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Issue #280

October 2012

How to last decades in real estate

Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 42218523 - Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to 2255B Queen St. E., #1178, Toronto ON M4E 1G3

Page 8

Severing a partnership Page 12

Concrete-busting weed threatens deals Page 20

A winning combo Nevin Hollett and Craig Williams are Realty Executives’ No. 1 team

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TREB Competition Tribunal gets underway Your guide to the Competition Tribunal, its players and how it works fter a lengthy wait, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is defending itself against a filing by the Competition Bureau claiming that TREB operates its MLS system using restrictive, anti-competitive practices. Given the importance of this case, industry insiders and the general public are following it closely. The hearings, which began Sept. 10, are being held before the Competition Tribunal, a quasijudicial adjudicative body that operates independently of all government departments (including Industry Canada, which is home to the Competition Bureau.) The Competition Tribunal’s mandate is to hear and rule on suspected violations to certain sections of Canada’s Competition Act – in this case, TREB operating its MLS system using restrictive, anti-competitive practices.


How it works The TREB hearing is sched-

uled to last five weeks, though it may wrap up sooner. A tribunal hearing is similar in structure to a regular court proceeding. It typically begins with opening submissions in which the parties set out their respective positions and describe the evidence they intend to introduce. The applicant (in this case, as it is in most cases, the Commissioner of Competition) opens first and the respondent (in this case TREB) follows. Once the opening submissions are complete, the applicant presents evidence. Witnesses will be called to answer questions and then may be cross-examined by the respondents. During the process, evidence and exhibits are introduced and filed. Afterwards, the respondent presents its evidence. CREA and Toronto-based real estate firm Realtysellers each have intervener status in the hearings. According to an anonymous Competition Tribunal spokes-

person, it’s expected that CREA will call witnesses but that Realtysellers will not call evidence. Among the witnesses expected to testify will be representatives from Toronto brokerages and Realosophy Realty. Both companies feature websites with unique and extensive property search capabilities. Once both sides have had a chance to present their case, there is a final closing argument phase. This is where the parties argue and summarize their respective positions, relying on relevant case law and all of the evidence introduced during the hearing. The closing argument can’t contain any new information and can only use the evidence introduced at the Tribunal. Once everything has been heard, the three-member panel will consider the facts and ultimately issue a decision. This can be a lengthy process. The time it takes the Tribunal’s panel to ren-

By Tony Palermo

der a decision depends on several factors, including the complexity of the case. It’s expected that a decision in the TREB case will be issued in early 2013. Members of the public can attend the TREB hearing, though at times the proceedings may go “in-camera” based on the confidential or sensitive nature of the testimony. During in-camera sessions, members of the public aren’t allowed to listen in.

Who hears the cases and issues orders? Tribunal cases are generally heard before a three-member panel made up of both judges and lay members (who are selected from the Competition Tribunal’s pool of six judges and seven lay members.) Judicial members are appointed from the Federal Court of Canada by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice. Lay members are appointed by the Governor in

Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry, and provide expertise based on their individual backgrounds in economics, business, accounting, marketing and other related fields. All of the members are selected to sit on a case by the Tribunal’s chairperson. The decision depends on their interest in the case and their availability and is only made after ensuring there are no conflicts of interest. The TREB case is being heard before a three-member panel composed of Madam Justice Sandra J. Simpson (presiding), Mr. Justice André Scott and Mr. Henri Lanctôt, who is the lay member. A highly skilled panel, both judges bring over 35 years of legal experience each to the case. Lanctôt, a lawyer himself who was called to the Quebec Bar in 1968, brings experience in several areas including securities, corporate, commercial and resources law. REM

Regina Realtors vote on leaving CREA A

s Realtors in Montreal were polled to see if they wish to remain members of CREA, another real estate board was posed to ask its members the same question – in Regina. Stew Fettes, a sales rep with Century 21 Dome Realty in Regina, filed a resolution to be considered at the Association of Regina Realtors (ARR) General Membership meeting on Sept. 18. It says, in part, “Given the overwhelming dissent across Canada with Realtors in general, over the poor membership support shown by CREA…in regards to both the FINTRAC legislation and more importantly the poor membership support regarding the Competition Bureau in safeguarding the organized real estate industry in Canada, and along with the nearly $20 million sent yearly by Realtors to CREA of which we receive very little value as members, be it therefore resolved that all ARR mem-

bers be given a free and democratic vote…on deciding if it should withdraw from CREA.” The resolution goes on to state that “we support one dynamic provincial office to oversee all Realtors in Saskatchewan.” In a notice to members, ARR executive officer Gord Archibald said, “This resolution has not originated with nor has been endorsed by the association’s Board of Directors.” Fettes says in an email to REM that organized real estate needs “one strong dynamic provincial office, with all board offices rolled into one, that manages all the Realtors in the province where they are licensed and gives them the support they need, along with hiring one CEO that lives and breathes real estate 24/7 to improve the image of the Realtors, and insure every Realtor is in control of their own individual business, and does everything possible

to see that the public understands that Realtors truly are professional salespeople.” He continues: “We really don’t need CREA anymore. If someone for example is looking for real estate in Saskatchewan they will find us. We don’t need CREA to help find us…. We don’t need to know about real estate in Florida, Arizona or China for that matter, they will find us if they are seeking property in our provinces. CREA in my opinion has sent Realtors off chasing in all directions and wasting their precious time.” Along with the Fettes’ resolution, Archibald sent ARR members an information sheet outlining CREA’s fees and services. ARR members pay $290 annually in CREA fees. Archibald wrote that if ARR withdraws from membership in CREA, a long list of services “would no longer be available to members from CREA, and in

some cases would likely need to be replicated in some fashion at the local association level.” Among the services listed are the REALTOR® and MLS® trademarks;; (commercial listing advertising site); Webforms; Realtor Link; Realtor Code of Ethics; the Compliance Centre resources and information about FINTRAC, competition law, the Do-Not-Call Registry and privacy; federal political advocacy; the national advertising campaign and national affinity programs. Archibald also writes that Canadian organized real estate’s three-party agreement requires that a member of a local board/association must also be a member of the provincial association and CREA. “As a result, withdrawal of membership from CREA by the ARR would require that all other local boards/associations and the provincial association in Saskatchewan also with-

draw from CREA membership for a non-Realtor provincial association to exist in Saskatchewan,” says Archibald. “If other existing Saskatchewan associations do not withdraw and the ARR does, then the ARR would not be able to maintain a membership with the provincial association. Because of this, some ARR existing member services and other activities which occur at a provincial level will or may be affected, including usage of provincial standard MLS listing contract forms; ARR participation in and access to the Matrix system; the inter-association lockbox access agreement and provincial political advocacy.” Fettes says he has been in contact with brokers in Saskatoon about introducing a similar resolution there. REM’s deadline passed before the meeting was held. To see how the vote turned out, visit REM


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


oyal LePage Atlantic has acquired HomeLife Hayes Realty in Moncton. The office was owned and operated by Dwayne, Roberta and Dave Hayes, who have now joined Royal LePage Atlantic. Dwayne Hayes has been involved in organized real estate at a local, provincial and national level for 11 years. He served as president of the New Brunswick Real Estate Association for four consecutive years from 2008 to 2011. Ralph Stephen, president of Royal LePage Atlantic, says he is pleased to add to his team of over 300 sales representatives and support staff. Dwayne and his team will join the Royal LePage Atlantic office in Moncton managed by Shirley Fillmore, who has managed this office for more than 10 years and will continue in that role. ■ ■ ■

Keith Church, broker/owner of the brokerage formerly operating as Prudential Grand Valley

Realty, has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. Church’s company will now operate under the name Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty. He began his real estate career as a sales rep in 1988. In 1993, Church opened his brokerage in Cambridge, and joined Prudential as a franchisee in 1996. In 1998, in addition to his original office in Cambridge, he opened a second office in Kitchener, which is managed today by Goran Askraba. Church brings a team of 118 sales representatives. Together, they service the areas of Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellesley, St. George, Branchton, Breslau, Carlisle, Elmira, Milverton, New Hamburg, Paris, Roseville, St. Agatha, St. Jacobs and surrounding areas. ■ ■ ■

Right At Home Realty is overhauling its training and development department. Surina Hart has been named director of education for the company. She has been an Ontario Real Estate Association

trainer for four years. Michael Appleton, a trainer and author and a director with the Real Estate Council of Ontario, has joined Right At Home Realty as head trainer. He is the architect of many CEU courses including his exclusive 12 CEU Master’s Program. Right At Home president Don Kottick says, “These two key individuals serve as the foundation for an amazing training program to address the needs of both new and experienced salespeople.” Catherine Garceau, Olympic Medal Winner and author of the recently released book Swimming Out of Water, visited the head office of Right At Home Realty for a series of lectures for the staff on creating awareness of real solutions for women dealing with health and emotional issues. Garceau created the EAT360 program, designed to assist healthy living and mindfulness with applications to the corporate world. Kottick, whose niece, Ariana Katsigiannis, is an aspiring and decorated swimmer, saw Garceau’s

Dwayne Hayes

Demetri Tsigos

Michael Appleton

Georges Gaucher

Surina Hart

Gian-Piero Furfaro

book and picked it up for his niece and by chance met the Olympian. Kottick said the book “is a great read and would be appealing to anyone interested in mindfulness and health issues.” ■ ■ ■

Gary Emde, broker/owner of the brokerage formerly operating as Prudential Sask Realty, has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. Emde’s company will operate under the name Royal LePage Varsity. Emde earned his real estate licence in 1984. Soon after, he earned his brokers’ licence and opened Gary Emde Realty/Re/Max in 1986. In 2006, his company became Prudential Sask Realty. Emde has 19 sales reps and together they service the areas of Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville, Dalmeny, Vanscoy, Delisle, Aberdeen, Clavet and Wakaw. Gary also has sales representatives that service the farming industry provincially.

Montreal region, including NotreDame-de-Grâce, Côte-des-Neiges, Westmount and Côte St. Luc. Gaucher has extensive experience in sales, marketing and communications. In his professional experience, he was previously a vice-president and general manager for Royal LePage in Eastern Canada from 1996 to 2001. He will be responsible for the daily management and operations of the office. Tsigos was director of sales for various Royal LePage offices from 1998 to 2000. With more than 40 active professional brokers, Gaucher and Tsigos say they plan to add at least a dozen more during the next two years. ■ ■ ■

Continued on page 6

■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Groupe Newton has been acquired by Georges Gaucher and Demetri Tsigos. The brokerage serves the

Aaron Wilgosh

Howard Drukarsh (left), vice-president of Right At Home Realty and company president Don Kottick with Olympic medal winner and author Catherine Garceau.

Tanya Gordon

Peggy Hill

The CENTURY 21 System empowers Sales Professionals to navigate the real estate market with skill, strength and focus.







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Multiple Listings

Exit Realty announces executive restructuring

Continued from page 4


anadian-based Exit Realty Corp. International recently announced a corporate restructuring. Tami Bonnell, president of Exit Realty’s U.S. organization since 2001, has been named CEO. Bonnell, a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry, is based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Ma . The company says that she was involved in building three major brands. She was recognized by real estate trendwatcher Stefan Swanepoel as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Real Estate. In addition to her responsibilities at Exit Realty she is a wife, mother of three, grandmother of three and a martial arts coach, judge and referee. Erika Gileo, formerly senior vice-president of operations and a Stevie Award Winner as Executive of the Year – Real Estate at the 2011 International Business Awards,

has been named chief operating officer. Gileo came to Exit Realty from the Re/Max organization in 1996 and has been key in developing the company’s infrastructure, including its proprietary transaction management system, MEMO, the company says. Sharron Richardson, formerly manager of franchise support, has been named vice-president of broker services. “This new position was created to keep a finger on the pulse of the needs of brokers/owners, agents, regional owners and administrators and to help ensure they have the tools and resources necessary for success,” says Exit Realty in a statement. The company’s new front desk management application, TORC, slated to be launched to all brokerages at the company’s convention next month, falls within Richardson’s new responsibilities. She has been with Exit Realty since 2002.

Derek Stephenson, a member of the team since 2005 and formerly assistant manager, franchise support, will now head up the franchise support department as manager. Stephenson, along with Richardson and Gileo, is based out of Exit’s headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. “Exit continues to shine as the best business model in the industry and we couldn’t be happier for everyone’s success,” says Joyce Paron, president of Exit’s Canadian organization. “This restructuring will help facilitate the vast growth we’re anticipating at Exit Realty over the next few years,” says Steve Morris, who has moved to the position of founder and chairman. “We’re very excited about the future of Exit and look forward to achieving our target of 3,600 franchises sold, open and productive with 100,000 sales associates who love the company.” REM

■ ■ ■

Tanya Gordon has joined Re/Max First Realty at its Whitby, Ont. office. Gordon has two years of service in the Durham Region real estate area and has done extremely well, says broker/manager Paul Etherington. Re/Max First Realty opened in Pickering in 1992 and now has three offices in Durham Region and 155 salespeople. ■ ■ ■

Gian-Piero Furfaro is the new branch manager at the Richmond Hill office of Right At Home Realty. Furfaro is an experienced Realtor who has worked for Right At Home for many years. He previously was with Royal LePage, Oberfeld Snowcap and Chestnut Park. ■ ■ ■

Tami Bonnell

Cover photo: RANDY DAWE

Erika Gileo

Sharron Richardson

Derek Stephenson

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Steve Morris

Barrie, Ont. real estate brokerage Peggy Hill & Associates Realty recently launched a new website, Designed to serve as an informational hub on the real estate market in the region, the site provides prospective homebuyers and sellers with a wide array of

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

Phone: 416.425.3504

REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule REALTOR® and REALTORS® are trademarks controlled in Canada by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify licensed real estate practitioners who are members of CREA. MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned by CREA and identify the services rendered by members of CREA. REM is published 12 times a year. It is an independently owned and operated company and is not affiliated with any real estate association, board or company. REM is distributed across Canada by leading real estate boards and by direct delivery in selected areas. For subscription information, email Entire contents copyright 2012 REM. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The opinions expressed in REM are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN 1201-1223

helpful resources. “While it’s certainly easy to go online, finding the right data can be a bit more challenging, which is why we’ve designed our site to be as comprehensive as possible,” says broker of record Peggy Hill. The site features extensive listings of Barrie homes for sale, property search tools, open house schedules, and a variety of articles and guides on homebuying and selling. It also offers the latest real estate news headlines and mortgage rates as well as a constantly updated blog that provides insights on local market trends and the Barrie lifestyle. ■ ■ ■

Re/Max has sold franchise rights for China including the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau. The brand is now in more than 85 countries. The new China ownership group is based in Hong Kong and has extensive experience in real estate, banking, financing and franchising, the company says. Re/Max president Vinnie Tracey says: “This group has the experience and commitment to make Re/Max a success in China and to bring the professionalism and quality customer service associated with Re/Max to the Chinese people.” The Re/Max Global Franchise and Business Solutions team will spend the next several months training the new owners on the Re/Max system, while helping them establish their new Beijing operational headquarters. The group plans to officially open the first Re/Max offices in China in the first quarter of 2013. REM

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Tami Bonnell named CEO; Steve Morris is founder and chairman

Aaron Wilgosh has joined Exit Realty Fusion in Regina. He is registered in residential, commercial and farm real estate. Wilgosh was born and raised in Regina and currently resides in Moose Jaw. He envisioned a career in real estate throughout high school, and after graduation he went on to complete the Business Marketing Program at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.

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How to last decades in real estate Real estate is known as an industry with a high turnover rate. Here are some ways to ensure you are in the business for the long haul. By Toby Welch


hat does it take to be a real estate professional for over 30 years? “Enjoyment, enthusiasm, family support and working with a team that has positive attitudes, similar values and a passion for our business,” says Lynne Faucon. The broker/manager of Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty in Orleans, Ont. says, “Like many Realtors I enjoy the variety of challenges, the ability to continually learn and the interaction with people. There is no other career that I would rather have had.” As an industry with a high turnover rate (statistics flying around range from between 50 and 70 per cent dropout rate within the first few years), how can you be a long-term Realtor? Joanne McNeill-Barkey, a broker at Re/Max All-Stars Realty in Uxbridge, Ont., lists the keys to her success after three decades in real estate: • A lead generation structure. Your structure depends on your choices – community involvement, club memberships and advertising. • Knowledge of the marketplace. This is a necessity to convert leads to clients. You need to know what is happening and what is available so you can intelligently discuss a client’s options. • Building your business while being aware of your actions and intentions at every step. To the client it is not about building your business; it is only about them. Treat every client as you would like to be treated, always. You have to have the tenacity, honesty and integrity, not to mention a genuine concern for your client, to persevere and get to the written contract. • Sense of humour. It will take you far; just remember to share it with your clients, too. As McNeill-Barkey says, “It’s all about going the extra mile or more so your clients will be genuinely happy.”

Mastering the Internet is a major key to Realtor success these days. As you know, the majority of buyers start their home search on the Internet so having a professional online presence is vital. Being tech savvy (or having someone in your corner who is) is crucial. Another key is not being afraid to fail. Don’t hunker down in your climate-controlled office space. Get out there and meet people, knock on doors and even bust them down if necessary. Don’t let your inhibitions stop you. Taking a long-term view is what has helped Mike Tomek, broker of record at Michael Tomek Realty in Harrow, Ont., remain in the industry for 34 years. “Don’t think about how you can make a buck today but rather do the right thing on a daily basis and you will reap the benefits down the road. An act of kindness or some help with a problem will be remembered and will result in future business.” Tomek says: “Don’t get caught up in the ‘Old Coot Syndrome.’ Agents who think they have seen it all and have a sense of entitlement because of their long careers will be left behind. Strive to learn through continuing education, try new innovations and carefully observe what is working for other agents. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve learned valuable things from agents who have been in the business a fraction of the time that I have been. Also, take time for yourself to keep yourself fresh and energized. Nobody wants a burned-out zombie of an agent working for them; they are not effective and are not fun to be around.” Some Realtors find the key to their long-term success is constant training. The industry is always changing and staying on top of things is paramount. Whether it’s training through your company, a mentoring program or classes you sign up for,

Lynn Faucon

Larry Matthews

Joanne McNeill-Barkey

Mike Tomek

“Don’t think about how you can make a buck today but rather do the right thing on a daily basis and you will reap the benefits down the road. An act of kindness or some help with a problem will be remembered and will result in future business.” ongoing training will increase your odds of sticking with real estate. Knowledge is power. Here are a smattering of suggestions from Realtors who made it work in the long run: • As people have so many options for who to pick for their Realtor, make sure you have a unique and compelling brand. • Unless you have more clients than you can handle, spend every available minute

working on marketing. • Be involved in your community to ensure a steady stream of referrals. • Develop top-notch negotiating skills. • Include testimonials from satisfied clients in all of your marketing. • Remain optimistic at all times. You can only do as well as you think you can do. Attitude is everything.

• Be flexible. Living with the ups and downs of the volatile real estate industry isn’t easy. • Always stay in touch with past clients to ensure they come back to you and refer you to others. • Practice, practice, practice until you have perfected your listing presentations. • Become a time management expert. • Work hard and persevere. • Develop a real estate plan for yourself. • Choose the company you work for and with wisely. Spending time with negative people will do you a lot of harm. Larry Matthews, the president and broker of Hants Realty for the past 35 years in the Halifax area, jokes that he has been in the industry for so long because he is too stupid and too stubborn to quit. But anyone who closed 94 ends in 2011 with only one licensed assistant has to be doing something right. Matthews shares one of his secrets for success - empathy. “Customers could care less about all our rules and regulations. The smoother and simpler the transaction, the happier the customer. We have to adhere to our regulations but in a way that doesn’t burden our customers. How do we do that? Empathy. You have to have the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place. Over and above the knowledge, training and experience you have to offer, if you do not combine it with empathy you will not be able to effectively sell real estate. Start off with the right attitude and tons of empathy and you will be on the road to success. Oh, yes, and don’t forget tons of listings.” The majority of Realtors start their career with enthusiasm and optimism. Never losing sight of that spark will carry you through from being a newbie Realtor to someone who has survived decades in the industry. REM

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David Corrigan

Erik C. Charton

Charlottetown sales rep David F. Corrigan of Coldwell Banker Parker Realty was recently presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and plaque at Government House. The medal is presented by command of Queen Elizabeth II in commemoration of the 60h anniversary of her accession to the throne, while recognizing Corrigan’s contributions to Canada. “It was a tremendous honour to receive such an important distinction and I am humbled by it,” Corrigan told The Guardian. “I come from a large family and grew up on a family farm in Pleasant Grove. My family worked very hard on the farm and I grew up knowing what hard work was and that family and neighbours had to support each other to survive. There were no extras with 13 children,” Corrigan told The Guardian.

Jones Lang LaSalle senior vicepresident Erik C. Charton was honoured by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) for his role in executing the largest dollar volume office property transaction in 2011. The award was presented at REM the SIOR’s recent World Conference in Miami, Fla. and recognized the collaborative effort in leasing the 100,000-squarefoot office building in the St-Laurent Technoparc for $15,400,000. The SIOR Member to Member Transaction Awards honour SIOR members who have com- Charlottetown sales rep David F. Corrigan, centre, pleted significant accepts his Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal at deals with at least one Government House, accompanied by the P.E.I. Lt.other SIOR member Gov. Frank Lewis, right, and P.E.I. Senator Mike within the award year. Duffy.

Sales rep’s marketing challenge creates CityBlast


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With more than 26 years of industry experience, Charton has been a member of SIOR since 1997. He leads Jones Lang LaSalle’s Industrial Services Group in Montreal. Over the past five years, Charton has leased, sold or developed more than 12,000,000 square feet of industrial and office real estate, valued at more than $150 million. “Not only is this a great honour for me personally but a testament to the strength of the office market in Montreal,” said Charton. “The St-Laurent Technoparc has become the premier sought-after location for many of the world’s largest pharma and technology companies.”

he challenge: market yourself using only Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Friends of sales rep Shaun Nilsson made the challenge, and he took the friendly bet, winning in more ways than one by earning $165,000 in commission in his first year as a Realtor. “My mother was an agent and I got my licence with the intention of helping her,” says Nilsson, who was already active in social media. “My friends made the challenge and I thought I’d try it for the first year. I had no marketing budget except to print business cards.”

His success sparked interest in his office, as other agents watched as the new agent’s name appeared on the leader board. “They told me they saw me all the time on Facebook and asked me to help them,” says Nilsson, an agent with Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto. He was busy lending fellow agents a hand when he happened to talk a friend, software developer Alen Bubich, who was trying to figure out a way to post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn automatically. “When I heard that, my ears perked up,” Nilsson says. “I thought, can we make a business out of it?” CityBlast was born. coaxes agents’ online friends and followers into Facebook conversations about real estate topics, giving agents the chance to become a trusted source of information. Once they register, agents don’t have to do anything except pick up leads. The service automatically posts “inbound market” content onto agents’ sites, making it look as if the agents are researching, writing and sharing the posts themselves. “An editorial team chooses articles from sites such as HGTV Canada, the National Post and Continued on page 12

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Severing a partnership Most real estate partnership dissolutions are amicable but some are hostile. These breakups can create as much emotional distress as a martial divorce…and sometimes more. By Lloyd R. Manning


any real estate brokerages are incorporated companies owned and managed by two or more working partners. Unfortunately, very few partnerships last indefinitely. With a group partnership, which is three or more owners, the life expectancy is still shorter. Sooner or later they all break up. Most dissolutions are amicable while others are hostile. Whichever, these breakups can create as much emotional distress as a martial divorce… sometimes more. The reasons for corporate divorces are numerous. They range from disagreements to sour personal relationships, improper organization, financial mismanagement or irregularities, spousal interference, declining health of a partner, retirement and so forth. When the brokerage is prosperous and sales and profits are good, seldom are there disputes. However, if the brokerage is failing, most times each partner will blame the other and severance soon becomes the best, or perhaps the only option. Partnerships are always formed at a time when all participants think it will last forever – that they will always agree to agree and that everything will run smoothly. As this is a rarity, it is always wise when setting up your initial partnership agreement to take into consideration what will transpire in the event of dissolution. Some day you may dislike each other. This should include how the value of the respective partial interest will be calculated. Every agreement should contain a written shotgun clause that simply states that if you make an offer to buy the interest of your partner, therein stating the price, terms and conditions, he has so many days in which to buy your interest for the

same as the offered price and with the same terms and conditions. Although most partnership interests are equal there are occasions when this does not hold true, particularly when a salesperson buys into an established brokerage. A majority interest is the holding of 50 per cent plus one or more of all issued shares. A minority interest is anything less than this. At law, there is no such thing as an equal interest. If exactly fifty per cent of the issued shares are owned by any party, this is considered as a minority position. In the buy-sell negotiations the commencement point will probably be at what each participant considers to be “Fair Market Value”. This suggests that a minority position should be discounted while a majority interest could be entitled to a premium. However, in practice, while a majority interest seldom generates a bonus, several factors may combine to make the value of a minority interest less than its proportionate share of all interests in the brokerage. For a majority interest, unless acquired by an insider, (one who is already a partner or perhaps an employee), the entire brokerage usually goes on the block. Except for the rare occasion, created by a special circumstance, only another insider ever purchases a minority interest; and then, never on the open market. Therefore, in the valuation of a minority interest, a notional market must be inferred. This presupposes an open market value when in fact no such market actually exists. In these situations, there is no compulsion to sell or to buy and subject to certain limitations, any restrictions on the sale of fractional interest is not considered. Valuation is always made on a “going concern” basis, which assumes continuance of the business, not a forced liquidation. The value per share of a majority or controlling interest can be

equal to, more than, but never less than the per share en bloc value of all issued shares. There are no definite rules and few precedents to establish a premium for a majority interest. Usually it is nil! In these situations certain assumptions must be made. Any increase by including a bonus for a majority interest must be on account of subjective motives, or for some specific reason. It is not a fact of the market that can be interpreted by any prescribed set of rules, or by reference to legal precedents, few of which exist. Whether the value of a minority interest should be discounted is slightly more problematic. The courts and the market recognize that a lower value is attributable to a minority holding in a closely held corporation, yet determining an appropriate discount is often pure guesswork. When calculating the amount or per cent by which the value per share should be discounted, or if it should be, further consideration should be given to the per cent of the brokerage being acquired. The greater the per cent owned, the lower the discount with the value of a minute percentage greatly reduced. With equal interests, although each owns the same per cent and has identical privileges, the rateable value could be different for one interest than it is for another. Much depends on what comes with the package. If for example, you buy the interest of the broker and assume his position, or alternately, purchase the interest of someone’s spouse who was a part owner in name only, all else being equal, the broker’s shares should have more value. Yet, legally, the value per share of both party’s interest is the same. In these situations the usual practice is for one shareholder to buy out another. No open market sale is considered. Most partnership breakups are amicable. Usually, valuation methods are agreed to, or if not, the

shotgun clause of the buy-sell agreement is enforced. Although appraisers may suggest there should be a discount or perhaps a bonus, in actual practice, the sale of a fractional interest in a real estate brokerage is usually to a partner at 100 per cent of value. This does not negate the fact that, since there is no open or secondary market, a notional market must be assumed. Thus, in day-to-day practice it becomes a negotiating process,

some give and some take, a winwin for both parties. Lloyd Manning is a semi-retired commercial real estate and business broker and appraiser. His most recent book, Winning With Commercial Real Estate – The Ins and Outs of Making Money in Investment Properties can be obtained on line from Booklocker Inc. or ChaptersIndigo. Email REM

CityBlast Continued from page 10

House & Home, posting links to the publishers’ pages, says Nilsson, CityBlast’s CEO. Partner Bubich is co-founder and chief technology officer. Some posts may be similar but content, images, blurbs and order of publishing and time of day are randomized daily for a natural-looking result, says the company. Posts include Some sample CityBlast postings quality content (informational, lifestyle and listings) and can be published to accounts between one and seven times per week as requested by the agent. The company recently celebrated its first anniversary and has a staff of seven, with 1,500 sign ups to date. It is expanding into the United States, where 100 agents have already become members. CityBlast reaches more than 710,000 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn users daily. It has also partnered with Royal LePage as official provider of social media to its 14,000 agents. All CityBlast features are included in the $24.99 per month membership. For more information, visit, call 888-7127888 or email REM




Youth and experience a winning combination

The St. John’s, Newfoundland-based Williams-Hollett Sales Team is Realty Executive’s top team world-wide. By Susan Doran from Williams, who freely admits to being the team “dud” where technology is concerned. “I work best with intelligent young people. They’re smart and enjoy the benefit of my experience...and don’t want my job yet!” he says, laughing.

The real estate market is “splendid” in St. John’s, helping the team become the No. 1 Realty Executives franchise worldwide.


n unlikely mix of youth and experience has turned out to be a winning combination for the Newfoundland-based Williams-Hollett Sales Team, which is Realty Executive’s top team worldwide. Team principals Craig Williams and Nevin Hollett say their team sold about 250 homes in the St. John’s area in 2011, beating out approximately 600 other Realty Executive franchises spanning 27 countries. Williams is 53 – old enough to recall a time when neither real estate teams nor cell phones existed. He remembers lugging around a pocketful of dimes for pay phones and laughs when he talks about the immense size of the first cell phones. Hollett is 29. In a no-nonsense tone, he details the importance of digital and solution-based real estate marketing, comments on the “refreshment of inventory” currently available in the St. John’s market, and reels off facts and figures relating to the strong market there.

The two appear, at least initially, to be about as different as two business partners can be. But the fact is, they’ve worked together in one capacity or another since Hollett was fresh out of university. Williams, a broker and long-time top-producing Realtor who is current president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA NL), has owned businesses in virtually all sectors of the real estate industry. He knows a good thing when he sees it – he purchased the Realty Executives of St. John’s franchise in 2005 and several years later became business partners with Hollett, having recognized the younger man’s sales and marketing skills. With Williams providing experience and Hollett coming up with fresh new approaches, the pair has always found their age difference to be a benefit, they say. Adds Hollett, “I’m more current regarding technology.” He gets no argument there

Besides being No. 1 worldwide for the Realty Executive franchise, the Williams-Hollett team – comprised of eight fulltime licensed agents and half a dozen support staff – was named the No. 1 Canadian team for 2010 and 2011, and was also selected as sales team of the year for outstanding new home construction sales and marketing for the past two years by the CHBA NL. Williams says, “We’re all about systems and service,” when asked the secret of the team’s success. “Our system is built strictly on service and not on numbers. What eight agents can do today if managed properly, it would take 40 to do before. It’s about leveraging people and technology...Lead generation is a huge part of our system. We do a lot of tracking – for instance of advertising – to see what works for our clients.” Their methods are program focused, he and Hollett say. They have taken a page from real estate guru Craig Proctor, offering such incentives as a guaranteed sale program (wherein they buy any home that’s listed with them and doesn’t sell), a buy-back guarantee that’s valid for one year and programs for buyers that involve the possibility of obtaining a mortgage with no down payment. “Historically the norm in real estate is that agents spend 80 per cent of their time prospecting. Ours spend 100 per cent of their

time selling,” says Williams. “The prospecting is done for them. We offer team supports, a team approach, so everyone has a job to do. It’s a much more systematic approach to selling real estate.” Hollett says this means the licensed Realtors on the team don’t need to worry about getting ads in the paper or about accounting, or ordering signs or doing paperwork. “Our agents do not prospect,” he says. “They’re supplied with constant leads through our unique consumer programs, so they don’t need to worry.” All of the team’s marketing is web-focused, he continues. “Everything – including our print and radio marketing – refers back to our website,” he says. As for the challenges Realtors face in the St. John’s market, Williams and Hollett say that growth in St. John’s has lead to urban sprawl. “If someone wants to be in the middle of the city in a home less than five years old, it doesn’t exist,” says Hollett. He and Williams add that the labour market in St. John’s is another issue. It’s so strong that getting work completed can be difficult. “At one point it was taking almost a year to build a house. It’s about six months now,” says Hollett. “We’ve got a redhot labour market and great

population growth, so skilled labour is under-supplied. If you want a fence built, it might take six months.” The market in St John’s started picking up in 2007, Williams says. “Now it’s splendid, which has been good for the psyche of Newfoundlanders. There are engineers everywhere because there’s so much oil... The population has increased... Housing prices have gone up and so have incomes. Anybody who wants to work in St. John’s right now is working,” he says. Asked about the challenges that real estate teams face in St. John’s or any market, Hollett notes that they have to be run like a business. “You need a consistent approach. You can’t shut down for a month and go to Florida, like a solo agent. You need a constant flow of activity; your overhead is much higher. In our case our marketing is based off of reverse prospecting. We let the prospects come to us through our marketing programs and solutions... “The biggest thing I attribute our success to is the marketing services we provide to buyers and sellers,” he says. “We don’t think as Realtors. We think as marketers. That’s our focus... good ad copy, good website, good programming.” REM

Craig Williams, left and Nevin Hollett (Photo: Randy Dawe)



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By Stan Albert


very so often, as managers, we get inundated with agents who foolishly insist on selling properties that they have no expertise in selling. As one of a few examples (our editor only allows 700 words!), I was consulted on the sale of a rural property, a cottage in the Haliburton Region of Ontario. The first thing the agent asked was, “What are riparian rights?” The next was: “What do I need to have for a water test? and then, “What the heck is a septic tank and why do I need to have it inspected?” Other questions I have been asked: • I have a client who’s looking to buy a store with an apartment above. “What percentage of the property is HST applicable to?” • There’s a piece of acreage with a building on it. “If the building was used for a business at any time, what is the HST or CRA impact on it?” • I have a buyer who’s looking to rent/build a church, temple or mosque in the area that does not have the designated zoning. “What do I have to do to get the zoning changed?” and, “Why does it take so long?” • I showed a building that had a machine shop in it. “Why do I have to have an environmental assessment done?” These are just a few of the questions that we field on a regular basis. Now, I have no issues with answering these questions to the best of my abilities after so many years in the business – as most fellow managers do. I am mystified as to why agents would venture into areas of real estate that they have no experience in. Our provincial watchdog states that we should exercise “duty of care” and that if we have no

Know what you sell experience in that field of endeavour, we should stay away from it – I’m basically paraphrasing the Act. What usually happens is the agent confronts us with the issues after the fact. And that’s where the problems start. In glancing through the recent Real Estate Council of Ontario Annual Report on activities and fines/penalties, I see an alarming number of cases like this. I recommend that, in addition to the regular articling courses that are required in most provinces, agents should consider investing time and money learning about these specialized fields. Alternatively, agents should seek a mentor to assist in real estate activities that are beyond his normal area of experience. The result of testing the waters in areas other than regular residential real estate can be financially burdensome. Just check out some of the fines and penalties that RECO or other provincial authorities mete out. Errors and omissions insurance will only cover the agent so far, and in most cases will not cover the agent or the brokerage in cases like this. I’ve always been an advocate for learning and furthering our education. The most expensive lessons come when you practice real estate in areas beyond your current knowledge. All one has to do is look at the stats and determine not to become one of those who has earned fines and penalties. Wishing you all a successful fall sales campaign, until next time, from my desk as I see it. Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at Stan is now celebrating 40 years as an active real estate professional. REM

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Concrete-busting knotweed threatens deals Japanese knotweed is now in many B.C. regions, found in six provinces in Canada and 39 of 50 U.S. states and is on the World Conservation Union’s list of 100 worst invasive species. By Jean Sorensen


ennifer Grenz, program director for the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver (ISCMV), is sounding the alarm to the real estate and development industry regarding Japanese knotweed. An imported species once favoured in Victorian gardens for its ability to provide privacy screens, Japanese knotweed has jumped the garden wall in B.C. and is now rampant in lanes, roadways, stream banks, along highways and on private property ranging from city lots to rural acreage. The weed, often called “mock bamboo”, can bust through concrete foundations, asphalt roads and even metal. Japanese knotweed is now in many B.C. regions, found in six provinces in Canada and 39 of 50 U.S. states and is on the World Conservation Union’s list of 100 worst invasive species. “We would like to see it on property disclosures,” says Grenz, who says it should rank up there with grow operations in terms of the hidden threats for clients purchasing property or developers

hoping to build on a site. As a first step, she is writing a proposal for funding through the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. to develop an on-line training video for real estate agents and developers that will educate them to the potential threat of the weed. The proposal has received a letter of support from the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA). The association wants to prevent knotweed from reaching the levels realized in many European countries. “BCREA is examining how information on invasive species can be included in the next version of the association’s E&O Insurance Legal Update course,” says association policy analyst Norma Miller. Grenz says liability issues are also becoming an increasing concern. Real estate agents will need to ensure the client buying a home is “investing in something that is not potentially losing value,” she says. If the land is going to be developed, the contractor needs to ensure that the guarantees in place remain intact and are not shattered by a weed bursting

through a wall or foundation. “We are trying to get the word out to the construction industry,” says Grenz, who points to the 2012 London Summer Olympic’s velodrome and aquatic centre site, which was plagued by the invasive species. In March 2007, the Daily Mail online reported: “Japanese knotweed could add £70 million to the cost of staging the 2012 Olympics. Specialists can charge up to £40,000 to clear only six square yards of ground affected by the weed, which has been called the most invasive plant in Britain.” The plant was subsequently blamed for part of the cost over-run for the site development, which included demolishing buildings, building tunnels, clearing up contamination and constructing new buildings on the Olympic site housing the aquatic centre and the velodrome. Clearing sites of the weed is difficult, says Mike Coulthard, environmental consultant and partner in Vancouver’s Diamond Head Consulting, which has tackled gov-

Royal LePage, Genworth Canada announce strategic relationship


oyal LePage has a new strategic relationship with mortgage insurer Genworth Canada. The idea is to better equip agents for conversations around how much their clients can afford and what options are available to them. The relationship makes educational resources available to the Royal LePage network on mortgage insurance, energy-efficient refunds, homeowner assistance programs and discounts at select retailers across Canada. It also covers details on government incentive programs, which run the gamut from saving for a home to tax credits and rebate programs.

These resources, combined with the advice and guidance of lenders and mortgage professionals, help further enable responsible homeownership, the companies say. “We are a full service real estate company and Genworth is a premium brand, so this strategic relationship is a great marriage,” says Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage Canada. “The sharing of insights between Genworth Canada and Royal LePage will serve to better equip our agents to present options to their clients around affordability.” Changes to the amortization rules around high-ratio mortgages implemented in July might lead

some first-time buyers to think they can’t afford a home yet. However, the relationship provides resources and information to help agents educate homebuyers, adding to the value they bring as a full service Royal LePage Realtor, the company says. “First-time buyers are looking for more from their Realtor than help finding a new home,” says Debbie McPherson, senior vicepresident, sales and marketing at Genworth Canada. “Helping Royal LePage keep their clients well-informed on the options around responsible homeownership will, in turn, help them to better service their clients.” REM

Close-up of knotweed going through concrete (Photo: ISCMV).

ernment contracts. “We had a test patch where we pulled it twice a year for two years and it still came back,” he says, adding that herbicides are the only ready solution. The bamboo-like shrub can grow three metres in height and has a root system that can travel down nine metres and laterally 28 metres. It can regenerate from pieces as small as a finger. It has been added to the B.C. Weed Control Act, which means landowners must control the plant. David Adkins, industry development manager for the B.C. Landscape and Nursery Association, says his members are aware of the knotweed problem and a certified and licensed professional qualified to handle herbicides should do eradication. Even a small piece left behind can “punch out a root” and “off it goes,” he says. In B.C. the new Port Mann/Highway 1 Project dealt with knotweed. Hatch environmental consultants announced it had been hired by the project to remove knotweed along the 37-km corridor. “Japanese knotweed, recently designated as a noxious weed, resists most non-chemical attempts to eradicate it and is a management challenge,” said a Hatch news release. In the U.K., Grenz says, insurance companies have refused to provide coverage for building sites known to have knotweed. “I’ve already had a call from one insurance company here,” she says, adding that B.C. is just waking up to the ramifications of the knotweed’s spread.

A knotweed plant growing in the lane by house by South Vancouver. Knotweed can grow up to 10 feet. Once grown as a garden shrub, it is now rampant throughout B.C. (Photo: Jean Sorensen)

Grenz said it has a preference for cool, moist areas and is common around riverbanks. That impacts any structures nearby such as bridge supports, commercial operations such as gravel pits where a piece might be in the gravel mix sent to a home, or any nearby buildings. She says the council has held training sessions with bridge inspectors, as it was recently found growing along the base of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver. “It is also a concern to people who are buying ranch land,” says Grenz, who owns an organic blueberry farm in the Fraser Valley, because it can erode land values, clog streams and incur a substantial clean-up bill. “The good news is that regional districts and municipalities are developing active programs” on their lands. Grenz says municipalities at one time simply mulched the plants when it was found growing along the roadside. “When you shred it you are just turning it into a million new plants,” she says. Also, the machinery used can carry pieces of knotweed to new locations. For more information visit REM

Event Dates: September 25 - 28, 2012 Winnipeg Manitoba Action Workshop October 23 - 26, 2012 Halifax Nova Scotia Action Workshop November 6 - 9, 2012 Toronto West Sales Talk workshop November 20 - 23, 2012 Toronto East Action Workshop

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5 steps to being a successful sales rep By J.F. Ratthé


o you finally made the decision to become a real estate agent. You studied hard, got your license and just received your brand new business cards with your picture on them. Now what? How do you get from here (nobody) to there (big shot agent)? Here are, in my opinion, the top five things to do to differentiate yourself from the competition and become successful when starting out as a real estate agent. These are what I consider the most important actions I took (or should’ve had taken) to bring my real estate career to the next level. 1) Find a niche market. I cannot stress this one enough. At the beginning, be all things to everyone. Money has to come from

somewhere. (One of the best ways I found to find clients was to host open houses for other agents in my office. You can pick up buyers and help them find their next home). But at the same time, figure out a specific niche market/area to specialize in. You need to figure out where you best fit in terms of target market. Whether it’s a certain demographic (young professionals, first-time buyers, families, baby boomers, investors), an area of town (downtown or a specific neighbourhood) or a specific type of real estate (farms, country living, condos, luxury homes). You can’t be all to everyone. Specialized doctors are way more successful than general practitioners. It’s a fact. The same goes for real estate agents. 2) Create a website that is easy to use, easy to find and full of useful information for buyers and sellers using a custom made WordPress template. That way you can update the site yourself for free, upload listings, blog and have excellent SEO (search engine opti-

mization for Google ranking) results. Also use your name as your website address (such as to help with your branding. 3) Become THE resource for your specific market. Write articles for the local newspaper or magazine. Host seminars. Create a website full of useful information about your market/area. Blog about it. If your target market is condos, write about what to look for when shopping for a condo. Visit and know every single condo building in your specific area. Add them all on your website and make all the details available for free. Blog about what a pet policy is, what a reserve fund is, how the offer to purchase process is different than when buying a house. This will help create your brand. Another way to assert yourself as the expert is by using video. They are easy to share online (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, post on your website and email to clients). By hosting them on YouTube, you also get great SEO

I thought I could do it all myself at the beginning. Trust me, the learning curve is quite steep and having someone who has been in the business for a while and knows the ins and outs is a very valuable asset. results since it is owned by Google. 4) Network the heck out of your niche market. Become active both online (social media, blog) and more importantly, offline. Become a member of groups and organizations where your target demographic is active. I decided to focus on the downtown market and young professionals. I joined the Junior Chamber of Commerce, United Way GenNext and local university

alumni group. I also went door to door and met the majority of owners and managers of businesses in my area. Not just once, but twice a month at least. Feature one of them every week on your website/blog. 5) Get a mentor or a coach. That’s the one thing I didn’t do and I deeply regret it. I thought I could do it all myself at the beginning. Trust me, the learning curve is quite steep and having someone who has been in the business for a while and knows the ins and outs is a very valuable asset. My advice: Work as an assistant/buyer’s agent in a team for the first year or so. You will learn the business a lot faster, make fewer mistakes and waste a whole lot less time than if you go at it by yourself. You might think you can do it by yourself and make more money at first but trust me, in the long run, you will thank yourself for listening to me. When choosing who to work with, make sure it is someone who is successful and fits the type of business model you are comfortable with. Don’t listen to your neighbour’s uncle who used to be in the business a while back and complains about “how hard it is to make it in real estate because you have to work all the time and have tons of expenses and blah blah blah…” Learn from the best. JF Ratthé has been in sales and marketing for over 12 years. He found his passion a few years ago and decided to focus his real estate business in downtown Winnipeg. He has since become one of the busiest Realtors in his niche market and is now helping new real estate agents becoming successful. REM

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Busting the myths about property disclosure forms By Bob Aaron


s a result of its promotion by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and its sister groups across the country, property disclosure forms like Ontario’s Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS) continue to be a source of neverending business for the litigation bar, and endless grief for unlucky buyers and sellers who are being swept into the bottomless pit of lawsuits because they used it. It’s time to debunk some of the myths surrounding the form, many of them promoted by OREA and its industry apologists. • Myth: The typical advice for sellers signing the form is Liars Beware. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real reason sellers often get sued is not

because they lie, but because the SPIS is complicated, highly technical, misleading and very ambiguous. It is impossible to complete the form fully and accurately without expert advice from industry professionals. And judging from more than 200 Canadian lawsuits, even the professionals get it wrong sometimes. • Myth: When buyers are faced with a home for sale where the SPIS is not provided, they offer less money than they otherwise would have. This fallacy has never been supported by a shred of statistical or anecdotal evidence. • Myth: Buyers become suspicious when an SPIS is not provided, and in many communities “this tactic usually creates a stigma on the property.” Again, this myth is unsupported by evidence. • Myth: Signing an SPIS may prevent possible legal action because known defects or problems are disclosed. My research provides no support for this proposition.

• Myth: Using the SPIS reduces the chances of serious problems, which can lead to litigation and may prevent possible legal action. In my view, industry experience proves otherwise. • Myth: When sellers make disclosure that is complete and accurate, their chances of being sued virtually disappear. An examination of court cases involving hidden defects puts the lie to this statement. When a house contains concealed defects that may or may not be known at the time of sale, sellers may get sued even when they do not sign the SPIS. While refusing to sign an SPIS is never an absolute shield from litigation, signing the form exponentially raises the chances of being sued. Raymond Diep is a licensed real estate broker and articling law student in Toronto. He tells me that in his experience less than five per cent of Toronto listings offer a SPIS, and he has actually never

seen one in a live deal. My conclusion is either that virtually all agents are ignoring the advice of their associations, or clients are ignoring the advice of their agents, or almost everybody is ignoring OREA and its sister groups. But it is quite clear to me from observing the marketplace that the industry associations across Canada that are promoting forms like the SPIS are flogging a dead horse, and are clearly at odds with their membership. Despite the almost universal boycott of the SPIS and its counterpart forms, some sellers and their agents are still using it, and they are the ones who seem to be the source of the never-ending stream of new SPIS court decisions. In April 2009, John Shen bought a house in Richmond Hill from Francesca Maiolo for $1.869 million. Shen’s home inspector produced a thorough report of the building’s components.

Maiolo signed an SPIS form in which she responded in the negative to the question, “Are you aware of any moisture and/or water problems?” The inspection report pointed to an “excessive moisture level” in the basement. Typically, this would relieve the seller from any responsibility for a mis-statement on the form. But deputy judge Stanley Baker ruled that the seller had to share responsibility for damages due to her misleading statement. “To ignore it would be to condone reckless dissemination of untruths, a notion repugnant to the ethos of honourable dealings in contract and quite unacceptable in law,” he wrote. He ordered the seller to pay 30 per cent of the buyer’s damages of $5,330. This case would never have gone to court if the SPIS wasn’t used. I think the agent should take the blame on this one. Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and consumer advocate. His Title Page column appears alternate Saturdays in The Toronto Star and at He can be reached at More SPIS columns appear at REM

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Success puts the degree on hold A young Quebec couple finds love and business success marketing real estate


hey are so successful they have not had time to complete their degrees. Young Realtors Francis Lavoie and Audrey Bien-Aimé of Re/Max Platine F.L. in Saint-Constant, Que. met while working for a telecommunications company. As colleagues, they realized they were hooked together at the atomic level and that they would complement each other well in business and as a couple. “My strength is human relations (psychology) while Francis has very strong analytical skills,” says Bien-Aimé, 28, in a telephone interview. While many brokers are content with five to seven transactions per year, she and her partner had 22 to 30 transactions per year in their early years at Re/Max. “The two of us together were still just making $155,000,” says Lavoie. Even though he was only 20-yearsold, Lavoie was not satisfied with those numbers. Inspired by the motivational speaker Anthony Robbins, he sought a model to imitate, a mentor. He found him in Ontario. His name: Craig Proctor.


By Bruce Keith


s I write the four words in the headline of this article, it seems like an oxymoron. Is there really any wisdom to be gained from war? Perhaps yes... read on. A coaching client recently sent me a copy of a poster he saw in one of his customer’s offices, which has now also been reproduced on tshirts and coffee mugs. This poster was one that was used extensively in England in 1939 during the Second World War. It simply says,

“We have taken several courses with Craig to improve our business. Our growth has exploded. The principle: treat our work as a real business,” says Lavoie. But first they needed a marketing plan. “Being the big fish in a small bowl” sums up the approach they adopted in 2007. They decided to invest all their advertising eggs in one basket by advertising their properties in regional weekly publications in order to better reach their key potential buyer group. “This is much cheaper than the mainstream media,” says Lavoie. They concentrated all their efforts in an area of Montérégie extending from Brossard to SaintConstant (on Montreal’s South shore). Then Bien-Aimé and Lavoie chose to offer the promotion, “Your Property SOLD or we BUY it!” “This has generated a ton of calls,” says Lavoie. How many properties have they had to buy? One. “We average around 70 days. We know our market well,” he says. The couple went from $116,000 in commissions in 2006 to $306,451 a year or two later. “We were successful, but we

had no life,” says Lavoie. Often they had to stay up until 3 am to save their MLS listings while their days were spent making visits. “We had to find ways to work more efficiently because we could not work harder,” he says. So they decided to hire other brokers and provide them with clients. “This idea came from Craig Proctor,” says Lavoie, who grew up in suburban Montreal. Team Francis Lavoie is now a sub-franchise of Re/Max Platine. It employs 14 people including seven brokers working on the road and one broker “on the phone fulltime.” In 2011 the team was ranked in sixth place in Re/Max Quebec and in the top 50 in Canada. And in just four years, Team Lavoie has earned a place among the top 100 Re/Max teams in the world. A brokerage owner once told Bien-Aimé that at 50-years-old, he would not trust a Realtor as young as she was. “I was not offended at the time. It gave me rather a swift kick (to continue to prove myself),” she says. Because “BienAimé” sounds too much like the little witch of a cartoon popular in

By Valérie Vézina

Quebec…and also because she received some indecent proposals…she prefers to be discreet in the team’s advertising. Young buyers can identify with Lavoie, who welcomes them in person via a video clip on their website ( “The Internet has played a decisive role in (our success). This allows us to offer free information to customers,” he says. They can obtain a list of properties matching their tastes as well as (sold) comparisons if they have submitted an online form specifying what they are looking for. The follow-up system and procedures that have been implemented to track each of these contacts contributes in part to their prosperity. “The database has a very important role to play,” says Lavoie. He says that many young people today have the means to acquire a house or condo, which was not the case eight years ago. This summer the lovebirds enjoyed the large yard at the back of their first home with Thomas, their newborn. And the degrees?

Wisdom from the war “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Knowing English culture as we all do, this speaks volumes. The stereotypical English approach is “stiff upper lip, get the job done, stay focused, no excuses”. In times of trouble and in times of stress, this approach is certainly invaluable in the world of sales. The alternative (panic and drama) does not work very well in dealing with the emotions of many customer situations. The majority of all sales transactions follow a predictable cycle. One of the components of this cycle is often drama, emotion, even irrational behaviour. At some point it usually shows up. Decision-making is stressful for many of your customers. Here are some reminders to help you, the sales professional, stay on the right side of the “emotion scale”: 1. I consider myself to be the

calming influence in all transactions. Keep Calm and Carry On. 2. Every time I act like I “need a deal”, things go sideways! Desperation is a dangerous element. Keep Calm and Carry On. 3. I perform at my best when my mindset is clear and I have my customer’s best interests at heart. This is where my mental toughness is such a valuable asset. Keep Calm and Carry On. 4. When I practice my craft in advance – when I really know my stuff – my confidence level is at its highest. This confidence is what gives me the ability to keep my emotions out of the equation. I am like a surgeon in the operating room. Keep Calm and Carry On. 5. Drama has no place in my sales mentality. That is not me. Keep Calm and Carry On. The best salespeople follow this

mantra: “I am the calming influence in all negotiations and transactions.” This does not mean that you do not use emotion as part of your sales style. Understand one very important issue here. The best salespeople use emotion to help the customer move forward in their decision-making. The difference is that this emotion is a controlled emotion...not drama! The enthusiasm and the energy you bring to the table are infectious. Just make sure to use them in a planned and positive manner. No excuses. Bruce Keith, the “Results Coach” has over 23 years of experience. He is a sales and marketing coach and seminar leader in the real estate business, teaching what to say and how to say it. His high-energy, high-impact training style is sought after and acclaimed across North America. He says,

Francis Lavoie

Audrey Bien-Aimé

They will never be finished. “We didn’t think the courses were going fast enough to develop entrepreneurship,” says Bien-Aimé while Thomas makes baby sounds on the phone line. “We like to have things move fast!” REM

“Success is possible; there are no excuses.” REM



By Donald H. Lapowich


husband (debtor) and his late wife purchased a condo in joint tenancy. The creditor obtained a judgment against the husband, and issued a writ of service and sale. The creditor took steps to sell the condo unit. Meanwhile, the wife by will left her half of the property to her son. 1. The wife could not sever joint tenancy by a will because on her death the property went to the husband by right of survivorship in joint tenancy. 2. However, before that the creditor took steps not only to obtain judgment, but by proceeding with steps of execution. By those means the joint tenancy had been severed, creating a “tenancy in common” between the husband and now-deceased wife. 3. This meant by the creditor so acting, the deceased wife could convey her one-half interest by a will to her son. I am sure the creditor was less than happy by its move to try and execute and sell, which created the right of the deceased wife to convey her half. ■ ■ ■

It is necessary to show that the parties are ready, willing and able to close on the closing date. The plaintiff agreed to purchase three adjoining properties from the defendant couples as owners. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale allowed for an extension of closing (four times) so the plaintiff developer could satisfy himself that he had all necessary permits. A final closing date was set, but the plaintiff then raised the issue of the vendor’s calculation of purchase price and the plain-

Twists and turns tiff failed to close. The defendants tendered on closing. They showed they were ready, willing and able to close. By the purchaser failing to tender even its own calculated purchase price on closing, it breached the purchase contract and lost its deposits to the vendors. (2068895 Ontario Inc. v. DiVito, 2011 ONSC 404) ■ ■ ■

In a novel case, the plaintiff corporation received an assignment of two mortgages from the mortgagee. The security for the mortgages had been prepared by a law firm in a negligent fashion and the plaintiff (assignee) sued the law firm. We are talking in this case of $2.5 million covered by the two mortgages on a ground lease of an apartment building. The wording of the assignment was very wide and included “all other rights, titles, interests and claims … existing or arising under or in connection with the loan”. The court (and the Court of Appeal) agreed that the assignment of the mortgages included the “cause of action” against the lawyers. The plaintiff had a legitimate financial (commercial) interest in the action so as to defeat any argument of champerty or maintenance. The plaintiff’s commercial interest negated the doctrine that it was a “stranger” trying to enforce an assignment of a tort action. (Gentra Canada Investments Inc. v. Lipson, 2011 ONCA 331) Court rulings can be found at Donald Lapowich, Q.C. is a partner at the law firm of Koskie, Minsky in Toronto, where he practices civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on real estate litigation and mediation, acting for builders, real estate agents and lawyers. REM


The MAP to success By Andy Herrington


uccess is simple and straightforward but not easy. Remember that dream of being your own boss, the freedom that can come from infinite earning power and the excitement of doing what you truly love to do? This is the dream we all had when we first decided to sell real estate. Sadly, only the luckiest of us have the MAP to success in order to realize the dream. “The MAP to success” is the ability to find and create the three pillars of success: mastery, autonomy and purpose. When built and used consistently they provide unimaginable results. Bruce Lee once said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick

10,000 times.” He was speaking about mastery. Our industry has a “jack of all trades” feel to it, but only those who have taken their success to the next level have realized they cannot do everything at an amazingly high level. They have learned to focus on the strengths and delegate the weaknesses. They provide an environment where strength is an asset, where everyone is encouraged to grow their strength and become better. They surround themselves with the very best and are always looking to improve. They strive for mastery from themselves and everyone around them. The second pillar is autonomy. Autonomy’s real strength lies in the ability to not simply have it, but to allow others to have it as well. Providing a place where everyone has the freedom to grow and build new and innovative ideas is the one of the best ways to create a successful business. The most famous examples of this are Google, Toyota and Atlassian. At these companies

each employee is given a certain amount of their paid company time to do anything (company related) that they want, provided it is not a part of their regular job and that all their results are provided to the company. It is believed that the biggest advancements and glitch repairs occur during this “free time”. (For example, Gmail is believed to have been created out of this time.) People do better work and provide better service when they are more autonomous and free to just be. Financial rewards are not the largest factor for most people, pride and a desire to accomplish something provides greater return on investment. Having others able to work on their own ideas for improving things can turn an ordinary business into a hugely successful one. It creates better retention and a happier work environment. It is a key ingredient in the success

of a company. The last pillar is purpose. This for many people is paramount and frankly without a clearly defined purpose, no one will ever be successful. The purpose is the “why” behind everything. It helps to form and shape decisions, services and products. A company that loses sight of its vision will find itself closing its doors and real estate salespeople are no different. Real estate agents who believe their purpose is to make money or simply sell houses do not create long-term success. We need to know what our purpose is – how to capture it and make sure everyone we know feels it and can see it. We need to make every decision based on if it helps to further our purpose. People gravitate towards purpose; it is magnetic, powerful and essential to becoming a success. I’ll say it again; Success is sim-

ple and straightforward, but it is not easy. To work towards the level of success you desire, ask yourself these questions, and take the time to follow the MAP to success: Can you define and stick to your purpose day in and day out? Do you allow for autonomy, the freedom to look outside the box and create things you never thought about? Do you provide a forum to listen to ideas from people you never considered listening to before? Will you focus on being a master at what you do best and allow others around you to do the same for their strengths? Andy Herrington is a real estate salesperson who was a member of some amazing top producing teams prior to becoming a real estate coach and inspirational speaker. His main message is for all Realtors to have “belief in the message” and to create a higher standard of professionalism for our amazing profession. REM

New tool helps small property management firms By Carrie Brodi

T Gurinder Sandhu Executive Vice President, Regional Director RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. Walter Schneider, President and Co-Founder and Pamela Alexander, CEO RE/MAX OntarioAtlantic Canada Inc., are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Gurinder Sandhu to the position of Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX OntarioAtlantic Canada Inc. The appointment marks a first in the company’s 32-year history, with Mr. Sandhu the only non-family member to hold the position. Mr. Sandhu joined RE/MAX in 2010 as Chief Financial Officer, a position which he will retain. In his new role, he will be responsible for building on the company’s existing strengths, while focusing on future growth through increased market share. His extensive knowledge, particularly in the area of mergers and acquisitions, will allow him to assist RE/MAX Broker-Owners in expanding operations. Mr. Sandhu has more than 19 years of experience in senior finance leadership positions in real estate, relocation, and other service sectors. Prior to joining RE/MAX, Mr. Sandhu served as Vice President of Finance for Brookfield Real Estate Services Ltd. and has worked at Royal LePage Relocations, Torstar and KPMG. Gurinder holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in Economics from York University and has a CA designation. RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. is the first – and foremost – asset of Integra Enterprises Corporation, the largest real estate sub-franchisor in the world with more than 27,000 sales associates operating out of 2,300 offices in 35 countries. RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. opened its doors in 1980 and has since grown to more than 9,300 sales associates in close to 400 offices throughout Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.

he task of managing a rental property just got easier with a new web-based software tool that affords landlords all of the sophisticated features of a large property management company without the expense, says Leonard Drimmer, CEO of Property Vista Software. “This service will finally bring the real estate industry into the 21st century,” he says. Some of Property Vista’s key features include instant access to credit checks through Equifax for landlords considering prospective renters, and the ability for tenants to apply for an apartment online or pay their rent electronically through debit or with Visa. In terms of the front-end user experience, property managers can build their own websites without the aid of a web designer or a programmer, and tenants can use the portal to update their payment options, change their personal information or even report a leaky faucet. Drimmer says that today’s renters – 3.2 million in Ontario

and Quebec alone – prefer to conduct their home-related transactions with the same expediency and convenience as online banking. “The under-40 generation operates in a different time frame. They want answers any time of the day and this service provides that,” Drimmer says. As the former CEO of Trans Globe Property Management, Drimmer knows renters. After stepping down from Trans Globe two years ago, he sensed a need in the market for an online tool that would fill the niche of small investment property owners, many of which, he says, are individuals over 40 who are used to doing everything on paper and who cannot afford a website with a sophisticated back end. Brook Hamilton fits that description. He has a full-time day job and also owns a threeunit rental property in the Beaches area of Toronto. Two of his biggest challenges are collecting rent cheques through Canada Post, and screening tenants for their credit history, something

that would have saved him thousands of dollars in back rent had he used it with a previous tenant who left one of his units several months in arrears. He was drawn to Property Vista for its ease of electronic payment through debit and for the instant access to credit information from one of Canada’s largest credit bureaus at a cost of $20 each time. “Not only will this tool make my life a lot easier, it is also going to make me look a bit more sophisticated than I really am,” he says. He adds that he will likely use the debit feature as opposed to the credit card option because Visa charges two per cent on each transaction, which can add up to $40 per month on just one of his apartments that rents for $2,000 per month. The service starts at $14.99 per month with a free version for five units or under. It is also available to large property management companies on a quotation basis. For more information, visit REM

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s we head indoors for another winter, wouldn’t it be nice if we could cover our homes in big insulated tarps that guaranteed to keep the cold out? If it were only that easy. But there are plenty of eco-minded options that will help heat your home this winter. Furnace filters should be changed frequently. Some say every three months, while others adhere to once a month. Filters clogged with pet dander, pollen and dust don’t work as efficiently. The buildup makes it more difficult for air to pass through, which stresses the blower, burns up more power and increases your energy bill. If you’ve never sealed the air leaks in your home, this can be a tedious and time-consuming job. But it’s definitely one worth doing. In older homes, air leakage represents 25 to 40 per cent of heat loss. Check windows and doors, but don’t forget electrical outlets, mail slots, floor drains, foundation cracks, attic entries and chimneys. Windows are a large source of heat loss, so replace them if they’re old or cover them up for added protection. Double- and triple-pane windows do a wonderful job at keeping out the cold, but they’re costly. If new windows aren’t in your budget, consider installing clear plastic or storm windows over your existing glass. If feasible, try to open your blinds and curtains on sunny days in winter, especially on those windows with a southern exposure. Sustainable retrofits that reduce the heating and cooling

loads of the home would not be complete without a conversation about insulation. Different types of insulation are rated with R-values. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation does at resisting the movement of heat. Well-insulated houses not only save energy, they also lower operating costs and keep you more comfortable. As your house becomes more air-tight, know that ventilation is important. Pollutants, water vapour and stale air can accumulate and excess condensation can cause mould and mildew to grow. Because the air in your home is used many times over, try to open some windows for a few minutes several times a day. If you can achieve a cross-breeze in your home, all the better. Old-fashioned fireplaces are indisputably beautiful but as heating devices for your home, not so pretty. About 90 per cent of the heat is lost through the chimney along with your home’s heated air. But if you can’t resist the crackle of a roaring fire, lower your heat to 10 C to prevent your heating system from trying to replace the warm air being lost though the chimney. A programmable thermostat is a wise investment especially if you use forced-air natural gas. They offer the possibility of saving energy and money by reducing the use of heating and cooling systems when your house is unoccupied or at night. It’s said that you can save two per cent on your heating bill for each degree the thermostat is lowered overnight. You can make a difference in your home heating bill and the environment by trying these suggestions. Remember, it’s the little things that count. The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) provide a Greenbroker and Greenagent certification program to Realtors across Canada. To get more information or to sign up for a course, visit Elden Freeman M.E.S., AGB, broker is the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization. 1-877524-9494; email REM

“Running my own brokerage business was always in the back of my mind when I got my real estate license. Once I got to the top of my selling game I knew it was the time to make the change from agent to owner. I had heard of the EXIT business model from one of the most respected brokers in the community next to ours. I made an appointment to listen to the opportunity and half-way through the presentation I made the decision to purchase the franchise. Recruiting, retention, and productivity were all hallmarks of the system. This was precisely what I needed and wanted. Within a year of start-up my office was full, exceeding all of my plans. Thereafter, I built my own office location, moved in and continued to grow our presence in our market. There is no comparison with any other business model once you understand how the residual income works at EXIT. Singlelevel residuals are the icing on the cake. Everyone in my office is excited to hear about other EXIT offices opening in the

communities surrounding our office. Every broker and agent has a financial vested interest in the growth of this corporation from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, and south of the border. When you sell a house in this business you get paid once; when you introduce an agent to EXIT who joins the company, you get paid over and over again from the corporate head office. Ten percent right off the top; that’s an incredible extra cash flow stream when your dayto-day routine includes being out in the rain until 2am putting deals together. And, as the person you introduce increases their production, your bonus increases. So, everyone helping each other is the norm, not the exception. This concept is a nobrainer. When I first heard how it works I thought it was too good to be true and literally asked, ‘okay, what’s the catch?’ After eight years I know there isn’t one, just a lot of good common sense.”

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By Don Kottick


he landscape of real estate is changing, and it appears to be changing quickly. The downward pressure on commissions by the consumer, scrutiny by the Competition Bureau, the precarious state of the global economies, the threat of rising interest rates, increased operating costs to run a brokerage and the arrival of new business models are all creating a very dynamic environment. Sometime in the next few years, the boom market that many of us have been experiencing will inevitably undergo a correction, the scope of which is yet unknown. “Canada’s housing market is

Time for due diligence expected to avoid the sharp downturn witnessed in the United States and Europe,” said Adrienne Warren, senior economist at Scotiabank. “However, the downside risks to domestic housing activity are increasing. The full impact of the slowdown may not become fully visible until middecade.” Coupled with the changing economic climate and the arrival of “change” companies, traditional brokerages have been forced to rethink their commission plans and structures and subsequently, new innovative business models have and are emerging. Some of these models may not be sustainable when the market softens. History has proven that for-saleby-owner companies and deep consumer discount firms are quite often the first casualties when markets shift. The mindset of salespeople appears to be changing along with the mindset of the consumer. Many salespeople are now questioning the value

proposition delivered by their brokerages and the corresponding high cost of membership within their firms. Some brokerages that have in the past demanded high monthly fees and dues are starting to see a new mentality sweeping their ranks. Their salespeople are now questioning their monthly expenses, their intractable exit penalties and the need for locked-in longterm independent contractor agreements. In this new and changing reality, the key indicators of a brokerage’s success is now directly correlated to the number of salespeople that appear on their roster, the corresponding production and activity of these individuals, the depth of financial reserves of the brokerage to manoeuvre the cyclical nature of the market, and the strength of the management team shaping the strategic and operational direction of the entity. Other recent trends in the industry point to some brokerages

offering a smorgasbord of commission splits, fee holidays and fee structures. The challenge here is that it becomes increasingly difficult for the brokerage accountants to determine and predict cash flow and profitability. When a firm has simplified consistent commission plans, it is easy to successfully predict cash flow, expenses, expansion requirements and overall profitability. The need for transparency and consistency is a requirement for company managers, but also for salespeople who depend on their firm to stay in business. Another disconcerting trend is when the brokerage solicits direct investments from the salespeople in exchange for shares. In situations such as this, it is advisable for potential investors to get outside advice and conduct thorough due diligence to find out the following: when will the investment be paid back; what is the anticipated return on investment, how much equity has already been

invested and subsequently consumed, liquidity of the shares, and what rights (voting rights) accompany the shares. A dramatic shift over the last 10 years has seen a larger portion of commissions flowing to the salespeople as opposed to going to the brokerage. Broker margins are shrinking. A word to the wise: demand transparency of commissions being offered by the brokerage, the associated fees, any cancellation penalties and any extraneous costs prior to making a career move; and finally ensure to the best of your ability that the financial strength and viability of your brokerage is on solid footing now and for the future. The winds of change may be about to expose the weakest links within our industry. Don Kottick is the president and broker of record of Right At Home Realty Inc. It has six office locations and more than 2,200 salespeople and brokers. Right At Home Realty ranked 7th in units sold and 8th in volume for all of Canada last year, and it is Canada’s largest independently owned brokerage, according to Real Trends. REM

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udy Shenefield, the world president of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), has appointed Realtor Jerry England as the secretary-general of the Americas. England is currently the secretary-general of the Canadian Chapter. He is also a director of the Toronto Real Estate Board and president-elect of the Mississauga Real Estate Board. He has been an active volunteer in organized real estate since 1984 and has served in leadership roles at all levels. His new position will involve providing Spanish and Portuguese linguistic and administrative support to Vancouver-based Calvin Lindberg, in his role as the current president of the Americas. The Americas consists of chapters in Argentina, Mexico, Columbia,

USA, Panama, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Canada. ■ ■ ■

One more family has realized their dream of homeownership thanks to the Home Ownership Affordability Partnership (HOAP), a partnership of the Realtors Association of HamiltonBurlington (RAHB), Scotiabank and the City of Hamilton. The program is a unique solution to affordable housing in the community. The City of Hamilton helps identify families who might qualify for the program; a representative from Scotiabank works with the families to help them determine if they can afford a home; a Realtor helps the family locate a home that meets their needs – usually a home in need of repair – and

HOAP makes the arrangements for and funds the renovations required to make the property safe, clean and up to code. As a result of the HOAP program and the 11 projects to date, more than just the HOAP families have benefitted from the program. As a family moves into their new home, another family is able to move into their vacated social housing unit. Neighbourhoods also benefit as aging homes are renovated and other families are inspired to repair and renovate their homes. In the most recent project, Ann Forbes Arndt of HomeLife Macro Realty donated her real estate services. The Ontario Realtors Care Foundation provided funding as did the RAHB Charity Golf Tournament.

located to the east of City Hall in East Village. Planners are hoping to have a plan in place by 2013, with an opening date of 2017. CREB (the Calgary Real Estate Board) says in a statement that its members “believe that a healthy city has more than just a robust economy and abundant employment opportunities.” CREB president Bob Jablonski says the library statement is one of a series of positions taken by the board’s political action committee, as the organization speaks up in favour of developments that build community in Calgary. “More and more, we hear from

homebuyers that quality of life is an important consideration when they are looking to relocate to our city,” says Jablonski. “Calgary needs to ensure it has all the services in place, so that we can attract the best people to move here.” ■ ■ ■

The Cornwall and District Real Estate Board held its annual golf tournament recently with proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cornwall and District. A $10,000 cheque was presented to BBBS of Cornwall, which includes matching funds from Scotiabank. REM

Left: Jerry England (left) and Calvin Lindberg

■ ■ ■

Calgary’s 5,100 Realtors and brokers have come out in full support of a proposed $175-million new central library for the city, as well as encouraging public engagement in the design of the downtown structure. The proposed library would replace the W.R. Castell Central Library and be

Right: Ross Godsoe, RAHB CEO, left; Cynthia McDonald, homeowner; and Tim Mattioli, RAHB vice-president and HOAP Chair, at the official opening of the 11th HOAP home.

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Government help for first-time buyers Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns contributed by Genworth Canada to help Realtors add value to their customer relationships.











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ecognizing the value of homeownership to Canadians, the government offers incentives to help firsttime homebuyers get their financial footing. Here are some popular offerings that thousands of Canadians have taken advantage of: Home Buyers’ Plan: One of the most well-known and utilized programs is the Home Buyers’ Plan. This plan allows eligible people to withdraw up to $25,000 tax free from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to purchase or build a qualifying home. To qualify as a first-time home buyer you can not have owned a home as a principal residence for four years before the date of the withdrawal of funds. People using this plan have to start repaying the amount two years after withdrawing the funds and the quantity must be entirely repaid within 15 years. Tax-free savings account: Tax-









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free savings accounts (TFSA) allow people to save money and not pay tax on any interest accrued. This is great way to save for a down payment on a home as the money is often more accessible than an RRSP. GST/HST New housing rebate program: Newly built homes are subject to five per cent GST/HST but there are some circumstances when you may be eligible to claim a rebate for a part of the GST/HST you pay on the purchase price or cost of building your home. If the home you buy is less than $350,000, you can claim a GST/HST rebate to a maximum of $8,750. For homes priced between $350,000 and $450,000, the GST/HST rebate is reduced proportionately. New homes priced at $450,000 or higher (before GST/HST) do not receive a rebate. Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC): Like the Home Buyers’ Plan, if you haven’t lived in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in any of the four preceding years and you acquire a qualifying home (a housing unit located in Canada that will be your principal


Mortgage Business C MLS Financial, Canada’s largest independently owned commercial mortgage services operation, has formed a residential mortgage division to service the Canadian mortgage brokerage industry. Established in 1974, CMLS Financial originates $1.5 to $2 billion worth of new mortgage lending annually from its offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Its current assets under administration are more than $5.7 billion.

The executive team for the Residential Mortgage Division, scheduled to officially begin operations in early 2013, include Dan Putnam, vice-president, sales and business development; Kevin Fettig, vice-president, risk, residential mortgages; and Cheryl Preston, vice-president, servicing, residential mortgages. Putnam is a 25-year veteran in the residential mortgage industry. He has been the owner/operator of a large regional mortgage brokerage, has served as president of two

residence), you can claim an amount of $5,000 for the Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC). This provides up to $750 in federal tax relief. This initiative is designed to help first-time homebuyers with the costs associated with the purchase of a home such as legal fees and land transfer taxes. This tax credit is claimed on income tax returns in the year you purchase a home. There is also opportunity for individuals who purchase a home that is more accessible for a disabled person to claim this tax credit. Land Transfer Tax Credit (Ontario): For Ontario residents, you can claim up to $2,000 if you are purchasing a home as a principal residence as long as you and your spouse or common-law partner has never owned a home, or an interest in a home, anywhere in the world. Applications for this tax credit must be made within 18 months of purchasing the property. Documents and forms must be completed and provided to the Land Registry Office or the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Similar tax credit programs are also available in British Columbia REM and Quebec. national mortgage brokerage operations and was president of originations for a national residential mortgage lender. He is also a board member with the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. Fettig, a graduate of the Ivey School of Business, Queens and University of Alberta, with more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage and capital markets fields, has held senior executive positions with a number of mortgage insurance companies. Preston brings 22 years of experience in the Canadian residential, commercial and residential construction mortgage industry. Prior to joining CMLS Financial, she held senior management positions with two of the largest non-bank mortgage originators/servicers in Canada, as well as other senior posts. REM


More digital marketing power, fewer headaches By Jacky Hill


here’s a universal saying that “time is money”. So when you are managing your digital marketing efforts, your time is being diverted from other important tasks. Trying to keep up with Google’s everchanging practices, for example, can be a major headache in itself. What is digital (Internet) marketing? It includes a few elements – pay per click (PPC), cost per click or search engine marketing (SEM). These terms all refer to when a business typically buys a keyword phrase relevant to their product, service or target market, such as “homes for sale in Toronto”. This keyword phrase then appears on search engine results pages (Google, Yahoo or Bing) and the business is charged when the ad is clicked on. This is a short-term approach, ideal for advertising current or immediate listings.

Digital marketing also includes search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process of getting your website and name higher up in a search result. This is referred to as natural or organic search results, since home and condo buyers will likely type in keyword phrases and the most popular sites will be shown in the organic results section, below any PPC ad. In general, the closer your website is to the top of a results page and to page 1, the greater the chance you’ll get that website traffic. This is a long-term approach, ideal for advertising future listings and properties or continuing to build credibility and website traffic. Think of PPC and SEO as your digital for sale or sold sign. Best practice is to keep a sign on or close to a property at all times while it’s on the market and even once a sale has gone through. Your digital for sale and sold sign can do the same thing and can also attract clients outside of your local area. Why should you use PPC and SEO in your digital marketing

campaign? When planning a PPC or SEO campaign there are three points to keep in mind. 1. Number of resources needed: keyword research, bid management, landing pages, text ad conversion and more. Various tools (free, paid and custom) have been developed and will continue to develop to improve the PPC management process. 2. Use an experienced partner. A digital marketing expert knows how to get your company the visibility you need so your potential home or condo buyers can find you when searching online. The landscape and requirements of PPC and SEO marketing are continually evolving. Google and other search engines frequently make changes to their search criteria and results pages, making a PPC and SEO campaign a dynamic and evolving task. Your competition may also change or modify how they manage their online campaigns, which means you may need to adapt accordingly. Keep in mind that Yahoo and Bing are also popular search engines and may be more eco-

nomical to invest in. Using a partner that’s certified with all three search engines only increases the likelihood of your campaign success. For SEO purposes, proper back linking, social bookmarking, on-site changes and more all need to be considered for maximum benefit. 3. Total cost. If not managed properly, the cost could soar quite high. The options are to have a PPC or SEO expert in-house or partner with a digital marketing expert. The starting annual rate for a PPC professional is approximately $50,000 plus benefits, bonuses, future pay increases and on-going training. This could easily accumulate to $60-65K a year. Alternatively, a digital marketing expert could result in a much smaller investment – it’s important to research and choose a partner that’s best for you. Usually the more experience one has in your industry and sector, the better the results you can expect, as keywords and other elements of a campaign have already been researched and invested in. Also, incorporating

keyword phrases in web copy is essential and if done incorrectly could result in lost resources or even worse, a lower search results ranking. Internet marketing could be a huge revenue generator, but if not planned and executed properly, it could also be very costly. Partnering with a local company that offers a variety of expert marketing solutions including online, mobile, print, social, search engines and more can help boost your sales fulfillment and save you time, money and headaches. Jacky Hill has more than 21 years of experience in real estate and media and is responsible for managing and leading Wall2Wall Media’s corporate strategy, go-to-market products, brand strategy, change management and mentoring senior management. She has served on the board of directors for two consecutive terms for two home-building industry associations and is a past sales & marketing chair with GTHBA (now BILD). She has been recognized in the real estate industry with several awards. REM

How to leverage a home inspection W

e know a good inspection provides consumers with many benefits. What is not commonly known is that the home inspection also provides many benefits to real estate agents who leverage them effectively. Here are some industry insiders’ tips that can help an agent make more commission and increase customer service. 1. Before the inspection: Educate your customer. Consumers often have misconceptions or false expectations about what a home inspection will provide and this can lead to a less than ideal experience. As their agent and the expert in the transaction, you can help educate your customer beforehand by using a few of these key talking points: • A home inspection is a visual examination of the home and oper-

ating systems at the time that the inspection is done, but it is not a warranty. A good home inspector will stand behind his/her work and warranties can be purchased. • Items that are not included in a normal home inspection are the cosmetic or esthetic features and systems such as the telephone, cable TV, alarm systems or lawn sprinklers. • A home inspector cannot knock out the walls to see what is behind them and will typically not move furniture. He/she cannot see through foundation, floors or walls and can only observe what is visible. • Also not included in a standard home inspection are inspections of swimming pools, spas, fireplaces, outbuildings or the like, although they are available as spe-

cialty services or add-ons to a home inspection. • What the consumer will gain is an in-depth understanding of the home and their investment. 2. During the inspection: Be engaged. Being at the home inspection and showing you are engaged is critical. This means walking through the home with your client and the home inspector. It provides an excellent opportunity for you to: • Sell the features of the home; • Better understand your customer’s needs; • Gain leverage for negotiations; • Avoid surprises; and • Manage and educate along with the inspector. Two hours can seem like a long time, but the intelligence gained is

worth every second of your time and pays back within the deal itself. 3. After the inspection: Follow through. There is a lot of important information provided in a good home inspection report. Pointing these out to your customers by walking through the report with them ensures that your customers get optimal value from the report, and you gain goodwill for doing so. A good report will: • Provide peace of mind on the purchase; • Outline ongoing maintenance costs enabling better budgeting for your customer; • Point out major repairs – when they will most likely be needed, how much they will likely cost preventing major surprises for your customer;

• Describe good preventive measures that can be taken to optimize their investment and also prevent expensive surprises. By doing three simple things – educating your customer before the inspection, being engaged in the inspection itself and following through on the report – you add value to your customers, help support the commission rate that you deserve, and stay in the driver’s seat throughout. This article was provided to REM by The Home Inspection Network, a network of professional, experienced and field-tested home inspectors and energy advisors, built with the real estate agent’s needs in mind. or call toll-free at 1-855-232-9778. REM


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Get your sellers to pay for advertising Tip No. 10 in the series on how to write great real estate ads

By Ian Grace


n Australia and New Zealand, Realtors do something rather interesting – they ask the sellers to pay the total costs for a professional media mix advertising campaign, often amounting to many thousands of dollars. Now, before you read further, I would point out that not all Realtors in Australia do that – only the best agents have the skills and are able to obtain substantial advertising dollars from the sellers and achieve great results for them. Other agents, many of whom cut their commissions to win listings when times are tough, also pay all the advertising (albeit very small campaigns, as it is coming out of their pocket), which reduces their commission further. That is one of the main reasons why newspapers in these two countries are still such powerful tools for the real estate industry, carrying hundreds of millions of dollars in glorious

full-colour real estate advertising. Where I now live at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, our daily newspaper recently had a Saturday real estate liftout containing over 200 pages. I have heard many times in the USA and Canada that “newspaper advertising doesn’t work” – not true! As long as newspapers have readers, then the right message put in front of them will achieve results, particularly when managed as part of a media mix campaign, complementing the other media used. Research “down under” shows that the higher the sellerpaid advertising percentage, the better the campaign, with more sales at higher prices in a shorter time frame. As proven across the Australian and New Zealand markets, sellers will pay if they believe as a result, they will achieve a better end net result. You’re also guaranteed to achieve a much higher listing to selling success rate. In Australia and New Zealand, the aim is for one per cent to two per cent of the selling price to go to the advertising budget. This is merely in line with all other businesses and industries, in terms of what

advertising money they spend as a percentage of product value or annual turnover. Which means that property is dramatically under-promoted compared to everything else, therefore not giving it the exposure it deserves! However, as I teach Australian and New Zealand Realtors, if you don’t believe you can achieve a better end net result (that’s the money in the seller’s pocket after all commission and advertising costs have been paid) by using their money for advertising, DON’T DO IT. They don’t deserve to pay the money and you don’t deserve to get it. Can it be done in marketplaces where the practice doesn’t currently exist? Yes, if a proper professional advertising campaign is presented to the seller as an option (and in a consultative selling situation, they have been part of the information gathering process) and they can see the dramatic difference between that and the usual campaign, they can be influenced to invest in what they see will be potentially a better result for them. For example, in Calgary a little while back there was a property priced at just under $1 million that had expired, with the

Why does the Peak Real Estate Network keep growing? Why not check it out?

sellers desperate to sell. What happens next? All too often, the price could be dropped many tens of thousands of dollars to sell the property in a desperation situation. However, a local Realtor suggested the seller give him around $2,000 to produce a better advertising campaign. The

to sellers. That gives them the confidence to entrust their hardearned dollars to you their Realtor, with a belief that you will achieve the best possible end net result for them. Be careful of saying things like, “We don’t do that here…the sellers would never pay…it wouldn’t work in our

Open your mind and consider the possible benefits. Don’t get left behind and find that others are doing it — it is already happening in some USA and Canadian marketplaces. result? A record price for the area, with an overjoyed seller. If you are asking for sellers to contribute advertising dollars, how can you compete with Realtors offering to do the advertising for free? A long-time Realtor friend of mine, Mark Passmore from Passmore Real Estate in Perth, Australia, was previously in the top two per cent of Century 21 Realtors worldwide. He has been using my advertising system for around 10 years now and as he said recently, “My last 10 listings, I averaged over $6,000 in vendor advertising contribution for each one.” In every instance, he was competing against other agents saying they would do the ads for free, but Mark’s professional advertising approach convinced the sellers they would achieve a better end net result with him – and he can hardly keep up with his repeat and referral business. To make this a reality, you have to become an advertising “expert” and really know what you’re doing, demonstrating a systematic professional approach

marketplace…it wouldn’t work with our commission structure.” If an investment of say $3,000 gave a return of an extra $10,000 or more, for example, then it would work in any marketplace with any commission structure. Open your mind and consider the possible benefits. Don’t get left behind and find that others are doing it — it is already happening in some USA and Canadian marketplaces. Ideas and business practices tend to spread around the world. Look to being a leader, not someone saying, “I never thought it would work here.” If you need some input, just contact me. Known internationally as “Mr. Real Estate Advertising”, Australian born Ian Grace is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on real estate advertising. Since 1994, he has delivered his programs throughout Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. His articles about real estate advertising have been published around the world.; email REM

Is your referral pool feeling more like a puddle? ® An ABR designation can help you weather any market. The market is always changing. A great way to increase your opportunities and your referral pool in any market is through education. Becoming skilled at buyer representation will help you change the way you do business and cater to clients at every stage in the home buying process. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) you will gain a unique understanding of home buyers’ needs and how to best serve them, specialized information to stay on top of home buying issues and trends, and exclusive resources to share with your clients and give you even more of a competitive edge. Earning your ABR® Designation has never been easier. The 2-day core course can be completed online or in class, and you can choose from over 16 elective courses based on your business goals and market trends. Get the advantage you’ve been looking for. Visit to learn more.

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10 key strategies for success By Richard Fournier


ll achievement begins with a strong burning desire. Everyone has the potential to achieve extraordinary success in real estate. However, it is the people who implement proven strategies that actually achieve greatness in the profession. The Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts, websites and capture pages mean nothing unless your mindset is in the right place. I’m saying this as someone who has generated 90 per cent of my business using the Internet. I have interviewed some of the top-producing sales reps and brokers in our industry and these 10 strategies have enabled them to dominate their local markets. I have implemented these exact strategies in my personal business

and with my own coaching clients and I have seen amazing results! Incorporating them into your life and business will allow you to become a more confident and compelling agent. The first four strategies focus on the grand vision and its implementation: 1. Decide. You must make a firm decision on what you want and why you want it. If you have not made a decision on your destination you will never get there. All top producers know exactly what they want to accomplish and why they want to accomplish that goal. 2. Develop a success blueprint. You must develop a complete vision of what you want your life to be like. Do you want to be in shape? Do you want more time with your family? How much time? How much money will it take for you to be happy? All top producers have created a blueprint for their life. 3. Internalize your success blueprint. The blueprint becomes a part of your belief system. It is something that you must focus on

exclusively through your emotions and your actions. 4. Build your goals. You must set daily, weekly and yearly goals that you must hit. Goals enable us to be held accountable for our dreams. Goals enable our dreams to become reality because they become our report card on our progress. The next six strategies are what we call “fail measures” – those strategies that you must implement to prevent failure. 5. Daily visualization. You must visualize daily the successful accomplishment of your goals. You must see the end result in your mind. All top athletes and top producers can actually see the end goal accomplished in their mind’s eye. There is too much research supporting this to ignore. 6. Daily personal development. On a daily basis, we are inundated with negativity from every angle. To become better we have to keep putting positive information into our brain to combat the negative thoughts that are given to us. 7. Income-producing activity.

All the thinking in the world is useless without the action behind it. You must spend the majority of your day talking to people and asking them if they want to buy or sell real estate. This is purely a numbers and relationship business. If you are not talking to people every day, you are not even in business. 8. Cultivate the expectation of leadership on a daily basis. Every single top producer that I have ever spoken to expects to win. They never focus on losing or the lack of something. They have come to a place of “knowing” that they will not be denied. 9. CRM System. All top producers use a professional contact management system. There is no way that anyone can keep track of everyone that you have to talk to on a day-to-day basis without some professional software to help. 10. Master mind with other leaders and other top-producing Realtors and get a personal coach. You must surround yourself with other people who are accomplishing what you want to accomplish. You should be using a real estate

business coach and strategist to hold you accountable. All top producers have a coach. So should you. To become one of the top agents in your local market you have to be operating emotionally at a very high level. All toplevel performers in every industry and sport follow systems daily to maximize their output. Shouldn’t you? The secret sauce to making all of this work is to change your state before you are doing your daily activities. The minute you change your state towards a greater expectation of success, your results will change. What do you have to lose? I challenge you to become your best so that you can get the results that you deserve. Richard Fournier is the author of the Millionaire Mindset for Real Estate Agents, founder of Richard Fournier Coaching International and co-founder of The Fournier Hughes Team in Southern Ontario. REM

Hastily scribbled notes from a golf cart By Dan St. Yves


t’s the Okanagan Mainland Real Estate Board’s Golf Tournament, 2001. 1st hole: Teamed up with my manager Harry, Brad the broker, plus our temporary receptionist Inge, a Swedish exchange student. Not as fluent in English as other Swedes I have met, but charming nonetheless. 2nd hole: Even though it’s raining like there’s no tomorrow, the mood is quite jovial overall. Inge is getting acquainted with some unique liqueurs, thanks to a minibar Brad has installed in his golf bag. Harry and I are embracing our tepid coffees. I’ve already lost three balls on an executive course. Ugh.

4th hole: I’ve joined Inge and Brad in taste-testing various shots. I think the end result may have even straightened out my drive. 6th hole: I’m often not exactly sure what Inge is talking about, what with the language barrier. I’ve decided that I’m going to teach her how to “scoop” balls from the golf cart. She should enjoy that. 7th hole: We’ve decided to use Brad’s drive, so we need to pick up the other three balls along the way. I’ve coached Inge on how to lean safely out of the cart and pluck the ball from the grass as we pass it. With a big thumbs up we approach Harry’s drive. Inge successfully seizes the golf ball, like she’s been doing it her whole life. I motion to the crest of a hill, where her own ball has come to rest. Another big thumbs up, and a bigger Swedish grin. I hit the gas.

It’s not until I hit the high side of the hill that I realize it’s not so much a hill, as it is the bank of a creek. An irrigation creek, but a creek just the same. Like The Dukes Of Hazard at 17 MPH, the golf cart careens down towards the creek, Inge still reaching for the golf ball, apparently oblivious to what will be a very sudden stop. In the abrupt impact into the creek, Inge has hit the front support for the roof of the golf cart, but clings to her scooped ball. In my haste to assess the situation, I step out into the creek, and slide directly on to my abacus, in a pair of cream-coloured pants I shouldn’t have been wearing past Labour Day anyhow. Before I hit the grass, all I have time to utter is “are you Ooooo….” - the “K” was lost within the wind that was knocked out of me.

Harry and Brad rush over to help as I emerge from the black lagoon. Inge is feeling her sternum for signs of “fraktur”. If a CSI team had been dispatched to inspect the crime scene, there would have been no evidence of skid marks. This had been a launch pad. We all carefully work the golf cart out of the mud, and Inge (in her clearest English so far), suggests she’d much rather walk, thank you very much. 8th hole: The rain has started to kick in again and Inge reluctantly agrees to rejoin me. Even more interesting, she agrees to scoop one more ball. We miss it on the first go-by, but as I turn around, as God is my witness, I could swear she says: “I’ve got the ball!” Spinning around, I instead see that she is sprawled out on the grass, along with the golf clubs we failed

to properly fasten in the back of the cart. Apparently, what she did say was: “I’m going to fall!” 9th hole: Management has dispatched the course marshal to seize my golf cart. Inge is limping towards the clubhouse, muttering Swedish curses I’m sure. I negotiate how long I will be banned from the course, then follow along. Turns out our earlier ditch-dive was in full view of the clubhouse, nowhere near as discreet as I had hoped. During the awards presented over dinner, I win a special trophy, for “Longest Dive”. I wonder how long it took them to scratch out the “r”. Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at, or contact him at REM

Margaret Campbell, Co-Founder Colour Tech Marketing Inc. REM is the first place the Canadian real estate industry turns to for news and information about their business. Colour Tech Marketing Inc. turns to REM as the first place to advertise their company. Colour Tech Marketing Inc. was founded in 1991 by Margaret and Bob Campbell. They were the first company in Canada to offer full-colour Photo Cards to the real estate industry and they promoted their company by immediately going to REM to advertise what they had to offer. Today, Colour Tech provides a wide variety of uncompromising quality products and marketing services to a number of business sectors, but they have never forgotten where their reputation was built: in Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s real estate community. REM is the first place Colour Tech Inc. turns to for effective advertising reaching the real estate business world. Make it yours.


Good Works P

latinum Trick, a thoroughbred gelding with a kind temperament, was worn out at the tender age of four and was forced to retire from racing. Agameone had the long, strong legs of a champion but she lacked the competitive spirit required to win. Thanks to the New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society, these horses are among the dozens who have been rehabilitated and now enjoy caring homes. Natalie King, a sales rep at Sutton Group West Coast Realty in Vancouver, volunteered to help organize the Winners Circle Day at the Races Charity Event benefiting New Stride. “We watched races from the marquee tent, had a live jazz band, a silent auction, a great door prize and adorable wiener dog races. The event raised $20,000, which will help with the costs of rehabilitating injured and retired racehorses and finding them suitable new homes,” says King. “The money we raised at this event will allow these beautiful animals to have new lives following their racecourse days. There is a rehabilitation process to turn a race horse, which is trained

to bolt out of a gate, into a riding horse for a casual rider. Also, injured horses need treatment and an owner who understands their needs. New Stride helps do this thanks to many volunteers and the generosity of fellow animal lovers.” ■ ■ ■

The Hunt for Pink October has been launched by Exit Realty Fusion in Regina. It’s a fundraiser in support of breast cancer research and advocacy in the lead-up to CIBC’s Run/Walk for the Cure on Sept. 30. Exit Realty Fusion will host The Broker Challenge from Sept. 1-29, with sales reps donating $75 to $100 from every home sale. There will also be a Think Pink Open House Event on Sept. 29 from 2-4 pm. The public is invited to attend any of Exit Fusion’s advertised open houses, where every agent will accept donations for the cause. Everyone who makes a donation will be entered to win a five-day Western Caribbean Cruise or a three-days/two-nights Las Vegas Getaway. ■ ■ ■

The team at Sutton Group Lakefront Realty in Vernon, B.C. recently held its Third Annual Show n’ Shine, an event that draws vintage sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far. For every vehicle brought to the event, the brokerage donates to the Vernon Chapter of Habitat for Humanity in the name of the vehicle owner. This year’s event also featured a bicycle tuning tent, bouncy castles, face painting and ice cream. Sales rep Beth Marks says: “As Realtors, we see the need for affordable housing and are particularly supportive of Habitat for Humanity’s methods to help those who are willing to invest sweat equity and money into a home. We admire our hardworking citizens aiming to house their families in a property they can call their own.” ■ ■ ■

Royal LePage Network Realty in Red Deer, Alta. held its first Annual Charity Golf Tournament, in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and Central Alberta Women’s Shelter recently, with 156 golfers putting their best ball forward. They raised more than $35,000. Golfers were treated to six hole-in-one contests featuring cars, SUVs and Harley Davidson motorcycles as prizes. There were also prizes at all the other holes. According to many of the golfers, the prizes helped make this the best tournament they ever attend-

ed. Committee members from Royal LePage Network Realty included Marlo Ruttan, Dena Arnold, Alex Wilkinson, Les Anderson, Norm Jensen, Jeff Glover, Chad Jensen and Dale Swartz. The fun continued into the evening with dinner and a silent auction. Plans are now underway for the second tournament, to be held Sept. 6, 2013. ■ ■ ■

The Fourth Annual Charity Classic Golf Tournament hosted by Sutton Group - Canwest in Calgary raised more than $6,000 for the Horizon Housing Society, an organization that provides affordable, integrated and supported homes to hundreds of people in the Calgary area. This event brings the four-year fundraising total to approximately $30,000. David Lem, broker at Sutton Group - Canwest and one of the founding organizers of the Charity Classic Tournament, says, “ I feel that just as important as writing a cheque to a worthwhile cause is giving of one’s time and effort to promote the awareness of a cause.” The event organizers were Janis Risi, Bob Metcalf, David Stonehouse, Colleen Land and David Lem. ■ ■ ■

Curtis Morrow, a sales rep from Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty in Belleville, Ont. turned his hobby of cycling into a personal challenge to raise funds in support

■ ■ ■

Joseph T-Giorgis, a sales rep at Sutton Group - Medallion Realty in Surrey, B.C., recently helped organize an event to raise money for a youth scholarship program by the Ethiopian Transit Workers Association (ETWA). The event featured exquisite Ethiopian cuisine and exhilarating African music and dance. T-Giorgis began volunteering his time several months ago to find sponsors, sell tickets and act as a liaison between the scholarship judges and the organizing committee. “As a parent and a lifelong learner, I know first hand the value of education,” he says. “Today the cost of higher education is skyrocketing and the same with the cost of living. It is rewarding to know that the assistance we provide through this scholarship program will help to ease the burden for these young students.” REM Joseph T-Giorgis

From left: Jill Paradiso, Natalie King, Glen Todd (owner of North American Thoroughbred Horse Company) Rebecca Ayarra, Marcy Emery and Natalie Bosa.

Above: Proceeds from Sutton Group – Lakefront Realty’s Show n’ Shine went to Habitat for Humanity.

Enjoying the Sutton Group – Canwest golf tournament, from left: Pat McLaughlin, Len Clarke, Andrew Boutilier and Glen Noble.

of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. On Aug. 27, Morrow, along with friends Kevin Layte and Christine Wallace, set out from Belleville at 6:13 am to ride to Ottawa. They rode the 237 km to Ottawa in 11 1/2 hours, stopping every few hours for a short break. Four hours of the ride were through pouring rain. It was a long day but they reached their goal of raising $1,500, which will be donated by the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation to the Three Oaks Foundation, a women’s shelter in Belleville.

Curtis Morrow and friend Christine Wallace



By Marty Douglas


hanksgiving. My first REM column was in December 1994 and I’m thankful that REM editor Jim Adair saw something in my writing that has brought us this far. Or was he desperate for copy? I’m thinking that 225 columns – this is number 214 – would be a nice round number on which to end, bringing us to September 2013. Then again, why not go for the full 20 years and finish with the November 2014 column, usually a Remembrance Day theme? I’ll let you know. In the meantime, other things I’m thankful for: travel. My wife and I went to Las Vegas over the summer – nothing like a little 100 F dash to the pool over the burning deck. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace. Do you know why the poolside bar at Caesar’s is called Snackus Maximus? Because it’s about the most you will ever pay for a Margarita - $16. But it’s a good margarita. We enjoyed the service of a uniquely slim server – let’s call her Katie because that was her name. She offered her secret to success, “You don’t need big boobs in this town if you’ve got brains and a personality.” Visiting the Rio, we were served by a young woman wearing a thong and a diaphanous but strategically draped wrap. “Stunning,” I said. “Freezing!” she replied. Big tips. On a shuttle back downtown we overheard four young men discussing what to do with their day. One pointed to a high-rise and said, “I did a free fall jump from that skyscraper once.” “How much?” asked one of his buddies. “$100,” he replied. A pause, then “I’d rather get a cheap hooker.” Moving on. Never go to Las Vegas on a diet. Where else can you get a plate

Las Vegas and Prince Harry of ribs the size of a small European country? At Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, with your regular priced margarita ($8) they offer a “snack” called a Volcano of Nachos. It’s the usual goopy stuff but the centre of the mound is black bean chilli. Have the mini combo at Stripburger and do not miss the ziti at Maggianos. By the way, the most helpful site for travel choices in my experience is Trip Advisor. Reviews you can count on, of everything from

England, and St George!’” That Harry – from the House of Lancaster, Henry V, hero of Agincourt – would have approved of his House of Windsor namesake. Strip billiards reminded me of a 20th-century urban myth surrounding a real estate managing broker’s in-residence course at UBC. One memorable weekend – rumour has it liquor was involved – a co-ed strip poker game resulted in all the players being naked. What to do to extend the penalty for los-

Strip billiards reminded me of a 20th-century urban myth surrounding a real estate managing broker’s in-residence course at UBC.

Royal LePage Varsity Gary Emde

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

George Heos, Senior Vice President, Network Development is pleased to announce that effective August 28, Gary Emde, broker/owner of the brokerage formerly operating as Prudential Sask Realty has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. Gary’s company is now operating as Royal LePage Varsity. Gary is a veteran of the real estate industry, having earned his REALTOR® licence in 1984. Soon after, Gary earned his brokers’ licence and opened Gary Emde Realty/Re/Max in 1986. In 2006, his company became Prudential Sask Realty. Gary has served on the board of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® and currently serves on a variety of real estate and business committees.

Gary has 19 sales representatives and together they service the areas of Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville, Dalmeny, Vanscoy, Delisle, Aberdeen, Clavet, and Wakaw. Gary also has sales representatives that service the farming industry provincially. Gary and his team can be reached at: 1106 8th St. East Saskatoon, SK S7H 0S4 Phone (306) 665-3600 Fax (306) 665-3618 Please join us in congratulating Gary, and wishing everyone at Royal LePage Varsity continued success. For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call (416) 510-5827 or email: †

shows to hotels to restaurants. And if you have time for only one show and have to choose between Celine, Cirque du Soleil and Absinthe – pick Absinthe. I know you have never heard of it – just trust me. I’m thankful for the Royal Family. I’m an unabashed monarchist. They had me long before the Queen jumped from the helicopter with James Bond to open the Olympics. How classy, how British, how understatedly funny. Note to Quebec separatists – you won’t see any Republicans doing that, unless it’s to escape. The Royal Family performed well throughout the games, very visible and dutiful. Shortly after, Prince William piloted the rescue helicopter that plucked a Canadian woman from a seaside cliff. Damsel in distress indeed! Then along came Harry. Poor Prince Harry. Strip billiards? Rookie! And to the critics who noted he must have sucked at the game because he was the only one naked – the object of any game in which you lose your clothes is to lose your clothes. So my observation is that he excelled at the game, as do most royals at sport. I hope there was at least one Shakespeare scholar in the hotel suite quoting, “Cry ‘God for Harry,

ing? Elevator poker. Gage Towers is a multi-storey residence – the game was on the 13th floor – and so the next naked loser was escorted to the elevator and placed inside while one of the ‘winners’ pushed a floor button at random. The loser had to ride to the destination, wait for the agonizingly slow doors to open and close, then push the return button, hoping no calls for the elevator had been made in the interval. There were no cell phone cameras, no sketch artists and nowhere to hide the bulk of the then most-popular Polaroid Land camera. Some of those players went on to become leaders in real estate. Some will be reading this column. All of them looked fitter than they do today. You can find Marty Douglas on Twitter – 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. REM

†Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.

Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty Keith Church

Cambridge, Ontario Kitchener, Ontario

George Heos, Senior Vice President, Network Development is pleased to announce that effective August 30, 2012 Keith Church, broker/owner of the brokerage formerly operating as Prudential Grand Valley Realty, has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. Keith’s company is now operating as Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty. Keith began his real estate career as a sales representative in 1988. In 1993, he opened his brokerage in Cambridge, and joined Prudential as a franchisee in 1996. In 1998, in addition to his original office in Cambridge, Keith opened a second office in Kitchener, which is managed today by Goran Askraba. Keith is a past president (1995) of the Cambridge Association of REALTORS® and a member of that association since 1988. As well, he is a member of the KitchenerWaterloo Association of REALTORS® since 1998.

Keith's team of 118 sales representatives service the areas of Cambridge, KitchenerWaterloo, Wellesley, St. George, Branchton, Breslau, Carlisle, Elmira, Milverton, New Hamburg, Paris, Roseville, St. Agatha, St. Jacobs and surrounding areas. Keith and his team can be reached at: 4-471 Hespeler Road Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J2 Phone: (519) 621-2000 Fax: (519) 621-4027

15c – 370 Highland Road West Kitchener, Ontario N2M 5J9 Phone (519) 745-7000 Fax (519) 745-8460

Please join us in congratulating Keith, and wishing everyone at Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty continued success. For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call (416) 510-5827 or email:

† †Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.


Take email marketing to the next level By Matthew Collis


here are four key things you can do to supercharge your real estate email marketing. These tips will help you nurture existing relationships with the clients in your database and market to your leads, converting prospects into lifelong clients. 1. Monthly enewsletter. A monthly enewsletter is really a nobrainer when it comes to valuable things that you can do to build relationships with those in your sphere of influence (SOI). Enewsletters are a fantastic way to keep in touch with your SOI over time. And we know that keeping in touch is instrumental to building a business based on referrals and repeat clients. Consider

this: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 85 per cent of home sellers said they would recommend their real estate agent or use the same agent next time they need to buy or sell. But the majority of agents do not stay connected with their past clients. When you fail to keep in touch and stay “top of mind,” you run the risk of clients forgetting about you, forgetting your name, and moving on to the next Realtor they come across. A good real estate contact management system gives you the ability to easily send out a monthly enewsletter that’s designed and written for you by real estate marketing experts. The newsletter will contain helpful and interesting articles on topics such as home improvement or assessing the value of one’s home. You simply select the contacts in your database and hit the send button. 2. Personalized and targeted

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mass emails. Along with enewsletters, you should be communicating to different groups of people in your database through email (in addition to face-to-face meetings/events, direct mail pieces and phone calls) on a consistent basis as another way to keep in touch. I don’t believe in the “batch and blast” approach that often entails sending one generic, impersonalized email to your entire database. With your contact management system you should be able to categorize and group your database and send different, directly relevant emails to different groups, as appropriate. For example, you’ll send one email to your “hot leads” group, another to your “A-list client” group and yet another to your “former colleague” group. Each email should be addressed to the recipient’s name. An email with a generic salutation such as “Hello” or “Dear Valued Client” is both impersonal and cold and tends to get categorized almost immediately as “spam” in the recipient’s mind. 3. Drip marketing. Drip email marketing is a fast, effective and easy way to keep in touch with clients and nurture the leads in your database. Drip email refers to

emails that get sent automatically from your customer relationship management (CRM) system at various time intervals. The beauty of drip email marketing is that it’s automated so while you’re busy on the road showing homes, you’re marketing to hot leads at the same time. Your CRM should have predesigned drip campaigns already created. This means that you would simply choose which type of drip marketing plan you’d like to send out and select the contacts you’d like to assign to the campaign. The emails are pre-written and the times that each email goes out are specified. As soon as you get a new lead, it’s important to assign them to a lead nurture campaign so you’re “touching” this lead from the time they first contact you to weeks and months down the road until they’re ready to finally become a client. 4. Email campaign reporting. Never underestimate the importance of measuring the effectiveness of your email marketing. This will help you improve moving forward and truly take your email marketing to the next level. A great real estate contact management system will have an

Industrial, Commercial & Investment R

obert (Bob) Slaughter has joined Avison Young as a principal and as the company’s chief legal officer. Effective immediately, Slaughter will assume the role of planning and directing all aspects of Avison Young’s legal affairs across all current and future office locations. He will be based in the company’s Chicago office. Slaughter brings to Avison Young 30 years of broad experi-

ence in both executive in-house corporate legal positions and as a partner in leading law firms. Before he joined Loyola’s faculty in 2008, he was the executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Grubb & Ellis Company. ■ ■ ■

Commercial real estate veteran Rob Quinn has joined Avison Young in Ottawa as a principal. He

email campaign reporting feature that will let you view statistics on the email communications you’ve sent, such as open rate, clickthrough rate and forward rate. I also highly recommend A/B split testing your emails to measure effectiveness. This is the process of sending two variations of an email to two different groups of people. The variation in the email could be a different subject line, a different image or email header, or a different introductory paragraph (anything you choose). With A/B testing, you can see which email resonates with your recipients more and this can serve as a useful guide when deciding how to structure the content and design of your emails. Matthew Collis is the sales and marketing manager at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with Realtors to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. He has written a wide array articles, news releases and blog posts on contact management strategies and implementation. Email REM will focus on the suburban office and industrial sales and leasing markets in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. He was most recently a broker with Metro-Suburban Realty in Ottawa, a firm he cofounded in 1989. Quinn brings more than 30 years of real estate experience to Avison Young. Prior to co-founding Metro-Suburban Realty, of which he was president until he sold the firm in 2011, Quinn held positions with a major Ottawa commercial brokerage firm and an established real estate development company. Serving as director of properties of the development company, Quinn was responsible for all areas of acquisition, disposition, lease negotiation, tenant relations and marketing strategies. REM

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By Heino Molls



he other day I found myself in a conversation with a security guard at a shopping mall while I was waiting for my daughter. He told me he was a former member of Canada’s armed forces. I immediately put out my hand and thanked him for protecting my family. I make a point of doing that every time I meet anyone serving in our forces or anyone who formerly served. We often talk about the great freedoms we have here, including our most important freedom, to purchase homes and own land. Regardless of what side of the arguments you are on in the conflicts that there are in the world, the people in our armed forces truly believe in protecting us from any harm these troubles may cause and they deserve our sincere thanks for setting out to do that. If you are not grateful to them, shame on you. I have lived in this country for about 60 years now but I never forget that I was not born here. I immigrated to this fantastic place from a country that did not have the freedoms many here take for granted. Our freedom goes beyond the opportunity to buy our homes. It includes our movement from coast to coast and our right to choose how we live as well as where we live.

Doing the right thing Our soldiers stand for our right to be free and that even includes our right not to fight. We don’t have to be soldiers in Canada. We are free to choose. A lot of countries, even some that are in what we call the free world, don’t give that choice to their citizens. They have a military draft. During the sixties, my wife and I gave our support to an organization that helped young men who had come from the United States to escape the military draft, and from orders to go to war in Vietnam. We helped them get to the Anti-Draft office in Toronto and for some, on to Ottawa where they would file papers to stay in Canada. I was then and I am to this day proud of helping them. I am proud that this country let them stay here. At the end of the day they were protected from going to jail in America by our laws that were backed up by our soldiers. War and world conflicts are things that I defy anyone to understand. I know I can’t. All I can do is take it down to my level here where I live. I shake the hands of soldiers and former soldiers meaningfully and thank them with all my heart for protecting my family. Soldiers are different from those who create war. I will also help anyone I can who does not want to fight, even someone who signed up to fight in war but changed their mind. As much as this beautiful country has evolved to so many greater things than when I arrived here in 1953 I am saddened to see that some things have changed for the worse since the sixties. Canada has a different government today. The great benevolence our country

once had in accepting young people from the United States who did not want to fight in the Vietnam War is gone. There is a different attitude here now. America no longer has a draft but it does have soldiers who signed up to fight in wars. A few of them have changed their minds about fighting. They have come to our country to escape going to jail for this change of mind. Our government wishes to send them back to the United States to face certain prosecution. That does not seem right. They are good people, mothers and fathers, good workers and community helpers. They sincerely had set out to do what was right and still do. Freedom is an ironic treasure. We have to fight to keep it, yet to be truly free; we must be able to choose not to fight when we believe in our hearts that the fight we are in is wrong. If we believe in freedom, we should stand up for the American soldiers who are seeking asylum in our country. There are many former American military service men and women who have become our neighbours in all parts of Canada. We are so busy, we’re trying to make a living and raise our families but if we could take a minute to help these neighbours by writing a letter to our Member of Parliament asking to let them stay in our country, we could make a great difference for these souls. It would be the right thing to do. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email REM

Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, visit To add a listing to this calendar, email Realtors Association of Edmonton Realtors Tradeshow Tues. Sept. 25 Mayfield Inn & Suites and Trade Centre, Edmonton Lixmila Serrano –

Niagara Association of Realtors 6th Annual Trade Show Thurs., October 11 Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, Ont. Crystal Henderson –

Prudential Summit Conference Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 Fairmont Royal York, Toronto Jenny Nolan 949-794-7907,

Realtors Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound Technology & Trades Show Tues., Oct. 23 Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound Marilyn Newbigging –

Atlantic Connection Oct. 3 – 5 The Marriott Halifax Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax Chambre immobilière des Laurentides Convention 2012 Oct. 9 Manoir Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Sauveur, Que. Kathy Parent – WinnipegRealtors Technology Conference and Trade Show Wed., Oct.10 Victoria Inn, Winnipeg Lucy Hajkowski –

2012 MTC Technology Forum Mon., Oct. 29 Fairmont Winnipeg, Winnipeg Anik Aube – National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo Nov. 9 – 12 Orange County Convention Centre Orlando, Fla. Mississauga Real Estate Board Home & Trade Show Thurs., Nov. 22 Mississauga Convention Centre Mississauga Gay Napper – 905-608-6732 ext. 29 or

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The BT iBoxTM and eKEY are inseparable. Your smartphone communicates directly with the iBox using Bluetooth® technology, so your phone is your key! The BT iBoxTM and eKEY together will simplify your life considerably... and who wouldn’t like that? Contact us at 1-888-652-3540 or visit

To learn more about the iBoxTM contact John Fancy. Tel 902-252-3610 Mobile 902-579-2648 Toll free 888-652-3540 Email

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October 2012  

October issue of REM for 2012.

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