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Archive for November, 2016

geo-title-of-a-propertyUnfortunately, during the process of the real estate closing, it is not uncommon for things to come up that the real estate lawyer identifies – things that you likely wish you’d noticed far earlier in the process. Over the years, the role of a real estate sales professional has become far more onerous – some buyers even include in their offer that they expect perfect title – and so we continually strive to make things a little easier.

How can you investigate the title of a property when traditionally it is the real estate lawyer’s role to perform a property title search?

To better understand this is to better understand what’s involved in a property title search. When many think of a property title search they are actually thinking of the Parcel Register*. You can learn a lot about a property’s title before a deal even gets to the real estate lawyer simply by reviewing the Parcel Register*.

The Parcel Register* is a document that includes an abundance of information about a property. It tells you the legal description of the property, who owns the property, the type and percentage of ownership – but what’s more is that it shows you:

  • A history of property transfers, amounts and parties
  • Registered mortgages
  • Registered liens

Some things that emerge on the Parcel Register* could have caused a delay on your deal while other issues could cause your deal to come to a grinding halt!

For example – a very common occurrence that causes delays on a closing are previously undischarged mortgages on title. This commonly occurs when the homeowner has paid off the mortgage but the lender failed to discharge it from the property’s title. While this can be resolved fairly simply once discovered, it can take a week or two to do so which can impact a closing. Learning of the existence of undischarged mortgages long before closing enables your client to take the required steps to resolve the issue and they will thank you for it. In truth, most homeowners are unaware and simply assume when a past mortgage was paid off that it was discharged.

In other situations, a lien can emerge on title which can create a serious issue if the amount of the lien exceeds the value of the property, which is common with tax liens.

Reviewing a Parcel Register* removes questions and ensures that you know as much about the title of the property that is the subject of the deal that you are working on. This leaves you closing more deals and appearing as the stealth professional you are to your client!

Parcel Registers* are available through GeoWarehouse – and not just to real estate lawyers.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca today.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.

 

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November 21, 2016

title-searchReal estate sales professional: aka sales guru, aka legal eagle, aka property expert… need we say more? In your role, you literally have to be a jack of all trades – and master of them all as well. With so many parties involved in a real estate transaction, you are the first in line and everyone from your client to all the other professionals that follow are relying on you to get the job done. No pressure or anything…

The biggest challenge you have to overcome is the unknown. It is the unknown that leads to snags on deals that result in closing day surprises that can make a deal extremely stressful for all involved.

So how can we see what we can’t see? Before ironing out the how, we should first iron out the what. What can you look at that will help you to mitigate problems on deals and shine in front of your client? Most of what you will want to look for exists within a property’s title.

  • Who owns the home? Have all of the legal homeowners signed onto your engagement? Is your client the legal homeowner? This information is critical.
  • Is there enough equity to cover the closing costs? Have you checked (despite what the client is telling you) how many actual mortgages are registered on title? Is it possible that there are any liens?
  • Have you validated the property’s legal description?
  • Are there any nefarious transactions on title – strange transfers or discharges?

You may be thinking that these are things that you leave to the real estate lawyer. Not so. Digging deeper is like digging for dollars. For every deal that turns up with an issue, you need to be able to resolve it. If it can’t be resolved, you can quickly move on to deals that will close. Knowing is step one in conquering sure challenges.

As you know, when a real estate lawyer closes a deal they perform a full title search. What you may not know is that the information associated to aspects of a title search are available to you too!

Real estate professionals often confuse the difference between a title search and a Parcel Register*. The confusion: many think that the Parcel Register* is actually a title search, which is why some think it is the lawyer’s responsibly to review the Parcel Register* and therefore beyond their means to access it themselves. Once again, this is not so.

In fact, a Parcel Register* is part of a title search – it is one search/document that provides you with a snapshot of important property-related information at the time it is requested. It provides information such as the property’s legal description, legal homeowners, types of ownership, percentage of ownership, property transfer history, registered mortgages, liens and more…

Is obtaining a Parcel Register* part of your professional, legal and ethical obligation as a real estate sales professional? Short answer: accessing the information contained in one arguably is. While it may not be listed as a requisite, it probably should be!

Not only does digging deeper mean more dollars for you – it means more dollars for the real estate lawyer, mortgage broker, and mortgage lenders that follow you. It means going above and beyond the call of duty, forging stronger relationships and becoming known for the stellar job that you do.

We challenge you: go the extra mile for your client, dig deeper, work on the deals that can and will close and realize the true financial potential that awaits you.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.

 

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geo1

Get ready! The general release of the NEW GeoWarehouse will be available on December 5, 2016.

When you log in after December 5th, you will land in the NEW GeoWarehouse. You will still be able to easily access GeoWarehouse Classic as a secondary option until January 31, 2017. We will provide you with instructions closer to the launch date.

Want to know what’s new with the New GeoWarehouse? Check out our video and discover how GeoWarehouse empowers land professionals with deep insights and unparalleled property tools that optimize workflows and make you the property expert. With new enhanced single search bar, improved map search and enriched comparable sales search, finding property information is now even easier.

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gw-house-under-snowWinter can be a tough season for real estate sales professionals. Cold weather makes it difficult to slog around generating leads – and getting leads is only half the battle. Once you land a deal if you are the:

  • Listing agent – you have to promote the beauty of the property for sale even though many features may be under snow. Your client may not have imagery of the exterior of their property when there was no snow and you are going to need it if you want to increase the likelihood of selling their home.
  • Agent representing the buyer – You have an even tougher job because winter is a difficult season for buyers too. Both the weather and difficulty viewing the exterior of a property makes it more challenging to make a buying decision. For your client to feel comfortable buying a home, they are going to want to see it in its entirety.

Thanks to technology, you no longer need to get out the shovel! You can show your client more using online tools.

Firstly, you are going to want to be in a position to do more on the go so that when you go on the road with your client, if you happen to come upon a property blanketed in snow, you are positioned to take action for your client.

This is going to mean investing in a tablet. Investing in a tablet will enable you to leverage online capabilities while on the road and give you the most opportunity to see as much as possible about a property.

Next, you should think about how to source more imagery with respect to the property in question. This all depends on what current real estate tools you are using.

  • If you are not a GeoWarehouse customer, you can use Google Maps to look at the property on a map and even drop yourself onto the street and view the property from the front. If the images of the property were taken by Google at a time when there was no snow on the ground, you can gain a decent view of a property’s frontage.
  • If you are a GeoWarehouse customer, you can view aerial, street and pivot view imagery of both the property and adjacent structures. Because GeoWarehouse is web-based, you can access the tool on your tablet through your internet browser.

The other thing that you can do to find more imagery relating to a property is Google the property address. If the property has been recently listed, the other listing agent may have promoted it online including different photos that you may be able to view.

At GeoWarehouse, we make buying and selling homes in the winter far easier.

Find out more about the various features by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca today. 

 

 

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November 7, 2016

rsz_not_showing_up_on_mlsIt used to be that MLS was the be all and end all information source for real estate sales professionals. However, over time, as technology and resources for real estate sales professionals have evolved, things have changed dramatically. People now sell their homes in a number of different ways and even transact in creative ways, leading to not all sales ending up on MLS.

The problem with this is, if a property is not registered on MLS, the sale won’t be either. In fact, in hot urban centers, real estate sales professionals are listing on more than just MLS. For example, Blog TO lists these top 5 sites real estate sales professionals are using to market their listings: thedirt.co, theredpin.com, realtor.ca, zoocasa.com and homebuyers.com. Read more on this here: http://www.blogto.com/tech/2013/05/the_top_5_real_estate_listings_sites_in_toronto/.

In the U.S., the practice of ‘Pocket Listings’ is becoming more and more common. It is essentially the practice of a real estate sales professional promoting and selling a property without promoting it on MLS, hence the term pocket listing – keeping the listing in their pocket.

And what about FSBO? While the DIY-ers who want to sell their homes themselves can now list on MLS with the assistance of a real estate sales professional for a small fee, many still choose not to, for whatever reason. Hot urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver can see an individual put a sign in front of their home and offers flooding in almost immediately. It all comes down to supply and demand and it seems in Canada we continue to enjoy a significant demand for real estate.

Catching fraud – often non arms-length and even nefarious transactions will occur off of MLS because these deals are negotiated privately. Being able to see all sales can help you to identify if there are transactions that raise a flag to you.

So, when it comes to representing a buyer or a seller, how can you ensure that they know as much as possible about the property they are purchasing?

There are different tools that offer robust sales data and they derive their data from different places – the local MLS, municipalities, management companies, etc…but which one is the most accurate?

The most accurate information source in Ontario for land registry information is the Province of Ontario Land Registry Information System (POLARIS). When the lawyer electronically transfers the title of a property in Ontario, it is immediately registered with the land registry.

If you want to access the most current information about a property, including a history of all transfers, parties and amounts, you are best served by working with a tool that derives its data from the provincial land registry.

There is great value in being able to provide as much information about a property as possible. Because land registries are administered provincially in Canada, the best way to find out what tools are available to you is to start with your local government. In Ontario, real estate sales professionals use Teranet’s GeoWarehouse.

To find out more about GeoWarehouse please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

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November 2, 2016

Join Jeremy Fisher, Leader, Product and Integrated Solutions, Teranet Inc. as he unveils the powerful NEW GeoWarehouse. Discover how GeoWarehouse empowers land professionals with deep insights and unparalleled property tools that optimize workflows and make you the property expert.

Want to find out more about the New GeoWarehouse? Please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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