MLS® Map Search
  Mortgage Calculator
  Mobile Listings

Curb Appeal

January 20, 2017

 

Check out this educational video, part of RE/MAX Fit to Sell campaign

 

 

The REALTOR® Code

 

In my role as a Managing Broker, it is not unusual to hear complaints from agents about other agents acting “unethically”. On occasion I have to deal with members of the public expressing concerns about one of our associates acting in a manner which was considered unethical in their eyes. These allegations tend to stem from the complainant imputing motives on the actions of the agent. They interpret what they have experienced as unethical when the results of a transaction, or negotiation do not conform with their expectations nor provide for their well-being. The insinuation is that the agent manipulated circumstances into their own interest, rather than the interest of the client or customer. What comes into play is the subjective nature of our understanding of the ethical boundaries of our business.

Ethical behavior is described in the Dictionary as follows:

 eth·ics

1. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.

2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.

3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.

4. ( usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

 

Ethics are, in a nutshell, the often unwritten, but internalized, rules of conduct that allow for the well-being of others. While many maintain that it is the religious imprint of our current or past affiliations of faith that give us a moral compass, there is a growing understanding that we all have an innate sense of fairness and communal responsibility. This inborn awareness of what is fair has even been demonstrated in studies with primates that associate in groups.

 

We all have slightly different points of reference when it comes to acting fairly. Although the “golden rule” is a universal axiom, we are also influenced in what our ethical boundaries are through our upbringing, (including where we are in birth order comparative to our siblings), our cultural background, and our religious influences. Due to these variants in one’s personal experience, it is important to set an objective guideline to overcome the elastic nature of moral and ethical boundaries. The statement that there is “honour among thieves”, suggests that even within groups that might be seen as lacking in moral fibre, a certain ethical standard is upheld. One might be tempted to respond to an accusation of unethical behavior with a question of which standard is being referred to!

CREA developed a code of ethics in 1913 for the real estate industry with the specific reason of ensuring that a standard of conduct be adhered to. They created 28 guiding principles help to determine when someone is acting unethically. This code has a higher standard than the existing legal requirements in many cases. The local real estate boards have taken these guiding principles and applied them to their professional standards doctrines. Boards also appoint professional standards committees to police the actions of agents based on the rules of conduct built around the code of ethics.

CREA describes the code this way:

CREA’s REALTOR® Code has been the measure of professionalism in organized real estate for over 40 years.

A REALTOR’s® ethical obligations are based on moral integrity, competent service to clients and customers, and dedication to the interest and welfare of the public.

The REALTOR® Code, by setting high standards of professional conduct for REALTORS®, helps to protect Canadians' rights and interests. It also creates a level of trust between REALTORS® and their clients.
 
There have been instances where a member of the public contacts me with a complaint, and it becomes evident that the designated agent they were dealing with did not instill a level of trust in their relationship with their client. As a result, as soon as something did not go as planned, the agent was seen as acting outside of the standards and values of the client. Even if nothing was done wrong in a technical sense, the client is left with a bad taste regarding their dealings with the agent.
 

When someone complains about unethical behavior to me, I will step back and picture the scenario from every angle possible. In most cases, after getting the details, it becomes clear that the agent was not acting unethically but rather, outside circumstances conspired to create that impression to someone that didn’t have the full details. As the saying goes, “There is always at least two sides to every story”. It is a rare occasion that I have found a REALTOR® acting intentionally against the well-being of others. It is for those occasions that the REALTOR® Code becomes a valuable tool in organized real estate.

Understanding the 28 articles in the CREA Code of Ethics is invaluable toward building a solid reputation as a REALTOR®. It is the ethical standard that sets us apart.

Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story

Did you know that RE/MAX has launched a new tech tool that is a first in the real estate market in Canada? RE/MAX of Western Canada has recently launched its new Augmented Reality feature, ‘Live View’ on the free RE/MAX mobile real estate search app. This new feature is available on iPhone and Android devices.

 How does it work? When looking through the camera view on your GPS enabled iPhone or Android phone you will be able to locate properties for sale and displays the listing information on top of the physical property that you are standing in front of. The app allows you to save the property in a list of ‘Saved Listings’ which can be connected your remax.ca account making it easy to reference while in the application or on a computer. You can also request more information on the property and have a RE/MAX agent contact you.
This app will be particularly helpful when one is looking for active condo listings in the larger buildings in the Vancouver Downtown area!
 Download the free RE/MAX application onto your device.  Visit www.remax.ca/wc/mobile.htm or the iTunes App Store or Google Play store.
 
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story
The power of consumer confidence is often addressed in economic forecasts by the various charter banks and government agencies. For many the impact is not appreciated or realized...but make no mistake it is a powerful mass dynamic.
 
In their book, SWITCH, the Heath Brothers talk about the impact of "peer perspective" rather than "peer pressure". It seems that people will respond to any given dynamic based on what others around them are doing. In research it has been observed that an individual in a room with smoke coming through the vents will respond differently than one sitting with others in a room with smoke coming through the vents. The individual will immediately leave to look for assistance, while those sitting together will wait and see what the others do. That same response is often seen in an audience watching a film, or play. People will laugh or applaud based in part on what they see their peers doing.
 
Recently I succumbed to the power of peer perspective when a young paperboy came to my door. I didn't have any intention of signing up for paper delivery until he casually mentioned that "all of your neighbours are chosing the pre-payment plan via cheque". Before I realized what I was doing, I had my cheque book out.
 
Consumer confidence has the same power as peer perspective but on a larger scale. Mass media has used their influence in steering consumers. This was displayed recently in Canada when, despite the fact that we were not directly part of the American mortgage meltdown, the housing market dropped  for a number of months. It was only after restoring the confidence of the consumer that the market came back in any signicant way.
 
The Bank of Canada recently signalled an upward move in the prime lending rate...and the Bank of Montreal responded by lowering their 5 yr mortgage rate. Both acting in different directions in an attempt to address the consumer in Canada. Like it or not, we work as a group...and part of our actions and responses are due to peer perspective. People see, people do...
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story
Spring is the traditional busy season for real estate in Greater Vancouver, as in most of the Western World. This year is no exception. The signs are out in full force across the region. From Richmond to Coquitlam and through the West Side, the signs are popping up like the leaves are filling the trees.
There has been much speculation regarding what this "post-olympic" market will look like. For the most part it is turning into a typical Vancouver Spring Market. There are a few clouds in the horizon that need to be watched carefully...
 
The change in bank lending policies came into effect on April 19th. This may have an impact on Investors and first time home buyers, requiring them to have more "in-hand" cash before seeking financing. Although this may create some slowing of the market, it is not enough of a deterrent to impact heavily on demand.
 
The coming HST is of concern to many. It will impact on the amount of commission that a Seller will pay. Prior to the HST Sellers only had to pay the GST, as there was no provincial component in commissions earned. Now the sales tax becomes a blended entity with the service tax, it will create a 7 % increase in the amount due to the Brokerage on closing.The increase in listings thus far does not suggest that some are looking to beat the tax by selling prior to July. If the listings numbers continue to outpace seasonal norms into the late spring and early summer, then it could be argued that consumers are realizing the savings that will occur with a sale prior to July.
 
The rise of the Canadian dollar may help to slow down out-of-country speculative buyers, but it has been argued that these types of buyers are a small minority of the buying market.
Some concerns have been expressed regarding the potential increases in interest rates projected for the summer. The Bank of Canada may be looking to increase the rates, but with the relatively low inflation numbers being posted, the Bank may reconsider the increase. An increase in rates may do more harm than good for the Canadian economy, which seems to be moving along very well at this point.
 
The RE/MAX signs out in the yards across Greater Vancouver are a sign of the times. Inventory is outpacing Buying at this point...but demand doesn't seem to have wained at all.
 
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story

Home listings rise to start the spring season

A steady influx of new listings has helped create a balanced ‘typical spring’ housing market in the Greater Vancouver region.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 7,004 in March 2010. This represents a 60 per cent increase compared to March 2009 when 4,385 new units were listed, and a 52.1 per cent increase compared to February 2010 when 4,606 properties were listed on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).

At 13,538, the total number of property listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) increased 19 per cent in March compared to last month, but remains 7.6 per cent below this time last year.

“The total number of homes listed for sale on our MLS® is at its highest level in 10 months, which translates into more options and variety for those looking to buy during the traditionally busy spring period,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said.

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,137 in March 2010, a 38.5 per cent increase compared to March 2009, a 4.7 per cent increase over March 2008, and a 12.4 per cent decrease compared to March 2007. The current figure also represents a 26.8 per cent increase compared to the 2,473 sales recorded in February 2010.

“With a sales-to-listing ratio of 23 per cent, we see a healthy balance between buyer demand and seller supply in the marketplace,” Moldowan said.

Over the last 12 months, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 20.3 per cent to $584,435 from $485,845 in March 2009. This price is 2.8 per cent above the previous high point in the market in May 2008 when the residential benchmark price sat at $568,411.

Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story

January 20, 2017


First-time buyers interest-free down payment program


The new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program helps eligible BC residents purchase a home.

The program offers first-time home buyers who have saved a down payment:

  • A down payment loan of up to 5% of a home’s purchase price to a maximum of $37,500, on a home with a maximum price of $750,000.
  • This loan matches the buyer’s down payment and is interest-free and payment-free for five years.
  • After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at interest rates that are current five years from the date of the loan.
  • Loans through the program are due after 25 years – the same length as most mortgages.

To qualify for the program, home buyers with a registered interest on title must reside in the home and be a:

  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years;
  • resident of BC for at least one year immediately preceding the date of application; and
 
  Click here for larger version of infographic
 
  • first-time buyer who has not owned an interest in a residence anywhere in the world at any time.

The home buyer must:

  • use the property as their principal residence for the first five years;
  • obtain a high-ratio insured first mortgage on the property for at least 80% of the purchase price; and
  • have a combined, gross household income of all individuals on title not exceeding $150,000.

Buyers can begin gathering the documents they’ll need to submit an online application. Buyers will need:

  • Proof of status in Canada and residency in British Columbia.
  • Secondary identification (must include your photo).
  • Proof of income and tax filings.
  • Insured first mortgage pre-approval.

 

• Information and application details
• Questions and answers 

  

Exclusive Features

  Sign up to VOW and access:

I make myself available at all times. My web site is here to help you 24 hours a day. You can search listings at your own convenience, browse reports, and read up on real estate info on your own terms.

  • 333% More Listing Info
  • New Listings Sooner
  • Save Your Searches
  • Email Alerts & more!