All posts tagged 'real estate'
Posted on 9. December 2009 16:06 by Kevin Flaherty

The Bank of Canada released their monetary update yesterday and as expected there is no change in the overnight lending rate and thus your variable mortgage rate remains unchanged. The Bank of Canada reiterated its conditional promise not to increase rates until the end of the 2nd quarter (end of July). Regardless of this promise, the Bank of Canada has no economic reasons to move rates anytime soon. The only time the bank will begin moving rates is when inflation becomes a concern. That being said a strong Canadian dollar helps dampen this effect, a good thing for variable mortgage holders. In closing, I suggest everyone with a variable rate mortgage maintain the status quo.   No need entertain locking into a fixed term until the Bank of Canada gives us some indication of escalating rates.

As for fist time home buyers, it would be wise to get your pre-approvals completed in January 2010.  Banks will lock in a rate for you with your pre-approval for a given period of time.  If rates go up and you have not purchased, you will still get the all time low rate we have all been enjoying.  Just be sure to purchase before your pre-approval expires.

Kevin Flaherty
iPro Realty Ltd. Brokerage
Direct: 1-877-352-4378
Web: http://Flaherty.ca
e-mail: Kevin@Flaherty.ca


Posted on 13. November 2009 11:15 by Kevin Flaherty

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Homes and Real Estate 

  1. Why should I buy a home and invest in real estate? 

    Because in a stable political and economic country, real estate is always the best investment in one’s life in the long run, in addition to the comfort of living in your own house.  Further, owners will often fix up their own house on their own time enjoying the process and increasing its value.

  2. Why should I buy properties as investments ?

    Again, it is like owning blue chips stocks, in the long run, investment and commercial properties give a secure good return.

  3. Should I not use the money to buy stock rather than properties ? I get my money back much quicker ?

    This is why real estate is usually a long-term investment. Quicker return also means higher risk.

  4. Do I pay capital gain tax on the house (property) I live in if I make a profit when selling ?

    In the United States, you do.
    In Canada, you do NOT.

  5. Does it mean that I am better off in Canada when it comes to selling my house ?

    Not necessarily. In the United States you can deduct the mortgage interest from your income tax in Canada you CANNOT deduct the mortgage interest.

  6. I am a first time home buyer. Is there any program that might benefit me ?

    Yes. Depends on whether you live in the United States, or in Canada. And also it depends on which state or province you are in, there are government incentives to help first time home buyers. Check with your Realtor.  Click here to ask http://www.flaherty.ca/gold_askexpert.asp

  7. What is a good area (neighbourhood) to move to ?

    Well to start, a good area usually costs more. Your Realtor will be able to indicate good areas from bad ones.  Also ask your Realtor to point out future government zoning changes nearby that might give a neighborhood great appreciation in the near future, i.e.. Government newly-approved mall nearby, or new freeway (highway) planned.

  8. What are other ways to know if a neighbourhood is good or bad ?

    Ask your insurance agent, drive the neighbourhood, speak with some residence or go to a local police station and find out.  Ask them the crime rate statistics to compare with other neighbourhoods.

  9. Education is important to me as a parent. How do I know if the school in the area is good ?

    Look under school boards and other similar organizations from the internet or library. See how that school and teachers were ranked. See if any awards were won in the past.  Ask you Realtor about the school reputations in the area.

10. Should I pay down my mortgage when I have extra money?

  1. If you live in the United States, it might not be a good idea, because mortgage interest is deductible from annual income. That means you pay less income tax for the year and you could earn more by investing your money elsewhere.
  2. If you live in Canada, mortgage interest is NOT tax deductible So, you should use the extra money to pay down your mortgage principle.

11. Between stocks and properties, which one has higher risk ?    

The value of stock can go down to zero. Residential properties especially your own home will appreciate. In a slow market it may take longer to achieve any kind of appreciation. The amount of loss or appreciation will depend on when you purchased the property and if you paid fair market value or not. This is where the expertise of a professional Realtor would come in handy to provide you with expert advice.

12. How can I be sure to get top dollar for my house when I sell it ?
                 
                    i. Interview at least three Realtors and be sure to ask these questions.  Click here http://www.flaherty.ca/agent_questions.asp

                    ii. Be sure to get the best on-line representation of your house.  Read the blog here titled Welcome / The real estate secret.
                        Here is a sample of my tours that are linked directly into the MLS listing. http://flahertytours.ca/72baybrook.htm

13.   What areas do you service ?

I service Peel Region, Dufferin, Wellington and some surrounding areas.  These area include Brampton, Caledon, Orangeville, Shelburne, Alliston, Dundalk, Alliston, Erin, Mississauga and Georgetown.

14.   Will the HST apply to resale homes

                    i.  No, not resale homes in Ontario, but it will apply to services such as lawyers fees, real estate fees, home inspectors etc.

                   ii.  Yes, it will apply on the cost of a new house.  ( A really good reason to make your real estate investment a resale )

15.    How often is Realtor.ca updated ?

 Realtor.ca or mls.ca ( same thing ) is a national database of mls listings.  It is not the actual mls data base.  Hundreds of real estate boards across Canada upload data to Realtor.ca    The uploads are generally done every 24hrs, but depending on weekends and holidays it can be up to 72 hours out of date.   In order to learn about the newest hottest listings matching your specific criteria in Orangeville, Caledon, Brampton Shelburne join my VIP buyer program.  All new mls listings matching your specific criteria will be emailed to you long before they are even uploaded to Realtor.ca .  Click here to join http://www.flaherty.ca/vip_buyer.asp 

 

Kevin Flaherty
Web: http://Flaherty.ca
E-mail: Kevin@Flaherty.ca
Direct:  1-877-352-4378 


Posted on 4. November 2009 03:25 by Kevin Flaherty

People are asking me about the suggestions made by the Competition Bureau of Canada following their investigation of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The Competition Bureau has indicated that some of CREA’s policies that govern the operations of MLS® systems restrict consumer choice and limit the scope of alternative business models, which might be viable and beneficial to consumers if the policies didn’t exist. The purpose of these policies while clear to Realtors are not often clear to consumers.  This article will clarify some of the major points in this area of debate. 

First let me set the record straight with respect to some of the twist placed on this topic by the media in recent days for the sole purpose of making headlines.  CREA has indicated to its members that it disagrees with the Bureau’s views.  The media would have you believe that the CREA will be opening up the MLS® system for all to use.  This is simply not the case nor is the Competition Bureau even suggesting that. An understanding of what the MLS® system actually is should help.

First of all it is necessary to know that CREA is a national association of REALTOR® members. All REALTORS® working in Canada are members of the association. CREA provides governance for the real estate industry at the national level.  In Ontario, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Real Estate Counsel of Ontario (RECO) provide service and governance for its members at the provincial level.  Below are details of what the Competition Bureau is challenging CREA on.

In 2007, the membership of the Canadian Real Estate Association approved the “Three Pillars of the MLS® Mark” and Interpretations.

The Three Pillars of the MLS® Mark are;

1)    Membership – Only REALTORS® may place a listing on a Board/Association’s MLS® System.
2)    Agency – A listing REALTOR® must act as agent for the seller to sell the property and to assist the seller throughout the entire time of the listing contract.
3)    Compensation to Cooperating Broker – The listing REALTOR® agrees to pay to the cooperating REALTOR® compensation for the cooperative selling of the property.

The Interpretations of the Three Pillars of the MLS® Mark are;

1)    The listing REALTOR® shall receive and present all offers and counter offers to the seller.
2)    The listing REALTOR® shall be available to provide professional advice and counsel to the seller on all offers and counter offers unless otherwise directed by the seller in writing.
3)    The mere posting of property information in an MLS® system is contrary to CREA’s Rules. A “mere posting” occurs when the listing agreement relieves the listing member of any obligations under the Rules, including the obligation that the listing REALTOR® remain the agent of the seller throughout the term of the listing contract.
4)    The listing REALTOR® is responsible and accountable for the accuracy of information submitted to a Board/Association for inclusion in the Board’s MLS® system, and the Board/Association is responsible for ensuring that the data submitted to it meets reasonable standards of quality.
5)    Only REALTORS® are permitted to display the MLS® trademarks in signage, advertising, etc.
6)    Only the listing REALTOR® name(s) and contact information may appear on REALTOR.ca. The seller’s name or contact information shall not appear on REALTOR.ca or in the public remarks section of the MLS® system.
7)    In cases where a Board permits listings in which the seller has reserved the right to sell the property himself/herself, that fact shall be specified in the Board’s MLS® database.

The same year that these articles were passed, CREA was served a Section 11 Order, an investigatory order requiring CREA to produce documents related to CREA’s rules and the operation of an MLS® System. CREA has been engaged in regular discussions with the Bureau since the issuance of the Section 11 Order.

The Bureau ultimately concluded that specific aspects of CREA’s Three Pillars of the MLS® Mark and the accompanying Interpretations prevent innovative business models, and the potential “unbundling” of real estate services that could allow sellers to play a larger role in the home selling process, even while utilizing the limited services of a REALTOR®.

Specifically, the Competition Bureau has asked CREA to remove the “Agency” pillar, as well as interpretations 1, 3 and 6. Under the Bureau’s proposed remedy, the other two “pillars” would remain, and so would Interpretations 2, 4, 5 and 7.

It seems apparent, based on the articles targeted for removal that the Bureau would like to see REALTORS® having the option to offer limited services that do not bind the REALTOR® to meet their fiduciary duties normally provided as a result of an agency relationship. Those obligations include accountability, confidentiality, full disclosure, competent care, obedience, loyalty, as well as protection and promotion of the client’s interests. If these obligations were removed, a REALTOR® could, on behalf of a seller, list a property for sale on an MLS® and then allow the seller to perform all of the other services normally provided by agents, for themselves. Some REALTORS have attempted to provide this minimum level of service and claim to have been forced out of the membership and/or had their business models fail as a result. These were models basically resembled a for sale by owner with access to putting their listing on the MLS® listing data base.

In the past, CREA has taken the position that “agency” is a key component of the service that a REALTOR® provides, and continue to believe that. Reality is that all REALTOR®s in Canada have the freedom to choose what levels of service they might provide to a seller, and determine the fee that they will charge for that service.  That is obvious with numerous and present discount brokerages that exist right now.  The only difference is that those Realtors are still bound as an agent, owing fiduciary duties of care to the seller.  In my 22 years as a REALTOR®, I have continually seen discount brokerages come and go.  I have never seen one prosper or even continue in business for any length of time.

CREA has also expressed concern that removing this particular pillar does not relieve the REALTOR® from agency obligations, as a matter of law and regulation. Even if the agency component were removed from the “pillars,” provincial and federal law and regulation would still bind REALTOR®s. In fact, some of the interpretations which would remain if CREA agreed to remove those in question clearly imply the existence of an agency relationship, namely articles 2 and 4. In essence, the concern seems to be that REALTORS® could find themselves offering substantially limited services, which ultimately expose them to greater risk and liability resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty.

The Bureau has taken the position that if CREA does not remove the restrictions noted above, the Commissioner of Competition will initiate an application before the Competition Tribunal, a judicial body, which has authority under Canadian law to issue monetary penalties and prohibition orders.

CREA’s Board of Directors has agreed to work with the Competition Bureau towards a settlement, which would be presented to its membership for approval.

CREA is in the process of scheduling consultations with Boards and Associations across Canada to discuss the issue further.

People have been asking me if I am concerned about the potential settlement.  My answer is that I am no more concerned now than I was in 2002 when the discount agencies started trying their new "models" and which later failed.  The fact remains that the consumer can use the discount brokerages now on the MLS® database and that those brokerages can set their fees wherever they want.  Home sellers are also free to sell their homes themselves and have powerful networking tools and companies offering for sale by owner postings.  Fact is, while the MLS® system offers a database of homes for sale, its all the other services Realtors provide that make it work.  Quiet simply, unless your a REALTOR® or have a close friend who is one, you may not be aware of the amount of actual work, time, effort, training, and costs that go into it.  Over the past 22 years, I have listed hundreds of for sale by owners who have indicated they listed with me for a variety of reasons including; 

1) They have been approached by potential buyers and did not know where to begin.
-Some for sale by owners were of the opinion that their lawyer would negotiate the real estate transaction for them.
-Having a professional 24/7 negotiator who knows the market and is not part of the actual transaction has very distinct advantages and may be one of the most underestimated values of selling with a Realtor.

2) They have been offend by the people making offers trying to save the same commission they are trying to save.
- Buyers know that it does not cost them anything to be represented by a REALTOR® on the majority of listings and approach for sale by owners themselves with the intent to save.

3) They have been approached by buyers being represented by a REALTOR® which was still being paid the same and they had no representation themselves.
- Buyers are often under contract with a REALTOR® and even if the seller thinks he didn't pay commission, the offer was less in order that the buyer compensate his REALTOR®

4) They were getting numerous calls, questions, and good showings with no results.
-  I know from experience that if the seller is even home, much less showing the house, that the buyer cannot relax a see the details of the home.  The buyer also frequently
has a different view of the house than the seller which only comes out when privacy is obtained.


5) They were concerned about liability or they heard about problems/civil actions arising from a private sale.
- Failure to disclose pertinent information or misrepresenting some aspect of the property or surrounding area is one of the many potentially serious problems facing for sale by owners.
The problem here is that private sellers don't have any idea how many things need to be addressed and disclosed in writing to prevent problems.   
REALTOR®s must complete ongoing mandatory continuing education themselves just to stay on top of issues like disclosure and unfolding case law in the industry.
REALTOR®s must also maintain errors and omissions insurance to cover the potential liability.

6) They simply did not know why their house was not selling or even if it was priced right.
- REALTOR®s spend their career evaluating, viewing, analyzing and negotiating real estate values. Being able to articulate why market value is what it is, 
can often be critical to the sale.

7) They had seen or heard about my Home Selling System and all the services it provides.  They often indicate that they had noticed the results my system gets over that of other REALTOR®s, especially that of discount agencies.
- Simply being on the MLS® database is VERY far from everything necessary to getting sold, much less getting top dollar for you house.  Can sellers do it themselves...sure they can.  The question
is how much money is left in their pockets afterwords if they can get even get sold.  That means after any civil actions against them and also after they account for their own time and money.  This answer alone is why the vast majority select full service REALTOR®s to sell their house.
- I have written articles on this topic which I call "The Real Estate Secret".  One is included in this blog, but suffice to say that the quality of your on-line representation beyond the MLS® database representation
is CRITICAL, but is also the beginning of the process, not the end.  Case in point...here is a link to a custom web page I built for a client that spent 14 months on the market with another REALTOR®.  Yes, they were on the MLS® database and even had a REALTOR®.  This is not some exception or past history, but rather last month.  Once listed by me the seller sold for 99% of asking less than a week.  Oh yes, the process still takes up hours of my time almost daily servicing the transaction. 

9) They didn't feel good about some of the people that were showing up in their home.
- I think this one speaks for itself, but I will add that without a negotiator, the success of the transaction additionally becomes whether or not the buyer and the sell like one another.

Only time will tell how this all unfolds, but regardless, there is no way what is required to get a house successfully sold and closed will magically become cheap and easy.  If you have read this article and still think that the MLS® database does it all and REALTOR®s do little work and are overpaid, I suggest you give selling real estate a try.  Stats show that one in nine REALTOR®s are still in the business two years after they start. 

Kevin Flaherty
Direct:  1-877-352-4378  (877-Flaherty)
Web:    http://Flaherty.ca
E-mail: Kevin@Flaherty.ca


Posted on 30. October 2009 13:36 by Kevin Flaherty

Welcome to my real estate blog.  My name is Kevin Flaherty.  I have been a licensed Realtor since 1988 serving the Peel, Dufferin, and Wellington areas of Ontario.  The purpose of this blog will be to provide quality information that will assist buyers and sellers with the purchase or sale of a home.  Some of you may already be familiar with my services.  If you are not familiar, I will provide you with some introductory information that should immediately separate my services from that of other Realtors. 

In today's real estate market, over 90% of buyers in Canada will find their next home on-line at www.Realtor.ca or www.mls.ca which are the same thing. At this location on the web, the buyer in Canada can search all MLS listings.  For those of you in the US, I recently read that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) produced a statistic indicating that over 96% of buyers will start their search on the Internet.  What the buyers do next is part of what I call the real estate secret.  A secret because many Realtors are hoping that sellers don't know what I am about to tell you.  Buyers shortlist which homes they are interested in right on-line.  That means that the Internet representation of your property is absolutely critical!  Not, important or nice, but CRITICAL!  If you are a buyer, think about what you do and chances are you will see my point.  My services offer a custom web page of the sellers house which includes the following.

1) A professional video narrated tour of the entire listing
2) Professional floor plans
3) Professional photography
4) Satellite images of the subject property and surrounding area
5) All the listing details, maps, and much more

I have yet to encounter an on-line representation that in my opinion is better than the one I offer.  I know the world is a big place, so if you have seen one better, or if you are a Realtor who feels yours is equal or better, please feel free to provide us with a sample of your tour.  If the rest of the world is anything like the Realtors in Ontario, I strongly suspect I wont have any challengers.  Below are some samples of on-line representations for homes I sold this month.

1) http://flahertytours.ca/72baybrook.htm

2) http://www.flahertytours.ca/18Dewridge.htm

3) http://flahertytours.ca/19767Main.htm

Now you may be asking yourself why other Realtors don't want sellers to know this.  Quite simply, tours like the ones above a very time consuming and expensive to produce.  Further, many Realtors may simply not have the skills required to produce such on-line representation.  I should also indicate that my fees are not higher than that of other Realtors in my area.

As for results, #1 above sold for 101% of the asking price in just 8 days.  #2 also sold for more than the asking price in less than a week.  #3 was on the market for 14 months with another Realtor just prior to me taking the listing...YES, 14 months!  I again sold the property in less than a week for 99% of the asking price.  These results are not years ago, not months ago, but this month.  Many Realtors have stories upon stories of what they may have done in the past, but you need to know what they are doing on a regular basis.  In-fact, most sellers simply don't know what to ask Realtors.  Available FREE on my web site is a list of questions agents hate at http://www.flaherty.ca/agent_questions.asp  This list of questions will help sellers know they are selecting a Realtor that offers quality services in many areas of importance, not just the quality of on-line representation.

Future blogs will touch on the importance of Realtors communication technologies, prospect generation, database management of contacts, insured transactions and much more.  Until next time.

Kevin Flaherty
Direct:   1-877-352-4378  
e-Mail: Kevin@Flaherty.ca
Web: http://Flaherty.ca