Ontario moves to license condo managers Page 10
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Unplugged! Sales office turns off smartphones, computers Page 28
Finishing what Terry Fox started Sales rep Mike Strange completes the cross-Canada run Page 8
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REM SEPTEMBER 2013 3
CREA fights for .mls domain name The panel said, “‘Yes CREA, you have a trademark but that shouldn’t prevent global Internet users from using it.’ This decision is stupid for a number of reasons,” says CREA general counsel Bill Harrington. By Danny Kucharsky
REA is waging a battle to win exclusive usage of the .mls domain name on the Internet. The fight pits CREA against Afilias, an Irish registry company that has about 10 years of experience in launching, operating and licensing such domains as .mobi and .xxx. Round one of the battle has gone to Afilias, which estimates it would have about 50,000 registrations for .mls after three years, should it win .mls exclusivity. It all began when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit group that oversees the Internet, decided to expand the number of top-level domain names (everything that comes after the dot on a website such as .com, .gov, .org) from a few handfuls to thousands of names. While the applications are extremely complex, anybody can apply, says Bill Harrington, general counsel of CREA. As a result, “all of the major trademark owners across the world have been applying for top-level domain names containing their trademark.” Since CREA owns a number of trademarks in Canada, including MLS and Multiple Listing Service, it decided to apply for the .mls domain more than a year ago. Says Harrington: “If you’re the owner of a trademark, you want to protect your trademark and if .mls falls into the hands of a third party and they start selling .mls domains in Canada, it will weaken CREA’s MLS trademark.” In an attempt to win the battle for .mls exclusivity against Afilias, CREA applied for a Legal Rights Objection (LRO), a process open to parties that
have a legal right to the term under dispute. The process is being handled by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which has an arrangement with ICANN. “If we had been successful in our LRO, that would have knocked Afilias out of contention,” Harrington says. However, sole panel expert Sir Ian Barker ruled in July that “the panel cannot see the justification for refusing to allow the applicant (Afilias) to operate in every country because the objector (CREA) has a certification mark for a generic term in Canada. Had the objector’s certification been other than a generic term, its case might have been stronger but MLS is a generic term used in Englishspeaking jurisdictions.” Furthermore, “whilst the objector’s certification mark may be tolerably well-known in Canada, it is not reasonable to forbid the universal use by its applicant as a (top-level domain).” In other words, Harrington says, Barker decided, “‘Yes CREA, you have a trademark but that shouldn’t prevent global Internet users from using it.’ This decision is stupid for a number of reasons.” The primary reason is that if CREA obtained .mls exclusivity, it would license it out to international users but would protect .mls in Canada, he says. “The difficulty with any third party getting it is there is no protection in Canada. They will start marketing .mls in Canada and if someone else other than CREA is marketing .mls, there are substantial trademark problems. It could get into a battle that goes on forever.” CREA owns the MLS trademark in Canada because “we were smart enough to apply for a
trademark in MLS after the early 1960s.” While MLS is prominent in the U.S., it’s a generic term there. “Nobody owns it because nobody applied for the trademark registration.” Harrington believes the National Association of Realtors (NAR) once tried to apply for the MLS trademark in the U.S., but by the time it did so, the term was so prominent it was just another word in the English language. “If a term has become common in the English language, you can’t apply to trademark it.” Since MLS is a generic term everywhere but Canada, the adjudicator decided “we’re not going to let a Canadian trademark affect the global use of MLS,” Harrington says. However, “the reasoning is flawed because CREA would not prevent global use of MLS.” Harrington says 10 other rights holders have filed similar LROs and have lost in every case. The reasoning appears to be that if you don’t have a trademark registered in every country in the world, the LRO will not be granted, he says. The LRO loss doesn’t mean CREA has lost the chance for .mls exclusivity. It still has a number of available options. For example, CREA can also proceed with a community application for .mls, which can be made by organizations that have some sort of association with the domain name at play. CREA has until October to decide whether to proceed with this option. If CREA decides not to proceed with the application or is unsuccessful, the domain name goes up for auction and the bidder with the deepest pockets wins. Aside from aiming to protect its unauthorized use by third
parties in Canada, CREA has not developed a strategy for .mls use. However, CREA has a strategy for .realtor and will be licensing the domain name to members. The Realtor trademark is owned in Canada by Realtor Canada Inc., which is owned equally by CREA and NAR. In the U.S., NAR owns the Realtor
trademark. The groups were alone in applying for realtor and have obtained exclusive rights to the domain name. “We’re going to have a North American strategy for realtor. We’re going to be encouraging our Realtors to get a Realtor domain and we’re going to be marketing that as the place to be for real estate in Canada,” says Harrington. REM
BCREA offers reward after Realtor assaulted The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is offering a reward of $10,000 to anyone who “comes forward with information that leads directly to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the recent attack on a Lower Mainland Realtor,” the association says. “Thankfully, these incidents are rare, but they do happen,” says BCREA CEO Robert Laing. “Realtor safety is an important area of concern for all of us in the real estate profession.” On July 17, Coquitlam RCMP released a composite sketch of the man accused of the assault that took place at a Port Coquitlam open house in early May. Police say a man went to an open house on Rowland Street and allegedly sexually assaulted a female Realtor. The man is described as an Asian male in his mid 30s, with dark hair and eyes and with some bumps on his face. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and running shoes. BCREA says the reward is available until July 18, 2014, for information that leads directly to the apprehension and conviction of the perpetrator. The association is also reminding Realtors to take precautions and help ensure their safety in their day-to-day real estate practice. When meeting clients, especially for the first time, it suggests meeting in your The composite sketch of a man accused of the assault. office or a public space, having more than one person at meetings and open houses and always having a cell phone at your side. “Also ensure that a colleague, friend or family member knows where you are at all times and when you will be back, don’t publicize personal information and always trust your instincts,” says BCREA. REM
4 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
arshall J. Cowe of Royal LePage Coronation West Realty in Coquitlam, B.C. has been elected chair of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) for the 2013/2014 term. A Coquitlam resident for many years, Cowe sells real estate in Greater Vancouver with his daughter Carolyn Cowe. Carolyn makes it a third generation real estate family as Marshall’s father, James (Jimmy) Cowe, was also a Realtor for more than 25 years with NRS Block Bros. Susan G. McGougan of Re/Max of Nanaimo was elected as vice-chair.
Marshall J. Cowe
The three government appointed public members are Barbara Barry of West Vancouver, John Nagy of Delta and Bruce Turner of Courtenay. Newly elected to the council for a two-year term is Joseph Pearson, Re/Max Vernon, Vernon and Richard Valouche, TRG The Residential Group Realty, Vancouver. Re-elected council members for a two-year term are: J. Garth Cambrey, Gateway Property Management, Kamloops; Abdul R. Ghouri, Royal Pacific Realty (Kingsway), Vancouver; Marylou Leslie, Macdonald Realty, Surrey;
Susan G. McGougan
Susan Lynch, Re/Max Centre City Realty, Prince George; and Michael Ziegler, Newport Realty, Victoria. Council members with one year remaining in their terms are William (Bill) Binnie, Royal LePage Northshore, West Vancouver; Subhadra Ghose, Re/Max of Nanaimo, Nanaimo; William (Bill) Phillips, Whistler Real Estate Company, Whistler; and David Rishel, Re/Max Little Oak Realty, Abbotsford. ■■■
Peter de Groot, broker/owner of Re/Max Twin City Realty in the Kitchener/Waterloo area of Ontario, recently announced changes to his management staff. “With seven offices and over 450 sales associates, a need for the ‘changing of the guards’ is timely as I am approaching the retirement age of 65,” says de Groot. Marty Green was named office manager, Waterloo office. He has been in real estate since 2002, including seven years in manage-
ment in the Greater Toronto Area. He joined Re/Max Twin City Realty in 2012 and “has been wellreceived for his sales training and social media expertise,” the company says. Adrian Baas is now general manager of the brokerage. He has been in real estate management for 37 years and office manager of the brokerage’s Waterloo office for the last 14 years. In his role as general manager, he will be responsible for the growth and business development of the company in the Region of Waterloo, Brantford and Paris. Melanie Shantz (de Groot) is now broker of record. She has been with Re/Max Twin City Realty for 21 years. “Melanie started out in reception, moved to administration (and served) in various areas of real estate sales since being licensed in 1999,” the company says. For the last eight years she was in management and most recently was the general manager. “I am very proud and confident that she will continue to grow the business that I have built over the last 20 years,” says de Groot. ■■■
MaxWell Capital Realty in Calgary was recently purchased by Bill and Audrey MacDougall from Stan Kushner. The MacDougalls previously worked at MaxWell Canyon Creek Realty. There are 74
associates at the Capital office. In June, the McDougalls converted the CIR Realty office in Didsbury into a MaxWell Capital satellite. That office has two associates. The MacDougalls also purchased the MaxWell office in Black Diamond, Alta. from MaxWell City Central. There are five active associates in the office. Kusher is retiring from active duties as a broker and is now an associate broker, selling and listing out of the MaxWell Sundre Alberta satellite office. He was recently appointed a director representing the Alberta Real Estate Association on the Real Estate Council of Alberta. ■■■
Hardy Realty (formerly Hardy Realty GMAC Real Estate) of Port Hardy, B.C. has joined the Royal LePage Advance Realty team. Managing broker Karin Moeller is making the move along with the newest member of her team, Sandra Masales. Bryan Watkins, managing broker of Royal LePage Advance Realty, says the move allows the brokerage to provide more options and services to clients. “By partnering the largest office in Campbell River with the number one office located on the North Island, we are in a great position to expand and deliver our services,” he says. Along with Port Hardy, the office services the areas of Port McNeill, Port Alice, Sointula, Alert Bay, Quatsino and Coal Harbour. The brokerage now provides real estate professionals from the far north to Sayward, Campbell River and Black Creek. ■■■
Peter de Groot
Melanie Shantz (de Groot)
Two Realtors who call themselves the Condo Chicks, Joy Paterson and Erica Smith, recently opened their own real estate brokerage, Stomp Realty, in the heart of downtown Toronto. The brokerage has locations in the Financial District and the Queen West area. “Stomp Realty is an urban, boutique-style real estate brokerage with an emphasis on innovative marketing techniques including social media marketing, Realtor training and mentoring, say the owners in a news release. The brokerage has experience in residential Continued on page 6
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6 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Continued from page 4
and commercial real estate as well as pre-construction sales. ■■■
Scott Widmar is the new regional owner of the subfranchisor rights to Northern Ontario for Exit Realty. “Scott has a diverse background that spans from management to franchise ownership. He is a consummate businessman who understands the importance of building strong relationships with people and working with them to realize their dreams,” says Tami Bonnell, CEO of Exit. The company says Widmar has launched his company and now is selling franchises. “I see Exit Realty Northern Ontario as a great opportunity to enhance the lives of others,” says Widmar. ■■■
Ken Barrick, broker of Prudential Parkway Realty, has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. His office will operate under the name of Royal LePage Parkway Realty, serving Peterborough, Ont. and area. Barrick began his real estate career in 1998 as a sales representative and then followed in his father Don Barrick’s footsteps to receive his broker’s license in 2005. Don Barrick, with close to 50 years of experience, is a veteran of the real estate industry. In April of this year,
Cover photo: CHRISTINE HESS
Ken acquired the Prudential Parkway Company from Don. Royal LePage Parkway Realty services the areas of Peterborough, Bridgenorth, Lakefield, Millbrook, Keene and cottage country. ■■■
Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC has appointed David Sean Carson as chief operating officer, responsible for overseeing its global servicing and operations worldwide. Carson has served as executive vice-president, chief operating officer and partner of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada and Blueprint Global Marketing since 2006. In this role he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of both companies. He also negotiated the strategic alliance for Blueprint to provide project sales and marketing services to the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s offices worldwide. More recently, he has been focused on developing Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s brokerage businesses in Quebec and Ontario. The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 13,000 sales associates in 660 offices in 49 countries and territories worldwide. ■■■
Keller Williams Realty recently released a mobile app customized for each of its 88,000 world-wide associates. The com-
pany says it’s the first real estate franchise to offer every agent and office an individually branded real estate search app. Agents receive a unique URL and text code to share with consumers. When consumers use the app, they can search and compare properties and connect directly with their agent of choice about the listings they want to see. The app – which is provided at no cost to real estate agents or consumers – is available for Apple and Android platforms. ■■■
Re/Max International recently held its annual conference of broker/owners and office managers in Ottawa, with nearly 800 attendees from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. At the opening session, Re/Max co-founder and chairman Dave Liniger, who missed the event last year due to a life-threatening illness, told the audience that personal drive is what makes everyone a survivor. “We’re now seeing a recovery and Re/Max is growing again,” said Liniger. “We survived as a team and learned from it, and now have a tremendous opportunity before us. I’m excited about where we’re about to go.” Liniger became a bestselling author this year, with the release of his motivational book, My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of
Via Capitale recently launched a new marketing program called Art for its prestige listings. “The aim of the Art program is to present each property in an innovative, professional and human manner,” the company says. The slogan, ‘You know the art of living. We know the art of selling’ neatly sums up the philosophy of the program. “The Art properties are like their occupants: each is original and different. For this reason, every property deserves personalized treatment in order to find the most suitable buyer,” says Nicolas Ayotte, president and CEO of Via Capitale. “Each property will be individually showcased in a digital photo album created by a professional photographer, broadcasted on the dedicated Art by Via
The Condo Chicks – Joy Paterson, left, and Erica Smith Publisher HEINO MOLLS email: email@example.com
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Healing and Hope. The book recounts Liniger’s determination as he fought through a paralyzing staph infection. Re/Max CEO Margaret Kelly moderated a panel of broker/owners from the United States and Canada about the improving aspects of the two economies and their respective real estate markets. The keynote speaker, Kentucky Wildcat basketball coach John Calipari, delivered a message of recruiting and retaining the best performers, while motivating team members to achieve their best.
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Phone: 416.425.3504 www.remonline.com www.remenligne.com REM complies fully with the Canadian Real Estate Association's Rules for Trademarks (CREA Rule 22.214.171.124) 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 email@example.com. Entire contents copyright 2013 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
Capitale Facebook page, on the LuxuryRealEstate.com site, which is an international network of luxury properties website, as well as on the Art Via Capitale website beginning in September,” he says. Every Art program client could also feature the property in a ViaMag Art individualized brochure, either printed or virtual, as well as in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, the company says. The Art brand signature, as well as the related marketing and communication tools, aims to reflect the high standards demanded by these properties. Via Capitale says the market for prestige and quality properties is “well developed everywhere in Quebec and represents today from 12 per cent to over 20 per cent of properties put up for sale, depending on the region.” ■■■
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Royal LePage, brokers from across Canada are headed to Barcelona, Spain in September to convene for their semi-annual leadership conference. The venue for the conference is the Hotel Arts, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, and one of the premier luxury hotels in Spain. More than 150 attendees will participate in the various conference activities. ■■■
Real estate softball teams are being sought in Surrey, B.C. for the fifth annual Real Estate Softball Challenge, sponsored by Sutton Premier and TD Canada Trust. The tourney will be held on Fri., Sept. 6 in Surrey. Each team must have at least three female players and must be composed of real estate professionals and associates only. Please bring your business card to the event. A registration fee of $325 is required. For information, contact Ben Gill at 604-716-2274. Printed by Metroland Media Group, Ltd. A certified SFI Printer
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8 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Sales rep finishes Terry Fox’s run
Sales rep Mike Strange says his run across Canada to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada taught him hard lessons about his career and his life. By Melanie Epp
efore Masterson Realty sales rep Mike Strange decided to run a marathon a day for 80 consecutive days, he’d never run a marathon in his life. In fact, the Niagara Falls, Ont. Realtor wasn’t much of a runner at all. He was, however, a three-time Olympic boxer who had competed in the 1992, 1998 and 2000 Olympics, which meant that he was no stranger to hard work and training. Strange’s goal? To finish what Terry Fox had started some 32 years earlier while raising money for Childhood Cancer Canada. He would call the ambitious adventure, totalling some 3,149 km, Box Run. In 2008, just before Strange and his friend Bob Lavelle, better known as ‘Heater,’ were getting ready to head to Beijing to watch the Olympics, Lavelle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had to cancel. Lavelle was an important person in Strange’s life. In his earlier years, Lavelle had helped him find a trainer in Toronto and even supported him financially when things got tough. A year later, when Lavelle passed away, Strange felt compelled to do something. He founded a charity – Heater’s Heroes – to help raise money for kids with terminal illnesses or life-altering ailments. The charity raised money, which was later used to fulfill children’s wishes. It was at this time that Strange met Chelsey Hill, a young lady battling terminal cancer. They formed a friendship and later, after he had pushed Hill in a buggy at the annual Terry Fox run, he came up with the crazy idea that he would finish what Terry Fox had started. “There was a quote from Terry Fox, who said, ‘If I don’t finish, I need others to continue. It’s got to continue without me’,” says
Strange. “And that kind of stuck with me.” So on Nov. 1, 2011, he started training. He wasn’t sure he was going to do it, but knew that if he did, the road ahead would be long and hilly. It wasn’t until he heard about the death of Chelsey Hill that he firmly decided to go ahead with the plan. “I was devastated, and at the same time, it just kind of added fire to the spark,” Strange says. “From being not sure if I was going to do this, I was 100-percent sure I was going to do this now.” Strange knew that running across Canada would require a support team, so he asked a number of friends to join him, including long-time friend Tim Geddes. “He said, ‘Mike, of course. In fact, my son’s friend, Matteo Mancini is going through the same cancer as Terry Fox right now and he’s having his leg amputated in two days.’ It was like I was meant to do this.” From there, the plan evolved to include Matteo, who would travel to strategic points throughout the run, acting as a poster child for Box Run. “What we wanted to do was have Matteo come start the run, then come to Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and end in Victoria at mile 0 and have his leg dipped in the ocean, like Terry Fox did 32 years before,” says Strange. “That was our dream for Matteo.” On April 12, 2012 Strange and Geddes drove their RV to Thunder Bay to begin the run. Most people don’t know this, but Terry Fox never actually made it to Thunder Bay. He made it as far as Shunia, Ont., where, if you look hard enough, you’ll find a little monument showing his mileage and his end date – Sept. 1, 1980.
Mike Strange, a former Olympic boxer, was not a runner before he decided to finish Terry Fox’s run. (Photo by Christine Hess)
And so began the journey – 80 days of 42.2 km, for a total of 3,149 km. As Strange ran, the project gained momentum. People donated money and the demands on Strange’s time started getting more tiring. What had started out to be five to sixhour days was slowly turning into 12-hour days. “I got to about Brandon, Man. and it started to get really mentally tough just because I was just running by myself,” Strange says. “It was really lonely at times. It was almost too much time to think. Every day felt like Christmas after you finished the run.” One day, with only six km left in his run, Strange entered the RV and asked his buddy, Jack Robson, to join him. From that day forward, Robson started running five to six km with him. In Regina, Strange got some
bad news. Matteo would be unable to finish the run with him. His cancer had spread from his leg to his lungs, which was, ironically, the exact same thing that happened to Terry Fox. Matteo died on May 8 of this year, two days before his 13th birthday.
with much of the money coming from the real estate community, including brokerages he did not work for.
As hard as it was, and against the odds, Strange made the decision to continue the run.
The lessons Strange learned translated well in his career – and in all parts of his life, he says. “I think you get what you put into it. Just like the run, just like anything. I enjoy real estate. I try my best and I try my hardest to please my clients,” says Strange.
“When I got to Victoria, basically I had run 80 days in a row – a marathon a day, 80 days in a row,” says Strange, almost in disbelief. Arriving on July 3, he left flowers at the foot of the Terry Fox statue, and then dipped his legs into the Pacific Ocean twice – once for himself, and once for little Matteo. “It was a great journey – a tough one,” he says. Box Run raised over $100,000 for Childhood Cancer Canada,
“It was really nice having people from different real estate companies working for the same cause,” he says. “It was pretty cool.”
“You deal with different roadblocks all the time, whether it’s running or if it’s part of your career in real estate. You know, stuff is always going to happen. It isn’t the end of the world,” he says. “You should realize what you’ve got right now.” REM
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10 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Ontario moves to license condo managers TOP PRODUCTS for the Fall Market...
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By Susan Doran
ntario’s 1.3 million condominium owners are “out on a limb” and have not been getting the protection and support they need, says Realtor Linda Pinizzotto, founder and president of the province’s Condo Owners Association (COA). Things appear to be starting to turn around, however. Following a year-long review by government and industry officials and condo owner representatives, Queen’s Park recently proposed improving Ontario’s 15year-old Condominium Act in order to offer condo owners, tenants and buyers greater protection. This initiative – part of the Ontario government’s stated plan to protect consumers while building a “fair, safe and informed marketplace” – is long overdue, says Pinizzotto. Besides being COA president, Pinizzotto is a long-time top-producing Sutton Group sales rep and the government relations chair for the Mississauga Real Estate Board. She says that COA, a volunteerrun, non-profit umbrella association and advocate for condo owners across the province, has been lobbying for change since its inception three years ago. The association is inundated with over 100 emails daily from irate or concerned condo owners, she says. Despite the explosion in condo building in Ontario in the past decade, the Condominium Act has not been updated since 1998, Pinizzotto says. “How brutal is that?” About 10 per cent of Ontario’s population lives in condominiums and condos represent around 50 per cent of all new homes built in Ontario. There are almost 600,000 condominium units in the province and 9,000 condominium corporations, according to the provincial government. Pinizzotto and others say there are numerous issues with the Condominium Act, which is overseen by the Ministry of Consumer Services. Pinizzotto says that a major point of contention for many condo owners is that they feel they have nowhere to turn when they have a dispute with the condo board of their building or feel the board is behaving irresponsibly. “The majority of complaints we hear from condo owners are about
property managers or the board of directors,” says Pinizzotto. “They may be doing things they should not or not listening to owners or returning calls.” If condo owners look to the Ministry of Consumer Services for help in these situations, they will likely be told that their only recourse is to go to court, says Pinizzotto. “So you have nowhere to go unless you spend tons of money.”
Linda Pinizzotto If the court rules in favour of the condo board, owners may even wind up paying not just their own court costs but the board’s as well, she adds. And if condo owners expect their building’s property manager to support them in a conflict with the board, they are likely to be disappointed, says Pinizzotto. For starters, as an employee of the property management company, “property managers won’t want to cause conflict,” she says. Moreover, in many cases “people without credentials are being hired as property managers – people who know nothing about condos.” The ministry says that despite being responsible for multi-million dollar buildings and massive operating budgets, condo managers are not currently required to have training or even an understanding of the Condominium Act, bylaws and rules, finances, building maintenance or contracting out of services such as cleaning and landscaping. With the government’s recent proposal to introduce changes to the act, Pinizzotto is cautiously optimistic. But she says although the changes are now on the table, they have not yet actually been agreed to. Critics say there is a need to be vigilant, in order to avoid self-regulatory models that entrench private interests and shut out consumers – a pattern that has often been prevalent in the condo industry.
The first of several changes now being proposed to the Condominium Act involves introducing mandatory qualifications for condominium property managers/management companies. The condo industry is booming and evolving and condo management is becoming increasingly complex, requiring a high level of competence, says Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles. “There is an overwhelming consensus that condominium managers be qualified and licensed to carry out their significant responsibilities,” says MacCharles. “One in 10 people in Ontario live in a condominium and their quality of life depends to a great degree on qualified, well-trained condominium managers.” Exactly what the required qualifications for condo property management should be and how an independent regulatory licensing authority to oversee licensing and standards would be set up are still under review, with a final report imminent. Pinizzotto hopes to see mandatory qualifications tied into a licensing body, and “we would like that licensing body to be the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO),” she says. She’d also like to see RECO involved in some way in supplying the training and courses. Manager qualifications and licensing are the tip of the iceberg, she says. She has concerns around myriad aspects of the Condominium Act and condo development in general and continues to lobby around issues ranging from condominium finances and reserve fund management to dispute resolution, sustainability, building safety standards and compliance, short-term rentals, standardization of documents, maintenance fees and much more. The government has said it will examine and address many of these concerns, but Pinizzotto is well aware she will have no shortage of ongoing reasons to continue to lobby and advocate for condo owners in the increasingly complex condominium marketplace. For starters, she would like to see concrete evidence – and not just promises – that measures are being taken to modernize the Condominium Act. “We’re in stages of review...We’re not finished yet,” she says. REM
12 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Realtor photos and hand-written notes METES & BOUNDS
By Marty Douglas
ack to school. Remember the class photo? Seems kindergarden to Grade 12 were the only ages where we were forced to have our picture taken no less than once a year. To show growth towards maturity. Even after graduation, family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas wouldn’t be complete until a parent, usually Mom, got the camera out and, to a chorus of moans, groans and the occasional belch, insisted everyone pose around the turkey carcass.
At some point adults begin to resist the inevitable evidence of aging that the latest photograph unflinchingly reveals. Particularly Realtors! Setting an example, my new photo is here on the column masthead, taken this summer at the best little music festival in Canada, the Vancouver Island Music Fest. Indigo girls, Walk off the Earth, Mary Chapin Carpenter and even Kris Kristofferson, who was propped up long enough to do an hour and a half set. The best surprise on one of the nights – Fred Penner doing a between-set gig to the delight of the adults in the 10,000 strong crowd who, of course, knew all the words to I love sandwiches. Other acts featured incredible guitar sets by Amos Garrett and David Wilcox, bluesy rock from John Hiatt & the Combo and from the movie Deliverance, among other screen gems, Ronny Cox. Funny, as soon as I hear the word Deliverance I can hear the banjo. And when I say Jaws – can you hear the theme? No? Too
young. Check out both movies but not alone! Much better, I’m sure, than the latest and hopefully last shark movie out later this summer - Sharknado! Back to Realtor photos for a second. I received an oversize referral request card in the mail from Paul Hannan, who specializes in West Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville. The front side featured seven of his Realtor photographs dating back to 1983, captioned, “This is what 30 years in real estate looks like!” One more reason to update your photo gallery on a regular basis – for your 30-year promotion piece! I have been an advocate of handwritten notes (and envelopes) since paper was invented and I learned calligraphy. I believe they are the simplest, most direct way to our clients’ limited attention span at the mailbox. No one ignores a handwritten envelope, while we toss those generic mail-outs despite the overt threat of “Time sensitive, critical information!” on the outside revealed to be your best chance at
life insurance or a three-month credit card rate below 12 per cent. I have received thank you notes from the kid who vacuums and washes my car after servicing at the dealership, from mortgage brokers, cable TV installers and of course other Realtors. However, the winning entry came last week in a handwritten envelope and note from a waiter in Joe Fortes Sea Food and Chop House in Vancouver. My wife and I had stopped for lunch – fish and chips, what else – and were served by Kevin. We were complimentary when we filled out the information request that came with our bill and when I posted a review on Trip Advisor. Kevin’s note blew me away, coming as it did a month after our meal. Yes, I know computers help with everything but you have to use the tool to get the finished product. His note remembered it was my birthday and that I had crème brule for dessert. Did I mention he also sent a separate note to my wife – no scrimping on postage by jamming them in the same envelope – thanking her for mak-
ing the reservation? So, update your photo regularly so your clients will recognize you, hand out five cards a day, have face-to-face or voice-tovoice conversations about real estate because going out to find the client is more important than doing something to get them to call you – and write notes – lots of notes. Brian Buffini reminds us, “Sales is a contact sport – not find ‘em, fleece ‘em, forget ‘em.” Last word from an ancient TV series, Police Story. (Ancient history is what you may get when you read a columnist who once worked with tablets – the kind made of stone.) Desk sergeant’s motivational speech to rookies: “I’ve been in this business for a lot of years looking for shortcuts. I’ll be the first to let you know if I find one. Meantime, hit the streets and turn over stones!” Contact Marty Douglas by email at email@example.com Follow or connect with Marty on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He is a managing broker for Re/Max Ocean Pacific Realty in Comox and Courtenay, B.C. REM
Love. Kids. Home. September 27, 2013
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14 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
B.C. development 17 years in the making
The Silver Spray and SookePoint developments on Vancouver Island’s Possession Point battled local NIMBYs and red tape for years, but the reward is in the view from the site. By Jean Sorensen
SookePoint cottages are located at the tip of Possession Point, an area that is known for fishing both by sports fisherman and wildlife such as the bald Michael Thornton inside the living eagle perched in the tree. room of the display cottage.
ith all the wrangling that has occurred over Vancouver Island’s SookePoint and Silver Spray developments over the past 17 years, it’s a wonder that developer Michael Thornton didn’t pack up and run like hell. The developments left a trail of lengthy court cases, political debate and polarized neighbours. “When you do land development, the No. 1 rule is never fall in love with the property,” says Thornton, who admits he failed miserably and still refers to the site in superlatives terms despite the long, stormy ride to bring the project in. Thornton and investors have been on a roller coaster ride that few can rival, with one near derailment as politics and debate almost downed the East Sooke development that sits on Canada’s most southwesterly point. “Was it tough? Yes,” he says, but the good news is that “there is no one coming up behind us. No developer in his right mind would go through what we have.” Thornton was captivated by the volcanic rock foreshore site capping Possession Point from the first day he clamoured on to the rocky slope from a boat, the only access means at that time. In
the business of raising investment dollars for developments, Thornton envisioned the site with a housing development, marina, hotel and restaurants. His company, Home Equity Development, bought the Silver Spray property in 1996. It included four separate parcels, one of which was in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Court records say the total acreage of the four parcels is 274 acres and with approximately three km of waterfront. It is located next to the East Sooke Regional Park and most it had been logged, with some second growth on site. The 45-minute ride from downtown Victoria to the site down a winding country road still expresses the values of rural life. There are signs offering firewood and fresh eggs. Swaths of wild daisies line the roadside and homes and barns with livestock are screened by bush and trees. There are stretches of bush or pasture between houses. It’s idyllic – a snapshot from another time and one that some residents tried hard to keep. When Thornton tried to remove the parcel from the ALR in the late 1990s, residents in what is primarily a rural farm area heard of the development plans
and the fight was on. During the following years there were a number of court cases. NIMBY residents charged that Thornton used legal intimidation to silence them (that case was tossed). Thornton sued successfully for defamation over false statements in literature that anti-development factions circulated against him. He was awarded $52,250. A regional director also sued four defendants in the case and was awarded $285,000. “There is always a small percentage who oppose development,” says Thornton, as he stands on a seven-hectare site owned by Landus Development Group. This is SookePoint, which is in the heart of the Silver Spray area. Landus, of which Thornton, his wife and a partner are the owners, is an associate company of Home Equity. Four months ago, Landus got the variance he wanted so he could build one metre from the water’s edge and five metres above it. He started developing what he calls a destination resort with vacation cottages on this clover-leaf shaped parcel of land hugging the rocky bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “It took six years to get the
zoning,” he says, adding that rezoning for Silver Spray took 64 public hearings in total. Thornton is now looking to have 95 cottages built by spring 2014.
– with a variety of floor plans and levels – range from 500 to 2,400 square feet, with a lead-in price of $299,000 and monthly maintenance of $295.
Now the project has gained the full support of the local municipality and many nearby neighbours. Concessions were made to the municipality such as providing park lands. Home Equity also agreed to bring in an underwater fresh water line to the area across an inlet and build a new pumping station on the East Sooke side. The cost was $5-million and on completion, it was turned over to Sooke to own and operate. That development, says Thornton, allows any rural resident along the route to the point to hook up to the water line.
Thornton is also looking at several restaurants on site and two wedding chapels. Thornton’s SookePoint development, a gated community, has the cottages perched below the sea bluffs to preserve the view above and also to bring vacationers closer to the water.
Thornton is currently selling SookePoint (www.sookepoint. com) at Silver Spray, which will feature strata-title, one- to fourbedroom destination cottages for vacations or for year-round living. The units can be rented and there is the option of placing a smaller bachelor cottage beneath an existing cottage on the slope, which can serve as a “mortgage helper”. Or, the rights can be sold off to help lower the price of the cottage above. The cottage units
He points to the sprinkling of boats parked below the bluff with weekday anglers, claiming the area is as good a salmon fishing spot as up-island Campbell River, which is internationally renowned for its salmon catch. A few weeks ago, whales were swimming near the bluffs, chasing out the fish from the rocky recesses. Nearby is an island that houses a rookery of sea lions that also fish the area. To the left of the cottage sundeck, which juts over the cliff, sits a bald eagle in a nearby tree. Man, beast and bird can’t be wrong. Thornton’s vision isn’t overshadowed by any resentment from all the hardships the project encountered. “It was a good experience,” he says. “And we made some new friends.” REM
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16 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
The Competition Bureau is right to open the MLS OPINION
By Chris Seepe
he Competition Bureau, an independent federal agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, is at war with Canadian organized real estate. The bureau claims, “The overwhelming majority of real estate transactions in Canada are brokered through the MLS system. Realtors must agree to comply with CREA’s restrictions on the service options
they provide to Canadian consumers…(the bureau) wants these anti-competitive rules removed so that consumers can benefit from greater choice.” The bureau is right to open the MLS, but for the wrong reasons. Obtaining information about a property and a seller from the MLS doesn’t empower a person with the skill and knowledge needed to make an informed buy or sell decision. Just having a grasp of the 135 acts and codes that affect Canadian real estate is daunting. If the MLS was opened up, the public would quickly learn the hard way about the true value of using a Realtor. It would also substantially raise the bar of skill, duty and professionalism of Realtors; not because most Realtors aren’t professional, but because a great many of them take only
three two-week courses before they are licensed to trade in real estate. Six weeks’ training is likely not enough to properly prepare them to sell an oil refinery, farm, retail plaza or arguably the most litigiousprone property of all – cottages. The Toronto Real Estate Board’s membership is currently about 38,000. Of these, almost 4,000 became Realtors and 1,320 left the profession between August 2012 and June 2013. This kind of turnover makes the odds high that many members of the public will meet a Realtor who, though licensed, is still not qualified to assist a family investing their life savings in what is likely to be the most important financial decision they’ll ever make; and that doesn’t include the exponential complexities of commercial real estate. So what’s any of that got to do with opening up the MLS to
the public? Everything. The book, music, television and movie industries (all intellectual properties like the MLS) are going through a world-wide sea change, with traditional ways of doing things being violently uprooted. This is primarily because technology has empowered end users to bypass traditional industry distribution channels, regulators and infrastructure. This is exactly what the bureau’s challenge is about – empowering the public to bypass the gatekeepers of privileged MLS data. The bureau’s non-competition argument isn’t at odds with the best interests of the Canadian public as much as it is with the 100,000 Canadian Realtors. The public benefits from fierce competition among Realtors who often selfdestruct by offering sub-oneper-cent commission rates, usu-
ally with accompanying substandard service, in order to win business. Price (but not value) aside, this isn’t in the best interest of the public. Conversely, Canadian MLS systems are antiquated. Their functionality, presentation, technology and performance are akin to using a slide rule in a world of computers. But Realtors can’t switch to a better MLS and there is only one real estate board per geographic territory. While real estate boards are the essential infrastructure needed to build, represent and protect the industry’s profession values, ethics and business processes, they could do more to monetize opportunities, maximize return on Realtor’s fees and be more responsive to Realtor needs, all resulting in a superior service to the public. Opening the MLS would Continued on page 18
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18 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Opinion Continued from page 16
mean organized real estate would have to re-invent itself but it should not give up ownership or control of the MLS. It should divest itself of delivering MLS technology and services and instead focus on licensing the MLS brand on a non-exclusive basis to qualified entities that can prove their ability to deliver world-class information technology solutions. Let the best data delivery provider win, so long as the Realtor only has to input the listing information once for all vendors. These vendors would exponentially advance the ease of use, relevancy, quality, speed, functionality, interoperability with other devices, North American-wide (perhaps even world-wide) interconnectivity with other Realtors, investors, buyers and sellers, and a hundred other benefits. For example, Coca Cola, one of the world’s most recognized brands, does not own any
bottling companies. It owns hundreds of brands and trademarks, is responsible for consumer marketing and manufactures concentrates, beverage bases and syrups. The company then sells to about 250 bottling partners that manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute the final branded beverages to customers and vending partners, who in turn sell to the consuming masses worldwide. CREA, in co-operation with member real estate boards, could do exactly the same thing. With multiple, open MLS systems competing against one another (all under the revenue-share license umbrella of CREA), tens of millions of eyeballs would see property listings, instead of just 100,000 Realtors with varying levels of marketing skills and resources. This would be serving the best interests of the public and it would address the bureau’s non-competition concern. So, how to finance this radical change? Google built a $10-billion company in just 10 years by
providing free information. Ninety-nine per cent of that income came from advertising revenue. Tens of thousands of advertisers would pay to advertise their products and services
“Anyone raging about the collapse of the Canadian real estate industry need only look to the deregulation of Bell Canada.” on the MLS to local communities – the trades, medical, architects, home alarms, Realtors and so on. Thousands more advertisers would pay to reach national and international MLS users. It could gen-
erate hundreds of millions in revenue for the real estate boards, which could apply that money to all kinds of Realtorimprovement programs. This too would serve the best interests of the public. Best of all, everyone wins – a fantastic state-of-the-art delivery service providing relevant, timely and complete real estate information to a wide range of public and institutional users for a multiplicity of purposes, driven by the world’s best technologies. Anyone raging about the collapse of the Canadian real estate industry need only look to the deregulation of Bell Canada, which remains as strong as ever. The phone system still works as intended, and also provides so much more than anyone could have imagined. Or look to the deregulation of electricity, or, perhaps more apropos, study the dismantling and re-invention of the travel industry. The first year in which more trips were booked online than offline was
2007 and it increased to 60 per cent in 2009, driven by a mixture of commissions paid by vendors and advertising revenues. Opening the MLS to the public and adopting an appropriate, proven 21st-century business model would not only benefit the public and Realtors directly, but also provide the financial means by which organized real estate could develop the expanded infrastructure and services needed to provide world-class MLS data delivery services and give the Canadian real estate industry the true professional standing it has always strived to achieve. Chris Seepe is a commercial real estate broker and broker of record at Aztech Realty, based in Toronto. He specializes in income-generating and multi-residential investment properties, retail plazas, science and technology-related specialty uses and tenant mandates. (416) 5251558; firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.aztechrealty.com. REM
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- Kevin Somers Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage
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Our past. Your future.
Training & Support
100 Years of Helping You Home. Words that convey much about us and Royal LePage: an enduring success; with a client-centric culture, where we put the needs of those we serve ahead of our own; and know the importance of family and community.
There is an intangible, yet powerful association with the Royal LePage brand among both our clients and competitive REALTORS速. It speaks to professionalism, success and client advocacy, all wrapped up with a touch of national pride.
Royal LePage is the standard others aspire to, with new, innovative marketing ideas, coaching and training programs, all created to help our agents take it to the next level.
At Royal LePage, we know that home does not always mean a safe and happy place. We help families in the communities where we live and work through our own charity, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
- Phil Soper President and CEO
- Kevin Somers Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage
- Doug Bain Royal LePage Key Realty, Brokerage
- Shanan Spencer-Brown Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
22 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Deposits in Agreements LEGAL ISSUES
By Donald H. Lapowich
PARTNER WITH CANADA’S MOST TRUSTED MORTGAGE EXPERTS.
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n a recent court case, the purchaser signed a standard form of Agreement of Purchase and Sale to buy the vendor’s residential property. The price was $2-million plus and a $100,000 deposit was given. The agreement stated that if the purchaser defaulted, “the deposit would go to the vendor on account of damages”. When the purchaser failed to close, the vendor resold his residence “at a higher price”. One can easily determine what issue arose. Did the vendor have the right to keep the deposit? The trial judge held that the vendor suffered no loss and therefore was not entitled to the deposit (vendor sold for a higher price). The British Columbia Court of Appeal laid down a number of rules: 1. Whether the deposit was forfeited to the vendor was a matter of contract interpretation; 2. Usually the word “deposit”, absent wording to the contrary, in writing means exactly that (a deposit); 3. A “true deposit” was meant to motivate seller/buyer to close the transaction. The court’s interpretation was that a deposit would generally be forfeited if the buyer repudiates (even without proof of damages). If the deal did close, the deposit would have been applied to the purchase price. A true deposit is contrary to a penalty sum where it represents a genuine pre-estimate of damages. If the vendor retained the deposit and that led the court to find that it was penal or unconscionable, the court may give relief. Is that clear? I do not believe
so because the Court of Appeal ruled that the deposit was forfeited in this case because the purchaser did not close. Frankly, unless you specifically insert a clause that there is no forfeiture if the vendor suffers no loss in purchase price, the vendor will succeed. Notwithstanding the wording says, “Deposit given to the vendor was on account of damages.” Is the true essence of this case that the court would not allow the vendor to breach the contract with immunity? (Tang v. Zhang, 2013 BCCA 52) ■■■
In another case, the plaintiff, a purchaser of a condominium, paid a deposit of $745,325 (25 per cent of the purchase price). Unfortunately the plaintiff could not secure his financing in time because he was overseas and was hospitalized after a motor vehicle accident. The extension of the closing date was negotiated, but that closing date passed with the plaintiff still unable to provide financing. The vendor refused any further extensions, declared the contract terminated and relied on the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to retain the deposit. The plaintiff in turn sued for specific performance or return of the deposit on the contractual terms, regarding forfeiture as invalid. The trial judge found that the vendor was not in breach of contract, that the agreement gave the vendor the right to set the completion date and that the contract called for a forfeiture of the deposit and was enforceable. On appeal to the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the court upheld the original judgment. The wording of the agreement was clear that the deposit was held on account of the purchase price and was to be forfeited to the vendor if the purchaser could not complete. (Amiri v. One West Holdings Ltd., 2013 BCCA 155) Full decisions are available at canlii.org. REM 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.
24 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
A short trim and a 30-minute story AS I SEE IT FROM MY DESK
By Stan Albert
bout the end of the first week in July, I decided to get my hair cut at one of my favourite barber shops not too far from our condo. My regular barber, Sal, the owner, was busy. Since we were going out of town for the weekend, I was in hurry to get a trim (though there’s not much hair to worry about) so Sal asked one of his barbers who was available to fill in. Joe beckoned me to his chair.
I said, “Please, just a trim.” “Okay,” replied Joe. I mentioned that it was my birthday, my 77th to be exact, and went on to say that I really felt I was getting older. “What do you mean?” asked Joe. “I’m 82, and look at me, I’m still at barbering. I have been since I was a kid.” As Joe began the trim, I asked where he came from and how he came to our city. His story began to unfold as he meticulously trimmed my last vestiges of hair. It turned out that he immigrated to Canada when he was a young man and had only maybe $20 to $30 in his pockets when he arrived in Toronto to stay with relatives. The only skill he had was barbering. He wound up at a small shop on Danforth Avenue in Toronto and eventually saved enough money to buy his own shop. “Joe, I think you’re cutting my hair too short,” I said. “Not to worry, I am a true craftsman and
I will make you look like a million,” he replied. After a few years, Joe’s wife arrived and he needed larger accommodations. He could not afford to buy a home, even though prices in Toronto in the late ’50s and early ’60s were relatively inexpensive compared to today. He then went on to tell me about a real estate agent, Anne, who knew him through her husband. Anne was always showing him the Co-Ops – our MLS listings – and Joe would always say that he didn’t have the money to pay for a deposit and for a lawyer. Anne continued to call on him for five years and when she told him of a home just a few blocks away, Joe went to see it. He kept saying that he didn’t have the down payment. After some encouragement, Joe went to see his bank manager, who loaned him $2,500. It wasn’t quite enough for the down payment, but Anne arranged the balance so that Joe could buy his
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first home in Canada after five years of barbering. It was a great feeling, Joe professed, to own his own home, which he eventually sold for a profit. “I had to move on, because my family of two girls and a boy were cramped in the three-bedroom home,” Joe told me. Up to about five years ago, Joe bought and sold five other homes and made enough profit to send his three children off to university. One is a lawyer working for the government and the other two are gainfully employed. “Did Anne sell you all these homes?” I asked. “No, I lost track of her some time ago. I think she passed away,” Joe said. He said he wished he was able to buy and sell more homes, but his wife of many years told him, “No more moves.” It would be too difficult at their age, she said, and scolded him not to buy any more homes.
As Joe whisked me off and showed me the mirror, I sort of winced. “Nice job, eh?” Joe asked. “Ah, well, a little more of a trim than I expected.” I replied. Tipping him as I left the shop, I thanked him for his wonderful account of what most immigrants to Canada have experienced – that being the joy of working towards owning their own home and raising their children to be successful and how they continue to prosper and add to Canada’s growth. Newcomers to Canada have helped this country very much and will continue to do so in the future. And yes, my parents came here to Canada as immigrants as well. Have a great fall campaign. REM
Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at email@example.com. Stan is now celebrating his 43rd year as an active real estate professional.
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26 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Using Google to recruit sales reps
By Dan Wood was in a discussion with a broker manager who was dead set on only hiring “seasoned agents”. As we walked the halls of his office, I asked how many are being occupied by “newer” agents. He thought about it and was shocked by the truth. The newer agents took up more than 60 per cent of the office space. That’s a big chunk of monthly expense being covered by something you don’t want. Something to think about. It’s a funny debate with the “only seasoned vets” vs. “mixed offices” recruiting strategy. I’d say a healthy office has a mix of both. You need the next generation in your ranks because they will be your future leaders and by that time they are so invested with your office it’s hard to leave. So think of it as future positioning. No matter what camp you are in I’m sure you would like to connect with more agents to recruit. So how do we do that? Many of you have tried Google pay-per-click but it gets tricky in large cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. The problem is it’s too big a geographical area to target. Why target the east side of your city when your brokerage is in the west? Most agents are going to pick a firm that’s either in the area they want to work, or one that is relatively easy to get to from home. You can create an extremely targeted campaign on a small budget. Say $50-$100 (or less) a month. “But Danny, I tried Google Adwords and it didn’t work.” Did you know you can use
Google to target a radius just around your office(s)? You don’t need to target by city. This is done by using postal codes. For smaller cities like Oakville and Mississauga, you just need to tighten up the keywords. For example: In Google, when setting up the campaign and doing the targeting part, you simply click “advanced search” and type in your postal code instead of the city name. When you click it you’ll see on the map what part of town you are targeting. During that part you can add other nearby postal codes or simply do a one- to two-km radius around your location. Now you’re spending your money wisely. Say a person is searching “real estate job” down the street from your office. I’d think you would like the opportunity to drive them to a squeeze page on your brokerage site about getting into the business, or to an office open house invitation. Or to do a tour of the office and come out to the next sales meeting. You can do exactly that. This is an example of targeting new agents because that’s the type of thing they search. They also search terms like “real estate school”, “getting into real estate” and “phase 3 OREA” (in Ontario)… these are all terms being searched by people you should connect with. The question is, are you one of the Google results when they do? If not head on over to Eventbrite.ca and make a free landing page. Make a “getting into real estate phase 3 grads info seminar” and use this as a squeeze page. It’s free and easy. Plus it looks more like an event and not some poorly designed page on your brokerage site. Use that as your landing page and match it up with the proper search terms and postal code targeting. Simple. REM Dan Wood speaks at industry events and office seminars. His focus is on marketing and technology, providing broker/owners in-house training for agents and recruiting incentives to grow your office. 905-903-5442;www.DanWood.ca; facebook.com/DanWoodCoaching
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28 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
Office shuts off smartphones, computers Kelowna brokerage gives up technology for a month for charity and provides “good old face-to-face service”. By Connie Adair
n June 1, the sales reps at Vantage West Realty in Kelowna turned off their computers and smartphones. They stayed dark for the entire month. It wasn’t due to a power outage, a fire or a flood. The brokerage’s 10 agents gave up technology to raise money for charity. For 30 days there was no texting, no Facebooking, no Tweeting, no technology. If it didn’t exist in the 1960s, the technology was off limits for the agents, for personal and business use. It wasn’t an easy task for an office whose agents are young (median age is 29) and connected in terms of technology, says 31-year-old managing broker/owner A.J. Hazzi. “We decided to pay homage to the Mad Men era (by) hand delivering all documents, presenting offers in person and (providing) good old face-to-face service, getting back to simpler times when service counted for something.” Hazzi says he came up with the idea after being in the middle of a transaction between a boomer buyer and a Realtor who was about 70-years-old. “The pace slowed down…we drove offers back and forth. I found it annoying.” However, his client did not,
telling Hazzi that he appreciated the agent’s extra effort. “He liked the personalized aspect,” Hazzi says. Later, riding up a ski lift, Hazzi realized it was the human element that was missing. “Service was not (completely) lost but we got so connected we became disconnected.” He came up with the idea to go dark. At a Monday morning meeting he unveiled his plan. He says the agents thought it was cool. The goal: to raise money for the Kelowna Gospel Mission so a roof could be put on a women’s shelter. For each deal made during the month, $300 would be donated to the cause. The penalty for using technology was $300 a pop. A Mad Men photo shoot was set up at a 1950s bungalow that had shag carpet and velour walls. The house was decorated with vintage furniture and props, and agents donned vintage clothing. The photographs were put on to postcards and sent to clients by snail mail. At first the agents were enthusiastic but there was “groaning and griping for sure,” Hazzi says. “If it wasn’t for a charity, we would have given up.” A few customers and agents
were annoyed when Vantage West agents had to respond to their messages by phone, but 99 per cent were accepting, he says. A few deals may have also been lost during their technologyfree time – “30 per cent of our deals come from our website,” he says. Conservatively, deals without the use of technology took two or three hours longer, Hazzi says. But when all is said and done, the agents raised $5,100 for Kelowna Gospel Mission, which does a lot of work with transitional housing. Not all of the money came from deals completed sans technology. A few fines were levied for those who used technology when they
weren’t supposed to. “I donated $600 after being caught texting my sweetheart. I got busted at the gas pumps by a Re/Max agent,” Hazzi says. He was fined once for receiving a text and once for sending a reply. The office helped the Kelowna Gospel Mission before by serving 250 meals one evening. “We plan to do it again,” says Hazzi, who opened the boutique brokerage in April 2008 after working with two major brands, Royal LePage and Re/Max. The office focuses on a team concept, with each agent specializing in a different area from client care to marketing, and each leveraging the skills of other team
The team poses for their Mad Men inspired photo. Back row, from left: Jeff Anderson, Ally Shafer, Michael Plowman, Luke Menkes, Evan Goode. Front row: Nick Hazzi, A.J. Hazzi, Gayle Helbig.
members, he says. Prior to going dark, the company produced a video, which can be seen at www.vimeo.com/ 67232841. For more information, contact A.J. Hazzi at email@example.com To make a donation to the Kelowna Gospel Mission visit http://kelownagospelmission.ca/do nate. REM.
Lessons learned A.J. Hazzi, managing broker/owner of Vantage West Realty in Kelowna, B.C. says good lessons were learned from knowing how things were done when service counted. “Generation Y will text to see a house, text the offer, text to see if you got it and text to get it back. Where’s the human contact?” he asks. New rules are in place at the office. Offers and negotiations are now done in person. Texts are limited, with voice-to-voice or face-to-face service preferred. Instead of a two- to three-hour message thread, agents can pick up the phone and deal with a situation in a couple of minutes. “It cuts down on miscommunication,” he says. “There’s no place for texting when talking about deal points.” REM.
30 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
LAST CHANCE TO SAVE!
So you want to be a commercial Realtor?
Industrial, Commercial & Investment
By Dan Bates ost graduates of real estate licence programs head directly into the residential side of the real estate brokerage business. As the owner/broker of record of Binswanger Hectare Commercial Realty in Mississauga, Ont., I can fully understand why, for many reasons. The No. 1 reason I am told is that the first commission cheque will come much sooner. This is true in most cases, so those who do decide to get into the commercial side of real estate should have some cash stashed away. In my 23 years of commercial real estate experience, the first commission cheque lag time is usually three to six months and the cheques may not be that substantial. The general rule of thumb for someone who is serious and willing to work hard and smart is that it takes closer to two years to start making “good money”. After that, the sky is the limit as to how much an agent can make selling and leasing commercial real estate. The main advantages to working in commercial is that the hours are more in line with business hours, traditionally 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, some nights and some weekend time is what sets the high earners apart from the low earners. The other main advantage is that the sell is less “emotional”. Business people deal with contracts all day long and take the emotion out of the deal. “Business is business” as the saying goes. On the residential side, emotion can very much come into play. After all, someone’s home is usually their largest asset and they may not have done a deal for years, so it can be traumatic. Once someone has decided that commercial real estate is their decision, the next step is to decide where to work and how to work. There are three differ-
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ent scenarios available to commercial agents. They are: 1) start your own brokerage and work from home or 2) become employed by a boutique broker or 3) work at one of the larger brokerages. There is no right or wrong, but as in any business there are pros and cons. Let’s start with opening your own brokerage. While you will receive 100 per cent of the commissions, you will also be doing all of the paperwork including that for the local boards, regulators, FINTRAC, corporate taxes, yearend statements, HST and financial audits. This can be very time consuming and take away from your core selling time. The other disadvantage is the lack of interaction that can be very beneficial when working in an office with other agents. Quite often when facing an obstacle in trying to get a deal done, bouncing ideas and solutions off another agent is helpful. A significant advantage of having your own brokerage can be the tax savings. I have worked with many agents over the years who make a lot of money, but also pay substantially more in tax than if they had their own shop. Another alternative is to work with a boutique-type brokerage. The advantages here are that you will not have to fuss with a lot of the paperwork mentioned above but support may have some limitations. Research can be somewhat limited; however with the Internet today, most information is available to allow a commercial Realtor to succeed. A boutique shop is often more personal and agents will have a tendency to work together, which is a huge advantage. The splits in a boutique shop will also be much more favourable. Some boutique
shops that are independently owned have an international or global affiliation of some sort, putting them on a level playing field with the big brokers. Choosing to work at the big brokerage also has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is the branding and research, and the support staff is deeper. However, the agent pays for that in lesser splits and needs to weigh the advantages vs. disadvantages. Also, within the large brokerages there is often competition between agents, which can lead to in-house situations where some agents may not be able to go after certain accounts or opportunities because a senior agent may have already claimed stake to the account. Where you choose depends on your personality and makeup. Entrepreneurial types would start their own firm and take a chance on failure or success. The agent who has some entrepreneurial spirit may chose the boutique broker because they do not need all the services offered by the big broker and may prefer the “family” atmosphere and better splits. For the agent who prefers the large broker, splits may not be as important as the brand or security of working for a big brokerage. Whatever route you choose, you’ll find that commercial real estate is competitive and the saying, “You eat what you kill” is very true. Like everything else in life, success means taking responsibility for yourself and success comes to those who make the extra 10-per-cent effort. REM. Dan Bates is the president/broker of record for Binswanger Hectare Commercial Realty in Mississauga, a boutique commercial brokerage with a global platform with Binswanger USA, since 1978.
REM SEPTEMBER 2013 31
Embarrassing sales experiences
By Carl Walwyn
am showing homes in the downtown area. It is a Sunday afternoon and I have a confirmation to “show direct”. This is Realtor-speak for “the seller will be at home and they will let you in.” We arrive at the home and I ring the doorbell. No answer. I ring it again…and wait. No answer. My clients are looking at me with this “did-you-notmake-an-appointment-for-thishouse-you-idiot?” look but they smile patiently. I smile, doublecheck my notes and knock loudly.
Then I call the listing Realtor’s office. “Wasn’t this an appointment to go direct? There is nobody at home.” The receptionist apologizes and gives me the code to the lock box, which is on the side door. Since there was obviously no one at home, there would be no need to call the vendor to alert her about the showing. I go around the house to the side door with my clients in tow. The door has an un-curtained, glass window pane and as I am bending over fiddling with the lock box, I take a look inside. I will NEVER forget what I saw next. As I look through the glass window I see a young lady carrying two huge watermelons. I see the watermelons come around the corner before I actually see the young lady. She is obviously protecting them by carrying them just above her waist so that they would not fall. I blink slowly and suddenly her eyes meet mine . . . . she lets
out a little scream and a gasp . . . . one hand goes to her mouth and the other adopts the classic “fig-leaf-Garden-of-Eden” pose. Strangely, the melons she is carrying stay exactly where they are – defying gravity – or so it seems. The full impact of what I am seeing hits me . . . and then it hits her. She turns and sprints away from the door. I guess it’s only in the movies that people come out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around them. My clients look at me with a puzzled look (by the way, now they are both Facebook friends) and I explain that I would not be showing them that house today (or EVER) even though it seems to fit all of their needs. I hurry them to the car. Later, I call the listing office and cancel my appointment. I do not sell that house that day. REM. Carl Walwyn is a sales rep with Re/Max Legacy Realty in Mississauga, Ont. Email email@example.com.
Mortgage Architects acquires Argentum Mortgage and Finance Mortgage Architects recently acquired Argentum Mortgage and Finance Corp., a network of more than 500 mortgage brokers. “The acquisition of Argentum is in line with our long-term growth initiatives,” says Ron Swift, CEO of the Pacific Mortgage Group. Argentum Mortgage Brokers will re-brand under the Mortgage Architects label with the full transition expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014, the company says. “We are focused on building a large distribution network to line up with our manufacturing capabilities on the lending side,” says Swift. Albert Collu, a past-president of the Independent Mortgage Brokers Association, founded Argentum in 2009. Collu has been appointed president of Mortgage Architects and will be a partner and shareholder, the company says. “Albert’s vision is very much aligned with Mortgage Architects’ leadership,” says Swift. “The bringing together of Argentum and Mortgage Architects will position the organization as a formidable presence in our industry and create significant momentum,” says Collu. “The unique and compelling model and structure at Mortgage Architects will support our brokers and give them a dynamic path for growth and opportunity in the industry.” Mortgage Architects is a national mortgage brokerage with a network of brokers across Canada and offices in Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver, Calgary, Laval and Halifax. The company says Mortgage Architects is “the only brokerage in Canada where brokers benefit from the ownership of a lender and the unique opportunities of this affiliation.” REM.
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32 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
John’s. We are very proud that we were able to come together to help our friends in Southern Alberta recover and rebuild after (the) devastating flooding.” ■■■
Hardy Realty Ltd. joins Royal LePage Advance Realty
Port Hardy, BC Karin Moeller
Hardy Realty (Hardy Realty GMAC Real Estate) has joined the Royal LePage Advance Realty team, effective August 1, 2013. Karin Moeller of Hardy Realty is a veteran REALTOR® with 35 years of experience. She is pleased to join Royal LePage Advance, along with the newest member of her team, Sandra Masales. Royal LePage Advance recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in tandem with the national 100th anniversary of the Royal LePage brand. General Manager, Bryan Watkins, who becomes Managing Broker for both locations, looks forward to joining forces with Hardy Realty. “By partnering the largest office in Campbell River with the number one office located on the North Island, we are in a great position to expand and deliver our services.” Along with Port Hardy, the new Royal LePage Advance office services the areas of Port McNeill, Port Alice, Sointula, Alert Bay, Quatsino and Coal Harbour. Royal LePage Advance now provides real estate professionals from the far north to Sayward, Campbell River and Black Creek.
Sandra Masales The team at Royal LePage Advance Realty can be reached at: PORT HARDY BRANCH P.O. BOX 550, 7190A Market St Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0 Phone: (250) 949-7231 • Fax: (250) 949-9872 KarinMoeller@royallepage.ca SandraMasales@royallepage.ca CRinfo@royallepage.ca or HEAD OFFICE CAMPBELL RIVER BRANCH 972 Shoppers Row Campbell River, BC V9W5A9 Phone: (250) 286-3293 • Fax: (250) 286-1932 T/F 1-888-286-1932 KarinMoeller@royallepage.ca SandraMasales@royallepage.ca CRinfo@royallepage.ca For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call (416) 510-5827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org †
†Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.
Royal LePage Parkway Realty Peterborough, ON Ken Barrick Ken Barrick, broker of Prudential Parkway Realty has joined the Royal LePage franchise network. His office now operates under the name of Royal LePage Parkway Realty, effective July 18, 2013. Ken began his real estate career in 1998 as a sales representative, then followed in his father Don Barrick’s footsteps to receive his broker’s license in 2005. Don Barrick is a veteran of the real estate industry, with close to fifty years experience. In April of this year, Ken acquired the Prudential Parkway Company from Don and has now taken his brokerage one step further by joining Royal LePage. Ken is currently President-Elect of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Association of REALTORS® (PKAR). As well, he is chair of the Finance and Government Relations Committee for PKAR. Ken is pleased to be joining an organization he says is “well recognized and admired
nationwide.” He anticipates future expansion of his sales force, with the momentum provided by the Royal LePage brand. Royal LePage Parkway Realty services the areas of Peterborough, Bridgenorth, Lakefield, Millbrook, Keene and cottage country. Ken and his team can be reached at: 885 Clonsilla Avenue Peterborough, ON K9J 5Y2 Phone: 705-743-3636 / 800-278-7032 Fax: 705-743-0323 KenBarrick@royallepage.ca Congratulations to Ken and the team at Royal LePage Parkway Realty. For information on the Royal LePage franchise program, please call: (416) 510-5827 or email: email@example.com †
†Royal LePage is a trademark used under license.
ethics,” says Maura McLaren, REIC executive director and CEO. “Our rigorous course content provides practical skills and knowledge and will help advance the marketability of OMDREB members.” Aziz Kanjee, president of OMDREB, says: “The needs of today’s Realtors are constantly evolving as new business models enter the marketplace. The FRI designation is a fantastic tool to distinguish oneself in the real estate profession.”
ova Scotia has a new real estate education program that is the first of its kind in Canada, says the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors (NSAR). The Realtors Career Development (RCD) Program is a post-licensing education model that guides new Realtors through a 36-month training program. “Real estate is a demanding profession – one that requires agents to be advisors and consultants, negotiators, statisticians and market analysts, marketing experts and effective facilitators,” says Linda Smardon, a past president with NSAR and a mentor in the program. She says it “takes education to a whole new level by teaching new Realtors how to manage their business effectively, develop clientele and facilitate the highest level of client satisfaction for buyers and sellers.” The program, which consists of e-learning courses, peer-to-peer learning and mentor support, is mandatory for all students who successfully complete the Salespersons Licensing Course and become members of NSAR. Realtors from other provinces with less than two years’ experience are also required to complete the program when they become members of NSAR. Any existing NSAR member can opt to take the e-learning courses at any time.
The London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors recently announced that the recipients of this year’s LSTAR Scholarship are Madison Walker, the daughter of LSTAR member Carolyn Baines, and Jess Hodgson, the son of LSTAR member Paula Hodgson. Madison, a graduate of Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, St. Thomas, will be attending the University of Western Ontario to study Medical Sciences. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Jess, a graduate of Central Secondary School, will be attending UWO’s Huron College in the General Arts and Science Program and has been offered early acceptance to the Ivey School of Business, where he hopes to earn a dual HBA/law degree.
The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) and The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) recently announced a joint partnership to deliver advanced education to Realtors in the Greater Toronto Area. REIC and OMDREB will offer the courses required to achieve the Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (FRI) designation. “The FRI designation has long been the hallmark of exceptional client service and a higher level of professionalism and
The Canadian Realtors Care Foundation has raised more than $200,000 for the Canadian Red Cross’ Alberta Floods Fund, thanks to the donations of individual Realtors, brokerages and 40 real estate boards and associations from across the country. “We know from experience that when disaster strikes, Realtors are quick to ask how they can help,” says Calvin Lindberg, chair of the foundation. “As soon as our fundraising appeal went out, donations started to pour in from Victoria to St.
A little rain at the start of the day did not dampen the enthusiasm of golfers at the Realtors Association of HamiltonBurlington’s (RAHB)’s 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament. More than $14,750 was raised for the Home Ownership Affordability Partnership (HOAP) and the Karan Barker Memorial Fund. The tournament has raised more than $212,000 in support of local charities since 1997. ■■■
Again this year, Greater Moncton Realtors du Grand Moncton issued four bursaries of $750 each to “a group of amazing young adults who have given back to the Greater Moncton area through volunteerism,” says the board. The 2013 bursaries were awarded to Stefan Savoy, Emilie Nguyen, Kathleen Beers and Sophia Miao. ■■■
Nearly $8,000 in bursary funds have been distributed to three exceptional students by NSAR. David Bowley, Megan Hebb and Matthew Laprade accepted bursaries at their respective graduation ceremonies for $2,665 each. NSAR annually awards deserving students funds to support their post-secondary education. Eligible candidates must be children or grandchildren of Realtors. They must also clearly demonstrate a sincere and dedicated commitment to personal growth through higher education; a sense of maturity and initiative; and display a high standard of engagement in their school and community. Usually the association awards two individuals. This year, NSAR was able to award three students after successful fundraising efforts through its Realtors Care project and annual golf tournament. It is the first year the funds have been presented as the Arnold G. Jones Bursary Fund in honour of NSAR’s former executive officer, who lost his battle to cancer last August. REM
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34 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
raised $6,500 in the Big Red Bike event for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. The entire team peddled down Yonge Street and through neighbourhoods in Richmond Hill to raise awareness and funds.
Good Works n a campaign dubbed “100 Days for Shelter,” which launched on July 2, the official 100th birthday of Royal LePage, offices nationwide are hosting fundraisers and organizing volunteer projects in support of their local women’s shelter. The campaign runs until Oct. 9. Shanan Spencer-Brown, executive director of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, says: “We are so pleased to hear about the many unique initiatives – from 100themed personal challenges, such as hiking a local trail 100 times, to inspired ways of collecting items needed by shelters, such as baby clothes.” Through fundraising events and donations from Royal LePage brokers and agents, the foundation has raised more than $16 million in support of 200 women’s shelters across Canada. Liz Engert, a sales rep with Royal LePage Binder Real Estate in Windsor, Ont., hosted an afternoon tea and “baby shower” on July 14 to celebrate the royal baby. Guests donated four bags of new baby items, which were delivered to a local women’s shelter. Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre took up the challenge, creating an innovative event in support of three local shelters. Sales rep Brenda Walker distributed laundry baskets to fellow Royal LePage agents, staff, clients and local businesses, encouraging them to fill the baskets with messages of hope, necessities and small luxuries for women and children embarking on a new life after leaving an emergency shelter. Others in Walker’s office filled baskets, organizing the drop-off celebration event and delivering 200 “Hampers of Hope” to Gillian’s Place in St. Catharines, Women’s Place of South Niagara in Niagara Falls and Welland, and West Niagara Second Stage Housing in Beamsville. Michelle Halliday of Royal LePage Professionals 2000 in St.
John’s organized a weekly yoga night in June. Moksha St. John’s owners Jill Holden and Steve Vardy waived regular class fees for the 60-minute class and accepted donations to the foundation for entry, raising $1,009 in support of local women’s shelter, Marguerite’s Place. Royal LePage Martin-Liberty Realty in Brandon, Man. hosted a “Bud, Spud and Steak” fundraising dinner. More than 300 guests attended the event, collectively raising $5,000 for the YWCA Westman Women’s Shelter. Royal LePage True North Realty in Fort McMurray, Alta. hosted its 12th Annual Slow Pitch Ball Tournament in support of the foundation. The three-day tournament attracted 24 teams for friendly competition. A barbecue prepared by beneficiary and local women’s shelter Unity House added to the event. The event raised $23,000. “Each year we surpass the previous year’s fundraising total,” says broker/owner Marian Barry. “It was a great weekend with sunny weather, plenty of ball players with generous hearts and an amazing group of volunteers.” ■■■
For the 19th consecutive year, Sutton Group - Seafair Realty of Richmond and Delta, B.C. hosted the salmon barbecue at the Steveston Salmon Festival. The team served 1,940 dinners and 1,200 pounds of salmon. “The volunteers worked like a well-oiled machine; the day went very smoothly,” says sales rep Jim Hinchcliffe, who has organized the barbecue since 1994. It raised $29,000 for various children’s and seniors’ programs at the Steveston Community Centre. The fundraising total for the past 19 years is $280,000. ■■■
The Daryl King Team at Royal LePage Community Realty in Richmond Hill, Ont. recently
Exit Realty Group recently participated in the Prince Edward/Hastings Branch of Habitat for Humanity’s Shed Some Hope fundraiser. The brokerage staff competed with other entrants to build a complete garden shed in just one day. Exit Realty Group took first prize and donated their winnings back to Habitat for Humanity. The sheds went up for raffle after completion. ■■■
More than 110 golfers took part in the Re/Max Chay Realty annual golf tournament recently to support the Chase McEachern Tribute Fund, which will purchase two defibrillators to help save lives in Ontario hockey arenas. The event raised more than $5,500. Re/Max Chay Realty has offices in Barrie, Innisfil, Angus, Alliston and Tottenham, Ont. ■■■
Yvonne Collyer, broker of record for Rosina Yvonne Collyer Brokerage in London, Ont. is the current president of London Affordable Housing Foundation, which just completed building a $4.6-million social housing development with 24 units, including four accessible units. The project is called Gethsemane Gardens, on the site of the former Gethsemane United Church.
Alta. recently made history participating in the largest rural build for Habitat for Humanity in Canada. Franchisees Yvonne and Russell Bayley and their agents worked on the construction of 15 units, which included six duplexes and a triplex. “Once this is completed there will be housing for 15 families. It’s incredibly exciting to know that we as Realtors are giving back in our community,” says Yvonne Bayley. ■■■
Concert goers in Belleville, Ont. enjoyed a weekend of music at Empire Rockfest 2013. Rock bands REO Speedwagon, David Wilcox, Toto, Kim Mitchell and Journey performed. The event also provided an opportunity to raise awareness and funds through the Rockfest Raffle for Shelter, organized by Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty. The raffle supports the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and local Three Oaks Shelter for abused women and their children. Over the course of three evenings, volunteers from Royal LePage ProAlliance and the Quinte area donned their red aprons and sold tickets, raising more than $8,000 for the cause.
nament. Brian Albert, a sales rep at Sutton Group - Results Realty, volunteered to take the lead on organizing this tournament in 2011 and has raised approximately $17,000 each year. He expects that it will be a similar amount this year, bringing the three-year fundraising total to more than $45,000. “Our animals are like family to many of us,” he says. “It pains me to see dogs and cats suffering and without homes. Also, there is overcrowding so the Humane Society wants to expand. They need help and this is one way to make a real difference.” ■■■
A sold-out golf tournament organized by Scott Grace of Exit Realty Professionals in Sackville, N.S. raised more than $1,500 for FEED Nova Scotia, a charitable organization that collects and distributes food to more than 150 member agency food banks and meal programs. It also operates research, awareness and support programs. Real estate agents from Exit were joined by other industry professionals who enjoyed a round of golf while supporting this worthwhile cause.
More than 4,500 dogs, cats and other animals receive life-saving shelter, food and veterinary care each year from the Regina Humane Society. Their major fundraiser is an annual golf tour-
Royal LePage Varsity in Saskatoon, led by Gary Emde, hosted a community barbecue to aid those impacted by the June flooding in southern Alberta. Funds raised were directed to the Canadian Red Cross southern Alberta flood relief efforts. REM
What could be better than watching a movie under a starlit, summer sky? How about free movies? Sutton Group - Lakefront Realty in Vernon, B.C. hosted outdoor films on four evenings this summer. Local residents brought chairs and blankets and enjoyed family-friendly entertainment on a huge, inflatable screen. Popcorn and refreshments were sold at Habitat for Humanity Vernon’s fundraising concession stand. Broker Tamara Cinnamon says, “The community reaction has been absolutely overwhelming.” ■■■
Exit Realty Elite in Edson,
Sales rep Elspeth Manning of Sutton Group – Lakefront Realty prepares to watch a movie.
Royal LePage ProAlliance Rockfest Raffle for Shelter volunteers Lori Brown, Sharon Donahoe and John Ross Parks.
Exit Realty Professionals sales reps and Barry Rabe (right), partner/sales rep and guests raised funds for a local charity at a Miriam Pattison (far left), broker/manager, Royal LePage Martin-Liberty recent golf tournament. Realty, present $5,000 to Karen Peto, executive director, YWCA.
REM SEPTEMBER 2013 35
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More than 110 golfers took part in the Re/Max Chay Realty golf tournament.
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From left: Nicole Regehr of Gillian’s Place, sales rep Brenda Walker, Hayley Bateman of Women’s Place of South Niagara, Royal LePage broker/manager Ryan Johnstone and Emily Thompson of West Niagara Second Stage Housing and Counselling
Exit Realty Group took part in the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. From left: Michael MacNeil, Sandra MacNeil, Steve Latter, Sandra Hussey, Sharon Shortt, Marlene Letourneau, George Hubble, Jeff Shortt, Terry Hope-Watson and Randy Kerr.
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Industry news, features and opinion, now in the palm of your hand. The Daryl King Team raised $6,500 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Royal LePage True North Realty’s annual tournament raised $23,000.
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Exit Realty Elite in Edson, Alta. took part in a recent Habitat for Humanity build.
From left, front: Tiffany Warren and Michelle Halliday of Royal LePage Professionals 2000. Back: Erica Robbins, AnnMarie Hartman and Jill Holden from yoga studio Moksha St. John’s.
36 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
By Bruce Keith
ragonâ€™s Den and Shark Tank are two TV reality shows (one Canadian, one American) where budding entrepreneurs bring forward their business plans in an effort to have a panel of wealthy judges invest in their idea. The concept has become very popular â€“ the show originated in Japan in 2007. Variations are now on televisions all over the world. One of the multimillionaire stalwarts on both of the North American renditions is Kevin Oâ€™Leary. A highly successful Canadian businessman, Oâ€™Leary
Just pick up the phone is one of those â€œlove him or hate himâ€? types who brings contention and debate to each episode. He can be quite nasty at times... sort of a Simon Cowell of the judgeâ€™s panel. Oâ€™Leary recently published a book called Cold Hard Truth... on Business, Money & Life. It is an excellent read and notwithstanding Oâ€™Learyâ€™s rather large ego, it is as he says, â€œ... the story of my money and how I took a few thousand dollars and turned them into billion-dollar businesses.â€? Itâ€™s certainly worth reading if you are at all interested in taking your business to greater heights. Early on in the book he talks about a project he was engaged in as he neared the end of his MBA studies. It was a filming assignment that ultimately led to an early partnership with an equally young software genius. His partner wrote a software program that was very marketable to large computer
companies. This is where the sales part of the story begins. The first product that Oâ€™Leary sold in massive volumes was this particular software. He explains that, â€œI got on planes, then more planes, approaching as many manufacturers as I could.â€? Then he dropped his bombshell. â€œSo what did I do to get those meetings? I picked up the phone. Let me repeat that... I. Picked. Up. The. Phone.â€? Of course, this is not a bombshell at all, is it? Everyone in sales knows that he took the right approach when he said, â€œI picked up the phone.â€? The next part of his story is the best part. Hereâ€™s where he reveals the truth that every salesperson must accept (in true, Oâ€™Leary style, sardonic fashion... â€œSo many entrepreneurs with great ideas get stalled at this juncture. In fact, I shouldnâ€™t even call those types entrepreneurs. Too many great ideas die
at the feet of those afraid to pick up the phone because they donâ€™t want to face potential rejection.â€? Here is your action step. If you take that last quote... the part about â€œentrepreneurs avoiding rejectionâ€? and rephrase it using the word salespeople, it would come out something like this: â€œSo many salespeople with great ideas get stalled at this juncture. In fact I shouldnâ€™t even call those types salespeople. Too many great ideas die at the feet of those afraid to pick up the phone because they donâ€™t want to face potential rejection.â€? Accept once and for all that if you are going to be successful as a professional salesperson, you must pick up the phone (or go and see clients face-to-face). I will be even more specific than Oâ€™Leary was. Regardless of the sales business you are in... real estate, insurance, financial advisor, computers... you need to talk to a minimum of 20 people per day. Twenty per day. If you
are not prepared to do that, then donâ€™t set your sights too high. Once you develop a good system and a good routine you can connect with 20 people in two hours. I know this is true because I have done it personally thousands of times. I know this is true because my coaching clients have also done exactly the same thing. Just pick up the REM phone. No excuses. Bruce Keith is a leading trainer for sales organizations in North America. He was-trained in the corporate world as a marketing and sales manager for 15 years. His education then moved to 25 years in the real estate industry, 10 years as a successful sales rep followed by the last 15 years as a keynote speaker, seminar leader, author and one-on-one coach. His high energy coupled with a â€œNo Excuses Accountabilityâ€? approach has helped thousands increase their production significantly. He says, â€œItâ€™s all about Resultsâ€?. www.BruceKeithresults.com
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REM SEPTEMBER 2013 37
Financial planning, simplified
By Dan St. Yves ave you ever waded through the assorted advice columns regarding successful financial planning and tried to decide who has the most effective strategies? Have you ever struggled with clients who were desperate to become homeowners, yet couldn’t seem to come up with enough down payment dollars to qualify? Who hasn’t? Relax. In today’s column, I’ve got you covered. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m at least going to try and offer a few solutions that could be helpful in the long and short term, for you and your clients. I would advise trying them yourself first, before recommending them to clients. 1) The insurance industry used to have a saying: “You’ll earn a million.” This concept indicated that the average individual would earn at least $1 million during the course of their working lifetime. So, here’s Tip No. 1 – go to your local bank and simply borrow that amount IN ADVANCE of actually earning it. Try and make your appointment during RRSP season, when things are generally quiet in the branch offices. 2) Become a tycoon. Nothing removes the pressures of day-to-day life like being a bazillionaire. You can do it, for example, by starting your own business. In Tony Linoleum’s best-selling book, “The Wealthy Berber”, he describes how he made a personal fortune selling carpet rembrandts. Turn your own hobbies into infinite bundles of spendable cash, or at least develop a pyramid scheme that will allow others to do it for you! 3) Become a professional athlete. Much like becoming a
law enforcement officer, as a professional athlete you will only need to stay in shape until you’ve got the job. Simply develop above-average skills in one of the major professional sports, find an aggressive agent and watch the teams line up to give you millions of dollars. Until your knees (or moral willpower) give out. Warning: you may be legally obligated to marry a Kardashian sister as a professional athlete. 4) If you feel that any of the previous tips limit your options, try being adopted by a wealthy family. Your birth parents probably won’t mind, as long as you share a portion of the booty. This particular option also happily avoids any of the work ethic of the prior tips and ensures that you will be as pampered and prosperous as the average housecat. (If you are over 40, this will not be as easy as it may be for a
younger reader. Remain upbeat and persistent. Seek out country clubs and travel agencies.) 5) Finally, there’s always the lottery. It is true that one often reads about an elderly shut-in who hits the big payday after 77 years of faithfully buying lottery tickets. However, divide that win by the cost of purchasing all those tickets and about the only splurging you’ll able to do is buy the bigger bucket of chicken at KFC. Personally, I recommend Tip No. 1. You’re going to earn the money anyhow, so why wait for your future employers to pay it out? Call your banker today and get started on your healthy financial future! REM Humour columnist and author Dan St. Yves was licensed with Royal LePage Kelowna for 11 years. Check out his website at www.nonsenseandstuff.com, or contact him at email@example.com.
Supra wins for eKey Professional upra was recently named the winner of “The Most
Innovative Use of a New Technology” at the 2013 Inman Innovator Awards in San Francisco. The award was for the use of eKey with smartphones. “Supra’s getting high marks from brokers and agents who are thrilled to be able to use their smartphone or tablet as a lockbox key to access listings,” says the announcement at Inman.com. “An enhanced service level, eKey Professional provides additional business tools such as storage of MLS data on mobile devices, linkage of listings to Google maps and showing details.” Award winners are selected by an Inman News review team after a reader nominations process. REM
Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. is looking for a dynamic, creative and innovative Sales Manager who will work collaboratively with the sales staff in our thriving real estate brokerage. The ideal candidate will possess a keen understanding of the importance of strong leadership, excellent interpersonal skills and will enjoy working with a team in a fast-paced environment. SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE: • 5+ years as Sales Manager in a successful real estate office. • an impressive track record of success in selling real estate • strong communication skills and ability to work closely with others • great team building abilities and ability to recruit a strong sales force. • excellent leadership skills: training, motivating, coaching. • vast knowledge of TREB and RECO ethics rules • strong understanding of the role of social media in today's real estate market DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE: • coordinate and deliver training sessions for sales staff • respond to agent's needs/questions in a timely fashion • manage sales team to ensure optimum sales performance including mentoring/ coaching/goal-setting • handle TREB/RECO issues that may arise • recruitment of experienced sales staff • maintain positive relationships and high retention levels with sales staff. • provide guidance in the preparation of contracts and offer negotiations. Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage has been synonymous with integrity and success since 1957. Our company has earned national and international recognition, and has been the #1 independent broker in the dollar value and number of MLS listings sold in the GTA since 1996.*Source TREB.
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38 REM SEPTEMBER 2013
THE PUBLISHER’S PAGE
By Heino Molls
here was a time, not that long ago, when the selling price of a good home in the Toronto area was about $60,000. Back then the commission rate charged on most home sales was a standard five per cent with an extra point added on if the property was put on the MLS system. It was a different time. I am saddened to say that Realtors had a better public image in those days. Back then it was understood right up front that the
Talking about commissions commission rate generally was five per cent. It was further understood by the public that Realtor commission rates increased in rural or hardto-reach areas like cottage country. The public knew the commissions Realtors earned were usually split between the Realtor who listed the property and the Realtor who brought in the customer who bought it. So in the case of a big city property sale of $60,000 at six per cent on MLS, both sides got about $1,800 commission. In those days people knew that both Realtors involved had expenses to pay. Realtors had to pay for advertising, cars, office costs and all manner of overheads, not to mention their own mortgage or rent and other personal expenses. So that $1,800 did not go all that far once all the expenses were paid out. A good Realtor back then might make about 10 sales in a year. That was a pretty good clip. So that
Trade Shows and Conferences To add a listing to this calendar, email email@example.com Century 21 Annual WinnipegRealtors Canadian Conference 2013 Technology Conference and Sept. 11- 13 Trade Show Delta Grand Okanagan Thursday, Oct. 3 Resort & Conference Centre Victoria Inn Kelowna, B.C. Winnipeg Lucy Hajkowski – conference.coordinator@ 204-786-8854 or lhajkowscentury21.ca firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or visit www.wrexpo.ca Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board Halton Symposium and Tradeshow Thursday, Sept. 19 Oakville Conference Centre Oakville Cyndi Amodeo 905-8446491, ext. 106 Dominion Lending Centres National Sales Conference Sept. 22 - 25 The Sheraton of New Orleans New Orleans, La. www.dominionlendingevents.ca
meant a good Realtor was making about $18,000 a year. Even back then, that was not the life of luxury. It was a good living though. Today the numbers are bigger but I would still say a good Realtor might sell about 10 homes in a year. Just like back in the day. I know it’s a wide scope. Some Realtors sell 10 properties in a week; some don’t sell any for a whole year. What has changed, it seems to me, is that commissions are not talked about as openly as they used to be. Why is that? Let’s say a Realtor sells a home for about $400,000 in a big city today. If the commission is five per cent, then the payment is $20,000. That is a serious amount of money but it is likely that this money undergoes splits that may be more complicated than they used to be. Realtors work with more people and systems to market properties and negotiate good prices. They
HomeLife Education and Marketing Symposium Thursday, Oct. 24 Vaughan, Ont. Joseph Lo - 416 733-9966 or firstname.lastname@example.org Re/Max Canadian Conference Oct 24 – 25 Victoria Conference Centre Victoria Michelle DePaul - 1 800 563-3622 email@example.com Ottawa Real Estate Board Trade Show Thursday, Oct. 31 Ottawa firstname.lastname@example.org
Brampton Real Estate Board Expo 2013 Wednesday, Oct. 9 Pearson Convention Centre Brampton, Ont. email@example.com
National Association of Realtors Realtors Conference & Expo Nov. 8 – 11 Moscone Center San Francisco www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/
Exit Realty Corp. International 15th Annual Convention Gala Oct. 15 - 18 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre Washington, D.C. www.exitrealty.com/convention
Realtors Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound Trade Show Tuesday, Nov. 26 Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre Owen Sound, Ont. Marilyn Newbigging – Marilynn@ragbos.com
pay out much greater expenses proportionately than back in the day. Still, at 10 property sales per year, a Realtor can make a good living but after expenses, it is not the height of luxury. Remember, this is a good Realtor dealing with big city prices. I don’t think that every home a Realtor sells is going to be as much as $400,000 but the critics will want to use a number like this for major cities. Smaller towns are a lot different. I have already been scolded about making sweeping generalities but I have to in order to make this point. There is no doubt Realtors have some public relations work to do to overcome the paranoid, dollarstore attitude some sellers have about the payment of a reasonable commission. Compromising commission on the most important investment anyone will ever make is beyond common sense. We can
all point out that a good Realtor will make their customer more money than the commission they earn, but there will always be those who insist on selling their homes privately. They are free to do so, and they are also free to tell everyone how smart they were and how much money they made or saved depending on how the story is told… even when that is so often not true. The bottom line is that Realtors must continue initiatives to truthfully show the value and meaningful role they have in property sales. They must do this through a well-thought-out professional campaign of advertising and public relations. I believe that campaign must begin with up-front honest talk about five-per-cent commission. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. REM
iPro launches Commercial Division Ontario-based iPro Realty has Launched a Commercial Division and appointed Michael Collins as its executive director. Collins has worked as a senior commercial broker for 31 years in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout Southern Ontario. He is a twoterm past-president of the Brampton Real Estate Board and past-president of the Brampton Board of Trade. Rui Alves, co-founder of the brokerage, says: “iPro is one of the GTA’s fastest-growing brokerages and Mike’s experience and skill, both as a practitioner and industry leader will be an invaluable asset for the iPro organization and its newly formed Commercial Division”. The company says that “most national brand franchised brokerages only have a few Realtors focussing on commercial real estate. Accordingly, it is not economically viable or practical for them to create a dedicated, in-house division. However, since all of iPro’s locations are corporately owned, and with over 500 Realtors (and growing) working for the same brokerage, iPro is uniquely positioned to create a dedicated division…” Broker of record Fedele Colucci says: “Not only will this division help our ICI practitioners, it will also help increase our already great value proposition for our residential Realtors who may have clients who require assistance in a type of commercial transaction that the Realtor may not be familiar with. They can work with or refer the client in-house to a member of our ICI division, knowing that their client will be serviced by an experienced and qualified ICI professional.” The brokerage has about 500 sales reps in nine Ontario offices.
Ashlar Urban Realty acquires Smith Company Ashlar Urban Realty of Toronto has acquired Smith Company, merging two commercial real estate firms. “We are thrilled to welcome the Smith Company team, as they will bring a strong sales focus and an enterprising spirit along with their deep knowledge of the Toronto commercial real estate market,” says Jeff Thomas, managing partner at Ashlar Urban Realty. “We will benefit greatly as Paul Smith is one of the most well-known and well-respected veterans in our industry and we look forward to working with him closely as he
joins our management team.” The addition of Smith Company brings Ashlar Urban Realty’s team to more than 30 real estate professionals, making it one of Canada’s largest independent commercial real estate firms, the company says. REM
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