BLOG

7 Best Customer Service Practices for Realtors

Published May 13, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

We imagine there’s not even one practicing real estate agent who needs to be convinced of the importance of superior customer services when it comes to advancing their business. Further, the vast majority of realtors will already be providing their clients with good customer service, but it’s entirely fair to say there’s always room for improvement. As is the case with nearly everything, getting right down to the absolute truth of a matter often involves going beyond conventional thinking, and this is entirely accurate in the real estate business.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canadian realtors is an excellent way to augment a realtor’s client prospecting efforts. More leads equals more opportunities, and the best realtors will know that turning a prospect into a client often isn’t as much of a challenge as retaining that client for future business opportunities as well. Enjoying repeat business from a client who decides to buy or sell a home again in the future is dependent on your being every bit the knowledgeable and reputable professional they hope you to be.

That, and meeting their every expectation when it comes to your role as their realtor. Obviously, customer service is going to be a big part of that and so our focus here to day will be on a handful of proven-effective customer service practices for realtors.

There’s no industry where customer service (client service, if you prefer) is more essential than it is in real estate–an opinion I’ve found support for even as the list of industries and professional services niches for which I’m a customer service consultant and speaker has climbed above a dozen. In real estate, empathetic, patient customer service from a dedicated agent, supported by a skilled, polished, and motivated office staff, is a prerequisite for success. If you work in real estate, the principles and best practices I offer below will put you on your way to building a superior level of client service, thereby creating loyal customers, generating word of mouth marketing, and building passionate brand ambassadorship.

  1. Always be Quick to Respond

Real estate clients in today’s world expect speedy service, and now more so than ever before. The saying that an hour represents a year in internet time is pretty appropriate when it comes to what they considerable to be reasonable in as far as response times are concerned. A prospective client who doesn’t hear back from you before the end of the day (at the very latest) may very well move on, or at the very least be starting to develop an unfavourable opinion of you.

Smartphones make it entirely possible to respond to any manner of digital communication quickly. You have one, so be sure to use it and always respond to client communications as promptly as possible.

  1. Anticipate Client Wishes to the Best of Your Ability

It’s a fact that when a client’s wishes are met before they’ve needed to be expressed, that client is going to be plenty pleased with their realtor. Making yourself better equipped to do this requires aligning your systems and your people to anticipate what your clients – and well in advance of the point where they feel they need to ask for it.

It’s true that much of this foreword thinking is the type that only comes with experience working as a realtor, but it’s also true that you can go a long way in this regard simply by thinking about what your wishes would be if YOU were the home buyer or home seller. aligning your systems to focus on what clients really want from your processes is really a key, and make sure to understand that each and every client is going to be different from the next in this regard.

  1. Take Initiative to Share Information with Clients

Clients that feel empowered tend to be satisfied ones, and that comes from the satisfaction of being possession of all the facts they deem to be important. For you, the focus should be on explaining what they need to know and why – before they need it. You can start by NOT assuming that ANYTHING is common knowledge between you and the client. Even if they do, you’re not going to be disadvantaging yourself by sharing it with them, and if anything they’ll see it as evidence of the fact that you’re making entirely sure they’re sufficiently in the know.

  1. Choose Wisely When Building a Real Estate Team

Every real estate firm will have measures in place to promote their clients receiving superb service, and if you’re a realtor who’s become successful to the point that you need to start building a team then you should choose those team members very judiciously – keeping in mind the importance of great customer service in real estate. It’s true that a single disagreeable or unresponsive team member can severely diminish client loyalty. You can and should aim to become an expert at recruiting, selecting, training, evaluating and reinforcing the efforts of service personnel.

  1. Master your Greetings and Farewells

Industry research has indicated that clients that the parts of an encounter they remember most vividly are the first and last minutes of them. It’s for this reason that you should focus on ensuring you have the interaction skills and moxie to make sure these parts of the conversation / interaction are most to the clients’ liking. Yes, that often means engineering them, and while that many not be ‘natural’ it’s perfectly fine to have scripts in place for these parts of your discourse and meetings with clients.

Practice them so that they are natural, but do make sure that you have them in place to make certain that you start and end on the right notes with clients.

  1. Acknowledge Returning Clients in a Personal Manner

You stand to benefit immensely from being able to speak to a returning clients with the kind of ease, naturalness, and personability that indicates you both remember them and know of their individuality. This goes a LONG way in creating the impression that your excellent customer service is paired with a continuing degree of genuine interest in these clients as distinct people.

Some realtors have expressly strong memories that serve well for this purpose. For those of you who don’t, it’s advisable to make notes in your digital files on clients where you jot down little things you catch onto about them. Keeping a notes file in your phone so you can add to it immediately after meeting with them is the best idea, and you then transfer those notes to a master file on your computer once back at the office or at home.

  1. Don’t Measure Yourself Against Prevailing or Conventional Standards

This one is fairly self-explanatory; you shouldn’t be resting on your laurels based on the fact you’re meeting or exceeding what’s seen as the minimum for customer service in real estate. Instead, benchmark yourself against the best practices you can find throughout a variety of service-intensive industries, and do so because that’s going to provide your with a more realistic interpretation of what clients ACTUALLY expect from ANY service provider – their realtor included.

Every client interaction with you is judged based on expectations set by the most receptive and in-tune providers in hospitality, the financial services industry, and other areas those who’ve mastered customer service best practices have reaped the rewards for their efforts.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively, for any area of a city of town in Canada that’s protected for you exclusively within our system. The region is yours and yours alone, and you’ll be the only realtor who’ll receive leads for it. It’s a proven-effective way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and you’ll have more in the way of opportunities to showcase your real estate excellence – including exceptional customer service.

Potential for Higher Development Costs Affecting Greater Toronto High-Density Land Prices

Published May 6, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s a well-established fact that the only way to realistically address the housing shortages in cities like Vancouver and Toronto is for the city councils to amend zoning regulations for higher-density building development. It goes without saying that this is no easy task, as if it were then we would already see these changes in place. It’s certainly not as easy as just going ahead with it, and that these changes are slow to get off the ground is an unfortunate reality.

It’s also a fact that many homeowners – and especially those who own their properties outright – are often not in favour of these types of prospective zoning changes. This is often said to be in large part attributable to the fact that increasing housing stock means their property values will go down. Interestingly, there have been studies done that show that there’s no truth to this, and that’s a fact that realtors – among others – will be quick to point out anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Yes, of course that’s in something of a self-serving interest, but it’s important that the lack of affordable housing in major urban areas of Canada be addressed effectively. What it would mean for realtors is more properties, more clients, and ultimately more business. That’s a big plus, but the current depressed state of the housing market in Canada and the ratio of supply and demand being drastically titled towards demand at this time makes it so that realtors needs to work harder than ever to gain their share of the pie.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way to gain an advantage when prospecting clients, and the way it’s been so well received by ever-greater numbers of professionals across the country makes it one of the best online resources for realtors in Canada. Given the state of the business nationwide at this time it’s something that makes a lot of sense.

There’s yet another factor that’s threatening to depress new home construction starts even further in Canada’s most populous city – Toronto. Specifically, it’s the increased development costs that developers have to take on in conjunction with already sky-high values attached to the land they need to build them on.

Price Growth Rates Finally Stabilizing

The rate of price growth for new condominium apartments in the Greater Toronto Area has finally started to calm down after a good many years of rapid appreciation. Unsold new condo prices jumped by some 50% in 2018, and are progressing along much the same trajectory so far this year. In many GTA submarkets this year, price growth is actually well below double-digits.

However, the average price-per-foot for a new condo in the M5A postal code area – including the East Bayfront, Corktown and Regent Park areas most notably – went up by 32% year-over-year to $1,176 per square foot. In M5V, encompassing the Entertainment District, prices leaped 33% annually to $1,301 per square foot.

The deduction that land owners and their brokers are coming to when weighing residual value of the lands based on $1,300-per-square-foot pricing is the land being worth $250 to $300 per buildable square foot. That in itself is workable for developers, but when they then must factor major increase in costs, the whole thing becomes far less workable in a hurry.

Dramatic Rises in Construction Costs

A well-known Toronto developer was heard to say recently that in 2015 he had hard construction costs of $190 per square foot. Fast forward to 2017 and his construction costs were $275 per square foot. Today, he reports that he’s dealing with construction costs at $315 per square foot – over some 65% higher from four years ago.

That’s not all that’s dissuading developers from starting new builds in certain ares of the city where they’re very much needed. They also have to take on development charges. The development charge for smaller suites in Toronto is nearly $26,000 per unit, an increase of 34% annually. Larger units have a charge of nearly $38,000 per unit, an increase of 40% annually.

The long story short of this is that when costs rise, developers will pay less for land to maintain their margins. But when there’s only so much leeway with the cost of the land, in many instances these potential developments end up dying on the proposal table. That means fewer building starts, fewer new homes, and less for the homebuyers and the realtors who serve them.

Land Prices Escalating

And land prices are escalating, in a big way. This is natural, and something that’s an inherent part of the realities of supply and demand in the real estate and property development businesses. As a result of it, competition for development sites is fierce and if a developer doesn’t pay above-market for land, more often than not they won’t get it and the entire process goes back to square one.

Longer approval timelines, higher financing costs, higher development costs, higher construction costs, and greater built form and interior use requirements with the new TOCore planning framework will continue to put upward pressure on costs. It’s not a recipe for building the affordable housing Toronto needs.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively – meaning you receive them and no other realtor is able to access any of the ones that are generated for your exclusive area of any city or town in Canada. It’s yours, and yours alone, and with each and every one of these leads comes an opportunity to add another customer to your base in an ever-growing and thus successful personal real estate corporation.

Make the move today and get the client prospecting results you want.

5 Tips for Practicing Better Real Estate Scripts

Published April 29, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

 

There are many different characteristics that the most successful real estate agents will have in common. One of them is that they practice their scripts, and do so on an ongoing basis. As most of you will already be very much aware, this is a business where first impressions are everything. The way you present yourself is very much tied to how effectively you communicate yourself, and it’s a fact that a realtor who delivers the same old ‘I’m so and so and this is what I can do for you… yada yada’ isn’t going to get very far at all most of the time.

A meeting with a prospective client is always one thing, and one thing only – an opportunity. What you do with the opportunity is entirely up to you. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way to put more of these opportunities in front of you, but in order to turn the majority of them into real estate clients you need to have the skills and know how related to convincing these prospective home sellers or home buyers that YOU are the best man or woman to help guide them in making the best choices and getting the best results.

Back on topic – what are the best ways to practice your scripts as a real estate agent? Read on, here are a handful of concepts to better make use of your scripts.

  1. Have confidence, while being 100% honest

This means moving forward with confidence and not ‘faking’ it at all. People will sniff out dishonesty or exaggeration, and they will then lose their trust in you. If you have a lot of confidence but there’s some aspect of their situation that you’re not knowledgable about, it’s best to say ‘I don’t know, but I will find out.’ These prospective clients will appreciate that more and then respect you more, despite what you might think to the contrary.

  1. Listen Well

Some of you may be surprised to learn that when it comes to scripts, it’s more about listening and reacting right rather than memorizing lines. Listen to what your client is saying, so you then know which script to turn to for building the best rapport. This also involves matching your conversation style based on the type of person you’re speaking to. Is this prospective client focused more on statistics? Numbers and facts should be front and center in that script.

Are they talking more about their emotional ties to a future home? Your script should have a very personal and sentimental slant to it. Listen and respond accordingly. Another big thing is catering to the person’s opinion rather than your own – if you present in a way that’s a lecture, it’s the agent’s (your) opinion. If you present in a question, it’s now the client’s opinion.

  1. Know the Why

To put it plainly, determining buyer motivation should be at the heart of any script. You need to understand the why, before responding to the what. Some buyers will be just curious and ‘window shopping’ of sorts, while others will be determined to buy a home in the very near future. Ask questions so you understand how to move forward. Take more of a ‘why’ rather than a ‘what’ approach, and move forward very incrementally in uncovering that.

  1. Practice

The best agents practice their scripts, and do so regularly. Their practice audience may be their team, their friends, family members, or just about anyone who’ll give them the time. When you put in the time with this, you get the results, and it’s really as simple as that. Further, no realtor is too busy to practice if they want to get the most out of their real estate client prospecting online efforts. Schedule the time and make it happen.’

  1. Always be On

Right then, you’ve practiced your scripts, know the material inside out, and you know you have the ability to be flexible and adaptive with them as need be. However, when you show up to meet with a prospective client, you come out sputtering rather than purring nicely.

You need to see yourself as a paid performer here, and paid performers either perform well or they aren’t ‘paid’ performers for much longer. Any specific client you’re talking to is going to expect you to be on. Real estate agents meeting clients after making use of internet generated real estate leads need to have the confidence that comes with knowing their material inside out to the 1000th degree, and you need to do what it takes to make it so that you’re the same way. For most people, that means one thing – practice – and LOTS of it.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively and for your very own region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a proven-effective and very potent way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and then – when done right – building your client base much more quickly than your competitors in the business.

Price Declines Seen Across Nation By Real Estate Industry

Published April 23, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s well understood that the housing market in Canada has cooled considerably over the last part of 2018 and through 2019 to date. The reasons for that have been discussed at length, and while Canadian real estate prices have turned negative, not all markets are suffering. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has released numbers showing the national price index declined for a second month in a row in March. We have to go back to September of 2009 to see the last time price declines were seen in Canada.

However, despite the national drop, underperforming markets are beginning to boom. This is mixed news for real estate agents in Canada, meaning more business to be had but lower commission returns on doing this business (at least in the majority of instances). Our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent way for realtors to generate more leads, and current market conditions like these make that as important as ever.

2nd Month of Annual Declines

Canadian real estate prices are coming in with annual declines for a second month. CREA indicates the benchmark price of a typical home was $617,200 in March, and that is up 0.83% from the previous month. This is an annual decline of 0.47% from last year, and these current prices are down 2.25% from the all-time high. April of 2017 saw it at its recent highest, a 19.31% percent jump from the month previous, but it fell considerably after that. The benchmark price was nearly half the value it was in April by the time December 2017 came around.

It has recovered little over the last year, and the annual pace of growth is showing the declines are getting bigger. The 0.47% decline in March is an increase from the month before. This is the 2nd month of negative annual growth, and the biggest one since the fall of 2009. While the decline is very small in the big picture, it could still be the start of a larger trend. Obviously it is advisable for the entire industry to be watching this number closely.

Ottawa, Montreal & Guelph Real Estate Make Largest Gains

The market’s leading price gains were for Ottawa, Montreal, and Guelph, Ontario. Ottawa’s typical home price grew to $405,500 in March, an increase of 7.64% from last year. This was the largest gain in the country. Guelph came next with a typical home now selling for an average of $537,700, up 7% from last year. Montreal came third with an average home price of $357,600, and increase of 6% from last year. While these markets made substantial gains, they are still significantly below the national index.

Largest Annual Price Drops

The most sizeable annual prices drops were in Vancouver, Barrie, Ontario and Calgary. Vancouver’s standard home dropped to $1,011,200 in March, down 7.65% from last year (and the most relevant median house price drop in Canada given the market dynamics and factors there). Barrie came next with the standard home falling to $460,600, down 6.06% from last year. Calgary rounded this trio out with prices falling to $409,400, down 4.95% from last year.

5 Canadian Real Estate Markets With New Highs

Negative national growth isn’t a detraction for all markets. 5 hit new all-time highs – Ottawa, Guelph, Montreal, Niagara, and Hamilton. Each of these cities established new highs for the price of a home in March. Again, these markets are all under the national average, and were ones that had been underperforming over the past 5 years.

Price Changes From Peak

The percent change from peak pricing seen with typical homes in Canada’s largest markets is something to consider here, and most notably that some smaller urban markets are very far from their peaks. Edmonton is where we see the biggest gap, where the price of a typical home costs $319,000 – a drop of 17.18% from its peak price. Regina is the same story, with a typical home falling to $264,100, dropping 16.51% from peak. A Barrie, ON home was median valued at $460,600, down 15.65% from last year.

Toronto and Vancouver real estate didn’t find themselves at the extreme ends of the peak, and fell somewhere in the middle instead. Toronto’s typical home is now valued at $779,100 in March, a reduction of 4.63% from the all-time peak. Vancouver fell to $1,011,200, down 9.24% from peak.

Canadian real estate markets are seeing negative growth, and there are only a few locales that are notable exceptions. Only half of markets grew above the pace of inflation, and the largest markets have been growing close to it. This is natural as demand in these cities tends to provide something of a buffer to extensive shifts. Overall the national decline is quite tiny at this point. So small in fact that a single month of more frenzied activity could push it back to more desirable conditions for the real estate industry.

Keep in mind the fact that the market is struggling to see gains. This is especially true after the significant drop in growth from the April 2017 peak.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered only to you and for your similarly-exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. These leads are bonafide opportunities for you to take a prospect and convert them into a client. Granted, much more has to occur in order for that to become a reality, but having the initial contact possibility generated for you is something that is extremely valuable for a realtor working in a competitive market.

 

Marketing Real Estate with Facebook Retargeting Ads

Published April 16, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Even realtors who were especially cool to it for the longest time have had to come around and accept the importance of social media marketing in real estate. Facebook is front and center in this regard, and not because it’s superior to any of the other leading social media apps. Rather, it’s because Facebook has become the social media app of choice for older people. Yes, a good number of Mom and Dads out there have discovered how Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends.

Now the relevance of this isn’t hard to understand – no disrespect to younger generations, but it’s people who are in their 30s and upwards who are more likely to be buying and selling real estate. If you’re on Facebook you’ve almost certainly seen real estate agents and / or real estate brokerages using paid ads that promote properties for sale or their real estate services.

As such, making good use of Facebook is something you may want to consider for your real estate business. Same can be said for our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads. Long story short, whatever can create the short distance between A and B when it comes to you meeting with prospective clients is something you should pursue as enthusiastically as possible.

What is a Retargeting Campaign?

A retargeting campaign is the part of a digital marketing strategy that gives you a significant edge in re-engaging customers at specific parts of their journey throughout your site. How Facebook comes into it is that it provides a piece of code called a pixel that tracks how many times that specific visitor stops by you site.

To be brief, Facebook Pixel enables you to measure and optimize ads plus build audiences for your ad campaigns. Once you have it, you then use this pixel to know which group of people visited which page of your website and how they interacted with it once they’re there.

Who Will I Retarget with Facebook Retargeting Campaigns

There’s really no limitations here once the individual has visited your site, even just one time. Keep in mind that you won’t know the personal data of any person that you are retargeting, but you will be aware of the exact behavior of people on your site. Because of this you can retarget any visitor or group of visitors who come to your site.

Here are some examples of useable information you can obtain from Facebook Retargeting

Retargeting people who read through your blog, sending them more relevant content that is designed to further enhance their purchase interests

  • Retargeting people who visit a specific URL, providing them with a tailored message for the next step
  • Retargeting people who visit a page for a webinar with incentives to register for the webinar
  • Retargeting existing customers with new offers
  • Retargeting website visitors with lead ads to collect new subscribers

There’s also much more you can do with retargeting – it really is only limited by initial traffic received and what you imagine you can do with the information.

What is more defined is all the ways to implement Facebook retargeting. That’s why it’s best to get set up for these ads with your Facebook user account and you can see what kind of results you’ll get within a few days.

Retargeting Campaign to Set Up First

A good idea is to set up for an abandoned cart or form sequence as your first retargeting campaign. These will be instances where people took the time to start an action, but didn’t complete or submit it. The term for these actions is ‘hot audience’ because they’ve already signaled some degree of purchase intent.

Here is an example of how this works:

Abandoned Appointment / Inquiry

Let’s say someone began filling out a form for more detailed information on a home, or to request a meeting with you to discuss a property you have on the market. Facebook pixel would allow you to know who filled out that form. You respond by retargeting them with a communication, infographic, or special offer that gives them incentive to return and this time fill out the form completely and submit it.

It’s also helpful that you can do this automatically through Facebook using a type of ad called a dynamic ad with a product catalog. This combination allows Facebook to serve ads based on the exact behaviours of the customer while they were at your Real Estate website as linked to it by your paid Facebook ad.

Surprisingly Powerful Tool

We spoke with a real estate agent in Western Canada a while back and she reported that she made contact with a couple that became her clients via a Facebook Retargeting Ad within a few weeks of first trying them. Granted, she is sufficiently social media savvy and had been using her own sponsored ads for Facebook for some time, but it was her first go around with retargeting ads on Facebook.

There’s no debating they’re an excellent fit for real estate marketing, and in large part because of the nature of what’s involved with buying or selling a home. People may window shop at homes, but if a person has taken some level of interaction with your site it can usually mean there’s some definitive level of interest in making a real estate move.

Retargeting is a powerful technology that allows you to create virtual lists of people who have visited your site and serve them ads based on the behavior on your site. Facebook retargeting ads are highly recommended for realtors.

As is Real Estate Leads! Sign up for real estate leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered exclusively to you and for your very own region of any city or town in Canada. Their your leads for your area, and only you receive them. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your prospecting efforts and you’ll almost certainly come to seen it as money well spent for growing your real estate business.

Greater Number of Mortgage Applications Expected for 3rd Quarter of 2019

Published April 8, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s well understood by those in the Real Estate industry that the housing market in Canada has been ‘Flat’ for quite some time now. Putting that in perspective for people who like to understand things more simply is to say that the average value of homes is neither increasing or decreasing for the most part. This of course has the effect of making fewer homeowners decide to put their homes on the market, as the majority of them will be aiming to sell their home for as tidy a profit as possible.

This trends has been countered by the fact that new housing development starts are up across the country this year, and in hot markets like Vancouver and Toronto there is a focus on having these starts be in building more affordable housing. That’s a very relative term, to be sure, but to make a long story short there are more new homes coming onto the market to counter the lack of existing homes found on it.

As realtors, that’s a bit of good news and something that should mean greater numbers of first-time homebuyers looking for expert guidance. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is designed to fast-track you being put in touch with both home buyers and sellers, and as a realtor that ought to sound mighty good. But enough about that for now, let’s have a look at why the aforementioned information is pairing with a new forecast that should foster even an even more positive outlook for realtors in Canada.

Mortgage Applications Expected to Spike – Here’s Why

There are indications that there could be a spike in mortgage applications in the third quarter – provided a rate forecast comes to be sometime over the next few months. This is because the Canadian Real Estate Association’s economists are expecting interest rates to go down as the year progresses, and this in response to weaker economic conditions forcing the BoC (Bank of Canada) to hold steady with their rates.

It’s assumed that if 5-year bonds maintain their current level then there should be a shift seen in the 5-year qualifying mortgage rate. It hasn’t moved for almost a year now, and the premise that it might will mean some good news for would-be homebuyers. All of this of course needs to be tempered by the continuing realities of the new mortgage stress-test regulations introduced last year. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s harder than ever for first-time homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage in Canada.

Dip in Qualifying Mortgage Rates

The BoC forecasts that 5-year qualifying mortgage rates will fall from 5.34% in the 1st quarter of 2019, to 4.99% in the 2nd quarter, and reaching a year-low of 4.84% in quarter 3. They go further then to say that rates are then expected to climb to 5.15% in the 4th and final quarter of 2019 and early 2020 before reaching a plateau of 5.34% for the remainder of next year.

The next thing that needs to be considered is discount rates on qualifying mortgages. The BoC’s predictions there are as follows:

5-year average set for a drop to 3.44% in Q2 2019 (as compared to 3.60% in Q1

  • Drop to 3.30% in Q3 of 2019
  • Climb back to 3.44% in Q4 of 2019
  • Climb again to 3.64% in 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020
  • Climb again to 3.74% in 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020

 

Expectations for Rate Cuts

Some economists believe the Bank of Canada may in fact cut rates in 2019, as opposed to just maintaining their current level. Others believe oppositely that what we’ll see is a rate freeze. One area where there’s some consensus on this is that they will likely move towards a neutral interest rate, but only in the long term. The reason for this being that the corresponding hike in the level at which mortgage borrowers are stress-tested will result in that policy now being unsustainable so long as the current methodology is employed.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of buyer and / or seller real estate clients leads online that are sent to you and you only for your similarly exclusive area of any city or town in Canada. With them you’ll have opportunities to be in touch with people who are genuinely considering making a real estate move sometime in the near future, and with that opportunity you have a chance to establish yourself as their realtor of-choice. It’s highly recommended, as evidenced by testimonials from realtors just like you.

Vancouver-Based Online Real Estate Investing Platform Promises to be Well Received

Published April 1, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

One of the inescapable realities of living in Canada’s most popular urban areas is that every aspect of life is intimidatingly expensive. When it comes to owning – and investing – in real estate, that expensiveness is at its apex point. Likely no one needs to be told that real estate is supremely expensive in Toronto and Vancouver, but it’s that reality that of course makes many people want to be able to invest in it.

As a realtor the bulk of your clients will be buying homes to live in them, while others will be buying them as revenue properties with the aim of renting them at rates the market will bear. In either scenario, however, it’s a fact that the people are making investments, and in most cases it’s an investment in both their immediate future AND their financial future.

Here at Real Estate Leads, the benefit of our online real estate lead generation service is that it puts you in touch with buyers and sellers who are legitimately considering making such a move, and as their realtor it’s your responsibility to tailor your efforts to meet their prerogatives.

The fact of the matter is if you’re a realtor working in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, or Montreal there’s going to be would-be buyers who are prevented from being prospective clients because of the market being unaffordable for them. That’s an inflexible reality and simply a part of market forces, but it’s unfortunate that it means fewer would-be clients.

Seems there may now be a little bit of an equalizer for people who’ve until now been resigned to being priced out of the market. There’s a new platform could make investing in Canada’s most expensive real estate market less daunting.

Introducing Fraction

Fraction is a Vancouver-based equity stake lending platform that promotes itself as a more secure option than traditional home equity lines of credit. Their premise is that by taking a 40% equity stake in a property, it can reduce a buyer’s mortgage payments by 35%. The home buyer still must secure mortgage financing for the remaining amount, but the drastically lower figure is much more workable in that regard.

Now of course, yes, this significantly diminishes the amount of equity they can build up in the property by making their monthly mortgage payments. However, it’s best to look at it this way; if you own a home and want to take some equity out of it, your existing option is you could sell, or get a HELOC or reverse mortgage. The 2nd party-financier option may be better because you can sell up to 40% of the future value of your home to them.

Provided the market’s robust enough – and in Canada’s big urban centres it most certainly is – a client can still count on making a tidy profit on the original investment even while still reimbursing Fraction its 40 percent.

Investment Properties Too

It also promises to be a good choice for investing in additional real estate properties.

Those who want to invest in real estate in Vancouver, for example, would be able to buy securities from Fraction and have the value of those securities being debt-protected. It doesn’t take anyone with an advanced understanding of economics or investment savvy to see the potential advantages in that. “

The investment serves to be a mortgage charge on title, and by that they’re able to secure their stake in the property. That’ fine, but what about my part of it your client may ask. Well, it also means that their principal is more secure too.

Adding to First-Time Buyer Incentive

The 2019 Federal Budget arrived last week, and it includes a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation equity stake incentive for first-time buyers. However, that incentive is capped at 10%, and household income cannot exceed $120,000. Plus, the total cost of the home can’t be greater than four times that amount.

With a service like Fraction, the impediments put up within the first-time homebuyer incentives being introduced within the budget are not nearly as prohibitive when it comes to buying property. The investment is quite a bit safer because it’s not a down payment. It’s still a mortgage on title, so it’s way safer than the CMHC one, which will be more like a down payment itself most of the time.

An Example

Let’s put together an example of how this would work. Let’s say the owner of a home worth $1 million—not uncommon at all in Vancouver or Toronto — wants to take out $200,000. They’re able to sell 20% to Fraction, and when they sell the home 4 or so years later for something in the vicinity of $1.5m, that 20% is worth $300K. That’s paid at sale, and they’re still $200K up when all is said and done.

Appreciating at 5.5% per annum has been the norm for Canadian properties, and so if a property invested in with this model and service fails to increase by that much there’s a built-in interest rate of 3%. Of course, that rate will vary by region once Fraction spreads out a bit.

It’s easy to see how this is something that you as a realtor should be recommending to buyers who don’t want to be stretched too thin in the beginning but can see the near certainty of that property appreciating nicely in the not too distant future.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively and for you similarly-exclusively served region of any city or town in Canada. What this service does is put more opportunities in front of you, and when you’re an informed realtor it’s that much easier to become a reputable realtor based on an ever-growing track record of what you’ve been able to do for your clients.

What Clients Want from Their Real Estate Agent

Published March 26, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Every once in a while it’s good to get back to the fundamentals, and that’s true whether you’re talking about your career, your golf game, or even your culinary capabilities. Often you’ll find that by reorienting your foundation in smart ways means everything that’s built on top it is improved as well. Being a service-plus real estate agent in Canada is no exception, here.

While experienced realtors will quite likely have a firm grasp on strong fundamentals in the real estate business, it is novices like many of you taking advantage of our opportunity here who’ll benefit from first understanding them, and then revisiting them often.

Speaking of opportunities first, however, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada here at Real Estate Leads comes extremely well recommended for any realtor who’d prefer to hit the ground running and build up his or her real estate business with greater rapidity. Long story short, it puts qualified leads for you area in the hands of one realtor and one realtor only – you. Of course, those leads are only opportunities – what you do with them is up to you, but a market and industry-savvy realtor is always up to that challenge.

Back to today’s topic though – what are the fundamental basics of what clients want from their real estate agent?

Buyer Client Expectations

The first difference to understand with buyers in comparison to sellers is that they’re a whole lot more complex and varied with their prerogatives most the time. There are different levels of experience and requirements. First-time buyers often need an overly guided approach to their buying a home. Investors, on the other hand, will usually want lots of data. Transactional help, lots of interpretation of documents, and help with decisions are often also standard wants / needs for buyers.

But that’s likely quite obvious for many of you, so let’s look at specific buyers based on the properties they’ll be evaluating.

If a client is focused on the vacation or resort home market, they’ll almost always need even more support. Many of these properties are in rural, mountain or seaside areas, and these are areas that often have strict environmental, developmental and building codes. If your client is an out-of-area buyer they will be looking to you to provide skilled representation to ensure they aren’t buying something with hidden future problems.

When representing buyers in other specialized areas or property types, these buyers will tend to lean more on your expertise and local market knowledge. Condominiums are the purchase of-choice for most buyers these days in Canada’s large urban centers, and they’re that way very much out of necessity. Condo rules (via strata) and financial particulars will be extremely important to these buyers, and they want their realtor to be explicitly in the know about them before they go to see the property together for the first time.

Next, investment property buyers. As a whole, these buyers will usually be the most ‘informed’ demographic you’ll serve as a realtor, and just because this ‘isn’t their first rodeo’ as the expression goes. When it comes to these buyers, they often approach you with a great deal of market knowledge. Interestingly, what they value most in a realtor is an ability to take an aggressive approach to helping them locate good investment deals, and then strong negotiating skills to help them get their desired property at the right price. A real estate professional who can catch things they may have missed and bring them to their attention before an investment mistake is an invaluable resource for them.

Seller Client Expectations

It’s inadvisable to look at sellers as individuals who just want to sell their home quickly and for as much as possible. Yes, on the whole sellers are less likely to be overly reliant on their agents for help in the process. Most sellers will know how technology has changed the game in as far as how a home is marketed to the masses these days.

So where are their priorities now, and what do they want most from a listing realtor? Their hope will be that you will take the initiative when it comes to commissions and finding ways with creating lower costs with roughly equal marketing options. If you’re working with aa full-service commission arrangement, you need to have at least a few instances where you’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ and left them with the impression that it’ more than they might have received from a lesser real estate professional.

One very interesting trend that’s been observed from client satisfaction surveys in real estate for North America is that some home seller client really appreciated how their realtor was able to effectively and rationally explain to them how commission-free or low-commission real estate services (which are popping up absolutely everywhere these days) are inferior to that provided by a genuine in-the-flesh / at-your-door real estate agent.

This doesn’t mean simply stating – however truthful – that these homes tend to stay on the market longer. Instead, you should be able to explain why that is and what you’re able to do counter that eventuality if they choose to work with you.

Be in the know – and very in the know preferably.

All Consumers

We’ll conclude here today with a bullet point list of the skills and qualities actual home buyers and sellers of all types will typically be looking for in their realtor:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Knowledge of purchase process
  • Responsiveness
  • Knowledge of real estate market
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills

There are others, including people skills and technical skills, but these 6 are boxes that you need to be able to check and list out how you meet those needs exactly. Your marketing may feature these skill sets, or it may not. Either way, there’s always room for improvement doing your very best in these areas.

In conclusion, we can say that the qualities of a good real estate agent will vary based on consumer needs but the basics will always apply and are worthy of ongoing focus as a result.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads provided to you – and only you – for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. Nine times out of 10 that’s going to mean more in the way of client prospecting successes for you and you’ll be in the position to do what realtors do best most often – putting people in touch with the best buyers for their property, or finding that perfect property for a buyer.

Check out our testimonials for stories from actual realtors who’ve gotten on board with the service and are now continuing to benefit from it immensely.

 

Young Canadians Still Holding onto Detached Home Aspirations

Published March 19, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Much has been made lately of the way the new home development industry has shifted more and more to a focus on condominium development over the years due to land constraints, average consumer purchasing power, and the need to build upwards in popular major metro areas in Canada. All of this continues with just the same energy as before, and it is true that multi-family housing development IS the future of housing in Canada’s big cities whether people like it or not.

Successful realtors adapt to the new realities of the industry, and it’s likely fair to say that the majority of first-time homebuyer clients are going to be looking at condos exclusively if they’re looking for a first home in Vancouver, Calgary, or Toronto. Where you put your energies is a very strategic decision, and being more explicitly in the know about the condo market may be an advantage. However, it would seem that the classic dream of a detached home with a backyard and every other kitschy appeal isn’t one that some people are willing to forego.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is a proven effective way of being put in touch with prospective clients who are genuinely considering buying or selling a home sometime in the near future. As far as would-be home buyers are concerned, they may well have their eyes on a condo that’s in town and near to work for the couple, but if there’s kids in the picture they may well be willing to take on a higher mortgage (provided they’ll qualify) and accept a longer commute to have everything a detached home has to offer.

So what’s the ins and outs of why some young people aren’t willing to give up on owning a detached home like the one many of them were likely raised in? Let’s have a look at that here today.

Still Worth It for Some

It’s a given that condo supply in the country’s largest markets will see significant increases in the near future, but a recent Globe and Mail report indicated that for the most part young professionals and those starting families will still prefer to buy and live in single-detached homes.

Federal policy focused on boosting the availability of low-cost condo units in downtown areas is smart and well intentioned, but it has unwittingly encouraged urban sprawl by forcing more Canadians to look further out into the suburbs to be able to realize their dream of a owning a detached, single-family home with a yard.

Why most – especially singles or couples – would see a condo as their best fit is fairly easy to understanding; they’re more likely to be able to extend the amortization period on insured mortgages, easing the stress test introduced last year or increasing the $750 tax credit for first-time buyers.

However, it seems that many millennials still ultimately aspire to purchase single-family homes.

Look at Montreal

Greater Montreal is a good place to see this phenomenon playing out. Updated numbers provided by the Quebec statistics agency showed that nearly 24,000 residents (many of whom met ‘young household’ criteria) moved from Montreal to the suburbs and beyond over the course of 2018. This migration was the largest off-core one since 2010.

The consensus seems to be that attempts by policy makers and urban planners to coax Canadians into accepting condo living as a semi-permanent state in life may come from good intentions, but it is has not stopped millennials from dreaming the suburban dream and realizing that 600-square feet is going to impinge their quality of life to an extent that many of them will deem unacceptable.

If you’re a realtor in one of these pricey urban areas you’d be well advised to NOT approach any young buyer individual / couple without kids with the assumption that they’re going to want to get into a condo. Yes, most will but you shouldn’t make any assumptions – especially for the reasons being laid out here.

Willing to Commute

It seems that younger Canadians are willing to take their mobility in their own hands if it means having their own suburban single-detached property. If a big yard for the kids is a must, many of them are willing to spend 2 or more hours of their day getting to work and back. That of course has it’s own negative ramifications, but it is what is in as far as understanding your prospective clients’ motivations.

It is true that more Canadians than ever are driving to work, proof that efforts to promote mass transit and densification have done little to kill the dream of a house in the suburbs. If that’s what a client wants and is willing to pay for (both in financial terms and what they’ll pay for in lost time commuting) then you’ll be best served by understanding and relating to their buyer prerogatives and catering to them like any good real estate agent would.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your privately-served region of any city or town in Canada. You can count on having many bonafide opportunities to turn these leads into clients, and it’s a fact that most realtors who’ve already gotten on board with this see it as 100% worthwhile investment in the current and future success of their real estate business.

Weak Loonie Hampering Snowbirds’ Property Buying Tendencies in U.S.

Published March 12, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Certain spots in the USA have long been hotspots for Canadians who have the financial means of buying an owning a vacation property in the US. While there are exceptions, it tends to be that those from Ontario eastwards have always gravitated to Florida, while those Manitoba and westwards have done the same for Arizona. And the term given to them – ‘snowbirds’ – is pretty self-explanatory; they ‘fly’ south to get away from the snow and the rest of Canadian’s chilly winter temperatures.
It goes both ways too, as there are always American clients who’d like to own a vacation home in Canada. Often times, their prerogatives are exactly the opposite – instead of trying to get away from the snow they’re trying to be enjoy the best of it as they don’t have the same skiing or snowmobiling opportunities down where they call home. As a realtor you’ll be very thankful to meet these would-be buyers from south of the 49th parallel.

Effective client prospecting for real estate agents means putting out feelers as far as possible, and that can include doing so for Americans interested in Canadian real estate opportunities. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation service is an excellent way to meet would-be buyers of ALL different interests, and it’s true that some of them may not call Canada home.
Currently, discrepancies between the dollar’s worth for each country is going to mean that American interest in Canadian properties is going to outstrip Canadian interest in American properties quite handily. That might be to your benefit, so let’s have a look at why fewer Snowbirds are looking at purchasing U.S. real estate these days.

CDN $ at 13-Year Low in Comparison to U.S. Greenback
With the value of the Canadian dollar hitting a 13-year low, a Canadian’s purchasing capacities down south are seriously constrained right now. Cross-border travelers and snowbirds face higher expenses for everything from groceries to rent due to an unfavorable exchange rate. To put it in a real estate-perspective, if a Canadian was to buy a $200,000 home in all cash then the current exchange rate would have them spending an extra $66,000 to buy that home.Easy to see why the numbers are very down right now

Professional Advice for Clients Determined to Buy in USA
Some people will still insist on forging ahead and buying the vacation home in the USA they’ve wanted for years, and nearly all of will have some pressing reason to be willing to overlook the very tilted market dynamics.
If you are serving one of these types of real estate clients, here are some tips to help improve the experience for them AND see to it their money goes as far as it possibly can:

• Advise them on how to get the best exchange rate – tell your clients that rather than exchanging money several times throughout their visit to the U.S., exchanging it in one lump sum will usually mean a lower exchange rate paid. Tell them not to be dissuaded by paying a higher one-time processing fee for the transaction.

• Make them aware of the possible benefits of refinancing their home – many Canadians bought their U.S. home between 2009 and 2013 when the CAD $ was near to or equal with the U.S. dollar. Naturally, many of these homes will have appreciated over the years. Those who are already U.S. homeowners in popular snowbird markets are in a unique and favorable position to take advantage of their property’s appreciation and the strong U.S. dollar.
Refinancing may allow them to take the surplus earned on the currency exchange, and use it to repay debts or make new investments back in Canada. Money kept in USD can be spent on renovations to their U.S. home or placed in a high-interest savings account in the U.S. where it will grow more than it would in Canada and remain FDIC-insured.

• Buy, Don’t Rent – It’s a fact that rent is expensive during certain times of the year (if not all year) in popular snowbird hotspots. If property values weren’t still comparatively affordable in comparison to similar housing in Canada then it might be wise to rent until the loonie gains strength. But property values are comparable, so you can be confident in telling clients to still go ahead and buy if they find a property that really works for them.
To give an example, renting a condo in Fort Lauderdale, FLA might cost $3,000 in monthly rent during peak season. However, the monthly mortgage payment when purchasing the same property would only be $1100 or so. Unlikely that they’ll find ANY type of acceptable accommodations for anything less than $1100, or the even higher number that would include strata payments and maintenance.
Tell them to keep in mind as well that while rent payments continue to climb each year, monthly mortgage payments stay consistent. And they can rent the property when not using to cover their mortgage, homeowners’ association fees and property tax.

• Suggest They Take a Mortgage on Their U.S. Property, Even if They Can Buy It Outright – It’s wise to advise clients to consider a U.S. mortgage instead of paying for the entirety of the home’s price in cash. By applying for an adjustable rate mortgage with a fixed term, they’ll be able to avoid the one-time cost of currency exchange in a large amount now. Plus it creates the possibility of paying off their mortgage without any prepayment penalties if the Canadian dollar improves.

• Clients Will Pay Less for U.S. Purchases with a U.S. Credit Card – this is one piece of advice that most clients will be able to figure out on their own, but if not you should go ahead and make them aware of the fact that obtaining a U.S. credit card will let them save foreign transaction fees on purchases made in the U.S

If you’re newer to Real Estate and you’ve never helped clients with buying out of country you’ll almost certainly be challenged by it, but in truth common sense and a willingness to learn as you go will work out just fine for any realtor. Use these suggestion tips to build a rapport with your clients, and be sure to dig deeper and learn more on your own.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your privately-served region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll be given the means to be directly in touch with people who are genuinely considering buying or selling a home in the near future, and the opportunity presented by that is yours and yours alone.
Many realtors have gotten on board already, so if you’d like to be the exclusive recipient of leads for your preferred area of any city or town then we encourage you to be in touch with us without delay!