hot canadian real estate market

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What Clients Want from Their Real Estate Agent

Published March 26, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Every once in a while it’s good to get back to the fundamentals, and that’s true whether you’re talking about your career, your golf game, or even your culinary capabilities. Often you’ll find that by reorienting your foundation in smart ways means everything that’s built on top it is improved as well. Being a service-plus real estate agent in Canada is no exception, here.

While experienced realtors will quite likely have a firm grasp on strong fundamentals in the real estate business, it is novices like many of you taking advantage of our opportunity here who’ll benefit from first understanding them, and then revisiting them often.

Speaking of opportunities first, however, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada here at Real Estate Leads comes extremely well recommended for any realtor who’d prefer to hit the ground running and build up his or her real estate business with greater rapidity. Long story short, it puts qualified leads for you area in the hands of one realtor and one realtor only – you. Of course, those leads are only opportunities – what you do with them is up to you, but a market and industry-savvy realtor is always up to that challenge.

Back to today’s topic though – what are the fundamental basics of what clients want from their real estate agent?

Buyer Client Expectations

The first difference to understand with buyers in comparison to sellers is that they’re a whole lot more complex and varied with their prerogatives most the time. There are different levels of experience and requirements. First-time buyers often need an overly guided approach to their buying a home. Investors, on the other hand, will usually want lots of data. Transactional help, lots of interpretation of documents, and help with decisions are often also standard wants / needs for buyers.

But that’s likely quite obvious for many of you, so let’s look at specific buyers based on the properties they’ll be evaluating.

If a client is focused on the vacation or resort home market, they’ll almost always need even more support. Many of these properties are in rural, mountain or seaside areas, and these are areas that often have strict environmental, developmental and building codes. If your client is an out-of-area buyer they will be looking to you to provide skilled representation to ensure they aren’t buying something with hidden future problems.

When representing buyers in other specialized areas or property types, these buyers will tend to lean more on your expertise and local market knowledge. Condominiums are the purchase of-choice for most buyers these days in Canada’s large urban centers, and they’re that way very much out of necessity. Condo rules (via strata) and financial particulars will be extremely important to these buyers, and they want their realtor to be explicitly in the know about them before they go to see the property together for the first time.

Next, investment property buyers. As a whole, these buyers will usually be the most ‘informed’ demographic you’ll serve as a realtor, and just because this ‘isn’t their first rodeo’ as the expression goes. When it comes to these buyers, they often approach you with a great deal of market knowledge. Interestingly, what they value most in a realtor is an ability to take an aggressive approach to helping them locate good investment deals, and then strong negotiating skills to help them get their desired property at the right price. A real estate professional who can catch things they may have missed and bring them to their attention before an investment mistake is an invaluable resource for them.

Seller Client Expectations

It’s inadvisable to look at sellers as individuals who just want to sell their home quickly and for as much as possible. Yes, on the whole sellers are less likely to be overly reliant on their agents for help in the process. Most sellers will know how technology has changed the game in as far as how a home is marketed to the masses these days.

So where are their priorities now, and what do they want most from a listing realtor? Their hope will be that you will take the initiative when it comes to commissions and finding ways with creating lower costs with roughly equal marketing options. If you’re working with aa full-service commission arrangement, you need to have at least a few instances where you’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ and left them with the impression that it’ more than they might have received from a lesser real estate professional.

One very interesting trend that’s been observed from client satisfaction surveys in real estate for North America is that some home seller client really appreciated how their realtor was able to effectively and rationally explain to them how commission-free or low-commission real estate services (which are popping up absolutely everywhere these days) are inferior to that provided by a genuine in-the-flesh / at-your-door real estate agent.

This doesn’t mean simply stating – however truthful – that these homes tend to stay on the market longer. Instead, you should be able to explain why that is and what you’re able to do counter that eventuality if they choose to work with you.

Be in the know – and very in the know preferably.

All Consumers

We’ll conclude here today with a bullet point list of the skills and qualities actual home buyers and sellers of all types will typically be looking for in their realtor:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Knowledge of purchase process
  • Responsiveness
  • Knowledge of real estate market
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills

There are others, including people skills and technical skills, but these 6 are boxes that you need to be able to check and list out how you meet those needs exactly. Your marketing may feature these skill sets, or it may not. Either way, there’s always room for improvement doing your very best in these areas.

In conclusion, we can say that the qualities of a good real estate agent will vary based on consumer needs but the basics will always apply and are worthy of ongoing focus as a result.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads provided to you – and only you – for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. Nine times out of 10 that’s going to mean more in the way of client prospecting successes for you and you’ll be in the position to do what realtors do best most often – putting people in touch with the best buyers for their property, or finding that perfect property for a buyer.

Check out our testimonials for stories from actual realtors who’ve gotten on board with the service and are now continuing to benefit from it immensely.


Toronto Real Estate sees almost a 2% increase in sales in 2019

Published October 9, 2018 by Real Estate Leads

Last week, the Toronto Real Estate Board announced that year over year sales in the Greater Toronto Area had seen a 1.9% increase in overall sales. This year over year increase is good news for local realtors and even better news for those who are looking to buy or sell in the hot Toronto market. This kind of increase was expected, but with sales through the multiple-listings system going up over 120 this month when compared to last year, the board has been ecstatic.

This news was only made better when the board compared average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area. Last year, the average home sold for $774,489, while this year the average is now sitting at $796,789, an increase of over 2.9%. This is a huge jump, and although this is still a cool housing market when you compare Toronto to the likes of Vancouver, GTA realtors are starting to take notice.

GTA realtors might be enjoying a larger than normal selling price when compared to last year, but one of the more concerning numbers for those realtors who sell a lot of below-priced homes it the fact that new listings are down. Overall, the GTA has seen a decrease of 3.1% in new listings, and this could start to affect the bottom line of some of the regions top agents.

The board has seen an increase in price growth mainly in higher-density properties around the city. This means that realtors who are selling townhouses, condos or semi-detached homes have seen an increase in both profit and movement around their properties. The numbers have finally started to stabilise after the provincial government introduced the foreign buyer’s tax and speculation fees on vacant homes that saw the market dip in the new year. However, realtors need the advantage to stay ahead, and that comes in real estate leads.

Real estate leads are one of the best ways for Toronto or GTA based realtors to get ahead of the curve and ensure they are one of the more successful realtors in the area. From being able to get leads on who is selling, and who is buying, you will be able to match homes or condos to prospective buyers with relative ease. Imagine not having to cold call throughout the day, and instead, have warm leads delivered to you in a competitive market like Toronto.

This is the reality for those who use real estate leads, and with a hot market like the GTA, you need to get ahead. Now is the time to see how real estate leads can help you take advantage of this almost 2% jump in the market, and the almost 3% jump in pricing, and enjoy being a realtor again. With leads in your mailbox, you will be able to focus on what you love about your job, selling houses, and finding perspective home buyers the house or land of their dreams. It is time to start enjoying work again, see how real estate leads can help make that happen!


Canadian Home Sales Likely to Drop to Lowest Level in 3 Years

Published September 19, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Residences in South Richmond BC a close neighborhood.Despite certain suggestions to the contrary and the assurances of others, it appears that 2018 will see Canadian home sales dropping to their lowest level in three years, driven in large part by a measurable decline in Ontario. All of this according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, and a forecast that comes with both troubling and promising aspects depending on which side of the owner / buyer fence you’re on.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we understand that predictions of this variety will weigh heavily with those of you who make up the bulk of our audience and registrants – realtors. Our online lead generation system for realtors has been a big success, and we feel that sharing relevant information regarding the national market and facilitating discussion around it benefits everyone.

So let’s look at this forecast in greater detail.

A Noticeable Dip

The association’s expectation is that a number slightly in excess of 495,100 will indicate the number of homes to be sold next year, downgrading its sales forecast for 2017 with a 9.9% drop in August as compared to a year ago.

Come January and the beginning of 2018, the prediction is that sales will fall 2.3% through 2018, and further that the remainder of 2017 will see a 5.3% decline on the original forecast of roughly 506,000 homes to be sold between June 1 and Dec.31 of this year, a number that’s approximately 20K less than what was first forecast in June of this year.

Looking at in greater depth, it’s interesting to note that seasonally adjusted sales in August rose 1.3% from the prior month, in large part due to a 14.3% boost coming from the GTA area. While that in itself will sound promising, the fact that sales in this area are down 35% from a year ago tempers the positivity considerably.

More than a few industry experts believe that the worst may have passed for the GTA, especially following provincially-implemented policy changes restricting foreign buyers, but there’s a lack of anything tangible to bear out that optimism.

Similar Outcomes Elsewhere

The CREA expects sales in British Columbia and Ontario will show themselves to have fallen by 10% or so by the end of 2017, and of course that’s in comparison to record highs set in 2016.

Sales last month were down in nearly 2/3 of all local markets, led by the country’s most populated greater metro area – Greater Toronto and its nearby housing markets.

Meanwhile, out west in Vancouver, August sales were up 7.3% from July and 21.3% higher than where they came in a year ago. Given the ever-hot and fast moving nature of the market in the Lower Mainland, homebuyers are of course watching mortgage rates carefully. Recent interest rate increases are prompting some to make offers before the rates make the scheduled climb, but at the same time others are pulling back.

Housing prices, however, continue to climb and seem unaffected by the dip-in-sales trend, at least for now. The average price for a home sold last month was $472,247, which is up 3.6% compared to a year ago. Greater Toronto was up 3.1%, and Greater Vancouver came in at 17.9%.

The national average price excluding these 2 regions? $373,859.

That number is expected to be up 3.4% to $507,700 come the end of December, which is lower than the prior forecast and that’s in large part because of fewer luxury home sales in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

The projected 0.6% drop to $503,500 next year is expected to be a reflection of a record number of high-end home sales around Toronto earlier this year, but the fact that that likely won’t be repeated in 2018 is behind the drop.

Other Projections by Area

Newfoundland and Labrador sales this year are forecast to dip by 8.1%.

Saskatchewan should decline by about 4%.

Alberta is predicted to buck the trend, and projected to have Canada’s largest increase here at 7.4%. While that’s a plus for sure, it’s still below the provincial 10-year average.

Last but not least, sales are forecast to expand 5.4 % in Quebec and 5.7% in New Brunswick.

With all of this understood, we’ll of course have to wait and see if these predictions materialize. Should they do so, it will of course mean a bit of a downswing in the industry but as the old saying goes ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ Put more into your prospecting efforts and apply yourself more stringently and you’ll be able to keep your earnings where they need to be.

Of course, signing up with Real Estate Leads here is a great idea to supercharge those efforts. You’ll receive qualified online-generated buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusively-retained area / neighbourhood of your home province. From there, what you turn this opportunities into is up to you!

Growing Numbers of Canadian $ Spent on U.S. Real Estate

Published July 31, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

A house on Canadian currencyCanadians buying property in the States has been going on for decades, and vice versa with Americans buying property in Canada. While the volume of homes and vacation properties in Canada being sold to American buyers has remained fairly consistent, the number of U.S. properties going to Canadian buyers has surged upwards in recent years. There are a number of factors playing into that trend, and the first and most obvious of them being the prohibitively high price of real estate in major metropolitan areas in Canada.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re thrilled with how our online lead generation system for realtors has been so well received by the real estate agent community in Canada, and we’ll continue to make adjustments to it to ensure it’s serving its purpose with maximum efficiency. We also enjoy keeping our thumb on the pulse of trends that are emerging in real estate.

The increasing number of U.S. properties being sold to Canadian buyers is one that’s particularly interesting to note. With accelerated house price growth in Canada’s hottest markets – Toronto and Vancouver – more Canadians are opting to buy affordable properties across the border. Given that we can assume the majority of those buyers do not have dual citizenship or a work visa, there can be some guessing as to what would spur the purchase of a home in a country that – despite being your next door neighbour – is just that, a foreign country.

That can and will be a discussion for a different day, however.

Residential All the Rave

From April 2016 to March 2017, the $19 billion that Canadians spent on residential properties in the United States was a record — in fact, it’s more than double the total of $8.9 billion recorded in last year’s report. All this from the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest report from earlier this month. During this same period, a total of 284,455 properties were sold to foreign investors, a number that was up 32% from 2016.

Canadian buyers made up for 33,819 of those properties, a jump of nearly 7,000 from 2016. China led the way with the most foreign purchases for a third consecutive year, making 40,572 purchases in the US worth an astounding $31.7 million.

This is further despite the fact that inventory shortages continue to drive up US home prices, and it would seem that many of these Canadian buyers are looking south of the 40th in search of affordable vacation homes.

The common consensus seems to be that a measure of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year is coming from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. with foreigners assured in their decision to buy now by understanding that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying in the future considerably more expensive.

Exchange Rate Factors

Foreign investment from Canadians dropped from 2015 to 2016 in the US as a result of the weakening Loonie, but this year’s heightened activity is believed to be a temporary phenomenon when we consider the red-hot market activity seen in Vancouver and Toronto. Industry experts expect to see continued strong demand from Canadian buyers, but they also believer there is very like going to be a pullback too.

The median price tag for US homes purchased by Canadians was $288, 615 – which was up from just over $222k in 2016. An interesting trend to note is that from April 2016 to March 2017, the majority of Canadian buyers were choosing the southeast and southwest areas of the US as their preferable investment areas, and most particularly in Florida.

Affordable options and a warmer climate pair to make up the top reasons why Canadians consistently are in the top 3 nationalities of foreign buyers purchasing homes in the U.S. That’s in large part because home price appreciation is quite strong in Canada relative to the United States, and you then factor in warm weather is a driver all on its own. Further, you also tend to get a lot more for your money in terms of square footage and kind of proximity to amenities in U.S. locations

Overall, foreign buyers and immigrants spent $153 billion on homes, and not only is this number a notable 49% increase from $102.6 billion in 2016, it’s a new record high that suggests the purchasing prerogatives for buyers here in Canada and elsewhere are changing to be less focused on the domestic market and buying homes for housing to more focused on investment and acquisition of assets.

Working with buyers is an equal 50% of what most realty professionals do here in Canada, and working in conjunction with similar professionals working in the U.S. to accommodate the purchasing wishes of clients looking for an investment home in U.S.A can be very much a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified online-generated real estate buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusive region of the country. You’ll have that region protected, and the leads will be provided only for you. It’s a great business booster that you really ought to take advantage of without delay.

Getting a Getaway: Recreational Properties Set to Become Increasingly Popular Purchases

Published July 17, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Swimming pools and bar at the beach of luxury hotel, It could be a cottage on the lake, a chalet at the foot of a favourite ski hill, or even a cabin in the remote northernmost part of your province. Interest in buying a recreational property or vacation home is increasing amongst different buyer groups in Canada, and that trend is one that real estate industry professionals would be wise to take note of.

Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system is a proven effective way for realtors to get more seller leads, and buyer leads too. In particular as it relates to buyer leads, realtors in less-urban areas of the country will want to take particular note of this trend as it may be that greater numbers of prospective buyers will be looking for a real estate professional to assist them with buying a recreational property in rural Canada.

RE/MAX is one of Canada’s leading real estate agencies, and according to their latest recreational property report for 2017, 43% of Canadians would consider buying a recreational property in the next decade. Interestingly, 28% of them with children under the age of 18 would consider selling their primary residence to help finance that purchase, suggesting that it’s not just financially sound soon-to-be retirees or investors that are weighing the market for these types of properties – even young families are increasingly determined to own a cottage or cabin and are willing to explore options to turn that dream into a reality.

This is primarily a reflection of real estate prices in areas of Canada remaining high, and as a result more of these prospective buyers are looking into unique financing options like fractional ownership in a shared property, purchasing a recreational property with a friend, or even selling their primary residence, downsizing, and putting the differential equity into a cottage or cabin.

Resourceful Millennials

Equally interesting to note is that recreational properties are goal for Millennials too. Yes, the thought of having a getaway isn’t exclusively appealing to the more secure generations, and while these young people may be facing much more in the way of career insecurities and the like they are still being smart and creative about how they can afford a recreational property.

The same Re/Max report pointed out above found 65% of Millennials are interested in purchasing a cottage, cabin, or chalet in the next decade, and 39% would use the property as an investment and list it on rental sites to help pay down the financing. Naturally, their interests are tied to locations that facilitate lifestyle more so than older buyers who are looking more for spots that are scenic and less busy.

For example, young Vancouverites who accept there’s no way they could get themselves a chalet in Whistler may be taking especial note of the upcoming redevelopment of Hemlock Mountain Resort just past Mission, about a 2 hour drive from Vancouver.

Boomers Want to Get Away Too

Not surprisingly, the baby boomer generation is tapping into equity to fund their own recreational property purchases. Large numbers of near-retirees and baby boomers nearing retirement are putting the equity they received from sold homes in cities like Toronto and Vancouver into the purchase of a recreational property. Significant price appreciation (and that may well be putting it mildly) in those regions has made recreational property ownership a relatively affordable option for many retirees. Accordingly, we’re seeing price appreciation in popular recreational property markets such as Whistler in B.C. and Haliburton in Ontario.

The Places to Be

Other hotspots for recreational property purchase in Canada from Coast to Coast include:

  • Tofino and Ucluelet, BC ‘Long Beach’
  • Squamish, BC
  • Whistler, BC
  • Kelowna, BC
  • Shuswap and North Okanagan, BC
  • South Okanagan, BC
  • Canmore, AB
  • West Lakes of Edmonton, AB
  • Sylvan Lake, AB
  • Turtle Lake, SK
  • Qu’Appelle Valley, SK
  • Lake Winnipeg, MB
  • Thunder Bay, ON
  • Manitoulin Island & French River, ON
  • Lake Huron, ON
  • Muskoka & Haliburton, ON
  • Laurentians, QC
  • Charlevoix, QC
  • Shediac, NB
  • North & South Shores, PEI
  • East Coast, NFLD

The priciest of those popular recreational property locations in Canada? Right there at the top of the list, with the median price for a waterfront home in Ucluelet or Tofino being between 580 and 660k. The most inexpensive vacation property in Canada? You’ll find that in Newfoundland’s East Coast, at an average of 175k for a waterfront property that – while much less expensive – is every bit as pleasant and scenic at the much more expensive view of the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the country.

All interesting to note, and particularly so for realtors who want to have their thumb on the pulse of significant changes to the buyer / seller cross-sections of the public. As always, being put in touch with these recreational property buyers and sellers is just an opportunity, and what you do with it is up to you. Signing up with Real Estate Leads here is a solid choice, as you’ll receive qualified online-generated leads delivered exclusively to you and for your specific protected region of the country.

Who knows, from there you might find yourself being the perfect matchmaker between homeowners and their new ‘fun time’ home away from the city. Summertime’s here, and we imagine you know what it’s like to be itching to get out of town. Make it happen!

Housing Craze Spilling Over Into Condo Market in Lotus Land

Published May 10, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_60052898The Foreign Homebuyer’s Tax instituted in BC last year has no doubt cooled housing prices in the city as intended, but it would appear that some of that buyer focus has shifted from detached homes to condominiums. That’s likely both a direct and indirect result, especially considering that while condos have been a nearly as popular choice for buyers looking for an investment property in Metro Vancouver, they’ve also commonly been the standard entry-into-market choice for young professionals and working couples who have yet to start a family.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re eager to continue providing a valuable marketing resource for realtors but we’re also keenly aware of some of the challenges, risks, and – for lack of a better word – general craziness that are marked characteristics in Canada’s big cities at this time.

After a heated four months for condos and townhouse sales, the average sales price for a condo on the west side of Vancouver is now nearly $1 million. Condos have indeed been quicker to recover than single family houses in response to the 15% tax, but of course the trickle down effect is both frustrating many qualified potential buyers as well as forcing other prospective buyers further down the chain.

Recently, realtors have made note of incidences where ‘extreme bidding wars’ that they typically only saw with detached homes are now becoming common for Condos in downtown Vancouver and on the city’s desirable west side. Some condos are selling for in the vicinity of 100k more than listing price, and according to agent Darryl Shaburo of Park Georgia Realty, “what’s quite marked about this trend is that these buyers are quite willing – and able – to compete and continue to outbid their competitors to numbers that most people find quite staggering for 800 to a thousand square feet of real estate.”

April of 2017 saw the average price for a condo in Vancouver west of Commercial Drive rise to $969,579, compared to $572,000 for East of it. What Greater Vancouver’s REB prefers is to use a measurement called benchmark price, which the board says more closely represents a typical housing unit. The April benchmark price for Vancouver West condos would seem to be more relatively indicative at $718,400 and $480,300 for Vancouver East, but agents and insiders say that doesn’t take into account the new phenomenon of ‘super bidding.’

The Concern of House Poverty

Furthering the issue is the fact that demand continues to far outstrip supply, and that is one of the trends in real estate in Vancouver that’s unlikely to change soon, if ever. Shaburo states that market is picking up these days, however, as it “always tends to do during the spring season.”

The greater concern in the big picture, and both for individuals and for the Canadian economy, is that by paying such exorbitant prices for housing – condos and detached homes – they will become what is called ‘house poor’ and be put at significant detriment due to carrying such a large household debt. As this becomes more common, it of course lends itself to premonitions of the ‘housing bubble burst’ that occurred in America in 2008.

We’re a ways from that in our opinion, but there has to be concern here. Both on the national interest level, and in making housing affordable for the people who make cities breathe and not just those who have the finances required to make investment purchases. Balance is essential.

As realtors, we stand to benefit from a profitable housing market, but it must be a healthy housing market as well. Plus, a great many of us actually live in these cities too! You want business to be good, and doing good. In in the interest of the first part of that, we suggest you check out Real Estate Leads and enjoy qualified online-generated seller and buyer leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusive region of any specific locale in Canada

Analyzing The New Nationwide Mortgage Regulations

Published April 19, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_132363975One of the best pieces of advice you can give to help a realtor get more listings is to put in the time and network, network, network. For a prospective homebuyer who needs a mortgage to purchase their first home, one of the best things they can do is familiarize themselves with Canada’s new mortgage regulations and how they’ll affect their purchasing power. So feel free to pass this correspondence along if you know anyone it might benefit.

It was late last year that Canada introduced its new mortgage rules, and the term that was used for them was ‘promoting responsible homeownership’ – which in large part means more of buying a home to live in it rather than as as a speculative investment purchase. So while the changes were geared toward curbing foreign real estate speculation and, to a lesser extent, promoting low loan-to-value mortgages, for the majority of Canadians what matters first and foremost with the new regulations is how it will affect affordability for the average Joe or Jane.

More specifically here to put some parameters on our discussion, let’s say they’re a first-time homebuyer purchasing with less than 20% down. Or what’s called the interest rate stress test.

Let’s also preface somewhat by looking at how the affordability of Homeownership has been helped in recent years by low interest rates and the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages backed by mortgage insurance. What would be the result, however, if those rates jumped as they’ve been known to do? The government’s response to what could potentially be a bubble bursters was to introduce tougher interest rate stress-test criteria in the latter part of 2016, aiming to make perspective homebuyers aware of the potential for a future rise in interest rates.

So if you’re an average homebuyers with the on-paper means to afford a home – but not endlessly deep pockets – what does all this mean for you? The less-than-rosy answer is that you’ll likely have less money to work with. Here’s why.

Taking The Stress Test

Lenders and mortgage insurers will weigh two debt service ratios when qualifying you for a mortgage and mortgage insurance.

-Gross debt service (GDS)
These are the carrying costs of your home, such as mortgage payments, taxes, heating, etc., and how they stand in relation to your income.

-Total debt service (TDS)

The sum of your home carrying costs (mortgage payments, taxes, heating, etc.) plus your debt payments (credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.), with all being measured in relation to your take-home income yearly.

To qualify for mortgage insurance, the highest allowable GDS ratio is 39%. The highest allowable TDS ratio is a little more accommodating, coming in at 44%.

Many prospective buyers will technically at least qualify for a fantastic five-year fixed mortgage rate from your bank (2.94%, for example), but it’s now important to keep in mind that the new rules use the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed mortgage rate (4.64% at the close of 2016, for example) to make a determination on whether you can afford your mortgage payments.

The purpose of this stiffer affordability standard is to serve as a buffer to test whether you could still afford your regular mortgage payments if (and some economists state it’s quite likely) interest rates were to rise dramatically.

Bottom line is, the new rules mean you can afford less house for your income – approximately a 20% to 30% reduction in the mortgage amount most first-time buyers would qualify for.

Best Plan For Prospective Buyers

These new mortgage rules will likely not be reevaluated for many years now. However, many buyers will still be able to work within them. A revision of plans or timelines may be needed, but first-time homebuyers can still get into the real estate market.

Smart prep work in advance of buying your first home will be to lay the groundwork for this responsible homeownership they speak of: start by reducing your consumer debt, saving for a larger down payment (a big one!), and finding a way to boost your overall financial fitness.

Help your clients with their mortgage needs by recommending them to a mortgage broker you trust, and see to it you have more clients to refer in the first place by checking Real Estate Leads Availability here and having qualified online-generated leads in your area provided to you exclusively.

Creating Yourself as a Brand as a Realtor

Published March 27, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Happy realtor woman showing keysHere at Real Estate Leads, we won’t even began to suggest we’re experts on the subject but we do know of a number of tips for getting ahead as a realtor. These days – in the age of digital media – one of them most prominent of them is being able to create yourself and your services as a brand all within itself. Some of you may not know exactly what that entails, so let us explain.

What Exactly is Branding?

To give a definition, branding is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or a service from other products or services. In a nutshell, a brand is what sets us apart from our competition.

That’s exactly it – we want to secure greater numbers of clients, and setting ourselves apart from our competitors in the industry is key to doing that. Clients have choices – plenty of them. Being really good at what you do just isn’t enough. You need to start making yourself recognizable as a distinct choice for them. Different from others. A unique name or catchy slogan won’t come even close to doing that on their own.

Every part of your marketing collaterals need to be geared towards creating a greater ‘whole’ – if you will – that’s regarded by prospective clients as a brand.

What Makes Up a Brand?

There is the “look of a brand” or the visual components. This can include logos and colours that you use on your website, specific repeated images, communication language choices, etc.

To use a very well known example, think about Apple. The distinctive logo, the “i” precursor in the titling of its products, etc. You associate a quality personal computing product when you see them, right?

When done properly, your brand will tell your customers exactly who you are and what they can expect when they use your company.

Creating your brand involves online and offline strategies, and that probably comes as no surprise. Your brand might begin with your website. Give some thought to the following; when someone goes to your website from one of your promotions, what do they see? Do they see the same logo? Do they feel like your website is an extension of your personal brand that you have built? If you can’t say ‘yes’ to that definitively, you either may not have much of a brand for yourself, or your brand is a work in progress.

That’s perfectly fine, and it’s not like this has been a staple process for realtors for decades. We’re still adjusting to the information age.

Getting Started

You want to create a ‘total’ brand. That’s the sum of two parts; the first being your companies brand (likely already well established if you’re part of a major brokerage) and the second being your personal brand (which again, is perfectly natural to be lacking at this point) The first step here – again considering we’re in the 21st century – should be a no-brainer. Secure a domain name that is immediately associated with ‘you’ as a realtor. And yes, that’s your name!

If you don’t already own your “name domain” you should get that as soon as possible. So if your name is Ron Donaldson you will ideally acquire the domain Don’t delay in making the inquiry with a reputable web hosting provider asking if that domain name is available

Next up is a sharp, distinctive logo that speaks to who you are – both as an individual and a professional. Don’t hesitate to hire a creative designer who can coax ideas out of you if you’re at a loss for them yourself. You can get a simple logo on for just $5 bucks or if you want to spend a little more you can check out companies like

On to your tagline, or slogan as it’s also called. It should tell everyone what you do, but not be so plain and obvious as ‘I sell homes.’ Try to be creative, and again it’s vastly preferable to hire a communications pro rather than settle on something you came up with yourself if you’re really not sure about it.

Just do a little brainstorming to come up with your own tagline. This is just one more way your customers can remember you.

Consistency is Key

Before you begin this whole process of building your brand, you want to spend some time thinking about the big picture. Everything that is used in your business should contain the same branding. The same logo, colours, and tagline should be incorporated uniformly with all of your printed materials – letterhead, newsletters and business cards, all pieces of marketing collateral. The look and message of your website should be consistent with this too. If you buy company apparel you will want those to be the same too.

Your brand should embody your values, your ethics and your way of doing business, along with a healthy bit of who you are ALL the time, not just when you’re working as a real estate professional. The brand that you create is how you want people to think about you. Just remember that if you aren’t able to deliver what your brand promises or what it stands for, then a nice logo and some cool colours won’t make up for that.

We’ve just scratched the surface of what brand building for realtors entails here, but there’s a wealth of information out there for you and we’re happy to introduce you to the idea if it’s something that’s unfamiliar for you. Advancing your real estate career is going to be a priority for all of you, and it’s a great idea to sign up with Real Estate Leads here for qualified buyer and seller real estate leads delivered to you each month for your (and yours alone) territory in Canada.

Quarter-Mark Stats & Trends

Published March 22, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

AdobeStock_83998665Here we are almost at the quarter mark for the year, and here at Real Estate Leads we like to discuss the state of the markets from coast to coast, in addition to providing a valuable online resource for real estate agents.

Vancouver and Toronto continued to see significant price appreciation in the first quarter of the year. In keeping with that, the average residential sale price of a Vancouver home in the first quarter of 2016 – compared with the same period for 2015 – rose 24%, while single-family homes in the city of Vancouver were selling for upwards of $2 million on average. In the Greater Toronto Area, the average residential sale price during the first quarter rose to $675,492, up 14%.

Inventory continues to see reductions in both cities. Competition among buyers has discouraged sellers from listing their properties, and while sellers know their homes would be quick to sell there are conversely many who are reluctant to become buyers themselves and enter what continues to be a highly competitive market. In addition, some potential sellers are hesitant to list their homes, buoyed by a belief that home prices could appreciate further.

Nest Eggs

Keep in mind as well that many Canadians are relying on their homes as a source of retirement income. They will move cautiously accordingly. According to a recent RE/MAX poll conducted by Leger, 56% of Canadians aged 55-64 who are considering selling their homes will be selling to release equity for retirement. Outside of Vancouver and Toronto, surrounding regions continue to experience a ‘spillover’ effect. This means buyers are moving farther out in search of affordable single-family homes. This has led to significant price appreciation in regions such as Victoria (+10%), Hamilton-Burlington (+10%) and Barrie (+14%). The population growth in these regions – in large part driven by housing demand – is providing a related boost to local economies as restaurants, shops and services expand.

In Flux

Some Canadian cities have experienced an economic slowdown due to the significant drop in the price of oil, and for these cities there are a pair of factors that have been mitigating the short-term economic effects. Take Calgary for example. It has a diversified economy after years of population growth, while Edmonton and St. John’s are benefiting from numerous capital projects in the region including infrastructure investments and continued investments from the oil industry.

Conversely, other areas of the country have benefited from the return of workers who had moved away to pursue employment opportunities in the West. Regions that for years experienced an exodus of their young working population as they headed to Alberta have started to see that trend reverse. In Atlantic Canada, young people from outside the urban centres who would have moved west several years ago are now going to cities such as Halifax. It’s having a positive effect on those economies.

This trend is notable in Southern Ontario, where manufacturing cities are offering greater numbers of employment opportunities as a result of the low Canadian dollar. Windsor previously had one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada, but it is now trending below the national average. It’s expected that this trend will continue for smaller cities in Southern Ontario, and that’s good news for the regions.

In Canadian housing markets where prices have softened, construction has also slowed to align with decreased demand. This is expected to stabilize prices as population growth catches up to inventory levels. When you consider that Canada is on track to welcome approximately 300,000 new permanent residents this year – the highest number since 1913 – that trend is particularly noteworthy with everything it connotes for certain cities.

We’re eager to see what the next quarter-year has in store for us, and as things look up it means even more in the ways of opportunities for realtors to find new clients. Sign up here for Real Estate Leads and have qualified buyer and seller leads provided to you every month.

Tips for Even More Success with Open Houses

Published March 14, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Open House signIf you’re a successful Real Estate Agent, chances are you spend nearly every Saturday and Sunday holding Open Houses. And while that keeps you very busy on the weekends – truth is, you wouldn’t have it any other way! These events are an integral part of the selling process for homes, and prospective buyers obviously put a lot of value in their ‘walk through.’

We imagine you hold great open houses, and that a good many of them lead directly to you matching the right buyer with your seller. But there’s always room for improvement isn’t there? Here at Real Estate Leads we’re all about advice for real estate agents, so here’s 10 tips for making your Open Houses even better.

  1. Advertise online: This is a no-brainer these days of course, but advertise online with an aim to STAND OUT from all the listings in the neighbourhood. Write colourful, descriptive ads and place them in web classifieds or open house directories, too. Post Internet listings everywhere.
  1. Map your open house signs: Find the busiest intersection closest to your home and put an open house sign at that corner, with arrows pointing buyers in the right direction. Repeat them every few blocks until you end up at your house, and don’t be afraid to jazz them up so that they’re remarkable. It helps!
  1. Remove all vehicles from the driveway: A clear and unobstructed view from the street is preferable. If you feel comfortable, ask the neighbours to help out by not parking in front of your listing.
  1. Let in the Light!: Open all the drapes, blinds and window coverings –– natural lighting does wonders for the real ambiance of a home shining through. This is true even if it’s not sunny outdoors.
  1. Serve beverages and refreshments.
  1. Do NOT use air fresheners of any sort: Many people are allergic to synthetic odours.
  1. Illuminate!: Turn on every light in the house, except lights that produce noise such as exhaust fans without separate on / off switches.
  1. Soft, pleasant music: If possible, play it at an appropriate level on each floor to help set a mood.
  1. Have good looking print collaterals for buyers: 4r-colour flyers filled with quality photos and attractive points for the property should be available for all buyers, even if more arrive than expected.
  1. Do the same for materials with financing options so buyers can make estimations regarding financing and long-term affordability.

Being upbeat, cheery and greeting each buyer who enters the home is also highly advisable. Try to prioritize your movements around the home and similarly try to be engaged with all guests in a timely manner. Find out what the buyers are looking for and, if possible, show them why your home fits those requirements.

And last but not least, ask for feedback. Ask each buyer what they thought of your home and would they consider buying it. Agents and sellers can be hesitant to ask for a buyer’s opinion, but just put your apprehensions away and ask. It’s the only way you’re going to get a direct answer, and the answer just might surprise you and help you make more informed choices.

All the best in your ventures this week, and we always welcome feedback here. Sign up with Real Estate Leads to receive qualified monthly leads provided to you exclusively as the only realtor assigned to a specific area of the country. It’s a big plus and definitely worth the investment!

Location, Location, Location: Drone Video Footage for the Biggest Picture

Published March 9, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

drone flying over prairie landscapeNot only will every real estate agent be familiar with the ‘location, location, location’ adage, but we imagine nearly every one of them will also agree with it. The home itself is one thing, but where it stands and all that’s around it is just as much – if not more – of the equation. As always, we’re very happy to discuss tips and strategies for real estate agents in Canada. Here’s one that’s not only super effective, but also involves some good old fashioned fun as well!

Realtors in generations past would take plenty of photos of a listed home’s nearby features and the neighbourhood as a whole, but they wouldn’t have the time or inclination to take shots beyond say a half-kilometre beyond the property. And all of those photos were taken from eye-level, unless of course you had one that was inclined to climb trees!

Enter the Drones

All of this has now changed with the introduction and increasingly common use of drones these days. Many models have an integrated video camera that can be remotely activated from the controls and uploading the video to your smartphone, notebook, tablet, or desktop is easy. The appeal this will have with both real estate agents and selling homeowners (including FSBOs) is easy to understand. Now you’ll have photos and videos of the home from the standard perspective AND a really appealing and informative view of the large neighbourhood and even the city or town itself.

Cameras that feature a wide-angle lens with panorama view option are preferable, as is 1080p video resolution for obvious reasons. Choose a sunny day and get your drone up high and video rolling! Flying drones is surprisingly easy, and it’s been reported that the average user is ‘fully proficient’ with operation of the drone within 30 minutes. It’s definitely not a difficult task, and the higher-end models are surprisingly stable in the air and easy to lift off / land.

A Surprisingly Versatile Marketing Tool

Video footage generated from a drone can also be utilized for more specific purposes, and shared in formats outside of the standard uploading method. For instance, drones are excellent for providing an up-close analysis of the condition of a home’s roof or chimney. And higher-end drones will allow you to stream live, either on their own or via your mobile internet device of choice.

The newest drones have built-in redundancy. If an operator lets go of the controls, it simply hovers in place. In addition, standard prices for high-quality drones are expected to drop to as little as $500, though drones with higher-end features, including gyro-stabilized platforms, which help steady the video images, will still run in the vicinity of $1,000 to $1,200. The smaller gyro-stabilized drones, with the rotors shut off, can also be handheld and walked inside a home to provide steadier images during a video walk-through.

Have you already got on board with drones as part of your marketing efforts, or are you considering purchasing one and doing so? We’d love to hear about your experiences with them, and – as always – the more listings you have to try out your new toy video recording them from on high, the better. So sign up with Real Estate Leads right here and get a big online boost to your lead generation efforts today!

The ‘Monitoring Dashboard’ – What is It, and What’s it Saying about Real Estate in Canada?

Published February 27, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Needless to say, all of the major financial institutions have a vested interest in the state and well being of the Canadian Real Estate Market. As an agent, you’re always looking for resources for realtors and it’ll likely be good to know how the big banks employ the Monitoring Dashboard for real estate market conditions in Canada.

The Monitoring Dashboard has 10 separate individual categories, and to each of them one of three colour-coded statuses will be applied at any time.

The 10 categories are:

  1. Affordability
  2. Resale Market Balance
  3. Rental Market Balance
  4. Interest Rates
  5. Labour Market
  6. Demographics
  7. New Home Inventory – Singles
  8. New Home Inventory – Multiples
  9. Homes Under Construction – Singles
  10. Homes Under Construction – Multiples

And the statuses are:

  • Red – ‘significantly outside historical norms and posing a higher risk than usual’
  • Yellow – ‘modestly outside historical norms and posing a moderately higher risk than usual’
  • Green – Within historical norms and not seen to be creating any immediate risk

These findings are generated from the Canadian Housing Health Check Report, which is compiled by the Royal Bank of Canada. It provides solid insights into the overall Canadian housing market and the contrasting regional risk profiles and trends.

So what’s the Monitoring Dashboard saying for 2017?



Reds for affordability and HUC multiples indicate what is called ‘overheating.’ Home prices in the city are becoming increasingly unaffordable, and a downturn in the building of multiple-unit housing developments compounds the issue. Also relevant to this trend is the city’s seeming unwillingness to consider a foreign-buyer tax like the one Vancouver has put into place.


Vancouver sees the same reds, but one more in demographics as well with the fact the city is bulging at the seems and struggling to accommodate the rate of population growth it’s seeing.

Home prices in Vancouver have been falling in recent months, with the average price dropping 3.1 per cent as of the end of last year. Vancouver does have “solid economic underpinnings,” though and the market appears to be adjusting in an orderly fashion with the aforementioned foreign-buyer levy.


Alberta’s capital would seem to have the greatest cause for concern according to the Dashboard, with reds for rental market balance, labour market, demographics, and new home inventory for multiples.

Increasing numbers of condos and rental units are sitting empty in Calgary, due to job losses that are in large part an outcome from the lower price of oil – a resource that’s a major contributor to Alberta’s economy. Accordingly, the market here is most at risk of any big city in Canada. Recent drops in condo construction and a slightly improving trend for home resales have been positive developments however, suggesting that risks might ease in the period ahead.

Here’s to hoping things look up all across the board with real estate in Canada, and to that end you should make sure you’re exploring every avenue to increase your business leads. Sign up with Real Estate Leads and receive qualified buyer and selling leads that are yours exclusively for your protected region of the country. Proven effective!

To Be A FSBO… Or Not

Published February 4, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

We’ll start this week’s post by explaining that we’re well aware that this is a real estate topics blog and that the majority of our readership will be real estate professionals who’ll be well aware of what exactly ‘FSBO’ means. We’re going to take a quick moment though, to explain this wacky acronym to anyone who’s not so familiar with it.

For Sale By OwnerFSBO (fizz-bo) stands for For Sale By Owner, and it’s a term used to describe a homeowner who’s made the decision to list and sell their home on their own, without the assistance of a realtor. Now we’re similarly aware that the same majority of you will obviously recommend against such a practice with vehemence, but let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to being a FSBO. After all, being a well-informed realtor who can offer perspectives without bias or prejudice reflects very well upon you and it’s good to be able to appraise prospective clients of both sides of the coin, no matter how it may end up.


  1. Avoiding Commission

This one’s simple to understand from the seller’s perspective, as much as it’s in contradiction to your interests as a listing agent. On average, they’ll pay about 6% to sell their home—split evenly between you and the buyer’s agent. They should factor in the realtor’s commission when determining the asking price for their property. Their decided-upon sale price should be enough to pay off the remaining mortgage balance on the property, plus pay the commission. If that calculation leaves a little bit to be desired, this is one reason they might consider becoming a FSBO.

  1. There are Plenty of Selling Resources These Days

The days of creating your own yard sign and then putting an ad in the local newspaper’s classified section are long gone. Now there are an array of resources available to help you sell a home. These included locale-specific real estate purchase agreements that can be found online, and local title companies or a real estate attorney can help with the legalities and answer questions – often online as well if you can’t contact them in person or by another means. This is huge for folks in more rural areas. Perhaps more important though are the excellent resources available on the web for advertising your property. You can include photos of your house, as well as detailed information about the property, including the number of bedrooms, upgrades, square footage and other features. The Internet is pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen to FSBOs!

  1. Sense of Accomplishment

This one doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. If you’re the type who likes doing all manner of things yourself, and saving money accordingly – you’d probably make a great and determined FSBO.


  1. Lack of Access to MLS (Multiple Listings Service)

This is definitely drawback numero uno when it comes to choosing to go FSBO as compared to working with a real estate agent. Working within a city or town’s MLS is restricted to participating (and paying) realtors exclusively, and having a home for sale featured in the MLS is of paramount effectiveness in putting the home in front of the largest number of buyers and the realtors they’re working with. It’s pretty much the bible in this regard, and selling your home without having it featured there puts you at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to exposure and finding the ‘right’ types of prospective buyers – no doubt about it.

  1. Lack of an Industry-Professionals Advice Regarding Pricing, Etc.

A qualified and experienced realtor is often invaluable with the way he or she understands the value of a home in the bigger context of the ever-changing housing market in any specific locale. You may think your home is worth X-amount – and you may have some very solid reference points in coming up with that number – but it may simply not be a realistic asking price given the conditions of the market and any of the other factors that can come into play. The majority of which are beyond the scope of understanding for anyone other than a professional realtor.

Pricing yourself realistically but fairly goes a long way in having you sell the home within the timeline you envision, and FSBOs often struggle right out of the gate this way.

  1. Being Overwhelmed / Intimidated with Requisite Paperwork

There’s a LOT of paperwork involved in selling or buying a home, and often more than the average person could ever imagine possible. Without having a realtor who’s gone through these documents many times previously on your side, you may well find yourself moving along at a snail’s pace, and becoming immensely frustrated accordingly.

  1. You Alone are the Open House Coordinator

This one’s also fairly self-explanatory. Prospective buyers will always want to tour homes they’re considering buying, and if you choose not to work with a realtor you’re very much on your own when it comes to scheduling, staging, promoting and so on and so forth. An agent can filter calls and inquiries from other real estate agents and coordinate open houses and showings for your property, so you can go about your everyday life and not have to concern yourself with it – and it always involves a LOT of concerns. And last but not least, a realtor can speak of your home and it’s attractive features and amenities in a smooth, convincing manner in a way you simply can’t. It’s a developed skill.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we provide realtors with qualified leads generated online and exclusive to them and their region in Canada. We also like to talk about trends in real estate, and if you’ve got anything to add to this post or any other we’d like to hear what you’ve got to say!

Toronto sales on the Up & Up after BC’s implementation of Foreign Buyer tax.

Published September 19, 2016 by Real Estate Leads


A sales migration after-effect of BC’s new land transfer tax is already being seen in the numbers. Toronto Home sales apparently are soaring in wake of B.C.’s unruly “Foreign Buyer Tax”.

The Toronto area’s real estate industry agencies are reporting new month of August records for home sales together with a 17.2% increase in the average sale price. Toronto agents racked up a record setting 9,813 sales this past August 2016; 23.5% more than in August 2015. The only other factor was that last month’s volume was assisted by two additional working days.

The average price for Toronto homes that sold, for all variations of property details, was $710,440. The average price for “detached homes” in the city of Toronto itself went up 18.3% from a year ago to per cent to $1,200,000.

Industry observers in BC have previously voiced concerns that Vancouver’s new 15% tax on foreign buyers would send investors to Toronto and also perhaps secondly Montreal – driving up prices in Toronto’s market, which is already molten lava hot.

Comparatively, homes sales in Vancouver fell 26% in August from a year ago. The introduction of the tax was implemented on Aug. 2, so the tide obviously shifted fast.

Despite the unruly new tax legislation, and its’ still hidden loopholes, prices in Vancouver have continued to rise despite the drop in the number of sales. The benchmark price for all Vancouver residential properties rose 34% from a year ago to $933K.

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