Trail projects honouring Indigenous heritage receive Canada 150 funding from Oakville Community Foundation

Thursday, January 26, 2017 – for immediate release

Trail projects honouring Indigenous heritage receive Canada 150 funding from Oakville Community Foundation

Three trail projects honouring Oakville’s rich Indigenous heritage will receive a total of $40,450 in funding from Oakville Community Foundation’s Community Fund for Canada’s 150.

The funding will go towards the addition of a First Nations information station on the Bronte Creek Heritage Trail as well as the creation of two Moccasin Trails – one on the Bronte Creek Heritage Trail and the other on the Inner Valley Trail portion of the Sixteen Mile Creek Trail. The Moccasin Trails will feature a series of 13 plaques containing aboriginal stories, verses and information relating to the land, water and sky, giving visitors a deeper understanding of aboriginal heritage. Content for the information booth and plaques will be developed in partnership with the Mississauga’s of the New Credit First Nation and Indigenous community members.

“Receiving this funding will not only help us commemorate Canada’s 150th – it will also allow us to honour the beginning of the Truth and Reconciliation Process in partnership with Indigenous members of our community,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We’re very much looking forward to sharing this important part of our history and culture through these exciting trail projects.”

The trail projects are expected to be complete by late fall 2017.

The Community Fund for Canada’s 150 is part of a national program developed by Community Foundations of Canada in partnership with the federal government that seeks to inspire a deeper understanding of our nation and encourage broad and inclusive participation in a wide range of initiatives marking the country’s sesquicentennial anniversary of Confederation. For more information, visit the Oakville Community Foundation website.


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Trail projects honouring Indigenous heritage receive Canada 150 funding from Oakville Community Foundation

Town announces 2016 Community Spirit Awards nominees

Monday, May 9, 2016 – for immediate release

Town announces 2016 Community Spirit Awards nominees

The Town of Oakville is excited to announce the 38 nominees for the 15th Annual Community Spirit Awards.

Congratulations to the following individuals and organizations that have been nominated for their dedication and commitment to the Oakville community:

Access Award – sponsored by Access Abilities

Nicky Lawson
Donovan Roossien
Maple Grove United Church

Arts Award – sponsored by The Oakville Beaver

Patricia Carrasquilla
Marda McLean
Mary Rose and Wade Pitman
Dawne Rudman

Group Volunteer Award – sponsored by Town of Oakville

100 Women Who Care
BusiWomen
Dossantos Family – Oakville Taekwondo Club
GE Power and Water Process Technologies
Mye Japanese Restaurant
Optimist Club of Oakville
Souper Kitchen Team
St. John Ambulance Dog Therapy Program
Suite Melody Care
The Tomato Ladies
Welcome Team Oakville Hospital

Heritage Award – sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada

Greg Munz

Individual Volunteer Award – sponsored by Paradiso Restaurant

Anna Armstrong
Leslie Ashworth
Reese Cooper
Doris Greening
Ana Hourahine
Thera Issawi
Laura Mang
Renato Medeiros
James Montague
Amalia Voicu
Amber Wyne
Chloe Zhou

Senior Award – sponsored by Town of Oakville

Fred Drews
Grant Foster
Pam Schwarz
Lorna Van de Mosselaer

Youth Award – sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Kristen Ashworth
Matteo Esposito
Julia and Vanessa Silano

Winners announced June 8, 2016

The winners will be announced at the Community Spirit Awards ceremony and reception on Wednesday, June 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre located at 2302 Bridge Road. The 2016 awards are designed by local furniture and wood-working artists Joseph Bauman and Dayna Gedney.

Tickets for the event are available for $15 each through the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit the Oakville Centre website or call the box office at 905-815-2021, Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no reserved seating for this event.

Visit the Oakville Community Spirit Awards page for more information.


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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.


Read the April EDGE
New tutorials explain forms
What a dump: Landfill discovered under dream home


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

Child’s play: Working with young families

Showing homes is a crucial part of the marketing and sales process in real estate, but when young children are part of the mix, the potential for a meltdown is always there. The REALTOR® EDGE newsletter spoke with three seasoned real estate professionals about how they prevent problems from arising when kids are on the scene.

Jay Lough Hayes, a Peterborough Realtor with 29 years of experience, says she always advises sellers with young children to start their packing early – by the time they list their home at the latest – in order to keep the toy population under control during showings.

“It’s easier to clean up three toys than 300,” says Lough Hayes. Parents may be wise to start packing some toys at night-time when the children are asleep, she adds. “If you ask the kids to choose which toys to pack, most of them won’t want to pack anything.”

“The days go more smoothly if people aren’t hungry, tired and bored, whether they’re kids or adults.”

If the children aren’t happy about putting toys away before a house showing, Lough Hayes isn’t afraid to be creative in dealing with them. “Once, I told the kids that if they helped me clean up the toys, I’d make it worth their while by taking them to a movie and their favourite restaurant,” she says. “It didn’t cost me much, and I never had a problem with them again – they were after each other to clean up so they’d get a treat.”

When showing homes to buyers with young children, she offers parents professional babysitting services if they wish, and she absorbs the cost. If they prefer to bring the children to the showing, she’s happy to move their car seats into her vehicle and drive them all, or jump into their car and accompany them to the property. “I’ve climbed into the middle of a minivan and sat between two baby seats,” she laughs.

Lough Hayes always carries a pad and pencil. If a child is bored, she urges the youngster to draw. She also keeps a cooler in her car for water, fruit and granola bars, because “the days go more smoothly if people aren’t hungry, tired and bored, whether they’re kids or adults.”

Flexibility and adaptability are crucial when kids are part of the equation, she notes. If she senses that the children are getting bored or tired, Lough Hayes sometimes makes an unscheduled side trip to a park or kid-friendly restaurant where the youngsters can get some playtime.

“I’ll get on the phone and move all the appointments back an hour or reschedule,” she says. “However, mom and dad sometimes lose it long before the kids.”

If a baby or toddler falls asleep en route to a showing, Lough Hayes asks the parents to take turns viewing the property so that one person always stays with the child in the car.

“There’s nothing worse than trying to soothe a crying child during a showing,” she says. “No one can focus on the house. The other night, there was a child who was screaming blue murder so one of the parents had to take the baby out to the car.”

Most important, Lough Hayes tries to approach showings that involve children as something that’s enjoyable for all parties involved. “It will be fun if you make it fun,” she says.

“Sometimes I let the kids lead the way through the house or pick out a room that might be theirs.”

Timing is everything when the sellers have young children, according to Toronto Realtor Lainey Bonsell. She works hard to communicate with these sellers, talking to them about the marketing plan, preparing them for the process, and arranging a schedule of showings that works for them.

“For me, it’s important to be upfront right from the start and give the family an idea of what to expect,” says Bonsell, who has been a Realtor for 10 years. “Most of it is scheduling. The first week is a whirlwind with lots of people coming through, so I tell the sellers not to count on being home at dinnertime.”

Bonsell lets the sellers decide whether to avoid showings during naptime and arrange visits that avoid the children’s bedtimes, but she also explains the trade-offs in opportunities.

“My last few clients essentially moved out for a few weeks to the cottage or to the grandparents’ house,” says Bonsell. “It’s challenging to keep a house clean and organized with young ones underfoot, and the process can be disruptive for the kids’ schedule. The reality is that sometimes it’s easier if the family can be elsewhere.”

“Some clients today expect houses to look like model homes, and trying to keep them looking that way with little kids around can be difficult. Since houses in my market often sell in a week or two, the inconvenience doesn’t drag on.”

When Bonsell works with buyers who have small children, she doesn’t schedule more than three showings at a time, and she works around the kids’ nap times. She also makes a point of involving the little ones in the showing.

“Sometimes I let the kids lead the way through the house or pick out a room that might be theirs, instead of ignoring the fact that they’re there. You can also send them on a hunt for toys. It can be an opportunity for them to see what the house is like.”

Children may be reluctant to leave a house with interesting toys, but Bonsell gently encourages them by telling them they’ll have a new adventure when they go to the next house. And, of course, she makes sure to put away any toys that were taken out during the visit. “We never leave a mess behind,” she says.

Mark Primerano, a Niagara Falls Realtor with 27 years’ experience, says that sellers don’t mind if visiting children play with the toys as long as all items are put back in place.

“If the kids are playing with toys, they’re occupied and happy,” says Primerano. “That means the parents can walk around and look at the home.”

Visiting children can be a property’s biggest promoters, he notes. “Sometimes, the kids go into a house and say, ‘Dad, I love it! I want this house … or pool, or bedroom’.”

Children are sometimes worried about moving, Primerano finds. He says that they may be picking up on a parent’s own concerns. “I tell them all kinds of cool stuff about the house that they might like; there are so many little things you can amuse them with. They see features that they like better than what they have now and they get excited.”

“I’ve had mostly funny, cute experiences with kids,” he adds. “Ninety per cent of young children who attend house showings with their parents are well behaved and excited to see the place.”


Read the October EDGE
REALTOR® value the focus of ad campaign
Don’t fear the heritage property


Tips for Working Families with Young Children

Sellers:

  1. Don’t be at home during showings.
  2. If that’s not possible, schedule showings around nap times and bedtimes.
  3. Start packing before you put the house on the market.
  4. Involve the children in packing as part of preparing the house for showings.

Buyers:

  1. Don’t go to see more than three homes in one stretch.
  2. Take breaks; children have limits.
  3. Ask the kids to bring a favourite toy with them.
  4. Keep a few toys or items on hand to amuse the kids when attending a showing, whether it’s an iPad with video or a drawing book.
  5. Involve the children in the showing: Ask what colour they would like their new room to be.

Realtors:

  1. Be patient.
  2. Be considerate.
  3. Be forthcoming with clients so they know what to expect.

 

Story by Elaine Smith

Sources: Lainey Bonsell, Jay Lough Hayes, Mark Primerano

 

Continued here – 

Child’s play: Working with young families

Complaints service helps at stressful time

The discovery that you are the subject of a complaint to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) can be an intimidating experience.

That’s why the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) created a service to help Ontario REALTORS® navigate the process of handling a complaint to RECO.

Members who are the subject of a RECO complaint can speak with Diana Russo, a lawyer in OREA’s legal department, to learn more and get information about the RECO complaints and discipline process.

“We realize that finding yourself on the receiving end of a RECO complaint can be stressful,” says Russo. “Our role is to serve our members, and so we’ve put in place a service that provides information and helps you to understand the process as much as possible.”

Since the inception of the service three years ago, OREA has received more than 325 queries. As well, OREA has organized seven information sessions for members across the province, with about 250 people attending. Recently, the legal department gathered up some frequently-asked questions and offers tips to help members through RECO’s investigative and adjudicative process.

Q: What should I do if I have received a complaint?

A: First and foremost, stay as calm as possible and ensure that you read and thoroughly understand the contents of the complaint. Second, your broker of record will receive copies of any complaints, so schedule time to meet with him or her and discuss the circumstances that led to the complaint.

Q: What happens after I file my response to RECO? How long will the process take?

A: There is no set timeline or typical duration for the complaints process. After you file your response, numerous factors may affect the speed of the process, including the nature and complexity of the matter. Nevertheless, you will be advised of the next steps and you may follow up with the RECO complaints officer assigned to your file.

Q: What are the penalties following a complaint?

A: A range of outcomes is possible. Sometimes the file will close with no further action required. At other times, the matter may proceed to a pre-hearing or hearing. At the hearing, a registrant may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $25,000, take educational courses or pay costs. Visit the RECO website at www.reco.on.ca and click on “Complaints and Enforcement” and then on “If you are the subject of a complaint”.


Read the September EDGE
Serving buyers in the pre-construction phase
Ad campaign promotes REALTOR® value


Tips for OREA Members:

If you receive a complaint from the Office of the Registrar, take it seriously and respond to it fully. This may be your only opportunity to defend yourself during the process.

Be prepared, give yourself time to respond, and ensure that you gather all relevant paperwork and contacts that will assist with your response to the Registrar and in defending the complaint.

OREA strongly recommends that you consult with your broker of record and independent legal counsel before you respond to the complaint.

Pay strict attention to timelines and due dates. Make note of the deadline to respond to the Registrar, any scheduled pre-hearings or hearing dates. During these stressful times, it is easy to forget or mix up the dates.

As difficult as it may be, try to remain professional at all times throughout the discipline and complaints process.

If you are an OREA member who is the subject of a RECO complaint or you want more information about this service, contact Diana Russo at dianar@orea.com.

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Complaints service helps at stressful time

It’s The Little Things That Count

Going above and beyond for a client can mean so many things. There is no set rule for what is basic and what is exceeding expectations. When speaking with other agents on the topic they have unique ideas on what little things count. The bottom line is people love being heard, appreciated and acknowledged. Sometimes you can make a difference with some of the smallest gestures. Most people will do things in their personal life to bring joy to friends and family such as bringing your spouse soup when they are sick, offering to take out your friends pet when they are running late at work, offering your sister a ride to the airport when she is leaving for vacation and more. Why not do this for your clients?

Some of the little things that count for my business is not only the holiday card at Christmas but other feel good moments such as showing up when my client is moving and lending a hand (or when this is not possible due to time restrictions: order a pizza and drinks for them). Spending money isn’t always necessary when showing your worth to your clients it can take place in what is considered our “job”. A small way to help our clients: we are all guilty of faxing/scanning our offers to the listing agent and letting them do the work, but I never do this step without a detailed summary about my client, our price and the pre-approval process and who I have spoken with about it. This is the bare minimum allowable in my personal business but often I try to present my offers in person and while there provide a letter from my client to the sellers outlining there excitement about the property and sometimes a photo, if the situation seems right. I have won multiple offer situations with the lesser offer because of being the only agent to present my offer, resulting in the seller having an emotional connection with my buyer – going above and beyond for my client while getting out of my comfort zone. Having done over 100 offer presentations I still get nervous pulling up to the home and sometimes my offer presentation is only 5 minutes in length, but it is always worth it for my clients.

Not every client is the same but some other things we have done to help our clients with the process include (but are not limited to) helping with a garage sale (a great way to meet the neighbours and showcase the home if anyone asks about the for sale sign in the lawn – the dollar store offers signs as well kijiji is free to market on + your own Facebook page), organize the house warming party by sending the invites, taking coats, serving food/drinks – you are getting handed a database from just one party. Checking in after they have moved in – don’t be afraid to check in – this is one of the hardest things to do because it feels like a ticking time bomb but a few times I have done the check in call and it was something minor that I knew how to do and they did not and I was able to help at no cost and received a ton of gratitude for. We also host 3 major client appreciation events including marble slab day (ice cream) where we invite our clients to have an ice cream cone on us (one of our favourite days as we get to catch up with all our favourite people), a backyard bash with live music, BBQ and games, and one other random event whether it be bowling, outdoor movie night, a volunteer day and more.

When helping your next client take note of the items around the home, the information they tell you about there family, what excites them or troubles them about the process and see if you can incorporate something special for them whether it be getting them a coffee with the fixings they take without having to ask (pay attention to your first coffee order and make notes) or getting their dog a treat from the pet store you can really make an impression while at the same time make your own days brighter.

Originally posted here:

It’s The Little Things That Count

Ontario Allows Real Estate Documents to Be Signed Electronically

The Government of Ontario announced today that real estate consumers will be permitted to use electronic signatures on real estate agreements of purchase and sale (APS) as of July 1st, 2015.

“The agreement of purchase and sale is one of the most important documents in a real estate transaction,” said Patricia Verge, Ottawa-area REALTOR® and president of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). “The ability to sign it electronically will make the process of buying or selling more efficient. This is great news for REALTORS® as well as consumers across the province.”

Electronic signatures on agreements of purchase and sale will significantly reduce the time required to process a deal. At present, agreements of purchase and sale are often faxed, scanned and emailed numerous times over the course of a transaction.

“This process can be cumbersome and by the time the final version is signed, the agreement can be difficult to read,” said Verge. “The technology allows agreements to be filled out on a computer or tablet, changes can be tracked and documents can be transmitted with ease.”

The government’s decision comes in the form of proclamation of a 2013 amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 (ECA), which extended the legal protections of the Act to include electronic real estate agreements of purchase and sale. The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for the ECA. The Ministry led the consultations and approved the final proclamation of the amendment.

“Buying or selling a home is one of the most complex, time-consuming transactions that most people make – it’s also one of the most important,” said Attorney General, Madeleine Meilleur. “I hope that this change will open the door to new and innovative processes that will ultimately make the experience easier and less stressful for families.”

“The government has taken the time to get this issue right,” said Verge. “Extensive consultations were hosted to ensure that both the industry as well as the public were well served by the move to electronic signatures. Thank you to Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur for her leadership on this important issue.”

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Ontario Allows Real Estate Documents to Be Signed Electronically

Town to fight the development of the Saw-Whet Golf Course

Monday, April 13, 2015 – for immediate release

Town to fight the development of the Saw-Whet Golf Course

Development application from Bronte Green Corporation considered premature and not in the public interest

Town Council has directed staff to fight Bronte Green Corporation’s application to develop a new subdivision on the existing Saw-Whet Golf Course. Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings on the application are scheduled to get underway on October 13, 2015, with the next pre-hearing scheduled for May 1, 2015. Bronte Green Corporation took its application to the OMB after the town did not consider the application within the timeframe specified in the Planning Act. The complexity of the required studies, and the developer’s delay in providing the required studies, led to significant delays in the overall process.

“Council cannot in good conscience consider a development application when all of the required studies are not yet complete,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “We are committed to taking an evidence-based approach to decision making, and we are confident that the OMB will agree that this is the right approach to take when we are making decisions that will impact our community for generations to come.”

Council also directed staff to schedule a public meeting to look at designating the publicly-owned lands within the study area with the appropriate natural heritage designation. This process would smooth the way for these lands to be considered as part of the ten year review of the provincial Greenbelt Plan.

The proposed Bronte Green application covers 55.1 hectares of land and proposes over 750 new residential units.


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Embracing the growing heritage market

By Robert Hulley

The market for heritage homes has taken on a new direction — largely due to the boom in home renovations, a renewed interest in local history, and changes to the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA).

Although the process of listing and selling heritage homes is much the same as with any other type of property, there are three significant differences worth noting.

The first point is that they represent a niche market and are not for everyone. They can be expensive, unique and not easily substituted. They often have outstanding architectural features and may have historical as well as contextual significance and value. Those who do acquire heritage properties usually undertake extensive research before purchasing and, for that reason, much more information is required than is normally found on a standard listing form.

Most potential buyers want to live in a heritage home because they are attracted to its uniqueness and character. However, not all heritage homes are created equal. Their livability falls across a wide spectrum. Conditions range from homes that are almost uninhabitable to dwellings featuring the most up-to-date and advanced conveniences and refinements. In addition, some heritage districts have within them historically significant buildings that may be so special that they are only of interest to government sponsored agencies. As well, there are restoration specialists who undertake to restore heritage properties for resale. For many novices, undertaking a restoration can be challenging and expensive.

The second distinguishing factor is the need to know the market, which in many ways is common to all business activities, but heritage properties have their own particular nuances. For example, the overall heritage market contains sub-markets within it.

Heritage Conservation Districts (HCD) have the highest market orientation. The Heritage Act now enables municipalities to designate an entire town or any defined area within it as an HCD.

Typically, the HCD designation applies only to the exterior, unless the property is specifically designated under the Heritage Act. Professor Robert Shipley of the University of Waterloo studied the heritage property resale market and found that properties within Heritage Conservation Districts not only maintained their value during depressed market conditions, but also increased in value — in excess of other house prices in active markets. This is largely because owners of properties in these districts know that they can make improvements to their homes without the possibility that a “monster” home or a contemporary home will be built next door or across the street. In addition, these owners feel comfortable with neighbours who share their views of heritage homes and jealously protect the character of the neighbourhood.

Currently, there are 115 HCDs in Ontario and nine more in the works. These districts are spread across Ontario.  Toronto has the most, supporting 17 districts containing some 4,450 residential properties. Many heritage homes are also found in pockets within existing communities. Others are also found in smaller towns and villages where people are seeking a particular environment to live and work. Homes in both areas are usually less expensive because they may have incomparable property issues or they are located in smaller communities that lack urban amenities.

One can also find a scattering of stand-alone heritage properties that belonged to original farm families. With urban expansion, many have been sold and subdivided so that new houses can be built. Municipalities often require the developers to restore these buildings and put them back on the market. In many instances they are difficult to sell and remain on the market for long periods of time.

The third and final difference with heritage homes is, as mentioned, they may be subject to the provisions of the OHA. In addition, some mortgage lenders will not grant loans on the security of a heritage home. Furthermore, some insurance companies will refuse to consider insuring them. The same holds true for home inspectors, who are invariably called upon to assess and report on heritage homes. This can lead to unnecessary problems unless the inspector is “au courant” with older homes.

The real estate community has been slow to embrace the growing heritage market. But some REALTORS® have done just that and profited handsomely from their specialty. As the late James Biddle, an expert on conservation issues, wrote in Built to Last, “In more and more cities, old downtown residential neighbourhoods are the ‘hot buys’, not only as sound investments but also as convenient and attractive places to live”.

 

  Robert Hulley is past president of the Credit-Humber branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. He was awarded the 2014 lifetime achievement award from the conservancy for his knowledgeable advice and research, writing, photography and tours highlighting heritage issues, including his work on heritage education for REALTORS®. 

 

 

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Embracing the growing heritage market

Blogging, Backups, and Bad Endings

If anyone has experienced a home invasion, aka a break in, you will probably understand how I felt today…

I received a call from my web designer that my WordPress website was hacked. Initially I thought: “Oh, it’s no big deal, I’m not Sony or the CIA so I’ll be fine.” But as the minutes passed I began to fully understand what exactly this “hack” could have meant…

You see every time I logged into my WordPress website there was a big red backup button, telling me how many days since my last backup. After that number went beyond the 100 days mark it became a staple in my idea of what the home screen looked like. So I just never pushed it.

For those who work hard to grow their online presence through blogging or vlogging, you will understand why panic quickly set in. It’s not the listing data that was a big deal…it’s the Blogs…

The grueling hours of work involved with trying to craft the most optimized content to be searchable on old granddaddy Google, can be extremely exhausting. Here I was faced with losing it all? It was more than devastating. I quickly began trying to compile any and all drafts of my past blogs, community, real estate tips, rants…oh the rants!

As I scanned my pages of drafts it was pretty clear there were only a few sparse ideas and paragraphs there… hardly anything that resembled the beauty that was my home on the World Wide Web.

A few hours, many panic-stricken phone calls, and a few cups of tea later, I got the call.

Luckily my incredibly talented web man was able to retrieve most of the content, but it makes you wonder…”What’s the value in breaking into the website of a REALTOR® in a small town in Ontario?”

Through this chaotic mid-week meltdown I learned some invaluable lessons:

Back everything up – In this world of cloud-based work environments we rely so heavily on automated backups that we sometimes lose track of what’s NOT getting backed up.
Security is paramount – Perhaps the same passwords you used in high school for your first email address aren’t quite as secure as they once were…Update them!
Know when to ask for help – If you’re going to make the investment of time and money to build your online presence you will at some point need help, so hire a professional to make the process easier and enjoyable for you.

Hopefully none of you will ever have to go through losing your website, data, or contact from hackers. If you do though, these simple lessons may just save your skin! Happy blogging!

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Blogging, Backups, and Bad Endings