REACH Canada has chosen the eight participants for its inaugural real estate technology accelerator program, and they’ve started work on an eight-month curriculum.
REACH was created by Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the Chicago-headquartered National Association of Realtors. The Canadian wing was established this year.
REACH offers education, mentorship and exposure for technology companies aiming to launch into the real estate industry, accelerate their businesses and expand into adjacent markets such as insurance, mortgage and financial services.
REACH Canada selection criteria
The REACH Canada program received 68 applications. Twenty companies made the initial short list before the final eight were chosen based on three primary factors:
* They were already in the market and had annual revenues of between $1 million and $10 million.
* They filled a gap in the marketplace and provide a solution that’s both in demand today and has good prospects for longevity.
* Founders and executive management teams displayed entrepreneurialism, a commitment to the program and a willingness to engage with other companies in a way that would lend value and benefit everyone.
The diversity and inclusivity of the companies also played a role in their selection.
“We feel that’s an important piece of the brand that we want to bring to the marketplace,” REACH Canada managing partner Lynette Keyowski told RENX.
The eight companies are striving to deliver improved customer experiences to both homeowners and realtors. They cover a range of segments, from helping consumers gain access to housing and home ownership to empowering agents with through the use of artificial intelligence and big data.
“We wanted to make certain that not only were the companies accretive to one other, but that they also covered the entire landscape of real estate transactions,” said Keyowski.
“We feel that we can add value to the companies, but you get out of it what you give and we felt that these people had the right mix of dedication to their companies and dedication to the program as well.”
REACH Canada curriculum
The REACH program kicked off on Oct. 6. What in non-pandemic times would have been a day-and-a-half of in-person networking involving all parties was spread out over two weeks of Zoom sessions to accommodate everyone in what Keyowski called “bite-size chunks.” Graduation is scheduled for May.
“Now that we know who the eight companies are and we know what their unique growth challenges and hopes are, we’ve created a curriculum that will bring them expertise and intel in that regard,” said Keyowski. “Socializing and networking among our CEOs is extremely important, so that’s built into the curriculum as well.”
The REACH program aims to help participants define their priorities, refine their strategies and scale up their operations. Companies pay a $50,000 fee up front to participate in REACH and help fund it, but are expected to be compensated through future investment.
“We’ll make some strategic introductions to them and we’ll really help them with their messaging and being able to address their audience in a way that’s meaningful, whoever their audience is,” said Keyowski. “That’s what the road map for the next seven months looks like.”
Program participant profiles
Here’s a capsule introduction to the first eight REACH Canada program participants.
– BrokerAssist is a free mobile marketplace connecting agents and brokers in real time for fractional assistance on deal-specific tasks such as showings, open houses and inspections. It also offers a free platform for on-demand referral opportunities.
– Clik.ai offers document extraction-based machine learning software that makes due diligence and workflow more efficient by eliminating manual repetitive tasks from the daily workflow of commercial real estate analysts.
– HonestDoor combines real estate data with data science to produce estimated values and future projections on houses and condominiums. It aggregates property taxes, transaction data, permit data and neighbourhood growth rates.
– Key has a patent-pending model that makes home ownership attainable with an initial investment of only 2.5 per cent, versus the typical 20 per cent, and with no need for a mortgage. It delivers the benefits of ownership, including growing equity and security of tenancy, with the freedoms and flexibility of renting.
– Local Logic is a data and artificial intelligence company that uses a combination of geospatial, user-generated and real estate data to quantify the qualities of any given location. Local Logic products are used to guide decisions of online consumers when looking for real estate or travel accommodations as well as to build predictive models to inform decision makers investing in the urban environment.
– Parkbench provides an all-in-one sales and marketing platform to help realtors become branded as the local market expert in their desired geographic area. It provides daily business coaching and marketing training, customer relationship management, sales scripts, follow-up templates and a client success team to hold clients accountable.
– RentMoola empowers landlords to increase the value of their holdings through managing processes such as marketing properties, screening tenants, improving cash flow, eliminating risks with rental insurance, eliminating missed payments, and generating working capital. It also enables tenants to take control of their ﬁnances through a simple, integrated and secure solution powered by a digital platform.
– Setter provides homeowners with software and resources that delivers reports with defined steps to mitigate risks via an annual virtual walkthrough that can save them money and manage their properties more effectively.
Demand fueling Powell River, Sunshine Coast real estate market – My Powell River Now
The second wave of COVID-19 hasn’t put a damper on Powell River’s real estate market.
Powell River-Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president, Neil Frost, says the region is coming off a record September and October.
“Sales have been very strong the past few months,” he added. “November was quite strong as well – we’re just waiting for the final numbers on it to come in.
Frost said 50 percent of the buyers are coming from outside of the area with most of those purchasing single family homes.
“So they’re becoming residents of Powell River, moving into our community, becoming taxpayers in our community,” Frost said.
“COVID certainly has presented challenges in the practice of real estate, but I would say that overall the exodus from the urban areas have definitely put a spotlight on Powell River (and) has benefited our real estate market… definitely our sellers, at any rate.”
The biggest challenge facing the local market right now is a lack of inventory.
Frost said there simply isn’t enough homes on the market to satisfy the demand. He noted that it’s driving prices higher.
Board-wide, the average price of a single-family home was $493,586 at the end of October, which is nearly 10 percent higher than the same time last year.
While the current travel restrictions on the Vancouver Coastal Health region has slowed the market, Frost says they’re still seeing competing offers, and “we’re experiencing the typical winter slowdown a little bit.”
“But we’re still seeing a lot of inquiries from out-of-time,” he added.
Frost believes the open spaces and lifestyle offered in the qathet Regional District is also a huge draw.
“After the first wave, where people were stuck at home, or stuck in a condo, or cohabiting situation, with no yard, nowhere to go in an urban environment, they look at the big open spaces here, the larger properties, the availability of recreational spaces, and they’re getting out of their condo in the city and coming here to a little house and a better living situation.”
Frost would like to see more housing and new construction come online in the new year.
“There’s still a demand and I expect that to continue into spring, summer of 2021,” he said. “Prior to the pandemic we had many people wanting to retire here. We’ve got all these people that want to come from out of province: buyers from Alberta, buyers from Ontario that haven’t been able to or have chosen not to come over the past few months. It’s not just the Lower Mainland which is where the majority of our out-of-town buyers are coming from.”
Toronto eyes tax on empty homes in bid for real estate revenue – BNN
Toronto is proposing a tax on empty homes as concerns build over speculators’ role in driving up housing costs in Canada’s largest city.
If adopted, the tax would bring in as much as $66 (US$52 million) million in revenue, assuming 1 per cent of Toronto’s housing stock is currently empty and those owners chose to pay rather than rent out their properties, according to a statement on Thursday.
The proposal calls for the levy to be implemented in 2022, part of a bid to free up rental housing in one of North America’s tightest markets and generate revenue that could be used for affordable housing.
“We simply can’t afford, from the housing supply perspective, to have housing accommodation for thousands of people sitting empty,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement. “You can live in it, you can rent it, but if it sits empty you will pay a tax that helps us build more affordable housing people can live in.”
As governments across the world face pandemic-fueled shortfalls, lawmakers are looking at new real estate taxes as way to plug shortfalls. The proposal in Toronto comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week that Canada would impose a tax on “the unproductive use” of housing by non-resident foreign owners sometime over the next year.
A recent report from Canada’s national housing agency found that a pair of similar taxes by local governments in British Columbia may have caused nearly 9,000 condominiums to be converted to rentals in Vancouver.
While rent has dropped in Toronto in recent months as the coronavirus rattles the economy, the city’s rental market remains tight.
In September, the vacancy rate for apartment buildings in the Toronto metropolitan area reached the highest in 10 years, but at 2.4% that’s still far lower than New York or San Francisco, expensive U.S. cities that have taken a hit as residents flee for more space in the suburbs.
A report recommending the Toronto levy on vacant homes is scheduled to go to Toronto’s executive committee next week.
Real estate group beats prices of luxury mansions with smaller post and beam houses – North Shore News
Real estate in Canada’s most expensive community isn’t usually a David versus Goliath struggle. For decades, West Vancouver real estate has followed a simple rule—bigger is better—10,000 square feet of living space, Swarovski chandeliers and five-car garages.
West Coast Modern Group takes a radically different approach. Using a marketing program that elevates architecturally-designed homes as collectable works of art, the namesake team (Jason Choi, Trent Rodney and Karim Bhatia) markets 60 to 70-year-old homes into hot selling properties that can out-price even brand-new luxury spec builds.
“Vancouver used to be about big shiny monster houses breaking sales records. We just proved David can win against these Goliath mansions, ” says Rodney.
Case in point, the custom Sea Ranch house in West Vancouver. This lovingly-restored A-frame was originally designed by architect Barry MacLeod in 1970 as an homage to iconic homes built on the coasts of California, almost three hours north of San Francisco.
When marketing such one-of-a-kind properties, it can be challenging for Realtors ® to attract the right buyers who value these homes. Given today’s penchant for gaudy faux Georgian or Tudor homes that dominate an entire building lot, it’s easy for realtors to tell clients that their homes are “lot value only,” and much of the time, assessment values reflect that.
When Sea Ranch owners, Steve and Sarah, planned on selling, they expected that it would command around $2.8 million, an identical price to a similar-size Colonial that had just sold across the street. The customized marketing campaign created by the West Coast Modern Group illuminated how living in a smaller, sensitively designed space integrated into the natural landscape could live better than a spec house that maximizes it’s buildable envelope.
The group then reached out to an international network of design aficionados and eventually sold the 3,000 sq. ft. property to a Manhattan buyer for $3.5 million—a premium over a brand new 6,000 sq. ft. luxury mansion that just sold across the street.
“I’ve always told people that our client base doesn’t want these big bloated houses, and I’m not sure if people believed me. I’m excited to announce that for the first time ever, we’ve beat out the sales price of a brand new luxury mansion with one of our smaller West Coast moderns that’s half the size. It’s exciting,” says Rodney, a listing agent for the property.
The West Coast Modern Group is Vancouver’s only dedicated real estate team for architectural houses.
Discerning home buyers from around the world appreciate what makes the West Coast special. From Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove, mid-century modern homes are finally coming into their own, thanks to sellers who care and buyers who appreciate timeless design, creative landscaping and unbeatable views.
“Few real estate agents authentically understand the world of architect-designed homes. We don’t do cookie-cutter subdivision homes or faux-chateaux. When you contact us, we will share your architectural gem to the world and help put Vancouver on the map. That’s the West Coast Modern Group advantage. Trust us to gain a premium price for your listing,” says Rodney.
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