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Archive for March, 2013

If you work in the real-estate industry you probably recognize the words “title search”. Usually when you hear the words title search in Ontario, what the individual is referring to is a parcel register. A parcel register is a very important part of a title search that reveals very important information about a property’s title and history that is relevant to REALTORS® from both a due diligence perspective when formulating offers, and when educating clients about a listing.

In many cases, the first reaction to a title search is “that’s the lawyer’s job”. While searching registrations on title is a mandatory part of the transaction, the lawyer typically does not access the report until after your client has entered into an agreement to buy or sell the property. In fact, the REALTOR® will often be the only informed professional that clients will consult with prior to committing to the largest transactions of their lives. Let’s take a closer look at each of the ways that a REALTOR® can use a parcel register.

Due diligence – If you are representing a client who is listing a home, the parcel register will reveal mortgages currently registered against title and allow you to better gauge if your client has sufficient equity to cover your fees. What if the registered mortgage is not from a chartered bank, trust company, credit union or similar institution? Standard clauses can require private mortgages to be discharged prior to closing, which may not be possible for the seller. Ordering a parcel register can give you the information you need to modify the agreement of purchase and sale before both parties are contractually committed.

  • Liens on title: If you are representing a seller in the sale of their home and in the purchase of another you can identify if there are potential credit issues that may prevent them from qualifying for another mortgage.
  • Are there other people on title: What happens if your client doesn’t disclose to you that there is someone else on title? Before you can list a home you must ensure that you have an agreement signed with all homeowners.

The cost of the parcel register is just a small percent of your sales commission. Is it worth it? Ask yourself how much time and money you could potentially spend – performing research for your client, advertising your client’s property, gas expense, etc. – before learning what you discovered by consulting the parcel register could stop a potential sale from occurring.

Formulating offers – the parcel register can be very useful when determining how much negotiating power you have on a deal. Reviewing the purchase date, purchase price and registered mortgages can help you estimate how much equity there is in the home. If your client wants to offer less than the list price you can assess if doing so would have potential to be accepted.

Educating clients about a listing – a parcel register can reveal not just encumbrances but also easements and other restrictions. Knowledge is power and knowing this about a property you have listed or one that your client is considering purchasing allows you to prepare for anything that could come up or that will need to be explained or understood in further detail.

As you can see, incorporating a parcel register into your work flow can add great value to your bottom line and will allow you to not only save time and money but also make you shine with your clients because your clients will know that you are on the cutting edge and going above and beyond the call of duty to represent their best interests.

For more information about how to use/obtain a parcel register please visit www.geowarehouse.ca or call 866-237-5937.

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March 18, 2013

The Canadian real-estate market continues to thrive, despite the challenges that folks south of the border have faced post-recession. If you work in real-estate, then you know just how much competition there is, and you know that today’s client is more educated than ever before. Clients require more information, and have higher expectations than ever when it comes to making the decision to make an offer on a home. Listing agents and agents who represent buyers benefit from being able to provide their clients with the most information possible.

When we speak of information, this includes imagery of the home that you would not normally see on a typical real-estate listing.

Imagine if you had the ability to fly your client in a helicopter over a particular neighbourhood, providing aerial imagery and views of not only the home that they are thinking about purchasing, but of the entire neighbourhood the property is located in? Well you can provide them with this aerial imagery – and your office becomes the cockpit!

Why is aerial imagery so important? Because it will allow you to quickly highlight valuable information that will help your clients make the decision to buy, and provide sellers with the ability to highlight positive attributes about their community.

Aerial imagery will identify building structures and help you uncover information such as whether or not a community is highly industrial or if a property backs onto a factory – something that a young family for example may not find appealing.

This technology can also uncover the proximity of a property to railway systems, highways and transit, which may be a positive attribute for a prospective buyer who commutes to work. Perhaps your client is retired and would prefer to live in a community that is somewhat distant from traffic.

Aerial imagery can also show proximity to parklands, schools, shopping centres and other important attributes of a community that a seller may want to highlight to a buyer.

Whether it is January or June, aerial imagery can also help you to sell no matter what season it is and no matter what the weather is like. During the winter, aerial imagery can show you what a property and neighbourhood looks like when it is not covered with snow, or in the fall, aerial imagery can enable you to view a neighbourhood that is covered with leaves. This is a huge asset for real-estate agents to be able to show what a home’s backyard looks like where you otherwise may not be able to see it.

Aerial imagery is an essential tool in any real-estate professional’s toolkit!

For more information about how you can leverage aerial imagery to show your clients even more property information please visit www.geowarehouse.ca or call 866-237-5937.

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March 11, 2013

There are so many wonderful neighbourhoods in Toronto to buy in. According to the City of Toronto, this city is vast with a population of over 2.4 million people. Ethnic diversity is something that Torontonians take pride in, and according to the 2006 census, Toronto is home to approximately 16 predominant ethnic groups. Touted as the “City of Neighbourhoods” on Wikipedia, Toronto boasts over 240 distinct neighbourhoods.

If you are a real-estate professional in Toronto, then you know how much demographics can differ from one neighbourhood to another, as well as how competitive the real-estate market in Toronto is. Knowing the demographics of the different neighbourhoods in Toronto is very important to compete in this market.

Easier said than done, right? No – it is actually very simple! Knowing the demographics of neighbourhoods in Toronto can be quickly achieved by using the web-based technology made available through GeoWarehouse.

When you access GeoWarehouse, you can perform searches of properties in different neighbourhoods in Toronto. You can generate a Neighbourhood Demographics Report that will show your clients neighbourhood information which includes:

  • Age distribution and marital status of residents – your clients can learn if there are other families like theirs. For example, a client with a young family may see more benefits in purchasing in a neighbourhood that has an abundance of other young families.
  • Structural types of housing and the percentage of owned and rented properties – knowing this information is very useful. For example, if your client wants to purchase an investment/rental property in neighbourhoods in Toronto that have a high population of renters, you can highlight this.
  • Average household income.
  • Dominant languages spoken, religions, ethnicities, and more.

You can also view aerial imagery of the property and surrounding properties, distance to schools, parks and other amenities in the neighbourhood. This could help you spot the desirable attributes about a neighbourhood or the less desirable attributes. If your client is looking for a home in a quiet neighbourhood for example, and then aerial imagery shows that a property your client is interested in is near a railroad, it may be an indicator that the property they are considering may not offer the peace and quiet that your client desires.

Accessing this information will improve your expertise of the different neighbourhoods in Toronto and will enable you to serve a wider range of clients more knowledgably.

For more information about how you can access neighbourhood demographic information about neighbourhoods in Toronto please visit www.geowarehouse.ca or call 866-237-5937.

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Ever wonder why real-estate sales soar in the spring in Canada? Well, one big reason is the weather. If there is one thing that Canadian real-estate professionals have to adapt to it is Canada’s sporadic winter weather conditions.  When a client is considering buying a new house/home during the winter months they:

  • Want to be able to see what they are purchasing.
  • May not want to brave the cold and walk around outside the property.

This can pose a real challenge to REALTORS®.

A recent article posted on MSN Real-Estate highlights some things that you can do to increase your real-estate sales during the winter months. Some of the tips included:

  1. Ensuring that the entry way to the home that your client will be viewing is free of ice and snow.
  2. Warming up the home before your clients arrive.
  3. Trying to show the home during the day, thereby taking advantage of natural light.

While the tips listed above are all great ideas, they don’t solve the challenge of being able to see what is covered by snow, like driveway size, frontage, landscaping, and more.

So, how can you perform a property search for your client in an area that is covered in snow? By leveraging the technology available for you, that’s how!

Through web-based platforms like GeoWarehouse, real-estate professionals can perform a property search online.

The Google Streetscape imagery available through GeoWarehouse enables you to perform a property search that provides you with imagery of a subject property, as if you were standing in front of it. This is invaluable to REALTORS®, especially during the winter months when weather conditions can be less than ideal.

Instead of your clients waiting until spring to shop for real-estate, you can help them to learn about properties of interest now without having to drive or walk around in the slush and snow. You can perform a property search from the comfort of your office, and show your clients how the subject property looks when it is not under snow; being able to view things like the subject property’s frontage can make or break your sale.

You can also leverage the Google Streetscape imagery available through GeoWarehouse and use it by performing an online property search by printing a Property Details Report or Enhanced Report. These can be left at a property you have listed and give potential buyers more information about the property.

You can also use this cool GeoWarehouse feature to view imagery of other properties in the neighbourhood, like neighbouring properties, and local amenities like parks and schools.

Google has re-captured much of Southern Ontario in a recent refresh of the images available through Streetscape and this is a very valuable tool to take advantage of.

If you would like more information about how you can perform a property search and take advantage of the Google Streetscape imagery available through GeoWarehouse, please visit www.geowarehouse.ca or call 866-237-5937.

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