Archive for the 'Real Estate Tools' Category

February 19, 2019

Has a lack of property survey ever delayed your deal from closing? If so, you’re not alone.

A property survey can be immensely important — even more important than the deed, say some.

While not all lenders require property surveys, if you are dealing with one who does you know that it’s necessary. But what can you do if you don’t have, or can’t find, a survey?

The long answer might be to arrange for a new surveyor to come out, but this can get expensive and time-consuming — especially when you are waiting on a deal to go through and the survey is the last piece you need.

The short answer is simple: access it online!

GeoWarehouse has existing historical surveys available online in our e-store. If a survey for the property in question is available, you’ll be able to obtain it at the click of a button for much less than it would cost to get a new one.

Even if your lender doesn’t require a survey for the deal to close, it’s still a good idea to see if a historical copy exists.

According to the Toronto Star, a 2015 study by the surveyors at Protect Your Boundaries showed that of 1.2 million freehold residential properties in the GTA, an estimated 49% have significant boundary issues, most of which would not be covered by title insurance since they involve fences, hedges, and retaining walls.

Plus, if an issue comes up at the last minute, you’ll want to be prepared. The same Toronto Star article references a vendor who owned a house on the wrong side of a street, and one who owned the wrong half of a semi-detached house.

These may seem like extreme cases, but it is often better to be safe than sorry — particularly when it comes to closing a deal.

Obtaining a property survey can just be good due diligence. And accessing it online makes it so easy to do that you’ll want to make it part of your regular process.

Access your property surveys today through the GeoWarehouse e-store. If you don’t have an account, call us at 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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January 14, 2019

When it comes to determining property valuation, many of today’s real estate professionals are turning to online tools.

It makes sense. Online property value technology is faster and more convenient than a full appraisal. (Note: online property valuation is a nice complement to an appraisal but shouldn’t replace an appraisal entirely.)

Depending on the information source, online technology can be extremely accurate and provide you with an abundance of information at the click of a finger.

But as online evaluations grow, so too do the tools available for the task. What property evaluation technology is best to use? We turned to the reviews for what users had to say.

  1. MPAC Assessment

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation determines property assessments for municipal tax purposes. It can be useful for real estate professionals determining a property’s value.

That said, MPAC has its limitations. For instance, the tax value can be very different from the appraised value.

“Many clients look at the Assessed Value (which is often publicly available online on your municipality’s website) and assume that the number provided represents the current market value,” wrote Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation.

“While there are a few instances where the Assessment might equal the current value, it is important to understand that this would only be a coincidence as both values are unique and are done for different purposes at different times.”

The definition of market value can assume a hypothetical and perfect market — not taking into account fluctuations or extenuating circumstances.

The Bottom Line: While MPAC can be a good tool in your property value wheelhouse, it shouldn’t be the only tool that you rely on.

  1. emili

emili is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) decision system for mortgage insurance. It can automatically consider key factors such as the borrower, the property, the market, and the overall risk.

There is one thing that is important to know. If you are using property valuation tools to comply with mortgage stress testing, unfortunately emili is not enough.

emili does not provide a value for a property being financed. Instead it evaluates an area and, based on the value in that area, agrees or disagrees with the value stated on the application. This means that when emili agrees or disagrees with a value, you are not actually obtaining the value of the specific property being financed.

The Bottom Line: While emili has its uses, it shouldn’t be your only online property valuation tool.

  1. ca/MLS

Realtor.ca – the former Multiple Listing Services — is a well-known listing advertising site. But that is where it’s limited. It does not display historical or sold data.

According to reviewers, Realtor.ca:

  • Has limited search functions.
  • Doesn’t always show the newest listings.
  • Isn’t always up to date – some of the listings may have already sold or sold conditionally.
  • Shares incomplete listing info. Public listings don’t include property taxes, number of days on the market, and more.

The Bottom Line: Realtor.ca continues to be a good tool for advertising listings and real estate marketing, but it shouldn’t be used as a property valuation tool. For one thing, it doesn’t always show the most complete listing data. But for another, it is limited. You can only find properties currently on the market — you can’t search for properties that are not yet listed.

  1. GeoWarehouse

GeoWarehouse is Teranet’s property valuation solution, powered by the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS).

We have worked hard to create a database that is accessible, comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what others have to say:

Elle Peterson, Sales Representative, Kenora Home and Cottage Realty Inc.

“I have found that the GeoWarehouse reports have helped me to be successful in real estate by using the neighborhood sales report when showing clients recent sales in their area.

“GeoWarehouse reports have been helpful in providing the survey of the land and in identifying neighboring lots, as well as in getting particulars on these lots such as who owns them. This is valuable to a buyer, so he/she will know in advance who their neighbour would be. It also helps a seller to have an idea of property lot lines in the event there is no survey.

“I have had success with clients in using the GeoWarehouse reports, specifically the property details to show the particulars of a property including the legal description and how much the property sold for and when it last sold.”

Asghar Jafri

“GeoWarehouse’s map is up to date and it helped me find the location easily. I could not find the same location in TREB’s maps.

“I was able to get a comparables report easily. The report gave me a quick list which I used to hone in on the best comparables.”

Brian Wilson, Broker of Record – GlobeCorp Realty, Brokerage

“I use GeoWarehouse regularly to help me in preparing valuation reports for my clients, both buyers and sellers. It is an invaluable piece of the pie in helping to determine what properties in the area have sold for and helps to form a better picture for my clients about the value of their property (or prospective property). GeoWarehouse has enabled me to provide a higher level of service to my clients, and as such I’m seen as a better educated service provider (REALTOR). Thanks to the GeoWarehouse team!”

Gail Johnson, Sales Representative – Prudential Town Centre Realty Inc., Brokerage

“Your GeoWarehouse on-line course says it all. GeoWarehouse makes my job easier because the database is:

1- Convenient – access the system, with varying degrees of support, for up to 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

2- Timely – Title Data contained in the GeoWarehouse database is current to within 2 to 3 weeks and Parcel Registers are delivered directly from the POLARIS database.

3- Flexible – you can search records by Owner Name, Address, Instrument or PIN or search aerial maps; and

4- Reliable – data is derived from the POLARIS database.”

See more reviews of our GeoWarehouse system here: https://www2.geowarehouse.ca/testimonials/

If you would like to try GeoWarehouse for yourself, get in contact today. We’ll walk you through the features and explain exactly how it all works to help you determine the most accurate property value available.

Call 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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2019 is right around the corner. A new year means a new approach — especially for property searches.

We’ve written about how the Canadian real estate market is in a state of flux. And that’s likely to continue in 2019. This means you need to evaluate the methods you’re using in your real estate business and look for a better way of working.

If the last time you reviewed your property search technique was when interest rates were still 0.5%, read on.

Tip #1: Be Non-Traditional

Traditional housing styles, like single-family detached homes, are still popular, but there are many non-traditional dwelling types rising in the ranks.

Condos, row houses, multi-family living, and the like are becoming the new norm, especially in larger areas.

Consider shifting your sales focus to include dwelling types you may not have thought about before.

Tip #2: Think Outside of the Box… or the City

Large cities like Toronto and Vancouver are still popular but are also some of the least affordable areas of the country. More and more people are opting to live further away and commute in for work… or potentially not commute at all if they have the option of working remotely.

Some people are leaving the GTA for homes in Niagara Falls, for instance. This may seem like a long trek, but if you only have to be in the office one or two days a week (or less) it may be worth it.

Don’t be afraid to consider properties outside of your normal selling area and tell clients about opportunities they might not even have thought about.

Tip #3: The More, the Merrier

Another trend that’s been blowing up in 2018: friends buying homes together and multi-generational living.

As homeownership becomes more expensive, some buyers are choosing to go in on real estate together rather than continuing to rent. This is happening across generations, from younger women buying a house together, to widows moving in together and hiring help rather than moving to an assisted care facility.

Check out this story about these modern day Golden Girls: https://www.theloop.ca/watch/entertainment/fun/meet-the-real-life-canadian-golden-girls/5850964297001/5850860215001/the-social/.

If a buyer is not finding anything in their price range, consider suggesting some outside-of-the-box living arrangements.

Tip #4: Use Demographics

A savvy property searcher doesn’t only look for dwellings that are already on the market. They put them on the market themselves.

While it’s ideal when a client approaches you for help selling their home, you can also source homes to sell by using demographic reports. For instance, if you search in your selling area for neighbourhoods populated by older couples with no children, you might identify properties where homeowners are looking to downsize.

If you find a neighbourhood popular with millennials, they may be considering starting a family soon and looking for more space.

Demographics can tell you a lot about potential clients and help you discover leads before they are even on the market.

Tip #5: Get Social

Networking has always been one of the most important parts of a real estate professional’s job, and social media has made that easier than ever.

Join neighbourhood groups, participate in discussions, and look for connections online. If you don’t have a social media presence already, start one. If you do have one, consider how you could be making better use of it.

Social networking can help you find new leads and clients before they come to you. See a friend or neighbour who is thinking about starting a new business? Message them to chat about commercial space opportunities.

Have an acquaintance welcoming a baby? You might consider sending a gift basket and asking if they are considering looking for more space.

Tip #6: Review the Tools You’re Using

Are you using the most accurate, up-to-date property search technology available? It may be time to reassess the tools that you’re using for your searches.

For instance, GeoWarehouse’s property data comes from the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS). The information you receive is the most accurate you’ll find. Plus, it’s updated in real time, so you can trust that you’re receiving the latest numbers.

If you’re serious about upgrading your property search techniques, consider switching to GeoWarehouse!

Want to learn more about our tools? Call 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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December 3, 2018

We are excited to announce new enhancements for the GeoWarehouse® solution.

Effective immediately, users will now be able to add several new features to their property search repertoire.

Available now:

  1. Basic Client Report

This new, one-page PDF report contains the most essential information. You’ll be able to get a short, but information packed, overview at your fingertips.

  1. Business Card Inserting

 Users can now insert their business cards into the PDF reports.

  1. Easier Condo and Townhouse Searches.

With condos and townhouses rising in popularity across the Canadian housing market this will help you find available properties faster.

  1. Insert Static Street View

 Users can now insert Static Street View images into PDFs.

  1. Saved LRO Available Across Multiple Browsers

Map window displays with saved land registry offices (LROs) are now supported across multiple browsers.

We have worked hard to make GeoWarehouse® a comprehensive solution for you. We hope you enjoy these enhancements when conducting property searches, accessing Parcel Registers and Instrument Images, and more.

If you have any questions, please call us at 416.360.7542 or 1.866.237.5937 or email us at GeoWarehouseFeedback@teranet.ca 

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November 23, 2018

The Canadian real estate market is in a state of fluctuation, which can make determining a listing price difficult to say the least.

Between rising interest rates, mortgage stress testing regulations, uncertain house prices, increased competition, and the like, there are many factors that might be affecting your usual process for determining property value.

That said, there are several practices that you can use to set a listing price no matter what is happening in the Canadian housing market. Here are our top picks.

  1. Assess the Property Details

This is step number one because it should be on your list regardless of market conditions. You need to understand the property details. For instance, what year was the home built? What data is included in the Land Registry?

In order to start thinking about your listing price, you need to know the answers to these questions and more.

  1. Get an AVM

You may have considered getting an appraisal done — this can be a great idea. But have you thought about an automated valuation model (AVM) report as well?

An AVM report can confirm home value, ownership, and other details quickly and efficiently. It can estimate property value by comparing and analyzing property characteristics against public record data.  It doesn’t replace an appraisal, but it is a good companion to one.

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.

  1. Consider the MPAC Assessment

MPAC is the largest assessment jurisdiction in North America. It determines revenue requirements, municipal tax rates, and property tax collection for the Government of Ontario.

An MPAC assessment isn’t always the same as a property appraisal, and often listing prices are different from MPAC’s valuation. That said, it is still valuable information that can be used in your determination.

  1. View the Sales History

Along with the property details, you will also want to consider the sales history. While today’s market may be very different from the last time this house sold (particularly if it is an older home), that data is still important to review.

  1. Look Up Comparable Sales

One of the best ways to determine home value is to see how comparable properties are selling. You can get a real-time view of what similar houses have sold for and use that to set your listing price.

You can also narrow your search by neighbourhood to specifically understand the area where you are selling. Certain regions will be more desirable based on factors like school proximity, parks, shopping areas, and the like. This will stay in style even with a market shift.

  1. Use a House Price Index

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index is released every month with up-to-date information on house prices across Canada. This digs into 11 different markets and the house price trends those regions are experiencing.

This is important for you to know when making your assessment.

  1. Examine Market Insights

In a shifting real estate market, you want to stay on top of the latest real estate trends. For instance, if you know that condos are some of the most popular dwelling types for millennials, and you are trying to set a listing price for a condo in an area that appeals to millennials, that will help make your decision.

The Teranet Market Insights Report is released regularly and contains data that you can use for your property valuation needs.

While it may be simpler to set listing prices during non-turbulent housing market conditions, it’s still possible to do so in more uncertain times. Be sure to do your due diligence and assess information from multiple sources. Trends can change so fast that you need to stay on top of the data.

Luckily, GeoWarehouse makes it easy to stay informed up-to-the-minute. Our property reports take data from the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS), so you can trust the reports you receive are accurate and timely. They are also available almost instantly, so you can make a decision with the latest figures.

Learn all about our GeoWarehouse reports today. Call 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

Want more information on determining a listing price? Download our free eBook, Digital Property Evaluation in 1-2-3! Get your copy here: http://www2.geowarehouse.ca/property-evaluation-general/.

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November 12, 2018

A Parcel Register* is an important part of any real estate sales professional’s arsenal.

With one search, you can find an incredible amount of information about a property.

Many real estate agents and other professionals use Parcel Registers* to find the:

  • Legal property address. This is important for contracts.
  • Property identification number.
  • Legal homeowners. Sometimes other people are on title that aren’t disclosed to you.
  • Types and percentages of homeownership. A joint tenancy is the most common, but there can be other strange ones that can come up, such as “life interest.”
  • Registration and transfer history. This can identify real estate fraud and other issues.
  • The dates, parties to and amounts of transfers and mortgage registrations. This can identify undischarged mortgages that can delay closings, higher mortgages than disclosed, and the like.
  • Liens and charges on title.
  • Other registrations that you may want to look into, like strange restrictive covenants and easements. If there is an instrument registered against the property, you can also take your investigation a step further and get an Instrument Image*.

Some real estate sales professionals use Parcel Registers* only when something feels “off” about a deal. This is by no means a bad strategy — you need to trust your instincts, especially if you’ve been in business for a while. Even if nothing turns out to be untoward, it’s still vital that you do your due diligence.

Other real estate sales professionals use Parcel Registers* for every deal, whether something feels off or not. This can also be a good strategy. After all, you know the costs of a bad deal going through or of having trailing liabilities. A Parcel Register* gives you an easy way to vet your clients and property information.

At GeoWarehouse, our Parcel Registers* come from property data taken directly from, the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS). You can trust this data is the most accurate information available.

Want to dig deeper? Parcel Registers*, as well as Instrument Images* and many other documents, are available online through the GeoWarehouse eStore.

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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

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November 6, 2018

Real estate sales professionals, do you serve the condo market in your sales territory? If not, you should consider starting. If you already do, read on for tips to help you sell even more.

In many cities, the condo market is a sweet spot because it is the cheapest entry point into the housing market. For example, in Toronto or Vancouver you can still buy property for $500,000 in the condo market — handy for new homeowners who would be priced out of larger homes.

Whether you are selling in the Toronto condo market, the Vancouver condo market, or another area, there’s a lot of room for opportunity — especially if you use a real estate tool like GeoWarehouse.

In the past, when real estate agents would search for a condo address, it would be difficult to source the unit or suite. Now, however, they filter by floor, parking, or even by storage level in GeoWarehouse to get the unit data they seek.

With these search functionalities, the possibilities expand. Now you can use GeoWarehouse to get the same property report information on the condo market that you would on other dwelling types.

For instance, you could:

  • See all condo units in a building.
  • Search by level if the suite number or address is missing.
  • Look up related Property Identification Numbers (PINs) for condos to find the property report, including plans and surveys, valuation information, and sales history.
  • Access the full legal description for every condo unit.
  • Find out if the condo owner has additional assets, such as parking or storage lockers.
  • Look up common name information.
  • Search for condominium corporation information.
  • Find the date of condominium declaration.

The GeoWarehouse data team has been hard at work updating the addresses for close to a million condo properties in the past year. Can you think of how you could use this information?

Access your condo market data today to use in your real estate marketing and property searches. It’s all part of your GeoWarehouse subscription.

Not a subscriber? Contact us today. Call 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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There are many advantages to being a paperless real estate professional. And with electronic real estate technology, it’s easier than ever.

Traditional handwritten signatures can be an inconvenient process. You might find yourself scanning and faxing paperwork back and forth between agents. Electronic signatures can significantly improve your process.

  • It will save you money – you’ll be using less paper, less ink, and less staff resources.
  • It will save you time – there will be less back-and-forth between agents and parties.
  • It is safe – most electronic signature software is tamper-proof and permanent.
  • It preserves the quality of official documents – you’re probably familiar with how faxing documents (especially multiple times) can reduce the legibility of text.
  • You can close deals faster.
  • It complements other electronic real estate technology (more on this in a bit).

If you’re re-entering the real estate market, electronic signature technology is one of the most convenient new tools available. Many deals today are done over email – even money can be transferred electronically. Electronic signing allows you to offer more accessibility to your clients.

There are some great real estate tools available made specifically for electronic signing. DocuSign is one example. Whether you’re buying, selling, or refinancing, DocuSign helps centralize all of your real estate documents, and get electronic signatures to complete agreements faster.

As we mentioned above, going digital can complement other real estate tools in your arsenal. When you can organize and store most client data electronically, you can sync it with your other client databases and create a sturdy data system for finding new real estate leads, marketing opportunities, and more.

Paperless real estate technology is changing the game. Take GeoWarehouse for example. Our tools are completely accessible online, including property reports with information from the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS), Parcel Registers*, condo status certificates, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about our services. Visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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Real estate appraisers, developers, and contractors, how do you determine property valuation?

Traditional property valuation and even automated valuation models (AVMs) have historically been geared towards estimating property value, but the digital property valuation of today is so much more.

Our FREE new eBook will walk you through how you can leverage technology to perform a digital property evaluation and reap all the valuable information therein.

This is eBook is perfect for anyone who regularly relies on unique property information, such as a sales history, property ownership information, or home appraisals.

In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • What a digital property evaluation should include.
  • The critical components to success.
  • Ways to locate and ways to investigate a property.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how to use property data to both investigate properties and identify new opportunities.

This eBook is available today for free. Just click here to get started downloading.

GeoWarehouse is your source for property searches and more. All of our data comes from the Province of Ontario Land Registry Information System, meaning that it’s accurate, up-to-date, and available when you need it.

Learn more about our digital property valuation tools today. Contact John Singh at 416-360-8863 ext. 2557 or email john.singh@teranet.ca.

 

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Real estate technology is creating a lot of advancements, including when it comes to property surveys. Did you know that you can often access land survey records online?

A survey can provide potential issues, such as fencing that extends past the property line, or an overhanging garage roof. In the past, obtaining a survey has been a major cost and inconvenience, especially when a new survey is required. But some services offer the ability to access online property surveys and plans.

A survey can also reveal important information to your client. For example, if they plan to put in a double garage, they’ll need to check if the property is zoned for one. Or maybe your client wants to use part of their property for a business. A survey can reveal these restrictions that may pose problems later.

Whether your client is buying or selling a house, a property survey may be required.

  • When buying a home, you might need to confirm that what is being sold is actually for sale.
  • When selling a home, you may need to confirm what land is actually available for sale.  
  • If considering building or renovating, permits for many exterior projects require survey plans.
  • Boundary disputes: a survey plan can help quickly resolve this.

GeoWarehouse offers online property surveys and plans, so if your client needs a survey, check our store first — we might have one available for the property in question.

In our online store, subscribers can access plan images, such as reference plans and plans of subdivision. This can help identify property boundaries and their location. You can also view an image of the Survey Plan portion of a Surveyor’s Real Property Report, Building Location Survey, or other undeposited Plan provided by third-party surveying firms. This can grant you dimensions of boundaries and structural elements on the land.

If a survey is available online, it can save you a lot of time and money and make you look even better to your client. Online property surveys cost a lot less than requesting a whole new survey! The time to get it is also vastly reduced as its delivered electronically.

Don’t let a sale be delayed because of a lack of survey — the next time your client needs a property survey, check online first. Search for surveys and plans in the GeoWarehouse Store. If you’re not already a subscriber, become one today at www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

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