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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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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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