Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Real Estate Sales Professionals Credit Report

Mortgage agents and brokers in Ontario heavily rely on the Equifax Credit Report to assess the credit worthiness and serviceability of an applicant. Really, if you think about this, a real estate sales professional could put together, based on the tools that they have in front of them, a veritable credit report that considers the client and the property being purchased and sold.

Let’s look at your average real estate transaction and its components – this is after the client has been landed - you are going to want to know the same things across the board about your client and property – negative attributes may prevent you from working with the client, positive ones let you know that you have a good, clean deal.

The property:
  • What is the sales history on the property – both transfer amounts but also transferees?
  • What is the legal description of the property?
  • What are the comparable sales in the area?
  • What things in the area are potential benefits or concerns?
  • If it is a condo – is the financial standing of the condo corporation good?

The customer:
  • Is your client currently the legal owner of a property?
  •  Does your client have enough equity in a property being sold to finance the closing costs?
  • Does your client have enough equity in a property to finance the down payment of a subsequent purchase
  • Does your client have multiple mortgages or liens against the property – this could be a sign that your client has financial problems?

These questions and more can be answered by performing a property search in a tool like GeoWarehouse which will enable you to validate who owns a property, its history, value, financial standing and more.

Creating your own form of credit check for your clients helps you identify potential challenges early on in the process of engaging a new client. You are the first in a series of professionals who will be called upon to work on the transaction you have originated – mortgage agents and brokers, lenders, appraisers, property inspectors, stagers, real estate lawyers, title insurance companies, property insurance companies – even the municipality.

Doing your part to vet the client not only saves you time and expense but also saves all the other professionals that will become a part of the transaction time too! This is not to mention that the due diligence measures outlined above also go a long way to cut down fraud in the mortgage industry.

GeoWarehouse can help you conduct this credit check - visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Previously Painful: Thinks You Need that Used to Be a PIB to Get

Over the course of your role representing a buyer or seller, due diligence is going to require some extra digging. There are certain things in real estate that when needed could be a real pain to get.

Some examples of this are:

·         Condo Status Certificates – which can take up to 10 days to get and involve a written request, issuance of payment and then pick-up
·         Surveys – would involve a surveyor to come out to the property
·         Instrument Images when things come up on title – liens or other registrations come up on title and the registrant’s contact information is needed in order to get it resolved

Some real estate sales professionals don’t even realize that by being a member of a real estate board your board may have set-up access to GeoWarehouse. A GeoWarehouse subscription provides access to property search and evaluation features – but also access to premium searches, images and reports that can be needed from time to time and are a pain in the butt to get. If available, through the GeoWarehouse Store you can purchase a Condo Status Certificate, survey, Instrument Image or even MPAC Property Assessment report online.

Just realizing that you are a GeoWarehouse member? Here are some vital guides that walk you through how to request various searches, images, documents and reports in the GeoWarehouse Store.

·         Introduction to the GeoWarehouse Store https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK2ZVCpF__c
·         How to request a survey, plan or MPAC Assessment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaBKInGfEfc
·         How to request a condo certificate http://www.geowarehouse.ca/marketing/condo-verification-online-conduit.php

Not a GeoWarehouse customer? Visit www.geowarehouse.ca for more information about how to access this work changing tool!


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pinterest Marketing – Real Estate Edition

Social media is ever evolving and new sites are popping up all over the place all the time. Sometimes the question comes up – is it worth wasting time developing presences on the newbie sites? Time = $$, right? It’s often a best rule of thumb when these new sites emerge to wait to see how they perform – how quickly they gain members, what types of members and that there members are where you targeting.

Pinterest has proven itself to be a formidable social media site that should not be ignored. With a membership base exceeding 72 million users and a large demographic, Pinterest is used by many to view images and infographic to get ideas.

Pinterest is a great place to share useful information with your clients about selling a property, staging, landscaping, etc… while also creating boards to promote listings.

Here is ViMO’s guide – Pinterest for Real Estate.


Don’t leave any opportunities behind - use them to your advantage.

For more, visit www.geowarehouse.ca.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Real Estates Sales Professionals Must Know Neighbourhood Demographics

What do the words neighbourhood demographics mean to you? Pretty much everything you want to know about who lives in a particular neighbourhood and the composition of their families. How is this useful? A number of different way. For example, neighbourhood demographics can help you tell investors where there is high rental potential in a particular neighbourhood or perhaps highlight an area that a family starting out may not want to live.

So what demographics are really relevant and how can they be leveraged? When looking at neighbourhood demographics there are 4 key areas that you may want to hone in on.

1.    Population – this deals with family composition. Naturally people want to live in neighbourhoods where other families similar to theirs live. You can’t tell by looking at the outside of a home how many people in the neighbourhood are married, single, have children or don’t, age distribution, etc… Perhaps seniors that are downsizing would like to live in a quiet community that has a higher population of older residents. On the marketing side, looking at trends in the population can enable you to adjust your messaging to hone in on niche markets in the area you serve.

2.    Households – this deals with the types of properties in the area and how they are being used. You want to be able to know percentages of owned vs rented properties for both investors and families who may not want to live in neighbourhoods that have a high % of renters. Average sizes and ages of homes in the area are also very relevant demographics that you want to know and be able to discuss with your clients. You can also use this information to identify shifts in neighbourhoods and what it could potentially mean to you later if you cater to a particular market but the face of the community you are working in is changing.

3.    Socio Economic – Back on the theme that people want to live in communities that have other people like them – many buyers would probably like to know things like the education levels in a community. The type of worker – white collar vs blue collar, dominant professions etc… Socio economics also play a huge roll in marketing. The needs of a family can change depending on income levels, likes and education. Targeted marketing works better. Again, knowing the people in the community you are marketing in enables you to come up with marketing initiatives that connect with prospects.

4.    Cultural – Cultural demographics are important not just for your clients but also to you in terms of your marketing efforts. Cultural demographics highlight ethnicities, religions and dominant languages of people who live in a community. From the perspective of your marketing – identifying neighbourhoods that have common cultural demographics can enable you to look at marketing in ethnic magazines or even in other languages.

Knowing the demographics of the neighbourhoods you serve, for obvious reasons, makes you more knowledgeable and able to offer a higher level of service – and it also makes you more agile because you can diversify your marketing and even messaging according to the communities you are marketing in.

If you would like information about a tool that helps you access all of the above neighbourhood demographics information and more please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

ViMO Introduces CRM Feature – Market Insights Report

Being that ViMO is our little brother we thought it prudent to dedicate this week’s blog content to a fantastic new feature that the ViMO team at Teranet rolled out this past month.

As you likely already know, ViMO is a mobile app for real estate that real estate sales professionals use to market listings, collaborate and manage relationships with prospects, clients and partners, administer documents, research properties – and oh, did we mention… market to customers??

Your marketing is your bread and butter and we know it, which is why the developers continually add and develop new ViMO features.

Introducing the Market Intelligence Report!!

Using the Market Intelligence Report you can create customized reports about industry news and neighbourhood sales activities that you can market to:

·         Prospects – generate leads
·         Clients – nurture leads
·         Partners/Colleagues/Referral Sources – generate new relationships!!


Only GeoWarehouse customers can register for ViMO – Visit myvimo.ca to learn more about the Market Insights Report or about the full capabilities offered by the full ViMO mobile app for real estate.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Locked and Loaded: You A.K.A Real Estate Fraud Buster

Here at Teranet, we are constantly blogging about real estate and mortgage fraud because it is the biggest plague that exists in the real estate industry today. Fraud really does cost us all with more regulation, the burden to do more due diligence, and mortgage lenders being more stringent both when approving and funding mortgages for financing.

Mortgage fraud impacts every professional across the mortgage industry from real estate sales professionals, to mortgage professionals, to lenders, insurers and more. As an industry, we must collectively work together to combat real estate fraud.

You, the real estate sales professional, are the first line of defence against mortgage fraud! Often you are the deal originator because the entire sequence of transactions follows you engaging a client to buy or sell real estate.

Along the way, you’ve probably encountered real estate fraud either where you stopped it or suspected it but were not certain enough to take action.

Being a real estate fraud buster is easy and comes down to collecting and independently verifying some of your client’s information to ensure that there is nothing amiss.

After completing a preliminary interview with your client and gathering their basic information – there are 3 main things you will want to do to flag potential fraud:

·         What are the parties to the transaction and what is their relationship to one another?
·         Who is the legal homeowner of the property?
·         How is the client financing their purchase? Where is the money coming from?
·         What is the sales history of the property – previous owners and timing of transactions?

This is as simple as performing a property search using a tool that can validate all of the above in a single instance.

If something fishy comes up – it doesn’t necessarily mean your deal is dead in its tracks. It may just mean you need to ask more questions to either determine that a serious problem exists or that there is an innocent explanation for something that appears offside at an initial glance. For example – a property may have passed hands through related parties a couple of times in a short period of time, but upon further investigation the original owner was a grandparent so the property passed to an aunt and then the grandchild. On the other hand, a property changing hands a number of times in a short period of time between related parties, especially a lawyer, could signify a fraud scheme.

Your client will appreciate you for it because digging deeper shows them that you are a real estate sales professional who follows a high code of ethics and professional standards which is a big plus!

Use GeoWarehouse to conduct this due diligence and stop real estate fraud and all the resulting consequences. Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Canadian Homeowners in Record Debt and What this Means to You

Many Canadian economists have speculated that the Canadian economy is at risk of being in a recession. This would appear to be very scary news considering that it has been widely reported that Canadians are carrying record levels of debt.

The question many have had is will this end up having a negative impact on the real estate market?

Look at urban centres like Toronto where it was recently reported that the average sale price of a single detached home has exceeded 1 million dollars. Will these markets stay hot?

Some speculate that urban centres may cool off while the “burbs” will heat up. One thing is for sure, when the economy falters and Canadians are struggling to maintain their housing payments with their other bills like payments to debt, some will look at downsizing. This may include moving a little bit further away to be able to buy more for less.

When Canadian families are struggling financially there may be less lower income families coming into the housing market, but folks moving to put cash flow back into their households can more than offset this.

In a strained economic environment you have to be even more diligent when pre-qualifying new clients. Why?

1.    Pre market-crash of 2008 - mortgage financing rules were more lax so there are a high volume of people walking around who took out mortgages at 90-95% the value of their homes, amortized over 35 years and so have less equity.

2.    People in debt generally turn to debt consolidation as a first measure before making the difficult decision to sell their home. This can result in 1 very large mortgage refinance or perhaps 2 or 3 additional mortgages behind the first mortgage.

3.    When people have financial problems they can fall behind making monthly payments to things like property taxes, condo fees, income taxes and other bills leading to property liens – the homeowner may not even know is one has been registered.

What do the above 3 scenarios have in common? They can all result in there not being enough equity to pay you!

You can mitigate this occurrence by doing a basic preliminary background check on new listings:

1.       Validate that your client is the legal homeowner
2.       Look at the sales history of the property
3.       Estimate the value by reviewing comparable sales
4.       Review financial encumbrances like mortgages
5.       Check for liens

An unstable or underperforming economy doesn’t necessarily mean a negative impact to the real estate market but what it does mean is that you have to be agile to adapt in conditions that may emerge as a result.

If you would like to be able to access a tool that enables you to perform the due diligence discussed in this article and more please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.  



Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Did You Know Only GeoWarehouse Customers Can Use ViMO?

One of the major benefits of being a GeoWarehouse customer is that you have exclusive access to register for ViMO, Teranet’s mobile app for real estate.

While you can perform some of the same research on ViMO as you can on GeoWarehouse, such as looking at a property’s sales history, a neighbourhood’s demographics, generate sales comparables, or view who the legal owner is, there are some differences - here are some of the things that make each tool unique

GeoWarehouse – more of a research and due diligence tool

ü  Only GeoWarehouse has the GeoWarehouse Store which is where you can purchase Parcel Registers*, Instrument Images, surveys, condo status certificates, MPAC assessment reports and more…
ü  GeoWarehouse allows you to review a property’s financial standing

ViMO – more of a marketing tool

ViMO allows you to:

ü  Post and market your listings
ü  Remarket to customers using CRM light functions like the Market Insights Report
ü  Create and sign documents electronically
ü  Collaborate on a deal with clients and colleagues and more

GeoWarehouse and ViMO together are hands down the best real estate tool set available today. Most members of real estate boards are GeoWarehouse members. 

Contact the GeoWarehouse team at Teranet today to see if you qualify to register for ViMO by calling 1-866-237-5937. 

* An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Canadian Interest Rates - Seize the Day, Maximize Your Efficiency While Rates are at All-Time Lows

The Bank of Canada has done it again and for the second time this year, cut the nation’s interest rate. Widely publicized, you likely know that Canada’s lending rate is now 0.5%!

This has been in reaction to an underperforming Canadian economy – but interestingly, not so much in the Canadian housing market. In August of 2015, the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index http://www.housepriceindex.ca/default.aspx reported an increase of 1.2% from the previous month, a 7 consecutive monthly increase.

So, the housing market appears to be bustling and interest rates are at all-time lows – is it time to seize the day? 2 ways to maximize your profitability is strong marketing and maximum efficiency in your internal workflow.

Here are our tips for how to see a strong finish to 2015:

Marketing your listings

Be everywhere! Posting your listings on the MLS isn’t enough anymore. Ensure that you register with mobile apps for real estate that are marketing tools, like ViMO, Zoocasa, etc. Make sure that your listings are showing there. The more exposure you get to your listing, the better.

Marketing the brand that is you – what makes you different?

Leverage social media and mobile apps for real estate to market yourself. Outside of being able to share helpful information with prospects nurturing leads that may not be ready to buy or sell, you can establish yourself as a thought leader and a go-to source for real estate information and questions. You also increase your accessibility and connectivity to clients, prospects, partners and colleagues. Talk about what makes you different. What tools you use, what you do that makes you different from other real estate sales professionals and the best choice! You can demonstrate this by what you share.

Use the best tools to get the fastest most accurate results

The best way to maximize results in a hot market is to maximize efficiency. The more you can do in less time, the more profitable you will be. Let’s talk technology again. When taking on a new client there is immediate research that needs to be performed both related to the client and the property. Tools like GeoWarehouse provide a central place to research a property or borrower and obtain a host of other searches and documents. This platform enables you to go to single place to validate all the information you need to determine if you can move forward with your client.

Get rid of the paper – embrace electronic document signing

Remember we talked efficiency? Thanks to recent changes to the Electronic Commerce Act this past summer, you can now sign real estate documents with your clients electronically. A minor investment in a tablet and a mobile app for real estate like ViMO sets the stage for you to make your transactions paperless – whether in a face to face meeting with a client or if you are transmitting documents back and forth.

We hope that these tips help you to seize the day while interest rates are at all-time lows. For more information about the tools mentioned in this blog please visit:

Teranet-National Bank House Price Index http://www.housepriceindex.ca/default.aspx
ViMO (mobile app for real estate) http://myvimo.ca/
GeoWarehouse (web based tool) http://www.geowarehouse.ca/


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Real Estate Sales Professional or Mortgage Agent?

Some think that the role of a real estate sales professional is merely to represent buyers and sellers buying homes. However, one very important aspect of this role is the financial aspect which is one that extends beyond helping a buyer find a home and negotiating the process or listing a client’s home.

The financial aspect of real estate transactions can actually be sorted into 3 baskets:

1.       Your client’s ability to pay you
2.       Your client’s ability to obtain mortgage financing
3.       Your client’s ability to afford to carry the property that they          want to buy

Aside from a client’s ability to pay you, the other 2 buckets sound somewhat like the activities of a mortgage agent or broker. Some real estate sales professionals will simply recommend that a client go to their bank or make a referral to a mortgage broker to secure mortgage financing. Doing so leaves you dependent on a third party to make your deals happen!

Over time and using technology, you likely have become more empowered as far as validating your clients’ financial ability to purchase a home and pay you – this is especially important when clients are not as honest as they could be - or when they forget information which is important.

Having provisions in your workflow that address the customer financial profile makes you more competitive because you will close more deals and not waste time on deals where clients can’t pay you or qualify for mortgage financing.

How review your client’s financial profile in 1-2-3

1.    Your client’s ability to pay you. This boils down to the equity in your client’s home if they are selling or the equity in the seller’s home if you are representing the buyer. In this regard you will need to review any financial encumbrances against the property that the commission will stem from. Using a tool like GeoWarehouse, you can run a property search and reveal registered mortgages and determine if in fact the equity is there. If you are concerned that there could be a lien you can go a step further and request a Parcel Register* which will give you even more information.
2.    Your client’s ability to secure mortgage financing. The same search of the registered mortgages on the property should give you some insight into whether or not the client will be able to get a mortgage – now this is at a very high level because most mortgages will also depend on the client’s credit and income – but – 1) If the client has 2 or 3 mortgages, that is a sign that the client could have financial problems, 2) If the client’s first or second mortgage is with a private individual it is a sign that the client couldn’t obtain institutional financing at some point which means there could be credit issues, 3) Equity – if the client has substantial equity it will not be difficult for the client to find financing regardless of poor credit.
3.    Your client’s ability to afford to carry to house they want to buy. For this we recommend that you have a mortgage calculator on your smartphone so that you can swiftly calculate mortgage payments for the client and then add them to estimates of utility costs and other expenses to give them an idea of a property’s carrying cost. Consider an app that offers a mortgage calculator that also tells you the bank’s daily mortgage rates – RateHub is a good example of a website that has lots of tools for calculating mortgage payments.

Real estate sales professional or mortgage broker – while some of you are both, at least having a basic process for assessing the financial aspects of the real estate transaction will make you more competitive and close more deals.

GeoWarehouse gives you the ability to do more - making your job that much easier and stopping questionable deals before they become issues. For more information, please visit http://www.geowarehouse.ca/marketing/index.php.

* An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.




Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Instrument Images and You

When you hear the words Instrument Images – do they mean anything to you? Why would Instrument Images be important if you don’t know what they are or how you could be using them? That is the very purpose of the blog you are about to dive into.

As a real estate sales professional you likely use one tool or another to run searches to verify legal home ownership information all the time. The place to get the most current, up-to-date home ownership information is through the Parcel Register*. While some think a Parcel Register* is a title search, it is actually just one part of a title search.

The Parcel Register* not only provides the home ownership information as it relates to the property but also a history of transfers, discharges and registered encumbrances. Each item will have a registration number which can then be used to pull an Instrument Image - an image of the actual document registered and associated to the transfer, registration or discharge.

To use an analogy, the Parcel Register is like popping the hood of a car but the instrument image is like putting the car up on the hoist!

The Parcel Register will show you the date, registration number, registrant (just name) and amount.
The Instrument Image will show you the registrant’s complete information as well as the lawyer who registered the registrant’s complete information and other details that would appear on the relevant document, whether it is a mortgage charge, mortgage discharge or mortgage transfer.

Not every situation will call for such in-depth research as requesting an Instrument Image – but some will, and having it will give you that much more knowledge and, after all, knowledge is power, right?

If you don’t know how to get Instrument Images already, here is a quick video: 


Not a GeoWarehouse customer? Find out why you should be by visiting www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Preventing Real Estate Fraud in 1-2-3

Preventing real estate fraud is a major challenge that most real estate sales professionals, and even lenders for that matter, encounter. Real estate fraud presents itself in many forms – some more common than others.

Title fraud: Though this doesn’t happen often, it is a costly form of fraud that one hopes they are protected against with their title insurance. As a real estate sales professional, do you want to be associated with the origination where title fraud is present on a deal? Absolutely not. The best ways to combat title fraud are to meet the borrowers, request identification, independently verify who is on title to the home and ask them questions about the home, sales history, even things in the area that may help you identify if something seems a bit off!

Value fraud: in a recent publication, the Law Society of BC had an excellent example of this type of fraud that we thought it would be prudent to share.

“Value fraud in this situation, back-to-back purchases of the same property are arranged from a legitimate vendor. The first purchase is for the arranged sale price — say $300,000. Then a subsequent (fraudulent) deal (from one fraudster to another) is arranged (i.e., a “flip”) for $400,000. Both purchases are set to close on the same day. The fraudster arranges for a high-ratio mortgage on the basis of the second deal. The high-ratio mortgage funds are used to close the real estate deals, since the amount of the mortgage (95% of $400,000 = $380,000) is enough to cover the deals. The fraudsters are counting on the financial institutions not doing their full due diligence or having an on-site appraisal done of the property to verify the stated property value. Sooner or later, the balance of the mortgage funds and the fraudster disappear, leaving the bank holding a mortgage for far more than the property is worth.”

“A second value fraud occurs when a legitimate agreement of purchase and sale is entered into between a vendor and the fraudster, say for $350,000. The vendor and the fraudster then sign a one-page amendment that provides a credit of $50,000 against the purchase price (stated to be for repairs). The fraudster does not disclose this credit in obtaining high-ratio financing. The deal closes and the mortgage payments stop shortly thereafter. The fraudster disappears with the balance of the financing leaving the bank with a mortgage greater than the value of the property.”


Here are some red flags that can help you to suss out a real estate fraudster:

·         A client is making a large property purchase with cash and cannot evidence this from the sale of another property.
·         The client has documents to confirm the property transfer but not the original purchase and sale agreement.
·         The property’s sales history is showing multiple recent purchases – each showing the value increasing.
·         The client doesn’t want to provide identification, or will, but doesn’t want you to make a copy of it.
·         The seller indicates that there was a deposit made that was not recorded on the purchase and sale agreement – with payment being made directly to the seller and not through you.
·         The client wants the transaction closed very quickly.
·         The client wants you to indicate a higher purchase price on the agreement than the actual purchase price.
·         The sale price is unreasonably greater than that of other homes in the area.
·         The title shows a history of mortgages being registered and then discharged in short time spans.

Above is just a short list of behaviours that can occur that can mean fraud. Your ears might be ringing but here come the words again: due diligence saves the day, most of the time. Think of water, forcefully flowing from the tap as your deals, now think of the spatter that escapes the stream as representing these instances when something on a deal is off. Maybe in these cases it is better to dig a little deeper and perhaps pass on a deal rather than getting caught in the middle of a fraud scheme that can not only get you in trouble, but also put your relationships with your partners at risk.

For more information about tools you can use to identify real estate fraud please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Virtual Home Sales – Do You Think it is Safe for a Client to Buy a Home Sight Unseen?

It seems everything is online, absolutely everything. We can buy clothes online, electronics, even groceries… and these are all delivered right to your door. Groceries continue to be a surprise because who thought that one could purchase produce without seeing and feeling it? Well, the same seems to be occurring with real estate.

Virtual home sales (more common in the U.S. with all the fire sales going on) seem to be occurring more and more, especially with savvy real estate investor who are buying properties sight unseen. Here in Canada, many Canadians bought U.S. real estate without even taking a visit, just because prices dropped so low that it was worth the risk to some. There are even realty TV programs where investors buy homes at auctions that don’t even take place in front of the property in question!

This is not even considering the international housing market and the thousands of foreigners who buy real estate here, from abroad, through their trusted real estate sales professionals.

Could you ever see this becoming the norm in Canada? A day when a client comes to your office and views properties with you online, and then boom, is ready to make an offer. Sounds crazy, but in Canada this could be a standard practice in only a few years.

Look at the tools available to you when showing a property:

·         You are able to access photos of the property from the street and from above.
·         Many agents offer virtual tours of properties online to preview the inside.
·         You are able to access demographics in a particular area to identify who lives in a neighbourhood, schools, transportation, etc…
·         You are able to view a property from above to see what is beside it, behind it, and in the area.
·         You can search the property’s history and transfers.
·         You are able to access comparable sales in a neighbourhood.
·         You can validate that your client is the legal homeowner of the property.
There is not much that you can’t show your client online about a particular property as it stands today – outside of walking them through it. In the future though, they may not even want to.

Risky business or what could become the norm in the future - what do you think?

For information about how you can validate the information presented on your deals please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.



Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Due Diligence in Real Estate – Is There Such Thing as Too Much?

This question is fair enough and asked often enough for us to blog about it. There are many different skilled professionals involved in a real estate transaction: you, the real estate sales professional, a lender and/or mortgage broker, a real estate lawyer and many more. You, however, are the first line of defense when it comes to the long list of due diligence measures that have to be taken to prevent mortgage fraud and ensure that good quality deals are taking place.

OREA defines due diligence as “the reasonable analysis or research that is done to check or verify material information about a property.”https://www.oreablog.com/2013/02/what-is-due-diligence/

Real estate sales professionals can and do choose how far they can go with due diligence, making it a time consuming and costly task on some deals. With all the tools and capabilities available, one could spend countless time and a significant amount of money performing due diligence – so is there in fact such a thing as too much due diligence?

One way to mitigate the time spent on due diligence is to evaluate what due diligence to perform and when you do it.

For example, common types of due diligence performed by real estate sales professionals include:
·         Verifying who the legal homeowners are
·         Obtaining a survey
·         Validating the legal description of the property
·         Reviewing the sales history on a particular property
·         Checking for encumbrances like mortgages and liens and more…

Once you know what needs to be verified on every deal, your next step is to look at how you can get it verified. This is going to come down to the tools and technology you use to perform due diligence. Place a monetary value on your time and pursue tools that do as many of the due diligence items you need to perform, in one place – even in a single report. This will reduce the need to do 5-6 things separately, instead doing them all together.

Finally, when should you do it? We firmly believe at the application stage. Once a client has made the decision to engage you, due diligence should begin. Again, getting back to placing monetary value on your time – wasting time on deals that have issues is not good for you or any of your colleagues along the supplier chain. Not only do you stand to save time and expense, but you also stand to save credibility by performing due diligence at the point where a customer signs on.

There can never be too much due diligence when it comes to preventing real estate fraud. Generally speaking, if you establish a standard framework to perform due diligence within a set time and expense parameter, you should never find performing due diligence too time consuming and should be able to get through it with ease.

For more information about GeoWarehouse, a revolutionary tool that helps real estate sales professionals perform due diligence, please visit www.geowarehouse.ca

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Real Estate Pulse: Barbara Corcoran a Hit at this Year’s InMan Events!


If you like Shark Tank or work in the real estate business, you can surely relate to this invigorating talk by Barbara Corcoran, presented at this year’s InMan. Real estate sales professionals across North America are raving! With a little something for all - and a whole lot of humor - she is worth going to see!

We don’t have the video from the keynote at InMan but here is another speech by Ms. Corcoran that covers similar subject matter.
 

As always, if you are interested in more information about GeoWarehouse, our tool that makes doing your job that much easier please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Representing Divorcing Spouses Means Exercising Extra Due Diligence

One major factor that contributes to homes hitting the market or being transferred is the ugly process of divorce. When marriage problems lead to separation or divorce, the home is usually the largest asset. What will then happen to the home can become a volatile and contentious issue for spouses - which puts you in a sensitive and tricky position?

One spouse may want the home sold immediately, or perhaps one spouse is living in the home while the other is not. In addition, if the home is a matrimonial property both spouses must consent to its sale, just as both spouses should have consented to its purchase and any subsequent refinancing, whether they are on title or not.

There are occasions where other people appear on title that were not initially disclosed to you as the real estate sales professional. This is often the result of one spouse hoping to hurry divorce proceedings along faster than the other spouse may want or may be ready for. These situations require extra due diligence on your part.

Some people believe that because the home is in only their name they can simply sell it. Well, you sure don't want to show up with your ‘For Sale’ sign only to learn that the other spouse actually lives there, won't let you in, and won't let your sign on the front lawn. Some people also think they can sell the matrimonial home without a spouse’s signature… the old, “I’ll take this home for my husband/wife to sign” (not!!).

So how can you identify when a home is a matrimonial? Here are some tips:

·         The interview. Ask lots of questions including the client’s marital status. If they indicate they are separated or divorced, ask them if the home is/was a matrimonial property. Most people when directly asked won’t lie. If they do, it doesn’t matter because step two will move you closer to the truth.

·         Search homeownership information. In GeoWarehouse you can see who owns the home up to the past month or so. If you want this information up to the date in question you can request a Parcel Register through the GeoWarehouse Store. If there is more than one person on title, then you will need to ask the customer to have the other parties meet with you to obtain identification and sign off on all paperwork.

·         Ask the client to bring documents to your meeting – things like utility bills. If other names are on them, ask the client about this. Even if one person shows up on title, two names on a collection of utility bills may be a tip that a separation has taken place.

·         If you are visiting or showing a listing - and this one should be obvious – you must be able to gain entry to the home to show the property. If gaining entry is posing challenges there can be two very likely reasons: there is a tenant on the premises or there is an ex-spouse still in the home.

Nothing is fool proof and if a client is bound and determined to hide something from you they may very well pull it off. As a real estate sales professional, the best you can do is to deploy the tools available to you and let your professional experience to guide you through deals that have some hair on them.

For more information about how you can validate homeownership information please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Landing Good Real Estate Deals and Mitigating the Ones That go POW!

Deals go POW all the time…. Most times deals go POW when they weren’t "a deal" in the first place. Landing good real estate deals depends upon discerning good deals from POW-destined deals right from the get-go.

What does that mean? Well, when you meet a client and conduct a new client interview, the prospective buyer or a seller provides you with available personal information. But at this point in your relationship with them, the information provided is all you have with which to assess them…. So what do you do next?

Often times, a client may often innocently omit information they could have provided you. Many times a prospective client could have been confused or simply forgot about other documents that would have been of appropriate interest to you. Other times a prospective client may intentionally omit providing information he or she well knows positions them to reap some personal gain, perhaps even at your expense.

Whether you are trying to prevent fraud or simply keep a deal from going POW, you should perform your due diligence at this crucial application stage. So what information is vital to confirm at the application stage? Here are some essentials:

Verifying a Seller's worthiness

·         Verify your client’s identification by asking to see it
·         Verify that your client is the legal homeowner
·         Verify that your client is the only legal homeowner and if they are not, insist on knowing who all other legal homeowners are
·         Check registered mortgages to ensure that there is enough equity to pay for closing costs (including your commission)
·         Check the sales history on the property to make sure that there is no funny-business or reason to suspect the property has issues

Verifying a Buyer's worthiness

·         Check the client’s identification
·         Ensure that your client is able to finance a mortgage
·         If a client tells you their purchase depends on the sale of their other property – check that the other property has enough equity to finance the purchase of another (including land transfer taxes and related closing costs)
Conducting an airtight interview is the first vital component to your landing a good real estate deal as a real estate sales professional. Utilize tools to validate information about your clients ahead of all other business to pave the way for a successful deal - and close. Some real estate sales professionals perform due diligence at various stages in the real estate process and for good reason. If something comes up the deal could go POW.

Even if the client provides you with documents like the deed or MPAC assessments – you should still independently verify all information provided by a client or prospective client. Tools like GeoWarehouse, Google and even the MLS are great ways to do this and can save you substantial money and headaches in the long run!


For more information about how you can validate the information your client provides to you please visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

CRMs for Real Estate Professionals: Are CRMs Like Salesforce Too Big?

During recent years, Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) have become increasingly popular in the real estate industry. CRM's offer real estate sales professionals the ability to keep track of all interactions with clients, market directly to them, encourage strong relationships with them, and also connect with other professionals in the industry.  This means more time spent on the deal itself and less time going back and forth to get there! CRM's also result in better organization with greater ease.

So while this is well and good, real estate sales professionals have a whole host of platforms to consider when choosing the right CRM for their needs. Most CRMs offer many of the same capabilities: marketing, tracking, workforce automation, etc. and, of course, there are pros and cons for each kind. So does size matter when choosing your CRM for real estate? Is bigger always better?

Let’s take a look at a CRM like Salesforce. As one of the most popular CRMs available, Salesforce is a major player on the CRM scene.  CRM, and others like it, offer a plethora of options for businesses looking to fully automate their workflows. And this is great, but does one size fit all?

Your budget is an important consideration when it comes to the CRM that best fits your business size and needs. Larger, major players can charge more for their services, and if your budget allows for expansion, one of the big names might be a great fit for you. However, smaller businesses, especially real estate professionals who work largely independently, would likely find a CRM with a proportionately smaller price point to be a better option.

Does less money mean lower quality? Not by any stretch. But it will likely boil down to fewer capabilities - which this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes narrowing down the list to include only what you actually need just makes better business sense. 

Configuration should also be taken into consideration. With the big name companies, configuration can take more legwork. If you have the support to carry configuration out with no issues, then it is advantageous for you. But if your team consists of you and you alone, perhaps you may want to consider how much time you can devote to configuration. Again, this is all relative.

A CRM custom-fit for your business may actually be one that is better when bigger - especially if you have the time and budget to make it work for you. However, bigger isn't the answer for everyone, and many businesses have chosen to cater their CRM to fit their needs, doing so without attachment to a big name. It's perfectly viable to opt for specifics rather than adopting the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach.

What CRM are you using? What capabilities are most important to you? Join the discussion.

For more, or to join the conversation, visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Yes! You Can Obtain a Property Survey for Your Client Online!

Land surveys are still an integral part of the property purchasing process and vitally important during the purchaser's ownership of that land. Property lines are the first thing people refer to when disputing issues like misplaced fences, garages, driveways and even homes!

While some lenders offer title insurance, nothing beats an accurate and properly documented property survey upon closing. 

Title insurance protects clients against losses incurred in situations like defects on title or land survey. This protection is a compensatory measure extended as part of a claim clients may file in pursuit of correcting such a defect.

But beware that the process of filing a claim with the title insurance company is a long and complicated one.  Your clients are better served by knowing upon close that they've purchased a property with clean title - with a survey that documents this.

Then when do lenders consider title insurance a viable alternative to having a survey? Traditionally, when a seller doesn’t have an up-to-date survey in their possession, conducting a new survey tends to be a long, expensive and arduous process. Here's why:

·         A surveyor would have to be obtained
·         The surveyor would have to meet the client
·         The surveyor then performs research
·         The surveyor then heads to the property to perform field work which includes taking accurate measurements of the property
·         The surveyor proceeds to complete drawings
·         And then the survey is delivered

The beauty of today's real estate climate is that now your client can have the best of both worlds – title insurance (which most lenders require) and a survey of the property, if one exists, and without having to trudge through the entire survey process. Some real estate sales professionals who access GeoWarehouse don’t even realize that in the GeoWarehouse store you can purchase a survey of a property electronically!

This makes life so much more manageable for already stressed buyers and sellers. If a seller doesn’t have a survey and a potential buyer makes the offer conditional upon one, you can purchase a survey - easily. If the seller doesn’t want to bear the costs associated with the survey but the buyer is adamant about having one done, the buyer can also opt to pay the necessary fee to have the survey conducted.

Click, click – property survey, and that’s it!

For more information about how you can get property surveys online, please contact GeoWarehouse today at 1-866-237-5937.