905-896-3333 * 905-827-6999 * 416-762-4200

Website ... Still Don't Have One? - May 18

Everyone needs a website ... even just a .com address with a business card ... If you don't already have a site ... these are some sample
sites our tech's can whip together as a start.
 
They are being subsidized this month so that everyone can afford internet exposure ... $49.00 a year ... plus your .com or .ca name.
 
Click here for a quick tutorial on how to maintain the Easiest and Most Affordable Real Estate Website for beginners.
 
 
    
 
 
      

FSBO Leads - If you are Hunting for Listings - April 25

Just a little reminder ... each Monday we post a fresh list of For Sale By Owners on www.SuttonOffice.info
 

If you are hunting for Listings - FSBO's are a Great Start - You Already Know They Want to Sell!

 

84% of this FSBO's will list with a Realtor within 30 days!   

Why shouldn't you be that realtor?

Link to the List:
http://maryannsemen.point2agent.com/FSBO_Leads_and_Tips/page_1666414.html

 

 

Tip:  Build up a rapport with the Seller - we don't usually ask for the Listing the first time - we simply ask how their marketing is going - and if we bring a buyer what percentage of commission are they willing to pay a co-operating broker.

I usually ask if they would like some help and allow me to advertise their property -- If they are willing to pay a commission if I bring a buyer - they should love the extra help.     This method works for both parties -- the seller gets more exposure - and the agent gets more inventory for his website, blog, facebook, twitter etc.

 

Contract Between The Private Seller and Cooperating Agent
Click on picture for contract 


Discount Appliances - April 1

I know some of you will think this is a weird email ... asking if anybody can beat this appliance deal ... however, our real estate jobs have changed again --
and now we're expected to know where all the deals are for renovations.
 
A lot of Sellers are calling us in BEFORE they list for our opinion on what improvements are best to make in preparation of listing their home.
 
One of the main features is updated Kitchens and Baths ... so it might be helpful if we can give people some tips from time to time.
 
Here is a current special at Leon's (thanks to one of our a resourceful agents)  Like the ad says - new stainles steel look appliances can instantly update any kitchen.
 
If you have any contacts for competitive appliances, kitchen cabinets or flooring please let us know.
 
Just thought I'd share : )
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
P.S.
 
Its little topics like this you could put on your twitter or facebook : )
 
Example:
 
Sprucing up your home before Selling?   Looking for a deal on appliances?  You might want to check out the Leon's 4 piece appliance special.
 

Agent Tips: Our Power of Sale List - With Twist - Try To Blog


Its Spring and we turned up the heat a bit on this months Power of Sale List.
 
We added a side bar with some other value properties to grab the readers attention --- if you use outlook for your mass emails you can easily change those photos to Just Listed and Solds for self promotion.
 
In addition - you can take out our logo and replace it with your personal photo.
 
  • Creating Opportunities with Builder Sales:
 
We also added a few hints for our clients to call us BEFORE they purchase direct from a builder.  
 
In many cases condo developers are paying 4% commission - its a shame to leave that money behind because our clients consider us RESALE and not NEW sales representatives.   We have to get the message out "We can Help on New Condo Sales"!
 
Due to the limited work involved in registering a client with a Builder - some agents offer 1/2 to 1% back to their clients after final closing --- its still 3% - 3.5%  for an hours worth of time to introduce them to the Builder.  
 
Once the client is introduced by you to the the sales staff they take over preparing all the documents and you step back ... no paperwork, no haggling, you can simply lend your advice to the client on which layout, colours, upgrades and view is best for resale.
 
The Condo Market now represents over 50% of the sales in our marketplace - we can't ignore this huge market segment.  
 
Might be a good idea to add some more condo pages to your website or write a blog about your favourite buildings!  (no blog yet -- ok twitter or facebook is good - well - Blog, Twitter, Facebook and link them to your webpage is really really good!
 

3 Easy Steps In Building Your Brand -March 23


 
 
3 First Steps to Building Your Brand
 
 
When you are standing in a crowd of many, you are faced with a choice - either blend in and hope for the best, or stand out- and step up.
 
In the real estate industry, where the marketplace is filled with so many faces, messages and communications, one way to cut through the competing noise and define the thoroughfare for your message is to build a recognizable brand for yourself.  
 
Even if you don't have a big budget - there are a lot of free ways to get started!
 

 
First Step is picking a Font for Your Name
 
This is the easiest and most economical first step.    Font examples - just be careful to select a font that you already have in your Word or Publisher program so you don't have to purchase the font seperately.   
 
When ordering business cards --- ask the printer to see a selection (click for samples) - the business card fonts and graphics can help create your theme for other marketing materials.
 
Always ask for proof by email from your printer.    We can convert the proof to a jpeg and use it in many ways - websites, email signatures, newsletters etc - and its free!
 
  
2nd Step is to create a Personalized Banner
 
Try and match it up with your website so there is consistency.    With this one time investment you can transform our office e-Newsletters and Market Updates into a unique personalized marketing piece at no extra cost.
 
 
 
 
3rd Step is to create a Catchy Slogan
 
The right tag line will capture people's attention, tell something about yourself and motivate people to use your services.
Your slogan is a vital part of your brand.
 
To help you come up with an effective slogan - below are a few articles to give you some tips
 
Tip #1 - The Basics of Catchy Slogans
Tip #2 - Slogan Samples
Tip #3 - Can't think of a Tag Line or Slogan - there are companies that can help - example $190 for 10 original Taglines in 24 hours.
 
 
It all starts with the basics --- and from there you can create animated gif's and so much more!
 
 

Mere Posting Lesson


 
Mere postings will happen from time to time ... and when you approach the Seller you will see the vast majority agree to pay 2.5% - which leads me to wonder the reasoning behind even trying mere posting.
 
There is one case where the seller will not entertain paying a co-broker commission -- and after further investigation we found out a few good reasons why ...
 
 
  • Beautifully renovated home in Toronto West -- until you really start looking.   Example:   If you put a marble down on the floor you can watch it race across the room.   Leveling problems and you can already see fracture cracks in the ceramics.   Any reasonably trained agent would start getting suspicious about the quality of the workmanship and call in a home inspector to find out about potential problems you can't visually see.
  • After a home inspection other deficiencies where found - specifically -  Vermiculite!    Huge expense to remove.
 
 
Now we understand why the Seller wants nothing to do with a realtor ... it would be more beneficial for him to find an "unrepresented buyer" to purchase direct - without all the red tape and paperwork about disclosure.
 
We now understand why an agent might want to list the property as a mere posting ... see no evil - hear no evil ... just posting.   But unfortunately the Listing Agent does not realize its a time bomb waiting to explode.   When an unsuspecting buyer moves in and finds out about the construction problems and vermiculite ... what little you were paid has absolutely no meaning to his case.  
A judge is not going to say "oh poor agent - you were only paid $999.00 for your time - here is a medal"   : (
 
With a mere posting listing Agents are still liable for reasonable care and accuracy of a listing.  And a Buyers Agent has a lot more work and responsibility too.
 
This "mere posting" system is all so new - we need a few good lawsuits to help everyone truly understand the liabilities.
 
 
As they say -- you get what you pay for!

Buyer Presentation Sample - Power Point


 

 Buyer Presentation - just to give you some ideas for wording.

 

We have several versions of Presentations - but the best presentation is when you create your own unique version with your own personal branding.

 

Please download the Powerpoint presentation from the side


Buyer Agent Tip --- A Simple Initial Can Save Your Commission


  

 
What should you do if you are sitting at an open house and anxious buyers walk in and say they want to purchase the house?
(don't laugh -- this happens!)
 
1.   First Ask if they are working with a Realtor
2.   Ask if they have Signed a Buyer Representation Agreement
3.   Give them the Working with a Realtor Brochure and explain agency to them
 

 
So during the conversation the Buyers advise you they have seen many homes and have lost out on previous offers, but they have not signed a Buyer Representation with anyone.
 
Stop ...
 
Be suspicious!    Sometimes desperate buyers can be liars : (     In today's world I hardly think many agents would prepare an offer without a Buyer Representation Agreement.
 

 
But, don't blow the deal!     Get that offer done --- and when signing a Buyer Representation Agreement have them initial the bold clause (as seen below).  
 
The "Working with a Realtor" Pamplet and the "initialed spot" below has saved many agents at TREB Arbitration.
 
Personally, I think getting into the habit of initialling this sentence (confirming they have not signed up with another agent) should be common practice in every single case. 
 
 
 


 

 
P.S.
Some agents actually use a yellow highlighter and highlight this clause on all their forms so they don't forget about the initial.
 
Always keep a big inventory of the "Working with a Realtor" Brochures in your car - its your best friend.

 


 

 

How to Set-Up an Autu Responder - January 26


We all know in this business Response Time is Critical - first agent that communicates back to a client enquiry is generally the agent that gets the deal! (that's statiscally proven)
 
Do you have an Auto Responder set up in your email to let people know you received their email and you will be getting back to them shortly?
 
 
Here are a few tips on how to set up an Auto Responder
 
In Yahoo:
 
1. Sign into yahoo mail
2. Click options (right - top corner) - you might have to click More Options from there
3. Vacation Response (yes vacation response - seems funny but it simply means you are away from your email momentarily)
4. Type a Sentence and save 
 
In Hotmail:
 
Here is a link to instructions for Hotmail and Live users -- although its pretty much the same as yahoo
 
 
In Outlook Express or Windows Mail (both are free and come automatically with your windows operating system):   click here
 

 
 
Sample Messages:
 
 
Thank-you for your message.  I am currently out of the office but will reply to you shortly.
 
If you need immediate assistance, please page me through my office at 905-_______
 
(careful about putting down your cell number --- you might be giving your cell out to spammers)
 
Your Name
A logo would be cool too but not necessary
 
 
Sample #2
 
Thank you very much for your note - I will reply as soon as I'm back at my computer.
 
Sample #3
 
I appreciate your email, I will get back to you as soon as I can.
 
 
 
Another Tip for creating Signatures:
 
To Add a Logo in the Yahoo Signature visit our site and right click on your favourite graphic and select copy - then go back to yahoo and paste it under your name.  Use the small web logo's in the middle of our page

Survey - January 21



 
 

 
Need a survey of a property? Geowarehouse might be able to help (through Land Registry Tab on Treb).

Teranet provides survey plan images to Geowarehouse, through a partnership with Land Survey Records Inc.

While there is no a guarantee a survey for your property is available - they do have a library covering 1/3rd of Toronto, and availability in many other territories in Ontario,

Prices are affordable but do vary - Geo will provide you with a quote.

 
For More info - Log into Treb - Click Land Registry at the top - "search for the property address" - once found, click on the Survey tab to see if one is available for your subject property.  

 


Geowarehouse is also perfecting their On-Line orders for CONDOMINIUM STATUS CERTIFICATES.   20% of Condo Corps have already agreed to be part of this program ... eventually agents will be able to order a Status Certificate online.
 

Home Protection Plan: 6 in 1 Bundle from Direct Energy- Jan 20

Direct Enery Home Protection Plan - Something to mention to your clients

As mentioned by Mark Weisleder at our recent meeting, Direct energy has bundled some of their most popular plans to provide comprehensive coverage to some of your homes most essential systems. Its a little difficult to find this information on their site,

so we are providing you the direct links below.

They have 2 options for people


3 in 1 Home Protection Plan

$29.99/month and includes Heating Protection Plan
Cooling Protection Plan
Plumbing & Drain Protection Plan
For More Info : http://residential.directenergy.com/EN/Home-Services/ontario/Pages/Protection-Plans/total-home.aspx


6 in 1 Home Protection Plan

$42.99/month
Heating Protection Plan
Cooling Protection Plan
Plumbing & Drain Protection Plan
Electrical Protection PlanKitchen Protection Plan
Laundry Protection Plan

For More Info http://residential.directenergy.com/EN/Home-Services/ontario/Pages/Protection-Plans/total-home-6-in-1.aspx

Call 1-866-917-8631

**some restrictions may apply

** The 6 in 1 Plan is just over $500.00 per year ... some agents might consider reimbursing their customers a one year warranty in on closing as marketing tool.
 

 


Quick Ways To Find School - Jan 19


There are several ways to help you locate schools in an area - here are 4 quick and easy ways.
 
 
1.  Just Pull out a MapArt Book : )    Schools are displayed in every neighbourhood.
 
- or -
 
2.   Pull the listing up on treb ... click Street Map at the top - and then click the Map Art Tab to your right - (trick is to zoom out slightly so the map changes to the mapArt format) Schools will be displayed with name.  
 
 
 
Here is a legend for School MapArt coding.
 
 
- or -
 
3.  If you are in a rush -- visit www.Homezilla.ca -- type in the address, check mark the schools on the left - and the site does the work.   
 
 
- or -
 
 
4.  If you have time to do research - there is a School Link on the front Info Page of Treb at the very bottom
 
 
Every School district has a Tab with "school testing results"
     

Calculating Realty Tax - Jan 18


In order for your listings to comply with the MLS® Rules, all mandatory fields must be completed. The realty tax field is one of the mandatory fields. When your Seller can’t find the tax information that you require, you can calculate it. You will need two pieces of information: the Phased In Assessed Value for the current tax year, and the Municipal tax rate for the property type. Then you can perform a simple calculation to establish the realty taxes.

The links below will allow you to learn more about the Calculating Realty Taxes, by either completing the e-Training tutorial (8:45 minute) or reading the step-by-step pdf manual (6 pages).

Remember you do not put Zero Taxes on your resale listing -- fines are hefty.

View Video

http://edu.torontomls.net/calculatingrealtytaxes/calculating%20realty%20taxes.htm

Mill Rate Chart:

To view 2010 mill rates visit www.SuttonOffice.info - click on the calculator tab at the top and scroll to the bottom of the page

or click here

 

 

http://maryannsemen.point2agent.com/Calculators_Mtge_LLT_Tax/page_1519272.html

 

 


Government Changing Amortization To 30 Years From 35 - Jan 18


 

Below is an update to inform our clients of the new changes ... there is some confusion about 5% down for home buyers --- the new rules do not effect home buying but are mostly targeted at people refinancing or consolidating using an equity line of credit on their homes.

What I can see coming is a lot of DOWNSIZING ... when people cannot access their equity -- the solution will be obvious - start from scratch ... if they sell -- they can cash out their equity ... purchase another house and then qualify again for 5% down ... hopefully taking some of the equity in their homes and paying off higher interest rate loans.

So to make sure everyone is clear - the new rules do not effect HOME BUYING ... just refinancing. Of course, there is no longer 35 year amortization - but 30 is sufficient for most people. I also recommend those Canadians having difficulty making their payments at todays low mortgage interest rates consider downsizing and then locking into a long term fixed mortgage just in case we see a rate hike ... The government is determined to haul in the values of houses and decrease our debt load.

Better to be the first to organize our finances before they start implementing something else!

Federal Government's Mortgage Insurance Changes

In keeping you up to date with today's changing market, we thought you would like to know that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has unveiled three new rules:


Mortgage amortization periods will be reduced to 30 years from 35 years on insured mortgage loans
---

The maximum amount Canadians can borrow to refinance their owner occupied property will be lowered to 85 percent from 90 percent.
---

The government will withdraw its insurance backing on lines of credit secured on homes, such as home equity lines of credit.
 

The change in amortization and refinance borrowing limits will go into effect on March 18, 2011 and the change in insurance on home equity lines of credit will go into effect on April 18, 2011. (but expect some Banks to implement the changes immediately)

The first change is likely to have the largest impact. Buyers who purchase a home to owner occupy with less than 20 percent down payment are required to purchase government-backed mortgage insurance. (5% down still existings for buyers*)

Under the new rules, mortgages amortized over longer than 30 years will no longer qualify for that insurance, making it effectively impossible to get a highly leveraged mortgage of more than 30 years in Canada.

*5% Down Still Exists - While Flaherty called the changes "moderate," they did not include an increase to the five per cent minimum down payment Ottawa requires for a home purchase. They also stopped short of a proposal that surfaced last week which would have required 100 per cent of condo fees to be included in the list of expenses that are measured against income when financial firms consider a mortgage candidate. Currently, only 50 per cent must be included.

The ratio of household debt to disposable income has reached 147 per cent and household debt has reached $1.4 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund has called household debt the number one risk to the Canadian economy.

According to the Financial Post's recent article by Paul Vieira, analysts at Scotia Capital suggested government regulation was the way to go in terms of curbing household appetite for credit as opposed to the Bank of Canada raising interest rates, which they said would be "imprudent" at this time. Read More

 

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2011/01/17/flaherty-mortgage-changes.html

 


Front Pad Parking - Jan 12


We have been waiting for a RECO Case to be heard about Agents not confirming the use of "Front Pad" to their Toronto clients.
 
Here are the results of a recent case where Reco fined the agent $9,000 for not knowing the rules about Front Pad Parking.
 
 
Expect Reco and Treb files to climb ... in the past the average fines were around $2,000 --- now it seems the lucky number is $9,000.
Not so easy being a realtor eh!    Our knowledge is worth our commission!
 

 
Toronto Front Pad Parking - What Realtors Should Know Before They List a Property
 
A license for Boulevard Parking does not automatically follow a property, the new property owner will
need to apply to have the existing license agreement transferred with the City... Therefore,
Before you list a property for sale with front pad parking, ensure that any existing front yard parking
facility is property licensed.
 
To check visit the City of Toronto's website:   http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/offstreet/
 
To View List of Licensed Residential Off-Street Parking Locations
 
 
City of Toronto --- Article about new by-law for stricting number of cars you can park in your driveway
 
 

 
Driveway restrictions for new properties only  (Not to be confused with Front Pad Parking)
 
Published On Wed Oct 6 2010
 

City officials have put an end to the confusion over a new bylaw restricting the number of cars parked in residential driveways, saying it only applies to new developments and will not be heavily enforced.

Hosting a dinner party? It’s safe to let your guests pack the driveway, said city planning official Joe D’Abramo, who helped draft the bylaw.

“I don’t think anything has really changed,” he said. “People have garages but they come home and they just park in the driveway — not in their garages — and nobody is giving them tickets, right? So why would they get a ticket now?”

The bylaw was created for new construction and is grandfathered for residents used to packing their driveways. If you buy an old home, you inherit the extra parking, D’Abramo said.

According to the bylaw, those with a single garage can park only one car in the driveway and those with a double garage can park two, D’Abramo said. If you don’t have a garage, you can park as many as two vehicles based on the driveway’s size.

The city won’t actively seek out offenders but will respond to complaints, which could result in a fine of up to $5,000.

The parking restrictions have been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board and all four leading mayoral candidates have spoken out against them, although Rob Ford and Joe Pantalone both voted in August to pass the massive harmonized zoning bylaw in which the driveway restrictions are buried.

George Smitherman’s campaign said Wednesday the driveway restriction is part of “a broader issue” — disregard for Toronto as a city of distinct neighbourhoods with diverse needs — and should be repealed because it’s “unenforceable”.

“This may be minor to City Hall, but it is a major irritant to the residents,” Rocco Rossi said


Common Law Rights - Jan 11


From time to time agents are faced with listing properties resulting from divorce / relationship splits. 

While the laws are clear which parties are required to sign the listing and offer, it is always best the realtor try and work with both sides to ensure the listing is easily accessible for showings and is kept in a clean state.   If you have a hostile common law spouse that is planted in a home and makes showings difficult you could end up with an unsalable listing.  It might be best to take a gentle and understanding approach - and explain the basic law.

If a couple is married and one refuses to sell --- it could be a long legal battle with a court order required.

Know the Basics - Family Law Rights

1.  In Ontario, common-law spouses do not have the same rights to matrimonial property as married spouses.

2.  If you're married and want to sell a matrimonial home, you need a signature from your spouse on the agreement of purchase and sale, even if the home is registered in your name only.  

3.  If you're living common law and your name is not on title to the home, you have no entitlement to the property, the home can be sold without your agreement. Common-law spouses have charged that this law is unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but the provisions have been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada and deemed not to be entitled to the property. 

4.  The Common-law spouse may however be entitled to support and should seek legal advice.

5.  If you're a common-law spouse, make sure your name is placed on the title when you and your common-law spouse buy any property together.

*Facts verified by Mark Weisleder, Lawyer (Jan.2011)