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LACKIE: Downsizers are critical to a healthy real-estate market – Toronto Sun

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Once upon a time, the real-estate market flowed in clearly delineated seasons. Spring and fall were busy, winter and summer slow.

In many ways this continues to be the rhythm — families will always prefer to be settled in time for school to start or the holiday season to kick off, and in a country with but a few short months of glorious summer, July and August will always find most of us out-of-office, even if just in our minds.

But in a city with a years-long inventory problem, real estate has now evolved to become opportunity-driven more than anything else; would-be buyers need to be on the hunt 24/7 lest they miss their chance.

We talk a lot about the challenges first-time buyers face in a tough market like ours. Less frequently explored are the frustrations felt by would-be downsizers who want to shift their focus to their next acts but simply cannot figure out a way to get there.

Downsizers are a critical component to a well-functioning real-estate market. In order for first-time buyers to ascend the property ladder, upward movement depends on those at the top vacating their spots, in this case their family homes.

We call them “downsizers” but that presupposes that smaller houses, stair-free bungalows, or larger apartments are easily accessible. Going from house to a decent sized condo is most often a lateral move, financially speaking. So even though we’re all familiar with the classic Toronto tale of the Boomer couple who bought their Riverdale semi for $37,000 in 1976 only to now be able to sell for $1.5M, the problem is that those gains are meaningless if there’s nowhere to move that will free up some of that equity to fund retirement.

So what then?

Rental apartments are tricky as they’re not particularly stable. Even if you find one you can see yourself being happy in, it’s unwise to plan too far into the future as there is always the distinct possibility of the unit being reclaimed or sold out from under you. The few purpose-built rental buildings in the city are largely 1970s buildings that usually can’t compare to condos in terms of fit, finish and amenities, so not particularly appealing to people coming from a home they love.

And with recent moves by this provincial government to further limit rent control measures as a way to incentivize development of more rental supply, it’s even harder for someone contemplating life on a fixed income to feel secure.

We unfortunately know that COVID-19 has revealed horrendous vulnerabilities in the province’s assisted living and long-term care facilities, so that’s likely going to be a hard pass as well.

So what to do?

Firstly, for a while host of reasons it’s time to change the messaging around “affordable housing” initiatives in this city. We need to incentivize development of projects that meet pressing needs such as this, and advocate for them to the NIMBYs who complain about the city’s lack of housing supply yet simultaneously rail against such projects during the community consultation process.

We need to incentivize developers to build purpose-built rental apartments again, the bigger the better.

We need to lobby the government to help retirees find ways to access the equity in their homes.

At present, there’s no way to access a Home Equity Line of Credit without income, so for many retirees that leaves only predatory reverse mortgages. If the government would step in and legislate to protect seniors from predatory lending while also helping them tap into the equity in their home, that would go a long way. In the meantime, the only real option is to take out such a line of credit in advance of retirement, and keep it clear until you need to advance on it to fund your life. But that shouldn’t be the only way.

It seems to me that this is a moment of opportunity for a savvy entrepreneur.

There is an entire segment of our population who would love some help staying in their homes, even if it’s a smaller house around the corner or a bungalow 45 minutes north of the city. Service offerings that will take on the day-to-day headaches of running a home — garbage day, snow removal, gutter cleaning — for a monthly fee. Occupational therapists that can assess the home and make recommendations for how one might adapt the environment to meet the needs of seniors with evolving health challenges. Concierge-like services that will help tacking online grocery ordering and come help when the cable stops working or the skylight springs a leak.

Because the thing is this — in helping to facilitate the next steps for downsizers by doing more to meet the needs of our seniors, you’re opening up possibilities for everyone else. Win-win. For everyone.

— Lackie is a second-generation Sales Representative with Chestnut Park Real Estate and has been helping her clients navigate the challenging Toronto market since 2011

@brynnlackie 

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Real estate sales and sales volume are up in Estevan; time spent on market is down – Estevan Mercury

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The Saskatchewan Realtors Association says the province’s real estate market is showing strong signs of recovery.

Data released last week shows sales from across the province were up close to 50 per cent from June of last year, and down only .3 per cent for the first six months of the year.

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Sales in southeast Saskatchewan were up 35.1 per cent, going from 37 in June 2019 to 50 in June 2020. It’s also up 20.2 per cent from the five-year average (and 8.3 per cent below the 10-year average).

The total number of sales in Estevan rose 57 per cent, going from seven to 11, and 14.3 per cent in Weyburn, from 14 to 16. Sales in Estevan were 17.0 per cent above the five-year average, but 35.7 per cent below the 10-year average

So far this year, sales in Estevan have grown from 40 to 51.

Sales volume in Estevan rose 13.9 per cent from $9.2 million to $10.5 million in 2020.

The number of new listings in Estevan was down from 44 last year to 35 this year, which is a 20.5 per cent decrease. Active listings are down 35 per cent in Estevan, from 226 to 147.

The sales to listing ratio was 31.4 per cent, suggesting to the Realtors association that market conditions favour buyers.

Homes in Estevan stayed on the market 105 days on average in 2020, down from an average of 140 days last year

Median home prices in Estevan went from $247,000 in 2019 to $290,000 (an increase of 17.4 per cent) and were approximately two per cent above the five-year average. 

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10 Real Estate Tools Entrepreneurs Should Be Familiar With – Forbes

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The real estate market is a great place for entrepreneurs looking to be their own boss or counter the risks they take with their new businesses. I got involved in real estate at a very young age, and that experience taught me a lot about business and was the driving force in my ability to start my own successful company.

 Whether you’re looking to fully commit to the real estate industry or are an entrepreneur in another field looking to diversify, you should be aware of these 10 tools and what they can do for you:

Keeping in touch with potential clients helps them along the sales journey, which is important for every industry. Happy Grasshopper specializes in automated messaging in the real estate world, from emails and text messages to handwritten cards.

 The best thing about Happy Grasshopper is the professional writers hired to create content that you can use in your communications. As an entrepreneur looking to invest on the side, having this help can be a game changer.

When you’re looking to make an investment, you could end up in a bidding war with others, driving up the price and costing you the property. You can’t always avoid it, but DealMachine steps in to help you locate potential investment properties that no one else knows about.

 It accomplishes this by helping you drive leads off market. Not every property is listed for sale, but contacting owners and making offers could lead to great deals for both sides. DealMachine will help you receive informed prospects and convert them to investments.

As the real estate realm continues to evolve, so does consumer behavior. Knowing the best way to communicate with potential buyers and sellers is critical to your success. That’s why Lead Sherpa designed a text messaging platform specifically geared toward the real estate industry.

 Text messaging gets higher response rates than cold calls and direct mail and is a faster way to communicate. Hardly anyone will leave a text without reading it, so you’ll be comfortable knowing that almost everyone gets the messages you send.

InvestorPO forms a part of RealEstateInvestor.com, serving as one of its primary tools for helping investors with real estate. It offers a cloud-based customer relationship management solution; as an entrepreneur, you know just how important customer relationships are.

 Investors tend to have other things on their plate. Using software like this, they can effectively manage and guide leads, even when their attention is elsewhere.

A vital part of successful business in 2020 is a well-designed and functional website. A good website attracts interest, generates leads, and helps your business succeed, even outside of a brick-and-mortar establishment.

 Hoozip provides website design specifically for generating and converting leads on real estate properties. It helps investors with both buying and selling, making it faster and easier to find what you need. Keep track of your website’s data analytics, and you’ll be able to visualize the impact Hoozip has on your success.

Another easy place for generating leads is through Facebook. It’s one of the world’s largest social media sites for a reason. With people glued to their news feeds now more than ever, smart targeting can lead you to hopeful buyers and sellers with perfectly placed ads. This is where StreetText comes in.

 Social media allows you to expand your reach, which is helpful for those in the real estate industry looking for new clients. There’s little you can do, after all, without a client base. StreetText uses AI to target the right people with your ads so you can establish relationships and strike deals.

Maybe* expands your social media reach among real estate entrepreneurs by taking your social media accounts and consolidating them in one control board. This will generate reports and statistics about your social media efforts to help you plan campaigns and reel in deals.

 With detailed analytics, you can see when and what terms are trending in order to push content that gets high levels of engagement. Keeping up with real estate trends allows you to capitalize on opportunities.

When dealing with real estate, it’s important to effectively manage capital reserves. To beat the curve in this industry, SmartProperty developed a cloud-based service to help you track and manage your capital revenue expenditures for effective budgeting and forecasting.

 Staying on top of all this can be a handful, especially if you’re an entrepreneur looking to do real estate on the side. SmartProperty will help you save time and money and avoid surprises that can leave you flat on your back.

Take the future into your hands with Hauzd. It provides interactive 3D images of real estate properties for an in-depth look, no matter where you are. This unique approach at real estate marketing captures attention and leads to increased engagement and progression with clients.

 This is particularly valuable, given the hesitancy people may have due to the coronavirus. In-person showings and meetings are on the decline due to health and safety measures. Learning to navigate this difficult time while closing deals is essential to keeping the economy, and your personal finances, afloat.

Meet RAP Success Systems’ AI bot, REN. This wonderful piece of software works around the clock to make your real estate ventures succeed. It’ll track and score leads, letting you know which ones are ready to be taken on.

 Artificial intelligence is heading the charge of innovative industries. It works hard without needing a break, allowing you to get needed rest while continuing to manage your business. RAP Success Systems harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to make managing the real estate industry a breeze.

Real estate is a fickle beast, even in the most lucrative of times. During a global pandemic, it pays to have as many efficient tools at your disposal as possible. Not only will they make your real estate ventures a success, but they’ll also make your work manageable — something every entrepreneur can appreciate.

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RECA Changes Announced – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

On June 3, 2020, major changes were announced to theReal
Estate Act
, the legislation that governs realtors, mortgage
brokers, appraisers, and property managers in Alberta. The changes
stem from a 2019 KMPG review which criticized RECA’s former
counsel, following which the council was dismissed and an
administrator was appointed.

While most of changes relate to governance and oversight of
RECA, of particular note to condominium managers is that they will
officially be managed under RECA. The timeline to complete that
process remains unclear as as it depends on how quickly RECA
develops manager licensing requirements.

Another major change for realtors, brokers and managers is that
RECA will not longer be offering educational requirements.
Education will be provided through qualified third parties.

Further changes are summarized below.

Industries Regulated by RECA

  • Condominium managers will be
    regulated by RECA (once the licensing process is developed)
  • Appraisers will no longer be
    regulated by RECA but still must belong to one of three other
    appraisal industry associations
  • All property management, including
    condominium management will be considered a separate activity (not
    as a “trade in real estate”)

Mandate and Education

Ove the next two years, RECA will transition out of providing
licensing education.RECA will now focus onlicensing and
regulation.
Industry Councils will set out education
requirements and third party providers will provide education.

Governance

RECA’s governance will now be split into:

  1. a)a Board of Directors responsible
    for running RECA composed of one member appointed from each
    Industry Council (below), three public members appointed by the
    Minister and a Chair, to be one of thepublicmembers;
  2. b)four separate Industry Councils,
    being
  1. Residential Real Estate
  2. Commercial Real Estate and Commercial
    Property Management
  3. Residential and Condominium Property
    Management; and
  4. Mortgage Brokers

Industry Councils will be made up three elected industry
members, two public Members appointed by the Minster, and a chair
to be elected within each Industry Council.

Bylaws and Rules

RECA bylaws will be passed by the Board of Directors. Industry
Councils will then set rules to establish industry standards
including education and licencing requirements for their
industry.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Executive Director will be responsible for the
administration of RECA, including hiring of a Registrar who will be
responsible for investigations and enforcement. Annual performance
reviews will be conducted for both the Registrar and the Executive
Director. The RECA bylaws will separate roles of the Board, the
Industry Councils, the ED and the Registrar.

Dispute Resolution

To reduce internal conflicts and limit legal expenses, a dispute
resolution will be put in place for the Board and Industry Council
members by the Board that will be used if:

  • a Board Member or Industry Council
    Member has allegedly engaged in a prohibited act under the Real
    Estate Act or
  • if there are conflicts within
    Industry Council, within the Board or between a Board and an
    Industry Council

Prohibited actions include using confidential information for
personal gain, impeding the purposes of the Board or Industry
Council, breaking rules for their industry in the course of
business. Members may be suspended during the dispute resolution
process or removed is it is determined they violated the Act.

Lifetime Withdrawals

Industry Council will not be allowed to accept a withdrawal if
allegations of fraud or criminal activity have been made that
warrant an investigation. This is to ensure these allegations are
fully investigated and referred to the appropriate authorities.

Government Intervention/Oversight

After a review, the Minister will have the power to dismiss
Board members, Industry Council members, or employees if the review
support this action, without further Order. The Minister will be
able to issue orders for RECA to take specific action without doing
a review first.

New Transparency Requirementsfor minutes,
agendas, salaries/honoraria and disclosure of annual business plan
and financial plan

Separation– Board/Industry council
members will not be on hearing and appeal panels. Hearing and
appeal panels will be made up of licensees and members of the
public.

Originally published 09 July, 2020

About
Mackrell International – Canada
– Scott Venturo LLP is
a full service business law firm in Calgary, AB and a member of
Mackrell International. Mackrell International – Canada is
comprised of four independent law firms in Alberta, British
Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Each firm is regionally based and
well-connected in our communities, an advantage shared with our
clients. With close relations amongst our Canadian member firms, we
are committed to working with clients who have legal needs in
multiple jurisdictions within Canada.

This article is intended to be an overview and is for
informational purposes only.

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