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Real Estate Marketing

Issue #236

February 2009

News

Mortgages

Te c h n o l o g y

Opinion

The bluebird man of Alberta

Real estate veteran George Loades conserves bluebird trails Page 16

Video blogging creates sales Page 8

Happy real estate news Page 14

Do you need a mentor? Page 36


The RE/MAX & You agent orientation is a great opportunity for agents to participate in a half day networking event and learn about the advantages of working with Top Producing real estate agents and the support of the best Brand in the world. Training on RE/MAX LeadStreet and Design Centre is part of the event. On February 24th, we are featuring a very special guest ...Richard Robbins. Register today. Don’t miss it. FEATURING Richard Robbins

In times of economic uncertainty, the difference between the good and the great will be mindset. Now is not the time to pull back and go on the defensive. It’s time for a contrarian approach. It’s time to play offence like never before. Lance Armstrong, the winner of a record 7 Tour de France titles didn’t make up time against his competitors going downhill, he made up time going uphill when other riders were struggling just to maintain.

Join Richard and learn HOW TO… • Create an unstoppable mindset • Play to win no matter what • Find the courage you never thought you had to stay the course • Take control, rather than be controlled by circumstances • Transform challenges to golden opportunities • Increase your market share, while others are shrinking • B ecome the architect of your business and life for sustainable result and ultimate success

February 24th, 2009 Mississauga Convention Centre All Guests who Register are Welcome.

remaxevents.ca


REM FEBRUARY 2009 3

Cimerman rolls out the Red Carpet conomists and investment analysts may be bearish about Canada’s economic prospects, but one real estate franchisor is being bullish about 2009: Red Carpet is in expansion mode once again in Canada. Its corporate headquarters open in February in Mississauga, Ont. and its first new franchise has already been announced in the Greater Toronto Area. Red Carpet is one of four real estate franchisors chaired by Andrew Cimerman; the other three are HomeLife Realty, Realty World International, and National Real Estate. Cimerman acquired the rights to Red Carpet 10 years ago, and the company has since undergone what he describes as “a complete re-engineering” of its business model. “It’s like the car industry, where they’ve gone from a big type of model to today’s more

E

suitable model,” says Cimerman. “We’ve done an extreme makeover of the product. We’ve retained the ‘guts’ of the business – the very powerful Red Carpet logo and brand – while rebuilding and renovating the systems.” The result is the Red Carpet Express business model, based on a 1,250 square-foot-office, with a “smart” service centre for administration, and private meeting space, built for today’s highly mobile, laptop-based sales force. The model offers royalty rebates to brokers, residual sharing with sales reps who recruit new people into a brokerage, and incentive programs for buyers and sellers. “The entire concept is based more or less on sharing,” says Cimerman. “Everyone shares – from the corporate level down to the franchisees down to the agents, and down also to incentive programs for the buyers and

brokers – we feel that giving back something is a good thing to do.” The broker franchise fees also vary according to the size of the community being served – a twoperson brokerage serving a population of less than 5,000 people, for example, would pay about $195 a month; in larger areas such as Calgary, broker/owners would pay about $500. There are also plans to roll out Red Carpet Super Express, which will be based on larger square footage for the franchisee, and private office options for salespeople. The primary focus for now, however, is on growing the Red Carpet Express model in Canada, and also expanding in the U.S., where Red Carpet has approximately 100 franchise outlets. Cimerman sees the current economic downturn as an advantage for Red Carpet’s expansion

plans. “In a very busy, buoyant market, it’s very tough to introduce anything new. I’ve been around this industry for a long

time and I believe we’ve picked the right time to introduce this model. It’s very efficient, tailor made for today’s times.” REM


4 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Multiple Listings By Jim Adair

Do you have news to share with Canada’s real estate community? Let REM know about it! Email: jim@remonline.com

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vison Young (Canada) has acquired Avison Young Quebec Inc. The purchase includes Avison Young’s independent member real estate firms in Montreal and Quebec City. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition of the Quebec operations completes the compa-

ny’s national merger process. In October, the shareholders and partners of Avison Young companies in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario merged to create Avison Young (Canada). Combined with its affiliate offices in Regina, Winnipeg and Halifax, Avison Young (Canada) now forms Canada’s largest independently owned commercial real estate services company. “The merger brings together Avison Young’s operations under one brand and marks a significant step in the evolution of the Avison Young organization,” says chairman and CEO Mark E. Rose, who joined Avison Young in June 2008 to spearhead the company’s global growth initiatives. Rose says plans for the company include further acquisitions and partnerships to grow the company internationally.

Marc Mawhinney

■ ■ ■

Two new Exit Realty offices have opened in Montreal. Antonio (Tony) Valenti is the franchisee of Exit Immobilier Alliance in Saint-Leonard and Angelo Massotti, is the manager of Exit Immobilier Platinum in Notre-Dame-De-Grâce. Valenti says he was “shocked and amazed” by the welcome he received from fellow Exit owners when he purchased his office. “Other Canadian Exit franchise owners sent along welcome gifts and were nice enough to extend offers to help me if I ever needed it,” he says. “That was one thing I never had at my previous franchise brand and it’s a real plus to me.” Valenti’s goal is to build a network of offices, with his current flagship location housing between 50 and 60 agents. His new 4,700 square foot office has luxury finishes, including granite and ceramic flooring as well as wood trim. With a background in financial services, Angelo Massotti entered the real estate business in 2007. He says the company’s remuneration package with residuals was a major reason for making the choice to join Exit. ■ ■ ■

HomeLife recently expanded to Romania with the addition of HomeLife Realty s.r.l. to its group of international franchises. The president of the new Romanian HomeLife franchise is Vanda Irinel Ivanus, and the managing director is Bogdan Serbaniuc. Andrew Cimerman, HomeLife founder and CEO, says, “We believe we have found a well-suited partner in Ms. Ivanus and her team; we have a high level of confidence that they will do very well selling franchises and expanding the HomeLife brand in Romania.” HomeLife says it expects to broker similar deals “in the near future”. ■ ■ ■

A new real estate company in Saint John has been launched by Marc Mawhinney, who was formerly with Royal LePage and Re/Max. Mawhinney Real Estate is a full-service company focusing on a team-based approached to sales, the company says. It handles residential, commercial and investment transactions, and is part of the Mawhinney Group – companies that specialize in real estate sales, mortgages, property management and home staging. The group also has a charitable body, The Mawhinney Foundation, whose goal is to help the most needy in New Brunswick’s communities. “This was a natural progression for us, given our growth over the last few years,” says Mawhinney. “We’re going to be offering a different type of real estate company. Our model is more of a team-based approach, where agents work together rather than compete against one another.”

Andrew Cimerman and Bogdan Serbaniuc

Tony Valenti

Angelo Massotti

Brian Rushton, senior vice-president of Century 21 Canada (left), Erissa Yong-Wilson and Darlene Tychansky, co-owners of Century 21 Eco-Vista West Realty, and Luciano Del Toro, managing broker, celebrate the opening of the new office in Burnaby.

Mawhinney Real Estate will operate under one roof with the other companies under the Mawhinney banner. A new office in Saint John will be the headquarters for future growth in New Brunswick and the Atlantic region, Mawhinny says. “Announcements will be made shortly” about further expansion, he says. ■ ■ ■

Century 21 Eco-Vista Realty West in Burnaby, B.C. held its official grand opening on Dec. 6. With a new office on busy Hastings Street, the brokerage is “positioned to take advantage of the next hot market,” says coowner Erissa Yong-Wilson. She says 130,000 cars “pass our front door each day.” A Realtor since 1994, YongWilson has been with the Century 21 System since she began her career. Her co-owner, Darlene Tychansky is new to the business but says that with a career built on dealing with people, “real estate was a natural extension” for her. Eco-Vista donates one per cent of its net profit to a tree-planting project, and will be offering regular public seminars on how to have a “green” home. The office is also a member of the National Association of Green Brokers. ■ ■ ■

Re/Max International has sold master franchises for the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. Samir Mane, an Albanian citizen and local businessman, is the new owner of franchising rights for both countries. The new regions will have their headquarters in the Albanian capital, Tirana. Mane anticipates rapid growth and has ambitious plans to open several offices in the near future, the company says. Mane has appointed Shpetin Spahija as regional director, who will oversee the day-today operations of the two regions. The developing economies and the shortage of experienced real estate agents with professional training provide a unique opportunity to launch the franchises, the company says. Albania and Macedonia are located on the Hellenic Peninsula on the northern border of Greece. ■ ■ ■

Victoria-based independent Continued on page 6


Start the year off with clarity and unity. YOU’re INVITED! CENTURY 21 Canada in conjunction with the CENTURY 21 Ontario Brokers are proud to host KICKOFF 2009, at the Toronto Congress Centre on February 11, 2009.

KICKOFF 2009 Event KICKOFF 2009

Place TORONTO CONGRESS CENTRE

Theme Get Connected

650 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON

Date February 11, 2009

Website www.century21.ca/kickoff register here

Time 1:00pm – 5:00pm

We have refreshed the agenda for the 10th anniversary of this CENTURY 21 annual industry meeting.

Chantal Petitclerc Paralympian

Upwards of 1,000+ REALTORS from across Ontario are expected to attend this event. KICKOFF 2009, in its tenth year, will again draw in top REALTORS with unmatched networking opportunity and a chance to hear from world class speakers. KICKOFF 2009 will also feature our biggest Supplier Expo of the year! SEE, LEARN, EXPERIENCE new products and exciting, business generating services! Top real estate industry suppliers and vendors will be there for one day only! Don’t miss this once a year opportunity! KICKOFF 2009 will feature keynote speakers: Chantal Petitclerc, Paralympian in wheelchair racing, and Richard Robbins – world renowned sales strategy expert. With this refreshed agenda KICKOFF 2009 will truly be the event to attend in 2009! We look forward to seeing you there!

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6 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Realtor launches vegetarian food bank By Connie Adair

S

ince he came to Canada 10 years ago, Malan Joseph hasn’t wasted a moment, setting up social programs, volunteering with Toronto Police Services, and organizing a vegetarian food bank, the latter which he kicked off not long after he began his real estate career. Joseph, a Realtor with HomeLife Miracle Realty in Etobicoke, just west of Toronto, emigrated from Sri Lanka in 1998 and worked with UPS, Tim Hortons and Statistics Canada in various management levels before becoming a real estate agent last March. He says he spends eight to nine hours a day working as a real estate agent, and another five to six hours with the food bank, temple and community. For the past six years, he has been executive director with Universal Community Help, an organization that offers counselling and services to the Sri Lankan community through a Hindu temple in North York that his wife, Amirthagoweri, founded. Being Roman Catholic, Joseph says he was used to working with churches with food banks and community services. However, he soon learned no such services were available through temples. To fill the gap, Joseph started Universal Community Help, a registered charity that offers language instruction, employment training, translation and counselling, in April 2001. When the need for a vegetarian food bank became apparent, he set to work to create two food banks, which opened last May 11, Mother’s Day.

F E B R U A RY 2 0 0 9 Cover photo: BRYCE MEYER

Joseph pays the rent from his own pocket for a 1,000-squarefoot unit in Scarborough. The second location is within the North York temple. At first, he appealed to friends who owned shops and grocery stores, then expanded his search for donations to include real estate agents in his office, Realtor friends and the community. Saturdays are spent giving out food to food bank users. The Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank has received much media attention (including Maclean’s magazine, The Canadian Immigrant magazine and CBC Radio in Windsor) and positive feedback from a community representing different ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds, he says. The food bank feeds about 200 people, many of whom are single parents, he says. It strives to provide nutritious food to lowincome vegetarians, but nonvegetarians are also welcome. Foods include non-perishable items such as soups, rice, flour and canned goods, as well as bread, fruits and green vegetables. During the summer months, vegetables are provided by the Radha Swami Society Beas Canada, a 125-acre farm in Milton. Volunteers farm the land, and grow vegetables for distribution to food banks, shelters and the homeless, Joseph says. “In the summer, I go up and get a truck load and distribute (the vegetables) the same day.” With time, word about the food bank is spreading, with more organizations jumping aboard to help. The food bank has partnered with the Toronto Vegetarian Association, which holds food drives and donates food.

Volunteer young offenders required to do community service will be provided through Operation Springboard and will help with food drives and fundraising. Real estate agents are making personal donations of food and Indian community astrologists are helping to spread the news about the food bank, he says. But there is still much work to be done. Many in the community are hesitant to use food bank services, Joseph says. “Sri Lankans are not familiar with the food bank concept and feel shy to go. They feel a loss of dignity, but I say if you’re hungry, don’t worry about being seen. It’s like going to a restaurant if you’re hungry, except it’s free. No one should have to say they are starving.” He’s also working to educate the community about the police,

Multiple Listings Continued from page 4

DFH Real Estate says it has addressed the change in market conditions “by adopting and implementing industry-leading programs to build on the success of its Realtors.” The new initiatives are being delivered through coaching or mentoring programs. “Our research shows that the public expects more from the real estate professional and our Realtors wanted tools that would help them focus on the clients’ needs,” says broker manager Susan Dunn. The DFH partners are Brian Sharp, Peter Gaby, Mike Nugent, and Kevin Sing. Nugent has moved from sales and is now a managing broker

after having volunteered at Toronto Police Services’ College Street headquarters for a year. He talked to senior officers, as well as Chief Bill Blair, and says the police are good to the Sri Lankan community. People are appreciative of Joseph’s charitable work, especially the food bank. “They’re appreciative and encouraging,” he says. And the people he meets offer heart-warming stories. One man came from Brampton to donate to the food bank. “When his son was born, (the child) almost died,” Joseph says. The father “gave his word to God that three or four times a year, he would take his son’s weight in food and donate it to a food bank. Last month, he came with his 16-year-old son and 162 pounds of food. It’s a good idea

and will be co-managing with Dunn; both will have responsibility for all daily operations. The company says Sharp is being freed up to take a more consultative role in the coming year and will take the lead on some special projects, and Gaby and Sing continue in planning and marketing as well as maintaining their active real estate businesses. DFH Real Estate currently has four offices on Vancouver Island with over 160 full-time Realtors. ■ ■ ■

Prudential Financial is integrating its U.S. real estate and relocation businesses. Prudential veteran Earl Lee has been named to the new role of president of

Malan Joseph

for any parent, and some people have already done the same.” If you would like to make a donation, contact Malan Joseph at the food help hotline at (416) 744-4357. Donations can be mailed to the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank at 2370 Midland Ave. #B5, Scarborough, Ont. M1S 5C6 or 2400 Finch Ave. W. #10, North York M9M 2C8. Email ovfb@hotmail.com or visit www.vegfoodbank.ca for more information. REM

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, reporting to CEO John Van Der Wall. Lee will oversee the company’s newly combined real estate and relocation operations. “Aligning our business and operational functions is imperative as we move forward,” said Van Der Wall in a news release. “Our real estate franchisees value the close link to our relocation activities, and in the current market environment that link takes on increased importance.” The company’s Washington, D.C. relocation service operations will be consolidated into its Phoenix office during the first half of 2009, except for the government-related sales team and account executives, who will REM remain in the D.C. area.

Publisher HEINO MOLLS e-mail: heino@remonline.com

Editor JIM ADAIR e-mail: jim@remonline.com

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

If you have industry news or want us to know about your company or services

General Manager JOHN COOPER e-mail: john@remonline.com

Senior Editor KATHY BEVAN e-mail: kathy@remonline.com

Phone: 416.425.3504 www.remonline.com

Email jim@remonline.com

Director, Sales & Marketing DENNIS ROCK e-mail: dennis@remonline.com Brand Design SANDRA GOODER

Art Director LIZ MACKIN Graphic Design SHAWN KELLY

REM is published 12 times a year. It is an independently owned and operated company and is not affiliated with any real estate association, board or company. REM is distributed across Canada by leading real estate boards and by direct delivery in selected areas. Subscriptions are $40.95 per year (including $1.95 GST), payable by personal cheque. Entire contents copyright 2009 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


What every broker wants to know: How can I get maximum value from my business when I retire?

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ood question! It’s one that could influence the rest of your life. In fact, there aren’t many questions as important, yet it’s one that many brokers push aside as they deal with the demands of day-to-day business. Sound business planning means putting your goals first. When it’s done right, planning can help you maximize what you’ll get out of your business when you decide the time is right to step down. And that’s true whether that time is just around the corner or years into the future. Coldwell Banker® has a team of Business Development professionals who know the Canadian marketplace and can help you plan for the future. We can work with you on succession planning and help you develop an exit strategy that’s consistent with your personal and business goals. And in the meantime, we can offer you support and resources to help you grow your business.

Interested? Call John Geha at 1 (800) 268-9599 and find out how we can help. Let’s talk. This offer is limited to real estate brokerages operating in Canada only. Offices are independently owned and operated. © Realogy Corporation. The Coldwell Banker logo and trademark are registered marks licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC and used by permission.


8 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Video blogging creates sales

By Jean Sorensen learn more about editing. He says not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, but with a background in public speaking and an out-going nature, it is a marketing angle he really enjoys. So do his viewers. The Internet blog videos are informative and show a sense of humour as Everitt hams it up for the camera. There’s also serious news on financing rates, tips for selling and buying homes, home tours and legal tips from Kerrie.

I

Ian Watt

Tom Everitt

n a much quieter market than recent years, two Vancouver real estate agents are racking up sales and hopping to meet demand. A week before Christmas, Ian Watt of Sutton Group – West Coast Realty was working on four deals. Tom Everitt of ThinkTom.com, a virtual real estate brokerage at www.thinktom.com, says sales for the month have been riding around $3 million and he expected to close out the year in the top four to 10 per cent of the city’s sales reps. Watt and Everitt both use cutting-edge digital marketing – video blogging. Watt says that when Ubertor, which hosts sites for Realtors, announced the new video blogging option about a

year ago, most Realtors by-passed it. “But, I jumped on it,” he says. He saw an excellent opportunity to introduce himself to clients through his website at www. ianwatt.ca, using a video format. Watt’s trademark is showing himself while in his car, blogging around Vancouver at different locations and on different themes. He believes the video blogging is a contributing factor to keeping his face before a computer-savvy public. “It’s part of the whole marketing in general and today most people search online for a Realtor....they get to know you” via the website, he says. Everitt has converted his garage into an Internet film studio that he calls “garagio”. He says video blogging is a tool that

is generating sales. “There is no question that it has allowed us to reach out to more people in this market,” he says. “In this market, you have to network as much as possible and it has allowed us that.” Everitt, who runs ThinkTom. com with his lawyer wife Kerrie (who is non-practicing and now a Realtor as well), says the video blogs idea sparked when he saw Watt’s presentation. “I thought I should be doing that,” he says, adding that once he tried it, he found that the technology easy to adapt to. It also sparked a hidden talent. “I found it’s a passion that I really love,” he says. He’s now getting more sophisticated with presentations and wants to

Watt also carries how-to information and in January did a video blog from the Inman News Conference in New York City. Everitt recently video blogged from a Florida real estate conference. Everitt says the technology has become so simple that even a non-technological person can do “amazing” things. He started by taking a $200 course by Ubertor (www.ubertor.com), which took only three hours, and he left with a flip video camera used to record the video blogs. “That was all I needed to do,” he says. Ubertor charges Everitt $50 a month to maintain the website. “You then have on-line video,” says Everitt, adding this kind of instant exposure of client’s homes and advice for new buyers and sellers is something that is hard to match in other media. The website has brought him

a lot of fun, and some surprises. “I had one of my videos translated into Spanish subtitles,” he says. Everitt “went pretty crazy building the studio” because he wanted a facility where he could invite guests into for interviews. One guest has been Citytv’s Dawn Chubia, host of Realty TV. Everitt was, in turn, featured on the show, which runs weekly news on the real estate market. The half-hour program is rebroadcast up to three times during the week. Everitt has also been featured on CTV’s news program with host Bill Good and in various newspapers. Watt has also enjoyed media exposure, as he was featured in the Vancouver Sun, one of the largest newspapers in Canada. Everitt says it’s hard to buy that kind of publicity. But, while the video blogging provides an entertaining and informative way to draw in clients – and in tough times keep your name out there – he says the sales side is still deadly serious. Clients want a professional who will work for them when they respond to his website. “You still have to get out there, do the networking, and meet people face-to-face,” he says, but “this kind of marketing is extremely inexpensive and quick to do – to ignore it is a terrible mistake. It’s part of the future.” REM

HomeVestors to expand to Canada H

omeVestors, the company well-known in the U.S. for its “We Buy Ugly Houses” billboards, says it will begin awarding franchises in Canada. It marks the first-ever international expansion for the company that describes itself as “America’s largest home buyer”. “As the credit crisis extends beyond our country’s borders,

so does the need for a reputable solution to people’s real estate problems,” says John Hayes, president and CEO of HomeVestors, in a news release. “That is why we intend to grow our franchise network to meet a growing demand for investors. Canada is that first step.”

Jason Killough, vice-president of development for HomeVestors. “We already communicate with real estate investors in the country on a regular basis. And we agree that the HomeVestors franchise model will translate well in the Canadian housing market.”

“We project to add as many as 1,000 full-service and associate franchisees in Canada,” said

HomeVestors specializes in buying, rehabbing and selling single-family homes. The

company currently has more than 210 franchise locations serving 35 states that have purchased more than 37,000 homes. HomeVestors will award full-time franchises as well as home-based franchises, or associate franchises, in Canada. The franchise fee for a HomeVestors franchise is $49,500 and requires operators

to open an office and be a fulltime real estate investor. The franchise fee for an associate franchise is $12,000 and allows operators to work from home as a part-time franchisee, invest on a smaller scale and still keep a day job. The company was founded in 1989 and has been franchising since 1996. It is based in Dallas. REM


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67. James Wright* Royal LePage Team Realty° Manotick, ON (800) 490-8130

68. Michael Scrannage Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 247-6311

69. Bernice Bartlett* Royal LePage Team Realty° Kanata, ON (888) 757-7155

70. Dave Domeij Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (888) 238-7653

71. JoAnne Gludish Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

72. Peter Pobojewski Royal LePage Kingsbury Realty° Mississauga, ON (866) 754-2121

73. Donna Michaud Royal LePage Northern Lights Realty Cold Lake, AB (780) 594-4414

74. Svetlana Chkarboul Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

75. Norm Cholak* Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (780) 431-5600

76. Suzanne Grisé* Royal LePage Heritage Saint-Bruno, QC (450) 441-1576

77. Mario Charron Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (888) 830-8757

78. Gizella Davis Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

79. Tod Niblock Royal LePage Top Producers Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (866) 989-6900

80. Rick Sharma Royal LePage State Realty° Stoney Creek, ON (877) 574-7441

81. Judy Dennee Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 247-6311

82. Morley Forsyth* Toronto, ON (800) 622-9536

83. Cheryl Bejcar Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty Victoria, BC (250) 592-4422

84. Paula Mitchell Royal LePage Credit Valley Real Estate° Brampton, ON (800) 631-5216

85. Anna Cass Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

86. Jean-François Bérubé Royal LePage Evolution Sherbrooke, QC (888) 820-8363

87. Richard LeBlanc Royal LePage Gateway Realty Leduc, AB (780) 986-8407

88. Marilyn Redvers* Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Aurora, ON (905) 727-3154

89. Joan Potter-Smith Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

90. Alain Gravel Royal LePage Inter-Quebec Ste-Foy, QC (418) 653-0488

91. Susan Taylor Mississauga, ON (888) 828-0422

92. Bruce MacPherson Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (877) 242-6825

93. Scott Darling Royal LePage Atlantic Saint John, NB (800) 775-0077

94. Al Chiasson Royal LePage Anchor Realty Halifax, NS (902) 457-1569

95. André Dussault Royal LePage Inter-Quebec Ste-Foy, QC (418) 653-0488

96. Anthony vanLieshout Royal LePage Lakes of Haliburton° Haliburton, ON (800) 457-2414

97. Derrick Smyth Royal LePage Prime Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (204) 989-7900

98. Yves de Niverville Royal LePage Performance Realty° Orleans, ON (888) 830-8757

99. Mani Bagga Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (877) 905-5050

100. Tim Somerville Royal LePage Atlantic Saint John, NB (800) 775-0077

101. Jeanette Schmidt Royal LePage Scharf Realty° Waterloo, ON (866) 748-2737

102. Kevin Coady Royal LePage Team Realty° Nepean, ON (888) 780-7747

103. Todd Guergis Royal LePage First Contact Realty° Barrie, ON (877) 728-4067

104. Brigitte I. Burdman Royal LePage Heritage Montreal, QC (514) 934-1818

105. Dario Mattei* Royal LePage West Realty Group° Toronto, ON (866) 753-7243

106. Laurent (Larry) Patry Royal LePage Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Jonquiere, QC (418) 547-2111

107. Dominique Allard Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Unionville, ON (905) 940-4180

108. Duncan Brown Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

110. Michael Willmott Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (866) 962-7548

111. Roman Grocholsky

112. Sneh Singh Royal LePage Wolstencroft Realty Langley, BC (877) 611-5241

113. Mary Ann Keary* Royal LePage Riveredge Realty° Brockville, ON (866) 345-3664

114. Lorraine Goulard Royal LePage Performance Realty° Orleans, ON (888) 830-8757

115. Glen MacAngus* Royal LePage Top Producers Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (866) 989-6900

116. Sue DePaulo Royal LePage State Realty° Ancaster, ON (877) 648-4451

117. Rachelle Starnes Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

118. Mark Jontz Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (800) 421-3214

119. Gary Davidson Royal LePage Ram Realty Calgary, AB (403) 258-0450

120. Pierre Nadeau Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 862-4443

121. Joe Ungaro Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (800) 421-3214

122. Christine Simpson* Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

123. Frank DeLuca Toronto, ON (877) 487-4311

124. Tanyse MacLeod Royal LePage Performance Realty° Gloucester, ON (877) 744-8757

125. Joseph Brazeau Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty° Milton, ON (800) 514-3316

126. Bob Maskell Royal LePage ArTeam Realty Edmonton, AB (888) 456-5657

127. Doug Donnelly Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (780) 431-5600

128. Kevin Glover Royal LePage Network Realty Corp. Red Deer, AB (403) 346-8900

129. Jean Dunn Royal LePage By The Sea Sidney, BC (800) 326-8856

130. Michelle Fraser Royal LePage Connect Realty° Ajax, ON (905) 427-6522

131. Nancy O’Dea Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

132. Ben Gauer Royal LePage Coronation Park Surrey, BC (888) 649-4299

133. Jeff Mahannah Oakville, ON (888) 645-4267

134. Brett Smiley Mississauga, ON (888) 828-0422

135. Yoki Nichol Royal LePage Ram Realty Calgary, AB (403) 258-0450

136. Paul Delaney Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Thornhill, ON (416) 213-5736

137. Keltie Law Royal LePage State Realty° Ancaster, ON (877) 648-4451

138. Brian Walz Royal LePage Landmart Moose Jaw, SK (877) 694-8082

139. Carol Wrigley Royal LePage Signature Realty° Toronto, ON (888) 954-4100

140. Garry Parkes Royal LePage Dynamic Real Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (877) 800-5066

Maureen Chan* Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

Evelyn G. Froese* Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

John Gerber* Royal LePage Signature Realty° Toronto, ON (888) 954-4100

Liz Harley* Oakville, ON (888) 999-3084

Isaac Phillips* Royal LePage State Realty° Hamilton, ON (877) 574-4601

Barbara Polson* Toronto, ON (416) 236-1871

Joan Richter* Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (888) 238-7653

Troy Schmidt* Royal LePage Scharf Realty Waterloo, ON (519) 747-2040

Karen P. Scott* Royal LePage Team Realty° Ottawa, ON (800) 307-1545

Heather Waddell* Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

Frances Wedlake* Oakville, ON (888) 645-4267

Royal Royal LePage LePage Real Real Estate Estate Sevices Sevices Ltd., Ltd., Brokerage, Brokerage, unless unless otherwise otherwise noted. noted. *Denotes *Denotes Lifetime Lifetime National National Chairman’s Chairman’s Club Club Members. Members. °Brokerage °Brokerage

Heather Heaps* Toronto, ON (877) 424-4930

Mary Montgomery* Royal LePage Realty Plus° Mississauga, ON (877) 828-6550

109. Kim Kehoe Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

We recognize

LePage Niagara thisRoyal group R.E. Centre° Welland, ON of 153 tremendously successful (866) 771-7764 individuals who, through their achievements, have reached the We recognize this of group of tremendously top 1% our national network successful individuals who, through their of 14,000 realtors. Selected achievements, have reached the top 1% of based on annual top residential our national network of 14,000 REALTORS®. sales for gross ‘closed and collected’ commissions, they Selected based on annual top residential sales have mastered the core values of Royal LePage which for gross ‘closed and collected’ commissions, include helping consumers in every step of their search they have mastered the core values of Royal for the perfect home – as ‘helping’ is what Royal LePage which include helping consumers in every step of their LePagers do! This group of real estate experts search for the perfect home – as ‘helping’ is what Royal LePagers continually all expectations deliver do! This group of realsurpass estate experts continually and surpass all excellence in customer service and sales. We sincerely expectations and deliver excellence in customer service and sales. congratulate continued We sincerely congratulateeach eachone oneand andwish wish them them all all continued success for the upcoming year. success for the upcoming year.

PhilSoper Soper Phil President & Chief Executive President & Chief Executive


2008 Royal Club Royal LePage LePageNational NationalChairman’s Chairman’s Club

1. Loretta Phinney* Mississauga, ON (877) 822-6900

2. Dan Cooper* Oakville, ON (800) 514-4094

3. Minoo Ashtari Royal LePage Northshore Vancouver, BC (604) 926-6011

4. Kelly McKelvie Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

5. Elli Davis* Toronto, ON (800) 622-9536

6. Patrick Morris* Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

7. Brent Roberts* Royal LePage Coronation Park Surrey, BC (800) 220-0202

8. Al Sinclair Royal LePage Estate Realty° Toronto, ON (416) 690-2181

9. Kirby Cox* Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

10. Marie-Yvonne Paint* Royal LePage Heritage Montreal, QC (514) 934-1818

11. Anthony Fata Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

12. Daryl King* Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

13. Karen Millar* Royal LePage Signature Realty° Toronto, ON (888) 954-4100

14. Michael O’Sullivan* Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services° Burlington, ON (800) 290-0163

15. Fernande Sirois* Royal LePage Vallées de l’Outaouais Gatineau, QC (819) 561-0223

16. Barbara Beers* Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services° Burlington, ON (800) 290-0163

17. Rina DiRisio* Oakville, ON (800) 514-4094

18. Julie Kinnear Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

19. Marilyn Wilson* Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

20. Jacques Doucet Royal LePage Vallées de l’Outaouais Gatineau, QC (819) 561-0223

21. Peter Racco* Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services° Burlington, ON (800) 290-0163

22. Lorna Anderson Royal LePage Triland Realty° London, ON (519) 661-0380

23. Michael Regan Mississauga, ON (877) 822-6900

24. Lauretta Stewart* Toronto, ON (800) 622-9536

25. David Weir Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Trenton, ON (800) 263-2177

26. Cailey Heaps Estrin Toronto, ON (877) 424-4930

27. Peter Polson Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

28. Serge Gabriel Royal LePage Groupe Newton Montreal, QC (514) 481-0241

29. Raymond Tsim* Royal LePage Champlain Brossard, QC (450) 672-6450

30. James Hodgins Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty° Mississauga, ON (866) 821-3200

31. Robert Nimmo Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

32. Susan Lore Royal LePage True North Realty Fort McMurray, AB (780) 715-1382

33. Jacinthe Dubé* Royal LePage Jacinthe Dubé Sherbrooke, QC (819) 564-5000

34. Andrea Morrison* Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

35. Jackie Peifer Oakville, ON (888) 999-3084

36. Chris Zaharko Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

37. Rod Jensen Royal LePage South Country R.E. Services Taber, AB (403) 223-3333

38. Cathy Rocca Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services° Burlington, ON (800) 290-0163

39. Roger LeBlanc Royal LePage Atlantic Moncton, NB (888) 444-7572

40. Tracey Bosch Royal LePage Wolstencroft Realty Langley, BC (877) 611-5241

41. Paul Richardson* Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Belleville, ON (613) 966-6060

42. Theodore Babiak* Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

43. Leslie Battle Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

44. Chris Pennycook Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (877) 800-5066

45. John Hripko* Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

46. Kate Vanderburgh* Oakville, ON (800) 514-4094

47. Don McKay Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Sherwood Park, AB (888) 797-7653

48. Brian Elder Toronto, ON (800) 622-9536

49. Philip LeMay Royal LePage Vallées de l’Outaouais Gatineau, QC (819) 561-0223

50. Karen Paul* Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services° Burlington, ON (800) 290-0163

51. Doug Hayden Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

52. Joan M. Smith* Royal LePage Team Realty° Kanata, ON (888) 757-7155

53. Mary T. Cardamone Oakville, ON (888) 645-4267

54. Doreen Kirkwood* Royal LePage Champlain Brossard, QC (450) 672-6450

55. Chris Coveny Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

56. Suzan Trottier Royal LePage Atlantic Moncton, NB (888) 444-7572

57. Sean McCann Royal LePage Team Realty° Ottawa, ON (800) 307-1545

58. Christine Hauschild Royal LePage Team Realty° Kanata, ON (888) 757-7155

59. Jeff Davidson Royal LePage Niagara R.E. Centre° St. Catharines, ON (800) 771-4913

60. Paul Nusca Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

61. Ivan Piché Royal LePage Vallées de l’Outaouais Gatineau, QC (819) 561-0223

62. Robert Marland Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

63. Jeff Greenberg Royal LePage Team Realty° Ottawa, ON (800) 307-1545

64. Leo L. Ronse Royal LePage Wolstencroft Realty Langley, BC (877) 611-5241

65. Julio Florez Royal LePage True North Realty Fort McMurray, AB (780) 743-1137

66. Lorraine Jordan Royal LePage In Touch Realty° Midland, ON (888) 480-2224

67. James Wright* Royal LePage Team Realty° Manotick, ON (800) 490-8130

68. Michael Scrannage Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 247-6311

69. Bernice Bartlett* Royal LePage Team Realty° Kanata, ON (888) 757-7155

70. Dave Domeij Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (888) 238-7653

71. JoAnne Gludish Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

72. Peter Pobojewski Royal LePage Kingsbury Realty° Mississauga, ON (866) 754-2121

73. Donna Michaud Royal LePage Northern Lights Realty Cold Lake, AB (780) 594-4414

74. Svetlana Chkarboul Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

75. Norm Cholak* Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (780) 431-5600

76. Suzanne Grisé* Royal LePage Heritage Saint-Bruno, QC (450) 441-1576

77. Mario Charron Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (888) 830-8757

78. Gizella Davis Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

79. Tod Niblock Royal LePage Top Producers Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (866) 989-6900

80. Rick Sharma Royal LePage State Realty° Stoney Creek, ON (877) 574-7441

81. Judy Dennee Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 247-6311

82. Morley Forsyth* Toronto, ON (800) 622-9536

83. Cheryl Bejcar Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty Victoria, BC (250) 592-4422

84. Paula Mitchell Royal LePage Credit Valley Real Estate° Brampton, ON (800) 631-5216

85. Anna Cass Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Richmond Hill, ON (905) 731-2000

86. Jean-François Bérubé Royal LePage Evolution Sherbrooke, QC (888) 820-8363

87. Richard LeBlanc Royal LePage Gateway Realty Leduc, AB (780) 986-8407

88. Marilyn Redvers* Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Aurora, ON (905) 727-3154

89. Joan Potter-Smith Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

90. Alain Gravel Royal LePage Inter-Quebec Ste-Foy, QC (418) 653-0488

91. Susan Taylor Mississauga, ON (888) 828-0422

92. Bruce MacPherson Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (877) 242-6825

93. Scott Darling Royal LePage Atlantic Saint John, NB (800) 775-0077

94. Al Chiasson Royal LePage Anchor Realty Halifax, NS (902) 457-1569

95. André Dussault Royal LePage Inter-Quebec Ste-Foy, QC (418) 653-0488

96. Anthony vanLieshout Royal LePage Lakes of Haliburton° Haliburton, ON (800) 457-2414

97. Derrick Smyth Royal LePage Prime Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (204) 989-7900

98. Yves de Niverville Royal LePage Performance Realty° Orleans, ON (888) 830-8757

99. Mani Bagga Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (877) 905-5050

100. Tim Somerville Royal LePage Atlantic Saint John, NB (800) 775-0077

101. Jeanette Schmidt Royal LePage Scharf Realty° Waterloo, ON (866) 748-2737

102. Kevin Coady Royal LePage Team Realty° Nepean, ON (888) 780-7747

103. Todd Guergis Royal LePage First Contact Realty° Barrie, ON (877) 728-4067

104. Brigitte I. Burdman Royal LePage Heritage Montreal, QC (514) 934-1818

105. Dario Mattei* Royal LePage West Realty Group° Toronto, ON (866) 753-7243

106. Laurent (Larry) Patry Royal LePage Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Jonquiere, QC (418) 547-2111

107. Dominique Allard Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Unionville, ON (905) 940-4180

108. Duncan Brown Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

110. Michael Willmott Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (866) 962-7548

111. Roman Grocholsky

112. Sneh Singh Royal LePage Wolstencroft Realty Langley, BC (877) 611-5241

113. Mary Ann Keary* Royal LePage Riveredge Realty° Brockville, ON (866) 345-3664

114. Lorraine Goulard Royal LePage Performance Realty° Orleans, ON (888) 830-8757

115. Glen MacAngus* Royal LePage Top Producers Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (866) 989-6900

116. Sue DePaulo Royal LePage State Realty° Ancaster, ON (877) 648-4451

117. Rachelle Starnes Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

118. Mark Jontz Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (800) 421-3214

119. Gary Davidson Royal LePage Ram Realty Calgary, AB (403) 258-0450

120. Pierre Nadeau Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty° Kingston, ON (800) 862-4443

121. Joe Ungaro Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (800) 421-3214

122. Christine Simpson* Toronto, ON (888) 336-1871

123. Frank DeLuca Toronto, ON (877) 487-4311

124. Tanyse MacLeod Royal LePage Performance Realty° Gloucester, ON (877) 744-8757

125. Joseph Brazeau Royal LePage Meadowtowne Realty° Milton, ON (800) 514-3316

126. Bob Maskell Royal LePage ArTeam Realty Edmonton, AB (888) 456-5657

127. Doug Donnelly Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate Edmonton, AB (780) 431-5600

128. Kevin Glover Royal LePage Network Realty Corp. Red Deer, AB (403) 346-8900

129. Jean Dunn Royal LePage By The Sea Sidney, BC (800) 326-8856

130. Michelle Fraser Royal LePage Connect Realty° Ajax, ON (905) 427-6522

131. Nancy O’Dea Royal LePage Performance Realty° Ottawa, ON (877) 757-7386

132. Ben Gauer Royal LePage Coronation Park Surrey, BC (888) 649-4299

133. Jeff Mahannah Oakville, ON (888) 645-4267

134. Brett Smiley Mississauga, ON (888) 828-0422

135. Yoki Nichol Royal LePage Ram Realty Calgary, AB (403) 258-0450

136. Paul Delaney Royal LePage Your Community Realty° Thornhill, ON (416) 213-5736

137. Keltie Law Royal LePage State Realty° Ancaster, ON (877) 648-4451

138. Brian Walz Royal LePage Landmart Moose Jaw, SK (877) 694-8082

139. Carol Wrigley Royal LePage Signature Realty° Toronto, ON (888) 954-4100

140. Garry Parkes Royal LePage Dynamic Real Real Estate Winnipeg, MB (877) 800-5066

Maureen Chan* Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

Evelyn G. Froese* Royal LePage Westside Vancouver, BC (888) 661-9311

John Gerber* Royal LePage Signature Realty° Toronto, ON (888) 954-4100

Liz Harley* Oakville, ON (888) 999-3084

Isaac Phillips* Royal LePage State Realty° Hamilton, ON (877) 574-4601

Barbara Polson* Toronto, ON (416) 236-1871

Joan Richter* Royal LePage Kelowna Kelowna, BC (888) 238-7653

Troy Schmidt* Royal LePage Scharf Realty Waterloo, ON (519) 747-2040

Karen P. Scott* Royal LePage Team Realty° Ottawa, ON (800) 307-1545

Heather Waddell* Royal LePage Foothills Calgary, AB (888) 384-4557

Frances Wedlake* Oakville, ON (888) 645-4267

Royal Royal LePage LePage Real Real Estate Estate Sevices Sevices Ltd., Ltd., Brokerage, Brokerage, unless unless otherwise otherwise noted. noted. *Denotes *Denotes Lifetime Lifetime National National Chairman’s Chairman’s Club Club Members. Members. °Brokerage °Brokerage

Heather Heaps* Toronto, ON (877) 424-4930

Mary Montgomery* Royal LePage Realty Plus° Mississauga, ON (877) 828-6550

109. Kim Kehoe Toronto, ON (866) 335-1900

We recognize

LePage Niagara thisRoyal group R.E. Centre° Welland, ON of 153 tremendously successful (866) 771-7764 individuals who, through their achievements, have reached the We recognize this of group of tremendously top 1% our national network successful individuals who, through their of 14,000 realtors. Selected achievements, have reached the top 1% of based on annual top residential our national network of 14,000 REALTORS®. sales for gross ‘closed and collected’ commissions, they Selected based on annual top residential sales have mastered the core values of Royal LePage which for gross ‘closed and collected’ commissions, include helping consumers in every step of their search they have mastered the core values of Royal for the perfect home – as ‘helping’ is what Royal LePage which include helping consumers in every step of their LePagers do! This group of real estate experts search for the perfect home – as ‘helping’ is what Royal LePagers continually all expectations deliver do! This group of realsurpass estate experts continually and surpass all excellence in customer service and sales. We sincerely expectations and deliver excellence in customer service and sales. congratulate continued We sincerely congratulateeach eachone oneand andwish wish them them all all continued success for the upcoming year. success for the upcoming year.

PhilSoper Soper Phil President & Chief Executive President & Chief Executive


12 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Letters to the Editor I

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always read your paper, as I find there is always something of interest and use to me. I am writing in response to two letters in the last issue. Home energy rating – When this is proposed by people in the energy/insulation business (read self-interest) and government (read nanny state), you know there is a problem. I have just had to get one for a property in the U.K., where it is mandatory to protect tenants. The house in question is well maintained and insulated with energy saving windows less than five years old. I have no idea of the energy costs, because the tenants pay, and have done so for several years without complaint. When I received my certificate, I asked where the estimated energy costs came from and was told energy guideline charts are supplied by the government. It also shows how ‘green’ the house is. Whoopy do, I don’t even believe in global warming. So I have had the expense of an inspection and cost of producing a certificate for no change in the situation of the property, other than providing work for public employees and energy companies at my expense. If I neglect this property, I would not get the full tenancy I have enjoyed for seven years and if private owners choose to neglect their property, that is their right. Where are RECO and OREA in fighting this nonsense? Similarly, I think FINTRAC is

not for us to police. If Canada Immigration did not let criminals into the country, there would be no problem. If you wish controls on transactions, the obvious people to take care of this are the lawyers on closing. Agents are not policemen, we are trying to make a living and are productive movers of our economy, unlike Toronto Mayor David Miller with his destructive taxes to support his union pals. Bad advice (Letters to the Editor, January REM) – As for people entering a few bogus names in an open house log to make people feel comfortable, it’s called salesmanship and does no harm. It’s good advice to do so. John Zimnoch Sales representative Re/Max Hallmark Toronto P.S. Another idiot call from the U.K. is mandatory property packages that cost around $1,200, and that all sellers must provide. Please, let’s not have that here either. If a house does not sell, the seller has had an expense for no reason and they also date fairly quickly. Conditions on offers take care of all buyer concerns and save unnecessary expense but have the disadvantage of not helping to provide jobs for non-productive energy industry and government employees, which is why they advocate mandatory action. REM

First-time buyers fail mortgage quiz

T

hree out of four first-time homebuyers in Canada would benefit from additional education about the buying process, says a report by Genworth Financial Canada. The latest First-Time Homebuyer’s Monitor survey tested Canadians’ knowledge of mortgage and home buying terms and concepts, revealing important gaps that could be filled by more homebuyer education, the company says. Only 25 per cent of those surveyed correctly answered more than seven out of 10 questions in the ‘mortgage quiz’, and less than one per cent of respondents answered all 10 questions correctly. Those surveyed showed a lack of understanding of common mortgage terminology such as: credit rating, mortgage term, variable or fixed interest rates, amortization, mortgage default insurance and debt service ratio. Potential first-time homebuyers can test their own mortgage knowledge at www.homeownership.ca/TEST. REM


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sm


14 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Time for some happy real estate news

By Leon d’Ancona

I

am tired of gloom and doom stories about the North American real estate market. Not long ago people would call me and ask how high the market would go. I would then read their absurd prognostications, some going as high as a 30 per cent increase by next year. Now I am amused to see that these same pundits are falling all over themselves shoveling more gloom on mountains of doom. It is time we started thinking in terms of a glass half full instead of a glass being half empty. It’s time to think and talk happy real estate news. A little light dispels a lot of darkness. There’s no denying the mortgage meltdown and its effects in the United States. November 2008 in Phoenix saw 53 per cent of all homes sold were “distressed”. Las

Vegas is even higher. Loan mitigation officers are overwhelmed. Short sales are becoming so common that lending institutions now treat them as routinely as a dollar bill. But in real estate it’s important to remember there isn’t one market out there, there are hundreds of thousands. The factors driving these markets vary from city to city, neighbourhood to neighbourhood, even from street to street. Not all segments of the markets are down. Some are actually up. You can see happy activity in many vibrant markets throughout Canada and the U.S. I believe every real estate professional should have an arsenal of good news when seeing clients. Consumers can read about bad real estate news in virtually every newspaper. If you are having trouble finding happy real estate news, here are six examples you can use to find your own good news: Break home sales into categories. Starter homes, move-up homes and luxury homes. You will notice that these don’t move in tandem, following the dictum of supply and demand. You will find many cases of one segment selling

faster with minimal price changes. Do area segregation. Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, or Halifax are not one real estate market. What they have in common is an MLS. For practical reasons, it behooves an MLS to encompass as much territory as possible, and have as many members as they can. Go back to the smaller area components of your MLS and you can find areas that buck the trend. Forward Sorting Areas (FSAs) – Canadians are fortunate to have a postal code system that you can use to segregate your working area into almost homogeneous factors. The logic is that you don’t normally find million-dollar homes next to townhouses. FSA provides a unique way to distinguish one real estate market from another. Here is an example: The Toronto MLS has 208 FSA with more than 10 homes sold in the last 12 months. Filter your MLS fields: Your MLS provides many fields that allow you to break down happy real estate news possibilities by district, city, county, type, area description style, sub-area, subtype, year built, community, community description and much more. Type or style of homes: In Toronto you can find 20 different

styles of homes, ranging from an average price of $182,000 to $683,000. You will also find 26 types of homes from low-end mobile/trailers to costly fourplexes. Each one of these styles and types are unique and behave differently. Suggesting that the “market is down” without paying attention to the merchandise that is not moving is comparable to saying that all airline fares have dropped. (Tried getting a cheap flight on shorter notice lately?) Per cent of total: Detached homes are a mainstay in many markets. Yet as the number of home sales decline, the proportion of these homes sold is not necessarily even. It does not take long for the prices to reflect this fact, and make your list of happy real estate news. I feel there is a real need for real estate professionals to take a more buoyant view of the market. Find some good news to tell your clients by becoming knowledgeable. I thought I would do my part by creating www.HappyREnews.com, dedicated to a biased – happy real estate news – point of view. This website is a reality check, based on actual facts on the ground. I created this free site last June and update it monthly. It struck a

chord, as wire services and newspaper picked up the site, and I am still giving interviews espousing happy real estate news. Many of the journalists are downright hostile to me for daring to suggest happy news exists, instead of joining the doomsday crowd. It seems that the media is fixated on gloom and doom. The mix and match reporting lumping average and median sales prices into one real estate pot and then stirring it some more with bad news to produce worse news, will be the subject of my next article. To keep your real estate business successful and to educate your clients about the market in your area it is nice to have some good news in your briefcase. It sets you apart from others. Leon d’Ancona B.T.L., M.T.L., RRESI, is president and founder of IMS Incorporated, and creator of REality, an online service used by franchises, brokers and agents to improve their bottom line. Author and writer, he is a regular speaker at real estate gatherings throughout the continent, and is well-known for his entertaining, illuminating presentations. Email: Leon@realestatestatistics.com. REM

How to toot your own horn

By Dr. Maya Bailey

O

ne of the biggest concerns I hear from my clients, almost on a daily basis, is, “How can I market myself without being pushy?” or “How can I be assertive without being aggressive?” One of my clients, Shelley, came to the session bewildered. “I

didn’t know approaching people and giving out my cards was going to be so difficult. I’m afraid I’m imposing on people and they won’t like me.” As we explored further she began to remember that whenever her mother was assertive, she was judged by her father and terrible arguments would ensue. To protect herself, she decided she would be safe by not asking for what she wanted. That worked beautifully in her previous job, she explained, because she was a waitress and all she had to do was act charming and serve people. “I like serving people and I like putting them at ease. I just feel anxious about approaching people and trying to sell them on my service.” Shelley was making the mis-

take that a lot of entrepreneurs make, which is to feel like they are salespeople trying to manipulate a client into buying something. I point out to my clients that it isn’t their job to sell. “Your job,” I explain, “is to approach a prospective client with the attitude of giving, not taking.” Ask yourself how you approach a prospective client. Do you get anxious, thinking, “I have to make the sale” or do you approach with the attitude of, “Wow, this person can really use my service, and I want to give them the gift of offering to help them.” Whether you’re a real estate agent helping others to buy and sell homes or whether you’re a coach helping your clients to live

their dreams, in either case, you are giving of yourself. Shelley’s story had a happy ending. Once she understood that her job is to give, not take, she started to give herself permission to be assertive. She released the old belief that it wasn’t safe to be assertive and realized her safety now depends on her success – and her success depends on being able to “toot her own horn.” She concluded the session with the belief that there was nothing to be nervous about. Recognize that what you have to offer is valuable and be willing to communicate that in a consistent way. Questions to ask yourself: Am I convinced that what I offer is valuable? Am I willing to communicate that on a consistent

level? What is my unique selling point? How can I be assertive without being aggressive? (It depends on whether you see yourself giving or taking.) Dr. Maya Bailey, author of Law of Attraction for Real Estate Professionals, integrates 20 years of experience as a psychologist and 12 years as a business coach with her expertise in the Law of Attraction. Get Dr. Maya’s free report, 7 Simple Strategies For More Clients in 90 Days, by visiting www.90DaystoMoreClients.com. Also check out her new Success Program, designed to help you get focused, motivated, stay on track and create a positive mindset. www.positivebuzzsuccessprogram.com REM


How to Achieve Big Success in the Current Market

CASE STUDY: Michigan Agent Jumps from $7,000 to $1,000,000 Annual Income in Just 24 Months “Before I met Craig, I was a struggling agent Michigan (which has the highest unemployment rate working 70 to 80 hours per week. I was broke, and of any state and is the 4th leading foreclosure state) even filed bankruptcy. Every weekend my wife and I went from making annual GCI of $7,000 to two kids were after me $1 MILLION in just to spend more time 24 months. I now Roger’s Business Changed with them. One day have a business that I Dramatically… Yours Can Too my 8 year old daughter can control, instead of said ‘I wish we could having a business that BEFORE AFTER go on vacations like controls me with other families do.’ chaos and stress. I Hrs Worked 70-80 Hrs/Wk 35-45 Hrs/Wk take vacations with “After seeing Lead Generation Strategy Cold Calling Prospects Seek Him my family now -articles about Craig that’s vacations plural. Proctor, and hearing # Leads Generated Thanks to Craig’s 0-1 per month 600/month different Realtors system, my kids got claim to have success Annual Vacations 0 3-4 Weeks their Dad back! using his system, I decided to call the “I even bought a Annual Income $7,000 $1,000,000 800# and hear all RE/MAX franchise in about it. To quote the Lansing, Michigan old cliché, the rest is history. Not only did Craig just so I could run my team my way using Craig’s show me how to sell more homes, he taught me how systems. Craig gave me the map and I drove. The to get over 600 prospects to call me every month on best part is, I didn’t have to ask anyone else for a regular basis wanting to do business. My average directions. I receive calls from agents all the time work week now is only 35-45 hours as I no longer asking me if the system works. I always tell the work evenings and weekends truth – YES it works! Don’t wait any longer to start using it!” “After using his system and implementing his formula for success in my own market, Lansing, -- Roger Weymouth, MI

Roger Weymouth (Roger@Homes-Mi.com) receives his award from Craig Proctor for most significant gains in his Real Estate business. Craig’s Real Estate Success System is duplicatable in any marketplace and is responsible for the biggest success stories in the industry. Call

800-270-4047 ID#1002 or visit

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Exactly What Will You Learn From Craig’s System So You Can Duplicate Roger’s Phenomenal Success? An easy way to get business: Dozens of buyers and sellers will contact 1 you each week (with no cold calling). You’ll get access to Craig’s best ads and techniques that Top Agents are using online and in print to get motivated prospects to contact them. Once you’re a member you simply click on the Ad creation link, enter your contact info and post onto CraigsList, Kijiji, etc. or email to the newspaper… and get ready for the phone to ring. How to target the most motivated prospects: REO’s, Short Sales, 2 Company Relo’s, Divorce Sales, Motivated Investors and First Time Buyers. NOTE: Everyone wants this business but few understand how to get it. Craig has the best methods of inexpensively targeting the only buyers and sellers you should be spending time with... highly motivated prospects that absolutely must act NOW. The right way to follow-up with prospects: How much of your 3 business is falling through the cracks into your competitors’ hands? Craig will solve your follow up problems once and for all. Simply download his follow-up system (mailings and scripts) and within weeks you can automate your follow up process so that prospects contact you when they are ready to buy or sell.

and Sellers REALLY want. The presentations are so good that you will have no problem setting yourself apart from your competitors. How to make more but work less: If you’re already successful but 5 sacrificing your life to the business, no worries. Craig will show you how to get your life back by leveraging yourself with the latest technology and, if you wish, show you how to hire unlicensed and licensed assistants to get to the next level. Craig will help you answer the following questions: Should I hire an assistant? Who should I hire first, second and so on? What should they specifically do? How should I compensate them? What contracts should I have them sign? (You can download specific position contracts to protect your business) PLUS: Each week you can join Teleconference Training Calls. You can ask your own questions or simply listen in as other agents get their questions answered. Every call deals with a specific topic that is highly relevant in today’s challenging market.

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16 REM FEBRUARY 2009

The bluebird man of Alberta Real estate veteran George Loades has been honoured several times for his work in conserving bluebird trails By Kathy Bevan Banding makes it possible for Loades and other “birders” to study migration routes, to see where the birds fly to when winter approaches. Much like their nonfeathered human neighbours, different birds choose different vacation spots when they fly south to escape Canadian sleet and snow. Alberta’s mountain bluebirds migrate due south through Montana and Colorado, ending up in the panhandle of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The province’s tree swallows, on the other hand, travel east through southern Saskatchewan, before taking up the Mississippi flyway through Louisiana and across the Gulf of Mexico into Guatemala. “They migrate in family flocks from four or five birdhouses along a trail – some 30 to 40 birds – heading south and then they migrate back here as a family as well,” says Loades. “They come back to the same birdhouse they lived in last year – it’s just incredible.”

W

hen George Loades isn’t busy selling houses, he’s building them by the hundreds…and giving them away. Birdhouses, that is. The Calgary Realtor has been building houses for a variety of birds, but in particular the mountain bluebird, since the 1980s, when his father’s retirement hobby grew into a labour of love for father and son. George’s dad Curly first built a few birdhouses as a way to pass the time after he retired in the early ’80s. George had read an article about local mountain

Photo by Bryce Meyer

bluebirds being in dire straits, as their natural nesting habitat was disappearing, and he suggested to his dad that perhaps he should build houses specifically for that bird. Curly took up his son’s suggestion with a vengeance, and had soon built some 50 birdhouses to suit mountain bluebird specs. “We put up those first 50 birdhouses out in the country,” says Loades, who took up the cause too. With plywood donated by two companies – Far West Outdoor and Spindle, Stairs &

Railings – Loades now builds about 300 birdhouses a year and donates them to the 60 members of the Calgary chapter of Mountain Bluebird Trails. He estimates he’s built and set up 500 birdhouses along his trail; he also bands over 2,000 birds a year. “The greatest pleasure in birding is banding,” says Loades. “I’ve banded just over 30,000 birds. I recapture about 100-120 birds a year with bands and 90 per cent of the birds I recapture are ones I’ve previously banded myself.”

Loades’ efforts on behalf of mountain bluebirds have won him a number of awards over the years. In 1993, the Alberta Fish and Game Department honoured him for Best Bird Rejuvenation Project; in 2000, the government of Alberta gave him the Order of the Bighorn Award for outstanding contribution to the conservation of Alberta’s fish and wildlife heritage. In 2006, Loades was honoured as Bluebirder of the Year for outstanding achievement in the field of bluebird conservation by the North American Bluebird Society (the second Canadian to win this award). Most recently, he was presented with Alberta’s 2007 Blue Feather Award by the Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation of Lethbridge and the Ellis Bird Farm of Lacombe,

for significant contribution to bluebird conservation in Alberta. Loades has also made a significant contribution to Alberta’s real estate industry, serving as president of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), and the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC). His first job in real estate was in 1969, working for his father-in-law in Coronation Realty, the Calgary company Loades has headed up since 1980. Loades’ real love within real estate, however, is continuing education. He’s been teaching courses to other Realtors since the early ’70s, later criss-crossing the province when mandatory education was introduced into Alberta. “That was a massive, marvelous move for the consumer, and it brought all of the rural, small Realtors and companies up to a standard they had never dreamt before,” says Loades. “We’ve really leveled the playing field since, with standard forms from border to border – mandatory forms and mandatory education.” Today Loades splits his working days between selling property and teaching a new generation of Realtors about the Real Estate Act; in his spare time he gets out of the city as much as he can. “I get in my Suburban and within 15 minutes I’m out in the countryside all by myself, watching the birds and the elk and the coyotes. I’m not thinking of clients or advertising for those five or six hours,” says Loades. “I’m off checking my birdhouses and seeing who’s come back and I’m not even thinking about real estate. Then I come back refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to get back to work in the morning.” REM


18 REM FEBRUARY 2009

TREB hosts Quality of Life symposium Representatives of 16 boards and associations met in late November to share ideas about Quality of Life initiatives at an annual symposium hosted this year by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The Durham Region Association of Realtors has initiated a program called Random Acts of Kindness to further the principle of Building Better Communities. The program involves the distribution of business cards advising recipients they have experienced a random act of kindness initiated by a member of the association.

Members are encouraged to undertake good deeds, such as buying a coffee for a stranger, and include the Random Act of Kindness card with the gesture. The card encourages all recipients to pass it on. To further the principle of preserving our environment, the British Columbia Association of Realtors developed a Green Tool Kit for Realtors earlier this year and began displaying information on green buildings, rating systems and rebates on its public website. To help provide housing opportunities, the Manitoba Real Estate Association works with First Nations members in Winnipeg, where a need for increased homeownership by

Aboriginal Peoples was identified. On the East Coast, the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors has worked to protect property owners by lobbying on such issues as Rail America fees. The Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards has voiced concerns about mono-industrial cities in that province as part of its efforts to ensure economic vitality. Other real estate organizations that presented at the event included the Canadian Real Estate Association; Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver; Association of Regina Realtors; Winnipeg Realtors Association; the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors; and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “Throughout Canada a number of creative programs are being pursued as part of Quality of Life so this is an amazing opportunity to gather information and to share our own approach,” says Maureen O’Neill, TREB president. The symposium also included

a keynote address by Edyta Pacuk of SPB Organizational Psychology, about attracting and engaging Generation Y. The presentation was based on the census finding that Canada will only have enough young people to fill 25 per cent of its jobs by 2025. As such, understanding how to attract and engage Generation Y is of paramount importance to Canadian business. The two-day event wrapped up with presentations on breakout sessions that dealt with ideas to be explored for furthering Quality of Life principles. Suggestions ranged from establishing a Canadian Realtor lottery, in which funds raised could be used toward housing initiatives, to developing a singlesource repository of information for consumers on government environmental programs and rebates.

DRAR presents awards at annual dinner The

Durham

Association of Realtors (DRAR) held its Annual Christmas Dinner, Election Meeting and Charity Auction in support of the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Lodge on December 4. The event raised more than $11,000 for the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Lodge. A further donation of $5,000 from the Ontario Real Estate Association’s Realtors Care Foundation was also presented. Long service pins were awarded to Everett De Hart of Royal LePage Frank Real Estate and Mike Montagano of Coldwell Banker 2M, for 40 years of service. Thirty-five-year pins were presented to Ralph Roberto, Coldwell Banker RMR; Charlie Reid, Royal LePage Frank Real Estate; Wayne Hancock, Century 21 Percy Fulton; Ron Barsi, Sutton Group Status Realty; and Harry Hayes, Sutton Group Status Realty. Thirty-year pins were given to Alice Hrehoruk, Blue Cat

Region

Continued on page 20

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20 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Board and Associations Continued from page 18

Realty Inc.; Wilma Entwisle, Royal LePage Frank Real Estate; and John Shewchuk, Royal LePage Frank Real Estate. Twenty-five-year pins went to Neil Ryan, Ryan Realty Services; Liz Rankin, Re/Max First Realty; and Mary Pedro, Century 21 Percy Fulton. Pat Johnson of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) presented Theresa Doyle of Re/Max Ability Real Estate with the CMHC Award of Distinction. This award is voted on by fellow Realtors and presented annually to a member

upper storey of a residence. In a situation that demanded immediate action and without regard for his own safety, he saved a person from a fiery death. Through heavy fire and smoke he ran up the exterior stairs to find the disoriented victim just inside the doors. He had to persuade the victim, who was intent on searching for his cats, to leave the building and they got out just before the apartment became fully engulfed with fire. The victim suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns to one hand, while Andrew suffered minor smoke inhalation. In 1974 the board began a

From left: Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board President Mark Imeson, Krista Del Gatto, Terry Drouillard and Bob Pedler.

“who displays vast community involvement, commitment and service to the industry,” says Johnson. “Theresa is not only recognized for her effort and commitment to the industry, but for her continued dedication to raising funds for breast cancer research.”

WECREB awards Distinguished Realtor Each year The WindsorEssex County Real Estate Board hosts an appreciation luncheon to show gratitude to those Realtors who have volunteered time to the association. Special awards in recognition of outstanding deeds by every day people in their community are also awarded. The recipient of this year’s Act of Bravery award was Scott Andrew. Last summer, Andrew was driving home when he noticed flames coming from the

bursary and scholarship program for the sons and daughters of board members. Each year the board provides two scholarship and two bursary awards to help promote higher education. During the past 34 years, 118 grants have been issued and approximately $140,000 in funds awarded. This year’s winners were Emily Friest, daughter of Ron Friest; Joshua Chauvin, son of Diane Chauvin; Dawoud Wazermans, son of Rose Laflamme; and Wesley Clark, son of Lorraine Clark. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the Distinguished Realtor award, which went to Terry Drouillard of Deerbrook Realty. During his career he has served on many board committees and twice was a director of the board. He is well-known for his volunteer work with many charitable organizations including Hospice and Meals on Wheels. REM


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22 REM FEBRUARY 2009

A primer on Web 2.0 What is it and why is it important to you?

Realty Promoter software

By John Pasalis

W

eb 2.0 is not a new version of the Internet. It’s not a single development or website that has changed the Internet. Web 2.0 refers to a change in the way programmers think about – and people use – the Internet. It’s a combination of new ideas and behavioural shifts. Here are three examples that laid the groundwork for what we now call Web 2.0. Share everything – Before Web 2.0, companies rarely shared their information online – after all, one doesn’t just give data to consumers or let competitors in on the same. This state of affairs is still familiar to those in the real estate industry. If you wanted to browse properties, you had to go to a site with property listings. If you wanted to see where a particular house was located, you had to go to a separate mapping website. If you wanted to see where the nearest schools were located, you had to go to yet another site to find the schools in that area. Big technology companies like Google realized that all of this information is more useful to us when pulled together, so they invited anyone with programming ability to create innovative websites, websites that meet very individual needs. Today, we can see the Web 2.0 principle in action when Realtor.ca combines MLS data with Microsoft’s mapping technology. Social network – As people became familiar with communicating on the Internet, they became eager to form entire online communities of like-minded individuals. MySpace (www.myspace.com) was one of the first social networks that allowed people to connect with their friends online, make new friends, create personal profiles and upload music, among other features. U.S. real estate listing site

Trulia.com’s community has a feature called Trulia Voices that allows consumers to post questions about a particular neighbourhood, which local Realtors can then respond to. ActiveRain.com is another social network site geared to the real estate industry. It’s a place where industry professionals can meet and discuss issues that are relevant to them. Whether you’re connecting with other Realtors, advertising on Facebook or building your own social network for clients or colleagues, you are benefiting from a key Web 2.0 development. Social media – Social media refers to the online videos, photos and articles generated by anyone with access to basic equipment and the Internet. It is generally viewed as an alternative to the traditional media – and marks a key evolution in the way people are thinking about and using the web. A blog is a prime example of social media. A blog is a website that features regular entries consisting of news, information or analysis, typically centred on a particular theme. This content can be generated by anyone, anywhere. Successful blogs offer unique insights not found in mainstream media. Notable real estate blogs have been established in the U.S., and are slowly being embraced by Realtors in Canada who are looking to share a particular expertise and carve out a niche. Why does this matter to you? You may have wondered from time to time about the benefits of technology, only to become distracted by the day-to-day pressures of your real estate practice and lose interest. However, recent developments can be used to benefit your real estate practice and the industry as a whole. Currently, most websites operated by Realtors and brokerages in Canada only display listings from their own brokerage. Boards or associations (and Realtors) should

be asking themselves if it’s time to embrace the Web 2.0 principle of sharing by making it easier for Realtors and brokerages to display all available listings on their websites. Every business change carries an element of risk with it, but the risks of remaining with the status quo may be higher if consumers’ heighten expectations are not met. Brokerages are actually going to have to think about and invest money in technology if they want to remain competitive in tomorrow’s market. Template websites are not going to cut it. Technology is not about new gadgets and cool toys. It’s about connecting with clients in ways that your competitors aren’t – and can’t. It’s about making your agents’ lives easier. If you still think technology is overrated, it’s time to reevaluate your business plan. Agents have a tremendous opportunity to stand out in a crowded market. Many of the Web 2.0 options available to them are relatively low cost and easy to implement. All you need is the right vision and great execution to do something amazing online. Finally, if you’re working on a new technology strategy, your goal should not be to develop a Web 2.0 website or tool just for the sake of having a Web 2.0 something. Technology is only useful if it is solving a problem. Think about the problem you’re trying to solve and the goal you’re trying to achieve and then design a solution that achieves those goals. John Pasalis is the founder of Realosophy.com, a Toronto-area real estate information and services company. Realosophy.com brings consumer-focused real estate education together with cutting-edge technology solutions to serve the needs of home buyers and sellers. John is also a frequent contributor to MoveSmartly.com, and a sales rep at Prudential Properties Plus in Toronto. REM


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THE GUEST COLUMN

By Jamie MacMaster

W

hen we were kids on the farm, one of the first jobs we could handle during milking time was feeding the calves. It amounted to putting several inches of milk in the bottom of a pail and watching the little buggers siphon it up and bunt the pail for more;

What’s

New Lone Wolf acquires interest in Nuance Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies has acquired a financial interest in Canadian real estate transaction management company Nuance Systems. The companies will integrate Lone Wolf’s brokerage management system, the Realty Management System (RMS) and Nuance Systems’ REALTYnuance web-based real estate transaction management system. “When we started to work with Nuance to integrate their product with ours, I could tell from the outset that they were on the right track with web-based

Rural Ontario’s tormentor sometimes spilling the remaining contents in the process…a guarantee that they would go to bed hungry. On occasion, we would put an extra inch or two of 4.65 per cent b.f. (I’m talking High Plains Ayrshires here) into the bucket and they’d oblige us by slurping it up, and then standing there, legs wide apart, heaving and coughing, too stuffed to move, with a wide-eyed, stunned look on their faces. When Dad caught us in this act of benevolence, the reprimand went something like this: “Don’t give them too much – they’ll drink until they kill themselves, the stupid sons-of-bitches.” The bull calves were by far the worse…absolute gluttons. real estate transaction management,” says Lorne Wallace, president of Lone Wolf. REALTYnuance can be used as a standalone application by individual Realtors or teams, but it provides substantial cost savings and efficiencies when installed at the brokerage level and integrated with RMS, says Lone Wolf. With recent developments and associations with other industry providers, Nuance says it has developed the first completely paperless real estate transaction in Canada. “We’re pleased that this interest in Nuance helps us towards the goal of a true enterprise solution for the real estate industry,” says Wallace. “With over 5,000 offices using our products, anything that can streamline processing time and cut costs is a benefit to us.” Nuance Systems director Dan Bennett says, “It just makes sense that, with other financial services available online, Realtors and brokers would want to provide their clients a private, secure web-based environment to manage their real estate transactions.” For information: www.lwolf.com or www.realtynuance.com.

Filogix acquires Cyence International Filogix, a mortgage tech-

They’d pack on the pounds at an Olympic rate, and within a few weeks they were on a one-way trip to the Montreal veal market. Talk about suicidal tendencies. Now, I’m not about to abandon my admittedly shaky Christian principles, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe there is something to the Hindu belief in reincarnation; the idea that the soul of a living thing survives death to be reborn in a new body. Because if you look at the behaviour of government bureaucrats – their penchant to spill, spoil or drain without any thought for the future – it’s not hard to imagine that, in their previous lives, they were pail-bunters. I’m not exactly sure when nology provider owned by Davis + Henderson Income Fund, has acquired Cyence International Inc. for $38 million. Established in 1996, and with clients in Canada, the United States and Australia, Cyence provides credit lifecycle management software and service solutions to the financial services industry. Its software platform, ExpressOS, offers a suite of lending and leasing front-office solutions that automate, integrate and facilitate the origination, decision-making and loan servicing business processes. Gerrard Schmid, CEO of Filogix, says, “Adding Cyence’s highly configurable lending platforms to the Filogix suite of products significantly enhances our ability to better serve our clients. Cyence’s leading position in equipment finance, commercial banking and small business lending complements our leading position in mortgage origination and underwriting. As lenders tighten their lending criteria, we also see growth opportunities by providing compliance solutions and specialty lending applications like equipment REM financing.”

we’re going to hear that hollow, metallic there’s-nothing-left-inthe-bottom-but-bubbles sound in Ontario’s tax-pail, but I don’t think we’ll be waiting much longer. And, when that happens, our tormentors will finally be making their journey to the metaphorical meat market. Bring it on, I say. We’re unlikely to get any relief until it happens. There is a painful but satisfying irony about it all. The hordes of bureaucrats who are putting rural Ontario out of business under the guise of preserving our natural resources, are extinguishing their own resources in the process. Just like the drip, drip, drip of the leaky faucet that the Toyota-Chick in her gas-guzzler lectures us about, one by one, Ontario’s revenue-generating small businesses are going down the drain. A service station here, a beef farm there, here a drip, there a drip, every where a drip, drip. Old McGuinty has no farms, E, I, E, I, Oops…sorry about that…didn’t want to release Ontario’s new anthem before its expiry date. Don’t believe me? Take a drive down Old Highway 2…Desolation Highway, Louise and I call it. Closed, closed and closed. For Sale signs tilted and faded so much that you know the guy who pinned them up is in a retirement home or in the ground. Farms, service stations, motels, butcher shops, construction companies…dead and gone. For Sale? Are you kidding? You couldn’t give them away. And it’s the same song on Highway 60…or 7…or 31. Welcome to the face of Rural Ontario: flapping barn-boards, rusting mills and packs of bureaucrats. But as our wealth-producing businesses expire, publicly funded agencies proliferate and expand their influences. A conservation authority (CA) that 10 short years ago had seven full-time employees now has more than 70. Where it used to concern itself with logs, bogs and frogs, its mandate now includes winter recreation (skating rinks and toboggan slides with part-time employees). The director of one CA, in bliss-

ful ignorance, unknowingly highlighted the problem by defending his agency’s expansion and existence thusly: “But we are the largest employer in the township. Dozens of students depend on us for summer jobs”. It’s no wonder that they constantly deem their present facilities ‘inadequate’. How many conservation authorities in the province? How many more publicly funded commissions, boards, agencies, working groups, and task-forces can we bear? Not too many. One of the best indications that things are ‘going south’ is the surge in rural Ontario’s clandestine economy. And I’m not just talking about cigarettes. Beef, eggs, milk, firewood, plumbing, electricians, roofers, and more can be obtained at less than wholesale prices…and no one needs a bill. Want to know why? Because the arrangement makes good economic sense to the provider and the consumer. It is an acknowledgement between two parties that the third party – the government – contributes nothing to the exchange and erodes the security of the other two parties. The message of this tax revolt (which couldn’t come at a worse time for cash-starved tax coffers) is something much deeper than plain economics. It is a sign that an ever-increasing portion of the population has some difficulty with the notion that the government is the people and the people are the government. Government is viewed as a tormentor and antagonist – a despicable force not worthy of support. The government’s reaction to this revenue shortfall will probably involve more scrutiny and more bureaucrats – something that will exacerbate the problem instead of curing it. Because, when you build a better mousetrap, the mice get smarter. Jamie MacMaster is a real estate salesperson with Rickerd Realty in Glengarry County, Ont. He is a director of the Ontario Landowners’ Association and owns a hunting/outfitting business. www.uppercanadaoutfitters.com. REM


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26 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Real Estate Technology C

business and for team salaries. Advancing commissions allow real estate agents to make purchases now

anadian home buyers and sellers can now access listings in 28 countries using their mobile phone devices, Coldwell Banker Real Estate announced recently. The international Coldwell Banker real estate interface includes listings from Canada, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Italy, Aruba, and Colombia. The international listings are accessible via a customized platform for iPhone and BlackBerry users. When viewed on a smartphone, the Coldwell Banker flagship website (coldwellbanker.com) has a different look and feel, along with navigation tailored for optimal viewing on the mobile device. This includes property listings search and home value estimator functions. Users do not need to download any special software. Those looking for a home domestically or internationally can also use the brand’s home value estimator. In addition, consumers will be able to enter specific search criteria such as city, province or state and price, as well as optional filters including number of bedrooms and bathrooms. When a property is selected, users can view all of the specifications for that home and contact an agent directly.

rather than at closing, to purchase big ticket items such as a new vehicle, make renovations to home or

■ ■ ■

office, take a vacation, pay tuitions, RRSP investments, even to buy real estate. . . and the fees are tax

Century 21 Canada has released a new enhancement to its real estate website that allows visitors to view full-screen photos of listed homes. The feature, called Showcase21, provides fast and easy access to large, clear photos of properties, the company says. “The most common thing visitors to www.Century21.ca do is view property photos,” says company president Don Lawby. “This new feature will improve our clients’ experience in screening and reviewing prospective homes.” Property listings with 21 photos are identified with a 21 Photos

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starburst, and when available in high resolution format, the Showcase21 logo will be displayed as well. Clicking the primary photo opens a photo viewer where visitors can toggle through the property’s photos. Clicking the Launch Showcase21 button upgrades the presentation to full-screen mode. Other features of Century21.ca include “open an account”, which allows website visitors to receive first notice on new listings and “request a showing”. “Real estate sales activity is increasingly online, and we want to make the experience as helpful and productive as it can be for buyers and sellers across Canada,” says Lawby. ■ ■ ■

Re/Max International and Borran Software, a provider of real estate accounting and real estate transaction management software, have formed a partnership to help Re/Max broker/owners streamline their back office business. Borran Software’s business management software, RealBroker, is a fully integrated back office real estate accounting and conveyance package that allows real estate agents to import and export property listings and manage sales, trust, accounting and conveyance data. With the new partnership, Borran Software will host a dedicated hotline for Re/Max associates to offer support and technical assistance. REM Coldwell Banker has developed a customized platform for smartphone users.


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Some agents never sell anything. Nearly 1 in 4 REALTORS® Didn’t Sell Anything Last Year.*

• R E/MAX has the highest percentage of top producers.

*

(50% Top Ten, 44% Top 100, 42% Top 1000, 40% Top 2,500, 38% Top 5,000)

Nearly 60% of REALTORS Didn’t average 1 Deal Per Quarter. ®

*

• R E/MAX Agents have the highest average number of deals/agent. *

• R E/MAX Agents sell 1 in 3 properties in Canada.

**

Thousands of REALTORS® Will Quit This Year.

In good times a lot of agents and brokers confuse success with a good market. As the market becomes more difficult, customers expect a higher level of service from the best agent. They come looking for the agents with the best experience and reputation. This is a time when brand counts the most. RE/MAX is investing millions of dollars to help their agents influence customers to Choose Wisely and Choose RE/MAX. We have added an unprecedented number of events and exciting Career Development options to prepare our agents for the market ahead. Many ill prepared agents will leave the business. Many Brokers will follow. Perhaps you should look around your office and choose wisely. Choose RE/MAX. * TREB based on closed transactions in 2008.

** CREA based on closed transactions in 2008.

Each office is independently owned and operated.


Some agents never sell anything. Nearly 1 in 4 REALTORS® Didn’t Sell Anything Last Year.*

• R E/MAX has the highest percentage of top producers.

*

(50% Top Ten, 44% Top 100, 42% Top 1000, 40% Top 2,500, 38% Top 5,000)

Nearly 60% of REALTORS Didn’t average 1 Deal Per Quarter. ®

*

• R E/MAX Agents have the highest average number of deals/agent. *

• R E/MAX Agents sell 1 in 3 properties in Canada.

**

Thousands of REALTORS® Will Quit This Year.

In good times a lot of agents and brokers confuse success with a good market. As the market becomes more difficult, customers expect a higher level of service from the best agent. They come looking for the agents with the best experience and reputation. This is a time when brand counts the most. RE/MAX is investing millions of dollars to help their agents influence customers to Choose Wisely and Choose RE/MAX. We have added an unprecedented number of events and exciting Career Development options to prepare our agents for the market ahead. Many ill prepared agents will leave the business. Many Brokers will follow. Perhaps you should look around your office and choose wisely. Choose RE/MAX. * TREB based on closed transactions in 2008.

** CREA based on closed transactions in 2008.

Each office is independently owned and operated.


30 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Partnerships can mean prosperity By Ron Cawfield

Mortgage Business R

ecent economic challenges and the resulting housing decline made 2008 an unforgettable year for many Canadian real estate professionals. As agents start planning for 2009, they will need to look beyond the typical mix of core business strategies to identify what value-added offerings they can provide to clients to make their services unique from others in the industry. One successful strategy for standing out in a crowd is to demonstrate to potential and existing clients that it is not just one person working for them, but a team of industry professionals helping with the largest financial decision in their lives – buying or selling a home or property.

“In this environment, having a trusted group in your corner that you can rely on has never been more important,” says Alyson Thiessen, a Mortgage Intelligence broker and team champion of Get Er Done Girls, with offices throughout Alberta and British Columbia. “More and more, I see Realtors partnering up with a well established mortgage broker team.” The value of industry professionals working together is not just a perception issue – it helps to establish agents as a one-stop shop for clients. Mortgage brokers will often locate themselves in, or adjacent to, a real estate office to offer additional convenience to clients and to benefit from cobranding with real estate agent

partners to maximize their marketing dollars. In an environment of regulatory change for mortgages, leveraging the expertise of mortgage brokers also helps to ensure your clients are well taken care of, from start to finish, and are aware of all their financing options. This is an important consideration since often real estate purchases hinge on successful financing. One of the most important factors to consider when joining forces with other industry professionals is fit. Sharing similar values and having common business practices is especially critical. Most importantly, there has to be mutual respect and trust. “I must be able to trust whoever I deal with,” Thiessen says. “My time and my reputation are at stake as well.” Working hard to reinforce her brand, Thiessen is passionately

committed to her business philosophy and values. Her choice of partners and team members reflects her values and vision, which helps to ensure her partnerships and team hires are successful. Besides offering clients a turnkey solution, professional partnerships can serve as an excellent source of referrals. Word of mouth referrals have long been deemed one of the most powerful and reputable forms of marketing. I trust you + you trust them = now I trust them. It’s a simple equation that resonates in the minds of most clients. “Referrals to real estate agents are a very important service you provide to a client,” says Darick Bataglia, mortgage professional with Dominion Lending Centres in Barrie, Ont. “For me it becomes like a real estate concierge service – any-

thing I can do to help make a client’s real estate decision easier and more comfortable increases the chances they will tell their friends and family what a great job I did and what a great job the people I referred did as well.” This “strength in numbers” strategy gives individual real estate professionals the opportunity to gain market share in a softer real estate environment – at a relatively low cost per lead. Despite lower Canadian housing sales projected for 2009, an opportunity still exists for both agents and brokers to leverage their client base, industry expertise and marketing savvy to deliver added value to their clients and grow their businesses. Ron Cawfield is director, national sales, with ResMor Trust Company. REM

mls.c

Please help correct this web site address To help eliminate trademark confusion, the mls.ca web site has been re-branded as REALTOR.ca. Now we need your help in eliminating any mls.ca logos on web sites, business cards or letterhead. There are new buttons or graphics you can use to promote the new REALTOR.ca. You’ll find them posted under the Adver tising & Promotion link on the CREA page of www.realtorlink.ca.

Please contact helpdesk@crea.ca with queries or comments.

REALTOR.ca


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32 REM FEBRUARY 2009


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News and Views from The Canadian Real Estate Association

you can contact us at info@crea.ca

Perceptions impact real estate in 2008

Rapidly declining consumer confidence in 2008 put the brakes on the residential real estate market in the last three months of 2008, according to the annual MLS® statistics report prepared by The Canadian Real Estate Association.

While activity in British Columbia and Alberta was pulled lower by consumer concerns earlier than in other regions, the national trend was established with MLS® sales in the final three months of the year. Concerns with job loss led the list of factors that impacted consumer confidence, particularly in Ontario. Continuing financial market turmoil and downbeat economic news hit national consumer sentiment hard in the fourth quarter of 2008, pushing down the index of consumer confidence to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 1990.

The balance of sentiment about major purchases also softened further in the fourth quarter of 2008, posting its most negative result since the third quarter of 1982. A negative balance of opinion means more households said it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a good time to do so. This indicator is an important factor underlying the housing market.

of 462,738 properties of all types sold through the MLS® systems in 2008, a decline of 17.4 per cent.

British Columbia (-33%), Alberta (-21%) and Prince Edward Island (20.1%) registered the largest year-over-year decline in MLS® residential sales activity, while Newfoundland reported a five per cent increase in residential sales compared to 2007.

While the average residential MLS® price in British Columbia declined in the final quarter of 2008, a strong performance in the first quarter meant the average price actually increased in 2008 compared to

The preliminary MLS® residential sales report shows that sales in 2008 were valued at $131.9 billion, also a 17 per cent decline compared to total sales volume in 2007. MLS® dollar volume increased in the year-over-year comparison in Newfoundland, the Atlantic provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Increasingly cautious homebuyer sentiment and a less active housing market suggests home prices will remain under downward pressures well into 2009.

There are, the CREA President notes, no easy answers. “Real estate is local, and markets are different. That’s why you have to be careful with statistics – and look at the individual client situation first and foremost. The reality is, if you are looking to buy a home, there are some great deals out there.”

2007. The average MLS® residential price in B.C. was $454,599, up 3.5 per cent compared to the average price at the end of 2007. Nationally, the average MLS® price ended the year at $305,822 down less than one percent compared to 2007.

“People are asking REALTORS® to help make sense of the housing market”, says CREA President Calvin Lindberg. “Sellers are asking why the market value of their home is

CREA’s preliminary report shows there were 434,477 residential units sold through the MLS® systems of real estate Boards and Associations across Canada in 2008, a 17.1 per cent decline from the number of residential sales reported in 2007. There were a total

decreasing. They want to know how far prices will decrease. Buyers want to know if they should make an offer now, or wait for prices to drop even more. Homeowners not in the market want help understanding the impact the current market has on their equity. First-time buyers want to know how much they need for a down-payment, whether they can afford the monthly mortgage payment, and wonder if they can even get financing.”

The CREA President says that changing market conditions also give consumers the time to research, explore and contemplate their next home purchase. “Despite what some people think, for REALTORS® that’s a good thing”, Calvin Lindberg says. “Our MLS® statistical reports show that residential home sales and prices decreased in 2008. After five years of unprecedented growth in home prices, that’s not particularly surprising, and is not unwelcome.”

Nationally, there was a seven per cent increase in new MLS® residential listings compared to the end of 2007. On a percentage basis, the largest increase in new listings in 2008 were reported in Saskatchewan (up 39%) and PEI (up 16%) and Manitoba (13%). The residential market in Alberta showed signs of stabilizing, showing a four per cent increase in the number of new listings in 2008, below the national average.

Blanket drive donations strong in the face of adversity

This season, over 30 charities across British Columbia’s Lower Mainland received a little extra holiday warmth thanks to the generosity of REALTORS®, volunteers and residents. The 14th Annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive overcame tough economic conditions to reach near record-setting totals. REALTORS® from Squamish to Chilliwack collected 3,957 bags of blankets and warm winter clothing, representing only a six per cent decrease from last year’s 4,215 bags. "The final numbers are heart warming because in times like these, the instinct is to tighten the

belt," says Dave Watt, President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. "The flipside of that view is that now is a more important time than ever to be generous, and our results show that people in the Lower Mainland agree."

The Blanket Drive was slated to run from November 24th to December 1st. However, after just a few days, REALTORS® noticed a significant downturn in donations – by as much as 40 per cent in some areas. Thanks to the 'final-hour' media support including community newspaper coverage and radio and television

interviews, REALTORS® decided to extend the collection as donations began to pile up. The Fraser Valley had their best Drive ever, surpassing their all-time high by more than 200 bags. Chilliwack, participating for only the second time, saw donations increase by 300 per cent to a total of 519 bags.

"One thing you can always count on with REALTORS® is when the going gets tough, we get going," said Kelvin Neufeld, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. "We pushed hard to get the word out to the media, our offices, our clients and we’re grateful it worked."


34 REM FEBRUARY 2009

AS I SEE IT FROM MY DESK

By Stan Albert

I

went to see Marley and Me, a great movie with a poignant story, with my youngest son Jeff and my wife Audrey. It was New Year’s Day 2009, and for Jeff, at the age of 42, it may be his last New Year’s celebration. In early December, Jeff suffered a seizure while driving. He crashed his beloved BMW into a hydrant and was taken by EMS to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto. After tests, x-rays and numerous c-scans, it was determined he had no broken bones or contusions. But Jeff has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He has

Cancer hits home three lesions in the brain and a collapsed lung. And yes, Jeff has been smoking at least a pack a day or so since he was 15. When we were called into the family room at the hospital, we were obviously shaken to see the palliative care worker there and the oncologist, as well as the internist specialist. Shocked to the core, we left the room with the knowledge that our son Jeff had inoperable cancer and maybe only six months to live. Jeff always has led a “rebel” existence, choosing to drop out of school early and take on various jobs. From the days at the Prince Hotel to Shoppers Drug Mart to construction, he always excelled, but never really wanted to stay at anything other than construction. As a confirmed bachelor, he’s led a solitary lifestyle with his beloved cats, computers and construction equipment. Love of family and friends has always been and always will be his credo, especially his love for his 95year-old grandmother, Sadie.

Cancer has run in his late mother’s side of the family for two generations. His mother, my late ex-wife Maxine, died at the age of 59 and her Dad, at age 60. Is there a message here? A “maven” at computers, technology is also one of his incredible God-given talents. At one time several years ago, he undertook a supervisory role in Belleville, Ont., to lay four km of sewer pipe and he did it successfully. As hard as it was to write about our grandson Luke’s passing several weeks ago, this article is the hardest I’ve ever attempted to do for REM readers. Cancer, they say, can be beaten and in many cases it can be. We have in Canada excellent health care, which makes us the envy of the entire world. Be glad you pay the taxes to have this fantastic benefit. So, how is Jeff doing now that he’s had radiology at Princess Margaret here in Toronto? He’s lost his hair and brags that I’ve got more hair, which isn’t much as you

can judge from my photo. He’s not opting for chemotherapy. He’s going to have Vitamin C shots. Our family is, of course, devastated by the news. But strangely enough, it has brought his two sisters, Lesley and Jodi and his elder brother David, closer together. His aunt and uncle have been more than helpful in assisting us in caring for his needs. What’s the message here from my desk as I see it? Here it is: If you have loved ones who smoke, you must encourage them to stop. Ask them if they want to see their children grow up or live to enjoy their grandchildren. My son Jeff’s credo now is to enjoy every day to the fullest, regardless of his major health problems. He’s more worried about his dad’s health and his mom’s health, than he is about his own. We’ve now come to realize with sudden joy, the truest character of our child. He’s a real “mench” (a good person). Unfortunately, too many of you who will be reading this column

have had your own family tragic situations to deal with. Let’s hope that the message gets out there, there is no benefit to smoking. We’d like to hear from you as to how you’re handling this type of sad news or how you have handled it. And yes, we’re getting some professional help. My broker, Patricia Costanzo, has been truly understanding and empathetic as she and her family went through the same several years ago with her husband Joe. My family and I will devote the rest of our lives to assisting the Canadian Cancer Foundation in their efforts to secure a cure for this terrible disease. “Sometimes we dream we wake up in Holland with tulips all around, and then we wake up in a field of rocks and thorns.” – Anonymous Stan Albert is celebrating his 39th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at salbert@trebnet.com. REM

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36 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Do you need a mentor? Mentors can offer “guidance, objectivity, problem solving/negotiating skills, and grace/etiquette/manners pertaining to the real estate profession.” By Toby Welch

W

ould you benefit from having a mentor? Before you decide, consider what Klaus Hoffmeier, a Realtor with Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate in Edmonton, says: “There are three distinct stages in a Realtor’s career where having a mentor would prove indispensable. 1. At the very beginning, when they’ve just been licensed, have no practical experience, and are tossed into the competitive soup of the industry to make a living; 2. After close to a year in the business, with little success, when they’ve realized that getting help at the beginning of their career would have brought them much further forward than they’ve come; 3. After two or more years of struggling, having run out of their own unsatisfactory ideas.” What can a mentor offer? Hoffmeier lists the perks:

“Guidance, objectivity, problem solving/negotiating skills, and grace/etiquette/manners pertaining to the real estate profession.” Michael Gray, a Realtor with Chalet Realty Limited in Halifax, shares what his mentor does for him: “She is there for me, 24 hours (a day) if need be. If I am in the middle of a deal and I run into unfamiliar territory, she is always accessible and has the answer for my questions every time. She helps me reason towards the right answer. She answers my questions by relaying them to similar situations she has dealt with. She gives me validation in the work I perform. I have confidence in her and that instills me with confidence when I come to her for assistance. She is a great teacher – there are people who have vast knowledge but cannot necessarily relay it well – and you need someone who can

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put issues into simple terms for you.” Consider these potential mentor benefits: • Help alleviate fears and/or worries. • Ensure you are accountable, that you adhere to your promises. • Help keep your level of confidence high. • Help you find your focus and ensure you keep it. • Help you make intelligent marketing strategies. • Ensure you set and reach your real estate goals. • Help you see opportunities where none were visible. • They may connect you to others in their network. • Help you get back on track when you falter. • Offer a trusted source to go to for advice. Robert Tatomir, the broker of record for Future Homes & Real Estate in Leamington, Ont., says that having a mentor in the real estate industry can help Realtors succeed faster. Here’s his suggestion for finding and approaching a potential mentor: “What a novice or budding Realtor should do is find someone within their brokerage organization they feel comfortable with, trust and look up to, such as a role model in the industry. Try to form an alliance with that individual for a one-year term and arrange for a split that works for both parties, and allows the mentor to retain his interest in keeping that person working with them during this period of time. If this is done, a Realtor will learn more than they ever could on their own or waiting around for their broker to mentor them.” So you’ve decided a mentor might be what you need to kick your career up a notch. How do you find one? Hoffmeier suggests asking your broker or via word-ofmouth. Tatomir does not believe a Realtor’s broker is the ideal mentor because, “The broker is busy running his own business

and does not have the one-onone time required to properly train such an individual.” Michael Gray thinks otherwise. “I believe a broker can be an ideal mentor if you are in the right structure,” he says. “I am in a small brokerage with five agents, where our broker is able to make time for their agents. I cannot say if it would work as well in a larger brokerage with 50+ agents. If you are going to have a broker as your mentor, you want to be able to have regular access to them. In a broker/mentor scenario you will also want a broker who has been a sales agent themselves – you want someone who has had the struggles/rewards of building and maintaining their clientele. “There are brokers who are strictly managers,” says Gray. “This is fine but I’m not sure if they would be as effective as a mentor where they haven’t experienced building a clientele and all the networking techniques involved in being successful. I want a mentor who has walked the same path that I am on. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle for me with my broker/mentor is having someone who you identify with (compatible personalities). It’s fine to have someone that you respect and has experience to offer, but you need someone that you have an ease of communication with. I have been lucky in my situation to have all the qualities with my broker manager.” If you find someone you believe will be an ideal mentor for you, don’t be afraid to say, “I would be honoured/thrilled/love it if you would be my mentor.” Even if they can’t commit to being your mentor, they will likely take it as a compliment and be pleasantly surprised that you asked. When choosing a coach, pick someone who is an expert in the areas that you find the most challenging. Try to find someone with similar professional styles and behaviours. Don’t rule out someone who is nearing the end of their career, who is not ready to fully retire, says Gray. Gray shares his thoughts on

this unique one-on-one relationship: “Having a mentor has definitely contributed to my success. The ability to have someone with vast experience a phone call away at all times is a great asset. She has helped steer me down the path to success and helped minimize my hiccups along the way. Having a successful mentor who has gone through the same trials and tribulations as yourself makes me believe that I am on the right path to success.” REM

Michael Gray

Klaus Hoffmeier

Robert Tatomir


38 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Learn to build your own website

By Larry Easto

A

couple of years ago, I worked with a very good graphic designer on a client project. I liked her and respected her design talents. Since she also offered website design, I chose her to help me with my first website. She looked after graphic design – the look of the site – and her husband, a full-time IT professional, designed the technical elements of the site, after his normal working hours. At the first meeting with my design team, the graphic designer behaved as she had in all of our other meetings. Her husband acted like a know-it-all, answering questions that I directed at his wife. Because I had faith in his wife, I ignored his behaviour and we proceeded with the site development. With minimal fuss, we came up with a design and appearance that was exactly what I wanted. However, when I started to research issues as search engine optimization and driving traffic

to my site, I realized that there was not much behind the attractive appearance. Missing were the elements that feed search engines. Also missing was the ability for me to monitor traffic, pages visited, referral sources and similar features. When I raised these issues with the graphic designer, her response was simply to tell me that they had done what they were contracted to do. Now, looking back at having paid to have a site developed as well as building and developing my own site, I realize how much I have learned…experience truly is a great teacher. In terms of website design, I’ve learned about once strange but now familiar terms such as ‘keywords’, ‘meta tags’ ‘search engines’ ‘HTML’, ‘URL’ ‘traffic stats’ and many more. Overall, building and continuing to develop my new website is one of the most positive and enriching experiences of my business life. But the best part of learning new things is the challenge of figuring out how to apply new concepts to familiar situations and circumstances. From a totally practical point of view, after learning the basics of design and development, I can now maintain my website myself, without having to rely upon – and pay – someone to

make additions and changes. I can also monitor the flow of visitors to my site. I can do these things whenever I choose, wherever there is Internet access. Having made the transition from techno-klutz to developer/webmaster of my own website, I firmly believe that all selfemployed business-owners can,

more than a few standard looking pages on his company’s website. Presenting the same look and feel, there is no question that all agents on the corporate site work with the same company. But what distinguishes one agent from all of the others? What specifically on your company-supplied web pages helps

From my own experience, I have learned it’s not necessary to become a geek or techie to build and develop your own website. and should, invest the time and effort in building their own unique websites. For purposes of real estate marketing, unique websites are critical marketing tools for individual agents. Assuming that you want to distinguish yourself from the competition – and if you don’t, you should – your website should reflect your unique strengths and ability to serve clients. Unfortunately, most real estate agents default to the standard website design and format supplied by their brokerages or companies. As a result, each agent’s ‘website’ is usually little

clients recognize your uniqueness? What helps them understand how you are different from the other agents listed on the site? From my own experience, I have learned it’s not necessary to become a geek or techie to build and develop your own website. You need only the desire to make it happen. And yes, even real estate agents can and do build their own websites. Joanna Gerber is a sales representative with HomeLife Kempenfelt Kelly Realty in Barrie, Ont. Her site ( w w w. S e l l i n g - B a r r i e Homes.com) is a great example

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of a real estate agent’s unique website. Certainly her site displays HomeLife branding and clearly identifies Joanna as an agent with that company. But her site goes far beyond simply identifying Joanna as one of many agents working in the same office. It is information-rich, presenting Joanna’s unique strengths and outlining the benefits that clients receive from the services she provides. Joanna uses her site to promote her services and distinguish herself from the other local agents. Assuming that you have a website, how effectively does it distinguish you from the competition? How effectively does it present what you can do better than anyone else? If your site doesn’t do for you what Joanna’s site does for her, maybe you should follow her example and build your own site. Believe me…it’s time and effort well spent. Larry Easto is a best-selling business writer, syndicated columnist and author of four e-books about real estate marketing. He is also publisher of www.real-estatemarketing-link.info. To learn more about unique websites, see, www.real-estate-marketinglink.info/unique_website.html REM


With a portion of each transaction fee being set aside for Habitat for Humanity, every sales associate at EXIT has the power to singlehandedly change the spirit of real estate, no matter what the market

Habitat for Humanity.indd 1

conditions. To date, EXIT Realty has donated $1.5 million to Habitat, built 10 corporately-sponsored homes and continues to put the feeling factor back into real estate ‌ one transaction at a time.

1/16/2009 12:12:13 PM


40 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Bahamas offers ‘untapped business’ for Realtors At a time when the economy and the weather are gloomy, Sandra Evans wants Canadian agents to think of the clear blue waters and white sand of the Bahamas as a way to increase business and lift their spirits. Many Canadian agents don’t know they can make 25 per cent commission on the referring side, says Evans, a director of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) and a member of FIABCI, NAR and the Women’s Council of Realtors. She and her partner, Bill Thorndycraft, are broker owners of a concierge-style real estate company on the Abaco Islands. Buyers won’t likely be your existing clients, but rather your sphere of influence – your doctor, lawyer, tax advisor, accountant, or someone you sail with. It’s a source of untapped business, she says. Buyers looking for Bahamian vacation homes are typically families of high net worth – not the mega-rich, but retirees, young families and professionals looking for a

second, third or fourth home, Evans says. “The Bahamas offers an attractive tax environment with no capital gains, income, withholding or inheritance taxes,” she says. “When you sell your property, your proceeds are guaranteed repatriated.” Evans says Canadian agents must work through a real estate agent licensed by BREA and a Bahamian attorney must represent both sides in any transaction. “Financing is available through many chartered and private banks. The title searches are insured and the property is held in fee simple estate.” The Islands of Abaco are 150 miles due east of Palm Beach, Fla., with many daily direct flights. It’s one of the smaller islands of the 700 that make up the Bahamas, but has the third largest settlement, she says. The island is known for its boating, championship blue water fishing, catch and release bone fishing and line

Certified Mentor Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions people make. When they are in need of professional services, their first thought is to get a referral from someone they trust. RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada is proud to congratulate Helen Smith in becoming a Certified Mentor for the Buffini & Company 100 Days to Greatness Program (RE/MAX Edition) and Ultimate Agent. Both the RE/MAX Edition of 100 Days to Greatness and the exclusive RE/MAX Ultimate Agent program focus on excellent service in buying and selling real estate. Please contact:

Helen Smith Broker-Owner

RE/MAX Ability Real Estate Ltd. Oshawa, Ontario

905 434-7777 helenlsmith@rogers.com

This waterfront Abaco home features an “island style” that is popular in the Bahamas, says Sandra Evans. Home prices generally range from $500,000 to $1.5-million (US).

fishing, and it has an 18-hole public golf course and private clubs. There are no cruise ships or casinos. “The Bahamas are a safe, friendly democracy and part of the British Commonwealth. The U.S. dollar is at par and English is the principal language. Abaco is quiet and natural,” she says. Properties include vacation homes and cottages, and vacant land with private beachfront or its own dockage. There are golf course and gated communities, private islands and cays. Prices have stabilized, typically ranging from $500,000 to $1.5-million (US) for waterfront properties, she says. The single-family homes have a tropical casual esthetic and fairly low upkeep. Properties can be rented when not in use with the help of caretaking and rental management companies. Evans moved to the Bahamas about 18 years ago and switched from insurance sales to real estate in 1997. She has since been involved in BREA, which has spent much time marketing to the U.S. and European markets. Somehow, she

says, Canadian Realtors were overlooked. But that’s all about to change. The association is “giving a shout out to Canadians and wants to initiate a dialogue,” she says. Evans welcomes Canadian agents to call or visit. “You’re welcome to visit. We can assist with accommodations and transporta-

tion. We’re sure you’ll fall in love with Abaco. It’s a happy sunny place. We’re laid back and casual. It’s not where you go to see or be seen. Abaco is the Muskoka of the Bahamas.” For more information, visit www.abacowaterfrontproperties.com, www.bahamas.com or www.bahamasrealestateassociation.com. REM

“We’re sure you’ll fall in love with Abaco. It’s a happy sunny place…Abaco is the Muskoka of the Bahamas,” says Sandra Evans.


42 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Quebec artist’s home one of a kind I

n the middle of a forest five miles from the village of ValDavid in Quebec, this one-ofa-kind home is ideal for someone who appreciates nature and art. From every vantage, the house offers sculptural features, from a support column in the mezzanine that “twists and turns to form the

foot of a table,” to an organic beam that “slithers on the ceiling of the living room to explode in metal fingers that delve into a wall,” says homeowner Nathalie Plourde. The home, listed for sale for $435,000, grew from the imagination of Plourde’s husband, artist Robert Lachance. She calls it “a

house of sculpture.” The chalet-inspired interior of metal and wood has a stone suspended from a metal cradle in the entrance hall, and massive Lachance sculptures that have been integrated into the décor. Posts of reinforced concrete are shaped into a ramp for a spiral

staircase. Wood planks curve together to create the base of a bathtub. The three-bedroom home, which has 3,000 square feet including the lower level, has one full bathroom and one powder room. It incorporates recycled materials, such as ceramic pieces in various

sizes. They were a source of inspiration for the self-taught artist, who started with two-dimensional works before moving into sculptures that combine fibreglass, wood and metal. “The abstract works have a brutal power and organic sensuality,” Plourde says. After 15 years as an artist, Lachance turned to renovation, but being neither an architect nor designer, nothing is planned, she says. “Everything is done as the story evolves.” Lachance, who has a background as an industrial mechanic, also renovates old buildings. Plourde’s house is in Valbourg, a 50-acre development on the highest peak of Val-David at 480 metres. In the middle of soft and hardwood trees, the development’s limit to the south and west is the 2,000-acre Dufresne Regional Park. To the east, it is the historical

“The abstract works have a brutal power and organic sensuality,” Plourde says.

Photos: Bernard Fougeres

Nordic ski trail, Gillespie, between Ste. Agathe and Val-Moran. Lachance and his life partner were taken with the unique site and the exceptional view, she says. The development offers 19 lots ranging from one to 4.5 acres. The one-year-old home enjoys a beautiful setting in the woods, “without any noise besides nature, with lots of peace but a five-minute car (ride) from services,” she says. “It’s a corner of paradise.” The developers will require that future owners preserve the wooded nature of the lots to ensure the privacy of each home. Plourde is currently trying to sell the home privately but is offering a commission to sales reps. For more information, call (819) 3225353 or (514) 893-4721. REM


Since joining

Prudential Real Estate, business has really moved forward. Keith Church, Broker Owner, Prudential Grand Valley Realty We joined Prudential Real Estate Affiliates in 1995 with just 20 agents in one office. Since then, we have grown to two offices in the Kitchener and Cambridge, Ontario area with a highly motivated team of over 120 sales professionals.

I credit Prudential Real Estate with putting the wind in our sails. Prudential Real Estate offers great support to our sales professionals and managers with leading-edge technology, training, and marketing materials. We are proud to be associated with Prudential Real Estate. The Rock® is well recognized for stability and strength. The philosophies of Prudential Real Estate and our brokerage have allowed us to achieve leadership in the community with hardworking, honest sales professionals who put the needs of their buyers and sellers first.

Find out how your business can really move ahead with Prudential Real Estate. In the Kitchener and Cambridge, Ontario area call Keith Church at 519-621-2000 Everywhere else in Canada, please call 1-888-446-4428

Grand Valley Realty

©2009. Prudential Financial. Prudential Real Estate brokerage services offered through the independently owned and operated network of broker member franchisees of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. and Prudential are registered service marks of The Prudential Insurance Company of America and used herein under license. Equal Employment Opportunity.

5

CD/AG 01/14/09

Job No: CAPR-A3626 Job Name: Profiles Boat Race

Pub: REM Real Estate Mag. Issue Date: Feb. 2009 Prod: page 4c Live size: 10.25 x 11

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44 REM FEBRUARY 2009

METES & BOUNDS

Business Opportunity By Marty Douglas

Well established boutique RE/MAX office in desirable Gulf Islands location.

For further information or other opportunities please call Roy Anderson RE/MAX of Western Canada 1-800-563-3622 or 250-860-3628

Certified Mentor Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions people make. When they are in need of professional services, their first thought is to get a referral from someone they trust. RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada is proud to congratulate Jessica Botelho in becoming a Certified Mentor for the Buffini & Company 100 Days to Greatness Program (RE/MAX Edition) and Ultimate Agent. Both the RE/MAX Edition of 100 Days to Greatness and the exclusive RE/MAX Ultimate Agent program focus on excellent service in buying and selling real estate. Please contact:

Jessica Botelho Sales Representative

RE/MAX Central Corp Toronto, Ontario

416 530-1080 jessicabotelho@trebnet.com

B

et you wish you had voted now, don’t you? A recent letter to the editor of the Victoria Times Colonist made the case that only those who voted in the October federal election should be allowed to have an opinion on the artful dodging recently exhibited by those elected scoundrels in Ottawa. (Note that I refer to the ‘October federal election’ just in case there has been another one between my writing this column and its publication.) The media offered many opinions and little illumination. The citizens in their pleadings to the editor displayed a shocking ignorance of our parliamentary system of government, wishing, no doubt, they had been born a few degrees of latitude to the south. There were a variety of petitions circulating, a plethora of hair-ablaze orators constructing soap boxes and more oxen gored than Madonna has exes. My favourite, broadly circulated email follows: “Having decided that the Detroit Red Wings technically won the 2008 Stanley Cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars have formed a coalition demanding a three-way ownership of the league title. Rational for their decision revolves around their total combined scoring in the 2008 semi-finals, their total share of season ticket holders versus the Detroit Red Wings and their horror at discovering the Red Wings are using a more cost effective and efficient but non-union made silver polish to keep the Stanley Cup gleaming. The three teams are being assisted in their bid to overturn the traditional results

The mess in Ottawa by members of the Quebec Hockey League, who have no real interest in the success of the NHL in general but sense an opportunity to demand Zambonis and other critical equipment be manufactured in Quebec. Player representatives, team owners and Nike are expected to submit their proposals to Don Cherry in the next few days. Fans and ticket holders are neither being asked or allowed a voice in the final decision.” I always was a sucker for a metaphor. Allegory? So, if the mess – for which the ultimate responsibility must lie with those who didn’t vote – has been of any value, the payback will be in the voter turnout in the next federal election. Polls in early December indicated the voters were angry enough to give Mr. Harper a massive majority. (Voters who dress on the left should be thanking the governor-general for not sending us back to the polls or considering a coalition which, ultimately, would have had the same result.) Rather than a compliment to Harper’s Conservatives, a majority government would have been a reflection of the sorry state of the Liberal leadership, the perceived fiscal incompetence of the NDP and the mistrust of the Bloc. Michael Ignatieff has had a positive impact based on the leadership polls, a comment on how poorly Mr. Dion performed, but in the view of Ipsos-Reid pollsters, he is “not a game changer, at least at this time”. Then the PM made a few senate appointments, perhaps in a snit but more likely in his conviction of what would happen if the coalition were given a sniff of power, however brief. In a year-end interview on the federal mess, I offered the comment that Canada cannot afford to allow a new government, fitted with training wheels, to teeter onto the world

economic stage, offering solutions that have failed miserably or have been applied only in text book scenarios. Imagine the lack of credibility at any world economic gathering of a Canadian government led by Mr. Ignatieff, with Mr. Layton whispering in his left ear while Mr. Duceppe adjusts his grip on the Liberal leader’s short hairs. We must deal with the devil we know – for now. By the time many of you read this column, the federal budget will have been produced, the whining, gnashing and preening commenced and the results once again will depend on those damned polls. Regardless of the electorate ennui of the election dance and the fact we shouldn’t afford one, Harper will orchestrate a non-confidence vote if he feels he can win, Ignatieff will support the budget if he feels he can’t and Layton will – oh who cares? The one person you will be able to count on for his honesty is Mr. Duceppe. No mincing about what is good for Canada or the Canadian people. Have I mentioned real estate in this column? How’s this. The focus on our profession will be fierce for the next 12 to 24 months because it will lead the country out of whatever it is we are in. Wherever you find signs of a spark, let people know. Not the media; they’ll run over and in their enthusiasm; consume the needed oxygen with a smothering headline. Marty Douglas is a managing broker for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., managing two of 15 Coast Realty Group offices on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast of B.C. He is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C., and the B.C. Real Estate Association, and is a current director of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. Email mdouglas@island.net; 1-800-715-3999; Fax (250) 8973933. REM


46 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Good Works L

inda Sargeant, broker/ owner of Sutton - Partners Realty in Toronto, turned tragedy into triumph by generating support for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Sargeant and 11 colleagues from her office participated in the Ride for Diabetes (on stationary bikes) at Nathan Phillips Square. Three teams of riders raised just under $7,000.

“Diabetes is a disease that has touched the lives of many of our friends and family members,” says Sargeant. “Research is still so highly under-funded, although there have been a number of promising drug therapies introduced over the last year. Some are already showing results while others are just entering the early stages of human testing.”

This group from Sutton Group – Partners Realty in Toronto raised almost $7,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

She says, “This cause is particularly close to my heart because my mother has diabetes. It has begun to take away her vision with a condition called retinopathy and she suffers from lymphadema, which riddles her legs and feet with ulcers. She requires visits from nurses three days a week for dressing changes and she takes many trips to the wound clinic. My mother relies on insulin injections on a regular basis to survive. Her life is a constant battle with this disease.” Sargeant’s team-mates for the ride were Stuart DeFreitas, Holly Fedorczenko, Patricia Faragher, Rebecca Laing, Rosanna Mastrandrea, Heather Paterson, Dee Paul, Robert Scholes, Harry

From left, Shelley Orr, co-owner of Bugsy’s, where the Salisbury Team’s client appreciation evening was held; Timothy Salisbury, broker at Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre; and Betty-Lou Souter and Nancy McIntosh of Community Care Niagara.

The Rob Grey Team

Above: This year members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board donated 507 gifts and $200 to the Salvation Army – 2008 Tree of Angels Campaign to help make Christmas merrier for hundreds of local children. Santa poses with the staff and friends of Royal LePage Wolle Realty at the Christmas Classic event.

Debbie and Darryl Dawson

Summerland, B.C.’s 21st annual festival of lights was a success as Summerland welcomed in the Christmas Spirit with fun and festivities. Re/Max Orchard Country Realtors in Summerland raised $445 in cotton candy sales for a local children’s charity. The staff at Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. celebrates the results of the annual Christmas/ Holiday celebration, which raised $1,000 for the CHUM Christmas Wish Foundation, sending more than 150 toys, books and games to children in need. For the second year, the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association donated 3,000 tins of corn to the local Christmas Basket Program to ensure the needy had a complete Christmas dinner. Gerry Kempers of the Community Awareness Committee (left) and Stewart Anderson, 2008 board president, pose with the donation.


REM FEBRUARY 2009 47

Strothard, Bruce Murray and Jennifer Stirrat. ■ ■ ■

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently made a contribution of $320,000 to the Realtors) Care Foundation, which provides grants to shelter-based organizations throughout Ontario. “Earlier this year our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of participating in the Every Realtor campaign, which allowed us to make a donation on their behalf to the foundation,” says TREB president Maureen O’Neill. “It’s just one example of our members’ commitment to giving back to the communities in which they work and live.” This year, the foundation provided grants of $10,000 each to the following organizations, which were endorsed by TREB: LOFT Community Services; Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto; Youth Without Shelter; North York Women’s Shelter; Nellie’s Women’s Shelter; Interval House; The Dorothy Ley Hospice; Covenant House Toronto; Casey House Foundation; Horizons for Youth; Habitat for Humanity Toronto; Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter; The Salvation Army; and YWCA of Greater Toronto. Additionally, grants of $5,000 each were provided to the Vitanova Foundation, the Yorktown Shelter for Women, Homeward Family Shelter (operating as Julliette’s Place), Houselink Community Homes, and Woodgreen Red Door Family Shelter. TREB also recently announced its long-term commitment to the Feeding Our Future children’s breakfast program, with an initial installment of $50,000 to fund the purchase of kitchen equipment. Operated in conjunction with the Toronto District School Board, the program currently provides children in need at eight Toronto schools with nutritious breakfasts, to sustain their learning throughout each school day. Brokerages have sponsored the schools, where Realtor volunteers serve and clean up after meals. Donations have also been made to the burn unit of the Hospital for Sick Children, to victims of the earthquake in China and to those struck by a cyclone in

Burma earlier this year. ■ ■ ■

The Rob Grey Real Estate Team gathered the biggest single donation of food received in one day this year for the Nanaimo Food Bank. Realtors Gord Wall, Brian Betts, Janice Stromar, Justus Edmundson and Rob Grey, along with unlicensed assistants Vera Kahan and Melanie Donohue, collected more than 2,300 pounds of food. Grey and the team emailed and telephoned clients and then picked up the food from their homes on a designated date. “In return, we gave each donor a cloth grocery bag with our team name on it as a gift for participating,” says Grey. “We had eight businesses contribute money to offset the cost of the bags and in turn printed their logos on each bag, noting their role.” Grey says he believes this year will be one the toughest for many people to ensure their families are fed. “Our goal for next year is to double this year’s food weight total. This will be accomplished by approaching clients whose companies can be corporate sponsors, and using their own employees to bring food into work for our team to pick up.” ■ ■ ■

The 14th annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive in the Lower Mainland of B.C. overcame tough economic conditions to reach near record-setting totals this year, collecting 3,957 bags of blankets and warm winter clothing, representing only a six per cent decrease from last year’s 4,215 bags. “The final numbers are heart warming because in times like these, the instinct is to tighten the belt,” says Dave Watt, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “The flipside of that view is that now is a more important time than ever to be generous, and our results show that people in the Lower Mainland agree.” Initially, the numbers weren’t promising. The Blanket Drive was slated to run from November 24 to December 1. However, after just a few days, there was a significant downturn in donations – by as much as 40 per cent in some areas – and this after local charities had appealed for all the help they could get due to the economic downturn

and dwindling supplies. “One thing you can always count on with Realtors is when the going gets tough, we get going,” says Kelvin Neufeld, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “We pushed hard to get the word out to the media, our offices, our clients and we’re grateful it worked.” Thanks to the ‘final-hour’ media support including excellent community newspaper coverage and radio and television interviews, the collection was extended as donations began to pile up. The Fraser Valley had its best drive ever, surpassing the all-time high by more than 200 bags. Chilliwack, only in its second year of participation, saw donations increase by 300 per cent to 519 bags. “Both the quality and volume were amazing this year,” says Trude Kafka, president of the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board. “The public understands that when we give in difficult times we are always rewarded for our generosity.” ■ ■ ■

Members of the Durham Region Association of Realtors collected more than $1,200 in Tim Hortons gift certificate donations, to be sent to Canadian Troops in Afghanistan. Darryl Dawson, son of DRAR 2009 president Debbie Dawson, was to be deployed to Afghanistan in early January. He will take the certificates and hand them out to his peers. Dawson is a combat engineer stationed in Petawawa. “We are truly touched by the thoughtfulness of the local Durham Realtors,” says Debbie Dawson. “Our family will be anxiously awaiting Darryl’s safe return.”

annual charitable golf tournament, which raised $15,000 last May. Community members who are supported by this year’s grant recipients include the elderly, the disabled (both children and adults), women and children fleeing an abusive relationship, the homeless, working families living below the poverty line, the mentally ill, and the addicted. The Ottawa-area charitable organizations who received grants this year are: Abbeyfield House Ottawa, Bruce House, Chrysalis House, Friends of Hospice Ottawa, Habitat for Humanity-NCR, Harmony House, Jericho Road Christian Ministries, Kemptville and District Home Support, La Maison d’Amitié, Nelson House, Ottawa Rotary Home Foundation and Shepherds of Good Hope. ■ ■ ■

Each year, the Realtors at MaxWell Canyon Creek in Calgary vote to support various local charities. This year they gave $500 to Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton; $500 to the Humane Society; $500 to the Adopt-a-Family Program, Salvation Army; and $1,000 to the Veteran’s Poppy Fund/Food Bank Division. ■ ■ ■

Timothy Salisbury of Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre held a client appreciation party at a local restaurant, and asked all

attendees to bring a donation for Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold. More than three bins of food were collected, along with $650 in cash donations. The Salisbury Team then matched the cash donation. ■ ■ ■

Recently the Windsor and Essex Real Estate Board held its Annual Gala and 7th Silent Auction. The event raised $33,000 to benefit the Windsor Regional Hospital, The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County and other local charities. A total of $50,000 was donated this year. ■ ■ ■

The Realtors of Royal LePage Wolle Realty in Kitchener, Ont. held a Christmas Classic event to benefit the Kitchener Waterloo Food Bank in early December. They rented a local theater and showed the movie Kung Fu Panda. The admission charge was a donation to the food bank. Volunteers provided face painting and Santa entertained the children before the movie started. Tickets to win a Nintendo Wii were sold. More than 600 people attended the event. For each $1 donated, the Food Bank of Waterloo Region is able to distribute $8 worth of emergency food. Royal LePage Wolle Realty raised $6,000 and more than 1,200 lbs. of food were donated. This was the 15th year of the annual event, and the most successful. REM

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Ottawa Real Estate Board president Heather Skuce recently presented 12 Ottawa-area charitable organizations with grants from the Ontario Realtors Care Foundation. The recipient organizations received funds contributed by members of the board through its

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48 REM FEBRUARY 2009

INDUSTRIAL, COMMERCIAL & INVESTMENT

By Lorrie King re we heading into a real estate storm? A report by a major real estate services firm predicts that a “flood” of commercial real estate space will come on the Canadian market in 2009 amid global economic volatility. The result, according to the report, will be higher vacancy rates and lower rents. Clearly, it’s time for property owners to take action. Managing through the downturn is critical for property owners, who may be facing a barrage of unsettling news from media outlets

A

Property owners prepare for storm and unfamiliar metrics from their own business. That said, there are simple steps that property owners can take today to shore up their business and survive the storm. Owners should understand how a theoretical change in occupancy would affect a building’s profitability. Owners should analyze a building’s fixed costs, such as realty taxes, borrowing costs and utilities, which would still have to be paid in the event of significant vacancy. To manage credit risk, owners should diversify their tenant base. Smaller owners should ensure their tenants represent diverse industry sectors; toohigh exposure to any one industry – especially those crippled by economic volatility – is an unsound strategy. Very large owners should ensure their portfolio has a mix of commercial, residential, retail and industrial properties. Credit risk can be further managed by staggering lease contracts so that only a portion come up for renewal each year.

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Cash flow is vital today, due to the tightening in Canadian and, in particular, U.S. credit markets. Landlords must be very diligent at collecting rent and closely monitoring their receivables. Any late payments should be dealt with in days, not weeks. This is also the time to take a close look at the balance sheet and to uncover ways to optimize working capital. For business owners who are closely monitoring their cash situation, it’s important to review all tax strategies and identify whether new tax opportunities are available. Prudent owners take a hard look at their entire portfolio and make the decision to divest underperforming assets well in advance of any forced restructuring scenario. Skilled labour may become more affordable in the later stages of this period of volatility. If you have deferred certain renovations or planned upkeep, you may find a re-emergence of affordable, skilled tradespeople in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto. This could be an ideal time to catch up on maintenance projects, or even to undertake projects scheduled for

years down the road. Many business owners failed to anticipate the Canadian dollar’s dramatic recent climb, which resulted in it passing the U.S. greenback in value in the fall of 2007. In recent months, the dollar has dropped as low as 78 cents (US). Owners who missed out the first time around may consider hedging their currency exposure by investing in other currencies or by employing forward foreignexchange contracts. Canada’s dollar rose in part because of the higher cost of crude oil. In the past, few builders demanded a fuel-escalation clause in their contracts and today these builders must absorb the relatively high cost of energy. Mitigating the risk of energy spikes is one more way to stabilize a business mired in volatility. If you have multiple debt instruments, try to stagger their maturities to reduce risk. While commercial banks have not passed central bank rate cuts on in their entirety, interest rates are near to their historic lows. If financing is available and required, locking in a favourable rate for an extended

term will remove one source of risk from your business plan. This market will produce investment opportunities for companies that have some cash. While highly leveraged companies may be scrambling to find a partner or buyer, those with the means should view a softer U.S. market as a buying opportunity. Alternatively, given the current restrictions on debt availability, property owners with cash may consider entering the finance business and making a loan to a builder who’s struggling. There is no question that Canadian property owners face continued volatility and a period of several months or more that will challenge their managerial skills. By acting now, and implementing measures to strengthen their business, owners can create the conditions that will allow them to emerge from this volatility more robust than their competitors. Lorrie King is a real estate partner at Deloitte and leader in the Greater Toronto Private Company Services practice. REM

REALpac protests tax appeal fees or the third straight year, Vancouver has the worst commercial to residential property tax ratio in Canada at 5 to 1, says the sixth annual survey of property taxes by The Real Property Association of Canada. For three consecutive years, Vancouver, Toronto and Richmond, B.C. have had the highest commercial to residential tax ratios in Canada. Vancouver has been increasing over the last two years and Toronto’s ratio has been decreasing. “REALpac continues to call on all municipalities to ensure that commercial and residential property tax levels are balanced and fair,” says Michael Brooks, CEO of REALpac. The association says another “side story has also impacted tax fairness” – new property tax appeal fees in Calgary and Edmonton.

F

“The Calgary changes increased the filing fee for property assessment complaints from a flat fee of $50 to a fee calculation based on one per cent of the prior year’s taxes,” says REALpac. “As a result of this fee increase, the owner of a typical commercial real estate property in Calgary will be paying in excess of $1,200 simply to initiate a complaint regarding their property assessment. The new fees in Edmonton are based on assessed value with all properties having an assessed value of over $10,000,000 paying a filing fee of $5,000.” Calgary City Council also approved a $5,000 cap on appeal fees. “This will benefit larger properties in Calgary, which would have paid well in excess of $5,000 based on their assessed value. For example, the Petro Canada Centre in Calgary would have paid an approximately $120,000 property

tax appeal fee if not for the cap,” says the association. “Given the Bank of Canada’s acknowledgement that the country is now entering a recession, this is not the time to be imposing a new fee that, arguably, more closely resembles a tax,” says Brooks. “This sends the wrong message to the business community.” REALpac says it “strongly disagrees” with appeal fees based on percentage of assessment and believes that the tax sets a poor precedent for other municipalities across Canada. REALpac has joined a coalition fighting the new appeal fees with Altus Group, BOMA Calgary, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Federation for Independent Business, Canadian Property Tax Association, Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada. REM


REM FEBRUARY 2009 49

Learning from the past By Avi Rosen

W

e all have moments that we think, oh gosh, I wish I knew then, what I know now. How many times did you wish you bought that property that has now increased in value 10-fold? To help address our challenges today, it’s useful to go back to the past and see what we can learn. In my last article, I wrote about my research of the 1929 and 1987 stock market crashes. I found a very strong parallel and connectivity between the real estate industry and the stock market. When a stock market was up, real estate prices reacted accordingly, and when the stock market took a dive, so did real estate. The Great Crash of 1929 took place on Thursday, October 24, 1929, and Monday and Tuesday October 28, and October 29, 1929. The aftermath was the Great Depression of 1932 to 1936, which led to the Second World War, and eventually the recovery of the economy. At the time, like today, New York City was a great metropolitan financial centre and the New York Times was one of the most respected newspapers in the U.S. for economic news. Through the headlines of the Times, let’s observe what respected people said about the state of the economy. January 8, 1929 (approximately 9.5 months prior to the big crash): Baron Collier gives Coolidge findings from a nationwide survey. Sees good business year. In only a few short months there will be crowds gathering on Wall Street with The Depression of the 1930s right around the corner. Breadlines and unemployment will set the stage for the worst economic times for years to come in America and throughout the world.

If you read this headline at the time, you might have been tempted to take your savings and put them all in the stock market. After all, these people quoted in the paper know what they are talking about, right? They believe in accountability, they are the mavens of the time, they are corporate titans, they are formidable and well financed. Sound familiar? August 3, 1929 – Stocks swing up on strong buying. Demand for high prices brings advance. Big gains for six others. The stock market is guided by manipulation of the big-time investors’ pension fund speculators, and the little man does not have a chance. It is by a large mea-

I like the way the industry uses words to manipulate investors. Have you heard of the SIV Investments funds? These were packaged mortgages that created the Sarajevo situation we are in today. These dodgy investments and the reason why we have a hard time selling our listings today is as a result of these mismanaged investment vehicles. One was called High Grade Structured Credit Strategy Funds and another was High Credit Grade Enhanced Leverage Funds. They were packaged without going into too much detail about their security and were sold in the billions to various international institutions, pension funds and

If you read this headline at the time, you might have been tempted to take your savings and put them all in the stock market. sure driven by emotions. And when the private individual sees headlines such as these, they feel that it’s a good time to buy. August 2, 1929 – Bank of America sees a prosperous fall. When you think about Bank of America, it’s a powerful endorsement of things to come. When The Bank of America says something, it’s a definitive statement from a leading authority. If the Bank of America says that prosperity is around the corner, BOA knows better than I do, any time. The BOA has intimate working knowledge that I don’t. They have the power to have you succeed. But alas, I know what is going to happen. There will be people on Wall Street jumping from the top floors of the stock exchange because they lost every penny they have ever saved and they couldn’t feed their families. September 8, 1929 – Stock prices rise to a new high level. It sounds good for the investor just 46 days prior to the big crash.

investment firms around the world. October 11, 1929 – Business outlook: Bright. Credit men see stock speculation weathered. An executive manager says that workers are generally employed at good wages and that production is an orderly manner. Who the heck are those credit men? And here we go again using the words like credit; it conveys that someone knows something more than what you know. You tend to gravitate towards believing. After all, who wants bad credit? In my next article I’ll explain the crash of 1987 and the real estate crash that followed. Avi Rosen is a manager at Century 21 Your Number One Real Estate in Toronto. He has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry and is a real estate trainer, author and teacher. He has published many books and has written on industry related subjects both in Canada and the US. Email arosen@trebnet.com. REM


50 REM FEBRUARY 2009

Successful investing in a down market Incorporate these 10 simple habits into your real estate investing and watch them work.

By Malcolm Silver

W

hen I became interested in buying real estate, I met many people who wistfully said how much they would like to own property but somehow never did. I realized early on that technical knowledge of the investment market alone does not make a successful investor. Learning entrepreneurial skills and lifelong habits does. When I looked closely at top real estate investors like Donald Trump and Sam Zell, I saw they were all entrepreneurs, and they all had developed good habits. They treated investing like a business, and that made the difference between them and the rest of the investors. I put my skills and experience as a property investor together with my experience in the financial worlds of film, television and the personal wealth industries. With what I had discovered about other successful investors, I developed a system that embraces an entrepreneurial style to become successful. The Real Estate Peace

of Mind Solution is based on cultivating 10 habits that, if followed, save investors time and effort, help them make more money, and encourage them to achieve their full potential as real estate investors. 1. Invest in real estate for the right reason. Make a list of your reasons for entering the real estate investing business. If your main reason is to make a quick buck, you may as well go to the local casino, buy a lottery ticket, or look into the get-rich quick schemes you find on the Internet. Many people are attracted to buying property because it promises more money for less work, resulting in an independent lifestyle. And it can, but not without dedication and hard work. It also helps if you have a passion and a love for real estate and strongly believe that your heart and mind are in the right place to do it. 2. Complete an investor’s business plan. For many people, investing in real estate is a hobby, while for others it’s a business. Where do you fit in? If you want to make real estate buying a hobby, then treat it as such. But if you want to make some serious money, you have to treat it like a business – even if it is a part-time business. There are many aspects to building

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a business. All entrepreneurs can attest to that. You’ll need to build a real estate business plan, which will be your blueprint for success. 3. Commit to your education with an investing coach. How do successful performers continue learning in any endeavour? They have a coach and they build their skills by studying, learning and practicing. Most expert performers engage mentors at various points in their careers to help them learn and grow. If you don’t think you need a mentor, you’ll need to define structures to keep you accountable and on track. Sometimes it’s just easier to find a coach because it’s easy to get locked into your own head and your own ideas. 4. Build a team. Real estate investors are inherent risk takers, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Their focus is on the transaction and securing the property. Someone has to be by their side to deal with legal contracts, arranging financing, zoning, estimates for renovation, appraising the property, inspections, reviewing rental rates, finding future tenants, neighbourhood growth and other due diligence. There is nothing simple about real estate – and the business gets more complex every day. 5. Understand cycles and be patient. Real estate has always been a cyclical investment. No one can change that. Because you cannot accurately predict when the market will rise and fall, it is important to recognize the signs of change and be ready to act at all times. For those with a cast-iron stomach, the best way to deal with cycles is to be a contrarian. Ask Warren Buffett. Stockpile capital when possible so that you can move quickly when opportunities arise and invest contra cyclically when necessary, and be ready to act quickly when cycles begin to change. 6. Learn the secrets of successful investors. If you study successful real estate moguls, you will see that they have ambition, determination, patience and a positive attitude. They usually hang in there – more determined than ever – when others throw in the towel. They learn from their mistakes,

applying those lessons to succeed the next time around. Successful investors thrive on independence. They are take-charge people who can come up with creative and intelligent solutions to problems. Real estate investing needs a lot of stamina and successful investors

the right property in the right location and lining up good lenders and partners is difficult enough when buying, but can pale into insignificance when trying to negotiate a good deal. Patience is a virtue you’ll need when pursuing what you want. However, knowl-

Because you cannot accurately predict when the market will rise and fall, it is important to recognize the signs of change and be ready to act at all times. have that in spades. And they never doubt they are worthy of success. 7. Choose a niche and define your goals. Any decision to buy real estate must be in line with your overall intentions and operating strategy. The best and easiest way to stay aligned is to specialize in one specific area. Real estate offers such a wide variety of options – buy and flip short-term; buy, renovate and hold; buy stores/ houses/apartments/industrial space/raw land. Make sure to choose a niche you are comfortable with and then stay focused and involved in all steps of the process. Have clear written goals in mind and know what it will realistically take to achieve it. 8. Use other people’s money: No matter what type of real estate you buy, the deals are often highly leveraged. One reason is that financial institutions are more than willing to lend for such investments. However, loans can be risky, especially for investment properties. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of carrying debt is to bring on additional partners. Never forget that there are a limitless number of fundraising options available to real estate investors. Try to raise money before you need it so you have a pool to draw on when you need to act right away on opportunities that others can’t take advantage of. 9. Make a good deal. Finding

edge, research, due diligence, planning and flexibility are equally important. Don’t fall in love with a property or appear desperate. Work out the numbers and line up the finance in advance. Stay focused on your goal but remain flexible. Be willing to take chances, have a thick skin so you don’t take it personally and always accept responsibility for making deals happen. 10. Measure your performance. When acquiring existing buildings or rentals, astute investors look for properties that provide solid current cash flow. This should be a key factor in determining whether you buy or sell a property. Industry-wide declines in cash flow are usually a signal of troubled times ahead. However, factors other than cash flow can be equally important. Consider bringing in stronger management or knowledgeable partners to help create better numbers. It takes 21 days to establish a habit. I use these habits, so I know they work. I’m confident that if you apply them, you will begin to save time and effort, buy more property, and be well on your way to achieving your full potential as a real estate investor. For more information about the Peace of Mind Real Estate Solution, contact Malcolm Silver at (416) 488 3393 or Malcolm@msilver.com. REM


52 REM FEBRUARY 2009

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED

By Dan St. Yves

J

MARKETPLACE

ust before the start of 2009, I watched a year-end review feature on one of our local TV stations. The topic that attracted my attention was real estate, and the free-falling home prices across North America.

Freefalling in some jurisdictions about as rapidly as one of Wile E. Coyote’s Acme safes. You might assume that the program’s host was interviewing the president of the local real estate board, or some high-profile agent in the local market. You’d be wrong. To inform the viewers on the nuanced world of local and national real estate trends, the host chose to interview…a psychic. Holy Nostradamus, Batman! The psychic was quite verbose about the subject – values, it seemed, had simply gone up too high, and needed to come back down to “reality”. This would be the phenomenon that I have followed most often in my own home-buying experience: “buy high, sell low”. I had a funny feeling that this may also have been

the psychic’s own real estate experience, and that he was trying to hedge his bets for an upcoming purchase. Never hurts to try a little subliminal suggestion, I suppose. I thought I might try my own hand at forecasting some of the possible scenarios for real estate in 2009. 1) Interest rates will go up. Or down. Maybe both. Maybe neither. Maybe this predicting thing isn’t as easy as it looks. 2) New subdivisions: With financing harder to attain, this term now might be what folks used to refer to as “secondary suites”, or “attics”, unless the market improves. 3) Mortgage brokers will hide when they see you approaching, if you have consistently brought them your “least-likely-to-be-

approved” clients over the past year. Is it asking too much to have at least ONE of your clients employed? 4) Market value will depend on many factors, such as national employment rates, lending trends, comparative sales, and the existence of an actual market. 5) Working with sellers will present challenges in coming to agreement on pricing, marketing strategies, and length of time on market necessary to facilitate a successful sale. In other words, nothing is new on this front. 6) Working with buyers: Well, buyers WERE those people who used to buy homes. I’m sure they’ll come back at some point. They may have gone into hiding with your mortgage broker. 7) Amortization: Replacing

100 per cent mortgage financing – 100-year mortgages. Thank goodness modern science has been extending our life expectancy rates these past few years. 8) Recession: This is an area of the lawn that is somewhat uneven, where the grass has receded. Also possibly called a depression. NOT a reference to the country, or the economy, despite what those wacky economists might be saying. 9) Real estate predictions: Something obviously better left to the experts. Okay, and maybe psychics. 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 ThatDanGuy@shaw.ca. REM

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Trade Shows and Conferences For complete listings, visit www.remonline.com To add a listing to this calendar, email jim@remonline.com The Banff Western Connection 2009 “The new real estate environment” January 29 - 31 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Banff, Alta. www.banffwesternconnection.com Leader’s Edge Training “Revolution” training event Feb. 4, Vancouver Mar. 5, Ottawa Apr. 1, Toronto www.LeadersEdgeTraining.com Royal LePage Ontario Kickoff/Sales Rally Wednesday, Feb. 4, Delta Toronto East Sharon Promm – sharonpromm@royallepage.ca 26th Annual Re/Max of Western Canada Conference “Lovin’ Every Minute” February 5 - 7 Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria www.remax-western.ca/victoria Century 21 Kickoff 2009 “Two world renowned speakers and industry supplier expo” Wednesday, February 11 Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto Attendee inquiries: kickoff@century21.ca Exhibitor inquiries: allison.pehleman@century21.ca Century 21 Awards 2008 Toronto Wednesday, February 11 corporate@century21.ca Keller Williams “Family Reunion: Our Main Event” February 21 - 25 Orange County Convention Center Orlando, FL http://familyreunion.kw.com

Ontario Real Estate Association Annual General Meeting 10 am – Wednesday, Feb. 25 President’s Ball – Feb 25 Leadership Day – Feb 26 Sheraton Centre, Toronto Sandi Clark – sandi@orea.com Century 21 Spring to Success and Celebrate Gold Events Halifax, February 26 Ottawa, February 27 Vancouver, March 4 Winnipeg, March 5 Saskatoon, March 6 Red Deer, March 7 corporate@century21.ca Royal LePage Celebrate Your Success Rally Thursday, March 5 Capri Hotel, Trade and Confernce Centre, Red Deer, Alta. Sharon Promm – Sharonpromm@royallepage.ca New Brunswick Real Estate Association AGM and Conference March 18 – 19 Delta Fredericton, Fredericton Anne Kelly or Erika Smith info@nbrea.ca Canadian Real Estate Association AGM, April 4 Leadership Conference, April 5 Hilton Lac Leamy, Gatineau, Que. Christa Girard – cgirard@crea.ca Craig Proctor’s Ultimate Real Estate Success SuperConference “Learn how to survive and thrive in a slowing market” April 5 - 7 Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, TX http://quantumleapsystem.com Century 21 Chairman’s Circle “By Invitation Only” April 21 - 23 Fort Lauderdale, FL corporate@century21.ca

Compiled with the assistance of Bob Campbell at Colourtech Marketing, www.colourtech.com


54 REM FEBRUARY 2009

THE PUBLISHER’S PAGE

By Heino Molls his year Family Day in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario will be observed on February 16, two days after Valentine’s Day. I can think of no better time of the year to discuss the issue of homelessness. The heart of homelessness is, after all, love and the family we are supposed to be toward each other. The very issues we celebrate respectively on these days. I used the headline above to drive home a point. Of course there are homeless people in Canada but I contend that they are

MARKETPLACE

T

There is no homeless problem in Canada not the problem. The lack of a solution is the problem. We have the land, we have the resources and we have the skills to build homes. Lots of homes. All kinds of homes. We just don’t have the organizational wherewithal to get it done. Our county is loaded with politicians. All kinds of politicians, but not one of them, not a single one has come up with a good idea to organize a rural barn raiser, let alone help craft proper housing for the homeless. Solving this puzzle is not easy. Far from it. The issues within this issue are complex and wide in description and circumstance. Behind every homeless person there is a story that may include brutal behaviour, drunkenness, crazy personalities, comprehension difficulties, plain bad luck and more. Each story is unique and must be appreciated. What we provide in terms of assistance is poorly organized, badly thought out and almost hur-

riedly thrown together year after year after year. A food bank in one of the more affluent areas of Toronto operates one evening a week. This particular food bank can only be accessed by walking down a long dark intimidating alley. Once inside, “clients” must take a number and wait in an area where the potential for a raging deranged person to victimize them is real and not uncommon. This is not a place for children. Drunks are not turned away but actually get a sympathetic ear from the poor folks that volunteer at this place, in a sincere attempt to give compassion. The effort is useless from what I have seen. There is no security. To me, the work these volunteers do seems foolish, yet these bumbling do-gooders carry on. They are extraordinarily brave. In my view the notion that this place even operates is outrageous. I have heard that some home-

less men sleep under bridges because they are simply too frightened to go to a shelter for fear of personal harm or abuse. Some years ago I had a conversation with an executive of a branch of the government and I asked them if our country would provide land to build housing complexes for those who needed shelter. I was told that in fact the government would not only entertain the idea but had offered it many times in the past. I asked the same executive if the problem was that there was not enough money from the private sector. The executive told me that was the least of all problems and in fact pointed out that out of all the business communities in the country, the real estate industry was well known to be one of the most benevolent of all professional collectives. You need look no further than the pages of REM each month to see reports of fundraising for shelters and the well being of all elements in our society.

The main obstacle I was told was that no one seems to be able to engineer the construction and operation of a truly good working complex for those in need of help. There is land outside of any city and there can be capital raised even in these tough times. What is missing is a plan. It seems to me that real estate brokers and sales representatives by the nature of their business have to be creative. So why not ask this industry to come up with a plan? There isn’t a better community to ask, is there? If you have some ideas may I humbly suggest that you take the time this Family Day and write your community leaders with your suggestions? What would be even better is to become a community leader by listening to the ideas of others and then help implement a solution. Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email heino@remonline.com REM

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REM Magazine February 2009