she is responsible for planning the proper “unit mix” of condos in a project. Well-versed in residential construction, she works closely with the architects. Groleau specializes in sales and promotion, thinking about which project will be for connected young Francophones and which will appeal more to retired Anglophones from NDG. Risk management is another aspect of the work that appeals to Groleau, who holds several degrees including a degree in risk management from the University of Quebec in Montreal.
Customer service unplugged
By Ozzie Logozzo
ustomer service – how should it be done? That’s a cinch. Some people, however, would argue otherwise, contending that it would be much easier to debunk the Big Bang Theory or define how the universe was created out of “nothingness”. Well, let’s leave such hyperboles to sitcom writers and Lawrence Krauss, respectively. When it comes to experiencing customer service, we all intuitively and rationally know what to expect and what we want delivered. Let me advance an anecdote, univer-
sally applicable, from my second favourite past-time – eating – which will clarify first-rate customer service. (Bets are off on my primary passion.) Just imagine that it’s your wedding anniversary. To surprise your darling you have made a 7:30 pm reservation at a swank Italian ristorante in the entertainment district and have surprise theatre tickets to see Sarah Brightman sing Music of the Night. You arrive a few minutes early in your Beau Brummel best with your sweetheart at your side looking better than Evita at the height of her public adoration. The attendant apologetically says that there is no reservation and no openings. You stand there stunned and sterile. Inwardly you would like to perform surgery without anaesthesia even though your mind tells you that sometimes good people make
mistakes. Perhaps a coffee and croissant at Tim Hortons will have to do. As you prepare to leave, the maître d’ walks over. He looks suspiciously like the same gent who played the hotel manager in the movie Pretty Woman. He implores you to return after your concert, wanting to remedy the unfortunate circumstance. Much later, you return reluctantly to the scene of the disservice. The place is packed. It reminds you of once being stranded in the Lincoln Tunnel during a traffic jam in New York. Instinctively, the maître d’ reintroduces himself and thanks you for giving his ristorante another chance. He escorts you to his office, which has been transformed into an intimate dining lounge for two. Candles burn delicately and music sprays seductively from hidden
speakers. The sous chef serves the meal. A stout sommelier pours award-winning red lustrous wine while crooning Perry Como’s And I Love You So. You are enthralled. Your wife of 25 years wants to remarry you. Finally, with a big smile, the maître d’, graciously and sincerely insists that the entire experience is complimentary, including the waiting taxi to take you home. He bids you “ciao” and invites you to come back any time. That’s customer service! Ozzie Logozzo is executive director of the Ontario Real Estate Association Real Estate College. He is a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada and was the 1993 recipient of OREA’s Education Merit Award and the 1997 recipient of Real Estate Educators Association’s prestigious Educator of the Year Award. REM
The couple has refused to work for some developers, they say, including once because the project was too large and they were afraid of losing their shirts. Their biggest challenge was not to get carried away, and to grow at a pace that they would be able to manage, they say. The business model seems attractive on paper. They sell generally well-located condos, in older neighbourhoods in high demand, partnering with established developers. But not everyone can sell new homes, they say. “Selling from plans is one of the most difficult things to do in real estate,” says Groleau. “It is ‘pure’ selling. We must be able to conclude transactions on the spot, out in the field.” Each newly recruited agent must go through a three-month inhouse training program. Then they are expected to perform. Four or five agents have been dismissed in recent months due to poor closing ratios. Groleau credits their success to selling neighbourhoods that are in demand, a strong social network, good relationships with brokers and an ability to adapt to changing conditions. REM
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22 REM MAY 2012
How to become an effective blogger B
logging is a powerful marketing tool to engage existing clients and attract new ones, but before you race off to your computer, stop, think and plan what you’re going to do, says Brad Sage, VP of operations at Sage Real Estate and a social media trainer for the Toronto Real Estate Board. Give careful thought to the topic of your blog. “Step back and think about what you’re trying to achieve, your marketing strategy and your target market,” he says. “The topic is what you focus your post around.” Someone who focuses on neighbourhood farming could do a blog about the community and ‘become the go-to resource in the community. Good-quality blogs are a trusted source readers come back to, he says. Decide how often you will blog. To see an increase in traffic, studies show you have to blog two or three times a week. “If you blog only once a month, statistically speaking, you won’t see any more traffic,” Sage says. Take the time up front to identify topics and make a list you can write about for a long time, he says. “You don’t want to run out of ideas after the first 50 blogs.” Tip: If you’re struggling to come up with topics, check your email to see what information clients and prospective clients are asking, then blog about that. When you’re doing a series of blog posts, but a relevant topic is in the news, break the series and interject your thoughts, Sage says. Blogs need to be short – about 250 to 400 words. You also need to be able to convey the content quickly. Studies show 84 per cent of readers scan, while only 16 per cent read each word. You have to convey the meaning of the blog to the reader in 30 seconds, Sage says. “Have tracking analytics on your blog to see which posts are
getting the most activity. It’s a good way to see what to blog about in the future.” There are a lot of blogging platforms available such as WordPress, which has two different versions. WordPress.org is self hosted, is more complicated to get up and running, and you have to have your own server and load your own software. There are some associated costs, but WordPress.org itself is free. Another option is WordPress. com. It is also free and lets you set up a blog in about five minutes. The biggest mistake new bloggers make is getting too excited. They blog every day for a couple of weeks then fall off the end of the earth. Before starting, it’s important to figure out how often you can realistically blog – remember, two to three times a week is a good goal. Maintain the blog and be consistent. As for blog contents, use common sense. A blog is no different than any other marketing piece. You must follow real estate regulator guidelines, Sage says. At the bottom of the blog is a space for comments, a place where you engage with the community. Be sure to monitor comments. You may want to choose a set up that emails you comments first so they can be approved before they go live, Sage says. Sage teaches an educational series for his brokerage that is also open to outside agents. For a list of upcoming Sage Real Estate seminars, visit www. theastuteagent.ca/sage-trainingcalendar/. The courses are attended by a broad spectrum of sales reps, ranging from 20 to over 70 years of age. It is the mindset more than the age that determines who attends, Sage says. The course is popular with agents who understand that there is a change taking place and that consumers are looking for content on-line.
If writing a blog doesn’t appeal to you and you are articulate, passionate and have charisma, the spoken word (a video) is an option. As for do-it-yourself versus professionally produced videos, there are lots of arguments on both sides, he says. Some prefer the authenticity of videos made by the agents and are tired of over-polished productions. However, Sage says you should think about who your clients are. If they are high-end consumers, you may want higher-quality videos. “In general, I encourage agents to start with their laptop camera or (an inexpensive) camera and do it themselves.” Sage advice 1. Pick a topic carefully at the start. Don’t rush into what you want to achieve. The blog topic is important. It is the overall theme of your blog. 2. Be prepared to blog two or three times a week. If you don’t think you can blog regularly and often, you may want to think about whether you should start blogging at all. 3. Although it may be tempting to use WordPress.com, remember it has its limits and terms associated with its use. If you’re technically inclined, you can go on YouTube and search how to set up on WordPress.org. If not, you should be able to find someone who will do it for you for about $100. 4. Install tracking analytics, for example Google Analytics, then review to see which posts get the most hits. 5. Use your blog as an excuse to get in touch with key influencers. Use your blog as a way to reach out to people – tell them about your blog and ask how you can get the word out about what they’re doing. It gets your foot in the door and you can develop a relationship. 6. Write your blogs so they can easily be scanned. Get your points across in 30 seconds. REM
By Connie Adair
shorter blogs four times a week. (Blog) often and regularly.” Some agents hire writers to blog for them, or simply repost links from newspapers stories. Keep the site current rather than have a stagnant website with out-of-date links.
logs have been around for years, and they’re not going anywhere. They are the future, says sales rep David Fleming of Bosley Real Estate, who started his blog, http://www. torontorealtyblog.com, in 2007. “Every single (agent) should have a blog as a way to deal with the general public,” Fleming says. “Consumers are all on the Internet. Clients come to us based on their research. Times are gone when an unrepresented buyer goes into an open house and you can snag them. That’s not the way it works.” How do you get started? There are no rules for blogs, Fleming says. “Every blog is different. My blog is controversial and opinionated. Some are happy and full of sunshine. It doesn’t matter. Put yourself out there.” Topics do not have to be limited to real estate. Blogs can be about family, friends, politics, economics or whatever is on your mind, he says. “People want to know the person as a person first, not a sales machine.” Fleming blogs Monday to Friday, putting his creative writing background to work and harnessing his passion to keep the stories flowing. “Some blogs take two hours to write, some are data and statistics I have collected over the week. Some are rants that take 20 minutes (to write),” he says. Although his blogs are about 1,500 words long, he says less prolific writers shouldn’t be scared off. “Even if you do four sentences, do it. Instead of one long blog, do
And just because you don’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. “I don’t like cold calling or open houses but I still do them. Everything in real estate is work. Even if you just post a photo, it’s okay,” Fleming says. “Blogging is a way to differentiate when and how you work.” Feedback to his blog has been good. Back in 2007, some agents saw the blog and thought it was “neat”. Now, because of his honesty, they say, “Wow. I wish I had the guts to say that,” says Fleming, who enjoys telling it like it is. “No industry is good all the time. If it’s too positive all the time, it’s not interesting.” He once had 40 negative comments to a blog, but he says controversy drives people to the site. Fleming’s site also includes a video bio. “People want to know who you are. It’s a better way to show them,” he says. Video bios should be professionally done. His was taped on his condo terrace for a personal touch. “Many people think they’re too old, that an old dog can’t learn new tricks. But that’s not true. Older agents have more interesting things to say,” he says. Blogs work for buyers in any price point, says Fleming. A recent buyer, who was in the market for a $3.5-million home, contacted him from his blog. Last year, 30 per cent of Fleming’s business was from family, friends and referrals. A whopping 70 per cent came from his blog. For Fleming, blogs really are the future. REM
24 REM MAY 2012
By Bruce Keith
ave you ever encountered a situation where a friend was struggling with something in their life and couldn’t seem to turn things around? You came along and said, “Why don’t you just...?” They took your advice and the problem was solved very quickly. The answer seemed so obvious from the outside looking in. There are some salespeople who are in the same situation. They are so busy trying to “stay afloat” that they won’t take the time to reach for the life preserver. Are there times when you feel that
One back, two forward way about your business? Are you stuck doing the same things, the same way just to stay afloat? Are you so pre-occupied that you can’t reach for the life-preserver? It is a painful dilemma trying to keep your head above water when everything around you is so overwhelming. The first step is to accept the following truism: in order to move your business ahead, you have to periodically take one step backward in order to take two steps forward. In the professional baseball world, sometimes a rookie will be sent back to the minors to correct their swing or improve their timing. When they return, they perform at a much higher level than before. What step could you take backward that will ultimately move you forward? Some ideas: 1. Revise your sales presentation (retool how you present yourself). Your confidence will soar! 2. Revise your daily schedule and get back to basics. Reprioritize. 3. Start exercising every day –
just like you used to. Another confidence booster. 4. Replace that assistant/staff member who is underperforming (don’t let them hold you hostage). 5. Get out of that partnership/relationship that is limiting you. Set yourself free! Some of these may seem rather drastic, but at the same time, haven’t you been thinking about some of these options already? Chances are the answer is yes. It takes courage to take that initial step backward. All great achievers and all great salespeople have gone through revisions to their BIG plan and it always pays off in the long run. If something is holding you back, have the courage to “slow down to speed up”. Sometimes less is more. No excuses. ■ ■ ■
While filling up recently at a full-service gas station, the attendant offered to check my oil. He came back and showed me the dip-
stick, which indicated that, “It looks like you’re a little low, sir.” It occurred to me that I had recently had an oil change so I got out of the car and we checked it again. Lo and behold... it was okay after all, he had not inserted the dip stick in all the way. A simple mistake, no big deal, but it got me thinking about how the same thing happens all the time in sales. When that happens, it is a big deal and can cost you valuable time. Let me explain. Your customers do not always tell you everything. It is your job to probe deeply enough to ensure that: 1. They need what you sell. 2. They need it in a reasonable period of time. 3. They are in a position to buy. This daily sales strategy has only one message but it is critical. You must have a system for properly prequalifying your customers before you invest time to help them. That system needs to be repetitive. How to do that? Have a
script that you use over and over with everyone. (You can print out two examples for buyers and sellers under Free Scripts on my website.) The prequalification script is possibly the most important conversation you will have in every sale. If they pass the prequalification test, the odds are much better that everything else will flow smoothly. Do not cut corners here...ask all the questions. The alternative is too costly! Make sure the dipstick is used properly. Insert fully! 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. www.brucekeithreREM sults.com.
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28 REM MAY 2012
THE REAL ESTATE ROOKIE
By Peter D. Wilton
have a friend who’s not only both honest and smart, but is consistently one of the top sellers in her brokerage. One day over coffee she let me in on a secret – she watched a particular television show every week, because she felt it helped her to sell real estate. I was surprised to learn that the show was not a real estate show, but The Mentalist, a detective show whose main character, based on the Amazing Kreskin, uses psychic power and ability to observe to solve crimes. “How does The Mentalist help in your real estate career?” I asked. The question itself reveals that I
The Mentalist and real estate don’t have any psychic ability. “Because,” she replied (a cream moustache had formed over her upper lip after a particularly large gulp of her flavoured coffee), “real estate involves 30 per cent the spoken word, and 70 per cent trying to either figure out what they’re really saying, or what they’re not saying at all, but revealing through their body language. The Mentalist is not just mindless entertainment, but provides me with tools/tricks that allow me to hear what my client isn’t saying.” I thought of another television show from my youth, “You must listen to what you can’t hear, grasshopper!” Fortunately, my friend did not pick up on my thoughts. I signalled with my hand for her to wipe away the moustache, and admit I was impressed that after a few minutes she picked up on it and wiped away the unflattering residue from her lip. “Can you give me some examples of body language and real estate?” I asked.
“Well,” she began, “you never enter a home or for that matter a room first. Always let the perspective buyer be the first to enter.” “I suppose that’s just good manners,” I hopefully noted. “No, you don’t get it! It’s nothing to do with good manners. This allows the buyer to get the full impact of the room without your large body blocking the view.” (Sensitivity to body image is apparently not covered in The Mentalist.) “So, while your potential buyer is taking in the view, you watch their shoulders. If they sag, well, then they’re not really interested. Also, watch their facial expressions.” “But, I’m behind them!” I interjected. I felt my shoulders sag – she didn’t pick up on this. She waved my comment away as though it was a fruit fly. “You have to get around in front of them and then watch their facial expression. It’s very important to watch their facial expression, because the truth may just be a momentary flicker of what they
really think, and you have to see that flicker – so get around to the side and watch for the flicker. “Oh,” she added, “don’t check your Blackberry when showing a home. That’s not body signals – that’s just common sense!” We finished our respective coffees and air kissed. She was then on her way, smartphone ringing with three simultaneous deals, while I pulled up my collar against the cold winter wind and watched. She confidently walked to her car, looking every inch the successful business woman that she is. As I drove away from that meeting, I was remembering the experiences I had 20 years earlier while working as a waiter. At first, I was the world’s worse waiter, but as time passed I found that I could accurately judge the dynamics of a new table long before I approached it. It was all in the person’s body language, and once I learned what to look for, the tips improved. So, I have started watching The Mentalist, because in real estate the
words left unsaid are often just as important as those that are spoken.
Tips: 1) Watch for body language, both yours and theirs. What message are you sending your client by crossing your arms? 2) Avoid sending off the signal that you are not listening. 3) Let the client walk into the home first. 4) Allow the client the time to imagine how the house would look if they owned it. 5) Watch your clients’ facial expressions and those knowing glances between spouses. 6) If you fold your arms, don’t tuck in your hands. This means you’re closed to information or that your hands are cold. 7) Look up from the Blackberry when showing a house. Peter D. Wilton is a sales representative with Sutton Sadie Moranis Realty in Toronto. 416-449-2020.
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30 REM MAY 2012
elene Morand has been named CEO of the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB). She has been provincial manager, professional practices, since December 2010 and will continue in that position while fulfilling her new mandate. Morand says she is ready to meet the new challenges arising from the significant changes that are taking place in the real estate industry. “I want to continue defending the interests of our members and promoting brokers as an essential component of a real estate transaction. Also, I would like to continue the actions already undertaken to make the QFREB a credible and essential reference for residential real estate statistics,” she says.
Morand received her law degree and became a member of the Barreau du Quebec in 1991. In 1998 she obtained her chartered real estate broker licence and managed a real estate agency for close to 10 years. Following this, she left field work behind in order to hold the position of syndic at the Organisme d’autoreglementation du courtage immobilier du Quebec (OACIQ), formerly the ACAIQ. At the same time, she taught real estate law, the drafting of contracts and the Real Estate Brokerage Act for various educational institutions. ■ ■ ■
The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Regional Leadership Conference and the Real Estate Institute of Canada
Annual Conference are coming to Calgary. The IREM conference is May 20 to June 1, followed by the REIC AGM June 2-3 at the Fairmont Palliser. At IREM, discussion topics include building successful chapters, providing valuable member services, attracting new members and enhancing leadership skills. Facilitating the conference are Jim Evans, 2012 IREM president; Beth Machen, 2012 IREM presidentelect; and Nancye Kirk, vice-president, Global Services at IREM. The IREM conference is followed by the REIC Annual Conference and AGM. “Exceptional learning opportunities, a wealth of resources, unique perspectives and the latest from industry experts make this year’s conference, Moving Mountains, a must attend for real estate practitioners,” says REIC. Early Bird Registration closes April 30. The 2012 REIC Pursuit of Excellence Awards Program Call for Entries has also been issued. Nominees and winners will be recognized at a special awards dinner at the conference. Visit www.reic.ca for more information. REIC announced that the fol-
LSTAR receives the OREA volunteerism award. From left, OREA pastpresident Barb Sukkau, president-elect Doug Pedlar, past-president Jack Lane, 2012 president Barb Whitney and OREA president Ronald Abraham.
lowing achieved new designations in January and February. The list includes previous and new designations: Amy Bautista CPM, REIC Toronto Chapter; Glenn Black FRI, REIC Nova Scotia Chapter; Gail Hare ARM, IREM Edmonton Chapter; Deborah Herlick CPM, ARM, REIC Saskatchewan Chapter; Lorna MacNeil ARM, IREM Edmonton Chapter; Baher Mikhail FRI, REIC Toronto Chapter; Anthony Romano ARM, REIC Toronto Chapter; Rob O’Connor CRF CRU, REIC Calgary Chapter; Manjit Saggu FRI CLO CRES, REIC Toronto Chapter; Jennifer Smith CRF CRU, REIC Calgary Chapter; and Brian Wilson ARM, REIC Saskatchewan Chapter. ■ ■ ■
The French Real Estate Federation (FNAIM), the largest professional real estate organization in Europe, has appointed North Vancouver Realtor Dean Lapointe as an international advisor. The appointment is the result of Lapointe’s contribution to the federation’s international “thinktank” over the past two years. Lapointe, who is the immedi-
ate past-president of FIABCICanada and currently a member of the FIABCI International Board of Directors, says, “Canada’s real estate profession has much to offer globally and it was a privilege to be acknowledged in this way.” ■ ■ ■
Eugen Klein is the 2012/2013 president of The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). Klein, with Royal LePage City Centre, has over 20 years experience in real estate investment and property management. He is directly involved in running his family’s holdings company that manages a diverse set of real estate investments. He has served at the regional, provincial and national levels within organized real estate in Canada. President-elect is Sandra Wyant, Re/Max LifeStyles Realty and the vice-president is Ray Harris, Re/Max Sabre Realty Group. The 2012 REBGV Board of Directors also includes: Rosario Setticasi, past-president, Sutton Group West Coast Realty; Rishi Dhir, Royal Pacific Realty (Kingsway); Ilan Heller, Sutton
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors Community Involvement Committee presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association recently, one of many charities that has benefited from the association’s year-long fundraising efforts.
REM MAY 2012 31
Group West Coast Realty; David Kearney, Re/Max Sabre Realty Group; J. Darcy McLeod, Re/Max Results Realty; Phil Moore, Re/Max Central; Dan Morrison, Sotheby’s International Realty; Howard Or, Sutton Group West Coast Realty; Jill Oudil, Coldwell Banker - Westburn Realty; Leon Prescesky, Sutton Group - Seafair Realty; Ashley Smith, Royal LePage Westside; Joan Warn, Macdonald Realty; and David Yang, Royal Pacific Realty Corp. ■ ■ ■
Rob Shaw of Vernon, B.C. is the new president of The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB). He was installed along with 11 directors representing the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap zones at OMREB’s Annual General Meeting recently. Shaw replaces outgoing president George Cwiklewski of Kelowna, who stays on as past-president. Shaw has been an active Realtor and member of OMREB since 1995, and has been a director for seven years, serving from 2003 through 2009, and returning in 2011.
A Vernon resident since 1993 and a Realtor for 17 years, he has worked with Royal LePage Downtown Vernon and its predecessors since 1995. Karen Singbeil of Re/Max at Mara Lake in Sicamous was installed as vice-president of the Board of Directors. An OMREB member for eight years, Singbeil has served as a director since 2009. She is an associate broker and has been a Realtor for 16 years (1996). The other members of the board are: Kent Jorgenson (Re/Max Kelowna – Central Zone); Scott Mayne (Points West Realty Group, Kelowna – Central Zone); Cliff Shillington (Re/Max Kelowna – Central Zone); Tanis Read (Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty – Central Zone); Christopher Miller (Royal LePage Kelowna – Central Zone); Darcy Griffiths (Re/Max Vernon – North Zone); Rorie Holton (Royal LePage Downtown Realty, Vernon – North Zone); Sharon Dahl (Century 21 Executives, Enderby – North Zone); and Steve Lewis (Shirley Real Estate, Salmon Arm – Shuswap Zone). ■ ■ ■
A new website that focuses on consumer privacy issues is the latest tool the Toronto Real Estate Board is using in its battle against the federal Competition Bureau. The website at www.ProtectYour Privacy.ca was launched the same day TREB released a survey that says, “The vast majority of Ontarians clearly expressed their opposition to abandoning the privacy safeguards of the current MLS system.” TREB says the Competition Bureau is “taking action that would force TREB to abandon the safeguards in the MLS system and make personal information publicly available on the Internet, threatening the privacy and safety of GTA consumers.” The Angus Reid Vision Critical poll says: • 75 per cent of Ontarians believe that personal information such as name and final sale price should be kept confidential by Realtors. • 70 per cent of homeowners do not want their personal contact information released to the public. • 67 per cent of Ontarians oppose any measure to make personal contact information such as name
and address available to others who are not subject to a professional code of conduct. “The results of this poll are overwhelming,” says TREB president Richard Silver in a news release. “TREB strongly believes that Realtors have an obligation to protect consumers’ personal information. That’s why TREB and Realtor members are fighting for the privacy rights of consumers.” Last year the Competition Bureau filed a complaint with the Competition Tribunal, stating that TREB’s VOW policy would “thwart the development of new, innovative and efficient methods of providing real estate brokerage services using the Internet.” The tribunal hearings are scheduled to be heard in September. TREB says if the Competition Commissioner is successful in getting the complaint upheld, “consumers’ private information, which is currently protected on our secure MLS system, would become freely available on the Internet, including the seller’s name and address, property floor plans, sensitive property access information, negotiated sale price and mortgage details.” ■ ■ ■
The Calgary Real Estate Board’s Charitable Foundation contributed $25,000 to the Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society as part of its 25 for 25 program. The society provides a continuum of services for individuals impacted by family violence. Its vision is, “Nurturing Families, Living in Peace” and the mission is to provide emergency shelter and outreach services to women and children affected by family violence. Tom Scott, president of the CREB Charitable Foundation, says: “We are giving $25,000 to 25 local charities and non-profit organizations in celebration of our Realtor members’ 25 years of investing in community, people and families. It’s more than that, we’re investing in hope.” ■ ■ ■
The CREB Commercial department is the recipient of the 2012 Canadian Commercial Council Merit Award for excellence in member programs and services. “The Calgary board has long been a leader in the delivery of serContinued on page 32
Above: The Executive Committee of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s Central Zone presents $5,000 to Susan Steen, executive director of Central Okanagan Hospice Association. From left: Deborah Moore, Joel Sherlock, Anthony Bastiaanssen, Steen (front), Jesse East (back), Brad Bredin, Zone chair Sheryl Lobsinger (front), Michael Craddock (back), Kevin Philippot and Barret Watson.
Moncton-area Realtors deliver bundles of daffodils for the Canadian Cancer Society.
32 REM MAY 2012
Boards and Associations Continued from page 31
vices to their commercial members and we are pleased to once again be able to recognize the board for their long standing accomplishments,” says Allan Corbett, chair, Canadian Commercial Council of Realtors. CREB Commercial was recognized for its commercial education programs, events and initiatives in 2011. Its list of accomplishments includes launching a website for members that houses relevant industry news and member resources; hosting more than 15 speakers in a series on important industry issues and topics; providing new and enhanced service providers; hosting a nationally recognized brownfield redevelopment workshop; and successfully bidding to host the 2012 Canadian Commercial Council (CCC) Forum in October 2012. ■ ■ ■
The CREB Political Action Committee (PAC) is taking an active role on contentious real estate issues, including air quality standards and the Condominium Property Act, in the upcoming provincial election. Currently, there are no consistent remediation standards in place for air quality in former growop homes. This lack of standardization leaves a large gap in the remediation of properties formally used as drug operations and consequently the protection and certainty offered to consumers, says CREBPAC. The Condominium Property Act, while comprehensive, is not effective in achieving compliance, it says. Often, condo documents are unavailable, outdated or incomplete during the buying and selling process. CREB PAC is advocating that the requirements of the act be enforced and compliance ensured. Bob Jablonski, CREB president, says consumers need to have a voice in issues concerning them. CREB PAC is alerting consumers about issues and pending legislative changes while also informing them of what political parties and leaders are discussing. ■ ■ ■
The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) received the award for volun-
teerism at the Ontario Real Estate Association’s 2012 Leadership Conference. The award recognizes LSTAR for its exceptional efforts in the area of Leadership and Volunteer Development. Receiving the award of behalf of LSTAR was 2012 president Barb Whitney, past-president Jack Lane and president-elect Doug Pedlar. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our association,” says Whitney. “That’s why we focus on providing our volunteers with as many opportunities to grow and develop their leadership potential as we can. It’s also the reason why LSTAR is so widely regarded as a leader – and not just in Ontario, but across the country.” ■ ■ ■
The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) recently approved $260,000 in community investment projects. Notable projects approved for funding include: • $60,000 to Land Stewardship Centre of Canada to promote the Green Acreages Guide for consumers and Realtors • $90,000 to The Pembina Institute to pilot the Energy Efficiency Upgrade Program through the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance • $50,000 to the Realtors Community Foundation for Habitat for Humanity • $60,000 to AREF for its grantee communication support strategy and to continue the Thought Leaders program ■ ■ ■
Each year the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of Realtors Community Involvement Committee selects a local charity or charities to assist with fundraising for a wide variety of causes. In 2011, Realtor volunteers, members and staff donated hundreds of volunteer hours to raise money for The Learning Disabilities Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, and Peterborough and Five Counties Children’s Centre. Fundraisers held throughout the year as well as PKAR’s annual Charity Golf Tournament and Past Presidents Night Awards Auction yielded $14,530. The Realtors Care Foundation donated $1,266 each for five Peterborough charities – Casa De Angelae, Community Care Peterborough, Down Syndrome Association, Five Counties Children’s Centre and the Youth Emergency Shelter for a total of $6,300.
a year with so much uncertainty – especially when the need for financial assistance is so great. It is good to see that as a community we are still able to lend a hand to those less fortunate,” says Deborah Moore, who manages the charities and Realtors Care portfolio. ■ ■ ■
For more than 18 years, Moncton-area Realtors have been delivering bundles of daffodils for the Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil of Hope campaign. This
year more than 30 Realtors braved a late winter storm to hit the streets and deliver over 3,600 bundles to local businesses. Jacques LeBlanc of the Canadian Cancer Society says, “Without the Realtors’ help we would not get this done. Having 15 to 20 of them waiting for me to open the door in the morning shows their commitment to the cause.” The one-day event helped raise over $25,000 for the Canadian REM Cancer Society.
■ ■ ■
The members of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s Central Zone have raised $10,000 to benefit the local hospice and women’s shelter. The Central Zone Committee recently donated $5,000 each to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association and to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. The donations are the result of fundraising efforts of the Realtors of OMREB’s Central Zone during the 2011 Christmas luncheon and silent auction. “We consider our local fundraising efforts a great success in
Sara Hill, president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors (KWAR) recently presented The Food Bank of Waterloo Region Board president Michael Dye and executive director Wendi Campbell with a cheque for $6,950. Hill says the gift represents the association’s largest single donation to The Food Bank yet. KWAR has been supporting the food bank for 15 years.
The Greater Moncton RealtorsCare curling team supported the 5th Annual SPCA Curling Spiel by being the top fundraisers of the event. The team, disguised as veterinarians, came in fourth in the bonspiel and collected over $900 to help the animals of the Moncton SPCA. From left: Chris Constantine, past-president; Kerry Rakuson, EO; Shane MacPherson, Realtor; and Vicki Kurkowski, director.
The Realtors Community Foundation – Edmonton & Area raised more than $56,000 through the We Care Program to give back to Edmonton and area charities. We Care offers Realtors the opportunity to donate a small portion of each real estate transaction to their foundation. Above, executive director Jill Didow presents a cheque to E4C’s Elizabeth House, one of 41 charities the foundation supported in 2011, with over $300,000 in total donations.
34 REM MAY 2012
Why your client should give you a referral
By Peter Sardelis
hy do you deserve a referral from your client? Because if you really are good, others should know about you. We’ve all heard stories about bad real estate experiences in either the selling or buying process. If your client just had a good experience, by referring you, not only are they complimenting you but they are preventing the likelihood of someone else having a bad experience. Headlines today talk about how the real estate industry is changing and how the consumer can choose the type of service they want without having to pay the exorbitant fees a Realtor charges. This is not new – the consumer has always had choices. But now with the speed of the Internet, an active real estate market and the Competition Bureau’s lawsuit settlement, this focus is in the forefront. The challenge a majority of Realtors face is they don’t know how to objectively handle this and are hoping that in time, it will just go away. A consumer survey conducted by the Ontario Real Estate Association showed that most consumers don’t fully understand the expertise and skills Realtors provide. So why would Realtors expect consumers to know what they do when they can’t effectively communicate it? Yes, the real estate industry is changing. This does not mean that fees for service get cheaper and cheaper. It means that the top
Realtors have prepared themselves on how to handle the most common objections. Maybe it’s the consumer only wanting an MLS posting, the seller wanting to sell on their own because they believe there is not much to it, or it is pricing or commission. Whatever it is, top Realtors handle these objections in a way that is understandable to potential clients. They differentiate themselves from others and know how to effectively communicate these benefits. It’s been said that cheap is never cheap enough, and that value always has a customer. There are many good reasons why your client should give you a referral, but the bottom line is that you know more than they do, you are better connected than they are and you are better negotiators than they are. You should truly want your clents’ experiences to be memorable (in a good way), so they will refer you again and again. To be clear, I am talking about true experts, the really good Realtors who add value, who know what their unique service proposition is and can explain this benefit to their clients. I don’t mean the ones who are licensed and only do a few transactions a year and know every excuse why their client’s homes are not selling. The best Realtors are essentially consultants because it is their advice, expertise, marketing, negotiating and people skills that add great value. Tell your client that when they find a Realtor who shows these industry-learned traits, they should not keep you just for themselves. Their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues will be glad they didn’t. Peter Sardelis CCIM is a broker at Century 21 Capital Realty in Ottawa. He is a former director of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, The Ontario Real Estate Association and CREA. Email peter.sardelis@centuREM ry21.ca.
36 REM MAY 2012
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ack when my main website was still active (before two webhosts went broke on me), one of my most popular columns posted there was a riff on email spams. You’ve probably received missives like these yourself over the years. This scam…uhh...I mean spam has pretty much been replaced by Viagra and Canadian pharmacy ads now. So, what the heck – let’s see if it still has some legs, with a slight bit of variation in the preamble to make it relevant for this audience. Email is a wonderful thing, allowing communication from friends and family all around the world. It can also be a terrific tool for marketing your real estate business. Occasionally though, your own in-box just might receive a puzzling communication from somewhere out there in the world, a virtual plague that has come to be known as spam: Dearest Kind Friend, My name is Prince Pep See Kollah, first and most great son of His Majesty King Koh Ka Kollah. We are emirates of the Carbon Nation, wealthy thanks to vast supplies of Styrofoam peanuts, used mainly in your North American electronic component packaging. They are also somewhat delightful barbecued. You may well wonder why I, a great and wealthy man, may be sending you this message, perhaps entirely clearly out of the blues. Let me assure you that you have come highly recommended to me and my father, as we have need of your special expertises. However, this must remain ENTIRELY CONFIDENTIAL! You should not speak of this request to any living person, be they related, or even at your fine North American McDonald restaurants. I would especially decide you not inform family members with any sort of formal
education of schooling. Or Spidey senses. Friendly person, our country stands at a grave crisis. Forces lurk that perspire to halt production of our Styrofoam peanuts, perhaps plunging this great nation into irreversible chaos and misfortune. I am not at liberty to explain how this could come to be, but you must trust me, my friend, as I am a very honest and physically agile man. Dearest loving companion, we have decided along with our treasurer that we could possible safely deposit US$45 million (FORTYFIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) into your own bank account, until this madness ends. Naturally you would be entitled to any interest on these humble funds, and my father and I would gladly share US$5 million (FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) with you as a beneficiary contractor to steward this temporary assistance. Carbon Nation salutes you, my North American hope, as you are a kind and selfless guardian of peoples. We envy your flawless antelopes! You must forward to me immediately upon receipt of this request several assisting matters: a) Your bank information, for us ONLY to deposit this money. And your PIN, as we must view this account through our local ATM machineries. b) Your VISA card number and expiry date, as we will also gladly pay the balance off for you once this matter has settled. c) Accurate contact information for Mr. Justin Bieber. He is truly the new Justin of Timberlake! Best of wishes, Prince Pep See Kollah Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at www.nonsenseandstuff.com, or contact him at REM ThatDanGuy@shaw.ca.
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Century 21 Century 21 Percy Fulton in Toronto was recently named the No. 1 office worldwide in the Century 21 System based on sales production in 2011. The company, which has been the No. 1 office in Canada since 1990, was honoured at the Century 21 Global Conference in New Orleans. “This is a company award, a credit to our agents’ dedication to their business and to their clients,” says Clare Fulton, broker/owner of the company. “Working hard and all our training and education has allowed our agents to be up-to-date with new trends, strategies and technologies, which gives them the
ability to provide the best possible service to their clients.” Don Lawby, president and COO of Century 21 Canada says, “This office has been our No.1 gross closed commission office in Canada for 22 consecutive years. I can’t think of anything that demonstrates consistency better in this industry than this organization.” Century 21 Percy Fulton was founded in 1977 by Clare Fulton’s father, Percy. Clare Fulton overtook ownership of the company in 1988. Twenty per cent of the current staff was with the organization when it was first awarded No.1 status 22 years ago. The brokerage has four offices in the Greater Toronto Area.
Recognizing Century 21 Percy Fulton’s No. 1 world-wide ranking, from left: Greg Sexton, SVP brokerage services, Century 21; Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 21; Clare Fulton, owner, Century 21 Percy Fulton; Linda Sebastian, manager, Century 21 Percy Fulton; Bev Thorne, CMO, Century 21 and Mark Foreman, SVP operations, Century 21 Real Estate.
Several Canadians were honoured when Re/Max International paid tribute to its world-wide top producers and other honourees recently in Las Vegas. Canadians named to the network’s highest career award level, the Circle of Legends, were: Ron Baliski, Re/Max Saskatoon East, Saskatoon; Randy Dyck, Re/Max Little Oak Realty, Abbotsford, B.C.; Paul Eviston, Re/Max Select Properties, Vancouver; Alan Gee, Re/Max Real Estate Centre, Edmonton; Doris Gee, Re/Max Central, Burnaby, B.C.; Derek Gillette, Re/Max of Nanaimo, Nanaimo, B.C.; Andrea Kavanagh, Re/Max Select Properties, Vancouver; Austin Kay, Re/Max Westcoast, Richmond, B.C.; Phil Moore, Re/Max Central, Burnaby, B.C.; Ron Neal, Re/Max Alliance, Victoria; Denis Pelletier, Re/Max Immo-Contact, Duvernay Laval, Que.; Colleen Pickett, Re/Max Aboutowne Realty, Oakville; Bill Renaud, Re/Max Metro-City Realty, Ottawa; Glen Sytnyk, Re/Max Performance Realty, Winnipeg;
Federico Torres, Re/Max Platine, Brossard, Que.; and Anna Turner, Re/Max Metro-City Realty, Ottawa. Shami Sandhu, Re/Max River City Realty, Edmonton, was honoured as Broker/Owner of the Year – Single Office, while Larry Stewart, Re/Max Saskatoon, Saskatoon was recognized as Broker/Owner of the Year – Multi Office Network. Broker/Manager of the Year honours went to Gayle Kossaber, Re/Max All Points, Coquitlam, B.C. Two franchise organizations received the Distinguished Service Award for loyal and dedicated service. Broker/owners Richard and Alex Pilarski at Re/Max Realtron Realty in Toronto and Broker/owners Ken McLaughlin and Debra Bain of Re/Max Hallmark Realty in Toronto were presented with awards that acknowledge the considerable contributions both franchises have made “in the company’s many achievements over the years.” Re/Max Realtron was also presented with an award for
Largest Multi-Office Network in Canada. Re/Max United Mount Pearl in Newfoundland topped Transactions in a Small Market Canada, with broker/owner Jim Burton on hand to accept the award. Re/Max Park Place in Sydney, N.S. earned the award for Top Net Gain in Associates (Small Market) - Canada, which was presented to broker/owner Valarie Sampson. Re/Max Premier, in Vaughan, Ont., secured Top Net Gain in Associates - Metro Market Worldwide. The award was accepted by broker/owner Gabriel Bianchi.
New Brunswick Real Estate Association Harold Coughlan, a Saint John Realtor with over 45 years in the real estate industry, was the recipient of this year’s Dave Hawkins Award from the New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA). The award is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Continued on page 40
Debra Bain and Ken McLaughlin
Lynn Power, business development representative for CMHC, presents Sheldon Zamick with his award.
Alex and Richard Pilarski
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40 REM MAY 2012
And the honour goes to... Continued from page 38
real estate industry in New Brunswick. Coughlan has been involved in organized real estate for more than 30 years, beginning as a director of the Saint John Real Estate Board in 1970. He has been a teacher, course developer, director, president and committee chair and is currently the longest-serving member of the Saint John Real Estate Board. Coughlan is an associate broker with Century 21 River Valley Realty. “Harold is an amazing person who has a tremendous passion for the industry,” says NBREA president Paul Burns. “He has been a pioneer for real estate in New Brunswick and gives back to the community through his extensive volunteer work.” Beyond his professional commitments, Coughlan is still heavily involved in his community. He has served on boards and committees for financial institutions, church groups, low-income seniors groups, environmental and charitable groups.
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KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR EQUITY Market Connections Inc.® 94 Scarsdale Road Toronto, ON M3B 2R7 Tel: (800) 387 387-6058 6058 Fax: (800) 800-7093 email@example.com
As a homeowner, you expect, as you continue to pay your mortgage every month, that you are building value in your home. Is it possible to lose equity in a property? Yes, and as with anything, there will be factors that are both within, and outside of your control.
If you’re thinking of making a move, or are just curious as to real estate trends in your area, please feel free to call at any time. It’s always good to hear from you!
What’s outside of your control: The ﬁnancial markets. The market goes up and down, but remember, even if you feel your property is undervalued due to economic conditions, then so may the home you aspire to move up into. Ask your real estate representative about opportunities in today’s market.
All the best,
Greetings! You’re receiving this newsletter with hopes that you ﬁnd it informative and entertaining.
Area demographics. Before committing to a property, be sure to ask your real estate representative about the area, and which direction it may be heading.
What’s within your control: Home maintenance. Stay on top of home repairs. Replace your worn siding or leaky roof, for example, to help maintain your home’s value.
Home renovations. Some renovations will ensure a return on your investment, and more. Others may actually cause you to lose equity. Ask your real estate representative which home improvements typically make ﬁnancial sense.
Home equity loans. Taking equity out of your home to potentially add equity back into it through a kitchen renovation, for example, might make sense. Other borrowing reasons may not. Your real estate representative can tell you what we have seen work in today’s marketplace.
Please call today for more home equity insight in relation to today’s real estate market! CNSF
Volume 8, Issue 4
Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board
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Recognized for giving back to her community, Rochelle Dale of Re/Max Shuswap is the recipient of the Realtors Care Award for the Shuswap Zone of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB). Dale has served for many years on the minor hockey board. She sat for two years as treasurer and is now the risk manager, looking after safety issues, criminal checks and ongoing credentials. The board says she worked tirelessly last March as part of the host committee for the 2011 Midget Provincial Hockey Championships, which proved to be huge success – not only for Minor Hockey but for the community at large. She has also been a junior hockey billet for 10 years, and is a past chair of her Parent Advisory Committee at Bastion Elementary School. “Rochelle is always looking for new ways to give back to her community and is always available to help, whether it is to answer phones for the B.C. Childrens’ Hospital Radiothon, helping out
with the Re/Max balloon at the Relay for Life, or organizing the Yard Sale for a Cure at her local Re/Max office,” says the board in a news release.
Manitoba Real Estate Association Winnipeg’s Sheldon Zamick’s overriding desire is to “help others help themselves, so they can then do wonderful things.” The recipient of this year’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Distinguished Realtor Award has worked diligently over the years supporting many different charitable organizations. Zamick received the award at the annual general meeting of the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) recently. He is an alternate broker at Sutton Group – Kilkenny and has been a WinnipegRealtors director and member of the MREA since 1986. He has lent his time to an extensive number of organizations over the years including Habitat for Humanity, the Winnipeg Humane Society, the United Way of Winnipeg, St. Amant Centre and the Charleswood Lions Seniors Centre. He currently sits on the board of governors for the MREA Shelter Foundation and is the chair for the national Realtor campaign for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which has so far raised almost $1.7 million of its target goal of $2 million. Over the years, Zamick has also helped raise over $1 million for the CNIB to support people with vision loss in Manitoba.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate Melissa Rivers of Coldwell Banker All Points Festival Realty Group in Goderich, Ont. has been named the recipient of Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s prestigious Preserving the Trust Award. The international annual award is presented annually to an outstanding individual within the Coldwell Banker system who has championed the cause of equal opportunity and independence for those in need of housing assistance or expertise. Rivers was singled out for this award from among 80,000 Coldwell Banker agents worldwide. “Melissa has been an outstand-
ing example of dedication to her community,” says John Geha, president of Coldwell Banker Canada. “She has tirelessly devoted herself to helping those in need for many years, most recently leading efforts to help rebuild the town of Goderich after it was devastated by a tornado in 2011.” Rivers is the president and founder of All-Points Festival Realty, Brokerage Charitable Fund, which provides relief to the sick by granting a wish to children or parents with a life-threatening illness. The fund also provides financial assistance to needy persons with a life-threatening illness for medicine, treatment, food, housing, travel or other necessities. In other Coldwell Banker news, a recent survey from online career community CareerBliss identifies Coldwell Banker Real Estate CEO Jim Gillespie as one of the 10 most admired CEOs across 3,400 companies. Gillespie was chosen from an analysis of more than 10,000 respondents who graded vision and leadership. He was the only representative from the real estate industry on the top 10 list. He was joined in the top 10 list by CEOs from companies such as Amazon, FedEx and Qualcomm. “I’ve worked in different positions in the Coldwell Banker brand for 35 years in real estate, and began as an agent myself,” says Gillespie. “Receiving an honour like this, from our network of trusted agents and brokers across the globe, humbles me because I have stood in their shoes, and it motivates me to do the best job that I possibly can.”
Soroptimist International Darlis Bachusky, a Realtor with Royal LePage Network Realty in Red Deer, Alta., is the recipient of the 2012 Ruby Award through the Soroptimist International of Central Alberta. The award is named after the charity’s first president, Ruby Lee Minar, and honours women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls in the community. Bachusky was honoured for her contributions to the local community and her passion to work on behalf of victims of domestic abuse. She is an ambassador for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and a long-time supporter. REM
REM MAY 2012 41
Shifting gears AS I SEE IT FROM MY DESK
By Stan Albert
n an old fable, a frog and a scorpion are watching their homes being washed away by a torrential flood. The scorpion, spying a safe haven on dry land across from the raging river, asks the frog for a ride to the other side. As the frog well knows, the scorpion will sting him. “But you’ll sting me after I give you a ride to the other side!” “No way,” says the scorpion. “If you do me this life-saving favour, I will not sting you, I promise!” As the frog and his rider get to the high ground, the scorpion, true to form, stings the frog. “But you said that you’d promise not to sting me,” cried the frog. “Ah, but my true nature is that I just couldn’t resist!” That classic fable came to mind as I prepared some ideas to present to my Monday Brown Bag Lunch discussions. As a preamble to the discussion with a dozen plus agents, mostly new with a few seasoned agents sprinkled through the class. I proceeded to draw a picture of my car’s gear selector and my cruise control. I asked what gear of their real estate career they were at this very hour. The idea of presenting this to the group came to me as I was driving to the office. I wondered how many times I’ve used the Cruise, Dl or D2 selections. The class was somewhat amused by what I was saying. Most replied that they thought they were in “neutral” right now in their careers. Certain things we all teach as trainers were not coming together as they’d hoped they would be. It was suggested by our broker of record, who happened to
drop by and pitch in, that they were not tapping into their database often enough and talking about the market with clients. Our guest presenter echoed those remarks. We get into our cars and head for the office or to an appointment nearly every day. But are we in a “cruise control” mindset? Do we have a planned day of action? Are we researching the market on a daily basis? Do we get to those new condo openings or subdivision openings regularly? Do we get to agents’ open houses? All of the above help you get to your destination. Last month I talked about offering phenomenal service. Do you believe that by shifting gears, to maybe Dl – overdrive – you’ll make a difference in someone’s life and of course, add to your bank account? A recent New York Times article by Kevin Delaney, New Grooves for Creature of Habit, quotes Christopher Chabris, a psychology professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.:
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“The brain has an element of neutral plasticity, which enables the brain to eventually reshape the grooves of behaviour. Like a piece of software stuck in permanent beta, it has its share of bugs, but its plasticity allows for frequent updates. “Good for rats and people,” Delaney says. “But not for scorpions.” So are you stuck in neutral or overdrive, or are you on cruise control? Have a great spring! As I go forward to my 41st year in the business on May 8, I hope I’ve made some difference in your career. Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stan is now celebrating 40 years as an active real estate professional. REM
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Good Works J
uliana Tibbet, 56, and Mary Thomson, 72, prove that age is no obstacle to a determined spirit. The Sutton Group - Select sales reps in London, Ont. will participate in the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour, a ride from Grand Bend to the University of Western Ontario in London for a night of festivities, before cycling back to Grand Bend the following day. They invite everyone to join them on this 150-km journey or consider making a donation. Last summer Tibbet completed the 200-km Ride to Conquer Cancer from Toronto to Niagara Falls. As a moderately active individual, she began training months in advance for the mainly uphill ride. “To me, it was like climbing Everest,” she says. She raised $3,000 for that ride and proceeds benefited the Cancer Research Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Her fundraising goal for this summer’s MS Bike Tour is $1,000. This will be Thomson’s eighth time participating in the event. “I’ll be about the oldest female rider this year,” she says. “I really enjoy doing this ride. It is always very well organized with over 1,000 participants. The volunteers are amazing. They have water and healthy snacks about every 10 miles.” Her fundraising goal this year is $7,000. The Sutton team also includes Heather Holden and the sales reps’ families and friends. The event will take place July 28 and 29. ■ ■ ■
Prudential Real Estate’s Canadian affiliates raised $162,934 in 2011, an 18 per cent increase over 2010, benefiting The Sunshine Kids Foundation.
Funds helped to send kids with cancer on various trips across North America and were donated to Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto; IWK, Halifax; CHEO, Ottawa; and B.C. Children’s Hospital, Vancouver. The top five fundraising affiliates were: Prudential Sussex Realty, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Sunshine Coast, B.C., $39,133; Prudential Grand Valley Realty, Cambridge and Kitchener, Ont., $35,621; Prudential Property Specialists, Halifax, $29,483; Prudential Achievers Realty, Ajax, Ont., $25,150; and Prudential Ronan Realty, Tottenham, Alliston, Orangeville, Barrie and Wasaga Beach, Ont., $20,000.
government and private funding for housing and health care are at the top of his agenda for the near future. “Our regional government tells us there is inadequate funding available to address the problem,” says David. “It is not easy to understand how that can be true considering the ‘wealth’ of the community at large. Government economic issues clearly go well beyond the borders of Halton but with our per capita wealth, it seems to me the community could be encouraged to ‘step up’.” David also runs a family support group in Burlington. ■ ■ ■
The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation has announced its fundraising total for 2011: a record-setting $2 million was raised to support Canadian women’s shelters across Canada and to end family violence. Now in its 14th year, the foundation supports close to 200 shelters across the country, helping more than 30,000 women and children annually. Since its inception in 1999, it has raised more than $14 million.
Coast Realty Group in Nanaimo, B.C. announced a three-year, $30,000 commitment to Habitat for Humanity MidVancouver Island (HFHMVI) Raise the Roof. The funds will go towards building roofs on three HFHMVI duplexes in the next three years, which will empower six families with home ownership. The funds for Raise the Roof are generated by donations from close to 100 Coast Realty Group - Nanaimo Realtors who contribute to a charity fund. Money will also be raised through various events throughout the year. “Habitat for Humanity MidVancouver Island is a great fit for Coast Realty Group and our Realtors connected personally with the cause of helping families locally to get a positive move forward into their first home,” says Kathy White, managing broker.
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In the upscale community of Halton Hills, Ont. there are people with mental health issues living in cars, even during dangerously cold winter weather. That is part of the reason Rick David felt compelled to volunteer his time as a board member for both Support & Housing Halton (SHH) and Affordable Housing Halton. Previously he served as board chair of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. The sales rep from Sutton Group - About Town Realty says encouraging
Ian Finch, a sales rep with Royal LePage ProAlliance in Quinte, Ont. took to the water recently on a balmy March day. His stunt was designed to promote the brokerage’s involvement in the upcoming Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, which coincides with the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation National Garage Sale for Shelter on May 12. All monies raised will be donated to the Three Oaks women’s shelter through the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
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Sutton Group - Incentive Realty in Barrie, Ont. has once again made a sizeable donation to the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Care Centre, a division of the Royal Victoria Hospital. In March, Broker Bill Kindou presented a cheque for $6,000 to the cancer centre, bringing the nine-year total to $45,000. The money was raised through a golf tournament and a community barbecue. More than 180 people, including sales reps from all six branches of Sutton Group - Incentive Realty, contributed to this year’s fundraising efforts.
From left: Nanimo Mayor John Ruttan; Kathy White and Ron Williams, managing brokers, Coast Realty Group; and Teresa Pring, executive director, Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.
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Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty in Mississauga, Ont. hosted a Spring Ceilidh for Shelter recently in Toronto. Organized by brokers/owners Alex Ocsai and Gloria Riddall, the evening featured Irish dancers, Sandy MacIntyre and the Steeped in Tradition Band, live and silent auctions and a four-course prime rib dinner. Phil Soper, CEO at Royal LePage Canada, packed the dance floor when he accompanied the band for a few songs with his guitar. Along with all the fun, $20,000 was raised for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation in support of local women’s shelters. REM
From left: Alex Ocsai and Gloria Riddal, broker-owners with Royal LePage Meadowtowne; Shanan Spencer-Brown, executive director, Royal LePage Shelter Foundation; and Phil Soper, CEO, Royal LePage.
Bill Kindou of Sutton Group – Incentive Realty in Barrie holds the cheque with office administrator Caroline Aiello.
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44 REM MAY 2012
GREEN REAL ESTATE
By Elden Freeman
ay is one of those months that we just naturally warm up to. Whatâ€™s not to like? The promise of spring is in the air, milder temperatures have debuted and buds and blossoms are rousing from their long winterâ€™s sleep. Heck, even Motherâ€™s Day is reserved for that much-loved month. Itâ€™s no coincidence that itâ€™s also a busy and popular month for real estate, in part because a propertyâ€™s outdoor features look best in spring. So as we guide buyers and sellers through the ins and outs of the real estate market, why not use the opportunity to enlighten consumers? Consider sharing your know-how about how to keep your
Usher in spring by sparing water grounds and gardens looking beautiful while conserving water. Canadians are not very good at reducing our water footprint, probably because we mistakenly think our water supply is limitless. At up to 350 litres a day per person, we are the second-largest water consumers behind the United States. Some European and Asian countries use less than half of that amount. So letâ€™s look at some ways to reduce our water usage. During the growing season, water use can increase by as much as 50 per cent. And thatâ€™s no wonder given that 50 per cent of the water applied to lawns is lost due to evaporation or run-off thanks to over-watering. Generally, your lawn only needs about one inch of water weekly. Never water in the middle of the day. Try to water in the early morning to prevent water loss due to evaporation. If you live in a hot and dry climate, watering in the evening is best. If youâ€™re using outdoor taps to water your lawn and garden, consider installing timers. Buy sprin-
klers that suit the shape and size of your lawn to avoid the needless watering of driveways, sidewalks and walkways. Since oscillating sprinklers lose as much as half of what they emit through evaporation, buy sprinklers that project water in a flat pattern. Drip irrigation systems that apply water only to the roots are the most efficient â€“ and the most inexpensive â€“ alternative. Know that the water you use doesnâ€™t have to come out of a tap. A rain barrel, which captures and stores rain water, can be used as a source of irrigation water. Rain barrels are becoming increasingly popular because the water is free, itâ€™s softer and chlorine-free and, perhaps best of all, itâ€™s a huge boost to the environment because it reduces the energy used by municipalities to treat and pump potable water and sewage. Rain water is also great to use for washing your car, which can save about 300 litres of tap water. Its natural softness even makes the job easier than with conventional
tap water. Consider using it for cleaning your homeâ€™s exterior, driveways and walkways. Naturally warmed rainwater is great for bathing your dog on a hot sunny day. Some municipalities offer rain barrels at a reduced cost. Get into the habit of sweeping rather than washing to clean your porch, driveway or sidewalk. Consider letting your grass grow longer. Taller grass shades plant roots and holds soil moisture better than closely clipped grass. Try to keep your blades at least three inches long during the growing season. Choose plants, shrubs and flowers that are native to your area. The thinking goes that if you select indigenous greenery for your lawns and gardens, the plants will more successfully thrive on what Mother Nature provides. Use mulch to help reduce water evaporation around trees and shrubs. You may want to reconsider the size of your lawn. Lush green yards look pretty but come at a high cost to your pocketbook and to the
environment. In general, lawn areas should not exceed what is useful for play and social activities, and should be limited to the backyard where the family spends the majority of its time. Consider replacing lawn with gravel or other low-maintenance landscaping materials. Since the worldâ€™s fresh-water supply is limited, itâ€™s important that we do what we can when it comes to sparing our water supply. Cutting back or changing old habits goes a long way in helping preserve this often under-valued and life-giving resource. The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) provides a Greenbroker and Greenagent certification program to Realtors across Canada. To get more information or to sign up for a course, visit www.nagab.org. Elden Freeman M.E.S., AGB, broker is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization 1-817524-9494; Email email@example.com.
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T R A D E S H O W F E AT U R E S O V E R 2 0 0 E X H I B I T O R S !
REM MAY 2012 45
METES & BOUNDS
By Marty Douglas
re you like me? Let me start over again in case I may have insulted both readers of my column. A recent news headline confirmed Ottawa is considering more revisions to its anti-money laundering and counter terrorist rules and, despite daily medication, I could feel my blood pressure rising. At the thought of even more paper work and record keeping resulting in increased cost and time, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the proud history of Realtor compliance with FINTRAC. Years of effort by polite Canadians, not to mention the stress of being constantly alert during those riveting on-line courses, and what do we have to show for it? Not one ‘FIN’ caught or even thwarted in his or her attempt to launder lucre or commit acts of terror in the true north strong and free. Of course, if there had been successes, we wouldn’t have the required “need to know” to be made aware of the fruits of our labour. And to think, I was just about to update my FINTRAC compliance manual. I actually went to the CREA portal in RealtorLink and clicked on the shiny new button labelled Compliance Centre and was denied access. That’s my excuse and I think it’s a quality one. The thought of more identity documents from referring entities, more large cash transaction requirements and increased documentation of reasonable measures bubbled away in my veins and I was forced to consider desperate measures. Why? Because REM’s faithful readers would expect it. Never mind, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus likely would be one of the hewers of hemp – if He were allowed into the country at all under the financial guidelines for
Taking heart REAL ESTATE MANAGER from Nickelback immigrants. And the thought of large cash transactions – well, remember His temper tantrum with the money launderers in the temple. Making a scene is just not the Canadian way. Unless, of course, the Stanley Cup is involved. The proper question is, “What would Marty do?” One word answer. Nickelback. Okay, four words if you include the album title, Here and Now. First challenge – my lyric deciphering abilities. I defy any aging boomer to listen to Nickelback and grasp all of the words. I still think Elvis was singing, “You ain’t
I couldn’t help but reflect upon the proud history of Realtor compliance with FINTRAC. nothing but a hand towel, dryin’ all the time.” And I’m usually on the road when I’m listening to music and since I know cell phone use is illegal, I’m darn sure writing notes falls into the same category. Liner notes. (You actually keep the CD package after the CD goes in the car? And you know where you put it? Welcome to my ADD world.) Liner notes bailed me out. (And by the way, if you love Elton John and Leon Russell’s album The Union, you’ll know how frustrating the lack of lyrics in the liner notes is. I had to Google to find the connection between Ahab and a white whale.) Back to Nickelback. Four songs from the album show us how to protest in a uniquely Canadian way. The lyrics are by Chad and Mike Kroger, Joey Moi
and Ryan Peake. From This Means War comes our opening statement. “You’ve gone too far, who do you think you are, is this what you came for, well this means war.” When We Stand Together gives us, “We must stand together, there’s no giving in, hand in hand forever, that’s when we all win.” What happens if we ignore the situation is revealed in Kiss it Goodbye. “‘It’s tough to see through bullshit when it’s up above your eyes.” And our motivation – we have nothing to fear but fear itself – in the face of threats of imprisonment comes from Bottoms Up: “This is what it’s all about, no one can slow us down, we ain’t gonna stop until the clock runs out. Hell can’t handle all of us…” So I was just thinking if we all said to hell with it – that’s about 70,000 or more of us. What jail will they put us in? I know Prime Minister Snow, er that is, Harper is planning a jail construction program but on a more modest scale. Better yet, why don’t we postpone the jail thing and insist CREA tell them to go to hell? Time to take a break from the Competition Bureau – they seem to be engaged in gas price fixing so they won’t miss us. And I happen to know the recent federal budget contemplates a significant number of civil service layoffs. Let’s hope it’s in the FINTRAC audit division. If my columns should mysteriously disappear and you never hear of me again, think of me fondly in the Canadian Gulag listening to my version of hell – Celine Dion. You can find Marty Douglas on Twitter – http://twitter.com/ 41yrsrealestate – Facebook and LinkedIn. He is a managing broker for Coast Realty Group, with offices on Vancouver Island, the Discovery and Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast of B.C. Marty is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C. , the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. firstname.lastname@example.org. REM
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46 REM MAY 2012
Tips for building your referrals business
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www.remenligne.com Oui! You are reading this correctly! You can now stay up-to-date with the latest in Canadian real estate news, en français! Go to REMenligne.com to sign up for the REM bulletin électronique, an email digest of the latest REMenligne.com headlines, delivered right to your inbox! For more information, contact:
Michel Chevalier firstname.lastname@example.org
By Matthew Collis
o you need help building your referrals business? Here are some ideas and strategies you can use to boost the number of referrals you receive every year. 1. Regular keep-in-touch calls. I recommend sending out direct mail pieces and emails as two components to your keep-in-touch plan. But quarterly calls are important to add that human touch. A phone call also makes it easier for a client to ask you questions. When you’re on the call with the client, use the opportunity to ask if they need a recommendation for a good interior designer or cleaner, for example. Providing recommendations to business professionals is one way you can continue to provide value to your clients over time and it’s how you’ll get them to contact you in between transactions, rather than you always having to initiate the conversation. 2. Say thank you. It sounds so simple, but demonstrating your appreciation goes a long way. It’s been shown that if you show appreciation the right way on the first referral, a client is five times more likely to recommend you. This makes sense. When we refer someone, we want to feel good about recommending them and believe that the person referred appreciated the referral and is open to more in the future. The best way to say thank you is face to face. I would accompany the thank you with a card and a meaningful gift. 3. Find a referral partner. This idea was given to me by real estate trainer Richard Robbins. First, develop a relationship with a local spa, restaurant or any other business of your choosing. Second, when someone refers you, get the owner or manager of that spa or restaurant to call the referrer personally and invite them for a day at the spa or dinner for two, paid for by you. The referral partner approach is great because it’s likely
completely unexpected to the referrer, and it eliminates the guilt or embarrassment that the referrer may feel if you offer them the gift yourself. It’s also a great way to really stand out in the referrer’s mind because your gesture will be highly memorable. 4. Sponsor a local event or a sports team. This is a fantastic way to build awareness of your services and foster goodwill in your community. Ask your best clients which type of activities their children regularly participate in to get an idea of which are good events or teams to sponsor. If you sponsor
important to emphasize it. And don’t forget – if you trust that the work these people do is good, make an effort to refer people back to them. It’s all about give and take. 6. Use a real estate contact management system. It is really the starting point for building a referrals-based business. Why? Because referrals come to fruition through keeping in touch with clients, staying top of mind, and building strong relationships with your sphere over time. A real estate contact management system makes it easy to do these things while staying organized. The abili-
It’s been shown that if you show appreciation the right way on the first referral, a client is five times more likely to recommend you. sports teams or activities that your clients or their children participate in, you’re building loyalty among these clients and staying top of mind. And the word will get around about you – “Did you know my Realtor, Bob, sponsors Jimmy’s hockey team?” 5. Expand your professional network. Do this by introducing yourself to at least one new potential referrer weekly – other business professionals who can refer your services. You’ll want to meet with as many potential referrers as you can and begin to build relationships with them. Don’t talk about yourself and your business right away. Instead, ask them about theirs and information about you and what you do will flow from the conversation naturally. You’ll want to make it clear that you welcome and value referrals – you may not want to mention this during your first meeting, but over time it’s
ty to automate some of your marketing or keep-in-touch communications, easily create and send out personalized mass emails, letters and newsletters, and wish your contacts a happy birthday or happy home anniversary when these dates arise is priceless in terms of growing your referral and repeat business. Good luck! Matthew Collis is the sales and marketing manager at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, he works with Realtors to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. He has written a wide array of articles, news releases and blog posts on contact management strategies and implementation. Email email@example.com. REM
REM MAY 2012 47
The real estate gardener By Deborah L. Sykes
et me tell you a secret about being a Realtor. You may actually already know this....it is a highly stressful job! We work long hours having to juggle family and work commitments. We pass our spouse in the mornings and they say, ‘Who are you?’ after we have been out half the night trying to close a deal. So we need creative outlets at times to de-stress ourselves, to save us from the mental chaos that I call our profession. So how do I de-stress myself? Gardening of course! I am sure I am not the only Realtor who wants to get my hands dirty in the warm soil as soon as Mother Nature’s icy grip has left the yard. A couple of years back, I was
I am sure I am not the only Realtor who wants to get my hands dirty in the warm soil as soon as Mother Nature’s icy grip has left the yard.
bitten by the gardening bug. Well, I have always “gardened”, but what I considered gardening at the time was actually a pretty lame attempt. I would make the yearly pilgrimage to the local garden centre in mid-May and purchase some easy-to-grow impatiens and a few other annuals and then set about stuffing them in a few pots along with a small garden plot out in front of the pool shed (mainly to try and disguise the big, ugly pool shed) and voila – instant garden! After that, it was just pull the occasional weed and re-plant what the squirrels dug up...or so I thought. But I have had to re-think what to plant in that little plot. It is a raised bed with very good drainage but with full, scorching sun. If you didn’t water twice a day, your cheery annuals were soon droopy and lifeless (and headed for the composter). I tried Sunpatiens, which turned out to be not so sun-loving. Next it was “easy-wave” petunias (they soon waved bye-bye under the heat), and a myriad of others but they too would succumb to the sun’s scorching rays....by fall, there was not much life left in the garden. So a couple years ago I began searching online and through numerous gardening books looking for a plant(s) that could handle the killer sunshine....and then it dawned on me... Why not grow vegetables? It had never occurred to me to grow veggies before; I always thought of my garden as just a ‘flower garden’. But vegetables love the sun and I had plenty of it to spare. With that lightning bolt jarring me, I set to work deciding just what kind of veggies to plant. . . hmmmm. . . well, tomatoes for one, I can (and do) eat tomatoes everyday. Perfect! I am also the lover of all things Mexican, so peppers had to be added to the list, and herbs. Let’s not forget the benefits of fresh herbs in making your taste buds sing at the dinner table. By mid-February, my sunny living room window was full of little peat pots containing cherry tomatoes, five varieties of peppers, basil,
chives, parsley and cilantro. It was so satisfying to watch the cute little sprouts spring up through the soil in March and April and then set the delicate little seedlings in the killer-sun patch in mid-May. The end result.... this was the best idea I had in our 15 years of living in our current home. My vegetable garden not only flourished, but produced a ton of produce. Note to self though, you do NOT need six cherry tomato plants for one person (my hubby does not like tomatoes). I was giving them away by the bucket load to unsuspecting family members during July and August. Come September, I was pickling peppers, making fresh pico de gallo and guacamoles, roasting and freezing peppers and canning salsas and tomato sauces. Best of all, not one of my plants keeled over from the scorching heat. Here is what is on the agenda for growing this year: tomatoes (cherry and a ‘Tom’ variety), Poblano peppers, Serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, Anaheim peppers, Habañero peppers (can you tell I like peppers?) a variety of herbs, leaf lettuce and…. Oh I am so excited (drum roll please!)… They finally have tomatillo seeds available here in Canada. Tomatillos are a staple in Southwest/Mexican cooking and if you have never tried them, you are sorely missing out. They provide a wonderful tartness to fresh salsas and they are superb as salsa verde in green chicken enchiladas and many more dishes as well. But first I need to get these beautiful little wonders of nature in their little peat homes and nurture them from sowing to harvest time… stay tuned for more to come! Deborah L. Sykes is a sales rep with Sutton Group-About Town Realty in Burlington, Ont. Licensed since 2003, she has a background in new home construction and the residential resale marketplace servicing Burlington, Hamilton, Oakville and outlying areas. Email deborah.sykes@ cogeco.ca or visit www.deborahlsykes.com. REM
Royal LePage Tendance Montreal, Quebec Sébastien Parent
George Heos, Senior Vice President, Network Development is pleased to announce that Sébastien Parent and Michel Bouchard, owners of the real estate agency formerly operating under the name Bouchard Parent Associés Inc., have joined the Royal LePage franchise network, as of March 15, 2012. The company will now operate under the name Royal LePage Tendance. Both Sébastien and Michel have extensive experience in real estate brokerage—with both income and residential properties. They are staunch advocates of real estate brokerage as a profession. Visionaries, they have believed in the development of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district in Montréal when few believed in it. Today, this neighbourhood is booming. Throughout his career, Michel Bouchard has acquired extensive knowledge in taxation, business law, environmental analysis, property management and financing. He also gives back to the industry as a volunteer member of the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board, joining his industry peers. Sébastien Parent chose to pursue a career in real estate more than 10 years ago. Family values occupy a special place in his world, as demonstrated by his contribution nearly 10 years ago to the opening of Bouchard Parent Associés.
The Royal LePage Tendance team can already count on eight experienced brokers, working mainly in the Center-East of Montréal, but also serving Greater Montréal and its suburbs. The company, which holds nearly eight per cent market share in its sector, plans to expand its team in the coming months. Sébastien Parent and Michel Bouchard, and their team, can be contacted at: Sébastien Parent 3252, Ontario Est, Montréal, QC H1W 1P4 Telephone: (514) 725-2000 Fax: (514) 725-2500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Michel Bouchard 3252, Ontario Est, Montréal, QC H1W 1P4 Telephone: (514) 725-2000 Fax: (514) 725-2500 email@example.com
Please join us in welcoming Mr. Parent and Mr. Bouchard and wishing continued success to the team of Royal LePage Tendance. For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call (416) 510-5827.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org †
†Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.
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48 REM MAY 2012
Letters to the Editor MLS changes needed
When the buyers become more knowledgeable than the Realtors, it’s time for our industry to make a change. At present, if a buyer searches www.realtor.ca for a property in, say Brampton, Ont., the buyer is able to see all properties listed for sale in his price range in the specified neighbourhood. However, if a Realtor in Brampton searches the data provided by his real estate board, he may not see all the available properties. It’s very embarrassing when the buyer updates the Realtor about new listings! Why does this happen? This occurs when a member of a different real estate board, for instance Guelph & District, lists a property in Brampton and places the listing on his home board. It appears quite correctly mapped on www.realtor.ca, but does not appear on the Brampton MLS System, which is TREB. We can argue all we want that the Realtor should interboard the listing, or that the Realtor should not take listings outside his own board, but we all hold the same real estate licence
that entitles us to list anywhere in our home province. The problem is not with the individual Realtors, but with our real estate board system. We are so busy guarding our individual territories, we have created a system in which the buyer may know more about available listings than the Realtor. I suggest organized real estate (I mean CREA, which takes our money for dues every year) make a change and correct this inequity. One of two changes will solve the problem. Either give access to all real estate boards in the province to all registered Realtors in the province or, more simply, create a new area of the Realtors’ section of www.realtor.ca that allows Realtors to search geographically for new listings. This needs to be done immediately – before your client loses a perfect house because you did not know it was available.
‘Call me when you find something’ I had a call on my listing, which was listed for $189,900. Some agents would shy away from these lower-end properties, but I work it just as I do others. It’s someone’s home and they need my service. After I had an accepted offer on the property, I received a phone call from a potential buyer to view it. I informed him it was sold and proceeded to try to establish a relationship to purchase another home. I asked him when it was a good time to meet and he told me the last two agents he talked to told him, “Call me when
Sharon Grant Sales representative Royal LePage RCR Realty Shelburne, Ont.
Kathy Butler Re/Max Realty Specialists St. John’s, Nfld.
TREB’s campaign “dangerously misleading” Kathy Butler
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you find something.” He said, “Kathy, I have a job. I don’t have time to look for houses.” I was really surprised that agents did this, and met with him in person to give him my card. He asked me why an experienced agent would deal with him. I said, “Don, it’s not about one sale with me, it’s about you telling 10 friends how well I treated you.” When he met with my mortgage broker, he thought he was approved for $200,000 but in fact he was approved for $300,000. I have made a lot of money on people in these price ranges and their families have been my loyal clients for years. If you think you don’t want to deal in lower price ranges, rethink how you think!
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Realtor behind ViewPoint Realty, the operator of the VOW (virtual office website) at ViewPoint.ca. We presently offer service only in Nova Scotia, although ViewPoint is a member of real estate boards outside of Nova Scotia, including the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). We can’t operate under our chosen business model outside of Nova Scotia because of arbitrary “efficiency limits” imposed by real estate boards such as TREB. The VOW we operate in Nova Scotia is the kind that TREB suggests violates privacy laws and puts consumers and Realtors in harms way. That is patently false. We don’t break any rules nor have we been the cause of any harm to any participant in the marketplace. TREB’s PR campaign is dangerously misleading and not founded in fact. Further, TREB’s opposition to the Competition Bureau’s request to provide its members with efficient access to the member’s own MLS system is also baseless and futile. All of the information that TREB claims they are trying to or must protect is already rightfully in the hands of, used and distributed by its members to their customers
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REM MAY 2012 49
and clients every day. Nobody has been hurt or will be hurt in the event this same information is more efficiently accessed, used and distributed. There are only two kinds of information in this country, public information and private information. TREB is suggesting that there is a semi-private or semi-public class of information – private information that Realtors can disclose, just not online. When it comes to privacy law, the medium used for disclosure is irrelevant. Since January 2010, ViewPoint has delivered more than 67,000,000 pages of property and listing information to real estate consumers (more than 1.6 million visitors), including much of the information that TREB says could cause the harm. Nova Scotia real estate consumers who register on ViewPoint can see pending solds, price changes and sold prices, along with a host of other useful information. There has not been a single reported incident of crime or issue resulting from the availability of such information. I have con-
firmed this with Halifax Police. We don’t make available information such as owner names and alarm codes because such information, on the balance of convenience, benefit and protection, does not warrant its disclosure. TREB is attempting to mislead the public and Realtors that the bureau is trying to force TREB to publish this information. That is simply not the case. It is interesting that TREB is now expending considerable resources to stand up for consumers when their mandate is to service members. It’s up to members to decide what and how to communicate with consumers, not TREB. TREB has taken it upon itself to try and dictate the business practices of member brokerages. Speaking as one brokerage, I don’t want or need their advice. The real issue here is TREB’s irrational fear that more information in the hands of consumers will reduce or negate the need for Realtors. If they would only look to the reality in Nova Scotia, they could see that noth-
ing is further from the truth. As a member of TREB, we have tried countless times to share experience-based facts and insights with them, those gained from our experience in Nova Scotia. We also had a solution that we felt would have avoided the costly Competition Bureau litigation. Unfortunately, TREB chose to press the ignore button, which on Nov. 9, 2011 led us to “occupy TREB” in a last ditch effort to get our questions answered and be heard. After a lot of scrambling at TREB headquarters, TREB’s director of public and government relations, Vaughn Palmer, agreed to see us. The only two things that the meeting revealed were TREB’s narrow-mindedness and the palatial building paid for in part by the more than $6,000 in fees we paid to join the board. Bill McMullin CEO, Realtor ViewPoint.ca Bedford, N.S. REM
Industry revenue up 4.9% in 2010 says Statistics Canada
tatistics Canada reports that total operating revenue for the real estate agents and brokers industry grew to $9.8 billion in 2010 (the latest year in which numbers are available), up 4.9 per cent from 2009. The industry reported operating expenses of $7.5 billion, an increase of 3.5 per cent from the previous year. As a result, the overall operating profit margin rose to 23.4 per cent from 22.3 per cent in 2009, says Statistics Canada. “In 2010, the commissions paid to non-employees accounted for 47 per cent of operating expenses, while salaries and wages comprised 11.6 per cent,” says Statistics Canada. Real estate appraisers reported a 3.1 per cent increase in total operating revenue to $700 million. In parallel, operating expenses grew by 2.3 per cent to $600 million. The overall operating profit margin increased to 21 per cent from 20.4 per cent in 2009. Ontario accounted for 49 per cent of Canada’s total operating revenues earned by real estate agents and brokers. British Columbia followed at 18 per cent, while Quebec’s share was 13 per cent and Alberta’s share stood at 12 per cent. Statistics Canada says most of the real estate agents, brokers, appraisers and other real estate activities industry it tracks (87 per cent) is made up of businesses that act as real estate agents or brokers. The remaining establishments are engaged in providing real estate appraisals or other types of real estate services, it says. REM
50 REM MAY 2012
THE PUBLISHER’S PAGE
By Heino Molls
here was a time, a time not long ago, when there were no condominiums, no coops and no time-share properties. Back in my day there was no concept of an apartment building where everybody in it owned their own residence and shared the grounds of the building commonly. About 40 years ago, few people could imagine buying a residence that was anything other than a house. Today there are people buying condominium homes who have no idea that this kind of property was unheard of by their parents not so long ago. We have arrived at a point where we need to be clear that
Two kinds of residential properties driveways. But it still comes down to a fundamental difference between a house and a condominium. The reason it is time to look at these properties differently is the market. In the years ahead, property values will fluctuate, as they always do. From this time forward, however, houses are going to hold their value far greater than condominiums when markets move up or down. This will especially be the case in our large cities. It is just a matter of supply and demand. We are trending to a point where the number of condominiums will far exceed the number of houses in our cities. Look around. The supply of houses is actually decreasing as swaths of neighbourhoods are assembled and flattened to make way for new condo buildings and communities. Assembling these kinds of neigh-
From this point on, the residential real estate market should be looked formally at as two different markets, not as one “housing market”. there are two kinds of residential properties in our major cities – houses and condos. Properties without shared common ground and properties with shared common grounds. There are lots of grey areas such as semi-detached houses, freehold town homes that share road maintenance or landscaping and houses with shared
bourhoods is done through the demolition of a lot of houses. The number of condominium buildings now under construction in every major city in the Dominion is moving along at a pretty fast clip. Some would caution that it’s excessive while others will point out that they are being purchased before they are built.
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As this sea change of home building moves through our big cities, there will be precious few houses left when all is said and done. The key word is precious. The foundation of all economy is supply and demand. Fewer houses mean higher prices. We are going to have situations ahead when the real estate markets will become even more active than they have been and all prices go up. House prices will separate from condo prices and my guess is they will go up even higher. By the same token every economy will experience a time when markets slow down. In the slower markets house prices will hold and may even rise while condo prices flatten for a period. The point is that the markets are going to be different going forward. That is not to say that condominiums will always be considered “lower priced” properties. That is hardly the case, especially with the recent sale of Toronto’s highest priced residence, a downtown condo at some $28 million. It is, however, my view that the two markets going forward are different. It’s time to formally separate the two in projections, discussions and in all categories of real estate dialogue. From this point on, the residential real estate market should be looked formally at as two different markets, not as one “housing market”. At the end of the day a house is a building. A condo is part of a shared property. Maintenance for a house is completely different than a condo. There is no committee to address neighbourhood concerns and no condo board of directors to decide on landscaping. It’s a whole different mindset and a whole different market. It’s time to promote this difference formally. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. REM
For complete listings, visit www.remonline.com To add a listing to this calendar, email email@example.com Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Agent and Broker Universities Events open to Realtors – “Great keynote speakers and social media training” Ottawa – April 23 Brookstreet Vancouver – May 9 The Fairmont Vancouver Victoria – May 11 Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway Halifax – June 20 Four Points by Sheraton Halifax To register for all cities: www.dominionlendingevents.ca London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors Trade Show Tuesday, April 24 London Convention Centre Tracy Marino – firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto Real Estate Board Realtor Quest 2012 May 2 – 3 The Toronto Congress Centre Toronto www.realtor-quest.ca Kitchener/Waterloo Real Estate Board REALTOR XPO 3.0 Thursday, May 10 Bingemans email@example.com 2012 HomeLife International Conference May 10 – 11 Casino New Brunswick Moncton, N.B. 1-800-668-0186 Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board Realtor Trade Show Wednesday, May 16 Ciociaro Club of Windsor Windsor, Ont. Krista Del Gatto – Krista@windsorrealestate.com
2012 IREM Regional Leadership Conference May 30 - June 1 Fairmont Palliser Calgary www.reic.ca REIC Annual Conference and AGM June 2 - 3 Fairmont Palliser Calgary www.reic.ca Broker/owner & Manager Retreat Hosted by Re/Max of Western Canada June 3 - 5 Sparkling Hill Resort Vernon, BC Kelsey Woodliffe – firstname.lastname@example.org 2012 AEC Seminar June 4 – 7 Sheraton Centre Toronto Anik Aube – email@example.com Professional Development Retreat Hosted by Re/Max of Western Canada Sept. 13 - 15 The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort Kelowna, B.C. Kelsey Woodliffe – firstname.lastname@example.org Via Capitale Annual Convention Sept. 19 – 20 Best Western Plus Hotel Drummondville, Que. France Massé – email@example.com 2012 MTC Technology Forum Monday, Oct. 29 Fairmont Winnipeg Winnipeg Anik Aube – firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled with the assistance of Bob Campbell at Colour Tech Marketing, www.colourtech.com
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Each office is independently owned and operated. *Based on 2011 closed transactions. Source: CREA, RE/MAX. **Source: Independent Research December, 2011