Real Estate Sector Blog Posts

Real Estate Sector Blog Posts

The BCREA Blog is a platform for sharing the latest education news, economics statistics, issues relating to the profession and links to valuable resources for REALTORS®, stakeholders and the public.

    • Real Estate Sector

    BCREA's First Youth Leadership Network Event: A Great Success!

    Published Apr 07, 2016

    CarlaOn April 6, BCREA hosted its first Youth Leadership Network (YLN) event to support REALTOR® leadership development and encourage young leaders to get involved in organized real estate leadership opportunities. The event included an engaging presentation from Carla Wood of AllStrategy about how improving your networking skills can lead to success and was followed by a networking session to do just that. Feedback about the event was extremely positive with several attendees noting that the session, and connections made there, would help strengthen their business.

    This was the first of four events that the YLN will be hosting. Throughout 2016, BCREA will be piloting the YLN with a goal of helping equip young REALTORS® to take on leadership in their businesses and communities, help develop their knowledge and interest in governance, and to give young REALTORS® a voice.

    The next YLN event will be a day long session held on May 10 at Sun Peaks Resort as part of BCREA’s Leadership Conference. The event will include presentations on topics including leadership, governance and professional development, as well as opportunities to network with other REALTORS® and leadership from real estate boards across the province.

    If you’re interested in participating in the YLN and sharing your insights with organized real estate, BCREA would like to hear from you! Please contact Corinne Caldwell, BCREA's Chief Financial Officer, at 604.677.9341 or [email protected].

    For more information, visit the following:

    • Real Estate Sector

    Assignments: Best Practices

    Published Apr 07, 2016

    The issue of assignments is a hot topic with the media and elected officials these days.

    In early February, the Real Estate Council of BC established the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) to review the Council’s handling of licensee practices. This move was strongly encouraged by the provincial government, following the publication of several media articles drawing attention to potentially unethical behaviour around the assignment of real estate contracts. The IAG will make its final report by the end of May.

    On March 18, Premier Christy Clark announced that her government would not wait for the IAG report before taking action on real estate licensee misconduct, conflict of interest and housing affordability. Among her promises was new rules to prevent misconduct related to assignments. The new rules are being developed now, and BCREA is in contact with government officials to ensure the changes meet the needs of consumers and REALTORS®. The Association is also working to make the transition as easy as possible for REALTORS®.

    In the meantime, there are several things REALTORS® can do to ensure they are using the best practices:

    1.  Raise the matter of assignments with your clients, and document the results of those conversations. Two clauses available through WEBForms® deal with assignments:

    Assignment Option Clause
    The Buyer reserves the right to assign this contract in whole or in part to any third party without further notice to the Seller; said assignment not to relieve the Buyer from his or her obligation to complete the terms and conditions of this contract should the assignee default.

    No Assignment Option Clause
    The Buyer agrees not to assign this contract in whole or in part to any third party.

    2.  Refer to the Council’s Professional Standards Manual , which already contains excellent guidance regarding assignments.    

    3.  When a REALTOR® intends to buy or sell, disclose your intentions, as per the following:

    • REALTOR® Code, Article 11. A REALTOR® shall not buy or sell, or attempt to buy or sell an interest in property either directly or indirectly for himself or herself, any member of his or her Immediate Family, or any entity in which the REALTOR® has a financial interest, without making the REALTOR®’s position known to the buyer or seller in writing.
    • Real Estate Council Rules 5-9 (paraphrase). If a licensee acquires, directly or indirectly, or disposes of real estate, or if the licensee assists an associate in acquiring, directly or indirectly, or disposing of real estate, the licensee must make a disclosure in writing to the opposite party before entering into any agreement for the acquisition or disposition of the real estate.                

    4.  Read the February 2016 issue of the Report from Council or more information about licensees disclosing their interests in trades.    

    5.  Contact your local real estate board to find out whether it has plans to offer BCREA’s Professional Development Program course: Assignments of Contracts of Purchase and Sale.

    • Real Estate Sector

    New "About BCREA" Video

    Published Feb 17, 2016

    BCREA has created an "About BCREA" video.

    This short video introduces BCREA to its members and partners, shares what we do, details the services we provide, demonstrates where your monthly dues go, and ensures that REALTORS® know how the Association can enhance your relevancy and improve your business.

    Watch the video!

    • Real Estate Sector

    Client Incentives for Purchasing an Older Home

    Published Apr 01, 2015
    It is usually not that difficult to find “historical”, “previously-loved”, “old” homes for sale around British Columbia. However, often the challenging task for BC REALTORS® is convincing a client that an “aged” house could be a diamond in the rough, and all it may need is an upgrade to make it the perfect home - comfortable, healthy and energy efficient.

    Unfortunately for many, the idea of tackling a renovation is a nonstarter. Here are a few useful tools for REALTORS® when attempting to sell their clients an older home in BC:

    • Inform your clients that the BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC Home Energy Rebate Offer is currently available for homeowners who make energy efficient upgrades before March 31, 2016. Some of the rebates available include up to $3,250 for insulation upgrades, up to $500 for draftproofing upgrades, $25 for installing an ENERGY STAR® bathroom fan, and $800 for a ductless heat pump. There are also rebates for EnerChoice fireplaces and gas hot water heaters. In addition, your clients could receive a $750 bonus offer if they make three eligible upgrades. 
    • Provide a list of energy advisors to your clients while they are contemplating their purchase. Inform them that an energy advisor can lead them in the right direction regarding energy efficient upgrades and renovations. An energy advisor will perform an EnerGuide* home evaluation. They will assess all of the home’s water and heating systems from the attic to the basement, as well as the overall air leakage. They will then provide the home’s energy efficiency rating, and the best options for upgrades. Additionally, from now until April 30, 2015, your clients can enter to win $500 towards an EnerGuide home evaluation.

    Below is a breakdown as to what the numbers mean in the EnerGuide rating system:

    BCHydroAprilBlog

    “Over one million homeowners across Canada have received an EnerGuide evaluation,” explained Reid Arkinstall, Program Manager, Power Smart Marketing. “The EnerGuide evaluation helps homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their home, resulting in lower energy bills every month. Once their upgrades are complete they will receive an EnerGuide efficiency rating that can be affixed to their electrical panel. This efficiency rating is also great for resale. Potential buyers can look at this standardized and objective rating and know that the house has been upgraded, and that their hydro and natural gas bills will be significantly less compared to similar homes on the market that haven’t been renovated to be energy efficient.”

    • Reinforce to your clients that purchasing an older house, renovating it, and obtaining an EnerGuide efficiency rating can add significant resale value to the home. Making energy retrofits to a pre-owned home will not only reduce energy bills and the impact it has on the environment, but also make the house healthier and more comfortable to live in. For example, efficient heating and cooling systems that use less energy, will reduce indoor humidity, mould, air pollutants, and improve the overall comfort of the home. In addition, high-performance ENERGY STAR® windows, patio doors, and skylights keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. They can also cut annual energy costs by up to 20 per cent.

    More than ever before, there are incentives, services and programs for homeowners to renovate older homes, and the process isn’t as daunting as it once was. Educate your homebuyers on the easy steps on how to start the energy retrofit process, and the many benefits of a newly upgraded home – more energy efficient, less impact on the environment, more healthy and comfortable, and greater resale value.

    For more information on the Home Energy Rebate Offer, click here, email [email protected], or call 1.877.740.0055. Visit www.powersmart.ca for information on all BC Hydro Power Smart programs, rebates and offers.

    *EnerGuide is an official mark of Natural Resources Canada.

    • Real Estate Sector

    October is Power Smart Month!

    Published Oct 01, 2014

    There are many things that make October one of the best months of the year in BC – the changing of the seasons, delicious food at Thanksgiving, little monsters at Halloween, and of course, the fact that it’s Power Smart month! October is a great time for REALTORS® to educate their clients on the benefits of purchasing a Power Smart new home or of buying an older home and making energy efficient upgrades.

    Power Smart new homes that have an EnerGuide rating of 80 or higher are healthier and more comfortable to live in, and they use up to 30 per cent less energy than standard homes on the market. This equates to significant savings on utility bills every year. Some of the features of Power Smart new homes include variable speed furnace motors found in high and mid-efficiency gas furnaces, ENERGY STAR labeled fans that use less than half the energy of regular fans, ENERGY STAR windows that add comfort to the home, ENERGY STAR labeled LED and CFL bulbs, and ENERGY STAR appliances.

    REALTORS® can also inform their clients who are considering buying a previously-loved home and making energy efficient upgrades that they can save a significant amount of money by taking advantage of rebates offered through the Home Energy Rebate Offer, a partnership between BC Hydro Power Smart and FortisBC.

    Homeowners who complete their upgrades before March 31, 2015, can apply also for a variety of rebates through the rebate offer, including insulation, draft proofing, ventilation, ductless heat pumps, EnerChoice fireplaces and hot water heaters. For a detailed summary of these rebates and their requirements, click here.

    During October, Power Smart is also offering instant discounts on select ENERGY STAR lighting products as well as rebates on the most energy efficient ENERGY STAR refrigerators and clothes washers and dryers. 

    Power Smart Month Lighting Rebates
    A home’s lighting accounts for about 16 per cent of the electricity consumption of the entire house. ENERGY STAR LED bulbs use 75 per cent less energy than incandescent lighting. In addition, they last 25 years based on average household use. From October 1 to 31, 2014, participating retailers are offering $2 to $10 instant discounts on select ENERGY STAR LED bulbs and lighting fixtures. Visit powersmart.ca/deals for more information on participating retailers and lighting offers.

    Power Smart Month Appliance Rebates
    On average, 20 per cent of a home’s energy use comes from appliances. ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerators are at least 20 per cent more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard, and ENERGY STAR clothes dryers are about 20 per cent more efficient than standard clothes dryers. ENERGY STAR cloth washers use 35 to 50 per cent less water than standard models. Between October 1 and 31, 2014, there are tremendous rebates available for ENERGY STAR appliances such as $50 - $75 off select ENERGY STAR refrigerators, $50 - $100 off select ENERGY STAR clothes washers and $100 off ENERGY STAR clothes dryers. Visit powersmart.ca/appliances for a list of eligible models, rebate amounts and application information.

    REALTORS® can inform their clients about these great money-saving incentives, and educate them on the benefits of a Power Smart new home – higher resale value, lower monthly energy costs, a healthier and more comfortable home and having less of an impact on the environment. For a complete list of rebates and savings, visit www.powersmart.ca.

    The content of this blog post was generously provided by BC Hydro Power Smart

    • Real Estate Sector

    National Ad Campaign: Communicating REALTOR® Value

    Published Apr 17, 2014

    On March 17, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) launched its latest National Ad Campaign to communicate the value of working with a REALTOR® through several different media channels, including:

    • New 30 and 60 second television commercials entitled “Raid,” which highlight how REALTORS® protect the public from problems and pitfalls that can arise when going it alone.
    • A series of radio commercials.
    • Digital advertisements available to REALTORS® for download as banner ads and hot buttons.
    • Print ads that complement the TV, radio and digital campaigns.

    If you're a REALTOR® and would like to access a complete overview of the ad campaign rational, research and approach, click here

    • Real Estate Sector

    New Anti-Spam and FINTRAC Resources for REALTORS®

    Published Apr 11, 2014

    Are you aware of the latest anti-spam or FINTRAC regulation requirements? The Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) recently developed several new resources to assist REALTORS® with compliance.

    Anti-Spam
    Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which regulates how email, text messages, and other forms of electronic messages can be sent for marketing purposes, was recently updated and will come into force July 1, 2014. To provide clarity on REALTORS®' CASL requirements, CREA has compiled a detailed overview and a brief summary of this legislation.
     
    FINTRAC
    To help REALTORS® meet their FINTRAC obligations, including new regulatory requirements which took effect on February 1, 2014, CREA has developed several new FINTRAC resources, including:

    • A fill-in-the-blank office compliance regime manual. Once completed and tailored to a brokerage's business, it can be used to satisfy FINTRAC's requirement for documentation of a brokerage's policies and procedures.
    • Updated Frequently Asked Questions with answers pertaining to the new regulatory obligations.
    • Updated individual and corporate/entity identification information records that reflect the new regulatory requirements.
    • Real Estate Sector
    • Government Relations

    BC Archaeology Regulations: What to Know

    Published Feb 27, 2014

    Given the potential costs and limitations to developing property containing a protected archaeological site, REALTORS® must ensure that known, protected sites on a property are disclosed as part of a real estate transaction.

    Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage Conservation Act and therefore, a site alteration permit must be obtained before developing within the boundaries of an archaeological site.

    REALTORS® should also be aware that archaeological sites are not noted on the certificate of land title and can check the Provincial Archaeological Site Inventory to determine if there is a record of a protected site on the property. Licensees can speak to a professional consulting archaeologist who has access to the Provincial Inventory and can provide an interpretation. Alternately, you can make a data request to the Archaeology Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. 

    When an archaeological site is connected to a property for sale or purchase, there are several commonly asked questions that you'll be asked as a REALTOR®, such as:

    • Why should I be concerned about archaeological sites on my property?
    • Will an archeological site on my property affect its value?
    • What need to be done to develop a property which includes an archeological site?

    For responses to these questions and many others, visit the Archaeology Branch’s Property Owners and Developers - Frequently Asked Questions. For more information, visit www.for.gov.bc.ca/archaeology.

    • Get to Know BCREA
    • Real Estate Sector

    Looking for what it takes to WOW clients?

    Published Feb 24, 2014

    BCREA's excited to announce a new Facebook page as part of its Journey of Discovery project. Aptly titled "Extraordinary Moments in the Consumer Real Estate Experience," the posts tell the story of the incredible experiences REALTORS® are creating for clients, as well as highlighting ways to create even better experiences.

    BCREA hopes that all BC REALTORS® who are on Facebook will "like" the page and read, watch, listen and comment. Go there now by visiting www.facebook.com/extraordinaryrealestatemoments. We’ll see you there!

     For more about the Journey of Discovery project, please visit http://web.bcrea.bc.ca/jod/.

    • Real Estate Sector
    • Government Relations

    Help for First-Time Buyers

    Published Feb 19, 2014

    Effective for registrations on and after February 19, 2014, the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) exemption threshold under the First Time Home Buyers’ Program is increased to $475,000 from $425,000, with the partial exemption/phase out applying between $475,000 and $500,000.

    The government estimates that approximately 1,700 first-time buyers will benefit this year, saving an average of $4,000 (and up to $7,500) at a cost to government estimated at $8 million in fiscal year 2014/2015 and the same in 2015/2016.

    The First Time Home Buyers' Program reduces or eliminates the amount of PTT first-time homebuyers pay. The program was established in 1994, and this is the first change to the exemption threshold since 2008.

    BCREA certainly appreciates this goodwill gesture on the part of the government. The more people who are able to buy homes in British Columbia, the greater the wider economic impact. A 2013 study by Altus Group Economic Consulting found that the average housing transaction in BC on the Multiple Listing Service® generates about $64,500 in expenditures.

    The Association looks forward to continued conversations on minimizing the negative impact of the Property Transfer Tax, and sees this as a positive step.

    More information:

    • Real Estate Sector

    REALTORS®: Register Now for a .REALTOR Domain Name

    Published Jan 27, 2014

    Interested in a domain name that defines the REALTOR® profession? Sign-up now for a list that will give you priority registration for a .REALTOR domain name.

    The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is now inviting REALTORS® to sign-up and be added to a priority list for a REALTOR® specific domain name. By providing your name and email address, you’ll be sent an invitation, sometime during the coming months, to register a domain 24 hours before REALTORS® who have not pre-registered.

    Why is this domain name being pursued for real estate? CREA and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) are doing so to make it easier for home buyers, sellers and investors to locate a trusted source of real estate information, resources and services online. The .REALTOR top level domain will be used as an alternative to .com, .ca, .org. etc.

    CREA has entered into agreement with NAR to make .REALTOR available to all REALTOR® members in Canada, making .REALTOR truly North American in scope.

    REALTORS® are the most trusted, valued source for real estate related information, and the .REALTOR domain name will extend that trust online, as well as deliver additional branding and marketing value to you as a REALTOR®.

    Stay tuned for further details, including pricing for additional domains and registration rules, which will be announced at a later date.

    For further information and a detailed FAQ on this new REALTOR® specific domain name, login to REALTOR link® and click here.

    • Real Estate Sector

    Check Out BCREA's New Quality of Life Video!

    Published Aug 08, 2013

    BCREA is thrilled to announce that its new Quality of Life video is now available online to help REALTORS®, member boards and the Association demonstrate their commitment to improve Quality of Life in BC.

    This new video provides an overview of the Quality of Life approach and information on BCREA and its member boards’ related actions. It also helps explain, through interviews with BCREA leaders, how and why the Quality of Life approach is relevant to BC REALTORS® and the real estate profession at large.

    The Quality of Life approach is summarized in five principles:

    • Ensuring economic vitality
    • Providing housing opportunities
    • Preserving the environment
    • Protecting property owners
    • Building better communities

    BCREA encourages member boards and REALTORS® to share this video, which helps illustrate the real estate profession’s commitment to their communities. The video can be viewed on YouTube, and from the Quality of Life pages on BCREA Online or REALTOR Link®.

    Quality of Life video