Tag: toronto

Positive Mindset

Posted on December 16th, 2020

So it’s been a challenging year…are you going to be the person who uses that as an excuse, or the one who rises above and looks for the silver lining?

We all go through tough situations, and in a lot of cases, we create them for ourselves…this episode is all about positivity, thinking positive, projecting positivity, and surrounding yourself with it. he way you live your life is your choice – no matter what hardships you encounter (personally and professionally), only you can decide what you do with them. We talk about how to frame your mindset, what might be getting in your way, and the benefits of simply approaching situations in a new a way.

It’s time to level up your positivity.

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Toronto’s Fiercely Competitive Rental Market

Posted on July 14th, 2017

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”  – Dr. Seuss

From a one-bedroom shoe box in the Financial District to a three-bedroom townhouse in Markham to a four-bedroom semi in Oakville, the rental market in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area is seeing some unusual, unexpected and fast-paced activity. To an outsider, this rental market can be downright amusing to hear of multiple offers, bidding wars and listings renting within hours of being uploaded onto realtor.ca.  Unfortunately, this hectic environment is stressful to say the least for tenants.  With that said, here is our list of top ten reasons why renting in today’s market truly sucks:

  1. Your credit report is reviewed with a fine-tooth comb.  Sure you might have a great credit score but missing a credit card payment by one day five years ago may cost you big time.
  2. Your employment letter is scrutinized.  Why aren’t you making more money?  Why have you only been employed for three years?  Why doesn’t your title sound better?  Your manager sounded weird on the phone when called for a reference.
  3. You feel pressure to leave your pets behind.  While a landlord can’t kick you out for owning a pet after you secure a lease, you can be pooched if you disclose your pet loving habit to a landlord when making an offer.
  4. Expect to compete.  If you happen to find a place within 30 minutes of it listing on realtor.ca and the landlord’s agent miraculously needs less than the standard 24 hours to review the offer, you might be able to have your offer reviewed and accepted prior to another offer rolling in.  Any other time, you should expect to put on your boxing gloves and fight to the death for that 500-square foot condo with a view of the GO Train.
  5. Expect to lower your expectations.  As rental prices increase, all of your hopes and dreams for a new rental home might have to simmer down.  You might need to opt for a smaller unit, an option that is less updated or a home without appliances (I kid, I kid).
  6. Give away your car.  Many condos and some homes closer to the city don’t offer a parking spot.  With many new condos offering limited parking to the larger units in the building, expect to be paying a couple hundred extra to rent a spot (if you are lucky enough to find one for rent).
  7. Expect that the process will take longer than you think.  A few years ago, renting a condo was actually enjoyable.  You checked out a couple places at your leisure, chose your favourite option and negotiated on the price.  Now?  The struggle is real.  You and your agent desperately scrape together a few decent options to view within an hour of them being listed, you choose your least-hated option and offer hundreds of dollars over asking only to find out that your offer was not accepted.  The next day, you do it all again until one day, the rental gods take pity on you and convince an unsuspecting landlord to accept your offer.
  8. Expect to be rejected.  Rejection is never fun but if you are not a perfect, prospective tenant, rejection is imminent.  Work on contract for more money than if you had a full-time job?  Sorry, out of luck.  Need a guarantor?  Go live with your guarantor.  Your partner goes to school full time?  Make an offer once he graduates and has full time employment.
  9. Expect to be surprised.  Some rentals fly off the shelf so quickly that the rental agents don’t have a chance to update you and your agent prior to your showing.  You can fall in love with a unit and decide to make an offer, only to be informed that the unit leased the night before and it’s no longer available.
  10. Expect to drink.  Lots.  After every rejection, every missed opportunity and every unsuccessful experience, you might need a drink or two.  Don’t worry.  It’s completely normal.

As we have experienced and seen our fair share of nightmare rental search stories, believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  The right place will come in time and you just need to be as prepared as possible.  Here are some tips to get you through your rental search.

  1. Drink (see point 10 above).
  2. Hire an experienced Realtor who can guide you through the process.  Sadly, some agents who list units will ignore requests from potential tenants to schedule a viewing.  In this market, they probably figure they can rent the listing quickly without having to do much work, including showings of their own.  By having your own Realtor, you can schedule showings easily and efficiently.
  3. Be organized.  Have all of your paperwork ready to go – credit report, rental application, employment letters.  You need to be ready to make an offer immediately when you find a place you like.
  4. Don’t negotiate.  Look at the comparables and if other units/homes in the building/neighbourhood justify the list price, then offer that.  The moment you fool around with offering a lower amount, the less motivated the listing agent and landlord will be to review your offer in a timely manner.
  5. More is more.  Provide as much ammo as possible to prove you are the best choice.  Previous landlord recommendation letters, ensuring your references are ready to take a call and give you an amazing reference when the time comes, bank statements showing you can easily afford the monthly rent payments, offer to meet the landlord in person – all of these can help to strengthen your offer and put you ahead of the competition.
  6. Audit your social media accounts.  You can bet that landlords and landlord’s agents are checking you out on social media.  Set your accounts to private, remove those incriminating pictures from yesterday’s kegger at your current home and tone down any profanity or strongly opinionated posts.
  7. Know the market.  Ask your Realtor to send you recent leases in the neighbourhood that you are searching so you are familiar with the inventory and pricing in order to bring you down to earth when it comes to your must-have rental list.
  8. Make yourself available.  Your daily lunch break at Burrito Boyz might have to be cancelled in order to check out a potential rental.  Friday nights and weekends may become a little less exciting during the search process but you’ll get them back eventually.
  9. Don’t limit yourself.  Creating a search parameter of a half block radius around the DNA condos on King West might not yield too many results and will lengthen your search process substantially.  Consider different streets and neighbourhoods based on recommendations from your Realtor, friends and co-workers.
  10. Don’t give up.  You will find a rental when the time is right.  Although this post might have put the fear of God into you, you might end up being pleasantly surprised by your own search process. 
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How To Revamp the Real Estate Profession in Ontario

Posted on June 26th, 2017

Consider these numbers:

  • 4,600 – the number of veterinarians licensed to work in Ontario according to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario
  • 14,690 – the number of family doctors working licensed in Ontario according to the Canadian Medical Association
  • 40,000 – the approximate number of licensed lawyers in Ontario according to the Law Society of Upper Canada
  • 124,000 – the approximate number of full time teaching staff in all of Ontario according to the Ministry of Education

Now consider this – there are over 70,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons working in Ontario with over 48,000 of these professionals working within the Toronto Real Estate Board alone. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) covers the GTA and surrounding townships, including Ajax, Aurora, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Halton Hills, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Oshawa, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Vaughan and Whitby. 

Let’s look further into these numbers:

  • The population of the Greater Toronto Area as of 2016 was approximately 6.418 million so for every 134 of these people, there is one real estate professional
  • In 2016, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported 113,133 residential property sales, which equates to 2.4 homes sold per agent if all of these property sales were evenly distributed amongst the massive list of TREB members

Mark McLean from Bosley Real Estate posted an interesting chart in his real estate blog (Realty Lab) a few years ago, showing some interesting statistics:

At the time of this post, almost 19% of TREB members did not have one single transaction within the year. More than half of TREB members did less than two or less transactions in the year. 

What do we conclude from all of these numbers? It is too easy to become a real estate professional in Ontario and many of those working as a real estate professional are not taking their career seriously. While many people living in the GTA struggle to find a family doctor, the real estate profession in this city is overflowing with agents just itching to sell your home or help buy you a new one.

In order to start practicing in real estate, an individual must complete what OREA terms the “Pre-Registration Segment”. This segment must be completed in 18 months and consists of five courses (or six as two are combined with one exam) adding up to 255 hours worth of studies at a cost of $2,850 in course fees. Most of these courses can either be taken in-class or online. If you go the in-class route, your attendance is not mandatory.

The courses that need to be completed during the Pre-Registration Segment include:

  • Real Estate as a Professional Career – a very general and not so accurate depiction of what you can expect if you become a real estate agent
  • Land, Structures and Real Estate Trading – looking at how land and property are registered an owned in Ontario, which is a good subject to touch on in a chapter but not the focus of an entire course
  • The Real Estate Transaction – goes through the forms and clauses used in the real estate transaction
  • Commercial Real Estate – a basic rundown of what to expect on the commercial side of real estate, which apparently makes you qualified to transact in commercial real estate if you want to give it a try
  • Real Property Law – looks at legal issues concerning property ownership

After this segment, you have 12 months to obtain employment and be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) as a real estate salesperson. This is your opportunity to interview with several real estate brokerages and start selling. This process is not your typical job interview. Since you are considered a real estate brokerage’s bread and butter, the ‘interview’ consists of the brokerage selling YOU on their office, brand and company vs. you selling them on how well you will represent their company. 

During the next two years, you have progressed into the “Articling Segment” where you need to complete a whopping one elective course and can choose from the following topics:

  • Principles of Appraisal – a fairly useful course when you are looking at comparable data to price homes or assist a buyer in making an offer on a home
  • Principles of Mortgage Financing – useful as a chapter but not an entire course, unless you’re looking to moonlight as a mortgage broker
  • Principles of Property Management – useful as a one page memo but definitely not an entire course
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis –useful course that is very heavy on numbers, calculations and formulas. Definitely one to consider if you are looking to become a commercial real estate agent.

Finally, once you have completed the challenging “Articling Segment”, you must adhere to RECO’s continuing education requirement every two years by taking a mandatory Residential or Commercial update course as well as two electives by simply clicking through the slides on your computer until you are finished.

The Ontario Real Estate Association needs to consider the following in order to improve the education process and help to elevate the industry’s poor reputation:

  • Make exams harder – these multiple-choice questions are making the process too easy. Why not consider some short answer questions or even some oral questions that truly test a prospective agent’s ability to act professionally in any situation? Yes, these questions take more time and resources to mark vs. a simple scantron sheet but surely the $2,850 that each prospective real estate agent pays to take these courses would help pay for these added costs.
  • Place more emphasis on the characteristics that a successful real estate should demonstrate with his or her clients such as patience, empathy and dedication.
  • Give a more accurate depiction of the hours, work, competition and stress involved as a real estate professional.
  • Incorporate some basics about psychology to study the thoughts and feelings that a buyer and seller will show throughout the transaction and how a real estate agent can support these emotions.
  • Add another course or two that better delves into the commercial component of real estate for those agents who wish to trade in commercial transactions.
  • Job shadowing with an experienced real estate agent should be mandatory for all new agents so that they can see first hand what to expect in the real world.
  • Keep topics practical – negotiating, bidding wars, price reductions, multiple representation (if it doesn’t become illegal soon), etc.

While some of these topics are covered by brokerages within their training program for new agents, this training is not consistent across all companies and puts some agents at a considerable disadvantage and at a higher risk of making mistakes. 

The real estate education process needs to evolve and improve in order to support its members and give a much-needed boost to the industry’s reputation. There are many good real estate professionals working in the GTA but the hard work and dedication of these individuals is consistently overshadowed by those not-so-great agents who obviously require more training, who aren’t in the business for the right reasons and who aren’t willing to take the time to make improvements to their approach on their own.

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