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Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

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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Staying on top of the latest real estate trends is important. In a recent report on international activity in U.S. residential real estate, a new trend seems to be surrounding Canadians snapping up a record number of properties in the United States at record prices. What’s going on?

The 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate report, released by the American National Association of Realtors, indicated foreign investment in American housing is at an all-new high, mainly because of a substantial increase in sales dollar volume from Canadian buyers.

The U.S. is seeing a large rise in out-of-country buyers according to the report, which also shows exponential growth in both the volume of foreign buyer transactions and the average price paid.

There are two foreign buyer types, resident and non-resident. Resident buyers have immigrated to the U.S., or have a long-term visa. Non-resident buyers use the home on occasion, maybe legitimately so. Yet, more often, they are just property speculators. According to the NAR’s report, most foreign buyers that come from China, India, and Mexico were resident buyers. Buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom were primarily non-residents.

With Canada’s housing prices remaining steady, the main reason for this trend in Canadian real estate seems to be that Canadian buyers want cheaper, more affordable housing to invest in – investments that some Canadian buyers can’t find at home. The NAR report notes that Canadians saw a rapid rise in domestic prices versus the rise in prices in the U.S. which could explain the attraction for Canadian buyers.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, foreign buyers picked up more than $100 billion in residential property – that’s almost 215,000 residential purchases in the United States. Another interesting fact from the report is that houses purchased by foreign buyers were generally priced higher than the median value of all U.S. homes. Chinese buyers purchased nearly 30 billion dollars’ worth of property. Canadians came in second with a record $19 billion worth of U.S. property purchased.

However, of all the foreign buyers, Canadians are the least likely to actually take up residency according to the report. Most are purchasing for a vacation home or property investment, with only a third planning to make the move. Another theory is that, after selling homes in markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, Canadian buyers find themselves with an abundance of capital, and with the more affordable options in the U.S., buyers can do more with that capital. A number of those are retirees moving to some of the top retiree states – Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

To learn more about this real estate trend, you can read NAR’s report here: https://www.nar.realtor/

At GeoWarehouse, we make buying and selling homes in Canada far easier. Find out more about the various features by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca today.

SOURCE: http://globalnews.ca/news/3611104/with-prices-at-home-surging-canadians-have-been-snapping-up-u-s-real-estate-en-masse/

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September 25, 2017

When it comes to being successful in real estate, one of the most important things you need to consider is how and where you market yourself. With so many different marketing mediums available, it can sometimes be tough to determine the best uses for your marketing dollars – some more expensive than others. However, real estate marketing ideas don’t have to cost you a fortune. There are creative – and inexpensive – ways to drum up business that won’t break the bank.

Previewing properties, knocking on doors around listings, and calling FSBOs are all excellent tactics to drum up new leads, but if you want to invest in some affordable and creative ways to entice prospective business, here are six creative real estate marketing ideas that will help position you as a go-to real estate professional:

  1. Partner with neighbourhood associations. This is a great way to meet new people, network and get your name out there with the movers and shakers in your community.
  2. Remember your past clients – they are your promoters and represent valuable referral sources – consider campaigns targeted specifically to them to promote referrals. Make sure you add value to the conversation by providing information on market trends or hot properties they may not know about.
  3. Create a digital presence for your services. As with many industries, social media often represents your most cost-effective marketing. Start with one platform, Facebook for example, and then built up as you get more comfortable. Be active, posting listings and sales, in a way that captures the attention of viewers. Engage as much as possible to get your name out there.
  4. Join social media groups about real estate and answer questions that people post and contribute content that would be valuable to them.
  5. Leverage sites like LinkedIn to meet and establish new referral relationships with other professionals like mortgage brokers for example. These may prove very valuable as time passes and could become your largest referral source!
  6. Leverage cheap and free social media and classified sites to promote listings. The more places people can find you, the more likely they will be to associate you with success!

With so many free resources available online – and a little legwork – you can draw upon hundreds of unique ideas to help generate leads and build your business.

With GeoWarehouse, you can access the reports and information to both land leads and then close your deals!

Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today!

 

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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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