Throwback Thursday: Home Ownership Matters

Home Ownership Matters to people, to communities and to Ontario

It has been almost five years since OREA launched its very successful “Home Ownership Matters” campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to promote greater support for affordable home ownership to candidates, political parties and key decision makers.

Thanks to OREA’s public relations and adverting efforts, our message was picked up by major news outlets and more importantly, by key decision makers. Thanks to the “Home Ownership Matters” campaign, all major Ontario political parties included home ownership and housing friendly policies in their election platforms.

The message of affordable housing continues to resonate today and OREA continues to communicate this important message to government.

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Throwback Thursday: Home Ownership Matters

Real estate: More than just sales

Members of the public seem to think that all I do is sell houses. While that is part of my work, the amount of time I spend selling represents just 20 per cent of my job activities.

The role of the REALTOR®, in my view, is not so much a salesperson but more of a consultant – a good Realtor consults with his or her clients, guides them, and helps them to arrive at sound decisions. This consulting role is crucial because the stakes are high – the client is buying or selling a home, one of their biggest financial investments ever.

As a consultant, a good Realtor explains all of the pros and cons of a property or process to the clients and helps them to understand the true value of a property.

When I’m not consulting, the rest of my time is devoted to many other aspects of the job that consumers may not see or understand, but which are equally important in meeting the needs of my clients. Research occupies 35 per cent of my time, while prospecting takes another 35 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent of my time is spent on administrative tasks and duties.

Whereas a retail salesman is all about unloading a product, real estate sales is a different beast. Our focus must be on striving to promote and protect our clients’ best interests. This is a crucial distinction. I have no interest in selling the wrong product to the wrong person at the wrong price.

Many people seem to believe that ours is a simple job. They think we just fill out a listing agreement, plunk a sign on the lawn, and the property sells. That is far from the whole picture. A great deal of research is involved, and although we might make it look easy, people don’t always understand what went on in the preparation stage.


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Research is essential to success in this business, and it’s the part that the public does not always see because it happens on our own time, behind the scenes. When working with a buyer, a Realtor must thoroughly investigate an area and various properties, among other things. When working with a seller, we must develop a marketing strategy and come up with a price for a given property based on our research. Wide exposure of a property through various channels is the right approach to selling a home and does the best for the sellers.

All of this research is important and time consuming, but it is time well spent since it helps us serve our clients. Information about a property, its current or future zoning, possible changes to pertinent bylaws, material facts, defects and valuation are just some examples of details that must be researched in depth and verified.

A good Realtor is straightforward and tells it like it is to the clients, even when it may not be what they want to hear. It is hard to tell a seller that their expectation about the selling price of their home is unrealistically high, but it is important to bring reality to the discussion. It can also be difficult to deal with clients who dictate to you or expect you to be at their beck and call — available at all hours of day or night. Sometimes our job is about managing expectations.

I was once showing properties to a new buyer client. He liked one place and insisted on submitting an offer that was 20 per cent less than the asking price, despite my advice to the contrary. Obviously, we lost the bid.

After that, I sat down with him and politely explained how the process works, but I did not sugar-coat my words. I advised him that it’s my role to assess whether a property is priced fairly and then to collaborate with him so he can make an informed decision about whether to bid. I told him that I would help him submit a fair offer on a property he likes.

This frank discussion improved our professional relationship. He came away with a greater respect for my effort and ability. We resumed our search, but because we were now working within a more realistic budget, he ended up purchasing a property that was outside of his initial search area. In the end, however, he was happy with what he got and had a better understanding of how to meet the challenges a buyer can face.

The right approach, in my view, is always to try to present the facts as I see them and to give the client information based on my best estimates, backed by substantial research. Doing this, and providing statistics and background evidence for those numbers, saves my time and that of my clients.

Telling clients what we think they want to hear is a mistake we may be tempted to make, but in the end it causes more damage to the process and perhaps to the industry. In fact, it may cause clients to think I am a slick salesman rather than a Realtor.

 

 

Ravi Minhas is a Caledon REALTOR® and has been a member of the Toronto Real Estate Board for eight years. She serves as a volunteer on the Marketing & Communication Committee at the Ontario Real Estate Association.

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Real estate: More than just sales

Merle Haggard and Prince

So, do you want to be a vanilla volunteer leader/president and just keep things on an even keel and not rock the boat?

Hey, the market is good and if it ain’t broke why fix it?

We’ve lost 2 great music icons within a week – country legend Merle Haggard and rock/pop/funk/blues artist Prince.

If they would have have played it safe you wouldn’t even recognize their names. But they pushed the envelope and took risks
(and took a beating while they did it ) but they’ll be remembered for generations.

Is there an important issue your board wants to move forward? Is there a legacy member service that needs to be torn apart? Are there elephants in the room that need to be discussed?

Stand out and be brave to make a difference in your volunteer leadership role. Don’t stand for the status quo.

Push the envelope and be an Okie from Muskokee and embrace Purple Rain. How many times in life are we in a leadership role and can make a real difference?

What are they going to do – cut your salary? You’re doing it for free!

Embrace change and be a rebel.

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Merle Haggard and Prince

Modernize the Ontario Land Transfer Rebate

For many first-time buyers in Ontario, saving for a down payment is among the biggest obstacles to home ownership. The provincial land transfer tax (LTT) and other closing costs reduce the size of a buyer’s down payment, making it more difficult to enter the market.

Currently, first-time buyers are eligible for a maximum LTT rebate of up to $2,000. However, as home prices have increased, the rebate’s effectiveness has eroded over time.

In 1996, when the LTT rebate was introduced, Ontario’s first-time buyers paid $0 on the average priced home. The rationale behind the LTT rebate was to exempt first-time buyers in order to help them enter the market. Today, first-time buyers are paying nearly $4,000 in LTTs on an average priced home, after applying the rebate.

To improve the affordability of home ownership, the government should modernize the LTT rebate for first-time buyers. OREA is currently researching this important issue and will be making recommendations to the government in the very near future.

Original article – 

Modernize the Ontario Land Transfer Rebate

Education Begins With A Needs Analysis

All education must begin with a needs analysis. We must deliver what the students need to perform and apply the requisite knowledge and skills in an ethical and professional manner. Adult education is not intended to correct shortages in motivation, remedy personal inadequacies, or alter deficient value systems. These are the purview of Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, and even the Jerry Springer of this world—entertainment, assuredly, but not education.

“Under promise and over deliver” is a conservative, self-rationalization for getting by and avoiding creativity. Although the tenet may have merit in some aspects of life, it is anathema when it comes to modern instructional and curriculum design.  Here we need to get rid of the ‘box’, not just think outside of it.

In education, let’s not dwell on constraints. Let’s focus on what is it learners need to know and imagine the most creative design for achieving that end. We can always temper our creation later with discussions of budget and available resources. After paring down (using the KISS process) is complete, our objective and anticipated learning should remain intact. Probably the most important thread to weave in this entire exercise is to make the content realistic so students grasp how the content relates to their out-of-class behaviour and performance.

In curriculum creation, content rules. Content is merely a grouping of a multiplicity of tasks. Each task must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-sensitive (SMART). As for the facilitator, ensure that you deploy instructional techniques that lead to practical, informative, learning by ‘doing’, student-centric educational experiences.

 

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Education Begins With A Needs Analysis

OREA’s Forms Guru Shares the Latest on Form #801, E-Signatures and Operating with Integrity 

This past fall it was my pleasure to participate in OREA’s EMERGE event tour to speak with REALTORS® about varied Standard Forms Updates, including Form #801, E-signatures and adding integrity to trading activity using Standard Forms & Clauses. Form #801 has garnered a lot of discussion and controversy. Members need to know about regulatory changes which can translate into essential changes in real estate activity, including the two regulatory changes resulting in the creation of Form #801: 

To not represent to anyone that an offer exists unless that offer is in writing; and
To retain a copy of all written offers or a summary document (such as Form #801) of all written offers.

Technology and e-signatures are now an integral part of the real estate landscape in Ontario. So OREA invited industry experts to EMERGE to talk about the benefits of this technology and what REALTORS® need to consider when they are choosing between the many options available. In my presentation, the minimum requirements according to the Electronic Commerce Act were discussed for members to keep in mind when choosing an e-signature provider. 

In this video you’ll get answers to many common questions about Form #801, e-signatures and integrity using forms. But don’t stop there – every month OREA will be releasing a new video featuring one of our EMERGE speakers. If you haven’t checked it out yet, last month’s video features Andrew Fogliatio discussing online lead funnels. Next month you’ll get to see the highlights from the consumer panel, which was by far the most talked about part of EMERGE. 

If you like what you see, be sure to attend this year’s EMERGE conference, running in six areas of the province between September 22 and November 17. The live events feature business ideas and technology tips from top experts in the field not available anywhere else. This is one of those memorable conferences with real benefits for your real estate business that you won’t want to miss.   

OREA members will receive further information about this year’s line up of speakers as well as how to register as it becomes available. In the mean time, check out our EMERGE landing page for key dates and more content from last year. On behalf of the team at OREA, we look forward to seeing you there! 

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OREA’s Forms Guru Shares the Latest on Form #801, E-Signatures and Operating with Integrity 

Sorry, your name again?

I’m pretty bad at remembering names. In fact, it’s a running joke here at OREA. It’s not that I don’t try, I just go blank when it comes to names. As leaders and professionals, however, the skill of remembering names is important and worth improving.

In order to get better at remembering names, I looked to the experts. The techniques I found are pretty consistent from expert to expert. I wanted to share the top ones with you here, on the off chance that this is a challenge for you as well.

Care to remember – The most important step is to make a conscious decision to remember names because you care about the people you meet. Remembering names shows people that they matter. This alone can have a huge impact as you put more effort into remembering.

Repeat – Use the person’s name soon after hearing it. “Where do you work, Sean?”, or “What attracted you to this seminar, Joan?”. Don’t over use it, but restating it a few times in the conversation will help to cement it in your memory.

Associate – This is the one technique that I struggle with the most. We’ve all heard people suggest that you associate someone’s name with something else, such as some feature of their face, or something that rhymes with their name. My problem is that I’m focusing on that rather than listening to the person, and I end up making a poor first impression. People who use this technique, however, often say it works very well.

Spell it – If someone has even a slightly unusual name, or one that can be spelled in different ways, ask the person to spell it. You might choose to write it down if appropriate. Spelling a name is another way to cement it into your memory. Of course, getting a business card allows you to make a few notes about the person.

Speak up – Sometimes you might want to just admit you’ve forgotten and ask for the person’s name. It’s really not that big of a deal. People will most likely understand, after all they may have forgotten your name as well! It’s much better to ask someone to repeat their name than it is to risk losing a good connection.

Link – 

Sorry, your name again?

Happy National Volunteer Week

OREA’s volunteers play a significant role in the success of our association and industry through their dedication, expertise and leadership. Our MLTT campaign last year is a good example of how our 64,000 members and committed volunteers can mobilize and impact policy decisions in Ontario.

Across the province, volunteer leaders serving as PAC chairs and government relations committee members dedicate countless hours to building strong relationships with our communities and elected officials to contribute positively to our province.

On behalf of the GR team, we’d like to thank all our volunteers across Ontario.

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Happy National Volunteer Week

Featured Alumnus: Jen Alvarenga

Jen Alvarenga’s first foray into real estate occurred when she was attending Carleton University, in Ottawa, as an international student from Honduras. Instead of buying a car with the money her father had given her, she decided to buy a condo. It was 2005 and she hasn’t looked back since. And, along the way, she was fortunate to have several mentors who guided her career.

To learn a little bit more about Jen’s first purchase and her mentors, we invite you to join to the College Alumni Program. Jen is this month’s featured alumnus.

The alumni program has a dedicated, members-only website that includes features:

•  discussion boards; most recent discussion board is Share your top 3 open house tips

•  links to real-estate specific media

•  online members’ directory

•  free audio podcasts; most recent topics include—Being Responsible for Your Success, Choosing the ‘Right’ Brokerage, and How to Build a Successful Real Estate Team

•  factsheets on select topics (e.g., what to include in a listing presentation, successful negotiation tips, and top 10 reasons consumers should hire a REALTOR®)

The website also features networking events where members can reconnect with old classmates and instructors, and meet new colleagues. The next event is on May 18, 2016.

To join the Alumni Program, go to http://bit.ly/1IryRuO. Please note: you must be a graduate of OREA Real Estate College and a member of OREA to join.

 

 

This article – 

Featured Alumnus: Jen Alvarenga

Let’s negotiate: Ability to reach agreement vital

 

If you lack negotiation skills, you won’t be able to put together a deal for your clients or keep your business afloat. Negotiating skills are crucial in real estate and, luckily, they can be learned on the job and improved throughout your career.

The REALTOR® Edge newsletter spoke with two Ontario REALTORS® and a negotiating expert to gain insights into how to succeed in negotiations.

Sharon Shortt of Belleville sold more than 1,000 homes during her 25-year sales career. Now a broker of record, she says she understood that her role in the negotiation process was that of a mediator between buyers and sellers.

“Although I am representing my client, if a deal can be negotiated that leaves both the buyer and the seller happy with the result, then we have a successful transaction, and ultimately everyone wins,” says Shortt.

“As REALTORS® we strive to serve the best interests of our clients, but it’s rare for both sides to get every single thing they originally wanted in a real estate transaction. All of us want to serve our clients, but the overall goal is for both buyer and seller to be happy with the result in the end.”

“The goal was for both buyer and seller to be happy with the result, even if they didn’t end up with every term that they originally wanted,” says Shortt.

There is usually something that needs to be negotiated from an original offer, Shortt notes, whether it is the closing date, price change, chattels such as appliances, or numerous other items. Sentimental items can also be a sticking point in negotiations, such as a tree planted by owners when their daughter was born that they wish to take with them. She has seen offers go back and forth as many as eight times, which isn’t that uncommon, she says.

“The challenging points are always the situations you least expect,” she adds. “Sometimes you can work them out, and sometimes you can’t.”

Negotiations can be very difficult, says Shortt, but she considered the challenge as “the very nature of the business — every Realtor has experience with negotiating.”


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When the words “tough negotiations” came up in conversation, she thinks back to the pricing negotiations she undertook a number of years ago for a chain of sales where the last buyer made an offer conditional upon the sale of his home, and the offer was accepted. “Unfortunately, as time passed, it became apparent that this buyer wasn’t going to be offered the price he needed for his own property to buy the other. We had to go back and renegotiate the sale price on each of the three properties involved in the chain,” says Shortt. “It was a lot of work to get everyone to agree, but in the end, the transactions all closed successfully.”

Chattels can be a huge stumbling block in the negotiating process, says Michael Gibbons, a Chatham Realtor who turned to real estate six years ago after a 20-year career in retail. He recalls a transaction when ownership of the washer and dryer was a heated point of dispute among the two parties. The laundry room had been custom built with a unique setup and the appliances fit perfectly.

“The washer and dryer were taken out and put back into the offer about four times,” Gibbons says. “It was a big sticking point and both sides were really hung up about it. The fate of these appliances probably added three extra days to the negotiations.”

A creative solution was eventually proposed by Gibbons: he offered to give the buyers his own washer and dryer, which were the same size and would also fit the space perfectly. “From a real estate perspective, it worked out well, but my wife wasn’t happy,” laughs Gibbons. “Sometimes in the heat of negotiations, you have to make quick decisions. In retrospect, I probably should have discussed the idea with my wife beforehand, but fortunately everything worked out in the end.”

“The job for a skilled negotiator is to build enough trust to uncover what’s really important to everyone”

Buyers and sellers sometimes let their emotions take over, which can hobble the negotiating process, he adds. Often, emotion overshadows the professional advice the client receives from the Realtor.

“How important is that chandelier?” Gibbons asked rhetorically. “Emotion always seems to make the value of the items under negotiation worth more.”

When clients dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate, Gibbons often takes them back to the questions he asked during the qualifying process so they remember the bigger picture. He asks them to once again consider carefully what they need and want, and whether the property in question fulfils their requirements.

“In those cases, I know that it meets their needs because they’ve made an offer, so I remind them they might be upset later to lose a property they love because of a disagreement over vertical blinds,” he says.

“Negotiation is where Realtors can bring real value to a transaction,” says Suze Cumming, who sold real estate in Toronto for 25 years prior to opening the Canadian branch of the Negotiation Institute. She now coaches Realtors across the country on negotiating successfully. Cumming believes in a collaborative win-win approach, but says Realtors also need access to competitive tactics to be successful.

People are the complicating factor in any negotiation, says Cumming. “Real estate transactions are unique because there’s so much emotion involved,” she says. “If people don’t feel heard and understood, the negotiation process will be far more challenging.”

When clients dig in their heels on a given point, Cumming examines the stand the clients are taking, tries to understand their area of concern and probes further to discover what’s motivating their behaviour.

“The job for a skilled negotiator is to build enough trust to uncover what’s really important to everyone, and to make sure everyone’s needs are met.”

She recalls a situation when her buyers were among 10 bidders competing for a property they really wanted, but they were unwilling to “grossly overpay”. Cumming learned that the seller had his eye on another property. She advised her clients to submit an offer contingent upon the seller’s ability to purchase the house he wanted. He accepted their offer, even though it was lower than some of the other bids, because that offer took his own needs into account.

“That’s win-win collaborative deal-making,” Cumming says. “The offer put the buyers in a good position because it met everyone’s needs and the seller looked favourably on them.”

“Negotiation skills matter more than any other skills for Realtors because they create better experiences and outcomes for the clients.”

Negotiating Tips from the Three Sources Quoted Above:

Don’t be afraid to ask; the worst the other party can do is say no.
Make sure all agreements are written into the offer and the APS.
Negotiating is a learning process; if you make an error, learn for next time.
Become flawless in the essentials of real estate: legal issues, ethical issues, financial issues and negotiation.
Remember that clients, unlike Realtors, don’t negotiate daily. Don’t press them. Most people are reasonable if they are given enough time to think things through.
Share all relevant information with your clients so they can make good decisions.

Story by Elaine Smith

Sources: Suze Cumming, Michael Gibbons, Sharron Shortt

Editor’s Note: Suze Cumming teaches courses on negotiation in real estate across the country. Her course to become a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®1 designation) is being offered in May in Toronto at REALTOR® Quest, Canada’s largest REALTOR® trade show and conference. For details, visit www.thenatureofrealestate.com/negotiation or www.realtor-quest.ca.

Editorial Policy: The REALTOR® EDGE newsletter is produced 11 times a year by the Ontario Real Estate Association. The newsletter aims to provide practical and useful news and information about the real estate industry to members of the association. The opinions expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of the publisher. The newsletter welcomes submissions from the real estate community, including letters to the editor, opinion pieces, events and news. The newsletter reserves the right to edit, based on space restrictions and/or suitability, and/or to refuse submitted material for inclusion in the newsletter without reason. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher, OREA, is prohibited. Contents are copyright of the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Editor: Mary Ann Gratton

Contributors to this issue: Merv Burgard, Mary Ann Gratton

Web Editor: Shade Lapite

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Let’s negotiate: Ability to reach agreement vital