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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vancouver Market Favours Buyers Currently

The number of residential property sales hit a 10-year low in Greater Vancouver for June, while prices remained relatively stable.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 2,362 in June, a 27.6 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in June 2011 and a 17.2 per cent decline compared to the 2,853 sales in May 2012.

June sales were the lowest total for the month in the region since 2000 and 32.2 per cent below the 10-year June sales average of 3,484.

“Overall conditions have trended in favour of buyers in our marketplace in recent months,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said. “This means buyers are facing less competition and have more selection to choose from compared to earlier in the year.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,617 in June. This represents a 3 per cent decline compared to June 2011 when 5,793 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and an 18.9 per cent decline compared to the 6,927 new listings reported in May 2012.

At 18,493, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 22 per cent from this time last year and increased 3.7 per cent compared to May 2012.

“Today, our sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 13 per cent, which puts us in the lower end of a balanced market. This ratio has been declining in our market since March when it was 19 per cent,” Klein said.

The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 1.7% and declined 0.7% compared to last month.

Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in June 2012 reached 921, a decrease of 37.4 per cent from the 1,471 detached sales recorded in June 2011, and a 19.1 per cent decrease from the 1,139 units sold in June 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 3.3 per cent from June 2011 to $961,600.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,026 in June 2012, a 19 per cent decrease compared to the 1,266 sales in June 2011, and a decrease of 18.4 per cent compared to the 1,258 sales in June 2010. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 0.3 per cent from June 2011 to $376,200.

Attached property sales in June 2012 totalled 415, a 21 per cent decrease compared to the 525 sales in June 2011, and a 27.8 per cent decrease from the 575 attached properties sold in June 2010. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 0.1 per cent between June 2011 and 2012 to $468,400.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gardening Tips for Home Owners

Spring and summer are when yards and gardens retake their rightful places at the center of attention. This month, Pillar To Post takes a look at several steps that homeowners can take to make their outdoor spaces and their home live compatibly.


Keep water away from the house

Be sure that the ground slopes away from the house all the way around the perimeter. This ensures that any moisture from rain and sprinkler systems will be directed away from the foundation.

The base of shrubs and other plantings should be kept at least 2' away from the foundation to avoid potential problems with roots and drainage. In addition, window wells should be kept free of debris and lined with gravel to help water drain out of the well and into the ground.

Do not leave sprinklers on for too long. Excessive water will not do plants and lawns any good, and may cause problems if there are drainage issues in certain areas.

The right plant in the right place


When a tree is growing very close to a structure, there can be potentially serious problems if the tree grows too tall or too wide for the space. Damage to eaves and roofs can be caused by overgrowth, and there is even a danger of branches or an entire tree falling onto the home. Existing trees should be professionally pruned to lessen the potential for hazard. When planting new trees, homeowners should research potential "candidates" to find how large the tree will eventually grow and make decisions accordingly.

Homeowners should also consider grouping plants that have similar water requirements to avoid overwatering plants that don't need as much. Not only will plants do better, but water bills will be lower over time as well.

Choose plants with maintenance in mind


Some plants end up requiring more maintenance than a homeowner expects. When selecting new planting material, homeowners should seek advice from qualified personnel at a local nursery who will know what plants will do well in their area, their growth habits and maintenance requirements.

Lawns should not be mowed too short or too frequently. Allowing the blades of grass to shade one another helps with water retention and allows grass to grow in more fully. Many newer turf grasses require less mowing than older varieties, and should be considered for new lawn installations. Homeowners can find out more at their local agricultural or extension office.

These are just some of the ways homeowners can increase the enjoyment of their outdoor spaces while ensuring that home and yard are in good shape.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Trust Continuum

The Trust Continuum

Over the years I have watched real estate practitioners come and go.  Some have built amazing careers that seem to have no limit their growth, and others never find any type of appreciable trajectory. The difference between those that reach the pinnacles of success, and those who remain mired in dark valleys of defeat seems to be almost unappreciable.

The long term success of a REALTOR® in the business of real estate doesn’t appear to have anything to do with educational levels, physical attributes, ethnic background, or social class. I have seen many instances of agents with poor grooming, lack of social graces, even with speech or other physical impediments reach truly stellar levels of success, while others that seem complete on the surface are left behind. So, the question is; what is the magic powder, the key to success in real estate?

The one attribute that appears to weave itself into every successful agent I have ever encountered is the ability to instill trust. The ability to present oneself in a genuine and competent manner, a manner that says, “I am reliable, honest, and will protect your interests at all costs”. The aura of trustworthiness crosses boundaries of race, class, education, and even health. For those who have the trust continuum built into their character, a long term career in real estate is guaranteed.

So, if developing a trust continuum is so vital to a real estate career… what is it really?

The definition of trust in psychology is based on believing that the person who you trust will do what you expect. It starts at the family level and grows to others after the early years of development. The ability to place trust in others is a key element to a healthy socialization process.

 Trust is also integral to the idea of social influence. The fact of the matter is that it is easier to influence or persuade someone who has developed a sense of trust in you. The real powerhouse REALTORS® create that sense of trust in their clients. Perception of honesty, competence and common values are essential. Once trust is lost, however, it is very hard to regain.

 Being and acting trustworthy should be considered the only sure way to develop a trust continuum with your clients. Stephen Covey has a great way of describing trust. He calls it the emotional bank account. One puts in deposits of trust, or makes withdrawals, based on responses to perceived actions. Where trust is absent, projects can fail, especially if this lack of trust has not been identified and addressed. Individuals that are in relationships characterized by high levels of social trust are more apt to openly exchange information and to act with caring benevolence toward one another than those in relationships lacking trust.

A key element in developing a trust continuum with your clients is being reliable. Philosopher Annette Baier has made a distinction between trust and reliance by saying that trust can be betrayed, while reliance can only be disappointed. Nonetheless, being reliable is a powerful tool in building trust with a client, while the reverse can destroy trust and empty out the emotional bank account.

In the discipline of economics, trust is seen as an economic lubricant, reducing the cost of transactions, enabling new forms of cooperation and generally furthering business activities, employment and prosperity. This observation created a significant interest in considering trust as a form of social capital and has led to research into a closer understanding of the process of building trust. It’s been claimed that higher levels of social trust are connected to economic development. It is widely accepted and demonstrated by economists that social trust benefits the economy while a lower level of trust inhibits economic growth. Trusting less leads to the loss of economic opportunities, while on the other hand trusting more creates the risk of  unnecessary vulnerabilities and potential exploitation.

 It’s worth noting that when someone says, “trust me” most people won’t. Trust can’t be forced. Building trust is something that must be demonstrated in many little ways. The subtle clues like eye contact, and body language play an important initial impression of trust worthiness. Even something as simple as showing up on time for appointments helps to demonstrate to others that they can rely on you and hence create the building blocks of a trust relationship.

The life of a REALTOR® becomes much easier when you have won the trust of clients, and peers. The majority of the calls that a manager or broker will receive are based on agent to agent or agent to consumer mistrust. Gaining and retaining trust makes the job easier, and makes life less stressful. It’s clear that the one ingredient that makes the secret sauce for all top producers is the trust continuum.

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