CAOR Receives the 2020 Outstanding PAC Award for Small Boards!

By | News & Events

(1) John Teixeira (Chair), RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage (2) Majed Darr, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage (3) Sardool Bhogal, Homewood Real Estate Inc., Brokerage  (4) Ellie Davila, CAOR staff  (5) Michelle Wobst, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage  (6) Philippe Fonseca, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage  (7) Rick Lewis, RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc., Brokerage

We are delighted to announce that the Cambridge Association of REALTORS® (CAOR) has been awarded the 2020 Outstanding Political Action Committee (PAC) Award for small boards! This award was presented by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Chair, Costa Poulopoulos, at their annual PAC Days conference on October 5th , 2020 in recognition of our volunteer initiatives and enterprise in advancing REALTOR® issues at the federal level throughout the year.

Over the past year, CAOR has worked closely with CREA to advocate on behalf of our REALTOR® Members with local MPs on a variety of topics including but not limited to: reviewing the mortgage stress test, increasing the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit, and placing conditions on federal infrastructure funding to encourage the creation of new housing supply.

All Canadian real estate Boards or Associations are eligible for the Outstanding PAC Award which is divided into two categories: small boards (less than 750 Members) and large boards (750 Members or more). CAOR has won the category of small boards across Canada alongside our neighbours, the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) recognized as the winner for large boards. A scoring guide is used to evaluate the level of involvement by boards and associations. The award is presented to the top board or association who receives the highest rankings in their respective categories based on PAC Days participation, promotion of federal advocacy and reports that support the federal PAC agenda, constituency visits, and federal election activities.

The CAOR government relations committee plays a critical role in advocacy efforts and promoting CAOR at all levels of government. The committee implements OREA and CREA strategies for legislative manners while liaising with MPs, MPPs, and city officials. CAOR would like to thank the 2019/2020 government relations committee for their hard work, commitment, and for bringing the Outstanding PAC Award for small boards home!

Thank You to our 2019/2020 CAOR Government Relations Committee Members:

John Teixeira (Chair), RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage

Sardool Bhogal, Homewood Real Estate Inc., Brokerage

Majed Darr, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage

Philippe Fonseca, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage

Rick Lewis, RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc., Brokerage

Michelle Wobst, RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage

Ellie Davila, CAOR staff

REALTOR® Best Practices and Tips Amid COVID-19

By | COVID-19

As of Wednesday, March 25th , 2020, all non-essential businesses in Ontario were ordered to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government published exceptions to this order in their list of essential workplaces. Notably, the government has deemed real estate an essential service but that doesn’t mean a return to “business as usual.”

Ontario remains under a state of emergency, and REALTORS® have a duty to follow the direction of health officials to minimize direct physical interaction. We have prepared a list of best practices and tips to guide you through these unprecedented times:

1. Embrace Technology

Embracing digital technology is essential in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We recommend that Members look at digital solutions that can significantly reduce or eliminate the need for in-person interactions, and discuss alternatives with their clients.

Possible alternatives include:

  • Using virtual tours and digital floor plans instead of in-person viewings
  • Using electronic documents and signatures, instead of paper documents
  • Using electronic funds transfers instead of certified cheques
  • Communicating with clients via written communications, smartphone technology applications, and video conferencing, instead of face-to-face meetings

*Additional Resource: How to Set Up Video Showings with ShowingTime

2. Take Preventative Measures

If there is an urgent matter that requires a face-to-face meeting with a client or colleague, there are various preventative measures that may be taken to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Measures include:

  • Staying home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or any other cold or flu-like symptom.
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.

3. Identify Clients Using Alternative Methods

During a time where we need to be practicing social distancing, it can be a challenge for REALTORS® to properly identify their clients to comply with their legal obligations.

Fortunately, methods exist to identify clients in non-face-to-face situations. REALTORS® can use the “dual process method” to ID their clients solely based on reliable, scanned documentation, such as a utility bill and a bank statement. No in-person meeting is required.

For more information, click here.

4. Discuss with Your Seller the Importance of Considering the Health and Safety of Tenants

Though tenants and landlords have their own respective rights, particular attention must be paid to the tenant’s health and safety. Tenants with an underlying medical issue or who are otherwise at risk should not be forced to allow strangers into their home during Ontario’s State of Emergency.

OREA has called on landlords to stop in-person showings of tenant-occupied properties or seeking another tenant during the State of Emergency. Though buyers may want to see the home in-person before committing, as a REALTOR® you can reduce the number of in-person showings required by asking buyers to assess their interest through virtual options first.

If they remain interested, you can work out a plan to safely view the property, however viewings should occur with the tenant’s consent.

5. New Listing Agreements

You may enter into new listing agreements with sellers however, you are under no obligation to do so. Before asking your client to sign a listing agreement, make sure they understand the services you are prepared to offer, and how those services will differ compared to what they might have expected from a typical trade prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Guide for Hosting Virtual Open Houses

By | COVID-19

Traditionally, real estate transactions are often rooted in a variety of in-person meetings and conversations to ensure clients are satisfied with their overall experience.  Recently, Real Estate has been deemed an essential service by the province of Ontario because there are thousands of transactions in Ontario that have not officially closed. While some may not require the help of a REALTOR® to close, others will.  REALTORS® are expected to adhere to advice provided by Public Health Officials during this time and use all the tools at their disposal to work with clients and close transactions remotely.

The Cambridge Association of REALTORS® is providing a quick guide to aid your transition into hosting virtual open houses in order to practice social distancing. Please contact your Brokerage to determine open house polices.

What Is A Virtual Open House?

A Virtual Open House is an online alternative to a traditional open house in which prospective buyers are able to conduct a walk-through of a property during a scheduled time. Instead, a virtual open house provides a LIVE walk-through of a property and is hosted by an online streaming service. Open houses provide an excellent opportunity for prospective buyers to learn more about a property they are interested in. Virtual open houses are strategic and contactless while allowing REALTORS® to open up conversations with a broad and dispersed audience and answer any questions the audience may have in real time.

Benefits of virtual open houses include: extended reach, it is device friendly, real time interaction, cost saving, helps capture leads, and promotes social distancing.

Getting Started: Choosing A Platform

There are many online streaming services available to host your virtual open house, but we recommend using a social platform you already actively use for simplicity. Popular platforms include Facebook LIVE, Instagram Live, and YouTube LIVE.

While you may choose to host a virtual open house on a platform of your choice, below are a few links with instructions and support provided by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Facebook Live Guide: Click Here

Instagram Live Guide: Click Here

YouTube Live Guide: Click Here

Promoting Your Virtual Open House

Promoting your virtual open house can be similar to how you promote a traditional open house. After picking a date and time for your event, it’s time to let your clients and the community know about it! Below are a few ways you can market your virtual open house:

  • The MLS® System – Add an open house to your listing remarks, indicating it’s a “Virtual Open House.”
  • Make an Announcement – Build anticipation by letting your audience know when you’ll be broadcasting.
  • Email Your Contact List – Send a direct email to your clients. This could be a good opportunity to check-in with them!
  • Social Media – Post about it on your social media pages. Examples include creating an event on Facebook (Learn How), create captivating posts, use images, etc. Remember to tell your followers the details and where they can find your live stream.

TIP: Check Your Signal – If you have a weak cellular or Wi-Fi signal, your live video will be choppy or unavailable. Ensure you have a strong signal before going live.

Engaging with Your Audience and Follow-Up

While you are conducting a virtual tour of the property, remember to monitor your screen for any incoming questions. Perhaps you can take a moment while in each room to answer any questions specific to that area.

Once your live house tour is wrapped, don’t end your live streaming session just yet. Go back through and respond to any comments you may have missed and set aside some time for a Q&A at the end of your video.

After your Virtual Open House, follow up with your viewers! Examples include sending a follow-up email to attendees or open up the conversation on social media.