All posts for the month February, 2018

Advice on Choosing a Brokerage for New Realtors  

Published February 26, 2018 by Real Estate Leads


Brokerage agreementThose of you who are new to real estate careers have a number of important decisions to make, and one of the biggest is choosing the real estate brokerage you’ll be working with. Going solo typically isn’t an option, as by law in Canada an agent must practice under the supervision of a managing broker or brokerage company. Where you choose to hang your hat can be integral to your future successes, or lack of them. You’ll want to choose a brokerage that is the best fit for what you envision for yourself and your brand – the development of which is equally important but another topic of discussion.

Here at Real Estate Leads, new realtors with ANY brokerage can harness the power of the Internet with our online real estate lead generation system for Canada and really hit the ground running with their prospecting efforts. It’s been especially well received over the last 2 years, and no doubt many of those who’ve gotten on board here are new additions to real estate brokerages across the country.

When it comes to brokerages, in addition to helping you create your brand, a brokerage will be the backbone to your business. The people who make up that brokerage will guide you and show you the way. Choosing one is a decision of the upmost importance, so here are some fundamental questions you should be asking both yourself and these respective brokerages.

Your Questions

  1. What would make up an ‘ideal client’ for you? Try creating a persona for your ideal customer including demographics, psychographics, behavioristics and geographic information. Who are they, what do they want, and how do they want it?

All of this is a legitimate consideration as your client will also be the client of the brokerage, and will this ideal client be open to working with this specific brokerage?

  1. What is your brand strategy, and how do you see yourself positioned in the marketplace and with what value proposition? When we consider that a discount brokerage which provides real estate services at a discount will have a dramatic effect on your business plan, it may not be as appealing as you originally though. Oppositely, other brokerages may be regarded as being a “high end” provider with equally high commissions.
  2. You’ll have a current circle of influence – what does it look like? Are you already connected to a number of personal contacts who are looking to buy houses, or are you still in the process of digging those up? If so, you may want to consider working with a brokerage who has lead generation opportunities available for their agents, despite having to pay a hefty commission split on those deals as they are closed.

Oppositely, if you have a large network of individuals looking to invest in real estate, you may be better suited for a brokerage with lower commission splits and fees.

  1. How extensive is your experience? If you’re a newly registered agent with no sales under your belt then you’re going to need someone to teach you. You’ll be best served by a brokerage that has programs in place for new agents, like a mentorship or training system.

Brokerage Questions

A quick note first – you will be paying the brokerage through fees on your sales, and even sometimes desk fees. You need to be comfortable with the value you receive for the fees!

Alright, questions to be asked;

  1. What is the commission split, and what desk or licensing fees will need to be paid?
  2. Is there a cost for leads provided, if they are provided?
  3. How are these leads shared between the agents? How many can be expected on a monthly basis?
  4. Will commission splits change when the sale is personal or from my circle of influence?
  5. Are there any bonus programs that exist in the brokerage?
  6. Costs of working here. What does the brokerage pay for – licensing, phone and voicemail, signage and lockboxes, insurance etc. – and what am I responsible for on my own?
  7. What can a typical agent working here expect for annual income?
  8. What are the working stations like for the agents that work here?
  9. How many agents currently working out of this location of the brokerage – part-time? full-time? turnover?
  10. Are there required office hours? If so, how is the scheduling done?
  11. What is your market share?
  12. Are there protected areas, or territories for agents?
  13. Who is your usual client? What kinds of homes are they inclined to buy or sell for the most part?
  14. Any training programs offered? How many days, and is there a cost associated?
  15. Do opportunities to join teams within the brokerage exist?
  16. Does the office have a full-time receptionist? Are they trained to prepare documents such as offers, buyer rep agreements, etc?
  17. Any office policies regarding commission rates? Flexibility?
  18. What are the 5-year and 10-year goals for this office?

It’s not an exaggeration to say that choosing the right brokerage can make or break a career in real estate, particularly when you’re new to the game. Do your research before committing to a firm, and figure out what you want before beginning to approach brokerages. If you can, speak with agents to get a better idea of the the big picture of what it’s like to be a part of that brokerage.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads to delivered to you exclusively and for your similarly exclusive protected region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll almost certainly see the number of buyer and seller clients increased, making it a decidedly smart investment for a new realtor!

CIBC’S Foreign Income Program Finish to Affect Foreign Buyer Capability

Published February 20, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

A healthy real estate market is one where the bulk of the market is based on local supply and demand influences and one where speculation isn’t rampant. Most real estate agents will agree that real estate primarily means homes for housing families, and allowing families to put down roots and build strong communities. Sure, everyone wants to do well and succeed in the business, but Canadians need to have affordable housing in the cities where they live and work.

Market Trends Balance

In places like Vancouver and Toronto, there’s never going to be enough supply to meet the demand. Finding buyers for homes is a certainty, and here at Real Estate Leads our online real estate lead generation system is proven effective for allowing new realtors to gain an advantage when it comes to prospecting – and that includes home buyers.

Seems as if a recent announcement from the CIBC indicates that local buyers will gaining an advantage of their own when trying to find a level playing field when competing with deep-pocketed foreign speculation buyers – something that’s rampant in both of Canada’s biggest cities.

On Feb. 1st, The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) made its mortgage advisors aware that the “Foreign Income Program” will no longer continue to be available. The new program is designed to ensure compliance with B-20 guidelines from OSFI.

And so you have it – expect a drastic impact on those using foreign income to qualify for a mortgage. This will almost certainly necessitate some changes with how many realtors will direct their advertising, along with how prospective buyer clients are qualified.

The Way it Worked

Foreign buyers and international students could qualify for a mortgage easily through the CIBC’s program. All that was required for an uninsured mortgage was a deposit above 35%, and oftentimes without any need for income verification. The bank would only be at a loss if the buyer would have to immediately stop paying their bills, and prices then declined by 35%.

CIBC reportedly even had one branch sign advertising “no income verification,” for international students.

The New

The new income verification system is significantly stricter, in compliance with B-20 guidelines. The internal document sent to mortgage advisors walked them through the new system, with the following new requirements being notable:

  • The client’s T1 General, submitted complete with foreign income stated -line 104
  • CRA Form T1135, (Foreign Income Verification Statement) showing assets
  • Company applications will require a CRA Form T1134 (Information Return Relating To Controlled and Non-Controlled Foreign Affiliates)
  • A Canadian credit bureau report, plus foreign credit bureau report confirming any liabilities

Mortgages will now be limited to the amount of overseas income and assets declared to the CRA. That may not sound overly significant, but it will be for Toronto and Vancouver. This is particularly true given the known trend of buyers purchasing expensive homes in desirable neighbourhoods but then declaring poverty levels of income. That’s been made possible with overseas income not being declared locally. Citizens groups and politicians have been clamouring for this problem to be addressed, and now it appears maybe the ball is rolling.

CIBC is the first bank to make this kind of move, but sources at two other Big Six banks confirmed similar rules are being discussed.

Clamping Down on Big Capital Expenditures

What we’ll likely see is welcome downside pressure with this improved income verification system for Canadian real estate prices.

  • It will now be more expensive for non-residents to buy a house and expect to be able to dodge local taxes
  • the amount foreign buyers can borrow will now be stress tested against the declared income, which must be verified

Buyers won’t be able to buy a home and then declare income poverty levels. Tax evaders will have to pay the additional cost of contributing local income taxes, and those incomes taxes are going to dampen profit expectations for property, with lowered resale values.

But this stress testing of non-resident or non-permanent buyer incomes is also expected to throttle capital.

Uninsured buyers could previously buy almost anything so long as they could meet the downpayment requirements, and without actually proving they had sufficient income. Now that uninsured mortgages will be subjected to stress tests and incomes need to be declared, certain borrowers are going to be handcuffed in ways they’ve never been before.

As mentioned, the other banks are likely to follow, and so foreign money faces a new hurdle when investing in a home with Canada’s biggest lender banks. OSFI B-20 regulations may be one of the corrections protected affordable housing advocates have been looking for.

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 and for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town across Canada. It’s a great way to supercharge to take advantage of the power of the Internet to supercharge your prospecting efforts.

Smart Scheduling for New Real Estate Agents

Published February 15, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Beautiful girl on telephone in office.

Many real estate agents laud the fact that they have freedom to set their own hours as one of the big perks of the career. That’s NOT to suggest that you have more free time than you would with other careers – in fact it’s often quite the opposite! And if you slack off, then you’ll fail to make a living working as a realtor – it’s as simple as that. However, it’s true that real estate agents can make their own schedule. But you absolutely must be smart about it.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system in Canada has a been a big boost for new realtors looking to get a leg up on others when it comes to prospecting. Take advantage of it, and pair it with a solid schedule every week to start building up your client base.

Alright, on to this week’s tips for building a smart daily schedule for realtors.

Step 1 – Know Yourself

The first step might not be what you expected to see here. You need to be completely honest with yourself. Start with determine whether or not you are a morning person or an evening person. Next, when do you do your best thinking? Do you have a morning ritual? If so, what does it do for you? You get the idea. Know yourself and cater to your personal inclinations and you’ll be better set up to start developing an effective schedule.

Step 2 – Schedule Your Activities

The word may be a tad strong, but it’s important to have a work ritual. Real estate agents have several tasks that they need to do on a daily basis, and then others that need to be done on a weekly basis.Daily tasks will of course include checking email, returning phone calls, checking MLS listings, and previewing properties. Then of course you have prospecting, and Real Estate Leads is an ideal resource for that and a smart investment.

Time blocking is an effective way to determine how much time you should schedule for each activity. It helps you stick to the smart schedule you’re working to create.

Work with the concept that the task will grow to fit the time you allot for it. If you give yourself one hour to make 10 phone calls, for example, you should be open to the possibility that it’s not enough time to make 10 phone calls as effectively as you like. So maybe you make 7 effective phone calls rather than 10 less-than-effective ones. Put everything on your calendar, including both personal and professional appointments. It’s important when it comes time to schedule appointments with your ever-growing list of clients.

Step 3 – Maximum Flexibility

Be mindful of having a strong routine and sticking to it, but also be mindful of the need to be flexible. Properties will arrive on the market and certain clients will want to see them immediately, or a last-minute listing appointment may mean that you have to drop everything to accommodate a client’s wishes. These won’t happen often, but when they do you need to ensure your schedule can be reworked in the short term if necessary.

Step 4 – Realism, and Apply Yourself

Being a real estate agent doesn’t mean you need to work 7 days a week, and 10+ hours a day. Yes, that might bring you some impressive results (IF you’re using that time wisely that is), but you won’t have much of a life outside of real estate. Put your schedule together with a firm idea of how much time you’re willing to devote to real estate. In general your days will range from 4 to 8 hours a day of work. Apply yourself to the max during those times and really give it your all so that when you stop working you can enjoy your time off knowing you’ve done what you needed to do that day.

This is a big part of being successful – when you’re working, you’re getting after it 100% and using your time with maximum effectiveness. By designing a smart schedule and sticking to it, you will find that you become more focused on the activities you need to do to be successful as an agent. These activities will now be connected to specific goals and the way they contribute to them should be clearly defined.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you exclusively for your similarly exclusive area of any city or town in Canada. It’s a surefire way to boost your lead generation results for real estate, and a smart investment in your success.

We welcome any and all questions, and any feedback you might have.

Canadian Real Estate Prices Now The Fastest Falling in the World  

Published February 5, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_68732394Go back just a short time to late 2017 and Canadian real estate prices were the fastest rising anywhere in the world. Now, interestingly, as the market pulls a 180 and explores where prices should be. Reputable source numbers showed a decline in home prices for the third quarter of the previous year. For the first time in over five years, Canadian real estate prices have declined for a quarter. However, despite this quarterly decline prices still stay at significantly higher numbers than we saw in 2016.

All of this should be a little startling for real estate professionals, and perhaps alarming for their clients. The best realtors know the market and its dynamics as thoroughly as possible, and here at Real Estate Leads our online real estate lead generation system gives new realtors the ability to hit the ground running when it comes to building their business. This, of course, gives you more of the opportunities to make clear just how extensively you know the housing market in Canada.

Looking at the US Federal Reserve Home Prices Index

This information shared here today is referenced via the Dallas Fed and in particular their Real House Price Index (RHPI). It’s the same concept followed by the HPI that Teranet and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). It helps them get a cleaner, and more comprehensive look at the general market.

The inflation adjusted score tracks the aggregate of urban markets across the country, and is updated quarterly. Realtors shouldn’t expect to use these numbers to determine how much their clients will be paying in comparison to a neighbour’s house. You and fellow realty professionals should instead be using these stats for a clearer view of national home buying trends, and the Canadian economy in general. Needless to say, housing is a very large industry in Canada, and a slowdown would damage the economy quite significantly.

Q3 Canadian Real Estate Prices Dropped 3.82%

According to the Dallas Fed, what we’re seeing is Canadian real estate prices dropping at the most rapid rate seen since the early 1990s. Real home prices – or more specifically home prices adjusted for inflation – fell 3.82% in the third quarter of 2017. This single quarter decline is the first one of its kind since 2012, and the largest since the first quarter of 1991. Further, it’s the largest single quarter decline in the world apparently, with the second largest decline being observed in Italy, and prices fell 0.38% in the same quarter there.

Canadian Real Estate Prices Remain Up Over 7%

Despite this considerable quarterly decline, Canadian real estate prices are still much higher. The index is 7.44% higher than the same quarter for the year previous, and almost twice as much as the aggregate index for other countries. The increase is quickly tapering from peak growth observed in the first quarter of 2017. While this quarterly decline is significant, the real estate market in Canada is outperforming many other markets, and that of course is a definite bonus when looking at the big picture.

It’s important to keep in mind that a single data point isn’t indicative of a trend, but a decline of this size is worth taking note of. Up until this point it has been 5 years of trending upward with the housing market, and while it might just be a breather – like in 2012 – it could also be the beginning of a broad market correction like the one seen in 1990.

Most noteworthy in all of this as far realtors and the homebuying capacities of their clients is concerned is the fact that this occurred starting six months before OSFI mortgage rules were rolled out to cool conventional mortgage borrowing. The rule changes add significant uncertainty to the market, and especially so after prices are beginning to be a little softer than previously.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here to receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you – and ONLY you – for your similarly exclusive region of any chosen city or town in the country. It’s a great way to supercharge your new client prospecting efforts and give yourself greater opportunities to grow your real estate business.