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Here’s what the future Realtor won’t be | REM

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Several Canadian real estate industry pundits recently said that we won’t recognize the Realtor five years from now. None of them said why. Here’s why.

High-tech companies are pouring billions into next-generation technologies for real estate. Do an Internet search on “proptech” and find out which companies are looking to make Realtors irrelevant and racing to win this multi-trillion-dollar business. None are talking about the Realtor’s future role and some are implying Realtors won’t be needed.




Then research “blockchain”. This technology is doing for “value” transactions what the internet did for information sharing. The internet was created to move data instantly between parties worldwide around a design foundation of reliability, which was naïve given the pervasiveness of viruses, hacking and fraud. Yet a value transaction such as clearing a cheque, wiring money or closing a real estate transaction takes days or weeks.

Blockchain is a peer-to-peer (think consumer-to-consumer) transaction technology that is removing the need for traditional trusted entities like banks, lawyers, government financial policing agencies, accountants, mortgage brokers and Realtors, in all types of value or asset transactions – money, artwork, patents, music, vehicles, property – between two parties. Combined with artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, smart contracts and the internet, blockchain is already seeding a worldwide decentralized ecosystem for value exchange without need for traditional trusted entities. It’s facilitating such value exchanges at a fraction of today’s costs. Soon, real estate lawyers’ fees, mortgage agents’ and Realtors’ commissions, banking fees, possibly land transfer taxes and even the traditional land registry will diminish significantly or disappear.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff announced in September that Zillow will aggressively embrace blockchain. If blockchain means directly connecting buyers to sellers, what is the Realtor’s role within Zillow five years from now?

Zillow-like companies need Realtors today because they don’t have the sales force to populate their listings database. But once consumers learn and appreciate the convenience, low cost and worldwide market reach of a peer-to-peer listing service with a built-in trusted entity (blockchain, not Zillow), artificial intelligence property pricing, auto-managed and executed agreements of purchase and sale, encrypted currency like Bitcoin, instant mortgages (Zillow offers “mortgage origination” via its subsidiary, Mortgage Lenders of America), and a technology infrastructure that is “immutable”, consumers will flock to these online services to manage the end-to-end process of selling and buying a house.

What’s a Realtor to do? If you give your listings to an online listing company, you could be contributing to your own future business demise. If you don’t embrace proptech, you’ll definitely find yourself without a career within the coming decade.

Will Canadian organized real estate save the day? Do you think spending millions of membership dues to limit the publishing of certain data outside the MLS or registering trademarks will make one iota of difference?

CREA’s and TREB’s 2016 revenue were each under $40 million. CREA spent $500,000 on technology; TREB spent $15 million on computer technology. Zillow invested more than $100 million just in R&D. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, which have all stated they want in on the real estate business, spent $16.1, $14.3, $12.3 and $5.9 billion in R&D, respectively. CB Insights monitors real estate tech markets. It says newer residential real estate technology startups have focused on mortgages, direct-home buying and title and closing. Commercial sector startups focused on data, valuation and analytics, investment crowdfunding and energy management.

How many commercial listings do you find on the MLS? The commercial real estate old boys’ network will also take a beating. What developer or property owner needs a Realtor if they can directly access thousands of small investors for any one project via crowdfunding and provide them with myriad analysis tools and information in order to make an informed decision?

Realtor.ca and the traditional board-level MLS as we know it today will become irrelevant within a decade.

Opendoor, a startup, raised $725 million and is valued at $4.4 billion. It and Zillow flip homes with the press of a button. Point.com empowers homeowners to sell small fractions of their home equity to investors. WeWork is turning office space into real estate-on-demand. Slock.it offers a smart lock that opens when contract conditions have been met and enables anyone to rent, sell or share any asset without a middleman. OpenBazaar is a free online marketplace where you can create a store and sell anything. It’s not a company or organization. It’s open source software that nobody controls.

Realtors are intended to be “trusted” middlemen. What a future Realtor’s role might be requires a separate article but, with absolute certainty, it won’t be gatekeepers of MLS data. And the commission income stream will drop precipitously.

Whatever the role, if you’re not tech-savvy – social media, online advertising, blogging, email drip marketing, aerial and 3D video, social graphics, conversion rates – you’ll consistently lose to those who are.

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The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021

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Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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