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.


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

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?

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 // 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

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:


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.


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.


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!


View article: 

Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

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.

Original article:

OREA’s 2016 Government Relations Committee

Introducing Ontario’s Top 2016 YPN Leaders

OREA is pleased to introduce it’s 2016 YPN Leadership Award winners. The recipients of this year’s awards are:

Bradley Mayer-Harman (Brampton Real Estate Board)

John-Ross Parks (Quinte & District Association of Realtors Inc.)

Peter Butler (Simcoe & District Real Estate Board)

Lindsay Reid (London & St. Thomas Association of Realtors); and

Einas Makki (Timmins, Cochrane & Timiskaming Districts Association of Realtors)

These five individuals are redefining what it means to be a real estate leader in the year 2016. They were selected from a large pool of candidates for their outstanding track records of progress in real estate and their communities. In the coming months OREA will be sharing their top lessons learned and ideas for taking real estate to the next level in a series of video interviews.

 The YPN Leadership Awards program is in its second year and is designed to recognize those new to the profession or under the age of 40 who: volunteer for organized real estate; give back to their communities; and invest in their professional development. The awards are presented each spring at OREA’s annual Leadership Conference.

See original article: 

Introducing Ontario’s Top 2016 YPN Leaders

Tips to protect your home and property: IBC

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds Ontarians to review their home insurance policies, update their home inventories and take steps to protect their personal property.

“Reviewing and updating your home inventory list helps protect your personal property and can speed up the claims process in the event of a theft or loss,” says Kim Donaldson, vice-president, Ontario, IBC. “Ontarians are encouraged to take a few moments to review the following important tips on how to help ensure a safe home for their families.”

IBC’s top ten tips:

  1. Review your insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage.
  2. Shop around to find the right policy for your own unique situation.
  3. To prevent possible slips and falls, keep your walkways and front stairs clear of snow and ice.
  4. Create or review your family emergency plan.
  5. Update your home inventory list by adding new items, including gifts received over the holidays. Note the approximate value of the items, including makes, models, serial numbers and any other identifying marks.
  6. If necessary, hire an appraiser to determine the value of works of art or jewelry in order to avoid a possible claims misunderstanding.
  7. Take photos or a video of your home’s contents.
  8. Keep your home inventory list, and photos or video of your home’s contents in a safety deposit box, a fire proof safe or in another secure location away from your home.
  9. If you are renting, ensure you have tenant’s insurance. A landlord’s policy will not typically cover your personal belongings or liability.
  10. If you have questions, speak to your insurance representative.

For further information, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-227-5422 or visit

Source – 

Tips to protect your home and property: IBC

Time flies: Organizing your day

Staying organized and managing your workload effectively are crucial to success in real estate. Three REALTORS® from across Ontario share their strategies for managing their schedules.

Given the multitude of tasks involved in real estate, it can often feel like a challenge to stay on top of it all. Successful Realtors learn early in their careers to take charge of their workloads, rather than let the work rule them. They find the strategies that work best for them and stick with this approach so they can accomplish everything they need to do.

Organization and efficiency are absolute necessities, says Carl Vandergoot, who has worked as a broker of record in London, Ontario after working as a salesperson for 22 years. Given the volume of transactions he handled each year, he says time management skills were crucial. Every night, he still writes out a to-do list of tasks for the next day, adding stars to the most important items. Incomplete tasks get transferred to the list for the following day.

“Having a list doesn’t mean you will get through everything,” he says. “If you can get through everything, you’re not doing enough, especially in sales.” Time management is largely about having a good system, adds Vandergoot. For him, that means tackling the hardest tasks first to get them out of the way.

Read the March EDGE
Changes to pre-registration education
What’s new in Standard Forms: Join seminar

“Prospecting was something I always did first,” Vandergoot says. “I was on the phone from 9:30 to 11 a.m. to sell and always made that a priority, no matter how many other things I had to do. Although a lot of people might not be home at that time, I realized that I would never do prospecting at 7 p.m. I spoke to a lot of answering machines.”

As part of his systematic approach, Vandergoot ends each year by creating a business plan for the following year that helps him to move forward. It includes details such as when and where to advertise and when to take holidays the next year. He also relies heavily on technology for his customer relations system, using software that helps him stay in touch with both current and past clients.

“I love technology,” he says. “A good database and follow-up system can help you stay organized.” He has used both the Top Producer and IXACT Contact database programs, and likes both. The latter includes a feature that assembles and helps distribute a monthly newsletter for the REALTOR.

“At some point, you need to accept the fact that you didn’t complete everything but you’re proud of what you did accomplish”

For Ayn MacDonald, an Ottawa Realtor with two young children, time management means scheduling her work around her family. She uses an electronic calendar and “I put my family responsibilities in the calendar first, and then arrange my work time in between. I’m a mom first, but a Realtor always.”

Each night, she creates a to-do list written on an old-fashioned post-it note that sits on her phone. MacDonald takes it along with her throughout the day. Learning to be comfortable with not finishing everything on the list has been a challenge for her.

“At some point, you need to accept the fact that you didn’t complete everything but proud of what you did accomplish,” MacDonald says. “Be comfortable with the idea that perfection isn’t possible.”

Strategic planning and rolling out her business plan are the parts of her job that MacDonald finds most time consuming. The brokerage employs a part-time assistant and another representative who works mostly with buyers, which helps reduce MacDonald’s own workload.

“When you’re running a business, you need to treat it like a well-oiled machine,” she says. “I have a hard time letting go of control, so that’s always a challenge for me.”

Rita Auciello, a Toronto Realtor and OREA instructor, makes a list of all tasks she must complete and checks it in the morning and again at the end of the day.

“I keep the list in front of me so I can cross things off,” she says. Auciello tackles the most difficult tasks first, such as cold calls, but she also prioritizes those items that are most important. Completing the task list takes perseverance, she says. “I try to avoid making appointments first thing in the morning so that I can address other priorities and organize my day before I go out.”

Preparing a house for the market is her most time-consuming task, says Auciello. “This project involves working with the home stager and helping the client to pull things together,” Auciello says. “They’ll need to do packing, organizing and getting rid of clutter, and I help with suggestions to show the property better.”

She works with a partner and another sales representative when they need extra help serving clients, she says. Auciello has taken this approach for the past seven years and she says it enables her to accomplish more.

“The rep helps with paperwork, and my partner and I are backups for each other,” Auciello says. “We try to see clients together so that if one of us is not here, the clients don’t feel let down. We lose less business that way, and I don’t feel so bad about taking a vacation.”

She does try to schedule time for herself, too, which is easier now that her children are grown. However, no matter how well Auciello tries to keep organized, she cautions that “Real estate is unpredictable. Sometimes you get one phone call and then you don’t get anything else on your list done that day.”

Time Management Tips:

Learn to say no, or I’m not available, and offer other options.
Develop good systems and routines.
Take charge of your day.
Read some of the many time management books that are available.
Accept that you may not complete every task on the to-do list.
Focus and discipline are keys to success.
Invest in a good client retention system.

Story by Elaine Smith

Sources: Rita Auciello, Ayn MacDonald, Carl Vandergoot

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.


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Time flies: Organizing your day

Ontario Budget 2016

Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, presented the government’s 2016 Budget to the Legislature yesterday. The budget outlined the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy, invest in major infrastructure projects, low-carbon initiatives and programs to improve Ontario’s workforce. The Minister indicated that the government is on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.

What does the 2016 Budget mean for Ontario REALTORS®?

Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT): We are happy to report that Budget 2016 does not reverse the province’s commitment not to give municipalities MLTT powers. OREA continues to monitor for legislation that would give any new revenue tools to municipalities.

Personal Real Estate Corporations (PRECs): Unfortunately, the government did not include OREA’s pre-budget recommendation to permit the use of PRECs by real estate salespeople or brokers. OREA will continue to advocate for this proposal.

Cap-and-Trade Initiative: Ontario will move forward with a cap-and-trade system as its carbon pricing mechanism. The government estimates that the cap-and-trade plan will add about 4.3 cents a litre to the price of gasoline and about $5 a month to natural gas bills.

Ontario Home Energy Audits and Retrofits: The budget reconfirms the home energy audit and retrofit program introduced earlier this month. The program would invest $100 million from the Ontario Green Investment Fund to provide rebates for home owners with Enbridge or Union Gas to conduct an energy audit and retrofits recommended by the auditor. While OREA is supportive of the new program, we will continue to oppose any efforts to introduce mandatory home energy audits.

Ontario Retirement Pension Plan/Pooled Registered Pension Plan: The budget announces the government’s commitment to move forward with the ORPP. The government also reaffirmed that their long term objective is to enhance the CPP.

Changing Workplaces Review: OREA is currently involved in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 review, advocating to maintain the current exemption for real estate professionals. Budget 2016 announces that the Special Advisor’s leading the consultation will release their interim report by early 2016 and the full report in summer 2016.

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit (HHRTC): Budget 2016 announced that the HHRTC will end on January 1st, 2017. The HHRTC was created to help seniors live independently in their homes by making renovations more affordable.

For more information on the Ontario Budget please visit the Ministry of Finance’s website.

This article:

Ontario Budget 2016