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How one broker is coping as COVID upends urban-suburban real estate markets – Mortgage Broker News



How one broker is coping as COVID upends urban-suburban real estate markets

When Alex Shein (pictured) co-founded Peak Mortgage, he and his partner sought to be location agnostic. Based in the Lower Mainland of B.C., they chose to open their primary office in South Burnaby, accessible in 20-30 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, Coquitlam and South Surrey alike. Shein built his partnerships accordingly, working with real estate agents from across the wider region, even as Metro Vancouver’s housing market became increasingly concentrated in downtown condos where so much new development was happening.

As the pandemic has shifted gears and moved market activity out to suburbs, Shein’s business has benefitted. He’s seen significant upticks in volume from across the lower mainland as he’s worked to deepen his relationship with existing referral partners and forge new ones with formerly downtown-exclusive real estate agents now ranging far and wide into the ‘burbs.

“There is a lot more activity in Coquitlam, Langley, and a lot of the suburbs. Our office being halfway between downtown and Langley means you can tap into any market you want, really,” Shein said. “But ultimately, it also comes down to your relationships with the people in the industry. Your accountants, lawyers, your real estate agents. By having an office here, it makes it a little bit easier for those referral partners to work with us.”

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Even as many business operations have gone remote, having such a central point within that suburban market matrix has helped Shein and his team stay on top of a shifting market. Being closer to the territory of now extremely busy suburban real estate agents has allowed Shein to strengthen his relationships. At the same time, as downtown agents follow the money into the ‘burbs, Peak’s established presence in those markets makes forging a new relationship all the easier.

It’s those relationships, Shein said, that allow his company to compete in these hot markets. He maintains regular correspondence and offers regular gestures to the agents, lawyers, and notaries crucial to getting deals done. He and his team press hard to ensure rapid loan turnaround times to ensure those referral partners are happy.

Shein’s biggest selling point to those partners is the depth of financial conversations he and his team can have with clients. Peak sells itself as offering an advisory service, and in these highly competitive multi-offer markets a depth of knowledge and education is key.

Shein cited the example of one prospective client who was offering an Eastside home in Vancouver proper with a March 31 closing date. In a tight turnaround ahead of multiple offers, Shein was able to secure a subject-free situation for the borrower because of the in-depth discussion they had upfront. The client was happy, and the real estate agent was happy.

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Shein stressed that arguably the most important thing to keep in mind, from a broker’s perspective, is as beneficial as these relationships can be to you, they should never be seen as extractive. The relationship with a notary or a real estate agent is a two-way street, and as markets shift under our feet it’s important to ensure that you’re supporting them as much as they’re supporting you. That comes in service levels and closing times, and it comes in handwritten notes and gift baskets.

That approach, a focus on new and old partners with less regard to location, is one that Shein believes will work in any real estate market that’s seen its traditional geography upended by COVID.

“Treat everybody as a true partner rather than a transaction,” Shein said. “Try to make their business easier and next time your files will be the ones they pick out, your deals are going to be looked at faster. In this type of market, more than just the best rate, the most important thing is leveraging the relationships you’ve created and supporting the partners that have been supporting you all this time.” 

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Canadian home sales, prices surge to new record in March



OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian home sales rose 5.2% in March from February, setting a new all-time record amid strong demand in markets across the country, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Thursday.

The industry group said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, rose 76.2% from a year earlier, while the group’s Home Price Index was up 20.1% from last March and up 3.1% from February.

The actual national average selling price hit a new record at C$716,828 ($572,821) in March, up 31.6% from a year earlier and rising 5.7% from February.

($1 = 1.2514 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa)

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Hot real estate market sparks warnings to potential buyers as complaints to regulator double



As home sales in the province continue on a dizzying trajectory, the province’s real estate watchdog and regulator are warning buyers to be wary of what they may be getting into.

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate said that in the first three months of 2021, they have seen an increase in inquiries and complaints.

Calls to the regulator were up 42 per cent over the previous year, while complaints, such as how offers were made and accepted, were double the number received in the same period in 2020.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial decisions. There are potential risks at the best of times, but with the added pressure and stress of the current market conditions, those risks are amplified,” Micheal Noseworthy, superintendent of real estate, said in a statement.



The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says sales in the region have continued at a record-setting pace.

Residential home sales covered by the board totalled 5,708 in March 2021, up 126.1 per cent from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and up 53.2 per cent from February of this year.

Rural and suburban areas have experienced the biggest spikes.

For the past two weeks, Jay Park has been in the middle of the buying frenzy.

He and his partner are trying to upgrade from their one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse in Vancouver.

“I wish we had done this a month or two ago,” he said.


A condo tower under construction is pictured in downtown Vancouver in February 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


Park put an offer on a $1-million condo, $4,000 above asking price.

“To entice the [seller], we put in a subject-free offer, but it wasn’t successful,” he said. “They accepted $110,000 over asking price that was also subject-free.”

The hot market has led to bidding wars. Some would-be buyers have even lined up outside for days to try to get a jump on a property.

Erin Seeley, the CEO of the council, is warning buyers to do their research and be aware of risks before making an offer.

“It’s really important that buyers have engaged with their lender before they’re making offers so they know how to stay within a reasonable budget,” she said.

Seeley said some of the complaints the council has heard from buyers is that they weren’t aware the seller has a right to take an early offer.

“And the seller was really in the driver’s seat about setting the pricing,” she said.


Demand continues to outstrip supply for housing in cities like Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)


Aaron Jasper, a Vancouver realtor, advises clients to avoid cash offers and to include finance clauses even if it may mean they lose a deal.

“There’s a lot of frustration among buyers, feeling pressure to take some risk,” he said.

“You’re better to be delayed perhaps a year getting into the market as opposed to being completely financially ruined.”

Jasper also says realtors are limited in the advice they can give to clients on legal matters, home inspections, potential deficiencies with homes, and financing.

‘Caught up in the craziness’

Other tips from the council include seeking professional advice before making a subject-free offer or proceeding without a home inspection, and speaking to a professional to determine how market conditions may be affecting prices.

Meantime, people like Jay Park say they are still keen to buy. Park has more viewings scheduled and is optimistic.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, but I also don’t want to get caught up in the craziness and make a purchase that’s above our means.”

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Black Press Media introduces one of Western Canada’s best real estate platforms helping home buyers Find. Love. Live. that new home



Need an agent who knows the community?

Or, is it time to look for a new place to live, but you don’t know what’s on the market?

Whatever the real estate need is for residents in the communities of British Columbia, Yukon & Alberta, there’s a new way to do that one-stop shopping – by visiting Today’s Home.

The slogan for the site is “Find. Love. Live.”

“We want people to find their dream home, love it, and live in it,” said group publisher Lisa Farquharson.

Building on the success of Black Press Media’s niche digital platforms – Today’s Home brings the same wealth of knowledge and local expertise to the search for a home, be it buying, selling, or even just daydreaming about what changes you can make in the future.

Search hundreds of listings that local real estate agents have available.

The listings cover properties around the region, from a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for $339,900 to million-dollar acreages throughout the province of BC, Yukon, Central Alberta and beyond.

Click on a listing, and see not only the realtor handling the property sale, but links to his or her other listings and social media feeds. With the click of a mouse, take a virtual tour of the property, find the property’s walking score, and learn about nearby amenities.

There are links available to schedule a showing, or send the agent a comment or question.

Want to share a listing? When you click on the share button, you’ll actually send an attractive digital flyer of the prospective property, not just a link.

There’s even a button to help determine how much you have to spend, courtesy of the convenient mortgage calculator.

Plus, scroll down the page on Today’s Home and find a list of expert local real estate professionals who can answer questions or help with that home sale, Farquharson explained.

Today’s Home offers the advantage of the massive reach that Black Press Media has built throughout Western Canada with its network of community newspapers and online products. That allows the public to tailor real estate searches based on location, price, and other key factors while allowing real estate professionals to gain unprecedented audience reach with their listings.

Today’s Home will dovetail into the media company’s existing print real estate publications.

“Black Press Media has real estate solutions in print and now we can add in the digital component,” Farquharson said.

Watch for expansion of the Today’s Home platform in the near future, she added. That will come as Black Press Media adds a new component – the development community. Developers will be able to reach a huge audience when their projects are ready for presentation.

For information on Today’s Home, contact group publisher Lisa Farquharson at 604-994-1020 or via email.

Happy house hunting!

Source: – Aldergrove Star

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