All posts for the month April, 2020

Tips for Virtual House Hunting for Realtors Working with Homebuyer Clients

Published April 28, 2020 by Real Estate Leads


It doesn’t need to be explained why it’s not possible to go through the process of looking at homes for sale in the standard way right now. Fortunately most people do understand the importance of avoiding being out in public when it’s not absolutely necessary during these very trying times of a global pandemic that – unless you were alive 102 years ago – none of us have ever experienced before.

Now it is true that the real estate market in Canada is depressed right now, but there are still prospective homebuyers who are ready to make offers on homes they want to buy – provided they still have the means of both finding them and doing their research on them.

This is what leads us to our discussion of the ever-growing trend towards ‘virtual’ house hunting here today. A real estate agent needs to first be able to generate clients, and then be able to serve them effectively – even if that’s not easy to do for whatever reason. As it relates to the first part of that equation, our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent way to get more out of the efforts any realtor puts into new client prospecting. And at this time, giving yourself an advantage there may be more valuable than ever!

But back to topic – One of the things any realtor is going to be required to do these days is still offer clients viewings of homes, and that’s true for both the listing realtor and the buyer’s realtors. However, now these viewings may need to be virtual ones, and it’s important to understand as well that this trend is going to fade away once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

Effective Virtual House Showing Approaches

It’s true the spring typically kicks off the busiest home-buying period of the year, and while that may be in a big-time reduced capacity this year it still is what it is. Now realtors and clients have no choice but to think of how to safely view homes without risking infection.

We’ll start with images. There are going to be some red flags to look for as you click through pictures, keeping in mind that they may not always show the true details of a property:

Are there more photos of the exterior than the interior? This can be a clue that the interior of he home is quite lacking Closed curtains and blinds in a photo are usually hiding a bad view.

Be suspicious of room photos that focus on one point or fixture exclusively. If a picture of a bathroom focuses on a sink, for example, it may mean the bathroom is painfully small.

If photos look stretched out, the seller or agent may well be attempting to make a room appear bigger.

Some listing terms should be red flags as well. A ‘fixer-upper’ can mean a great investment, but it also may mean a money pit. ‘Cozy may be a misnomer hiding the fact that the home is small and not suitable for a family.

Squeeze the Max Out of Virtual Tours

Virtual tours of properties in Canada is increasingly becoming the norm now. You can instruct your clients to look for the virtual tour icon on the bottom of the listing page. One good thing to do if they are particularly interested in a specific property is ask to see more of the video.

It’s quite common for parts of the house to be left on the editing room floor to keep the video short and dynamic.

Another option is to make a FaceTime (audio and visual) call during which the agent walks would-be buyers through a home, sharing footage of the features. Another is to have you show your clients what they want to see while uncovering any blind spots in the original video.

Providing clients with a detailed floor plan of the space is also standard nowadays, as it helps them with determining how big a room is, or how high the ceilings are, etc.

Dig into Disclosures

When clients continue to have interest in the possibility of purchasing a home following their review of photos and videos from the virtual tour, then it’s time to ask the selling agent for the seller disclosure. This should outline any known problems with the home’s structure, plus the age of various features and any improvements.

It’s quite common here for buyers to find out facts about the house that will aid them in deciding whether to move forward, or rule it out. As their realtor, you should always be very proactive in requesting this disclosure and discussing the ramifications of it with your clients.

Don’t Skip Checking Out the Neighbourhood

Always keep in mind that for the majority of clients the the surrounding neighborhood is just as important as the house itself. Google Earth is an excellent resource we all have at our disposal these days, and realtors should definitely be taking of advantage of it as well as recommending it to clients if they themselves are not aware of it or how to use it.

It’s very good for seeing if the home they’re interested in is near schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation. Interactive neighborhood maps are another good suggestion.

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 – as the exclusive realtor serving that region of any city or town in Canada. Once you’ve joined, you’ll be the only realtor receiving these leads that area for as long as you remain with us. Needless to say, that means it’s best to act fast so if you need more convincing about the effectiveness of this online real estate leads service then please have a look at our testimonials.

Subsidized Wages for Businesses Benefits Commercial Real Estate During Pandemic

Published April 21, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

It’s inevitable that with the economic slowdown related to COVID-19 the real estate market in Canada is going to have a downturn of its own. Residential real estate is already seeing this affect and it’s going to be a situation where many property owners who would have considered putting their home on the market are now going to be wise about it and put that on hold. Then of course demand will shrink somewhat as well as some buyers who might have been qualified are now not.

Consider as well that new building starts will be decreasing as well. As will the investor market as the entire world feels the crunch now and post-pandemic – hopefully that coming as soon as possible.

Consider as well that new building starts will be decreasing as well. As will the investor market as the entire world feels the crunch now and post-pandemic – hopefully that coming as soon as possible.

The Federal Liberal Government’s recent wage subsidization measures stand to benefit the commercial real estate market though. Wage relief is being delivered, with the government covering up to 75% of payroll costs at impacted businesses. Subsidized wages do help, but another very large and expensive still needs to be considered, and that’s the rent for business owners renting or leasing commercial space.

Commercial real estate is a focus for many realtors in Canada, and real estate services of all types are looking to become a whole lot more competitive in the near future as inventories decrease. Our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is a proven effective way for realtors to get more focused results from their client prospecting efforts, and it’s recommended for new realtors or ones who’ve been in the business for a while.

But back to topic – Commercial real estate is going to be positively impacted by the Government’s Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRAP), and that’s some good news for the industry in general in Canada.

Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program

It still remains to be soon as to how the program is going to be delivered, but here’s a few of the details that can be shred. This is going to apply to landlords providing rent incentives to small businesses and relief will come in the form of a loan, some of which will be classified as ‘forgivable’ loans. There may be differences between provinces, since they’ll be delivering the relief individually.

The repayable ones would be similar to the relief homeowners are currently receiving. Which helps them defer most of their fixed costs for a few months. With that breathing room the business is better poised to retain staff and wait this out, and be better positioned for economic recovery. Then they can repay the cash incrementally.

The forgivable loans, or portion of the loans, would look much the same as the Canada Emergency Business Account. In that program, the government will forgive up to $10,000 on a $40,000 loan.

Now whether or not that’s enough to ‘float the boat’ until the economy gets back on its feet and the real estate market stabilizes along with it is that we experience a V-shaped recovery. Now of course we’re not economists here, but reading what we have we’ve seen very reputable ones on both sides of the argument. But the fact that this CECRAP program will be a positive buoy for commercial real estate is good news

Farther Reaching Benefits

If we look at this on a more macro- level too the fact that this will make it more feasible for business owners to retain staff (along with the possibility of paid internal training workshops online during this time-off from being in the workplace) and that has bigger-picture benefits in that this will keep some percentage of the workforce gainfully employed still and allow them to contribute their part of the economic input, including in the real estate market.

If there’s even just a hundred or so more home coming onto the market in Canada – or an equal number of households continuing to be able to be active in the market as their needs dictate – that is an overall advantage for the entire real estate industry at this time. For both residential and commercial real estate.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are provided to you – and only you – as the only realtor serving that part of any city or town in Canada. It’s yours exclusively for as long as you stay with Real Estate Leads and you’ll love how it puts you more directly with prospective clients who are genuinely considering making a move in the Canadian real estate market.

Provincial Budgetary Cuts in Alberta Not Expected to Affect Real Estate Market More Adversely than Elsewhere in Canada

Published April 14, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

There’s been much focus in the news these days about how Alberta is being hit with a double-whammy with both the precipitous decline in the world price of oil and the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s true that they’re likely in for the roughest patch when it comes to all of the Canadian provinces. We can also safely assume that many of the budget cuts the Provincial government is making there are ones they’d rather not make, but have to given the need to cut expenditure and at least attempt to balance books.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve discussed how the real estate markets in different regions of the country are going to be taking a similar downturn, but also not to nearly the extent that some people suggest they’re going to. There have been some who’ve agreed with our perspective on that, but added further that they do expect things to be rather dire in Alberta. It is true that more people are going to be out of work, and the market will have fewer qualified homebuyers and greater numbers of homebuyers who may need to sell.

That’s definitely not a good recipe for a healthy housing market, and as is always the case it’s the newer realtors that may feel the pinch the most. New and qualified clients may be even harder to come by. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generations system is an excellent way for any realtor to harness the power of Internet marketing to be put more directly in touch with home owners and prospective home buyers who are genuinely considering making a move in the real estate market.

It comes highly recommended for anyone who feels they might be losing some of their potential in this regard, whether that’s in Alberta or in another part of the country.

But steering back to Alberta, it turns out that the doom n’ gloom scenarios envisioned there also aren’t especially rooted in the reality of what’s likely to happen there. That’s going to be good news, so let’s look at it in greater detail.

Cut-Heavy Budget

The 27th of February was when Alberta’s United Conservative government unveiled its most recent budget, and with it came more than afew surprises. Program spending, despite the province’s growing population, was scheduled to stay relatively unchanged from recent levels. Though it’s not pretty, it’s fair to say the UCP didn’t have much choice other than to use job losses, salary cuts and benefit reductions in the public sector to lower operating costs.

There wasn’t much good news on the surface of the Alberta budget, but industry insiders are seeing how its job creation component should give real estate investors cause for optimism, particularly with its focus on corporate tax rates and supporting innovation.

Premier Jason Kenney had previously scrapped tax incentives brought in by the previous NDP government to lure high-tech start-ups, but the new budget does put aside $200 million to attract talent in various growing industries, including AI and financial technology. The aim with this is reducing the provincial unemployment rate to 5%.

By creating more employment from this, the government may be able to establish Alberta cities like Calgary and Edmonton to be among the top ten cities in Canada for attracting tech companies and employees.

Then there’s the new corporate tax rate in Alberta, which is going to decrease from its current 12 % to eight % by 2022, and promote investment in the province. The belief is that these tax savings will result in greater internal development, and along with that comes more employment, more purchasing power, and more $ in local economies.

It will take some time, but in the meantime it will do enough to prevent the local housing market from taking a hit that’s decidedly worse than that of other Provinces in Canada.

Checks and Balances

However, that’s in the face of a loss of over 1,400 public sector jobs, and a majority of those being seen in post-secondary education. All on top of the over 50,000 full-time jobs that have disappeared in the province since last June.

Then there’s the many who are questioning the validity of the UCP’s budgetary projections, many of which are based around a scenario where they’re getting USD $58 per barrel price for West Texas Intermediate oil. That’s the farthest thing from reality at this time – WTI is currently trading at less than USD $5.00 per barrel, although OPEC production cuts agreed to last Thursday may provide some help there.

Despite all of this, most economists or real estate industry experts don’t foresee see Alberta’s real estate market falling entirely apart. Experts point out that the worst price depreciation has been two-and-a-half percent annually, and that was just two years ago. The economy is diversifying, and between all of it the industry may be buoyed much more than people think.

Add a population growing, a reduction in the Bank of Canada’s interest rate, and improved efforts to attract new industries, and it’s very realistic to think that things may only be slightly worse for Alberta than they will be for the other provinces dealing with the economic downturn caused by the Pandemic.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively for your private region of any city or town in Canada. Once you’re registered and have your region reserved for you, you’ll be the ONLY realtor who receives the leads for it, and that will be the arrangement for as long as you remain a member. It’s an excellent way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and build your real estate business much more effectively.

Working While Social Isolating for Realtors: 5 Tips

Published April 7, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

Here we are into another week of the COVID-19 Pandemic turning life as we know it on it’s head here in Canada, and it’s true that those of us who are fortunate enough to have a job that allows us to work from home should be very glad to have such an advantage given that the mandated social isolation protocols. Now one of the things we’ve discussed is that it’s nearly impossible for there not to be a temporary slowdown in the real estate market, but it’s not going to be the precipitous decline some are projecting.

Realtors will still be working during this time, but of course it’s going to be very different not being out and about meeting clients and other professionals in the course of what’s in an average day for most of you. Nowadays you’re going to have no choice but to stay in and make a lot of your contacts digitally and conducting research online. Now you probably already do a large amount of your researching properties, building codes, etc etc online anyways, but it’s different when you have no choice but to do ALL of it this way.

Long story short, there’s a lot of realtors who are going to feel very ‘out of sorts’ as a result of all this, and then there’s the fact that prospecting new clients wasn’t ever simple to begin with. Now that there’s less of the pie to go around – however temporary that may be – it makes a whole lot of sense for new realtors in particular to get onboard with our online real estate lead generation service for Canada we have here at Real Estate Leads. It puts the power of Internet marketing to work to put you directly in touch with folks genuinely consider a move in the real estate market.

So here are some tips for realtors to work more effectively from home

  1. Get Your Heart Rate Up in the Morning

Getting regular exercise is going to be important for everyone who’s socially isolating to help flatten the curve in the global fight against coronavirus. Getting some mildly vigorous physical exercise in the morning – even if it’s just a few sets of jumping jacks – gets positive endorphins flowing in the body and will help you approach the day with even better energy, mental clarity and focus, and better abilities to be decisive about what’s best for your business

2. Put More into Social Media Marketing at this Time

The vast majority of clients you might have been meeting will be in the same stay-home boat that you are, and not surprisingly a whole lot of them will be using the Internet to look up what’s currently of interest to them. If that’s real estate listings and general news and the like then they’re going to be perfectly placed to be include by social media real estate marketing.

If this is something that’s not a strength of yours then now is a good time to take advantage of your additional time at home to get up to speed on what it takes to use all the different social media platforms available to promote your listings and your real estate services in general. The good thing is that there are plenty of free or inexpensive online tutorials that can show you the basics.

Take advantage of this time to improve your social media market capabilities

3. Work on Your Script

Well, that is provided you do have a script that you use to be an icebreaker of sorts when speaking with new prospective clients (which of course is something you’ll likely be doing more often if you sign up with Real Estate Leads) and introducing yourself. Now anyone can rehearse it and go over it to add certain emphasis to speech here and there, but here’s a totally different idea and something that’s easy to do.

You almost certainly have a smartphone, and nearly every smartphone will have a quick audio recording feature. Record yourself speaking your script in the same manner you would if you were on the phone. Listen to see if there’s any part where you can imagine yourself as the listener not being as receptive as with other parts.

From there, make some changes to it and then try it out on your wife, husband, partner, or dachshund.

4. Organize and De-Clutter Your Files

This can also be a good time to get into the mountains of files you may have and decide on what needs to stay and what needs to go. Considering most of these files will be in digital form it can be very good for devices to liberate all this hard drive space. It’s fairly common for people of ALL professions to be pretty lax about deleting stuff they’ve saved that they don’t need anymore.

At the same time you may find that by going through all of this stuff with an equivocal eye you end up turning over a few individuals or opportunities where it might be a good idea to revisit them in the interest of perhaps creating more business for yourself.

5. Compare Your Online Presence with Other Realtors

A successful realtor is always going to be a busy realtor with very little additional time to spare. This time may one of the few exceptions to that, so why not use it to compare your marketing materials with other realtors and see if you don’t pick up on a few things that might be working well for them that you’d like to try.

As far as websites go, if you see elements of another realtor’s site that you’d like to incorporate into yours then there’s very likely a LOT of digital graphics and website developers who’d love the work right now, and it’ll be an excellent investment in your business given how an impressive looking and super user-friendly website is a must for every realtor these days.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are only ever delivered to one person, and one person only – you. As the only realtor signed up for your specific region of any city or town in Canada, the only person who’ll receive these leads is you for as long as you maintain your subscription with Real Estate Leads. It’s a great way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and it really is highly recommended for realtors who want to get ahead as quickly as possible.