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Salespeople: Is it time to build a team for your real estate business? | REM

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There are two important indicators of the right time to hire your first employee: time and money.

If you find yourself running out of time every day, and you’re unable to handle all aspects of your business, it’s time to hire. This, however, is a bit reactive. You could have already done some damage to your reputation because you are being stretched in too many directions, resulting in some customer dissatisfaction.




If you find that your business sales/profit are such that you can afford to make the hire, even if you are not strapped for time, then it’s time to hire. This proactive approach gives you more time to ramp up a quality employee to your standards and processes. When you have the funds is the ideal time to setup your business for growth.

How much revenue does a salesperson make or how many transactions does a salesperson typically complete before hiring an assistant?

That depends on the dollar value of the homes the salesperson sells. Some are able to afford investing in a new employee after 25 transactions, others may wait until they have reached 40-50 transactions a year. On average, a salesperson needs to close 30+ transactions (or $300k GCI) before bringing on a full-time assistant.

Who are the typical first hires?

The best first person to hire in an up-and-coming team has to be a real estate assistant and/or a buyer agent. These are preferably professionals with more than two years experience in the industry, who can help take the agent and their team to the next level.

Once the lead salesperson is freed from the bulk of the administrative responsibilities, they will have more time to build a bigger business, focusing on sales, marketing and training of any new salespeople that join the team.

What are the benefits of virtual assistants over a full-time assistant?

I’m a bit of a traditionalist and feel that someone who resides locally, even if they are not working from your office, is a better prospect. An assistant who is physically able to pick up and file paperwork, drop off brochures at a property and put a lockbox on the door is invaluable. These are important tasks that will go a long way to relieving the lead salesperson of much of the administrative work. But that doesn’t mean that I advocate for a 9 to 5 assistant sitting in morning commute just to sit at your office to do the same work that can be done from home. See my views in this CBC article.

How will I know I made the right decision when hiring?

The probationary period is the time to uncover if you’ve made the right hire. If you haven’t, you still have a way to manage the situation that is fairly painless. A candidate might interview really well, have a great work history and be amazing in certain aspects of the job, but they still might not be the right hire.

Where hiring can go off the rails is if you don’t have a clear definition of what you are looking for. The result is that you might hire for one skill, thinking that this is what you really need, but then you realize, “Oh… I really needed this and that too, but this person is not able to do that.” The ability to hire well comes with experience.

Start with your vision of your team and what you want it to be. Once you have a vision, you’ll draft a job description and list what hard and soft skills will be good for you.

How much hands-on training will I have to provide to any new employees?

Even if you hire someone with 10 years experience, you should still be available to them throughout the day to answer questions and give the new hire guidance, especially in those crucial first three months. However, with an experienced candidate, you will only need to provide the nuances of how you prefer to get things done and they will bring on their structure to follow the vision of your team.

For less experienced hires, expect to provide 30 to 60 minutes of training a day. If you don’t have the time to do this, you need someone from your team who is capable of training this individual to run with it.

Do family and/or friends make good employees?

I don’t think so. I personally would never hire family or friends. I’m even reluctant to hire my own children! The boundaries are often blurred, and we see a lot of issues around respect for employer and abiding by the rules when family or friends are involved. Worse still, if there is a misunderstanding at work, it can trickle into the personal relationship, making things sour on both fronts.

On the flipside, sometimes we demand too much from an employee simply because they are family, asking them to do things we could never ask an employee to do, and thus we become oppressive as an employer.

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Window repair or replacement is the responsibility of the condo corporation

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If the windows in your condo are hazy, drafty, or have rotting frames, it’s an indicator that they need repairs or outright replacement.

However, under the Condominium Act, it is the responsibility of the condo’s board to carry out such changes as a replaced window is a common element.

“Under the Condominium Act, a declaration may alter the maintenance or repair obligations of unit owners and the corporation but cannot make unit owners responsible for repairs to the common elements,” said Gerry Hyman is a former president of the Canadian Condominium Institute and contributor for the Star.

“A declaration for a high-rise condominium invariably provides that the unit boundary is the interior surface of windows. That means that the entire window — whether it is a single pane or a double pane — is a common element. Necessary repairs or replacement of a broken pane is the obligation of the corporation.”

According to Consumer Reports, selecting an installing windows replacement can be very overwhelming for homeowners. Therefore, if you aren’t covered by your condo’s corporation, it would be necessary to hire professional hands.

Wood, vinyl and composite windows need to be tested on how they can withstand various natural elements. For wind resistance, a window can be very tight when it’s warm but get quite cold too—especially when it begins to leak a lot.

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line remains that replacement windows can save you heating and cooling costs, but it’s best not to expect drastic savings.

Additionally, while getting a new window might help you save on your electric and gas bills, due to their expensive cost, it may take a long time to offset their cost.

Mid-last-year, the government withdraw a $377 million Green Ontario program that provided subsidy on windows to installers and repairers. Window companies had to install energy-efficient windows in order to qualify for the government subsidy that pays for up to $500 of a $1,000 to $1,500 window.

Due to the largely generous subsidies from the government under the Green Ontario program, a lot of window dealers were fully booked for months—even after the program had ended.

“We’re fine with the program ending, we just need more time to satisfy consumers,” said Jason Neal, the executive director of the Siding and Window Dealer Association of Canada, the industry group representing window dealers in a report.

According to Neal, the Progressive Conservatives acted hastily, making massive changes with no prior notice.

“No notification was given to us by anyone,” he said, noting he learned about the change through one of his dealers.

“It’s created a ripple effect.If they had just given us notice we would have pushed that down the line from the manufacturer right into the dealer right down to the consumer.”

Neal noted that he wasn’t particularly sad to see the Green Ontario program end, as it was “the worst rebate program in the history of the window industry.”

“It’s been horrible,” he said. “$500 a window has created such hysteria.”

However, despite the program ending about a year ago, numerous homeowners have been contacting window dealers consistently with concerns that they might not be able to afford replacement windows without the government’s subsidy.

“I understand their concern,” said window dealer Chris George. “I would suggest they reach out to their local representative of the government in their riding and let them know about their concerns.”

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7 Vancouver Real Estate Buying Tips

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The real estate market in Vancouver is turning around for good for everyone looking to purchase a home.

Previously soaring prices are now beginning to ease up, making it a perfect time for buyers—with real estate agents already getting ready for a very busy spring and summer season.

However, before splashing cash on a new property, there are some very important tips you need to know to ensure you make the most of the buyer’s market.

Here are some few expert tips that would guide you when purchasing a home in the sometimes frustration Vancouver seller’s market.

  1. Get adequate financing

It is very important that before you make the move to purchase a property, you put into careful consideration your credit score.

Normally, home buyers with lower scores use the secondary mortgage market to finance their purchase, as they’re more likely to pay a higher interest rate.However, it is advisable to get loan approval long before purchasing the house. This way, you are fully aware of how much you are able to spend—but never be tempted to borrow the maximum amount of money available.

“What’s your mortgage payment that you’re comfortable with? And take into the fact the taxes you’re going to have to pay, if it’s a strata – what the maintenance fees are, if it’s a home what type of maintenance are you going to have to pay in the future?” said Phil Moore, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in a report.

Always be careful of the type of loan you secure and ensure that you can comfortably afford it over a long period of time.

  1. Get a real estate agent

Buying a property without professional help is a very risky move and can be likened to choosing to represent yourself in court without a lawyer. While you might trust your negotiation skills, only realtors are permitted to present offers directly.

Therefore, it is necessary to get a professional real estate agent in the area to represent you. So, screen a few agents and select the best one who has in-depth knowledge of the markets and has a great reputation.

“They’re there to protect you. They’re there to walk you through each step of the process,” Moore said.

  1. Sign up for automated alerts

Most—if not all—realtors have access to the Vancouver real estate board’s database which is updated approximately two days before the public MLS website.

Therefore, you can request from your realtor to sign you up for automatic real-time alerts of all new listings. Doing this gives you an edge as you’re among the very first to know about new properties.

  1. Do a thorough inspection

After receiving an alert for a new listing, it is necessary to push almost immediately for an inspection from your realtor. In this current market, buyers now have time to make an inspection.

Making a quick inspection eliminates any surprises—as there could be major maintenance or repair issues that could spring up. Therefore, you can now table your offer based on the outcome of the inspection, with clauses about claiming your damage deposit back if everything isn’t as was advertised.

Additionally, if you notice that renovations were done, you need to be sure that it was permitted work and carried out appropriately. Failing to do this would ultimately lead to further cost down the line and simultaneously affect the resale value.

  1. Have a back-up plan

There’s always the possibility that everything may not go as smoothly as you’d want. From the inspection being a failureto the property not living up to your expectations—or not being able to agree on the closing date that matches with your needs.

However, a professional real estate agent will definitely help you get past all of these things. If you plan on selling the property as you buy, you can table that and make it part of the deal.

“You’ve got an option, especially in a buyer’s market: you can put in an offer subject to selling your place. So maybe you want to have a place lined up,” Moore added.

Additionally, building contingencies into your buying plan is necessary. Things such as unexpected delays in closing the deal, closing cost and moving costs that could result in added living expenses if that’s your permanent home.

  1. Don’t fall for the buyer frenzy

The Vancouver market buying frenzy that caused a serious climb in the prices a couple of years ago has ended. Thus, it is important not to get caught up in bidding wars with properties that have been deliberately under-priced—with the hope of initiating multiple offers.

“Some of the sellers have been on the market for over a year and they’re eager to sell. So what I’m saying to consumers is: you have a lot of choices, you’re in the driver’s seat, let’s go out and take a look at what’s available,” said Moore.

  1. Never be wary of multiple offers

When purchasing a property, don’t be afraid of multiple offers as you have the same opportunity as anybody else.

Typically, there are just a few offers below the asking price: a couple priced fully, and two or three above the asking price—depending on how close the fair market value is from the asking price.

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Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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