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Archive for January, 2018

January 25, 2018

Our GeoWarehouse® Solution will be down from Friday, January 26 at 10:15 p.m. until Saturday, January 27 at 3:30 a.m.

During this maintenance window, you will not be able to login to our online solution or make purchases through the e-store.

We apologize for any inconvenience this maintenance might cause you.

If you have further questions, or need assistance, please do not hesitate to call us at 416.360.7542 or 1.866.237.5937 or email us at GeoWarehouseFeedback@teranet.ca.

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During the winter, it can be tempting to make like a bear and hibernate until spring. But you don’t have to wait for the melt to start creating amazing listings — winter listings can be just as incredible. But as with most things in real estate marketing it’s up to you to make sure someone who is listing or looking for a home knows it.

The good news — technology makes doing this that much easier!

You can use your real estate marketing tools to build listings that show more — such as aerial imagery. Show how a property looks from the sky. It can even include adjacent properties and structures, which can really a potential buyer visualize the size of the yard when it’s not covered in snow.

And don’t forget about street view imagery. This will let potential buyers know how their property looks from the street at warmer times of year.

Winter listings also have a decided upside. Anyone who’s spent a winter in Canada knows how essential winter road maintenance is to your quality of life. So, shopping for a house in the winter, or putting a home on the market, can let would-be buyers gauge how the city or town maintains the streets, for example.

Another benefit of winter listings — if you get a home inspected during the winter season, it allows you to see how the home does in the most extreme weather. Buyers will get a taste of what type of shape the home is in. If you’re seeing a home in the spring or summer, you’re not necessarily thinking about heat retention or drafty areas — things that make the difference in home comfort.

Still not convinced winter listings are an untapped market? We’ve got plenty more reasons to put more focus on them. Consider the following:

  • Research shows homes listed in the winter actually sell faster. A winter home shopper is more likely to have to move for a reason — either a selling deadline, a job, expanding family, etc. Which means they are more primed to buy.
  • The slower season is a good time to try out different techniques. Especially if you’re still building up your real estate business, the winter season can be a good time to tweak and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts when there are fewer sellers demanding your time.
  • Shovelling a driveway for showings is much easier than maintaining a lawn and garden.
  • And finally, let’s not forget, Canadian interest rates are increasing. They’re likely to go up again in 2018. A potential buyer shopping now may be able to lock in at a lower mortgage rate than will be offered in the coming, warmer months — an unfortunate reality you can use to your advantage.

With the right real estate marketing mindset, you can take the challenge of selling a house in winter and turn it into an opportunity.

GeoWarehouse has the tools to help you make the most of your winter listings. Access aerial imagery, street views, property information, and more.

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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Working with appraisers is a big part of any real estate professional’s job, and while we’re always talking about how to leverage the resources available through an automated valuation model (AVM), appraisers can play an important role in the process.

AVM reports can be used to mitigate risk by confirming value, ownership and other factors quickly and efficiently. However, that doesn’t mean the appraiser is out of the picture! What are the key differences with automated valuation model vs appraisal? How does each one work? Better yet, how do they work together?

Let’s take a look at each and how combining both an appraisal and an AVM can maximize potential and minimize risk.

First, an AVM is just that – it’s automated and does not involve an on-site property inspection. AVMs estimate property value by comparing and analyzing property characteristics against public record data. While an AVM can’t review interior and exterior property conditions, some include street view imagery that can help identify issues with exterior conditions, such as property boundary discrepancies. It’s great to leverage automation and historical data analysis to generate the latest information on pricing and ownership and create a big picture report.

The main difference between an automated valuation model versus an appraiser is that an appraiser can look at both the interior and exterior condition in greater detail than any AVM. They also have a more intimate knowledge about sales of comparable properties in close proximity to the property in question.

What are some of the things working with appraisers can bring to the table that you can’t get with an automated valuation report? An appraiser can…

  1. Tell you if the house is really there! A computer can’t drive by a house to see if it’s actually located where it’s supposed to be, is the actual house it claims to be, or even if it has a roof.
  2. Advise if unique property features might add to or detract from market value. An AVM can only provide an estimated value; it can’t account for nearby amenities that may impact value, such as schools or railroad tracks, for example.
  3. Clarify what makes the comparables comparable. A computer can’t find out why a property is on the market, for example.
  4. Provide more info on the local sales market trends than an AVM can.
  5. Find out if there is a conflict of interest.

Finally, an appraisal is completed by a human, which can make all the difference in closing a deal.

Sure, AVMs are less expensive than on-site appraisals, and saving money is one key factor in their appeal. Plus with the resources an AVM has to offer immediately available at the click of a mouse, they also save busy real estate sales professionals time

Appraisals are based on the knowledge and opinions of a trusted, professional appraiser who has experience on their side. While the objectivity of AVMs aren’t prone to human error or bias, they can’t provide the level of detail and experience that an appraiser can bring to the transaction. Instead, they offer you the ability to get accurate, objective, data-driven numbers, something you can’t get from an appraiser.

At the end of the day, the convenience of AVMs is great, but they become even more powerful when coupled with an onsite appraisal. When the deal looks viable, you can’t go wrong by combining the resources and information provided by both an appraisal and an AVM.

With an AVM, you can quickly confirm basics such as financing challenges, property value and property title issues. Once you feel confident enough to proceed, you can then call in an appraisal to confirm the details and raise any issues on the property conditions an AVM cannot perform.

Coupling the powerful resources of a program that uses AVM technology, such as GeoWarehouse, with working with appraisers can help you mitigate significant risk on deals. By beginning with an AVM report you can quickly determine if an in-person, on-site appraisal is even required.

Haven’t you heard about GeoWarehouse? It’s a powerful program that thousands of real estate sales professionals are using to help mitigate risk. You can learn more at www.geowarehouse.ca.

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In December the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price IndexTM  edged up 0.2% from the previous month, interrupting a three-month run of declines. However, only five of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed showed index increases. The one-tick rise of the composite index was due to a 1.3% jump of the index for the large Vancouver market. The other indexes showing gains were Winnipeg (1.9%), Halifax (1.9%), Ottawa-Gatineau (0.4%) and Edmonton (0.1%); without Vancouver their combined gain would not have offset the combined decline of the indexes for Toronto (−0.3%), Victoria (−1.0%), Calgary (−0.6%), Hamilton (−0.5%) and Montreal (−0.2%). The index for Quebec City was flat.

For the Toronto index it was a fifth consecutive decline. However, the raw index* for Toronto rose 0.2% in November and 0.1% in December. If it edges up again or stays flat in January, the sequence of monthly declines of the smoothed index would then be interrupted. The upticks of Toronto’s raw index in the last two months of 2017 can be laid to the desire of some buyers to acquire housing before January 1, when a new and stiffer eligibility rule comes into effect on qualification for an uninsured mortgage.

  Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index™

For the Vancouver index it was an eighth consecutive month without a decline, a period over which it rose 13.2%. That breaks down as 16.7% for condos and 10.2% for other housing. Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax were the only indexes to reach a new record in December.

In December the composite index was up 9.1% from a year earlier, the smallest 12-month gain since May 2016 and the fifth straight deceleration from record 14.2% gains in June and July. The December 12-month rise was led by Vancouver (16.0%), Victoria (11.5%), Hamilton (11.3%) and Toronto (9.0%). Montreal’s 12-month gain was 7.0%, less than the countrywide average but noteworthy. The 12-month advance was well above the rate of inflation in Ottawa-Gatineau (5.1%), Winnipeg (4.0%) and Halifax (3.6%). It was much smaller in Calgary (0.5%), Quebec City (0.4%) and Edmonton (0.2%).

Among 14 markets not included in the countrywide composite index, indexes for Sudbury, Guelph and St. Catharines–Niagara were down for a third consecutive month, the index for Oshawa for a fifth. All 14 markets were nevertheless up from a year earlier, though the 12-month increase ranged widely, from 3.8% in Thunder Bay to 19.0% in London.

For the full report including historical data, please visit our website: www.housepriceindex.ca

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Investing in real estate is one of the most popular ways to make money. Despite predictions of market downturns, real estate continues to grow better than many other investments. Real estate can be a key part of an overall investment portfolio and retirement planning strategy for smart investors.

However, building a real estate investment portfolio is not for everyone. In most cases, building a real estate investment portfolio is not for people who are looking for a quick gain. While investing in real estate can be financially rewarding, there are also downsides.

Real estate investing, at its simplest, is where money is made from rents, not real estate value appreciation. There’s always an expectation that property will go up in value, but that doesn’t always happen. The market may bottom out, or owners may have to sell suddenly, losing money on carefully considered investments. Plus, investing in the residential market, such as with a rental property, may mean investors need to be prepared for midnight phone calls from tenants.

This is where you come in as a trusted real estate professional. Working with your clients, you can do the necessary investigative work to help build their real estate investment portfolio.

Investors, developers and property owners remain positive, if cautious, about the outlook for Canada’s real estate market in the year ahead. The rest of Canada faces unique regional challenges, while the lack of supply in Toronto and Vancouver continues to drive high demand. There isn’t a single market where savvy investors can’t find opportunities to invest if they leverage the right technology and do the required research and legwork.

Many investors have a sizeable portion of their overall net worth tied to a hard asset such as owning their own home, or paying off a mortgage. The key thing to remember is that no one asset type should take up more than 50% of any investment portfolio, but what takes up that 50% differs from investor to investor.

Before investing in real estate, clients need to be prepared to undertake extensive background research on the property, the market and potential tenants, as well as to check for any issues relating to the property. Information that you, their real estate sales professional, can provide easily and quickly with the right tools at your fingertips.

Most people want to invest their money so they have something for their retirement to help supplement whatever retirement plan they may have. Do you invest in RRSPs or real estate? Check this out: http://www.moneysense.ca/save/retirement/retirement-planning-real-estate-rrsps/

In fact, some say storage facilities are the new hot investment trend: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/canadas-new-real-estate-war/

How are you helping clients looking at investing in real estate in today’s real estate market? Join the conversation @GeoWarehouse.

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What is due diligence in real estate? As a real estate sales professional, you already know that performing real estate due diligence is an important part of your daily routine in mitigating the risk of real estate fraud. With due diligence, you can unearth significant transaction issues that could have meant serious problems had you missed the warning signs early in the process. But what is due diligence in real estate, really?

Every real estate professional’s worst nightmare is not catching real estate fraud. Without the proper tools and knowledge of what to look for, it can be all too easy to miss the problematic details. You need to learn how to use the right tools to mitigate risk and not find yourself in the middle of real estate fraud. Everyone in the real estate business has to constantly be on their toes.

Due diligence is your best tool to avoid fraud. What types of real estate fraud might you encounter? The most common are title fraud and value fraud.

Title fraud can mainly be avoided with title insurance. However, due diligence is easy in this case – even though you should independently verify who is on title to the home, you also need to interview the borrowers. Be thorough in your interview by asking for identification, questions about the home, sales history, even things in the area that may help you identify potential problems.

Another situation you should be watching for when performing real estate due diligence is value fraud. This is a form of mortgage fraud where the value of a home is deliberately appraised above its market value. The overstated value is commonly used to help a seller get a better price than the market would warrant.

Whether you are trying to prevent fraud or simply keep a deal viable, performing your due diligence starts at the application stage. What is due diligence in real estate? It starts with verifying the buyers’ and sellers’ information:

For sellers:

  • Ask to see your client’s identification.
  • Confirm that your client is the legal homeowner.
  • Check that your client is the only legal homeowner (and if they are not, make sure you know who all other legal homeowners are before proceeding).
  • Ensure that there is enough equity to cover closing costs – including your commission – on registered mortgages.
  • Review the property’s sales history for suspicious activity or other issues.

For buyers:

  • Ask to see the client’s identification.
  • Ensure that your client is able to finance a mortgage.
  • When a client tells you that the purchase depends on another property’s sale, check that there’s enough equity on the other property to finance another purchase (including land transfer taxes and related closing costs).

As a real estate sales professional, you know it pays to do your due diligence from day one on every transaction. You work hard to do your research, using the right tools to validate your clients’ information first to ensure a successful deal and eventual close – make it count.

Even if the most trustworthy client provides all the right documents, such as a recent MPAC assessment, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t independently verify a prospective client’s information – it’s not only due diligence, it’s smart.

What is due diligence in real estate? It’s about leveraging online tools and technology, like GeoWarehouse, to mitigate the risk of fraud and save substantial time and money. Not a GeoWarehouse subscriber yet?

Learn more about how you can use this powerful resource to easily and efficiently perform your due diligence, visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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