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3 Effective Ways for Realtors to Triple Lead Conversions

Published December 3, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Every once in a while we take on a subject with our weekly blog that lines up perfectly with what we’re all about here, and this just so happens to be one of those weeks. A real estate agent – no matter which market they’re working in and how long they’ve been in business – will live and die by his or her ability to generate leads and then turn those leads into clients. As is the case with nearly everything, practice is what makes perfect, but anything you can do to gain valuable insight into best practices is going to be welcome.

And so that’s what we have here today. 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 newbie competition when it comes to having shortcuts to being put in touch with home buyers and sellers. However, while leads are absolutely invaluable, it’s what you do with them that makes the difference between whether or not there’s a commission in it for you.

Converting leads is what it’s all about, and there’s specific steps you can take to increase the likelihood of that happening. And so let’s get to them!

Long and Short: Optimizing Marketing Efforts

Whether you’re marketing for tenants, off-market deals, attendees for your events or a webinar, optimizing your marketing efforts needs to be front and centre all the time. One of the best ways to do this is by increasing your conversions and reducing per-lead costs. Marketing automation makes it possible for you to put your crucial digital marketing tasks on autopilot, but maximizing your conversions all the while.

There are three specific areas that are critical to hitting your goals. Introducing these three components into a marketing strategy properly can actually triple conversions. Driving traffic from online marketing (and especially via social media these days) is arguably the most potent way of approaching this. Effective and successful realtors these days are using their social media channels as sales funnels.

Once the customer navigates through the funnel and completes the ‘goal’ (registering their contact info with you based on their interest in your advertised content) then you move that volunteered info to your database or CRM. Then you’ll begin email communications to keep the line of communication open with them and nurture the transaction.

Here’s the 3 ways this entire process can be optimized

1. Smart Sales Page / Funnel

When building your funnel and putting it in place, create a dedicated set of pages away from your website. The branding can be the same, but website menus and other information shouldn’t be included in your funnel, and here’s why:

  • Fewer distractions. The primary reason a product (in this case a home) doesn’t sell is because people don’t know about the product or understand its value. Creating a dedicated set of pages without distracting menus or other offers lets you pass along the specific offer and its value much more clearly and succinctly.
  • Ease of use. A well-designed funnel makes it so that the product is easier to purchase, and making this the case isn’t difficult at all. The forms should be clean, and the information should persist from one page to the next. A dedicated funnel – but one that exists separate from your website – benefits both your clients and your business.

Yes, the initial setup will require some effort and creativity on your part, but once your sales pages are in place, you’ll find you’re now articulating your offerings and value in a more distraction-free environment, and it’s proven that this way is much more conducive to converting leads.

2. Integration

This is where automation starts to make its presence felt. With you now converting leads more regularly by tailoring your funnel to meeting customer goals, the next step is to create a central repository for future communication and follow-up.

The role integration takes here is capturing the information entered by your customer, and then storing it in a central location. In more complex systems, there will be many points of entry into the central database or CRM. When the system is more complex, it then becomes more important to build and establish a central database where all information is stored.

Zapier is a really good application here, as using it makes the integration process becomes simpler because it can be automated without the need to hire a programmer. Setup is quick and easy, and once it’s completed, you won’t have to spend time ensuring your customers are entered into your system each and every time you receive an RSVP.

Plus, the CRM also functions as a platform to facilitate future communication beyond this initial goal. If you can make a client a repeat clients, that is of course preferable. Typically, if a customer can see value in hearing from you again and potentially purchasing more at some point in the future, you stand to further your business interests even more. For a business to understand the value of its clients – and maximize it – having a central repository is essential.

3. Nurture and Follow-up

Now that each customer’s information is filed in your CRM, you’re able to automate your communications with them much more easily. This ‘nurturing’ process will serve 2 goals. First, it provides communication and follow-up (such as a confirmation email with the event date, address, etc.) for the transaction or goal that your customer has established for you based on their responses and submitted info.                                     

Next, it will more effectively promote communication around events you’re arranging to facilitate the sale of the home. As the event date nears, make sure your prospective clients hear from you a minimum of three times. Each message will cover three unique benefits of the event they’ve signed up for and a reminder of the event’s scheduled time and location. Yes, open houses are the most common of these events we’re discussing.

From here you follow what is something of a nurturing ‘sequence’:

Being Interesting – boring messages are the worst and MUCH more likely to be discarded before theyr’e read through in their entirety. Speak casually, add humour if possible, and be sure to find intriguing details relevant to your product and then tie them into your messages.

Be Frequent..Enough – Whether it’s a webinar or an event, the principles of following up stay the same: Once the customer has indicated that they find value in your offering, you need to stay entirely in touch. It’s the best way to ensure you’re delivering value.

Be Personal – No matter what communication form you’re working in, be sure to talk to the customer like you’re having a face-to-face conversation with them. People don’t want to hear a formal message to a large group. They want to hear from you, and they will appreciate being spoken to directly.

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By adding a marketing automation strategy of this type, it’s very likely you can  triple your conversions. That should work out to your marketing ROI being increased significantly – and that should sound plenty appealing to you as a new realtor.

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. No other realtor will receive those same leads once you’re registered with us. And what’s more, you’ll also be the ONLY realtor receiving those leads for your exclusively-served region of any city or town in Canada. We’re confident in assuming you’ll quickly join the numbers of 100% satisfied realtors who know that this is an excellent investment in the success of your real estate business.

Record 2018 Population Growth Factoring into Housing Supply in Canada in a Huge Way

Published November 26, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Anyone and everyone – real estate agents in Canada included – would have had to have been living under a rock to not be aware of how there’s a very real housing shortage in major locales in Canada. There’s a whole host of factors that are playing into it, and it’s equally true to say that simply building more housing stock isn’t going to be a be-all, end-all solution.

The simple reality to observe in regard to that is that supply and demand principles are as wholly absolute and inflexible as they’ve ever been. The demand for housing in Canada FAR outstrips the supply, and so much so in fact that any type of realistic goal for new housing starts in the country still isn’t going to shift the supply / demand equation much if at all.

It’s entirely true that Canada needs immigrants in order to maintain it’s economy and the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians. Immigration has enriched this country greatly over hundreds of years, and it will continue to do so as industrious new Canadians work to make the whole of our country better in the same way those that came before them did.

Immigration on such a large scale as what’s been seen in Canada IS, however, contributing to housing shortages in a very real way. This affects nearly everyone, and for realtors it’s in fewer properties and fewer qualified buyers for higher home prices being the reality. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system in Canada is an excellent way for new realtors to get a leg up on their competitors in what is an increasingly VERY competitive space.

But back to topic – what is to be made of the effects of large-scale immigration on the housing ‘crisis’ that is particularly acute in Toronto and Vancouver.

More than Half a Million New Canadians for 2018

Canada’s population grew by 531,000 from August 2018 to July 2019, and Stats Canada says that’s the largest 12-month increase in the country’s history. This explosive growth is having an enormous impact on the housing market. Nearly 60% of the inflow made its way to Ontario and British Columbia, and not surprisingly it is work opportunities and quality of life that are leading these people to Vancouver and Toronto most notably.

Then when you add in shifting demographics and increasing rents and housing prices, the affordability crisis in Toronto and Vancouver becomes even more real and shortfalls with housing stock in BC and Ontario’s major metropolises could continue for the foreseeable future.

Rental Housing a Pressing Need

A recent economics report issued by the Royal Bank states that the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) will need approximately 9,100 more vacant units to reach a ‘healthy’ vacancy level of 3% or so. It then stated further that the Toronto CMA needs 22,000 new rental apartments and rented condominium apartments per year to satisfy what is the expected demand for housing in Toronto between 2019 and 2023.

The belief is that even if 70% of all new condos are rented, and 4,000 new purpose-built rental apartments are created for the GTA every year, that mark would still be missed. This really highlights the challenge between meeting what’s needed with what is realistically possible.

Failing to do that will mean that rents will continue to rise, and the expectation is that this is unavoidable even though purpose-built rental apartment construction is on the rise and 2021 is expected to be a big year for condo completions in the Greater Toronto Area.

Vancouver Harder to Forecast

The same report indicated that Vancouver needs 3,800 more available units to reach a 3% vacancy rate, along with 9,400 new rental apartments and rented condo apartments per year if forecasted demand between 2019 and 2023 is to be met.

Industry expectations are that 11,000 to 13,000 condo units and about 5,000 rental units are coming to the Vancouver CMA, if housing start data from the CHMC is seen as accurate.

What this could mean then is up to 14,000 new rented apartment units per year, far which would exceed the 9,400 units demanded and potentially taking up the entirety of the 3,800 units of undersupply that would be needed to raise the vacancy rate to the aimed 3%.

The city could then experience flat or declining rent levels. The workings of this are fairly straightforward too – As supply increases, rents decline and greater numbers of people can be housed in Vancouver. Despite this potential success, Vancouver needs much more rental supply and any degree of underbuilding will mean Vancouver rental rates would instead continue to rise.

Rental Availability & Affordability

Montreal is an interesting case study in contrast to those of Vancouver and Toronto. Montreal builds plenty of rental homes and that large supply makes rents more affordable. In Quebec, renting is a more normal lifestyle choice and it’s not stigmatized like the way it is more so in Vancouver and Toronto.

In the Atlantic provinces there really isn’t much of a crisis at all, and the economic slump in Alberta has kept rents from growing too large in Edmonton and Calgary. In Saskatchewan rents are actually declining.

One last consideration is that many baby boomers are now in their 60s and 70s and will soon have different housing wants and needs. Many will soon be downsizing and some will be choosing retirement homes. This is going to have a massive impact on the market, both for homes being sold and new homes that will be bought.

The current trend where so many older people are staying in their homes and not freeing up as many homes for younger people to buy is also playing a significant role in housing shortages in big and popular cities. Essentially it’s causing a jam at the bottom of the market, and what that does is promote high rent levels and high prices for condo apartments and rented condo apartments.

The purpose-built rental market is expected to continue to grow in Canada, as institutional capital and real estate investment trusts become more involved with the sector and aim to intensify existing properties.

How well this all works out, however, really remains to be seen and it has to be a cause for concern for those who foresee difficulty in finding housing that works for them in the cities where they have their lives and careers. It also promises to be very pivotal for those who’s livelihood is tied to a healthy and robust housing and real estate market.

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 as effectively as possible.

Text Message Communication: 5 Tips for Realtors

Published November 19, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Smartphones have certainly revolutionized the lives of pretty much all of us, and there was no avoiding the way they were going to spin the business world too. One of the more ordinary but profound differences they’ve introduced for us all is that nowadays it’s often considered poor form to actually call someone, and instead it’s best to send a text message. The reason for this is not too difficult to understand; it gives the recipient the freedom to receive your communication and respond to it on a timeline that works for them, rather than having that decided arbitrarily for them when the phone rings.

Real estate is no exception in this regard, and once you’re in possession of a client’s phone number it’s good advice to be very judicious about how you contact them. As is the case all across the board these days, sending a text message is a better choice than calling nine times out of 10. You likely won’t be stepping on toes if you do call, but surely we can agree that client prospecting isn’t easy and when you do manage to make one you will do everything to keep their provider / client relationship at its best.

Which is what makes Real Estate Leads such a valuable resource for new realtors. Our online real estate lead generation system puts the power of Internet Marketing to work to provide you with a more-direct contact means for being put in touch with individuals and couple who are genuinely looking to either buy or sell a home in the near future. If you’re new to the business, it’s going to be money well spent when it comes to seeing to it that you hit the ground in this business.

But back to our topic here for now. With our understanding that text messages (along with emails) are often a better means of informal communications with clients, what we’re going to do here today is share 5 solid tips for text message communications.

1: Use Texts for Short, Less Urgent / Important Conversations

Real estate texts work well for timely information exchanges, like determining a showing time and place or confirming the due date for paperwork. They are also ideal for brief updates, such as sharing a new listing with a prospective homebuyer (pasting link) or letting them know anything from why you’re going to be 5 minutes late to why it might be a good idea to put awning out over the patio because it’s supposed to rain during today’s open house.

You get the idea. Oppositely, if it’s ‘big news’ or something especially important, that’s when you make the call. But keep in mind here that sometimes sending a text message in advance inquiring ‘is now a good time to call?’ is good practice too these days, whether for business or personal interests.

The last piece of advice here is you’ll want to avoid texting anything confidential, proprietary, or private to your clients. Texts can be forwarded and recorded, so be sure to relay sensitive information over the phone only.

2: Be Courteous

Most often clients will have already agreed to receive real estate SMS messages as per their entry into an agreement with you as their realtor. So even thought they will know who you are, the first tip here is to still begin the first few texts with them by sharing your name – ‘Hi, this is (Name)..’ before continuing with your message. This establishes your professionalism and reminds your homebuyer who they are communicating with at the same time. 

From there, always be especially polite and courteous with everything you say in your texts. It’s entirely accurate to say that you really can’t go ‘overboard’ when it comes to this.

Next tip is to not make assumptions. Just because you are happy to receive text messages from seven in the morning to ten at night, doesn’t mean your homebuyer is. Keep all communications to traditional business hours, unless the client has clearly informed you that ones outside of this time frame are acceptable for them.

Constant consideration of your homebuyer’s preferences is key to maintaining a professional relationship.

3: Be Polite & Professional

Unless you’re a human interaction and communication expert it can be difficult to determine the exact tone of a text. There’s not getting around the fac that many are often misconstrued by recipients. When this is your client, the risks are of course that much higher.

  • To avoid any such miscommunications and promote a positive tone when texting with clients, you should:
  • Avoid one-word responses. Even if you can’t think of what else to say, try something like ‘I think this will be best’
  • Always include a greeting, and ‘Hi’ is of course most natural
  • Include proper punctuation, especially exclamation points
  • Never use shorthand, newspeak, or pop culture abbreviations or slang in your texts – it’s unprofessional
  • Polite phrases like ‘my pleasure’ and ‘thank you’ are as advisable today as they were long before phones and text messaging even existed

4: Always Provide Value

Generally speaking, the key to text message marketing for real estate agents is establishing trust with the homebuyer or home seller. Having them continue to open and reply to your messages is dependent on each text being distinctly valuable. Include information related only to the project you are working on. Market updates, showing scheduling, and quick notifications are among the best examples for this.

As a rule, until the house is sold or your clients buy a home, stick to pertinent discussions within your text messages.

5: Review Every Message Before Sending It

This tip may be the last on our list, but it may be the most important when it comes the working realities of what you should do when texting with a client. Even though it should not be this way, some clients will even see spelling errors or a lack of proper punctuation as a sign that you’re not as professional as you should be.

More importantly, however, just be looking over what you’ve written and correct it as necessary based on the preceding points here.

Before you send an SMS message, ensure that:

  • The message is entirely positive and professional
  • There is nothing in your text that is of a level of importance that makes is something that should be discussed in a phone call or face-to-face meeting
  • Dates and times are accurate
  • Words are spelled correctly and sentences are grammatically correct

As a last consideration here, it may be useful to create templates (available in some business text messaging platforms) for you to have and then edit as necessary for certain often-occurring communications between you and clients.

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 – and only you – for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll be the only realtor to receive these leads, and that region is also yours for as long as you stay with us. It’s a nearly-guaranteed way to get more out of your client prospecting efforts and build your real estate business that much more quickly.

Fundamentals Driving Demand in Canada’s Apartment Market

Published November 12, 2019 by Real Estate Leads
Follow That Line – Condo Development Tails Expanded Rapid Transit Infrastructure

Realtors and Civic Planners may have entirely different lines of work, but the decisions made by civic planners have a great deal of relevance for realtors and how they’ll be conducting their business. As it regards civic planning, it’s been said that if you’re a in a metropolitan area then having the majority of your inhabitants living in multi-family developments then you’ve done well in crafting the growth of your region. Not surprisingly, it is true that the majority of people in heavily populated urban centres in Canada are in fact living in condominiums or rental apartments.

Now no realtor will need to be convinced of the need for a healthy rental housing market, as it serves a very pivotal role in the progression from young people starting out in life to future qualified homebuyers. Without it fewer of them reach the point of being qualified prospective buyers and it’s true that there’s too few of them to begin with. Finding new clients for a real estate business is challenging for many reasons, and it’s for this reason that here at Real Estate Leads our online real estate lead generation system is such a good choice for those new to the business.

But back to topic, it’s good to see that the demand for rental housing in Canada is being identified and received in the manner it should be.

Challenges and Opportunities

Population growth, demographics and housing affordability are currently fuelling the strong demand for apartments in Canada. These factors, together with insufficient and constrained rental supply, are making existing housing challenges more severe. The fact that there is a growing imbalance between housing demand and supply shouldn’t come as a surprise, and neither should the apartment market in Canada remaining strong for the foreseeable future.

Apartments have always been a vital part of the housing solution for many Canadians. That’s true whether they are entering the rental market by choice, or out of necessity. It’s true that most immigrants who enter the country and do not have the capital to own a home remain in the rental market for 10 years or so  before home ownership becomes a viable option.

Demographics

What’s most interesting to note is that there is a trend in our population where people are increasingly opting for an apartment-rental lifestyle that is not related to affordability.

As the children of baby boomers move on, those aging baby boomers usually downsize from single-family homes.

This then factors into an increased demand for rental properties in familiar, desirable communities which provide convenient transportation and amenities. As millennials – the children of these baby boomers – come to reach the usual age for making their own independent households, more of them are now choosing affordable urban apartment rentals over purchasing houses in the suburbs.

A recent study indicated that there are about 730,000 millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who may be planning to move on from living in their parents’ homes and from sharing a dwelling with roommates in the next 10 years. This has the potential to create 500,000 new households. Based on this stimulus we are likely going to see a significant housing shift in major urban regions, as this large wave of millennials start to look for a place of their own.

Then add the estimated 100,000+ new residents that come to the the major cities every year and we really do have the makings for different housing crises.

The challenge for millennials planning to move out of their parents’ homes and into the rental market will be in saving up enough for a down payment – while still paying current, escalating rental rates. In Toronto and Vancouver in particular, these rates are both exorbitant and debilitating for many people.

Housing Affordability

Across Canada, the provincial and federal government have made efforts to control housing prices, and these prices are expected to appreciate modestly throughout the last bit of the year here. The federal government has tightened rules for mortgages even further, implemented new restrictions on government insurance for low-ratio mortgages, and issued new reporting rules for capital gains exemptions on primary residences.

While the underlying objectives are appropriate for the present situation, these initiatives are probably not going to solve the housing affordability crisis on their own.

The cost of breaking into the housing market makes home ownership challenging and Canadians will continue to have to weigh an apartment rental as an affordable – and perhaps smarter – option. It’s interesting to note in relation to it that demand for rental housing is outpacing home ownership for the first time in many decades.

Municipal Governments need to be extremely proactive in developing rental housing on a very large scale, and there’s not time for delays and inactivity with this. It’s essential for the maintenance of a healthy housing market, which stands to benefit both individuals and those whose careers depend on it.

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 and for your privately-served region of any city or town in Canada. It’s your region, they’re your leads only, and you will be the one to benefit in a big way when it comes to building on your client base. Put the power of the Internet to work for you and build your business that much more effectively!

Creating Listing Descriptions That Draw Genuinely Interested Homebuyers

Published November 7, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s been said that real estate is very much one of those professions where the expression ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.’ That’s very true, but it’s also true in regard to the way that interested homebuyers who are looking at homes on the market will make very quick and lasting judgments about any home on the market based on the listing description they see for it.

That’s obviously a disadvantage – even if the listing description is well written – and unfortunate as well, because there’s always so much about a home that can’t be conveyed right without seeing it and experiencing it in person. But in the same way people will draw conclusion on you as a realtor based on their first few minutes with you, they’ll do the same with your listing based on the first few lines of the description.

It’s true that some homes really do sell themselves, but the vast majority of them do not. It’s usually a challenge and that’s why your expertise as a realtor makes you worthy of their business. What is ALWAYS a challenge, however, is prospecting a sufficient number of clients so that your own real estate business continues to be a viable way for you to earn a living for yourself.

With that understood, our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent choice to put you in the those ‘pivotal first impression’ scenarios much more reliably. Harnessing the power of Internet marketing is rarely if ever a bad thing.

But returning to our topic of choice today, how does a realtor write strong listing descriptions that serve to further the readers interest in their listing, especially if that reader is a genuine prospective homebuyer?

It’s not that complicated, and you can do it too. Read on.

Experience, Relevance, and Smart Wording – The Best Formula

The first mindset that you need to take on in advance of beginning this task is to understand fully that this is someone’s future home, and not just another house. It may not be the future home of every single person that reads your listing description, and in fact that’s the most likely scenario. However, with the chance that it may be, you need to form your ideas with the understanding that someone who reads this may be doing so as the first part of the process that ends with them buying the home from your clients.

So you need to make sure your property descriptions attract attention and create a captivating scene, and do so even before potential buyers visit the home.

  • Focus on the Experience

It IS important to mention how many bedrooms and bathrooms a home has, but it’s even more important to showcase how lifestyle meets utility perfectly in this home. For example, if your client has a home with a great family room with a fireplace, your aim should be to make buyers feel like they will love that room long before they even see it. Another example could be if you the home is in a growing-family type of neighborhood and it’s most likely a couple with children will be buying the home then you can talk up the family bonding experiences that can happen in that superb living area.

Something like this – “This expansive family room features soaring 11-foot ceilings as part of an overall design creation that’s intended to promote families creating ever greater numbers of cherished family memories. Whether that’s piling the couch with pillows and blankets on a cold winter day, or enjoying a movie night by the fireplace, or hosting a lively birthday gathering filled with friends and family, this room will likely be the heart of the home.”

  • Keep it Relevant

Going overboard with descriptions is the most common misstep with listing descriptions. They shouldn’t be overly personal or customized to the current owners. The better approach is to keep statements more general, so that any type of buyer can relate to them. It may not seem natural, but you’re going to appeal to a much wider cross section of prospective buyers this way.

Have a look at this example – “This neighborhood has it all. Restaurants and entertainment are close, but not too close, and the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood is just as assured as it only taking you a short trip to enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment. Whether it’s a night in or a night out, both are going to be very appealing based on how doable one or the other will be.”

  • Emphasize the Right Adjectives

There’s no getting around the fact that words like ‘charming’ and ‘cozy’ are used way too often in listing descriptions. They’re classics, but fact is they’re really just far to indeterminate and impersonal these days. They can sound appealing, and when you’re dealing with a bigger proper in the luxury space adjectives like these can actually make the house seem small.

The point here is that it’s best to cater to the appropriate crowd when you’re choosing your words, and based on the type of property you’ve listed.

Compare these examples – “This restored five-bedroom, four-bath historic Colonial has an opulent foyer that blesses it with the grand entrance you’ve been searching for”

“This charming three-bedroom cape, perfect for entry-level buyers, has a cozy sitting room where you can sip your coffee and read a good book.”

The majority of your buyers will be unassuming and not particularly receptive to flowery language, and surprisingly this is even true of most wealthy buyers. Definitely something to keep in mind. The principle here is that each description should be unique to the property, but still being neutral enough to entice a variety of buyers.

Keep may different types of prospective homebuyers in mind when choosing your words and you’ll likely find yourself naturally gravitating towards a communication style that’s much more conversational and natural, and much less pretentious and assuming of specifics related to them as people.

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 once you’re signed up and have claimed your region of any city or town in Canada. The advantage – and a BIG one at that – is that once you’re signed up and have your region reserved for you, then you’ll be the only realtor to receive those leads!

We imagine the benefit of that is self-explanatory, but if you need more convincing please check out our testimonials page. We’re ready when you are, so how about you make a smart decision about building your real estate business, and do it today!

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.