All posts for the month May, 2017

15 Questions You Should Always Ask Prospective Sellers Right Off The Bat

Published May 31, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Extensive series of a Caucasian Real Estate Agent and African-American Couple in front of a home.Here are Real Estate Leads, we’re pretty darn reliable when it comes to generating buyer and seller leads for realtors. We make it so that you have an opportunity to turn those leads into clients. What you do with that opportunity, well that’s up to you, your expertise and your ability to accommodate these prospective clients in just the right way.

Most of you will agree that even ‘qualified’ leads need to be established even more thoroughly before you begin to invest your precious time and energy with a potential client. With that understood, we’ve spoken to many experienced realtors across the country and come to a consensus on 15 questions you should be asking these individuals to determine explicitly that they are homeowners who are legitimately looking to sell in the near future.

The focus with these questions is not just in trying to find out the details of the house and how much the sellers want for it. Rather, they establish parameters to find out how motivated they are and how willing they are to sell the house at a price that reflects what the market will realistically bear.

Before we get started, remember to ask open-ended questions. Listen intently and for as long as necessary, and let them do the majority of the talking

  1. Who am I speaking with?

You need to know who you are speaking to. Once that’s established you can call them by their name throughout the conversation to help build a rapport. Of course, it’s helpful to make sure they know your name first and another advisable tip is to mention it again when it’s natural to do so in the conversation.

  1. What is the address of the house you want to sell?

This one may be regarded as a little off track, but it’a actually quite important. It can be challenging to analyze a deal when you don’t know the exact address – whether that’s for Google Street View or any other prerogative. On rare occasions sellers will be hesitant to give you their street and address. This isn’t necessarily a ‘red flag’ but most realtors will agree that more often than not it indicates that they’re not entirely serious about selling their house.

  1. How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the home feature?

This question is obviously very straightforward. Do be sure though that when they tell you 3 bathrooms, that it is not really 2.5 or that a 5th bedroom is not a garage conversion or something.

  1. Does the home also feature a garage, basement, or pool?

Any such feature will, as you know, add to the sale value quite considerably. Also ask about conversions, finished basements, studios, and whether pools are in ground or above ground.

  1. If you were going to list your home with a realtor, are there any repairs and / or updating that would be needed in your opinion?

This question is not as prying as some of you may think. Many times if you just ask the seller what repairs it needs, they will just think of things that are broken or some way damaged. More often than not they do not think about the fact that the house is considerably outdated. In such instances, the idea is to have them realize that the house may be in good shape, but may also require a lot of updating and polishing.

  1. Why are you selling the house?

The big one. It goes without saying that this one requires some time and a great deal of open-ended questions and a whole lot of patient listening. This is where the motivation usually becomes apparent. Sometimes the seller will be hesitant and will only tell you they are moving. It’s perfectly alright to ask them why they are moving, and if they don’t want to answer that question that’s perfectly fine

  1. How much is owed on the house?

Some people are afraid to ask this question for fear the seller will not appreciate it. In their mind, it is like asking what hand they are holding at the poker table. That’s not it at all really. I just want to know if they owe too much for me to be able to buy the house. I don’t want to waste my time going to meet with them if there is no way I would be able to buy the house for what I would need to buy it for. The way to approach this question, is to just ask it like you did the question about how many bedrooms the house has. Don’t make a big deal out of it and they won’t. It’s rare that someone doesn’t tell me how much is owed. If they don’t, they are not likely motivated enough anyway.

  1. Is the house behind on payments?

The way this question is specifically worded is very much intentional with this one. We’re not asking, “Are you behind on the payments?” That would be overly nosy and inquisitive. Framing the question this way makes it a lot easier for people to be comfortable telling you the exact state of the home’s ownership to date. Of course, it also goes along the same lines as asking how much is owed and should be treated the same way.

  1. Is there an asking price you have in mind?

More specifically, what you’re gauging here is whether or not their asking price is in line with what comparable homes in the area are selling for. The realtors we spoke to related that the majority of the time it will NOT be. Now of course, the asking price is just the price they are hoping to get for the home, and often even they do not expect to get it. Still, this question gives you a good idea of the what type of client mindset you’ll be working with.

  1. How did you arrive at that original asking price?

This answer can vary immensely, but it nearly always gives you more of their motivation for selling. Take especial note here. Is there price in line with what similar homes in the area have been selling for? Is it much less, and if so that might indicate an over eagerness to move the home (which can be both opportunity and detriment from your perspective). Is it much more, which will of course indicate that the seller is not aware of current market values or is merely speculating on the value of the home.

  1. How soon are you hoping to close a deal with a buyer?

This is another motivation building question. If there is some urgency to it for them they will think about that while answering this question and will let you know that really just want it off their hands. If that’s the case, make it a priority to meet with these sellers ASAP!

  1. When can I come by to take a look at the house?

If your seller is motivated, then schedule an appointment with them at their earliest convenience. Do not say you will call them back to set up an appointment. In that instance, your seller may take you lackadaisical attitude as a put-off and take the initiative to reach out to another realtor on their own. Keep in mind that most sellers will only talk with 1-3 house buyers when calling investors to buy their house. You need to be one of those people.

  1. How did you hear about me?

Any good realtor worth his or her salt puts a lot of value into where their marketing dollars are best spent. This is valuable feedback to be sure! You can use the FREE lead manager/deal analyzer to keep track of your leads and marketing.

  1. What is the best way to contact you?

Last but certainly not least on our list here today. You really need to know how to contact the seller again. These days the majority of us take calls on handheld mobile devices with call display, but still – be sure you get that number and be even more sure by asking them if that’s the number where they would prefer to be contacted.

Feel free to add or subtract from this list of preliminary questions based on your own preliminary deductions about the client, and as always it’s extremely important to be courteous, polite, and especially accommodating at all times. Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified online-generated buyer and seller leads for realtors delivered to you exclusively for your protected region of the country.

It’s a dynamite way to grow your real estate business, and you’ll be joining a large host of similarly minded realtors who are already on board.

Advice on Long Distance Home Buying & Finding a Realtor in New Locale

Published May 25, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

realestateleadsdotca-helpfularticlesThere can be any number of reasons why a homeowner is pressed into selling their current property and buying a new one in an entirely different region of the country on a rather rushed timeline. Naturally, a new job or relocation by the company are the most likely ones, but there can be others as well. No matter what your reasoning may be, having to go through the home buying process without having all the natural conveniences of working within your existing locale can be disconcerting for many.

Here at Real Estate Leads, while our primary focus in on providing a way for realtors to get more client leads, we realize the value in providing realtors with insights about how to best serve their clients. Accordingly, this week we’ll discuss ways you can advise clients who are buying a home in a distant city and the best way to choose a realtor there.

Interview multiple realtors over the phone

Advise your clients to interview more than a few realtors in their new destination of choice, and of course don’t hesitate to offer to make recommendations or inquiries yourself if you feel qualified to do so. Suggest that they don’t be afraid to ask each realtor if they are going to have time to answer their questions. When making a long-distance move, any homebuyer is going to have more questions than if you were moving across town. Unless you’ve already established ties with a realtor in that specific city or town of a Province, have them be sure to interview at least 3 candidates.

Make Sure Your Potential New Realtor is Sufficiently Connected

Your clients should determine with certainty that their potential new realtor has the resources they will need access to throughout the home-buying process. For example, do they have a lender they can recommend? Do they have a title company, home inspector and maybe a handyman on tap in the event that their future home has some touch-up projects that will need doing?

It’s quite likely they’ll need a few of these people, and it may be that neither you nor they know of any of them in the intended new hometown. Your home-buying process will be easier if their realtor has these resources, and any reputable realtor should have some such people in their working acquaintances.

Ask As Many Questions As Needed

Encourage your clients to ask everyone single questions they have to help them gather all the information required so that they are making their home buying decision with confidence. As you will surely agree, any good realtor will be more than happy to field the entirety of those questions.

Further, have them ask their potential realtor for neighbourhood suggestions, and advise them to make sure they pick a realtor who answers those questions with thoroughness and individual perspective based on who exactly your clients are.

Drive That Commute

While it may be considered onerous, if it’s possible it’s very worth having them drive their potential new commute if and when they travel to their prospective new hometown, and ideally do it during rush hour if they’re to be a working man, woman, or even couple. They may think moving to a suburb outside the city is far enough out to not be affected by traffic, but that might be wrong and particularly so if it’s a metropolitan urban area like Vancouver or Toronto. Suggest they drive a couple of different routes to make sure.

They likely don’t want to end up stuck in gridlock for an hour on their way to work, so they likely won’t be opposed to the suggestion at least.

One That Knows What To Offer

It’s perfectly fine to expect a realtor to be able to ascertain what type of purchasing power a prospective client has without meeting them ‘in person.’ Further, they can and should be able to take that information and determination and connect it to how much to offer for a specific house in the new location.

A good realtor will have comparable properties that have recently sold and be able to explain a reasonable offer price for their home based on the sale price of these specific comparable properties.

Present During the Home Inspection

Have your clients expect their prospective realtor be present for the walk through with the home inspector. He or she should be proactive in asking about anything that doesn’t look right or that the client doesn’t or wouldn’t understand. It is obviously better to be informed before they sign to purchase the home than to have unexpected and often costly surprises after closing.

As always, these are just some introductory tips to consider. If your clients are looking to buy a home in a different city in Canada and they’d like to be on the right track as far as referencing properties and working with a new realtor, their best bet is to do plenty of research on their own and then having you as their current real estate agent provide referrals if you have them.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and enjoy qualified, online generated seller and buyer leads that are provided to you exclusively and for your exclusive region of the country.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late: The Need For Proper Insurance Coverage

Published May 15, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Home Insurance Coverage Abstract Illustration. Large Blue Umbrella Covering Single Family Home. 3D Illustration Isolated on White.

Recent events in the Eastern part of Canada are a reminder that shifting global weather patterns and trends – likely prompted by global warming – are seemingly making extreme weather events a much more common seasonal risk for certain communities.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we aim to provide ways for realtors to increase their home seller and home buyer leads, but we also realize the value in having realtors be able to appraise their clients of wise choices when it comes to home ownership. In light of the aforementioned events, and others like the increase in wildfires in the west every summer, it’s important to remind clients of the need for home insurance that matches the specific risks they face based on the regional location of their home.

With regards to these floods, it appears that the majority of Canadian homeowners aren’t insured for flooding and could be left on the hook for at least part of the bill after heavy rains in several areas across the country, experts say.

A representative for the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that only 10 to 15 per cent of Canadians have overland flood insurance

. This type of add-on insurance policy is typically not included in the clauses of standard home insurance packages in Canada, and most notably it wasn’t offered prior to 2013, the last time severe flooding affected certain communities in Canada.

The reason for this was that it wasn’t until that time that flood risk maps were developed for the whole country. Keep in mind that the insurance industry needs to be able to quantify the risks so they can assess which premiums should be charged to which people. A risk-per-region determination was required before any type of coverage guidelines could be established, and that took time.

And so, many homeowners with policies negotiated years ago may be insufficiently covered after heavy rains left several communities in Quebec and Ontario struggling with rising floodwaters over the weekend and parts of New Brunswick and British Columbia also faced flooding.

Delayed Roll-Out Inevitable, But Unfortunate

Insurers began working on the overland flood insurance add-on as soon as they could following the establishment of those maps, but naturally it took time to roll the policies out. The add-on has been available for most policies since late 2015, but – as is so often the case – policy owners are often lax about revisiting their policies once they’ve obtained them.

It’s important to do this, and particularly so given the fact that climate change is making calamitous acts of nature much more common across North America. It’s highly advisable to appraise new homeowners you’ve worked with – and ones you’ve similarly worked with in the past and keep in touch with – that they should be having a look at the coverage provided in their policies at least once every year to make reassessments as necessary.

Then there is the fact that most Canadians only interact with their insurance broker when the time comes to renew their policy. Most people are not even aware that overland flood insurance is available, unless they have been directly in a conversation with their broker or agent when renewing over the past year.

Further, homeowners should be adamantly reminded to NOT be expecting to be able to rely on government assistance in the event of an emergency situation, for obvious reasons given the fact that the funds available to cover such incidences are at an all-time low. In addition, government assistance is often designed to compensate homeowners for core essentials only.

Out Of The Know

A study last year that surveyed 2,300 Canadians who live in high-risk flood areas found that the a 70% majority of those polled reported having not been contacted by an insurance company about newly available overland flood insurance. It also revealed confusion on the part of respondents about what is – and isn’t – covered by their insurance policies. The majority of those surveyed thought overland flooding was already covered under their insurance policies by default.

As a realtor, there is a real opportunity here to both further the connection and reputability you have with your clients, as well as ‘do the right thing’ in making them aware of the need to be especially critical when looking at their home insurance policies.

By being a real estate professional you have an inherent level of authority regarding subject matters related to home ownership, and as such your clients are more likely to heed to your advice and or urgings regarding home insurance coverage than if they were to hear it from someone else. Take advantage of this to further your professional capacities, and enjoy being regarded so highly!

Operating your real estate business ethically and responsibly is indeed rewarding, and of course having greater numbers of listings for both buyers and sellers is fortuitous for giving you these opportunities. Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified online-generated leads delivered to you exclusively for your protected region of Canada each month. From there, you’ll have a foot in the door and chances to do what you do best!

Housing Craze Spilling Over Into Condo Market in Lotus Land

Published May 10, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_60052898The Foreign Homebuyer’s Tax instituted in BC last year has no doubt cooled housing prices in the city as intended, but it would appear that some of that buyer focus has shifted from detached homes to condominiums. That’s likely both a direct and indirect result, especially considering that while condos have been a nearly as popular choice for buyers looking for an investment property in Metro Vancouver, they’ve also commonly been the standard entry-into-market choice for young professionals and working couples who have yet to start a family.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re eager to continue providing a valuable marketing resource for realtors but we’re also keenly aware of some of the challenges, risks, and – for lack of a better word – general craziness that are marked characteristics in Canada’s big cities at this time.

After a heated four months for condos and townhouse sales, the average sales price for a condo on the west side of Vancouver is now nearly $1 million. Condos have indeed been quicker to recover than single family houses in response to the 15% tax, but of course the trickle down effect is both frustrating many qualified potential buyers as well as forcing other prospective buyers further down the chain.

Recently, realtors have made note of incidences where ‘extreme bidding wars’ that they typically only saw with detached homes are now becoming common for Condos in downtown Vancouver and on the city’s desirable west side. Some condos are selling for in the vicinity of 100k more than listing price, and according to agent Darryl Shaburo of Park Georgia Realty, “what’s quite marked about this trend is that these buyers are quite willing – and able – to compete and continue to outbid their competitors to numbers that most people find quite staggering for 800 to a thousand square feet of real estate.”

April of 2017 saw the average price for a condo in Vancouver west of Commercial Drive rise to $969,579, compared to $572,000 for East of it. What Greater Vancouver’s REB prefers is to use a measurement called benchmark price, which the board says more closely represents a typical housing unit. The April benchmark price for Vancouver West condos would seem to be more relatively indicative at $718,400 and $480,300 for Vancouver East, but agents and insiders say that doesn’t take into account the new phenomenon of ‘super bidding.’

The Concern of House Poverty

Furthering the issue is the fact that demand continues to far outstrip supply, and that is one of the trends in real estate in Vancouver that’s unlikely to change soon, if ever. Shaburo states that market is picking up these days, however, as it “always tends to do during the spring season.”

The greater concern in the big picture, and both for individuals and for the Canadian economy, is that by paying such exorbitant prices for housing – condos and detached homes – they will become what is called ‘house poor’ and be put at significant detriment due to carrying such a large household debt. As this becomes more common, it of course lends itself to premonitions of the ‘housing bubble burst’ that occurred in America in 2008.

We’re a ways from that in our opinion, but there has to be concern here. Both on the national interest level, and in making housing affordable for the people who make cities breathe and not just those who have the finances required to make investment purchases. Balance is essential.

As realtors, we stand to benefit from a profitable housing market, but it must be a healthy housing market as well. Plus, a great many of us actually live in these cities too! You want business to be good, and doing good. In in the interest of the first part of that, we suggest you check out Real Estate Leads and enjoy qualified online-generated seller and buyer leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusive region of any specific locale in Canada

New to Canada Homebuyer Program A Big Plus For Recent Immigrants

Published May 3, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Beautiful Female Holding Keys & Sold Real Estate SignWe certainly don’t need convincing that Canada is a great country. Here at Real Estate Leads, we’ve met all sorts of like-minded people in our aim to introduce realtors to ways to get more real estate leads as an agent and it seems the consensus is unanimous.

What makes Canada so appealing to those of us from families who’ve been here for generations is what makes it appealing to newcomers too. Many of us had great-grandparents who came to Canada from the British Isles hundreds of years ago with the same idea of a new and better life.

Back then you could get a large parcel of land for what wouldn’t even be half your down payment on a home these days, and the word ‘condo’ didn’t even exist. With the fact home ownership can be dauntingly expensive, it’s ideal that the New to Canada Program for Immigrants has been introduced to make home ownership a possible reality for people who have recently immigrated to Canada and are bringing their professional expertise and career prospects with them.

This versatile program makes it possible for qualified homebuyers new to Canada within the last 5 years to purchase a home with a down payment of as little as 5%. You can purchase a home, build equity, and become economically established in Canada sooner than ever before.

The property value must be less than $1,000,000, and loan security is available on first mortgages. Borrower qualifications include standard income and employment verification, plus 3 months minimum full-time employment in Canada, with borrowers being transferred under a corporate relocation program being exempt.

Only certain homes and home purchase quantities are allowed within the program. The maximum number of units an applicant can purchase is 2, and 1 unit must be owner occupied. Newly constructed home must be covered by a lender approved New Home Warranty Program, and existing resale properties must be readily marketable residential dwellings, located in markets with demonstrated ongoing re-sale demand. The estimated remaining economic life of the property should be a minimum of 25 years, as may be determined by a qualified provincially-appointed appraiser if deemed necessary.

Other lending stipulations for this program include:

  • Applicants must have a 90.01-95% International credit report (Equifax or Transunion) score demonstrating a strong credit profile OR 2 alternative sources of credit demonstrating timely payments (no arrears) for the past 12 months
  • Applicant must have immigrated or relocated to Canada within the last 60 months
  • Must have a valid work permit or obtained landed immigrant status
  • All debts held outside of the country must be included in the total debt servicing ratio (note: rental income earned outside of Canada is to be excluded from the GDS/TDS calculation)
  • Guarantors are not permitted
  • Foreign diplomats who do not pay tax in Canada are ineligible for this program

Qualifying terms and interest rates are as follows:

  • Fixed, standard variable, capped variable and adjustable rate mortgages are permitted
  • Maximum interest rate term of 25 years
  • The qualifying interest rate is the greater of the contract rate or 5-year benchmark rate

and purchase transactions may be made up to a 95% LTV (loan to value) limit, with – as mentioned – a 5% down payment on properties up to 500,000 in value, and a 5% down payment on $500,000, with an additional 10% down payment on the portion of the home value above $500,000 if purchased for any price between 500k and 1 million.

We hope this programs is helpful for valuable newcomers coming to Canada to make our country a better place to live, as has been the case for well more than 200 years now. And we also hope it makes for more clients for our realtor readership. Check Real Estate Leads Availability here and receive qualified online-generated leads provided to you exclusively for your exclusive region every month, and ask away with any questions too.