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

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

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.

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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

Ontario Reviewing the New Home Warranty Regime

The Government of Ontario is currently undertaking a review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and the Tarion Warranty Corporation. Lead by special advisor, the Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham, the review of existing legislation and regulations will help identify ways to better protect consumers buying new homes in Ontario.

The review will make recommendations regarding:

-Consumer protection

-Accountability and transparency

-Board governance

The public and industry stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation process during April and May. It is expected that the review will conclude at the end of the June.

For more information, please visit: //www.ontario.ca/page/consumer-protection-owners-new-homes

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Ontario Reviewing the New Home Warranty Regime

Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had its EMERGE series in the last quarter of 2015. I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers and talking to Realtors about the digital marketing funnel. With online lead generation becoming ever more sophisticated it’s a really exciting time for Realtors to look at incorporating this into their business model. In today’s environment creativity and a few solid rules of thumb will get you everywhere.

EMERGE was an all around great experience and in addition to sharing my own expertise I learned several things that are key to building an even more successful business in this industry:

  1. NETWORKING

These events are an incredible opportunity to network. Get to know other agents in your area. Better than that, travel to an event thats not in your area and network with potential referral partners. Even make a list ahead of time if you see some speakers you’d want to talk to and make a point of reaching out.

  1. ASK QUESTIONS

What sets apart an event like Emerge from a lot of real estate conferences is the breakout sessions. Being able to speak directly to the experts after hearing them give their presentation is invaluable.

I’ve sat in many conferences where I’ve heard great ideas and had follow up questions I wanted to ask. At EMERGE these questions can be covered in the breakout session in great detail. All the nitty gritty questions you had about your own business you can ask.

  1. ATTENDING IS JUST THE START

Showing up, networking, and asking questions is just the start if you are coming to these events. The part that actually matters is what you do when you go home.

Nothing matters if you don’t implement. That’s what will make a difference in your business and in your life. Just knowing the answer isn’t the same as acting upon it.

Below is my talk from the event. If you want to ask questions about it then just leave them in the comments below!

 

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Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

Real estate and virtual reality

Virtual reality technology has made a huge leap forward over the last few months. The Oculus Rift, now owned by Facebook, the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear and Sony Play Station VR are all vying to be the virtual reality leader. It’s a technology that lends itself perfectly to real estate and REALTOR® groups are wasting no time in jumping aboard.

Sotheby’s International is using Samsung’s VR kit to allow shoppers to view multi-million dollar homes in LA, the Hamptons and New York City.

They’ve reserved the technology for higher-priced properties as the cost of scanning a home for VR ranges from $300 – $700. The process involves setting up multiple cameras to capture a 360-degree view. This gives the buyer has the same intimate view as buyers shopping in person. The realtor can not only lead the VR tour remotely and also see where the client is looking, so if the client is admiring a back-splash, the realtor can comment on that feature.

Virtual reality is also ideal for touring pre-construction properties. Clients can gain a better sense of the layout, inspect finishes and understand the dimensions more fully.

The developer, Lifestyle Custom Homes has already incorporated a virtual tour into the sales presentation for its Toronto development, One6Nine Jones.

VR is particularly handy in cities with high volume traffic where getting around to multiple properties is difficult. Clients can visit a realtor office, view a range of houses, and decide which to see in person.

There are likely a myriad of ways to use VR. As use becomes more widespread the costs will come down and more real estate groups will be able to access the technology.

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Real estate and virtual reality

OREA president featured on radio show

Ray Ferris, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association, will be the guest expert on a radio show starting this weekend. 

The show, “Ask the Experts”, is scheduled to run on Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m. on Newstalk 1010 and is hosted by Iain Grant. This weekend’s show will introduce Ferris and OREA to the listening audience and aims to cover a variety of real estate questions and issues. The president will discuss the value that a REALTOR® brings to the real estate transaction, as well as answering questions from the host about real estate.

The one-hour radio program can be heard across the province at 1010 on the AM dial. Ferris is scheduled to appear on the show again in several subsequent interviews this spring and fall. His second interview is scheduled for Saturday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. and will cover some of the less-well known ways that a REALTOR® can help the public during a real estate transaction.

“Ask the Experts” is a public radio show described on the station’s website, www.newstalk1010.com, as an opportunity for members of the public to “talk directly to the movers and shakers. You will get inside information and knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s a great way for you to get free advice on everything from plumbing to legal.”

If you have questions, comments or ideas for future real estate topics on the radio program, send an email to info@orea.com with the subject line “Radio program comments.”

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OREA president featured on radio show

OREA’s 2016 Government Relations Committee

OREA’s GR team would like to welcome this year’s Government Relations Committee.

Valerie Miles (Chair)
Roger Bouma
Glenda Brindle
Kevin Crigger
Henry David
Stacey Evoy
Amie Ferris
Janice Myers
Heidi Noel
Von Palmer
Robert Pfaff
Debbie Vernon
Sean Morrison
Anna Vozza

The committee helps identify legislative and regulatory issues that affect Ontario REALTORS® and the real estate industry. As experienced real estate professionals, the GRC is a valuable resource for policy makers since they can speak to the implications of proposed legislation.

The committee also plays an important role in building strong relationships with MPPs and public servants. In this role, they regularly attend meetings, MPP events and make presentations before legislative committees.

OREA’s GR team looks forward to working with the new committee.

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OREA’s 2016 Government Relations Committee