All posts for the month April, 2017

Ontario Follows B.C.’s Lead with 15% Foreign Buyer Tax

Published April 24, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_83998665The voraciousness with which foreign buyers have been buying up real estate in Toronto has been equally intense in comparison to Vancouver over recent years. The B.C. Liberal Government introduced a 15% foreign buyers tax in 2106, and – after months of speculation that they would – the Ontario Liberals are now doing the same.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re all about ways for realtors to get more listings, but we’re also keenly interested in healthy real estate markets that don’t preclude any particular demographic from being qualified buyers. To be certain, Canada’s cultural mosaic is of a benefit to us all but we believe in the need to protect affordable housing in Canada’s big cities.

The new regulations will also include expanding rent control, allowing Toronto to impose a tax on vacant homes, and using surplus lands for affordable housing. All of this stems for the same maladies that Vancouver has long claimed to be suffering from, where foreign buyers (among other factors, to be fair) have driven up housing prices to the point that people can longer afford to live in the city, and that includes families and people who have significant operational value to the city – live police, firefighters, paramedics, – and even doctors!

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that this non-resident speculation tax will be imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations. Wynne says the package of housing measures will make the process of finding a place to live a little easier, a little less frantic and much more of a fair process. The province will also expand rent control, which currently only applies to units built before November 199. This, and again like Vancouver, comes after tenants in newer units complained of dramatic rent spikes that – in some cases – led to financially-stable long term tenants now being in a precarious position to afford renting their home

Curbing Vacant Ownership and Rental Avoidance

Toronto Mayor John Tory has been insisting on a tax on vacant homes for some time now, and Wynne says Ontario will give Toronto and other interested municipalities the power to impose such a tax to encourage owners to sell or rent such spaces.

The Ontario Liberal government’s housing plan is made up of 16 measures in total, including identifying provincially-owned surplus lands for affordable or rental housing development, rebating a portion of development charges to encourage rental construction (sorely needed in Toronto and Vancouver), and undertaking a review of the rules for real estate agents.

The measures are aimed at putting the brakes on a hot real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area that is speeding out of control, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up a massive 33.4% from a year ago.

Other parts of the new measures include:

  • The launch of a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures and any additional steps that are needed.
  • Education for consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
  • A partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
  • Set timelines for elevator repairs to be established in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority.
  • Provisions that would require municipalities to consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes, among other things.


Following Other Cities Leads As Well

Ontario’s move to make foreign ownership of property more expensive – and thus more prohibitive – is not mirroring that of Vancouver only. Many other cities around the world have introduced similar measures, including Sydney, Australia and Singapore most notably. The belief that affordable housing is a right that should be A) offered to all citizens, regardless of origin, but B) still protected for families who have invested in those countries for generations, and provide the backbone for society.

It is likely that this will be the last of such real estate correction measures taken by provincial governments, as outside of Vancouver and Toronto the demand for housing in other big Canadian cities is not so great. Calgary may be an exception there, but we have not heard any rumblings from Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP as of yet.

The hope is that, in the long term, these measures will allow families and individuals to see property ownership as something that MAY be in the future. Even if it is not presently, it is important that these people do not see it is an impossibility and move on from these locations.

Clearly, there’s never a quiet day in the world of Canadian real estate, and you likely prefer it to be the same way with your real estate career. Check Real Estate Leads Availability here and enjoy qualified online generated leads provided to you exclusively for your region in Canada.



Analyzing The New Nationwide Mortgage Regulations

Published April 19, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_132363975One of the best pieces of advice you can give to help a realtor get more listings is to put in the time and network, network, network. For a prospective homebuyer who needs a mortgage to purchase their first home, one of the best things they can do is familiarize themselves with Canada’s new mortgage regulations and how they’ll affect their purchasing power. So feel free to pass this correspondence along if you know anyone it might benefit.

It was late last year that Canada introduced its new mortgage rules, and the term that was used for them was ‘promoting responsible homeownership’ – which in large part means more of buying a home to live in it rather than as as a speculative investment purchase. So while the changes were geared toward curbing foreign real estate speculation and, to a lesser extent, promoting low loan-to-value mortgages, for the majority of Canadians what matters first and foremost with the new regulations is how it will affect affordability for the average Joe or Jane.

More specifically here to put some parameters on our discussion, let’s say they’re a first-time homebuyer purchasing with less than 20% down. Or what’s called the interest rate stress test.

Let’s also preface somewhat by looking at how the affordability of Homeownership has been helped in recent years by low interest rates and the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages backed by mortgage insurance. What would be the result, however, if those rates jumped as they’ve been known to do? The government’s response to what could potentially be a bubble bursters was to introduce tougher interest rate stress-test criteria in the latter part of 2016, aiming to make perspective homebuyers aware of the potential for a future rise in interest rates.

So if you’re an average homebuyers with the on-paper means to afford a home – but not endlessly deep pockets – what does all this mean for you? The less-than-rosy answer is that you’ll likely have less money to work with. Here’s why.

Taking The Stress Test

Lenders and mortgage insurers will weigh two debt service ratios when qualifying you for a mortgage and mortgage insurance.

-Gross debt service (GDS)
These are the carrying costs of your home, such as mortgage payments, taxes, heating, etc., and how they stand in relation to your income.

-Total debt service (TDS)

The sum of your home carrying costs (mortgage payments, taxes, heating, etc.) plus your debt payments (credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.), with all being measured in relation to your take-home income yearly.

To qualify for mortgage insurance, the highest allowable GDS ratio is 39%. The highest allowable TDS ratio is a little more accommodating, coming in at 44%.

Many prospective buyers will technically at least qualify for a fantastic five-year fixed mortgage rate from your bank (2.94%, for example), but it’s now important to keep in mind that the new rules use the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed mortgage rate (4.64% at the close of 2016, for example) to make a determination on whether you can afford your mortgage payments.

The purpose of this stiffer affordability standard is to serve as a buffer to test whether you could still afford your regular mortgage payments if (and some economists state it’s quite likely) interest rates were to rise dramatically.

Bottom line is, the new rules mean you can afford less house for your income – approximately a 20% to 30% reduction in the mortgage amount most first-time buyers would qualify for.

Best Plan For Prospective Buyers

These new mortgage rules will likely not be reevaluated for many years now. However, many buyers will still be able to work within them. A revision of plans or timelines may be needed, but first-time homebuyers can still get into the real estate market.

Smart prep work in advance of buying your first home will be to lay the groundwork for this responsible homeownership they speak of: start by reducing your consumer debt, saving for a larger down payment (a big one!), and finding a way to boost your overall financial fitness.

Help your clients with their mortgage needs by recommending them to a mortgage broker you trust, and see to it you have more clients to refer in the first place by checking Real Estate Leads Availability here and having qualified online-generated leads in your area provided to you exclusively.

Hard to Argue Against Concerns Over Vancouver / Toronto Market Outlooks

Published April 14, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Canada High Resolution Real Estate ConceptThere’s been a whole host of different opinions on the state of the markets in Canada’s 2 biggest cities, and ones where – not surprisingly – there’s the most demand for housing and the ever-increasing development of ‘bubbles’ of the same variety that proved to be the start of a major detrimental turn events in the USA nearly 10 years ago now. Here at Real Estate Leads, we have endless tips for realtors but we’re not exactly experts on the connection between the economy and housing investment in Canada

There was a recent interview with someone who most definitely has the credential to say he is an expert. Royal Bank of Canada CEO Dave McKay was one that didn’t see things as rosy (or perhaps ‘rosier’ would be more accurate) as others do, and considering he’s the head of a major financial lending institution you can imagine he’s got his thumb on the pulse of all this in a way most of us couldn’t even begin to.

An Unhealthy Combination

McKay attributed the rapid increase in housing prices in the two cities to an “unhealthy combination of factors” and went on further to cite an imbalance in supply and demand for residential properties, low interest rates, and speculative activity.

“All of these factors are mixing to push prices up to unsustainable levels, stressing household balance sheets and locking many people out of the housing market,” McKay remarked at the bank’s annual general meeting in Toronto on Thursday.

“More and more disposable income is going towards servicing those houses,” he said, adding further ” and more capital is getting invested in those homes. And the real risk for us as an economy is the long-term drag that has on the rest of the economy as so much of a person’s net worth and cash flow goes into servicing their home.”

As stated, this kind of precarious arrangement was a big part of what preceded and initiated the crash in the US in 2008, and the concern of course is that something similar could happen here.

More of the Up, Up, Up

McKay offered his observations a day after the latest data from the Toronto Real Estate Board showed the average price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area increased by 33% over the last 12 months concluding at the close of March 2017.

What’s come as a result is a whole array of responses about what can be done to rein in housing costs in the city, which are now spilling over to the rental market via exorbitant rent increases. After all, the operating principles of supply and demand never really change.

What’s Up Out West

While it is true that price increases in Vancouver have cooled off, Lotus Land has also seen runaway double-digit gains, month after month after month, until the implementation of a 15% tax on foreign buyers last year.

McKay believes one single solution being applied to the entirety of these problems is unlikely to be successful.

He said interventions from federal, provincial, and local governments to come up with a more nuanced solution to a very complex problem would have much more propriety.

“We would welcome any effort by the three levels of government to coordinate their interventions, and to do so reasonably quickly,” he said.

“But longer-term, I believe all parties need to come together — governments; developers; realtors; banks; community groups and others — to accelerate our progress in finding policies and solutions for this issue.”

2 Further Sobering Statistic Comparisons

In bearing out a good portion of what MacKay has alluded to, have a look at these 2 charts indicating average home prices in both these cities in comparison to others, along with what is required for a down payment on that home.

Purchase prices

  • Vancouver: $420,000
  • Calgary: $370,000
  • Toronto: $425,000
  • Montreal: $250,000
  • Atlantic: $185,000
  • *National median: $293,000

Down Payment

  • Vancouver: 20%
  • Calgary: 10%
  • Toronto: 21%
  • Montreal: 13%
  • Atlantic: 8%
  • *National median: 12%

Of course, that means business is good for realtors in Toronto and Vancouver, but the need for housing is a social issue and naturally we all take a vested interest in the well being of that.

Check Real Estate Leads Availability here and help yourself to a bonafide lead generation system for realtors that’s great for ANY region of the country, even the hotbeds of Vancouver and Toronto.

Upcoming Real Estate Career Training Event in Greater Vancouver

Published April 7, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Picture2Those of you looking for proven effective ways to get more listings and acquire more clients as a real estate agent in Vancouver will want to take particular note of an event coming up this Tuesday, April 11th, at the Coast Hotel & Convention Center at Cascades Casino in Langley.

The featured speaker at this free real estate in Vancouver is Dwayne Groome, a much sought after consultant, adviser, trainer and speaker for real estate conventions across North America. He is a renowned authority on the subject of increasing your production as a realtor, and a firm believer that your career’s rapid ascent is dependent on understanding, embracing, and making strategic decisions based on the importance of your mindset as a realtor and being dedicated to achieving results.

Dwayne’s approaches are proven effective, as mentioned, and he states that you can increase your real estate income by up to 250%. We imagine that being able to double or triple your income working as a realtor sounds mighty appealing, and in Dwayne’s free seminar next Tuesday you’ll learn specific, tactile approaches to:

  • Booking more listing appointments
  • Applying 10 unconventional but effective ways to generate leads
  • Understanding and implementing zero-based marketing systems
  • Handle objections and concerns
  • Protect & increase your commissions
  • Be the brand of choice in your market
  • Finding solutions to the NO-call list
  • Mastering your attitude and managing time

Anyone interested in attending this event is very much encouraged to do so, and Dwayne looks forward to answering any additional questions you may have. There will be door prizes as well, so come on out to Langley on Tuesday and learn ways to be more successful as a realtor in Vancouver. And while we’re on the topic of that aim, why not sign up with Real Estate Leads and receive quality online buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively each month?






Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Coast Hotel & Convention Centre
(Cascades Casino – Resort)
20393 Fraser Highway, Langley, BC

Coffee 9:30 am
Seminar 10:00am to 1:00pm

In this Event; you will learn how to
DOUBLE or TRIPLE your income!

  1. Book more listing appointments
  2. Generate leads – 10 ways
  3. Zero based marketing systems
  4. Handle objections and concerns
  5. Protect and increase your commissions
  6. Brand of choice in your market
  7. Solutions to the NO-CALL list
  8. Master your attitude and manage time

To attend this FREE training event you must register for the seminar by
replying to this email or register online at




Quick Property Evaluation Reference Tips for Home Buyers

Published April 5, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_95521865For most prospective home buyers, there will only be a few properties that match their most immediate buying prerogatives. For these folks and in this scenario, there’s going to be much more in the way of time and resources available for weighing each of the 1, 2, or maybe 3 homes that line up as a potentially good fit. They can go over each of them much more thoroughly than the buyer who has a good many home they need to make a decision on.

And quite often those decisions need to be made rather quickly, as quality real estate doesn’t last long on ANY market. We’re all well aware of that!

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re all about providing ways realtors can get an advantage, but this week we’re going to spin it around somewhat and talk about advantages buyers can use as they work with the real estate agent towards purchasing the home that’s best for them.

So let’s get into our house hunting evaluation tips, with specific focus on the exterior, interior and basement for now:

  1. Exterior Considerations

Make a note of your impressions of the exterior of the home, with a particular note of the lot size and shape, position of the house on the lot (facing north or south, east or west), and whether it has a private or shared driveway. In addition, does it have a large front yard, side, and backyard? How is the landscaping, how well has it been maintained, and – perhaps most importantly – how much maintenance do you foresee it requiring to continue looking like you’d expect it too after you potentially buy the home. Trees? Hedges? Your opinions of them?

What type of siding does the home have, and in what condition is it currently in? Does it have an attached or detached garage and whether it can accommodate one or two cars.

Also note whether there is a porch or veranda, storage shed and is the yard is fenced (or perhaps it should be?). How much privacy does the layout of the grounds afford the home?

Take a critical look at the roof, and make detailed notes on its general condition and age. Check to see if any roof repairs were made recently, and make a point to check the eavestroughs and down spouts for signs of deterioration. Now move on to the foundation of the home. This is a big one! Are there any visible cracks or holes or signs of seepage?

This applies to all the points we’ll cover here, but it’s the ideal time to relay a very important piece of advice. You might consider hiring a certified house inspector for a thorough, professional survey — outside and inside — of any home you’re thinking to possibly buy.

  1. Interior Considerations

It’s hard to argue that’s there’s not 2 more important parts of a home than the kitchen and bedroom. We’ll start with the kitchen.

Take particular note of the general size and colour of the kitchen, as well as whether it has an eat-in area and what you’d consider to be sufficient cupboard space. Is there a pantry or food preparation island? Are the countertops and sink in good condition? Are the cupboards old or new? How is the floor holding up, and what is it made of? Is the existing lighting adequate and set up properly for carrying out kitchen tasks, as well as providing dining table light if the eating area is adjoining the kitchen.

Make a note of whether there are enough power outlets to run your appliances and have them spread out along the countertops and not bunched together out of necessity. Are the fridge, stove, and dishwasher included with the sale? Are they all operating, and more simply – do you like their looks? How many burners are on the stove top, and is the stove gas or electric. Is the oven self-cleaning?

Now were’ going to move to the dining room. Take first note of its size, whether it’s separate from the kitchen and the condition of the floors and walls. Is it big enough for the table you have, or will have in the near future based on your family size? Are there any built-in cupboards? Is there a chandelier, and is it being sold along with the house? Now have a look at the living room. Is there a fireplace? How many windows are there around the room, and what is your opinion on their layout and sizes? Are the window coverings staying, or leaving with the seller?

If the home has a family room, determine whether it’s closer or adjacent to the kitchen, does it feature outdoor access, and does it have a fireplace or wood stove. Is the stove CSA approved? Again, check the condition of the floor or carpet – and look for cracks and other potential problems.

Next up are the master and secondary bedrooms . Take note of their size and closet space and whether there are any window coverings or ensuite / adjoining bathrooms. Many people put some emphasis on the type of flooring in each bedroom and the colours given to each of the rooms.

How many bathrooms are there, and is that number in line with what the size of your family dictates as necessity? What are the condition of the bathroom fixtures, and do you think they’ll need replacing any time in the next 5 years? Check all faucets and flush toilets to make sure they are in good working order as well as determining if there is adequate water pressure. Look for signs of mould and deterioration as these are possible indications of inadequate ventilation.

  1. Basement Considerations

Now we head down to the basement. Your first assessment should be whether it is a full basement, or a partially finished one, or an unfinished one. Is that in line with your needs / wants? If not, are you willing to finish the basement yourself after purchase? Next, determine if there’s adequate headroom for moving about, remembering that we’re all of different heights. Is there a fireplace or wood-burning stove? Again, be on the lookout for signs of moisture – such as watermarks and peeling paint.

Note whether there is a utility area and – if the washer and dryer are set up in the basement – whether they are being sold with the house. Again, look for signs of water damage.

Last but not least – and this applies to any area we’ve discussed – find out if any recent renovations have been made to the home. It’s also very important to ask about the type of heating, water service, plumbing and the standard electrical amperage for the home. Is the hot water heater owned or rented? Is it gas or electric, and what is its storage / output capacity? What type of insulation is installed around the house?

This is of course is just a scratching of the surface as regards to what buyers should look at when making quick reference decisions about the suitability of a home. Your real estate professional will be able to add to this list extensively and judiciously, and we wish all 3 (or more) of you happy house hunting!