Working in any profession with friends is fun and working in real estate is no exception. It is a business of mentorship, networking and relationship-building where these relationships can turn into tangible benefits in the form of referrals and other business opportunities. However, while the instincts to collaborate and reward your network are well-intentioned, there are limits to how far a REALTOR® should go to help a colleague. A recent BC Financial Services Authority (“BCFSA”) discipline matter highlights that if any party breaches these limits, it may mean consequences for the person who benefited from the assistance and the person who gave it.
In the recent case In the matter of Jaspreet Kaur Gill, BCFSA was addressing events that occurred in 2014. Ms. Gill was first licensed in June 2013, so the conduct occurred while she was new to the profession. In September 2014, another real estate professional obtained an exclusive listing for a property in Williams Lake. That licensee ultimately represented the buyer of that property. Despite not having provided any real estate services to any party, nor having even met any party to the transaction, the brokerage deal sheet listed Ms. Gill as having acted for the seller and having earned an $18,000 listing commission.
Further, the real estate professional completed a record of referral fees indicating that Ms. Gill and the brokerage had received a $45,666 referral fee. That was incorrect; rather, the brokerage had paid the real estate professional a referral fee. Ms. Gill said that the real estate professional told her he would name her individually on the referral record but the referral fee would be paid to someone else. She did not object.
In a second incident in and around November 2014, the same real estate professional entered into a client relationship with two individuals (directors of a corporate property owner). The individual identification information record listed the real estate professional and Ms. Gill as sales representatives. The clients then agreed to trade that property for another rental property. The Contract of Purchase and Sale documenting the trade listed the real estate professional and Ms. Gill as agents for the seller and the buyers as being unrepresented. Despite being aware that the real estate professional was including her name on the contract as an agent and expecting to receive remuneration on the trade, Ms. Gill admitted that she never met nor provided any real estate services to the seller.
An initial conveyancing instruction report named Ms. Gill as the listing agent and the real estate professional as the selling agent, though a later instruction report removed the reference to the other real estate professional. Ms. Gill ultimately received a $24,500 commission through the brokerage despite never having met the buyers or sellers in the transaction. She justified her entitlement to a commission by saying she was providing secretarial and support work to the real estate professional. However, neither she nor the real estate professional could provide any examples of real estate services she had provided to any of the involved clients.
Ms. Gill consented to an order acknowledging she had committed professional misconduct under subsections 35(1) and 35(2) of the Real Estate Services Act, SBC 2004, c 42 (“RESA”), including conduct that was deceptive dealing, contrary to the best interests of the public, undermined public confidence in the real estate profession, and which brought the real estate profession into disrepute. The consent order confirmed that Ms. Gill had intentionally misrepresented material facts by entering into arrangements with the real estate professional to misrepresent her entitlement to a commission on both property transactions despite not having provided any real estate services.
In the end, BCFSA ordered Ms. Gill to pay a discipline penalty of $7,500 and enforcement costs of $1,500. She was also required to complete an ethics in business practice course. While the financial implications of this decision were not extreme, it should be noted that the matter proceeded under the version of s. 43(2) of RESA applicable at the time of the conduct, which set the maximum penalty for a breach at $10,000. That section was amended with effect as of September 30, 2016, to increase the maximum penalty to $250,000, meaning that if the BCFSA were investigating the same conduct today, the potential financial consequences are orders of a much greater magnitude.
The other real estate professional stated in the investigation that Ms. Gill was a new agent and he just wanted to assist her in earning some income. However, even if the motives appear to be altruistic, REALTORS® should take seriously the representations made about their involvement in a transaction. Even with no apparent impact on the clients, intentional and material misrepresentations will be disciplined to protect the profession’s integrity. Given the significantly increased maximum potential penalties under RESA, there is more incentive than ever to use your name wisely.
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Moncton Named Best Place to Buy Canadian Real Estate – RE/MAX News
Real estate: Homes in Canada's most affordable markets – CTV News
The average price of all residential property types in Canada fell to $629,971 in July, a significant drop from the record-high average of $816,620 recorded in February. (Both figures are not seasonally adjusted.)
While most Canadian real estate boards and associations saw a drop in the average price of residential properties, regions that have maintained some of the lowest prices throughout the pandemic continue to do so, said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist and director of housing data and market analysis.
“The places that were always affordable continue to be affordable,” he told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The further away you are from major cities … [in] that sort of middle part of the country, that is definitely where you’ll find the most affordable house prices.”
Regions such as Saguenay, Que., Saint John, N.B. and Trois-Rivières, Que. had the most affordable home prices across Canada in July. Cathcart also pointed to rural parts of provinces such as New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, as having low average home prices compared to other parts of the country.
Additionally, activity within these regions remains relatively strong, Cathcart said. With more affordable home prices, markets in these areas aren’t as sensitive to interest rate hikes as some of Canada’s more expensive markets, such as the Greater Toronto and Vancouver Areas.
“Sales in the Maritimes didn’t get the memo because it’s so much more affordable,” Cathcart said. “In Quebec, the Maritimes and the Prairies, activity is still above average.”
With lower average home prices, it’s possible more people will move to places where housing is more affordable, Cathcart said, especially with Canada’s inflation rate remaining high. CTVNews.ca has compiled a list of properties currently on the market in some of the most affordable regions across Canada.
Year Built: 1988
Lot Size: 301.7 sq. m
Located on a 301-square-metre lot, this house in Saguenay, Que. features three bedrooms and two bathrooms. In the kitchen are black granite countertops and bright white cabinets. Several exposed brick walls line the home, which also has a fully finished basement. A detached garage sits behind the property, and the backyard includes a deck.
SAINT JOHN, N.B.
Year Built: 1976
Property Size: 209 sq. m
Lot Size: 426.98 sq. m
This four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is just a short drive away from uptown Saint John, N.B. Making up the main floor are dining and living rooms, as well as a large eat-in kitchen complete with a new stove and dishwater. On the upper level is a sizeable master bedroom as well as a newly renovated bathroom. The finished basement can be used as either a family room, office or gym.
Year Built: 1919
Property Size: 137.52 sq. m
Lot Size: 212 sq. m
Built in 1919, this semi-detached home combines wood floors with interior brick walls. Along with five bedrooms and one bathroom, the house also has a spacious common area with a wood fireplace on the main floor. At the entrance of the home is a veranda, while the backyard area is surrounded by greenery. The house is within walking distance of the city centre and key amenities in Trois-Rivières, Que.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Year Built: 1967
Property Size: 137.5 sq. m
Lot Size: under 0.2 hectares
Located near Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s, N.L., this end unit townhouse has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. An open-concept living and dining area with large windows and a propane fireplace occupies the main floor. On the upper floor are a storage room, bathroom, and three bedrooms with enough space to serve as a TV room or office instead. In the backyard is a deck, storage shed and inflatable hot tub.
THUNDER BAY, ONT.
Year Built: 1910 to 1920
Property Size: 142.14 sq. m
Lot Size: under 0.2 hectares
In addition to three bedrooms and two bathrooms, this Thunder Bay, Ont. home also has a contemporary kitchen that connects to a large sunroom. With enough space to serve as an additional living room, the sunroom also offers views of the fully fenced backyard and patio. The combined living and dining rooms inside have a wood burning fireplace, and a walkout basement completes the home.
Year Built: 1969
Property Size: 80.64 sq. m
Lot Size: 290.41 sq. m
This updated bungalow features three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a finished basement. The main level has laminate floors throughout, as well as large windows that allow natural light to enter the home. The open-concept floorplan blends the living room with the dining and kitchen area, which has plenty of cabinet and counter space. A large patio occupies the backyard, and the home itself is a short drive from downtown Regina.
Year Built: 1945
Property Size: 94.76 sq. m
Lot Size: 526.76 sq. m
With a spacious front lot and backyard, this Saskatoon home is surrounded by greenery. In the backyard is a sizeable deck along with trees and garden boxes full of flowers. Inside, hardwood floors run across the living and dining areas, and a stone-clad wood burning fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and a tile backsplash, while three bedrooms and an updated three-piece bathroom sit on the top floor.
Year Built: 1928
Property Size: 101.2 sq. m
Lot Size: N/A
Situated in Quebec City, this apartment unit is located on the first floor of a newly renovated building, and features new insulation, doors and windows. The unit has three bedrooms and one bathroom, as well as an open-concept living, dining and kitchen area with white walls throughout. Nearby are the Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site, and the St. Charles River.
Year Built: 1910
Property Size: 101.64 sq. m
Lot Size: 290.32
This three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Winnipeg’s Lord Roberts neighbourhood features a number of upgrades, having been recently renovated. These include a new kitchen, updated floors on the main level, and a new bathroom with an oversized tub. On the main floor is an eat-in kitchen and sizeable sunroom that can also serve as an office space. Completing the home are a basement and large backyard with a deck.
Year Built: 2019
Property Size: 49.8 sq. m
Lot Size: N/A
Built in 2019, this condominium suite has one bedroom and one bathroom, as well as a den. In the kitchen are white cabinets and quartz countertops that extend to create a breakfast bar. The unit also has a balcony that offers views of downtown Edmonton. Residents have access to the building’s rooftop patio, as well as amenities such as a spa and pool.
Local builders still busy as real estate market takes a break – Times Colonist
The real estate market may be taking a breather, but there has been no such break for homebuilders in the region judging by new housing start figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The numbers, released Tuesday, show 2,681 new homes were started through the first seven months of this year in Greater Victoria, ahead of last year’s pace when 2,500 new units were started.
It’s a tale of multi-family projects in two parts of the region, said Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association.
Edge said Victoria and Langford are once again doing all of the heavy lifting.
“There are a bunch of municipalities that just fly under the radar every year, like Oak Bay that still doesn’t have zoning for duplex housing,” he said noting Oak Bay has built just 19 new homes this year, while North Saanich has started 16.
“And people question why do we have a housing affordability problem,” he said.
“Well, you have just a handful of municipalities that are really carrying the weight for 13 municipalities.”
The lion’s share has been done by Victoria so far this year.
With a focus on condo and rental apartments, the city has seen 1,219 homes started, well ahead of last year’s 696. Langford has started 663 so far this year, off last year’s pace of 862 through the end of July.
Edge said what’s missing is the missing middle housing — townhomes and houseplexes, rather than the usual condos and single-family homes — that can suit small families and provide more housing options in all parts of the region.
The fact builders in at least two of the region’s centres are busy may help the market catch up a bit, as the number of property sales has slowed considerably. The B.C. Real Estate Association released numbers on Tuesday showing Victoria’s sales dropped 37.5 per cent in July compared with the same time last year, while the Island saw a 40 per cent drop and the province fell 42 per cent.
“High mortgage rates continued to lower sales activity in July,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson.
“Many regions around the province have seen sales slip to levels well below normal for this time of year.”
At the same time, provincial active listings rose 28 per cent year-over-year.
Inventories remain quite low, but the slow pace of sales has tipped some markets into balanced or even buyers’ market territory, the association noted.
Year-to-date, residential unit sales were down 29.3 per cent to 56,801 units, while the average residential price was up 13.2 per cent to $1.03 million.
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