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Virtual Reality’s Role in Global Real Estate Market Expands Due to Coronavirus – Barron's




As the global impact of the coronavirus expands, real estate agents are finding creative ways to continue connecting buyers and sellers.

Guidelines for social distancing and mandatory closures have changed daily since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, with real estate agents adapting continuously to attempt to keep transactions moving. Virtual reality and virtual tours provide a way for buyers to continue their property search from their homes.

“Real estate agents and brokerages are chameleons and entrepreneurial by nature, so we’re quick to adjust,” said Eddie Shapiro, CEO of Nest Seekers International. “In addition to virtual reality and virtual tours that are already available on many listings, we’re using Google meetings, YouTube Live and Facebook Live to orchestrate virtual open houses.”

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Conventional open houses, typically held for several hours on a weekend for anyone who wants to see a property, usually don’t meet the social distancing guidelines of keeping six feet from other people. Many jurisdictions have banned gatherings of more than 10 people at a time, which many open houses would violate. In addition, many people are voluntarily staying away from other people in general to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Approximately 60% of Nest Seekers’s listings have a video component now and they anticipate reaching 100% of listings soon, Mr. Shapiro said.

International Buyers During Pandemic

Since other countries experienced the virus a little before the U.S., the assumption is that international buyers may come back to the real estate market sooner than domestic clients, said Rory Golod, New York regional president of Compass real estate brokerage.

“Foreign buyers have been engaging in virtual reality showings for a long time, so they’re used to searching for properties this way,” Mr. Golod said. “Over the past four or five years, we’ve seen more international clients purchase homes sight unseen, especially if they know the specific building or neighborhood. Right now, most domestic buyers use virtual tours as a screening tool, but we’ll see more domestic buyers purchasing sight unseen too, I think.”

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While most of the globe has yet to see the epidemic peak, China’s economy is beginning to rebound.

The number of cases of the coronavirus in China reached 80,928 with 3,245 deaths, but the number of daily new cases has been dropping since Feb. 12 and has now dropped to near zero.

Chinese buyers, like other international and domestic buyers, are now relying more than ever on virtual tours. In February, there were about 350,000 virtual tours per day by Chinese real estate agents and buyers, which was about 35 times the amount of virtual tours in January, according to SupChina, a global news site that focuses on information about China.

Meanwhile, Chinese builder Modern Land recently live-streamed a sales pitch to prospective buyers that generated 600 contracts in five locations in one day, according to the South China Morning Post.

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Chinese buyers represented 11% of international real estate investment in the U.S. in 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors, purchasing the highest dollar amount of international buyers at $13.4 billion last year.

Chinese buyers have purchased the highest dollar amount among international buyers for the past seven years.

On the other hand, social media inquiries and web traffic from Europeans and people from the U.K. have been increasing in the past week or so, with traffic from Asia dropping, said Mr. Shapiro, who acknowledged that it’s too soon to know the details of how this situation will play out in the real estate market.

Remote buying is already common in California’s Silicon Valley, said Redfin real estate agent Kalena Masching.

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“Virtual tours are well-suited to the luxury market because sellers want to attract attention from buyers all over the world,” Ms. Masching said. “All our listings have 3-D walkthrough tours and floor plans that allow people to tour each level online.”

Until now, though, most buyers have asked a trusted friend or relative in the area to do a physical tour of a property before an overseas buyer finalizes the sale to make sure the virtual tour is accurate, Ms. Masching said.

“I had one client who purchased a $5 million house site unseen because both partners were traveling in different parts of the world,” Ms. Masching said.

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New Reality for Real Estate

Now that a number of areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area, is under a shelter-in-place order, it’s an advantage to have virtual reality and virtual tour capabilities in place, Ms. Masching said.

Many real estate companies are quickly increasing their use of virtual tools and training their agents to use them.

“Most of our listings have videos and virtual tours, but we’re also holding online classes for our agents to provide them with tips for how to do video tours and how to upload them to share with clients via email, Instagram and Facebook,” said Mr. Golod, of Compass.

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Jessica Swersey, a real estate agent with Warburg Realty in New York City, said she has a new listing she’s preparing for the market now.

“I’ll be doing a video walkthrough as a first line of defense and then hopefully we’ll be able to get a serious buyer into the place to see it in person,” Ms. Swersey said. “One buyer recently saw a video and signed a contract without seeing the property, but that’s still not the norm.”.

So far, virtual reality is mostly used as a screening tool to cut down on showings, said Anthony Askowitz, a broker with RE/MAX Advanced Realty in Miami.

“Two years ago I sold a luxury condo entirely sight unseen, but that’s a rarity,” Mr. Askowitz said. “Most people like to use all five senses and see a place in person before they buy.”

Investors, however, are more likely to buy via a virtual tour since they don’t plan to live in the property, he said.

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“The top real estate forms have used online virtual tour slideshows for years,” said Corey Burr, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “More recently, video tours have been used, along with 3-D navigation. These tools are of the utmost importance if buyers’ access to a property is curtailed and they need to rely on computers to do home shopping.”

Not everyone agrees that virtual tours are a replacement for in-person showings.

“For the last 10 to 15 years we’ve had sophisticated property search sites that allow buyers to see floor plans, photos of staged properties and images of virtually staged properties,” said Rachel Ostow Lustbader, a real estate agent with Warburg Realty in New York City. “Adding a virtual tour or virtual reality won’t add much to what’s already available.”

No one wants to buy anything if they can’t actively see it, Ms. Lustbader said.

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Most of Ms. Lustbader’s international buyers search online for property and then see it in person when they come to New York on business.

“I can’t imagine buyers purchasing property in any price range sight unseen, so if we are forced into a lockdown, I believe the market will be put on hold for a short period of time,” Mr. Burr said.

Technology’s Impact on the Future of Real Estate

As video tours and virtual reality become more common, they should also be more realistic, Ms. Swersey said.

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“If you want buyers to purchase based on a video, it needs to be more than just sparkly and showing the highlights,” Ms. Swersey said. “You need them to be more nitty gritty and granular so people can see the baseboards and watch someone turn on the faucets to make sure they work. Technology means you can make everything look perfect, but serious buyers want a more detailed experience.”

For now, said Ms. Swersey, this technology is meant to keep the conversation going and generate interest in properties. But she pointed out, there’s pent-up demand that will generate more sight unseen purchases depending on how long everyone needs to continue social distancing.

“Virtual reality is seen as an alternative marketing tool for now,” said Mr. Golod, “but I expect it will grow in popularity as people see how helpful it is during times like these.”

This article originally appeared on Mansion Global .

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



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



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, 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



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

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
Industry Councils will set out education
requirements and third party providers will provide education.


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,
  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

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

Originally published 09 July, 2020

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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Choosing Your Executors

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An executor “executes” your will, carrying out the terms of your will and administering your estate.

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