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All posts for the month January, 2018

5 Disrepair Clues for Steering Clients Away from a Property

Published January 29, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

A stressed out business man holds his head in despair as he fears that he will have to file for bankruptcy or go into liquidation

Every realtor is going to enjoy seeing their clients take a strong and sometimes even passionate interest in buying a certain home they’ve seen. As much as you’ll want to foster that enthusiasm for them, it’s also a part of your responsibility to temper that enthusiasm if you see any warning signs for the home that they’re not able to see. For an experienced realtor it will be easier to make those assessments, but for someone who’s newer to the business it may be more challenging to spot potential ‘red flags.’

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada is proven effective for giving realtors a leg up when it comes to prospecting for new clients. Once you’ve made those connections, you then of course have the opportunity to start down the path to finding the perfect home for your clients, or the perfect buyer FOR their home.

Your knowledge and expertise is expected, so here’s 5 clues to look for that may suggest an otherwise ‘appealing’ home may not be as appealing as it appears.

  1. Sagging or Visibly Distressed Roof

A sagging roof or one that has missing or curling shingles could indicate water damage or rot beneath the exterior. This is very common in locations that have milder and wetter winters, and you can also look for moss growth as an indicator too. Water stains on top-floor ceilings are a good indicator that the problem is extensive.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, states that the lifespan of a roof is usually between 20 and 25 years, so a realtor should ask about the age of the one on homes being viewed if there’s any suspicions.

  1. Water Supply Issues

We’ll assume most of you aren’t plumbers on the side, so while you may not be a pipes expert you may be able to spot any obvious problems by flushing the toilet, running the taps, and turning on the shower. Be on the lookout for slow drainage, leaky faucets, or low water pressure, as well as mildew beneath sink enclosures – a sign of slow leaks. Rooting out the sources of these plumbing issues could be time-consuming and costly.

  1. Patchy Fresh Paint

This one can be an immediate red flag in many cases. Sure, there’s nothing unusual about homeowners painting before they sell, but finding a few freshly-painted spots on the walls or ceilings could be an indication that some kind of damage was covered up very recently. The extent of the damage underneath could vary considerably, from water stains to smoke damage to worst of all – mould. If you see this, ask right away and if necessary ask for a home inspector assessment if your clients still wish to move ahead.

  1. Wet basements

Again, this can be an immediate red flag too, and believe us when we say that drainage problems are often HUGE problems. Keep in mind that water problems in the basement may only occur once or twice a year and be immediately visible at those times, but you can see evidence of them after with the appearance of the walls, both a the ceiling and at floor levels. Changes in the paint texture near the floor may indicate water has pooled on the walls, and drywall seams occurring roughly a foot above the floor often indicate repair work after flooding. Take a long look at exposed joists or studs for water stains, and look to see whether bricks show signs of spalling. And if there’s a dehumidifier resting in the corner of the room, that’s a big-time indicator right there.

  1. Improper grading

One of the ways water ingress problems in the basement can be identified elsewhere is with a yard that slopes toward the foundation of the house, instead of away from it. Improper grading can also eventually promote foundational deterioration and poor drainage in the yard, so it a sloping backyard is something you always want to take note of for your clients. You can often sense or see the slope of the grade, and if you can actually see pooling water in the yard – especially near the house – it’s something that’s going to warrant further consideration.

Identifying any of these signs may suggest that even the most functionally and aesthetically appealing home may not have been well maintained or is not soundly built. Before crossing the property off your list, however, speak with the seller’s agent to find out more – but of course be wary of the validity of the information you receive and do your own follow-ups as necessary.

Last but not least, home inspectors provide a VERY valuable resource for prospective homebuyers and if you haven’t made professional acquaintances with one already, you really should!

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you and only you for your similarly exclusive area of any city or town of your choosing across Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your real estate client prospecting efforts, and as we all know – it’s the early bird that always gets the worm!

Canadian Real Estate Condo Market Outlook for 2018

Published January 23, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Real estate agent showing the effective date of lease on calendar (random english dummy text used)

As realtors, there are few better than folks like yourself when it comes to having a clear understanding of the big picture of housing trends in your city and across the country as a whole. Certain trends will need your expertise and industry wherewithal, but others will be clear to even the most layman of people. One of those certainly is the fact that the days of hoping for detached home ownership are over for the majority of people living in overpopulated urban centres.

That has meant that condominiums are increasingly the focus of prospective homebuyers, and many realtors are putting the bulk of their energies into focusing on them when connecting buyers to sellers, and vice versa.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system has been a big help for realtors who find they’re struggling to prospect on their own via traditional means. It allows you to get more out of your efforts, and we’ve enjoyed seeing how so many have benefitted from it.

So getting back on the topic here – condominiums were officially the strongest-performing housing type in 2017, and they outpaced single-family homes in terms of price growth all across the year according to Royal LePage’s house price survey.

This survey found that strong overall year-over-year housing market growth – the national average home price rose 10.8% to $626,042, – coincided with condos increasing a much larger 14.3% to an average price of $420,823. This is especially significant when you consider that 1-storey and 2-storey houses rose just 7.1% to $522,963 and 11.1% to $741,924 respectively.

Not only are condos increasingly in demand for homeowners, but they’re also increasingly a better investment for investment buyers.

Toronto and Vancouver at Forefront for Condo Growth

This one probably comes as no suprise. Most of the price growth in the condo sector was fuelled by activity in Canada’s largest markets. Toronto saw prices rise 19.5% to $476,42, while Vancouver moved up 18.77% to $775,806. The consensus seems to be that condominiums are the last bastion of affordability for prospective homebuyers, and especially so for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightened mortgage regulations.

So it’s quite natural that realtors who have an eye on the future will be focusing more on condominiums entering the market than previously. Are you following suit?

Consider further that condos were the only housing type to appreciate on a quarterly basis, rising 1.1%, while single-family homes moved nowhere in price growth.

That’s the exact opposite of the way it was for decades previously, with condo prices typically having risen more slowly compared to the always-more-expensive detached homes.

This is because condos have appreciated at a slower pace than detached homes, and primarily because supply constraints have been easier to address, with new building development being much more cost-effective and city-zoning friendly in comparison. But now we’re seeing demand for condos being so high that the trend has been reversed.

We will likely see builders bringing in new planned product to the market to help alleviate supply and moderate prices, but we can be sure that Canada is now primarily a nation of condo dwellers much like most other advanced economies around the globe.

Expect Condo Sales to Surge in Back Half of 2018

The bulk of the condo sales growth seen in 2017 occurred in the first part of the year, before measures like the Ontario Fair Housing Plan were implemented. Activity slowed significantly in the fourth quarter, and especially for detached homes. The consensus seems to be that we will see a slower start to the 2018 market as new OSFI mortgage rules become entrenched in buyer spheres, and we’ll also see typical supply and demand factors making for a more robust second half of the year.

It’s predicted that home prices will rise 4.9% nationally by end of 2018, with 6.8% in the GTA, and 5.2% in Greater Vancouver. Montreal is expected to see 5.5%

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and acquire more in the way of opportunities to build your client base.

7 Reasons Friends Aren’t Always the Best Choice as Realtors

Published January 15, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

GeschäftspartnerThose of us who are working as real estate professionals need to accept that these days nearly everyone will have a friend or close acquaintance that also works as a realtor. Wish as me might that that weren’t true, it simply is most of the time. It’s a popular profession choice these days, and especially in places like Toronto and Vancouver where the premise of potentially lucrative earnings draw many to the business.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system has been a big success right across Canada with realtors like you. That’s not surprising with the way it allows you to add to your prospecting efforts and increase your reach, but today we’ll give you another perspective you can share with anyone who thinks they’ll be best served by going with their friend as their realtor.

While it’s perfectly natural to consider it, many times those folks will find that – while their loyalty is admirable – they haven’t really made the best choice when it comes to selecting someone to guide them along as they make such an important purchase or sale.

With that understood, let’s look at 7 reasons why it’s not always advisable to go with your friend as your realtor.

 

  • They Might Not Be Enough of a Neighbourhood Expert

Having a strong understanding of geography and local knowledge is important as they relate to the housing market. Any prospective buyer or seller should be working with someone who knows the ins and the outs of THAT specific real estate market. If a friend or acquaintance in the business doesn’t typically serve that region, that’s going to put you at a disadvantage – plain and simple.

Why is that?

Local agents will have built up a roster of neighbourhood-specific clients, meaning that if you’re looking to sell then that agent will likely already have a number of potential buyers on tap who are interested in properties in the neighbourhood.

Agents who don’t have this familiarity don’t have the same advantage, and have to invest more time to prospect clients who would be interested in buying in your neighbourhood.

Alternately, anyone looking to buy in a particular neighbourhood will benefit from how a local realtor will have an idea of how many homes have hit the market recently, what inventory is like and again he or she may perhaps have clients listing homes that fit your needs and wants.

  1. Part-time real estate agent?

A good number of realtors operate on a part-time basis, being of ‘many hat’s with other careers too much of the time. This is particularly true in hot markets, where booming prices have led to intense growth in the number of realtors looking to get a piece of the pie. For example, in the last ten years the number of realtors operating in Toronto has jumped from 20,000 in 2004 to 40,000 in 2014.

So if you’re thinking of hiring a friend or family member, you need to determine first that real estate is where they put the bulk of their focus on professional development and excellence.

Part-timers will put less time into your home buying and selling efforts, and that can mean having your dream home slip through your fingers or your current property sitting on the market far longer than it needs to. These part-timers will be budgeting their time between multiple jobs, and that may also make for availability / response-time issues.

  1. ‘Friendly’ rather than professional advice

Some might think that your realtor being a person you’ve known for years as a friend will be an advantage, but you’d be surprised just how often the opposite can be true.

Why is that?

The nature of common friendship dynamics can cause tension during house hunts or sale marketing. Further, it’s not uncommon for personal boundaries to be crossed as compared to a more professional relationship with an agent with whom you have no connection but who will provide more concrete and unbiased advice.

Rather than treat you as a client, a realtor friend or family member may see themselves as equal partners with some measure of the same footing in the decision-making process.

  1. House Hunts May Become Too Casual

Your agents will be working for you, and understand that they will be taking both THEIR time and YOUR TIME into account, along with a more exclusive focus on reaching the goal in an objective period of time

When friendship comes into this picture, the lean client-first approach can dissolve quickly. For example, important questions about negotiating prices can begin to overlap with weekend gatherings, or be squeezed in-between a night out with the friends. Valuable time may end up being spent on a little more time enjoying chats and drinks over lunch.

You get the idea.

  1. Your Friend May Not Give It to You Straight

Sometimes the offer you’re making on a home is far too much of a lowball. Sometimes your budget is going to be unrealistic based on market conditions for certain types of homes. Sometimes you’re overlooking key considerations that aren’t immediately apparent.

These situations require someone to really tell it like it is. A realtor that is your friend may opt to keep their mouth shut in the interest of not dampening your obvious enthusiasm for buying a home.

This can be particularly true when it comes to money matters, where discussions regularly revolve around incomes and budgets. When it comes to those more personal-finance related factors, you want to be speaking to a professional who has nothing to sway their judgment and will ‘give it to you straight.’

  1. House Hunting Can Lead to Strained Friendship

There’s an old saying that money and friendship don’t always mix well, and it can be very true in this context. While you and your realtor friend may get along as well as you always have, their approach to business may be completely out of line with yours and you’ve never had any previous means of determining that.

This can be particularly true when entrusting them to guide you in buying a new home. It’s a massive decision with significant financial repercussions if it goes wrong.

  1. Better Deals Potentially Had Elsewhere

Many people will choose a friend as their agent for a financial incentive, and most commonly in the form of a discounted commission rate. Often times, however, people will make the assumption that they will be presented with a lower commission rate on account of the fact they are working with a friend.

The expectation can exist even with nothing to suggest it beforehand. That can lead to some resentment and tension if the friend / agent hasn’t been thinking along the same lines.

Keep in mind that a number of full-service real estate brokerages offer incentives that could outdo anything a friend might offer. Not suggesting they’d receive the same level of service, but they might and as a whole it’s not good to make ANY type of assumption based on what an individual might expect from their ‘friend.’

It’s important for people to take all these factors into account if they’re evaluating whether or not they should work with a real estate agent friend or family member when buying or selling a home.
Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of online generated, qualified buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your also exclusively-protected region of any city or town in the country. It’s a great way to supercharge your prospecting efforts and give you many more potential clients.

BoC: More Mortgage Seekers Inquiring Outside Regulated Lenders

Published January 10, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Mortgage loan agreement application with house shaped keyring

General logic would suggest that’s a risky proposition, and there’s no debating that it is. But it may not be as risky as you think. A recent Bank of Canada (BoC) working paper, The Rise of Non-Regulated Financial Intermediaries in the Housing Sector and its Macroeconomic Implications, is suggesting that non-regulated lenders are taking a bigger share of the mortgage market. Regulated banks still hold onto the lion’s share of the mortgage market, but they’re giving up an ever increasing portion to non-regulated intermediaries.

Which, apparently, isn’t such a bad thing for most of any prospective clients you might have who are looking at every possible financing option.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our Canadian online real estate lead generation system continues to be a big plus for realtors who see the need to get more out of their prospecting efforts. Leads are opportunities, and a big part of making the most of your opportunities is being explicitly in the know about EVERY aspect of your clients’ home buying process.

Non-Regulated Financial Institutions

The term given to these lesser-known lenders is Non-regulated financial intermediaries (NRFIs). They’re also sometimes referred to as shadow banks, defined by the fact they’re not bound by regulations. In contrast to regulated financial intermediaries (RFIs), they can’t take deposits. That’s not as problematic as you might think, due to the fact they don’t have to satisfy a minimum capital requirement.

Seeing an increasing market share go to these lenders was pointed to as a primary contributor to the US Recession, but the consensus up here seems to be that the same concerns shouldn’t exist.

These lenders offer lower rates, and securitize the bulk of their mortgages. The BoC found that these lenders offer lower mortgage rates than regulated lenders, with an eye to attracting buyers with better / best credit scores. Quite logical.

Further, securitization is used to limit risk due to the fact they can’t raise funds easily, and most of that is done through the government’s National Housing Act Mortgage-Backed Securities (NHA MBS) program. Participating loans must have the same criteria as regulated institutions. In addition, NRFIs issue securities and sell them to regulated financial institutions.

So, the question – are they any riskier than your typical mortgage?

Lower Rates, Bigger Loans

Determining that these lenders are going after the best qualified borrowers is important to understand. They issue loans with lower interest rates and higher median mortgage sizes. Prospective buyers should understand that these lenders likely aren’t being used by those rejected by regulated lenders. A higher rate of mortgages being issued by non-regulated lenders sounds scary, but the BoC working paper argues otherwise. The growing combination of these loans throughout the broader system doesn’t forecast to be a problem.

The Big & Small for Average Buyers in Canada

As stated above, the new mortgage regulation stress tests in Canada are inevitably going to disqualify ever greater numbers of would-be homebuyers from moving forward. As a realtor, this is inevitably going to put constraints on your business and particularly so if you’re working in a market that is not constantly propped up by the demand end of the spectrum.

These findings from the Bank of Canada should be something of a reassurance for anyone thinking of assuring prospective clients who are considering getting financing from a NRFI, but it’s important to pay especial attention to what we underlined above – the low mortgage rates will work to deter the validity of any applicants who don’t have a quality credit score, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is always going to be a prominent inherent connection between a buyers’ stress test qualification and their long standing credit rating.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively each month, and for your specific requested region of any city / town / province in Canada. It’s a superb way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts, and as they say – the early bird ALWAYS gets the worm!

5 Reasons Certain Real Estate Agents Don’t Last in the Business

Published January 3, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Beautiful Female Holding Keys & Sold Real Estate Sign

First and foremost, we’ll begin as we should by saying Happy New Year and best wishes to all of you who’ve chosen to join us here at Real Estate Leads. The promise of a new year and all the possibilities that come along with it will always be exciting for any self-employed professional. Real estate agents of course are no exception there, but those who will get ahead will continue to be those of who’ve built the foundations of their business more solidly.

So while there’s no intention to start the New Year on a sour note, it’s worth discussing why certain real estate agents fail to have success in the business while others flourish. The fact that you’re here does suggest you’ve got the initiative to leave no stone unturned in building your business, but let’s have a look at 10 specific reasons why some real estate agents flame out of the business – and usually rather quickly at that.

  1. They Refuse to Prospect – Or Prospect Sufficiently

Many people subconsciously learn to associate “no” with not getting what they what. That can be a real negative mindset, because – as we all know – real estate is a numbers game. Too many real estate agents say they aren’t in sales, and more that they just want to help people. While that’s fine, realtors that want to increase their business have to work through the numbers and that applies to the ‘just want to help crowd’ equally as much

If you are going to have success in real estate, you have to prospect. Extensively. There’s a 99% chance that what you’re doing currently isn’t enough. Don’t be complacent.

  1. They Don’t Follow Up

Follow-up is everything in real estate. It’s rare and almost unheard of to hear someone say “Yes, I want to buy or sell a home immediately! Let’s make that happen pronto!”

Follow up with EVERY one of your leads with the same level of enthusiasm, and pair that with a firm understanding that the majority of leads that you’ve deemed to have ‘gone cold’ aren’t necessarily as cold as you think them to be.

  1. They Don’t Get Past Downturns

It’s quite natural and far too easy to wallow in how bad a situation is and make negative forecasts based on them. Some professions allow for you to do that without major negative ramifications. Real estate – plain and simple – isn’t one of them.

Things like

  • Losing an escrow
  • Having a client suddenly say they are going to work with another agent
  • Getting a remonstrative letter from the municipal or provincial real estate regulatory department Having a client yell at you

ARE going to happen at some point. Letting them get to you and making you second guess yourself or be more reserved in the way you approach growing your business can be majorly problematic in the long term.

Keep moving, deal with the situation, and do the best you can to remedy it. If you have given everything you can into turning it around or finding a solution, move on and do something else that’s productive. Too many realtors fail to adjust to these setbacks properly and for some it changes their psyche irreparably.

  1. They’re Not Affirmed Enough in their Decision to be a Success

Real estate is not a complicated business. You find people who want to move from one place to another, and assist them in that process. That said, real estate is NOT an easy business.

Yes, if you talk to (the right) people, be genuine in your approach, and have a proactive plan of follow up, you’ll likely do well.

What makes real estate difficult for many is related to their inherent perception of what difficulty is. The excuses for it are as endless as they are true; because of the economy, the market is bad, too much competition.

The best agents resolve to be a success no matter what obstacles they come across. They focus on what they’ll gain when you they do well, and then hold themselves to that expectation.

It starts first and foremost with your mindset, but your discipline, stamina, determination, a personable attitude, and the ability to ask people the right questions are super important too, along with a do-whatever-it-takes mentality, perseverance and genuine resiliency.

Quite simply – how badly do you want it?

  1. They Resign Themselves to Real Estate being ‘Too Competitive’

More and more commonly these days, there are just too many realtors working in a specific city or region with not enough of the pie to go around sufficiently. That is what it is, and it’s not likely to change if that describes your locale. Everyone there knows probably five to seven realtors, maybe more.

 

Successful realtors – and ones that make it through the beginning stages of their career – accept that reality for what it is and simply determine that they’ll do what it takes to overcome that competition as it poses an obstacle to their success. If you are great, clients are going to find you. They focus on building their skill base, cultivating relationships and associating with other like-minded professionals.

Do so effectively and the ‘weight’ of the competition isn’t going to be dissuading at all. If you’re truly good at what you do, you’ll be doing all the right things to allow that fact to distinguish you from other professionals in your field.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you each month exclusively and for your exclusive region of any province in Canada. Contact us to learn more, and we wish everyone much success in the coming year.