29 Oct

Flaterty To Discuss Further Changes With Developers


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Flaherty to discuss further changes with developers

 MBN | 29 Oct 2013

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will meet with developers to determine whether future interference in the housing industry may be needed.

“Some of the economists this morning suggested that I have some conversations with some people in the building industry – some more conversations – because of what we’re seeing in certain parts of the country: a re-acceleration of housing prices,” Flaherty told the media following a meeting with private economists.

It’s no secret that many believer Flaherty has been too active in trying to control the housing industry in Canada. Perhaps more consultation with those involved in the industry will reign in the minister’s aggressiveness. However, for the time being, he will hold off on interfering.

“I do speak to people regularly in the business and I’m going to do more of it now, because I want to ensure that this isn’t just a temporary bubble,” Flaherty said. “One theory is that we’re pulling forward housing sales by the reality that eventually interest rates will go up and so that some people who perhaps should be waiting a bit are going ahead and buying, but this is speculation and we’re going to have to look into it more.”

As for right now, however, Flaherty has no plans to interfere,

“But I have no intention of interfering in the market at the time being.”


23 Oct

Can We Call Ourselves Professionals?


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Can we call ourselves professionals?

Oct 21, 2013

                        By Lloyd R. Manning

In recent years, from many quarters, concerns have been expressed about the continuing decline in professionalism. This includes medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, other professions and certainly Realtors, assuming that we who transact in real estate as agents for sellers and buyers could be considered as a profession in the first place.

That we can legitimately call ourselves “a profession” is questionable, because many of the basic canons of a profession seem to be lacking. One only has to follow the blogs and opinion pieces in magazines such as REM to prove the point. The public is very cynical about this. Some place Realtors in the same category as used car salesmen and politicians. In our industry there is less focus by Realtors on the needs of clients and more on making that sale or getting that listing. It is suggested that many have forsaken their professional roots and regard their agency solely as a business, and professionalism is a lesser priority. This creates the need to inform the public more by deed than word that Realtors are indeed professionals. We must demonstrate by high standards of ethical behaviour, service and conduct that we live up to the tenets of professionalism and the Codes of Ethics we so often hear preached.

Professionalism is best described as a relationship between a person who has a high level of expertise and discipline in a chosen field and who is a member of an organized group of like-minded individuals with the same expertise and discipline in the same field, and the relationship they have with their clientele. The building blocks of professionalism are being well educated in the chosen discipline, integrity, honour, leadership, independence, pride, collegiality and service, all balanced with commercialism.

This includes the relationship between a Realtor and a client and the unwritten contract between the Realtor and society. An essential attribute is the ability to provide sound advice, competent service and to quote the medical profession, “Do no harm.” Real professionalism involves a pride in one’s work, a commitment to quality, a dedication to the interests of the client and a sincere desire to help. Professional success is about attitudes and about character. These are demonstrated by energy, drive, initiative, commitment, involvement, enthusiasm and the ability to provide sound advice.

Professionalism does not mean wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, driving a high-priced automobile or always having your cell phone at the ready, just in case. Nor is it having a collection of meaningless (to the public) designations and diplomas, which many associations and commercial diploma mills are far too anxious to hand out. It is not one, but a combination of qualities; not a skill but a blending and integration of a variety of skills and attributes.

All of this is wonderful news; isn’t it? Or is like the multitude of seminars and lectures on ethics, just grinding out the same old and worn-out palaver to deaf ears? Know-nothing lecturers and writers of articles such as this keep telling us everything that is wrong with the way we conduct our business, so should we not listen to them?

There is also a common thread that runs through most professional organizations. This is an ingrained negative reaction to compulsory ethics courses where it creates increased monitoring and accountability. Case in point! For over 35 years I held the AACI designation. During all those years I never had a single incident reported to the Canadian Appraisal Institute or had to legally defend an ethics or malpractice violation. Not one! Yet, having more than 125 continuing education credits where only 60 were required for recertification, to be able to continue practicing as an appraiser, I had to take an ethics course taught by someone with less than half of my experience. How ridiculous!

In real estate sales there are many very competent, very conscientious and very honest Realtors who could justifiably call themselves “professional”. They demonstrate all the mandatory characteristics just referred to. However, this is not the majority. In so many areas in our industry commercialism and old-fashioned greed has taken over. To earn a good living is a common goal and a necessity, yet many of our colleagues are given over to avarice. Fundamental ethical behaviour, which often is in competition with increased revenue and profit, is losing.

Realtors win prizes and in-house recognition, not for doing a good job, not for advancing the acceptance of the industry, not for assisting the less knowledgeable or for high-quality professionalism, but for making the most sales, getting the most listings or earning the most commissions.

Ours is a fractured commercial system comprised of largely poorly trained, ill-fitted candidates who were initially attracted by romantic notions of what selling real estate is all about and anticipation of high earnings, but for whom the starvation rate is high and the retention rate low. Although the pre-licensing courses have reduced the revolving door concept to a degree, the high failure rate persists. No other industry or profession would tolerate such seduction of the innocent and this waste of human resources as does the real estate brokerage industry.

There is a philosophy, not spoken about but certainly practiced. If at the beginning of a fiscal quarter you hire 10 new sales agents and if at the end of the quarter two remain, your brokerage has done well.

The industry has only itself to blame; not the government, not the public, but us. There is a crying need for all Realtors to uphold the values of a profession and make a strong commitment to do so.

Professionalism must start with the Realtors themselves, insisting that all practitioners uphold the tenets of true professionalism and eliminate from our ranks those who do not. Until this occurs, acceptance by society will never be attained. The greatest challenge will be the elimination of unprofessional conduct from all unethical and incompetent Realtors. This is to consider the interests of our clients and the public as the No. 1 priority. This is not to sacrifice our own needs to attain this end but to demonstrate care and concern for our client’s welfare in all of our actions, not by giving only lip service or obtaining continuing education credits for having taken an ethics course, but a genuine commitment.

In Part 2 of this article, I’ll discuss the question, “Can ethics be taught?”

Lloyd Manning, AACI, FRI, CCRA, PApp is a semi-retired commercial real estate and business appraiser and broker who now spends his time writing for professional journals and trade magazines. He resides in Lloydminster, Alta. Email lloydmann@shaw.ca


2 Oct

News Release Fraser Valley Real Estate Board October 2, 2013


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

News Release: October 2, 2013




(Surrey, BC) – The Fraser Valley real estate market continues to edge closer to typical activity levels as September saw the largest year-over-year increase in property sales this year to date.   


The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,131 sales on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September, an increase of 32 per cent compared to the 857 sales processed during the same month last year and 10 per cent fewer than processed in August.


Ron Todson, President of the Board, explains, “It is good news however, it’s important to put the increase into context. Our home sales in September went from the worst in 10 years to just below our 10-year average.


“It can take a year or more for the market to recover from regulatory changes such as last year’s tightening of mortgage rules introduced by the federal government. Although we are seeing evidence of first-time home buyers returning to the market, we have to keep in mind that it is more challenging now for them to get financing, so although we’re witnessing a recovery to a balanced market it is gradual.”


Todson adds, “An improvement in our sales in the Fraser Valley has not translated to an increase in home prices because inventory levels have either kept pace or depending on the property type and community are elevated. 


“Your REALTOR® can provide specifics for your area, for example there is 12 months of condo inventory right now in White Rock/South Surrey, 5 months of inventory for single family homes in North Delta and only 3 and a half months of townhouse inventory in Langley. Real estate is local so to understand your market, talk to an expert.”


In September, the benchmark price of single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley was $552,900, a 0.6 per cent increase compared to $549,500 during the same month last year. For townhouses, the benchmark price was $296,200, a decrease of 1.4 per cent compared to $300,500 in September 2012 and the benchmark price of apartments was $203,100, 1.9 per cent less than in September 2012 when it was $207,000.


The Board received 2,375 new listings in September, a decrease of 7 per cent compared to the 2,544 new listings received during the same month last year – leaving the volume of active properties at 9,875 a decrease of 5 per cent compared to September 2012 and the lowest it’s been since March of this year.


—30 —


The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,784 real estate professionals who live and work in the BC communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission.  The FVREB marked its 90-year anniversary in 2011.


Full package:



2 Oct

Can You Sleep Your Way To Success?


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Can you sleep your way to success?

Oct 2, 2013

By Ari Lahdekorpi

An Internet series called TED talks is a fascinating diversion these days. The series consist of experts in various fields sharing leading edge ideas and discoveries. The other evening I was scrolling through the latest of the TED talks and came across Russell Foster speaking on the subject of sleep. Foster is a circadian neuroscientist who studies the sleep cycles of the human brain.

While listening to Foster’s lecture, it occurred to me that having a successful real estate career can be greatly aided by paying attention to one’s sleep habits and improving on them. This may seem contrary to the image of a hard-working agent who never rests, but research suggests that spending quality sleep time is actually time well spent.

Sleep is the single most important physiological activity of the human brain. A person living to the age of 90 will have spent 32 years asleep. Interestingly enough, the brain does not shut down during sleep, quite the contrary. There are some areas of the brain that are more active during sleep. Some genes are only turned on during memory consolidation periods of sleep.

However, sleep is complicated. Researchers have theories on what sleep is, but they don’t really know why we sleep.

The need for sleep is not restricted to humans. Other mammals and birds share with humans the two broad types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM). However, the sleep process seems to have a greater impact on human brain activity in the areas of memory consolidation and the creative areas of the brain. An adult reaches the REM stage of sleep every 90 minutes, but the function of REM is uncertain. What is certain is that without proper REM sleep, the ability to learn and retain information is clearly impaired, according to scientific research into the subject.

Our society is sleep deprived. We live in an aura of artificial light that affects natural sleep cycles. As a result we keep strange hours. We suffer from jet lag, shift work, late-night computer addictions and various other factors that limit the time resting. Margaret Thatcher famously said, “Sleep is for wimps”. According to Foster and other neuroscientists, Thatcher couldn’t be more wrong.

So, what happens when we don’t get our eight hours of proper sleep? Lack of sleep has a real nasty downside. For starters, things like mood change, stress, anger, impulsive actions, chemical dependence, lack of concentration, poor memory and lack of creativity will result from sleep deprivation. Heart problems, obesity and even mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia have been linked to lack of sleep. For a Realtor, any one of these side-effects of the lack of sleep can really impair the ability to fulfill the job description.

On the other side of the coin, getting proper sleep will give you many of the attributes for a successful career. Sleep increases concentration, attention, decision making, creativity, social skills, maintaining a healthy weight and overall cardiovascular health. A study conducted in 2007 by researchers Turner, Drummond and Brown showed that working memory was clearly reduced by 38 per cent when one was sleep deprived. Another University of California psychiatry study of more than one million adults found that people who live the longest reported a regular sleep habit of seven to eight hours. Having good regular sleeping habits pays big dividends in health and effectiveness.

Some cultures have the accepted practice of taking an afternoon nap after lunch. Despite stereotypes and social bias, this is not a sign of laziness. Studies have demonstrated that taking a short “power nap” actually helps in overall wellness. The “siesta” has been associated with a 37-per-cent reduction in heart disease.

The idea of the “power nap” is not new. Salvador Dali, the famous surrealist painter, would often sleep in a chair while holding a spoon. When he went into the sleep phase, his hand would loosen and the spoon would fall. The noise would awaken him, and he felt refreshed and ready to work again.

Recent studies have proven that short naps during the day can be as good for some types of memory tasks as a solid night of sleep. NASA has conducted numerous studies and research into the effects of sleep patterns as part of its interest in the effects of space travel. The research has confirmed the importance of naps for memory, alertness, response time and other cognitive skills.

This is a far better outcome than a sleep deprived individual having his brain shut down into the phenomenon known as micro-sleep. Many industrial accidents and traffic tragedies have been caused by micro-sleep. We have all experienced the uncontrollable experience of micro-sleep during a boring lecture, an overly long sermon or an early-morning sales meeting. It’s that feeling when your eyes begin to close and your head slowly begins to drop despite your best efforts to engage your attention.

So, how do we create the atmosphere conducive to healthy sleep? Foster suggests reducing exposure to light a good half an hour before sleep. Have a dark room with a slightly cool temperature and don’t drink coffee after 3 pm.

Perhaps brokerages should provide a quiet dark room for those who need a power nap in the mid-afternoon and remove the stigma of short rest periods during office hours. It might provide as much benefit as an in-house gym, or café-style office area. That being said, having a power nap during a quiet open house is not recommended practice!

The conclusion in all of this is; if you want to be your absolute best in the real estate business and achieve greater success through capitalizing on your full potential, remember that quality sleep is a scientifically proven, valuable and important tool in achieving your goals. The plus side of developing and maintaining good sleep habits far out-weigh the negative results of sleep deprivation, regardless of what our current social mores may be.

Writer and journalist Tim Butcher once wrote, “Sleep is God. Go worship.”

Rest well!

Ari Lahdekorpi is managing broker at Re/Max Select Properties in Vancouver.