27 – The Marshall Report – Episode 27

Marshall Report

Today is Thursday July 21st, 2016 and this is the 27th episode of the Marshall Report. Welcome to the podcast. In this week’s podcast:

1. Summer, so far
2. Question of the week
3. Charging stations
4. Vacant homes
5. Netflix
6. Purple. Buttons.
7. We are number 10!
8. Pokemon Go
9. Learning how to win
10. Diamonds
Let’s get on with the show

My summer so far
The summer real estate slow down is here and for me and likely every other real estate agent in the region, it is a breath of fresh air, a time to collect our thoughts, clean up our files and generally enjoy summer just like the rest of the world.
I’ve been sitting around enjoying my backyard swimming pool, taking care of long overdue home improvement projects and reading, actually reading real books with words (and no pictures).
It is a lost art, reading. I used to read all the time but the internet disrupted that.
Also, I’m working on an online course. How to sell your home in 8 Days. It is going to be interactive. Should be good.

Question of the week
This week’s question comes from Bob. He asks:
Could a buyers agreement from a Kitchener brokerage be made to include all of South Western Ontario instead of just the KW Region? My broker did not explain the broker agreement properly and now says that despite my finding something west of London that the agreement is still valid and that he is supposed to be the broker?! — Bob M
What Bob is referring to here is the Buyer Representation Agreement. It is an agreement between a buyer and his agent. On that agreement form there are places to fill in the duration of the agreement and the geographic location of the agreement. The agent and his client agree to work together for a day or six or more months. They can also agree to work together for houses anywhere in Ontario or a specific address. Please read your agreements carefully.

Vehicle charging stations
The Ontario Government is building nearly 500 electric vehicle charging stations. There will be about 16 in and around the region by march of next year – two in each Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph and Arthur and one in Stratford, Aberfloyle, Mount Forest and Harrison.
The charging stations will allow electric vehicle owners to make longer trips. There are currently about 7000 electric vehicles currently on Ontario roads. Electric vehicles are expected to make up 5% of new vehicle sales by 2020.

Vacant homes
There are a couple of stories in the news recently about vacant homes.
Waterloo: The city of Waterloo is creating a new bylaw aimed at owners of vacant and derelict buildings. New rules are being drafted up which will allow Waterloo bylaw officers to more quickly take action to secure a building in the event that they haven’t been able to reach the property owner.
Currently, 14 days is given to the owner. Under the new bylaw, if a building urgently needs to be secured, the city can hire its own contractor to do the work and bill the building’s owner for the work done.
The bill is aimed at one notoriously bad property owner and landlord, Terry Good. He owns at least eight properties in Waterloo. Most are vacant and in serious disrepair. Some have attracted vandals and squatters.
Vancouver: In Vancouver, the story is a little different. The BC government is supporting Vancouver’s request for a tax on vacant housing. The vacant home tax is aimed at improving the supply of rental housing. A recent study found that nearly 11,000 homes are empty and have been for more than a year. Most of them are condominiums. At the same time, the city’s vacancy rate is only .6 precent. By contrast, the average vacancy rate across 35 Canadian cities is just about 2.8%.

Summer is here. The days are long and the nights are short. There is not much time for Netflix and that is a good thing. Maybe we should let the titles stack up a bit so we will have something to watch over the long cold winter.
A recent study proves what most Canadians already know — that our Netflix selection sucks. Stacked up against the rest of the world, the number of titles available to Canadians is sorely on the low side. In fact we rank behind Cuba and Haiti for the number of titles available to us.
In the USA, there are 5087 titles to choose from. In Canada, 3434. That’s about 1/3 fewer.
We are not last on the list though. We are ahead of Australia, Guam, the UK, Ireland, Pueto Rico and a host of others.

Here is a captured thought
Not many words rhyme with buttons. Or purple.

KW on another Top 10 list
According to a recent study published in the Huffington Post, Kitchener Waterloo is one of Canada’s best cities for Jobs and Affordable houses.
Based on three existing indexes: The BMO Labour Market Report Card; the RBC housing affordability index; and the Caisse Desjardins index of housing affordability, KW ranked 10th out of the 26 cities surveyed with an overall score of 57%.
The cities at the top of the list include Regina, Edmonton and Windsor all at over 80%. The worst city was St Catherines at 21.5%.
Toronto scored 39% and Vancouver scored 48%. There must be a lot of jobs in Vancouver.

Pokemon Go and the future of real estate
With social media phenomenons, business are always trying to pile on and capitalize. I think this is a bad idea.
One of my clients said that I should put a Pokemon Go icon outside of a home I have for sale. Bring lots of people to an open house. “Why would I do that?”, I thought, “Those people are not looking to buy a house? They are out playing a game. I don’t need a bunch of random people coming to an open house. I need ready buyers.”
But, mark my words, real estate agents and other businesses will try mostly in vain to get new customers and make money from this. In the process, they will make themselves look bad by not respecting the new rules of the new world.
The opportunity with the Pokemon Go phenomenon is the virtual reality technology. Imagine a day in the not so distant future that you can walk through a home and have all the information about materials used, the chattels and fixtures, the issues and repairs, the age of the windows, furnace and roof and who the builder was… imagine how useful living in a virtual reality world will be.
I blogged about Pokemon Go here.

Call to action
It seems like every house gets multiple offers this year and that is a great thing for the home sellers. For home buyers though, it is discouraging. Frankly it is a little discouraging for real estate agents too. Last week I had two clients bid and lose out on two different listings. In both cases there were three other offers and of course only one winner.
Three losers.
One successful bidder.
Three failures.
But failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of it. Winners have to lose a few times before they learn how to win. This week’s call to action is to go out there and learn from your failures. Learn how to win.

Parting thought
I will leave you with this parting thought. People are like diamonds. They have many sides.

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