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Archive for the 'Real Estate Sales Professionals' Category

Real estate fraud costs the industry more and more each year. A recent article in the Globe and Mail revealed that Equifax found that the number of mortgage applications flagged as potentially fraudulent has risen 52% since 2013 in Canada – that’s a major concern for all real estate sales professionals.

Typically, you, as the real estate sales professional, are the first professional in a chain of professionals who work on a real estate transaction to encounter a fraudster. This places you in a position to save yourself and the professionals you work with a significant amount of time and potential financial damages by identifying when something nefarious is taking place on a deal.

A property’s sales history is one way to quickly identify real estate fraud. Here are some tips on how you can use the property’s sales history to identify fraud:

  • Has the property changed hands several times in a short period of time?
  • Is the previous owner a corporation or have a series of previous owners been corporations?
  • Are strange entities on title, such as a mortgage holder?
  • Are the sales prices on property transfers strange and not consistent with similar properties in the area?

These are all things that the mortgage lender will likely look at. They are fraud indicators and could impact mortgage financing after you have done all the work to get the property sold and to negotiate the offer and acceptance. These are also things that mean the time may be right to ask further questions and start digging deeper.

How about identity theft? A fraudster may be able to obtain identification in someone else’s name – but will they likely know information about a property’s sales history that only a homeowner would know? Maybe not. Asking questions in this regard can be quite revealing.

When strange things come up on a property’s sales history, does it always mean that fraud is taking place. Often no, and many incidences can be explained with a little more research. However, sometimes those things that seem problematic, are. This is your signal to ask your client or the other real estate sales professional further questions and perform further due diligence. When no fraud is present, key questions will have been answered so you can package a stronger deal. If real estate fraud has taken place, your questions and increased due diligence will hopefully result in the fraudster running for the hills, leaving you and your colleagues and clients out of harm’s way.

The tools available from the NEW GeoWarehouse make identifying fraudulent activity using the property’s sales history easy. Find out more today by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca or calling 1-416-360-7542.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/mortgage-fraud-rising-in-canadas-hottest-housing-market/article33570435/

 

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We often blog about ways to know more about a deal you’re working on, being more efficient and cross-purposing your research tools to market new business – but how about cutting expenses? We dedicate this week’s blog to looking at how you can reduce costs and expenses related to your work.

Aside from marketing, the next biggest account you face as a real estate sales professional is the time you spend on the road. Showings, open houses and travelling back and forth from your office leads to time spent, gas, vehicle mileage and vehicle maintenance. These expenses add up and are nothing to sneeze at.

The easiest way to cut down on these expenses is to do more on the go, reducing time spent having to go to the office to perform research and prepare documents. Here are 3 ways that you can do it:

Invest in a tablet and technology to perform research when you are on sales calls. This makes investigating a potential listing’s property value, generating sales comps or neighbourhood demographics and more, right on the spot, quick and painless. Checking information on a property you are showing while at the showing makes the most of each appointment and directly cuts down on time in the office. At open houses, quickly look up answers to all questions asked about a property or the community without having to ‘get back’ to interested parties.

Sign documents electronically. Now that you are able to sign documents electronically, take advantage of it. Cut that extra trip to the office and a second client appointment by preparing and signing documents electronically when you are at a house that your client wants to make an offer on. You will also be able to secure more new client engagements as you can act as soon as the client indicates that they would like to move forward vs letting the prospect go home and potentially change their mind.

Communicate electronically. Gone are the days of faxing (or at least they should be). With electronic document signing capability, you should be able to swiftly send the documents to the other side of the transaction and also back and forth between you and your client. You can also share PDF reports.

You can also cut down on the tools that you pay for by choosing tools that do more. You should be able to research a property, a homeowner and prepare all documents in a single place.

Current GeoWarehouse customers – make sure to give these new opportunities a try. Not a GeoWarehouse customer yet? Find out more about this revolutionary new tool by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

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The reality is, that in real estate, closing costs most often come out of the house sales’ proceeds of the seller. Reviewing registered mortgages can be very revealing when it comes to vetting a seller – whether they are your client or not. Registered mortgages can help you identify if a seller lacks equity to cover the costs associated with closing the deal, including your fees. This also helps to identify riskier clients, and save valuable time.

Reviewing registered mortgages

When looking at registered mortgages, you can use amortization schedules to input the registration amount of the mortgage, and then set the amortization term and estimated interest rate to match the length of time the mortgage has been registered to get an idea of the balance. People often incorrectly estimate what they owe on their home, so calculating this will help you identify when less equity actually exists. After making an estimate, if it seems that the equity positioning will be tight, the next step is to request a discharge statement from the bank. The discharge statement will tell you not only what the current balance is but also reveal pre-payment penalties, which, in a scenario where a deal is tight, can make or break the deal.

Identifying riskier sellers

Aside from the obvious, which is identifying an under-stated first mortgage, you can use registered mortgages to identify riskier clients. When reviewing the registered mortgages, if the client has multiple mortgages registered, this may be a sign that you need to dig deeper Multiple mortgages can be an indicator that the client has underlying financial issues. If the client is purchasing their next home with you after the current one sells, you may want to expedite the mortgage pre-approval process.

Digging deeper

If you have reasons to believe that you are dealing with a risky client, it may be prudent to check the property for liens. Income tax, property tax, condo fee and construction liens come up all the time on real estate deals. Requesting a Parcel Register* enables you to look beyond registered mortgages and identify if liens are registered on the home. Income tax liens can be particularly challenging as penalties and interest on tax debts can cause them to grow exponentially over time, often resulting in a balance much higher than the amount of the registered lien. If you have run a Parcel Register* and a lien has surfaced, the next step, just as with a registered mortgage, is to request a discharge statement to learn the true balance.

It’s not the end of the world…

Reviewing registered mortgages the moment a seller engages you is essential. If something comes up, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t help your client. It simply positions you to plan contingencies to ensure a smoother closing. It enables you to ask more questions, obtain supporting documentation and show your client that you are a real estate expert, committed to getting the deal closed. Once you get to the bottom line you can guide your client through how they can get their deal closed.

With the NEW GeoWarehouse, you have the tools to easily identify issues with registered mortgages. Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca or calling 1-416-360-7542.

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

 

 

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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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September 26, 2016

real-estate-sales-professional-smDifferent types of properties mean a different closing process and the difference between representing a buyer and a seller means different responsibilities when representing the client. Representing the seller is especially onerous because everything originates with you. The pressure is on…

In most deals, everything rides on the accuracy of the seller’s information, especially with regard to closing costs, meaning your commission, the other side’s real estate sales professional and sometimes even the mortgage broker’s commission will come out of the closing costs of the transaction.

When you represent the seller, you not only represent your client but you will also have to work and exchange information with the real estate sales professional representing the buyer, the mortgage agent or broker and the real estate lawyer – each of these professionals is going to look to you for accurate information.

Responsibilities to seller – your client

Don’t expect your client to accurately know their information. People live in their homes over extended periods of time so they may have forgotten or not even be aware of material facts that could impact the clean sale of their home. It is always a smart idea, at the point where you are engaged by your client, to perform preliminary research, including:

  • Verifying the legal description and property details, including the legal homeowners
  • Reviewing the property’s sales history
  • Reviewing the registered mortgages on title against your estimate list value

Optional extra steps that we recommend taking when representing a seller:

  • Obtain a Parcel Register* which will contain (as of the date it is obtained) the legal description of the property, homeownership information, registered mortgages, liens and more. This is an excellent snapshot of aspects of the property’s title that other parties to the transaction, including your client, will be interested in looking at.
  • A HomeVerified Report reveals information about the claims history on a particular property. A clean property report is an excellent selling feature that your seller can present to a prospective buyer.

Taking the steps to validate/review the above information enables you to do the best possible job for your client and shows them that you are more than committed to protecting them in the sale of their home.

Representing the seller – you are the first in the process and the buck stops at you.

Who is relying on you? The buyer’s real estate sales representative and the real estate lawyer are going to require information from you to ensure a smooth closing. The level of quality that you deliver providing complete disclosure and knowing everything there is about the property that is being sold helps increase the likelihood of all parties seeing the deal close.

At GeoWarehouse, we have the tools that make your responsibilities easy. Don’t take chances, get the information you need today.

Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

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

 

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September 12, 2016

image-1-smWe think it’s pretty universal; there is one question, the main question, that every single homeowner would love the answer to: what is the value of their home? The answer to this question could literally be the determining factor in the homeowners’ decision to sell or stay in their home. This is especially true in super-hot urban markets like Vancouver and Toronto, their suburbs and even beyond – many homeowners have no idea what their home is really worth.

Look at Solange Bedoya for example, the matriarch of a family that moved to Barrie from bustling Toronto a few years ago. Her family’s main reason for buying in Barrie: affordability. Even when looking at increased transportation costs, the sheer cost of a home in Toronto when compared to Barrie made the decision a no-brainer. A mere 1½ hour Go Train ride or 1-hour commute in a vehicle means that many families are deciding to move outside even the immediate GTA suburbs to areas outside the city, which is resulting in home prices being pushed up in those areas.

Solange was recently approached by a real estate agent who asked her one simple question: would you like to know what your house is worth? Of course the answer was yes. Solange was stunned to learn that, in 3 short years, her property had increased in value by over $100,000. The most interesting thing about this interaction was that prior to Solange meeting that real estate sales professional, the thought of selling her home had not even occurred to her. After this interaction, it became a matter for consideration or at least a discussion with her husband.

Being able to tell clients what their home is worth is one talent that you have that you can leverage as a powerful marketing tool to attract new business – even cold business. Solange’s story shows us that this real estate sales professional, who was going door to door talking to owners about their home values, established new relationships that could potentially lead to future clients.

When the real estate professional was leaving, Solange said she didn’t hesitate to provide her contact information to the real estate sales professional who visited her and actually felt quite grateful for the insights she gleaned from the experience.

Targeting areas to market that have seen significant appreciation in value, quickly, are easier to identify than ever before. The very same tools that you use to research properties can also be used to target areas of interest. It’s always a good idea to have a tablet so that when out on the road, if you meet a client interested in talking to you about a potential sale price of their home, you can fire up your tools, like GeoWarehouse, and quickly access and provide the information needed to lead the conversation further.

With GeoWarehouse on your side, you can make endeavors such as this easier, and can take advantage of the possibilities hot markets present. Find out more by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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geo2Why does a client hire a real estate sales professional? Because they want to deal with an expert, a professional in real estate who can guide them through the purchase of a home.

Let’s be realistic – there are many different real estate sale professionals who have:

  • Different years of experience
  • Experience in different neighbourhoods
  • Experience with certain types of properties

Not everyone knows everything about every type of property in every area and quite frankly some professionals are new to the business and are still learning. However, no matter the years of experience or level of knowledge, the last thing any real estate sales professional wants is to be out at a showing and unable to answer questions.

When you show a property, the client could come out with a myriad of questions, especially if they are very interested. Not having answers will leave any client feeling like perhaps they haven’t chosen an expert.

In the past, real estate sales professionals would pull the MLS listings and a GeoWarehouse report for all the properties they planned to show, carting around a stack of paper. While looking at MLS listings and a GeoWarehouse report is still highly relevant – the time has come to explore other ways to ensure that the information is at your fingertips when your client asks.

First things first – a tablet is a must. Laptops are too bulky and smartphones are too small. Many companies like Teranet have developed mobile apps for real estate so that real estate sales professionals can do more on the go – but you want to make sure you can actually do those things efficiently so a tablet is your best bet.

Next – think about a cloud storage tool like Dropbox to store all of your documents online. Install their app on your tablet.

Now when working on deals you can load your GeoWarehouse report and MLS listings into Dropbox and when on the go use your real estate apps to pull up information about the property’s history, sales of other similar homes in the area, neighbourhood demographics and more.

Finally, when your client is ready to seal the deal, on that very tablet you can open up all the required real estate documents in your real estate app, create them and get your client to sign them electronically, later storing those documents in your Dropbox file with your other searches and documentation.

Look – as real estate sales professionals you work hard but you can’t be all things to all people. The tools and technology will really determine whether you are on your A game, or doing the real estate walk of shame.

GeoWarehouse and ViMO can help you become more efficient, giving you the ability to do more on the go. Want more info? Visit us today at www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

 

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November 25, 2015

geo2Sometimes basic due diligence can uncover things on a real estate deal that would otherwise open a can of worms and trigger a chain of actions that can become a major pain! Unfortunately, in real estate, from people who don’t accurately recount their information to out and out fraudsters, due diligence is one vital activity that is the burden of every real estate sales professionals.

Most real estate sales professionals, at the very least, when taking on a new listing will perform a property search to validate that their client is the legal homeowner. Now, some real estate sales professionals will go a step further to validate that the mortgages registered against a property match what the client disclosed at the time of engagement.

One very common thing that can come up on a new listing is an undisclosed mortgage or lien on the property being listed and depending on the amount borrowed/owed it could consume some or all of the property’s equity – in the worst circumstances, not even leaving anything left to pay commissions and closing costs.

Your due diligence may begin with a basic property search that could generate information that leads you to want to do some more digging. The next step in the evolution of due diligence in this regard would be to look at a Parcel Register*.

A Parcel Register* is going to tell you the legal owners and type of ownership, legal description, registered encumbrances – not exclusive to mortgages, these could be liens, easements and other types of registrations.

Should something solid be revealed on a Parcel Register* you can now go back to your client and question them. Perhaps there is a lien registered and they have the money to pay off the lien – but don’t have the contact information for the registrant.

The next step in the evolution of due diligence is to look at the Instrument Image associated to the registered lien in question. This will provide you with the registrant’s complete information including how to contact the registrant or their legal representative.

Next you may want to have a look at the sales history – particularly the amounts of transactions and who the buyers and sellers were.

Taking the basic measures above will ensure that you are spending your time working on good quality deals that have a high probability of closing which in the end makes you more profitable!

GeoWarehouse has the tools for both basic and more in depth due diligence. Ensure that you are covered – protect your own assets. Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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

 

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November 18, 2015

geo1Mortgage agents and brokers in Ontario heavily rely on the Equifax Credit Report to assess the credit worthiness and serviceability of an applicant. Really, if you think about this, a real estate sales professional could put together, based on the tools that they have in front of them, a veritable credit report that considers the client and the property being purchased and sold.

Let’s look at your average real estate transaction and its components – this is after the client has been landed – you are going to want to know the same things across the board about your client and property – negative attributes may prevent you from working with the client, positive ones let you know that you have a good, clean deal.

The property:

  • What is the sales history on the property – both transfer amounts but also transferees?
  • What is the legal description of the property?
  • What are the comparable sales in the area?
  • What things in the area are potential benefits or concerns?
  • If it is a condo – is the financial standing of the condo corporation good?

The customer:

  • Is your client currently the legal owner of a property?
  • Does your client have enough equity in a property being sold to finance the closing costs?
  • Does your client have enough equity in a property to finance the down payment of a subsequent purchase?
  • Does your client have multiple mortgages or liens against the property – this could be a sign that your client has financial problems?

These questions and more can be answered by performing a property search in a tool like GeoWarehouse which will enable you to validate who owns a property, its history, value, financial standing and more.

Creating your own form of credit check for your clients helps you identify potential challenges early on in the process of engaging a new client. You are the first in a series of professionals who will be called upon to work on the transaction you have originated – mortgage agents and brokers, lenders, appraisers, property inspectors, stagers, real estate lawyers, title insurance companies, property insurance companies – even the municipality.

Doing your part to vet the client not only saves you time and expense but also saves all the other professionals that will become a part of the transaction time too! This is not to mention that the due diligence measures outlined above also go a long way to cut down fraud in the mortgage industry.

GeoWarehouse can help you conduct this credit check – visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

 

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September 9, 2015

geoSome think that the role of a real estate sales professional is merely to represent buyers and sellers buying homes. However, one very important aspect of this role is the financial aspect which is one that extends beyond helping a buyer find a home and negotiating the process or listing a client’s home.

The financial aspect of real estate transactions can actually be sorted into 3 baskets:

  1. Your client’s ability to pay you
  2. Your client’s ability to obtain mortgage financing
  3. Your client’s ability to afford to carry the property that they want to buy

Aside from a client’s ability to pay you, the other 2 buckets sound somewhat like the activities of a mortgage agent or broker. Some real estate sales professionals will simply recommend that a client go to their bank or make a referral to a mortgage broker to secure mortgage financing. Doing so leaves you dependent on a third party to make your deals happen!

Over time and using technology, you likely have become more empowered as far as validating your clients’ financial ability to purchase a home and pay you – this is especially important when clients are not as honest as they could be – or when they forget information which is important.

Having provisions in your workflow that address the customer financial profile makes you more competitive because you will close more deals and not waste time on deals where clients can’t pay you or qualify for mortgage financing.

How review your client’s financial profile in 1-2-3

  1. Your client’s ability to pay you. This boils down to the equity in your client’s home if they are selling or the equity in the seller’s home if you are representing the buyer. In this regard you will need to review any financial encumbrances against the property that the commission will stem from. Using a tool like GeoWarehouse, you can run a property search and reveal registered mortgages and determine if in fact the equity is there. If you are concerned that there could be a lien you can go a step further and request a Parcel Register* which will give you even more information.
  2. Your client’s ability to secure mortgage financing. The same search of the registered mortgages on the property should give you some insight into whether or not the client will be able to get a mortgage – now this is at a very high level because most mortgages will also depend on the client’s credit and income – but – 1) If the client has 2 or 3 mortgages, that is a sign that the client could have financial problems, 2) If the client’s first or second mortgage is with a private individual it is a sign that the client couldn’t obtain institutional financing at some point which means there could be credit issues, 3) Equity – if the client has substantial equity it will not be difficult for the client to find financing regardless of poor credit.
  3. Your client’s ability to afford to carry to house they want to buy. For this we recommend that you have a mortgage calculator on your smartphone so that you can swiftly calculate mortgage payments for the client and then add them to estimates of utility costs and other expenses to give them an idea of a property’s carrying cost. Consider an app that offers a mortgage calculator that also tells you the bank’s daily mortgage rates – RateHub is a good example of a website that has lots of tools for calculating mortgage payments.

Real estate sales professional or mortgage broker – while some of you are both, at least having a basic process for assessing the financial aspects of the real estate transaction will make you more competitive and close more deals.

GeoWarehouse gives you the ability to do more – making your job that much easier and stopping questionable deals before they become issues. For more information, please visit http://www.geowarehouse.ca/marketing/index.php.

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

 

 

 

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