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All posts for the month October, 2019

Recent Survey Suggest 1/5th of Homes in Canada Purchased by Buyers New to the Country

Published October 28, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Canada has seen it’s highest immigration levels ever over recent years, and the role that these numbers have factored into the supply / demand element of the housing market has been covered at great length over the last while. Despite the fact that having nearly 70% of all new immigrants to the country soon residing in the Toronto and Vancouver areas IS a problem, there’s very understandable and relatable reasons for why that’s happening.

However, the housing crisis in Canada is most certainly not exclusive to these two areas. The reality – and one that has very real trickle-down effects for real estate professionals here – is that there are fewer homes being A) built, or B) put on the market than is necessary to meet the demand for housing in Canada. Newcomers of course add to the demand in an environment where it’s nearly impossible for new building starts to catch up.

A more-demand and less-supply orientation to this means that prices for homes will be boosted. There’s no getting around that. This means fewer ‘qualified’ homebuyers being out, and especially among multi-generational Canadian families who haven’t had the luxury of living and working outside of a country that taxes its citizens so extensively. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way for realtors to claim a larger slice of what is currently not the biggest of pies.

But looking at the subject here more critically again, it’s interesting to take note of a recent survey that suggests one in every 5 homes purchased in Canada is bought by an individual or family that is new to the country.

What can we read into that? Let’s look at that at face-value, and we’ll then shift away to consider what relevance that has for realtors.

Unique Residential Landscape, Unique Challenges

The study from Royal LePage, one of the more well-known and long-standing real estate brokerages in Canada, started by saying that it had polled 1.500 people who had arrived in Canada at some point over the last decade. The majority of respondents (54%) related that they chose to move to Canada because they see the country as a good place to live and work. Many stated further that they chose it over the United States because they feel more welcomed as an immigrant in Canada (31%), while others said Canada offers them a safer life (26%).

That many of these new Canadians see real estate as a strong investment (86%) won’t surprise anyone. Where this becomes a bit of an issue is in the fact that many of these people who have been approved for immigration have significant investment capital for their real estate purchases due to living and working outside of Canada. They’re able to make money and keep more of it as a result of not being taxed as disproportionately as those who grew up in Canada were.

Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s an ‘it is what it is’ situation regarding these individuals having the deeper pockets needed to purchase real estate, and particularly in desirable locales in the country. It must be said though that the fact our Constitution and Charter of Rights extends freedoms to these people in the same way it does for you means that no one should question the freedom these people have to buy homes with money they’re worked hard to earn.

That really needs to be said.

The reality, however, is that – according to the survey – 75% of these new Canadians arrived with enough savings to get them into real estate. It also found that, on average, newcomers waited approx. 3 years to make their first home purchase, with many choosing to rent or live with family or friends after first coming to the country.

No matter how you slice it, this ability to arrive with sufficient savings to buy pricey real estate does put longer-standing Canadians at a disadvantage, but again that’s something that is just a reality to be dealt with. The same thing happens in America, but in the US immigrants settle and buy homes all over the place, and not just in a handful of locations like here in Canada.

Detached Homes Preferred

In spite of those numbers, the survey also states that only 32% of the newcomers surveyed became homeowners, and that’s a disparity between the 68% home ownership rate for all of Canada. Of those who did buy, roughly half of them bought a detached house. Some 18% opted for a condominium, while 15% bought a townhouse and 13% bought a semi-detached house.

With the understanding that the detached homes are obviously the most expensive – and decidedly out of reach for many Canadians – it is easy to understand why these statistics are going to be a concern for some.

As realtors, however, there is need to have bigger-picture understanding and wherewithal related to this. In addition to supporting Canada’s economic growth, newcomers to Canada are vital to the health of the national real estate market. This isn’t something to be impeded in the interest of creating a ‘level playing field’, as it is crucial that housing supply keeps pace as the economy and labour market continues to expand.

This is especially true if projections that Canadian newcomers will purchase 680,000 homes over the next five years are realized, as is predicted if current international migration levels for Canada are maintained.

The demand for affordable housing for both younger and new Canadians can only be best and most soundly met through housing policies that encourage smart and sustainable development, and ideally ones that focus on protecting and developing green spaces in our urban centres. One of the biggest problems in popular metro regions is that the municipalities have so much in the way of red-tape regarding new housing starts that developers and builders are discouraged from moving ahead.

This would be a great place to start, and if you were to ask anyone working in the real estate business this is likely what they’d mention first as well. Balancing out supply and demand – as much as that’s possible – will be beneficial for both homebuyers and sellers and the realtors who serve them. Whatever that takes likely won’t be an easy solution, but it’s one we all need to see and sooner rather than later preferably.

Our hope is that there can be a balance found, and that anyone with either personal or commercial interests in real estate can be a part of the new reality. In all likelihood, however, we’re years away from this.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you – and only you – for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. Provided that you be the early bird and ‘get the worm’ here, you’ll have your area of your town reserved for you and from that point forward you’ll be the only one to receive leads for it. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts.

Improving Your Listing Interviews with Potential Clients

Published October 21, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

People who are new to working as a realtor will quickly come to learn one thing. One of the most important moments you’re going to have early in your career is when you’re interviewing with homeowners looking for a realtor to help them sell their home. You’ll quickly realize that you need to put on a near-perfect performance if you’re going to secure their business. It’s not easy to do, but the good news is that you will almost certainly get better with it over time.

In the beginning, however, there’s a whole host of bumps in the road, and perhaps a few potholes too. Securing your first few clients is really empowering and an essential step towards building your real estate business, and when you have these types of opportunities you’re well advised to be bringing your very best. However, even digging up these opportunities can be a challenge. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an effective way to generate more of them for yourself.

So what we’re going to look at today is what you can do to maximize the chances of securing new clients by means of an excellent listing interview with them. We can start by emphasizing the truth of the fact that real estate agents market homes—they don’t ‘sell’ them. Instead, they sell themselves, and they should be asking questions of prospective clients as much as those clients will be doing the same.

Embracing this approach is front and center, and is very much a prerequisite for everything that’s to follow here.

  1. Determine What You Need to Learn in Advance

It’s important to have a fairly concrete idea of what you’ll be asking of prospective clients, and including in what order you’ll be asking these questions. Keep in mind as well that you should be rehearsing all of this in advance so you are NOT reference questions jotted down on a piece of paper. Needless to say, that will reflect badly on you. Here are standard questions, but note as well that they are not ‘in order’. You should be moving them up or down based on what you know of the sellers’ situation.

  • Ask about the clients’ reasons and urgency for selling
  • Get an idea of value and the approximate debt on their home
  • How would the sellers describe their home’s condition? Even asking them to rate it on a scale of 1-5 is fine if they would rather not go into detail
  • Ask to compare their homes with neighborhood competition
  • Establish their requirements for a listing broker/agent
  • Determine which marketing methods they think are most valuable and effective
  • Inquire as to previous good and bad experiences they might have had with agents or brokers
  • Ask what problems they might envision in selling their home
  1. Conducting the Interview

As mentioned, it is advisable to not be referencing your questions from a written list OR writing out the people’s responses in the same way. One approach that IS more acceptable if you’re not confident in your memory is to take an audio file of the discussion on your smartphone. Of course, you MUST inform them of your intention to record the conversation, but most people will have no problem with that. Once they agree, you simply begin recording and play your smartphone on the tabletop or somewhere similar where it can pick up the conversation well.

Approach it with the focus on you being the one who’s asking the questions, at least in the beginning. You SHOULD loosen up a bit and let them ask you questions, but in the beginning make sure it’s you who are leading the conversation that way.

Pair this with a solid understanding of what their home is worth based on current market values and you’re likely going to be getting off on the right foot.

  1. Be a Solution Provider

So far during the interview you will have not given the listing prospect any materials or made a presentation, asides from perhaps handing over your business card. The most helpful approach is to be formulating responses bases around which of your service capabilities are likely to be of most interest to them, based ongoingly on the response they have to your inquiries.

Your aim at this point should be to show them how you can resolve each of their problems. Try to address the most important or most troublesome issues first. Defer pricing (commission rate) to last if that’s going to be one of their consideration. Lay out how you’ll do the marketing they value, and show them other marketing approaches you’ll take that haven’t been specified or mentioned earlier in the interview.

  1. ASK for the Listing

This the most solid advice of all here. The best realtors ARE assertive, nearly all the time. They believe in themselves and they know they can meet and exceed the prospective clients’ expectations. They’re not hesitant to look them in the eye and ask if they’d be willing to list with them, and they ask with real conviction and self-belief in their voice. Further, they don’t hesitate to ask to discuss commission.

Of course, this assertion is only going to be effective if they preceding parts of the interview have been conducted well by you. It’s a sum of parts, but if you’ve led the way nicely then you can be very confident in assertively asking for them to list with you.

You’ll find that people are quite forthcoming with information when they’re asked for it, especially when you keep in mind that they have MUCH to gain or lose her with the sale of their home. You’ll probably also find that they appreciate it when the focus is addressing specific concerns instead of pushing services on them.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quote of qualified, online-generated leads that are delivered exclusively to you. When you register with us, you’ll be able to choose a specific region of any city or town in Canada. Provided that region has not already been claimed, you’ll be able to claim it for yourself and from that point forward you – and only you – will receive the buyer and / or seller leads generated for that region.

If that sounds like a near sure fire way to get more out of your prospecting efforts, you’re that much closer to making a very smart decision when it comes to growing your real estate business!

Estimates of Over 1 Million Vacant Homes Across Canada

Published October 14, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

The housing crisis in Canada continues to grow, and the ramifications both a lack of available housing AND the lack of affordable housing are becoming increasingly apparent. Foreign speculation investment in the housing market in Canada IS a factor here, but it’s important to understand it’s not the only one. In addition, there are many different optics that can be seen related to the housing crisis, but vacant homes are definitely the one that sticks out most egregiously.

At a basic level, it’s not difficult to understand why a buyer who has bought a home as an investment may wish to not rent it out. If you’re not carrying a mortgage for the home and own it outright, but plan to sell it in the not-too-distant future, then the idea of keeping that home in near perfect condition is going to be appealing. On the other end of the spectrum, however, there is a shortage of homes across Canada and particularly in large urban areas.

Having a healthy rental market benefits realtors, even though it doesn’t do so directly. Many enters who are well and affordably housed will eventually become prospective home buyers, and this is especially true of young professionals furthering their careers in Metro areas. Without that process there becomes fewer qualified buyers down the road, and that’s not good for anyone.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is an excellent way for new realtors to get a leg up on their competitors and be fast-tracked to meeting your genuine potential clients – the likes of which there are fewer of these days! The reasons for that are varied, but as we’ve alluded to here, vacant homes actually play a long-term part in all of this.

6-Digits Plus Stat for Number of Empty Homes

As the title makes aware, recent studies have indicated that over 1 million homes are unoccupied in Canada. Not all can be grouped in with the absentee investor owner scenario, but you can be sure the majority do. As a more exact number, the report from Point2 Homes indicates that roughly 1.34 million homes across Canada lie empty or only accommodate temporary occupants.

It’s estimated that this represents 8.7% of the units available in the national market, and that stat is up 0.3% from the previous decade. Plus, it’s significantly larger than the 2.8% peak registered in the U.S. market during the same time frame.

Most will assume that Vancouver and Toronto are the two cities where this trend is most pronounced. That’s only half true, as Toronto does indeed have around 66K of those empty homes. Montreal comes second with 64K, and then surprisingly Vancouver comes a distant third with 25K of them. Why only one of the two most heated housing markets comes in high is interesting, but that’s another topic of discussion.

Despite all this, Vancouver still had the had the largest empty-to-occupied home ratio across Canada, at 8.2% of ones in the local market.

Other markets with more than 20,000 unoccupied dwellings include Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton.

And while Vancouver had a relatively restrained 25,000 vacant houses, it had the largest empty-to-occupied ratio across Canada, at 8.2% of the market’s homes.

The industry expert consensus is that investor speculation and short-term rentals are the main culprits behind high vacancy rates in places like Toronto and Vancouver, and not surprisingly it’s these two cities were foreign buyer taxes have been implement. Vancouver also has it’s vacant home tax, which is apparently set to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars each year that the Provincial Government promises to earmark for social and affordable housing.

No matter where you stand on this, it’s hard to argue that unless you’re a real estate speculator then vacant homes aren’t good for anyone, from prospective tenants all the way up to those who serve the real estate industry, and realtors very much included.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered exclusively to you. You will be the only realtor to receive those leads provided through our service, and what’s more – you will also be the only realtor signed up and serving whichever region of any city or town in Canada you apply to have with Real Estate Leads. It’s first come, first served with regards to that, so don’t delay in getting onboard with this if you’re a new realtors who’s keen to get much more out of your prospecting efforts.

 

Greater Vancouver Seeing Marked Drop in Number of Realtors Working in City

Published October 8, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

The real estate market in Canada has been one of the most charged topics of discussion over recent years, and whether you would have sat on either side of the debate was by and large based on whether you were an existing homeowner or not. This of course applies to the entirety of the general populace, but for Real Estate agents the ‘way things were’ were for the most part better than the ‘way things are’ considering the current dynamics of the housing market.

What is meant by that is the way that across the country as a whole the market is considered to be ‘flat’, meaning most home are generally neither appreciating or depreciating in value. However, in high-demand urban metro areas like Vancouver, the market has actually take a significant downturn. Much of this has been attributable to measures taken by the current NDP government to cool the market and suppress housing market investment speculation.

For realtors working in the area, it’s not rocket science for us to understand that this is a negative for business. However, it seems that the market downturn is actually creating some good by means of reducing the number of active competition competing for the fewer clients out there to be had.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada is an excellent way for new realtors to have the power of Internet marketing working for them and allowing them to get more out of their client prospecting. It’s always beneficial, and perhaps even more so when paired with the new reality of the industry we’re about to touch on today.

Far Fewer Realtors Now Practicing in GVA

It’s common knowledge that the Lower Mainland’s real estate market boomed between 2014 and 2017, and with that boom more and more newly-licensed realtors arrived on the scene. By the time 2017 had drawn to a close there more than 13,500 realtors working in the region. The age-old saying ‘only so much of the pie to go around’ was very apt, and in truth it still is – to a lesser extent.

Let’s set the stage for analyzing all this by going back nearly 20 years, to the year 2000. Back then there were fewer than 7,000 realtors operating in the GVA and the Fraser Valley in 2000. Over the next 17 years, the numbers of this increase massively outdistanced the increases in general population. A lot of people were aiming to get in a good thing, and many still acting on the belief that real estate was their ticket to ‘getting rich quick’

(If there’s one thing EVERY would-be realtor should know, it’s that THIS^ is never how it works)

But back to topic.

It’s quite natural for cities where housing is expensive to have a higher number of realtors than cities where housing is seen as being more affordable. The correlation here is simple; as home prices go up, so does the financial incentive to take advantage of higher commission prices.

The Downturn Effects

As most will know, over the past two years the Vancouver real estate market has seen a downturn. Lower median home values means many homeowners are postponing the sale of the home (a wise move) while would-be homebuyers are being influenced negatively by – among other reasons – the new mortgage stress test rules introduced by the BoC.

So it would seem that now that the allure of ‘easy money’ or accelerated real estate corporation growth is a thing of the past, for now at least, the number of real estate agents doing business in the GVA has dropped quite considerably.

The estimates are that somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 realtors have dropped out of the picture in Vancouver.

This can be seen as encouraging for new realtors who understand the level of commitment required to succeed in this business, but it should also serve as precaution for anyone who thinks it’s an ideal time to make the same move Yes, there’s less competition, but the market is depressed and there’s still enough competition to make it so that those who don’t apply themselves 100% and work extremely hard are going to likely be a part of that former-realtor statistic sometime in the near future.

Giving Up Licenses

As the numbers of transactions in Vancouver have fallen, many realtors have chosen to give up their licenses and pursue another means of making a living. For many it’s a situation where once the fees associated with keeping the license start to outweigh the revenue generated by using it, it doesn’t become a worthwhile investment of time and energy and therefore not the best career choice.

For many realtors in this situation, it may be a reality where they realize they need to put more time and effort into building their real estate business, but they simply don’t have any more time to give to it.

Now to be clear, this is not a mass exodus from the realtor market, and it’s never going to be that. If anything we should see it as industry correction that is precipitated by the economic correction seen in the housing market.

We’ll conclude today with a listing of the number of realtors per capita working in major cities in BC, and then comparisons to a couple of spots well elsewhere in the country.

  • Langley, B.C., had the most agents – one realtor for every six residents
  • B.C. had the second highest number – one agent for every 31 residents
  • Metro Vancouver is third – one agent for every 61 residents

Now what if we compare this to Ottawa, Ontario, for example. There it is one agent for every 496 residents. Halifax, Nova Scotia? If you can believe it, it’s one agent for every 894 residents!

Perhaps Halifax is the best place to be a realtor in Canada! But all kidding aside, it makes it clear that event though there have been major declines in the numbers of realtors working in Vancouver it is still a REALLY competitive locale for working in this profession. We can safely assume the same is true of Toronto.

So long story short, while it’s an improvement at face value it’s really more of a shift from ultra-competitive to VERY competitive. Making a name for yourself in the real estate business is tough if you live in metro areas, that’s always going to be the reality.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively. Once you’re registered and your territory of any region of any city or town is assigned to you then YOU are the only realtor who will serve that region and YOU are the only realtor who’ll receive leads for it. Needless to say, it’s a sure-fire way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and a quick view of our testimonials page will indicate just how many realtors are thrilled with what it’s done for them!

Too Much Paving? Low-Density Housing Means Tree Loss and Rise of ‘Impervious’ Surfaces

Published October 1, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

The construction of each and every home that all together make up the entirety of a city’s real estate is part of the greater umbrella that is the development and construction industries. As such, there’s much that comes along with the building of homes – and communities – that is beyond the scope of immediate understanding for people. This is especially true in major urban areas, where the extent of development often has far-reaching influences on the tertiary parts of what makes up a living space for hundreds if not thousands of families.

As a realtors, having more of a big-picture wherewithal of real estate as it relates to housing and urban development is always going to beneficial. This can be true when it comes to your ability to impress individuals and turn them into prospective real estate clients. All of which is increasingly important these days given how there’s seemingly fewer slices of the pie to go around. Here at Real Estate leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada is an excellent way to put your more directly in touch folks who are genuinely considering selling or buying a home near you.

But now to today’s topic related to all of this; with development comes paving, and a lot of it. We may have seen the decision to put down concrete and asphalt on earth as ‘no big thing’ – but apparently civic planners may need to rethink this.

So what exactly are we discussing here, and how is it related to real estate? Read on.

With their gardens and landscaped yards, low-density housing, particularly the single-family home, is often seen as green.

Low-Density Housing Development & The ‘Concrete Jungle’

Building low-density housing has been the norm for many different tangible and intangible reasons, and has been equally agreeable to developers, city planners, municipal zoning regulators, and – perhaps most importantly – the buying preferences of people buying real estate in major urban centres.

As much as that’s true, it’s also a fact that low-density housing contributes to urban sprawl very emphatically, and a very relevant trend that comes along with this is a decrease in the number of trees in the area and a loss of what they call ‘impervious’ surfaces – meaning natural earth that’s not covered in anything.

It’s true that the low-density housing trend appears to have shifted from a housing model that accommodated many trees to one that now accommodates increasingly fewer trees and more impervious surface due to expanding home sizes and the splitting of lots that occurs much more frequently these days.

Eco-Degradation

The problem with this – and one of the growing list of them that can be attached to the low-density housing predominance seen in the Lower Mainland of BC most notably – is that tree cover and impervious surfaces are measures of the ecological health of the region. Trees give shade, suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and absorb storm water.

We can now add to that the fact that impervious surfaces like driveways and parking spots no longer take in rainwater for natural dispersal elsewhere in the local topsoil, and are associated with excessive heat in the summertime.

We read a report entitled ‘Regional Tree Canopy Cover and Impervious Surfaces: Analysis of Tree Canopy Cover and Impervious Surfaces in Metro Vancouver’ and it was such an eye opener to how popular development trends can have unintended and unfavourable consequences that we thought it would make an excellent ‘knowledge base’ topic for today.

It points out the decline in average percentage of tree cover seen for such developments being very consistent over 30 years, at 36% for those built in 1970 to 18%for those constructed in 2000. We can safely assume the trend has increased since that time.

Alternately, the expert consensus is that high-density housing development in recent years have greater tree canopy. The report also points to data indicating that there has been an overall increase in the number of trees planted or retained for high density housing over time.

Realities of Rapid Urbanization

With average tree canopy cover decreasing over time as a result of increasing low density housing builds there has been a resulting increase in impervious surfaces. Up until recently, most did not have an understanding of how more impervious surfaces equals hotter temperatures in the immediate areas. This is a negative, and for many economic reasons as much as for personal ones for residents living there.

The report also indicated the building types chosen also played a role, but that newer builds seen in the last 5 years or so seem to be taking all of this into account. Many new buildings are tall and slender, and use up little lot coverage while keeping abundant greenspace.

We’ll conclude here by saying that it’s worth noting that Vancouver’s climate committee anticipates growth in Metro Vancouver may likely reduce tree canopy from 32 percent of the urban containment boundary of the region to 28 percent over the next 20-30 years. This is going to necessitate wholesale changes at the municipal zoning level.

If you’re a realtor and you are friends with anyone in the development industry or in related offices at City Hall, this is definitely an excellent topic of discussion. It will have major ramifications for the types of homes that make up the bulk of the market stock, and especially in dense urban areas of the country.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads that are delivered to you exclusively while you serve as the only realtor receiving them for your own private region of any city or town in Canada. What this service can do for your client prospecting efforts goes without saying, and there’s no shortage of realtors from coast to coast who are very pleased with their decision to get on board with this and grow their real estate business in leaps and bounds.