Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

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 is a lot of opportunity available for private investors in real estate. Often, though, we hear about private investors who find it hard to compete with big investment firms who have deep pockets and seemingly endless resources.

There is a way to level the playing field, though: real estate technology.

You need access to technology that not only helps you source deals, but also properly evaluate what a property is worth in order to make effective buying decisions.

Our FREE new eBook will walk you through exactly how to use this technology to source more properties, find opportunities before they’re listed, and be more competitive.

In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • How to access the same property data large investment firms use.
  • A better way to investigate potential investment areas.
  • About property investment tools that can help you evaluate the property’s financial position quickly and accurately.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how to compete with larger investors with deeper pockets and understand what technology can help you get there.

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 how we can assist with your real estate investment business today. Contact John Singh at 416-360-8863 ext. 2557 or email john.singh@teranet.ca.

 

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August 27, 2018

Helping Clients Find A Down Payment They Can Afford

One dollar isn’t that much money in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to buying a house it can make all the difference.

Back in February of 2016, Canadian mortgage rules tightened concerning mortgages over $500,000. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced changes to the required down payments.

This is how much down payment is required per house purchase price:

Purchase price of home: $500,000 or less

Minimum down payment required: 5% of the purchase price

Purchase price of home: $500,000 to $999,000

Minimum down payment required:

  • 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price
  • 10% for the portion of the purchase price above $500,000

Purchase price of home: $1 million or more

Minimum down payment required: 20% of the purchase price

Those who are self-employed or who have poor credit history may be required to provide a larger down payment. With new mortgage stress test rules, it may be beneficial for a client to put down a more significant down payment to pass the stress test.

This might be a miniscule difference when it is on a smaller scale, however, it can quickly increase.

Take for instance a client who wants to purchase a $400,000 house vs. a $600,000 house ($20,000 minimum down payment vs. $35,000 minimum down payment). Or a client who wants to purchase a $900,000 house vs. a $1.1 million house ($65,000 vs. $220,000 minimum down payment).

It’s possible that real estate sales professionals might not even feel this impact because people are getting declined when looking for mortgage pre-approvals, therefore they never engage a real estate agent.

How can you help a client who wants to buy, and is on the line?

  • Independently check the values of interest properties. Make sure the property values are in line with the price being advertised.
  • Look for pockets where the client could get into the market – different neighbourhoods, dwelling types, etc. One neighbourhood might be out of their range, but they could get the same-sized house a little further away.
  • Review different scenarios with the client so they set realistic expectations. For instance, while the $1.1 million house may have different features from the $900,000 house, the down payment would cost at least $155,000 more. Similarly, the $400,000 may not have all the features as the $600,000 house, the down payment would be at least $15,000 less.

GeoWarehouse has the tools that make you the property expert. Help your clients find the properties and neighbourhoods where they can make the minimum down payments with ease.

Learn more about our property reports and neighbourhood search features at www.geowarehouse.ca.

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April showers (or snowstorms as is sometimes the case in Canada) bring May flowers — and in the case of the Canadian real estate market, spring home buying season.

Historically, the highest number of residential listings occur in May. In May of 2016, for example, there was an average of 94,000 listings, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data. May and June also tend to have the highest number of sales, with an average of 52,000.

How can you be prepared for the spring Canadian real estate market? Our top tips can help you get started.

  1. Assess Your Market

The spring home buying season of 2018 could look different from spring buying seasons of years past due to new factors — specifically, rising interest rates and new Canadian mortgage rules. Understanding your real estate market and how they may be affected by these changes is important to being prepared. At the very least, you may receive questions about these changes and if your target market is particularly affected, you may want to look into different products and promotions that could help your clients.

There is an easy way to understand the make-up of your target market — a Demographics Report. For example, the Demographics Report from GeoWarehouse tells you age distribution, marital status of residents, average household income, and much more. Another tool that can help you understand the current real estate market is the Teranet Market Insights report. View the latest edition here.

  1. Reach Out to Your Network

Leading into the spring buying rush is a good time to get your ducks in order, and that might include connecting with your network. There are two main networks you might want to consider, the first being mortgage agents and lenders. Reaching out to your contacts in these fields can help you understand what products they are offering that your clients can access.

The second market you can touch base with before the rush are your leads, prospects, and current clients. Checking in to see how things are going could alert you to new opportunities or you could notify potential clients of opportunity they may not even be aware of — such as the value of their home or comparable sales in their neighbourhood.

  1. Have a Real Estate Marketing Plan in Place

The spring season can be competitive, but you can stand out from the crowd with a solid real estate marketing plan. Knowing where you’ll spend your advertising dollars and having your marketing components, be it real-world or digital, created in advance can save you a lot of time and effort once busy season hits.

Identify the top places for new real estate leads with tools, such as the GeoWarehouse Property Details Report, or the Comparable Sales Report. This data can help you target up-and-coming neighbourhoods and prospects.

  1. Prepare Your Team

If you work with others in your office, make sure you are all on the same page. Understanding who does what and how priorities might shift during the busy season can help you cope when the rush does come. Any tasks that aren’t essential to you can be delegated, giving you more time to work on identifying new leads and working with clients.

  1. Use Technology to Speed Up the Sales Process

Once the spring home buying season is underway, you’ll want the sales processes to be as smooth and efficient as possible. Technology can help with this. For example, GeoWarehouse’s reports, images, and searches make finding property information quick and easy so you’ll be able to identify the value, mitigate fraud risk, and save time and money.

Are you a GeoWarehouse subscriber? If you are a real estate sales professional, you may already have access through your real estate board. If you’re not and would like to become one, learn more about our services at www.geowarehouse.ca.

We’ve also got even more great reports in our online store, including property ownership history, instrument images, surveys, plans and other vital data that could make or break your deal. Get more information at http://www2.geowarehouse.ca/buy-now/.

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April 9, 2018

At the best of times, generating a property value can be challenging depending on the sales comps available. Often, your clients’ expectations can be out of alignment and they have a deep emotional attachment to their home. But as a real estate sales professional, there are certain factors you need to consider when determining property value. Are you valuing it too low and could get more money for the listing? Or too high and it won’t sell?

In a good housing market, these questions might be answered with time and experience, especially if you’ve been selling in a particular neighbourhood for many years and have a feel for the local real estate.

However, in a turbulent housing market, such as the one many experts agree Canada is currently experiencing, even the highest level of experience can make generating an appropriate list value nearly impossible.

Particularly if you are selling in a more volatile housing market, such as the Toronto real estate market, generating a property value is a difficult exercise. New mortgage rules, increasing interest rates, and the foreign buyers’ tax are just some of the new regulations that have been introduced in the past two years, which have shifted the market. And there could be more coming.

So, how can you cope? How can you adapt to an ever-shifting market and generate list values that are going to sell and earn you a profit?

The easiest, most accurate, and most reliable way is using technology.

Tools, such as GeoWarehouse’s Property Details Report, can provide an unbiased look at a property’s value. It can compile historic and current data to give you the very best overview. It contains valuable information about a property, including the Land Registry information, MPAC assessment data, property ownership information, sales history data, images of the property and more. This report can be used when determining a property’s market value and because it is completely customizable, it is a fantastic sales and research tool.

Another tool that can be of assistance when generating a property’s list value is GeoWarehouse’s Comparable Sales Report. This enables you to search for comparable sales in a particular area. You can perform a property search by radius, sales time-frame and price range. This report is an essential tool in your tool kit because it places the information that you need at your fingertips.

Generating a property value doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility. You can take out the guesswork with reliable, complete, and accurate tools, such as the GeoWarehouse reports. The information contained within can help you navigate even the most turbulent of real estate markets.

For more information on the Property Details Report and the Comparable Sales Report, or to register for GeoWarehouse, visit www.geowarehouse.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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December 4, 2017

Straw buyers in real estate represent a common form of fraud where someone convinces someone else with good credit to act as a “straw buyer”. These are often very hard to spot. Lenders, brokers, and real estate professionals of all kinds have been fooled, primarily because straw buyers work very hard to look like real buyers. Their documents look right, they have a social insurance number, an address… everything on paper makes them look like a real buyer.

How can you spot straw buyers in real estate? Often, straw buyers are tricked into believing they will not be responsible for the mortgage payments. They may be told that they’ll get a cut of the sale profits if they participate. Sometimes straw buyers are willing participants in real estate schemes, with criminal intent or not, but it’s always illegal.

Fraudsters use straw buyers in property transactions for several reasons, including:

  • Fraud, such as constantly flipping a home to falsely appreciate the value.
  • Hiding the property from the government for tax reasons.
  • Using the home for illegal activities, such as marijuana grow-ops or meth labs.

What is a straw buyer in real estate? Here are some common signs of real estate transactions involving straw buyers:

  • The sale documents list the selling price way too high.
  • A lot of flipping over a short period at increasingly higher prices.
  • Inflated appraisal.
  • Misrepresentation of property characteristics or purpose.
  • Multiple-unit property presented as single dwelling, or having fewer units.
  • Misrepresenting a buyer’s intention to live in the property.
  • Rental property represented as owner-occupied.

The most common straw buyer scenario is Person A wants to buy a property and convinces Person B to act as the buyer to obtain terms that Person A couldn’t get.

Sometimes straw buyers are victims of identity theft and have no idea they’re a straw buyer! In this scenario, Person A steals B’s identity, and forges all of their information on the purchase and loan papers. There are a number of ways to prevent identify theft you can find online here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-avoid-or-recover-identity-theft.

In any scenario, it pays to do your due diligence as a real estate sales professional in order to avoid any transactions involving straw buyers. It begins by educating yourself to spot the signs of a straw buyer scheme. You also need to have access to the right tools and technology to quickly and efficiently identify real estate fraud as early as possible in the application process.

If you are not already a subscriber, then you may not be aware of the powerful suite of tools and technology available through GeoWarehouse.

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today to learn how you can identify straw buyers in real estate.

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Real estate sales professionals across Canada are sure to find new insights in the second edition of the Teranet Market Insights report. The November 2017 publication features up-to-date data on millennial home buying trends, age demographics and the impact on the Ontario real estate market, and Ontario residential sales volumes and conveyancing trends across Canada.

This is the first time demographic and real estate transactional data have been combined to derive new insights and, as expected, there is an interesting correlation that persists across generations.

 

 

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When marketing to millennials, it’s important to know who they are and what they want in real estate! In the real estate business, it’s critical to be able to quickly and efficiently respond to your clients’ wants and needs. Where do millennials and real estate meet? What do they want and how can you land them as clients?

Canada’s twenty-somethings are vocal about how they feel about the real estate market and their involvement, or if they’ll even bother. That’s not a stereotype of a lazy millennial, that’s borne out by a Huffington Post article showing that there are a record number of Canadian youth aged 20-34 still living at home with their parents. The main reason for this is that they don’t see an affordable housing market they can enter any time soon.

Then, a recent NBC News story stated that the largest group of homebuyers in the U.S., for the fourth year straight, is millennials. According to one of the largest real estate groups in the U.S., millennials are not just starting to buy homes, they are powering the U.S. housing market. (SOURCE: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/real-estate/who-s-powering-housing-market-surprise-it-s-millennials-n768196) Often where the U.S. market leads, the Canadian one will follow. Will that hold true for the Canadian millennial market? If it does, have you set your strategies for marketing to millennials?

It can be hard to adapt if you are used to selling to an older market. Millennials, like boomers and any other buyer, are looking for a professional they can trust. They value your experience and access to the tools and resources necessary to succeed in the real estate market. To effectively help your millennial clients, you need to know what they are looking for.

Here are seven tips for marketing to a millennial homebuyer:

  1. Master social media with a robust, active online presence, as millennials will go online first when looking for a real estate sales professional.
  2. Make your online personal brand more personal, don’t just post your listings. Post your day-to-day life. Millennials want to know more about who you are, not just what you do for a living.
  3. Get mobile and digitize as much paperwork as possible. Ultimately, millennials prefer the use technology to communicate, from email to text to Facebook messenger.
  4. Sell the neighbourhood – millennials are often looking for a good community and area to live in first, then the right home in that area.
  5. Guide, don’t push. They may be inexperienced, but they want to be heard just like any client.
  6. Millennials like variety and usually want to see different homes to help land on the right house.
  7. Transparency – keep them informed on everything that happens in the home selling process.

A happy millennial client is more likely to give you a good review online and boost your social media profiles. Remember, other millennials are checking out review sites and social media online when they’re looking for a real estate sales professional. Millennials are a very ‘connected’ generation with large social circles. When you do a good job, you can trust that they’ll share that with their network of influencers. Your efforts will come back in the form of future sales and referrals.

With GeoWarehouse on your side, you can leverage the tools and resources available to increase your marketing to millennials.

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

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October 23, 2017

There is no denying it – real estate and interest rates work hand-in-hand, each impacting the other. Do higher rates mean lower prices or is it vice versa? Have years of low rates caused Canada’s housing prices to skyrocket?

If rates do go up, can Canadians absorb an increase in interest rates? Canadian households are drowning in debt, according to Macleans: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/drowning-in-debt-is-the-new-normal-in-canada/ so can most handle a modest 1% rate increase, for example?

On July 12, the Bank of Canada raised the overnight rate to 3/4 percent for the first time in almost seven years. After years in a low-rate environment, experts agree that interest rates in Canada had nowhere to go but up, predicting that rates would grow by 1% – but not until 2018. Throughout 2016, Canadian rates remained relatively unchanged. However, economists and the federal government both agreed that interest rates had to rise at some point. Then, in September, the BOC did it again.

Let’s look at rising interest rates and the impacts they could have on real estate. When interest rates rise, thereby resulting in higher borrowing costs than many had previously planned for, it can suddenly make previously low-risk borrowers riskier. It could also mean bigger hurdles for first-time homebuyers, or suddenly high-risk homeowners looking to refinance their mortgage. As rates increase, the number of risky credit users could also increase.

TransUnion explained in a 2016 report that a 1% interest rate increase could mean payment shock for up to one million credit-active consumers. These consumers may not be able to absorb the higher payments that come with a rate increase.

For some homeowners, this could mean $50 or even $100 more each month. While cutting corners, such as eating out less or cutting out cable tv, can help absorb a small increase in monthly payments for some homeowners, some may not be able to easily adapt.

With regard to real estate and interest rates, experts and critics alike have been saying that rates were going to rise for years. Now they have, and because Canadians may have become overly confident that they wouldn’t, they may not be prepared. It has been a seller’s market for so long, thanks in part to low interest rates driving up property values, although this too has made it challenging for potential homebuyers to enter the market. Low interest rates have clearly been a contributor to Canada’s hot real estate market. People are more inclined to buy when rates are low. Now that rates have finally increased, what does this mean for Canadian families?

In a recent CBC article, experts noted that many buyers are facing challenges entering the market now due to market affordability and government legislation, but it may only be a temporary downturn: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/buyers-sellings-must-adapt-as-gta-housing-market-moderates-1.4204187.

Yet, in this Montreal Gazette article: http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/real-estate/interest-rate-increase-unlikely-to-slow-montreals-real-estate-market-qfreb and this CTV article: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/modest-rate-hikes-to-have-little-impact-on-high-end-real-estate-sotheby-s-1.3497574, the authors suggest that this modest rate increase will have little-to-no impact on the hot markets.

This past June, the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index™ went up 2.6% – the largest June rise in the 19-year history of the index. This followed another record increase in May, and June’s historically large raise took the composite index to an all-time high for the 17th consecutive month. However, the August report marked a slight downturn, so there is undeniably movement.

What does this mean for real estate sales professionals? Changing interest rates affect numerous aspects of real estate, and aside from the price of a new home, interest rates also impact what’s available on the market and influence market demand. It’s Economics 101: the flow of capital affects supply and demand for property and, as a result, that affects property prices.

Real estate and interest rates are forever linked, and it pays to know the market so you can prepare for changes in the rates. As a subscriber to GeoWarehouse, you have access to the latest and greatest property data and reports to help you make the most informed real estate transactions. Having the edge that GeoWarehouse’s suite of tools and reports provide can help you grow your bottom line.

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today to learn more.

 

 

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