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.

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“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

Oakville to investigate new regulations that would include Uber

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 – for immediate release

Oakville to investigate new regulations that would include Uber

On December 14, 2015, Oakville Town Council approved a recommendation directing staff to investigate licensing options to regulate transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber. An implementation report and new by-law regulation options will be brought back to Council for approval in 2016.

Earlier this year, Council directed staff to undertake a review of taxicab licensing regulations and the growing impact app-based ride sharing technology companies such as Uber, were having on the taxicab industry. Through the consultation process staff met with multiple stakeholders including the public, the taxicab industry and Uber representatives.

“Council has received feedback from the public,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Staff will now provide us with options for licensing emerging technologies that are impacting the taxicab industry.”

Starting in the new year, staff will be reviewing options to regulate TNCs. The review will consider community and stakeholder impact while focusing on health and safety and consumer protection. Options available include amending the existing taxicab by-law or creating new TNC specific regulations.

Many municipalities in Ontario such as Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo and Hamilton are also reviewing their taxicab by-laws because of Uber’s impact. In addition, Bill 131, Opportunities in the Sharing Economies Act, 2015, currently at the provincial legislature Standing Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs, would create provincial regulation of transportation network companies (including Uber) where no municipal regulations exist and would limit municipal licensing powers.

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Oakville to investigate new regulations that would include Uber

Musical jam raises funds for shelters

Dancing and jamming were the order of the night for Ontario REALTORS® who took part in the Jam with a Past President event, held during the Political Affairs Conference (PAC) of the Ontario Real Estate Association last week.

The Jam was a highlight of the annual conference organized by OREA. This year’s PAC took place from Nov. 22 through 24 at Toronto’s Park Hyatt Hotel, while the Jam was held in the legendary Lee’s Palace musical venue on Bloor Street West.

This is the ninth consecutive year that the fundraising “Jam” has been held, with proceeds going to support shelter-based charities through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation. Brian Walker, OREA’s president in 2007, led the music with his band, Shakey and the Blue Notes, while inviting other musicians from the world of real estate to jam with him, or dance to the beat. This year, the event also featured a silent auction table. Real estate boards and foundations were invited to donate items for auction, with proceeds going to shelters and charities.

This year’s event raised more than $7,000 for shelter-based charities around the province. Overall, the “Jam” has raised more than $49,000 since its inception.

The Ontario REALTORS® Care Foundation is the charitable arm of OREA. It supports shelters and shelter-based charities across Ontario through grants. The money raised helps to provide shelter, warmth and hope to people who need your support.

Some of the recipient charities are: Habitat for Humanity; Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations across the province; Collingwood Crisis Centre; YWCA Sudbury; Covenant House Toronto; Couchiching Jubilee House; Domestic Abuse Services Oxford; Community Living Mississauga; the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa; and the Regional Hospice of Quinte, among others. For more details, see the “Grants” page of the foundation’s website.

It’s not too late to make a donation. Visit www.realtorscareontario.ca

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Musical jam raises funds for shelters

Fall into technology events

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of technology in real estate, come to one or more in a series of events in the months ahead. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is reprising its tools and technology series designed to develop your technical skills and knowledge with Emerge: Moving You Forward with the Tools for Tomorrow. Starting up again this fall, the Emerge series will feature topics designed to develop your skills and knowledge on emerging tools and technologies. Possible topics include: e-signatures, new technology and branding. Each event will feature exciting speakers, including personal branding guru Debra Trappen. The Emerge events will also include breakout sessions and consumer panels. Six events are scheduled as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 17 – Ottawa

Thursday, Oct. 8 – Peterborough

Wednesday, Oct. 21 – Sudbury

Thursday, Nov. 5 – Burlington

Thursday, Nov. 26 – Stratford

Tuesday, Dec. 8 – Mississauga

Topics and venues to be announced.

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Fall into technology events

OREA YPN is growing!

Hi Everyone,

I am very proud and honoured to once again be the OREA YPN Chair. Not only do I get the privilege of getting to know a new set of Ontario leaders sitting on our committee but I also get to watch the local boards and associations grow their networks. As a provincial association we have witnessed our local networks grow to 12 local networks and hopefully by the end of this year we’ll see that number expand to 17! If you were hoping get involved in the YPN this is your chance.

Right now we have networks in the following boards / associations:

Toronto Real Estate Board
Oakville-Milton District Real Estate Board
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS
REALTORS Association of Hamilton-Burlington
Sault Ste. Marie Real Estate Board
North Bay Real Estate Board
Timmins Real Estate Board
Mississauga Real Estate Board
Niagara Association of REALTORS
Ottawa Real Estate Board
The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®
Chatham Real Estate Board (Launching September 24th, 2015)

As our industry moves forward and our members are seeing the landscape of the buying and selling process shift it is important for them to have a space they can turn to that makes them feel connected to and a head of the change in our industry. I am passionate that the YPN is the space for our members to gather the information and tools they need to make themselves the best they can be.

I personally learn something from the YPN members every time I’m speaking to them. The Facebook page continues to be a wonderful resource of information and discussion and I know that it will only continue to grow and flourish.

This quote by Gandhi is probably overused but it really hits home when I think about my involvement in the YPN and why I continue to be a part of it (and organized real estate as a whole):

“Be the Change you want to see in the world”.

Like our Facebook page and if you’re a member of one of these boards I urge you to support it or be a member of it. I promise you won’t regret it!

Hello There!

From – 

OREA YPN is growing!

Ontario REALTORS® Rally Support for Personal Real Estate Corporations

On February 26th, to coincide with the introduction of Bill 69, Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2015, OREA launched a Call for Action (CFA) asking REALTORS® to contact their local MPP  for their support on personal real estate corporations (PRECs). OREA is happy to announce that over the course of four weeks, Ontario REALTORS® sent over 6,700 emails to MPPs across the province.

OREA would like to acknowledge the following boards for their outstanding participation:

The following three boards achieved the greatest participation rate based on the percentage of their members:

Bancroft and District Real Estate Board – 100%
Tillsonburg District Real Estate Board – 68%
Chatham-Kent Real Estate Board – 63%

In addition, the following three boards sent the most emails:

Toronto Real Estate Board – 2255 emails
Ottawa Real Estate Board – 429 emails
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® – 297 emails

Thanks to the effort of OREA’s REALTOR® members, we have successfully raised the profile of our issue at Queen’s Park.

Bill 69, Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2015 passed first reading on February 26, 2015. Please continue for visit OREA’s blog for updates on this important issue.

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Ontario REALTORS® Rally Support for Personal Real Estate Corporations

Premier Wynne Shuffles her Cabinet

Earlier this week, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Linda Jeffrey, announced her resignation from provincial politics and indicated her intent to run in Brampton’s mayoral race this fall. MPP Jeffrey was first elected to the legislature in 2003 and has held a number of ministerial portfolios including: natural resources, labour, and minister responsible for seniors.

The Minister’s resignation prompted Premier Wynne to shuffle her cabinet. The Premier promoted Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn to Minister of Labour and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  She also named Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney to the role of government whip, which until recently was held by Mr. Flynn.

The Premier appointed Ottawa-Centre MPP and former Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi to the Community Safety and Correctional Services portfolio. Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeline Meilleur takes over as Attorney General, and former Attorney General MPP John Gerretsen becomes the Liberal’s new chair of cabinet.

On behalf of OREA, we would like to congratulate the Ministers on their appointments, and look forward to working with them in their new roles.

Credit – 

Premier Wynne Shuffles her Cabinet

London’s Costa Poulopoulos assumes role as President

Costa Poulopoulos during the 2014 President’s Ball during the OREA Leadership Conference.
Photo by Timothy Hudson

Costa Poulopoulos assumed the role of president of OREA  as of the association’s annual conference on March 4-6, 2014. Costa will represent the association’s members on the board of directors and the senior level executive committees of OREA.

Active in the profession for 26 years, Costa is a broker of record with Realty Executives Elite Ltd., Brokerage in London, Ont.  A member of the London St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR), and a former president of LSTAR, he has served on many of the board’s committees. He is a former member of several OREA committees including, governance review, standard forms, education, strategic branding, and currently serves on OREA’s commercial and association executive advisory committees. He previously served as a provincial director (western region) for OREA and most recently as president-elect of OREA.

Patricia Verge of Ottawa will serve as president-elect. OREA directors-at-large are: Ray Ferris of Port Rowan; Tom Lebour of Mississauga; and Richard Leroux of Timmins. John Filipetti of Sault Ste. Marie will continue to serve as Commercial Director and Gerry Weir of London will continue on as the director representing the provincial association to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Dianne Usher of the Toronto Real Estate Board has been appointed substantial membership director. Phil Dorner will remain on the board as past-president.

Provincial directors representing different geographic areas are: Eastern Ontario, Linda McCallum; Central Ontario, Maureen O’Neill and Ettore Cardarelli; Northern Ontario, Diane Erickson; Southern Ontario, John Oddi; Northeastern Ontario, David Reid; and Western Ontario, Anna Vozza.


London’s Costa Poulopoulos assumes role as President

A Trend Toward Consumer Protection: What This Means for Our Industry

Ottawa was buzzing this week in anticipation to the federal government’s Throne Speech. The Speech from the Throne outlines the federal government’s direction moving forward likely into the next election and gives the government the opportunity to reset their agenda.

In Wednesday’s Throne Speech the federal government included many consumer protection initiatives, including a pledge to unbundle the cost of cable television channels, reduce bank fees and data roaming fees.

This trend towards more consumer protection legislation can also be seen at the provincial level. The Condominium Act Review and Bill 55, Stronger Protection for Consumers Act, 2013 are two examples of consumer protection legislation that directly impact the real estate industry.

The Condominium Act Review first emerged under the leadership of then Premier Dalton McGuinty and has continued to move forward under Premier Wynne as part of a larger consumer protection initiative. During this 18-month review process, the government hopes to overhaul the rules governing condominium properties and ensure the Act reflects the needs of condo owners and stakeholders. This September, Canada’s Public Policy Forum released the review’s stage two report called “Growing Up: Ontario’s Condominium Communities Enter a New Era”. OREA has been following the process each step of the way and making recommendations that promote condo affordability and the protection of home owners and home buyers.

Under the same umbrella of consumer protection, the government has introduced Bill 55 to address, among other things, the perceived issue of phantom offers in Ontario’s housing market. As it stands, the Bill has passed second reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. OREA has been working with the Ministry of Consumer Services to amend the Act and reduce the administrative burden that some sections of Bill 55 would have on Ontario real estate brokerages.

While it can present challenges for industries like organized real estate, consumer protection initiatives like Bill 55 and the Condo Act review are an important opportunity for OREA and other stakeholders to contribute to the development of public policy. In doing so, not only are we representing the interests of our member REALTORS® we are also advocating for things that are important to consumers.


A Trend Toward Consumer Protection: What This Means for Our Industry

Emerge Conferences off and running

The first of the new OREA Emerge conferences took place September 17 in Orillia, at Casino Rama, with more than 150 people in attendance.

A diverse group of speakers brought a wide selection of topics that  were relevant to those new to the industry  as well as those already established in real estate. From “Communicating Value through Mobile” to “Online Security & Reputation Management”, the material focused on using the newest tools and technology to stay current in an ever-changing business.

The morning sessions featured 11 different speakers. They each explained the methods they use on a day-to-day basis to stay ahead of the real estate curve. Each speaker shared personal anecdotes of techniques that made them successful, emphasizing that these were methods that could be applied as soon as attendees left the conference.

In the afternoon, breakout sessions delved deeper into topics touched on in the morning session. Smaller groups gave attendees the opportunity to learn more about subjects that interested them. The open forum format meant many great questions were asked and answered. Thought-provoking conversations were generated, giving those present more insight into the tools and technology that will help them further their business.

The day concluded with a networking reception, sponsored by OREA’s Young Professional Network (YPN). Anna Vozza, OREA YPN Chair, opened the reception with a warm welcome and thank you to all who attended, followed by a prize draw. The reception included lively conversation, warm pretzels, cold drinks and the opportunity for conference attendees to network with panelists and peers.

Attendees described the event as a great advantage for anyone in real estate. The Emerge conference arrives in Ottawa on Thursday, October 3, before hitting Toronto, Windsor, North Bay and Kitchener-Waterloo.  To register and find out more please visit our website.

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Emerge Conferences off and running