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Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

August 14, 2017

Becoming a homeowner is one of life’s biggest milestones, whether we’re discussing newcomers to Canada or life-long residents. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about buying that first home, downsizing, or moving to a new city – it takes a lot of work to own a home.

It often takes double that effort for newcomers. Every year, thousands upon thousands of new immigrants make a new home in Canada. A very welcoming country, Canada is known as the most culturally diverse locale in the world. Most newcomers to Canada come for the opportunities that the country has to offer, and they work hard to succeed. Whether buying a family home or looking to invest, the Canadian real estate market is a great place to be.

However, when faced with skyrocketing housing prices and navigating Canada’s mortgage process, the concept of owning a home may seem daunting to newcomers unfamiliar with Canada’s real estate market or financial institutions.

Most questions from newcomers interested in buying houses are about the procedure of getting a mortgage, along with the rules and regulations related to homeownership. So, how can real estate sales professionals help?

All real estate professionals spend time helping to educate their clients, but that need is much greater for newcomers. That means being able to provide even more data, especially as it relates to the neighbourhoods within which they want to live.

Real estate professionals can provide more detailed neighbourhood demographics for different areas that a long-time resident may be familiar with, but a newcomer likely isn’t. Knowing about schools in a certain area, access to amenities, and typical family make-up are common points of interest that newcomers may want to know about when deciding where to buy.

You can go above and beyond providing real estate advice. You can help by showing newcomers where to get the best information possible to help them become Canadian homeowners.

One starting point for people moving to Canada is the federal government’s online resource for people moving here. From enrolling in school and improving in English and French languages, to finding a place to live and planning finances, there are a number of resources for newcomers that can be found on the federal government’s immigration and citizenship website:  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/live/index.asp.

Another way you can help newcomers to Canada is by helping them navigate the world of mortgages. You can provide a handy reference sheet that helps explain the different mortgages, and connect them with trusted mortgage brokers or lenders to help them finance their new home.

However, there are a number of steps newcomers must tackle before they can become qualified for financing. To start off, often newcomers need to become permanent residents before many institutional lenders will consider them. Another hurdle, according to a recent Globe and Mail article, is providing a credit history. Some private lenders and non-bank lenders will consider them, but only with a massive down payment, something not all newcomers have at their disposal: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/what-new-canadians-face-when-buying-a-home/article35156673/.

Even after qualifying for financing and buying a house, many newcomers to Canada still face a period of adjustment as they acclimatize to their new community. As someone with vast knowledge of the local neighbourhoods, you can help newcomers by adding a page to your website dedicated to newcomers, including links to immigration resources, a list of neighbourhood facts, and other sites of interest to help them settle into their new home.

These are just a few ways you can help newcomers become homeowners in Canada – from finding the right neighbourhood with the right amenities nearby, to helping them learn more about real estate and mortgages in Canada.

GeoWarehouse is a great tool to perform preliminary searches and compile neighbourhood demographics you can share to help educate your clients who are newcomers to Canada. Not a GeoWarehouse subscriber already?

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today to learn more about this incredible tool.

 

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July 10, 2017

While many real estate professionals cringe at the term, for sale by owner (FSBO) properties can actually be an excellent opportunity when prospecting for new leads. But let’s be honest: reaching out to an FSBO can be a challenge for some real estate professionals.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to convert for sale by owner properties into leads. Developing any lead is a smart investment in time and money – and the best way to boost your bottom line. Pursuing solid leads is well worth the effort – if you can turn them into clients. That being said, of all the leads at your fingertips, FSBOs are the easiest because they have already decided to sell. Now you just have to convince them that you are in the best position to help them do so.

Often, stories of other successful FSBOs may inspire home-sellers to go the DIY route, but were they actually success stories? Those sellers may have sold themselves short by selling for too little in order to sell fast. Is that a reflection of the market, or that they undervalued their home? Without the expertise of a real estate professional, what are FSBOs missing out on?

Homeowners generally don’t enter into real estate blindly, but those who do typically end up looking for a professional to take over and sell their home. This is why you need to convince them that you are the right person to take over the sale when the time is right and they finally decide they need the services of a professional.

So, what is the key to converting for sale by owner properties into leads? Establishing value – your value. Sure, owners think they’re saving money by doing it themselves, but they don’t realize all the work that goes into selling homes and what a real estate sales professional actually does to slap on that SOLD sign. It is your job to show them the value you can bring and how you can ultimately help them sell at the best terms.

Providing value to your clients means giving them more. Delivering valuable information about the current market, housing trends in the area, property values and comparable sales works to present you as knowledgeable and dedicated to providing great service.

With the suite of reports and information readily available through GeoWarehouse, you can become the expert homeowners can turn to when their solo efforts fail. Not already a GeoWarehouse subscriber?

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today to learn more about this incredible real estate tool.

 

 

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April 4, 2016

geo2One very interesting aspect of your job is the process of working with homeowners to know what their home is worth. We are not just talking in scenarios of listings either. Many real estate sales professionals have realized that knowing one’s home value is valuable to consumers and a sales tool. Real estate sales professionals are using home value to go out and talk to clients about selling their home.

Technology has made this so easy because you don’t have to sift through, selecting your own comparables anymore. Your applications can do that for you. When we say applications we mean your apps – like the MLS, GeoWarehouse and ViMO.

Sales comparables present so much value over and above assessing list values. They are an amazing sales opportunities. They can be used to create dialogue that leads to discussions and discussions lead to relationships.

Sometimes, customers think their home is worth more than what it is realistically, which is why home valuation presents value to them. This often starts with a neighbour saying – yeah I just listed my home (at a value way higher than market), then the client thinks ‘wow, my home must be worth that too’. On the reverse, you can provide value to a client who thinks their home is worth less than it is by showing them what counts, property sales in the area. Not just 1 or 2 sales comparables either – using your apps you can look at all comparable sales in the area if you want and generate averages.

How about the consumer who has no idea what their home is worth? The one that you stun when their home comes in at a way higher value than they thought it ever would. These can present huge opportunity because money talks and learning that selling means you could cash in big time creates motivation to sell.

These are all conversations and your sales comparables and home valuation tools are what make you able to have these conversations.

The consumer of today wants value. They are willing to exchange their personal information and consent to market to them for value. Value isn’t a gift card or contest – value is giving them something they really want. You have what they really want, you just have to show them that you do. Approach using home valuation in your marketing with a plan so that you know what you get each time you help someone understand their home value – for example, do you want to get their email, their phone number? Have a plan and follow it through – you have the value you just need to use it.

For more about home valuation made easy, please visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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geo1If there is one thing that can impact a real estate closing, it’s the discovery of a lien. Often liens are revealed on closing when the real estate lawyer performs searches to certify clear title to the new buyer. Does the real estate lawyer request a lien search? Actually, the real estate lawyer will perform two searches:

  1. An execution search to see if there are any judgements against the party’s name
  2. A Parcel Register* to see if there are any liens registered on title

A Parcel Register* is an component of a property title search which reveals a host of information, including:

  1. Who legally owns the property
  2. A history of property transfers
  3. Registered mortgages
  4. Easements
  5. Liens and more…

Amongst other things, the Parcel Register* provides somewhat of a financial snapshot as it relates to the property. The Parcel Register* contains the most current information available which is why real estate lawyers rely upon it when certifying title.

In Ontario, Teranet is the exclusive provider of land registry data and so real estate lawyers use a software called Teraview to request searches like a Parcel Register* and eventually electronically transfer title once the deal closes.

Real estate lawyers are not the only real estate or legal professionals using Parcel Registers* in the course of their day-to-day activities. Mortgage brokers and real estate sales professionals have also begun to rely on the Parcel Register* as an integral part of the real estate closing process.

Most real estate professionals and mortgage brokers alike are paid on a real estate deal, when the deal closes. Commissions and fees are deducted from the proceeds of sale. When a lien comes up on closing an immense amount of time is wasted: the real estate sales professional, mortgage broker, lender and real estate lawyer are all vested in the deal and at risk of losing.

The sooner the Parcel Register* is requested, the better, because the earlier a lien is discovered in the process, the sooner it can be resolved. Your client may not even know that there is a lien – this is very common with tax liens. The presence of a lien doesn’t mean that the deal is over either. Though a closing date being missed because of one is inconvenient and in some cases expensive, a real estate sales professional can work with their client to resolve the issue before the 11th hour.

Also, a lien that consumes all of the property equity and can’t be resolved means there is no equity to pay you! Working on a deal and want to request a lien search? Access the GeoWarehouse Store to obtain a Parcel Register* today.

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

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

 

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January 11, 2016

geo1Real estate fraud continues to be a scourge that plagues the real estate industry in general. Real estate fraud costs us all because it leads to more regulation and to lenders ultimately losing most often, which makes them lend more stringently. The only way to combat mortgage fraud is to make it a priority, perhaps through something like a professional New Year’s resolution.

There was a great article in the Globe and Mail that sums up the 6 most common forms of real estate fraud which we thought is worth a second look because being aware of these schemes makes you more equipped to spot them and act accordingly.

Title fraud – this fraud is blatant and generally stems from identity theft. The fraudster will falsify documents, posing as the property owner. Then they arrange to transfer ownership of the property, then they obtain a mortgage against the property and so on… Title insurance is an excellent way to protect clients against this type of fraud. Closely scrutinize ID and match it against a Parcel Register*. Just as the bank will ask you security questions about your history, ask a questionable client things about the history of the property that a fraudster likely doesn’t know.

Home equity and foreclosure fraud: The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) warns that foreclosure fraud occurs when a property owner who is having difficulty making mortgage payments is approached by a criminal offering a loan to cover expenses and consolidate loans, in exchange for upfront fees and an agreement to transfer the property title. However, “in contrast to real debt consolidation programs”, the FCAC says, “the criminal will keep all the payments made by the owner and ignore bills and taxes. The criminal then remortgages the property and absconds with the money, leaving the former property owner without the home but still in debt.” You have to watch out for this because it is more common than you could imagine and is even an area of fraud of interest to organized crime.

Rental/Resale scams – This is where the fraudster steals your listings and impersonates you re: posting your listings on other websites to get calls from tenants and buyers to extract money. What to do – Google yourself every single month, as well as the addresses of your listings. This will not only catch this type of fraud but will also help you identify if there is anything negative online about your listing.

Knowing what types of fraud exist is half the battle. We hope we’ve helped when it comes to your New Year’s resolution to fight fraud with these quick tips.

To learn more about tools to help combat fraud, please visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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

 

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geo1Power at your fingertips – if you’re a GeoWarehouse user, you’ve got it. However, many users don’t even realize the power that they can unlock through the GeoWarehouse Store. So much land registry data is available through Parcel Registers*, Instrument Images, surveys, MPAC Assessment reports and more.

For this week’s training time we are focusing on the images, reports and documents available in the GeoWarehouse Store and how you can access them.

Want to unlock the power and access land registry data but not a GeoWarehouse customer? Reach out to us to find out more. Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

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

 

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geo2It is no secret that the real estate market booms in the spring. The sun, nice weather, flowers blooming… Unfortunately this only represents a few month of the year. As long as spring is, so too is winter. Cold, snow and slush mean naturally many will choose to wait for spring.

We can change that and make sales boom to spring levels by dangling some carrots outside of your bunny’s hole. Currently, when you plan to take a client out on the road you likely have performed a MLS listing search and have the listings and appointments you want to take your client to see. You then hit the road with your client.

Is the MLS listing search enough and can you really see a property sufficiently when it is covered in snow? Are you and your client going to slog around the sides and back of the home? Not likely. This may just be when your client decides to wait for spring!

To avoid this, you are going to need to attend your showing with more than just MLS listings after your MLS listing search. A really put together package for your client should include:

  • Information about the property’s sales history
  • Information about sales in the area
  • Information about demographics in the area
  • Comparable sales
  • Streetview imagery showing the property from the street
  • Aerial imagery showing the property from the sky
  • Pivotview imagery – pivoting around imagery to see things from different angles

A tool that generates this type of information should be able to facilitate the ability for your client to view the exterior of the property that they may not be able to see thanks to the snow. Aerial imagery can take things a step further because you are looking from the sky down – you can identify issues with adjacent structures, positive and negative things that are next to your property, etc. With Streetview imagery you can actually drop yourself on the street as though you were walking on the street.

Now, in many cases Streetview imagery will have captured a photo of the property and often this will not have been captured in the winter so you will be able to see more.

Some other tips about helping your client buy a home that includes outdoor attributes that matter to your client:

  • Pools – when was it built, what is the condition of the pump, what is their opening/closing procedure, is the pool or pump under warranty? These things matter because, in the winter, the pool will be under the snow and likely the pump disassembled. Also – ask for photos of the pool in the spring/summer.
  • Deck – when was the deck built? Is it under warranty?
  • Hot tub – the pump could be below a deck and difficult to get to in the winter even if you can get to the hot tub. Ask for maintenance records, proof of when it was purchased, and warranty information.
  • Structures ie. sheds. Is there anything in the shed? You want to know if you can’t access it. When was it built, materials used, etc.

Taking these steps helps to ensure your client doesn’t get a spring surprise and can comfortable buy a home in the winter, even if the exterior is covered in snow.

Don’t let winter blues disrupt your sales. Make use of the tools to determine what a home looks like all year round, not just when covered in snow.

GeoWarehouse has the tools – find out more at www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

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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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geo2What do the words neighbourhood demographics mean to you? Pretty much everything you want to know about who lives in a particular neighbourhood and the composition of their families. How is this useful? A number of different way. For example, neighbourhood demographics can help you tell investors where there is high rental potential in a particular neighbourhood or perhaps highlight an area that a family starting out may not want to live.

So what demographics are really relevant and how can they be leveraged? When looking at neighbourhood demographics there are 4 key areas that you may want to hone in on.

  1. Population – this deals with family composition. Naturally people want to live in neighbourhoods where other families similar to theirs live. You can’t tell by looking at the outside of a home how many people in the neighbourhood are married, single, have children or don’t, age distribution, etc… Perhaps seniors that are downsizing would like to live in a quiet community that has a higher population of older residents. On the marketing side, looking at trends in the population can enable you to adjust your messaging to hone in on niche markets in the area you serve.
  1. Households – this deals with the types of properties in the area and how they are being used. You want to be able to know percentages of owned vs rented properties for both investors and families who may not want to live in neighbourhoods that have a high % of renters. Average sizes and ages of homes in the area are also very relevant demographics that you want to know and be able to discuss with your clients. You can also use this information to identify shifts in neighbourhoods and what it could potentially mean to you later if you cater to a particular market but the face of the community you are working in is changing.
  1. Socio Economic – Back on the theme that people want to live in communities that have other people like them – many buyers would probably like to know things like the education levels in a community. The type of worker – white collar vs blue collar, dominant professions etc… Socio economics also play a huge roll in marketing. The needs of a family can change depending on income levels, likes and education. Targeted marketing works better. Again, knowing the people in the community you are marketing in enables you to come up with marketing initiatives that connect with prospects.
  1. Cultural – Cultural demographics are important not just for your clients but also to you in terms of your marketing efforts. Cultural demographics highlight ethnicities, religions and dominant languages of people who live in a community. From the perspective of your marketing – identifying neighbourhoods that have common cultural demographics can enable you to look at marketing in ethnic magazines or even in other languages.

Knowing the demographics of the neighbourhoods you serve, for obvious reasons, makes you more knowledgeable and able to offer a higher level of service – and it also makes you more agile because you can diversify your marketing and even messaging according to the communities you are marketing in.

If you would like information about a tool that helps you access all of the above neighbourhood demographics information and more please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

 

 

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October 21, 2015

Being that ViMO is our little brother we thought it prudent to dedicate this week’s blog content to a fantastic new feature that the ViMO team at Teranet rolled out this past month.

As you likely already know, ViMO is a mobile app for real estate that real estate sales professionals use to market listings, collaborate and manage relationships with prospects, clients and partners, administer documents, research properties – and oh, did we mention… market to customers??

Your marketing is your bread and butter and we know it, which is why the developers continually add and develop new ViMO features.

Introducing the Market Intelligence Report!!

Using the Market Intelligence Report you can create customized reports about industry news and neighbourhood sales activities that you can market to:

  • Prospects – generate leads
  • Clients – nurture leads
  • Partners/Colleagues/Referral Sources – generate new relationships!

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Only GeoWarehouse customers can register for ViMO – Visit myvimo.ca to learn more about the Market Insights Report or about the full capabilities offered by the full ViMO mobile app for real estate.

 

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