Recently on Redflagdeals, a user commented about us:
"I think the agents on this site have been very open and honest about everything. They've always disclosed up front that they are agents and they discussed the pros and cons of the entire system, including whether or not to sign a BRA. I've never noticed them asking anyone for their business or even disclosing their contact information.
OP. Why not go with one of the agents that have posted in this thread? In fact, I believe 2 of them are partners. They seem very open and honest. Plus, the fact that they post regularly on RFD, means if they slighted you at all, RFD would very likely destroy their business. Like it or not, that's the reality of this site, it's filled with very vindictive people who have no problem doing all they can to destroy a business or a person (Ragu come to mind?). Based on what I've read, I wouldn't hesitate to use one of the agents on this site if I didn't already have my own agent who I will stick with until she's no longer an agent (and that's why good agents don't screw their clients like many on RFD think, because when you find a good agent, you stick with them for life and refer everyone you know to them)."
"Important to remember when working with a "Buying Agent" - They are NOT working for you - They are working for themselves. They get paid on a commission-based system, their interest is in finding you a property as quickly as possible.
Keep this in mind before you jump in with a new friendly helper who "loves showing you as many houses as you want." ... Oftentimes it is much nicer to shop on your own without the pressure from your new friend who will try to convince you to buy a property as quickly as possible."
To which our response was:
"This may be true to some extent, as there are always bad apples in every industry - however the way Riz1 & I see it - if we screw a client, we will close all avenues for continued referrals and in turn would be a kick in the nuts for ongoing business. As we explain to all our buying clients, when we show properties, we are primarily pointing out the faults of the property and potential costs associated for repairs, maintenance and if it's even worth your time and money to purchase. We come off as pessimists, unlike the typical agents you'll see on the house-porn channel (HGTV). As a buyer, you can see the hardwood, the granite and all the cosmetic finishings and we don't need to point those out to you or play them up - as an agent, we need to show you what's behind all that cosmetic gloss and if it's actually detrimental to your pocketbook to purchase the property, regardless of how well it's done up.
Constantly working with home inspectors has allowed us to know the basic in's and outs of what critical items to look for and we make sure we get in all the nooks and crannies as much as possible during showings. If there's a problem, we tell you right there and provide our opinions on the property - if you wish to continue, then we do as we're told - still outlining the risks of short term and long term (resale) implications. At the end of the day, the client's word is our command.
So far this method has earned us constant referrals and the cycle continues. In a place where agents are a dime a dozen, we find it pays to be brutally honest and get repeat business, vs. making a windfall sale with no repeat business and clients complaining.
Other agents may dispute or put down or methods, but this is how we do business and in the past 8 months we've worked with numerous RFD clients who have been very satisfied with our services... and you know, people don't get more critical than they are on RFD regarding cost & service! "
Flaherty, economists warn of overheating real estate
Finance minister, experts warn Canadians again about not borrowing too much
By Jason Fekete, Postmedia News March 6, 2012
The federal government and some of the country's leading economists remain worried about Canada's housing market and rising household debt and are cautioning Canadians against borrowing too much.
However, they are a little more optimistic about the overall state of the Canadian economy than they were just last fall, and now project stronger-than-expected growth in 2012.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty met Monday with 13 privatesector economists for his traditional pre-budget consultation to get their assessment of the Canadian economy as Ottawa prepares to deliver the federal budget on March 29. Flaherty and a handful of the economists said they continue to be concerned about household debt levels in Canada and a somewhat overheated housing market - especially on condominiums - while the minister was also cautioned about cutting more than the $4 billion in annual spending that the government first identified last year.
Some of the big banks are suggesting Ottawa also consider implementing "measured actions" for the housing market, such as reducing the maximum amortization period for mortgages back to 25 years, and consider increasing the minimum down payment, possibly to 10%.
"There has been some moderation in the housing market. I remain concerned about the condo market, quite frankly," Flaherty told reporters after his one-hour meeting in Ottawa.
"I again encourage Canadians to be careful in the amount of debt they take on in terms of residential mortgages because (interest) rates will go up some day."
Flaherty said he's pleased that the 2011-12 federal deficit is on pace to be much smaller than the $31 billion forecast in the fall, and noted it further demonstrates the government has "room to move" and that any budget cuts won't need to be draconian.
But when and where the cuts will be found remains a burning question. The budget won't include detailed information on possible cuts, he said, adding departments and ministers will be left to announce them in the coming months following the fiscal blueprint.
On the housing market, Flaherty noted there's "a divergence of views" among the economists, as some expressed more concern than others.
Avery Shenfeld, chief econo-mist with CIBC World Markets, echoed some of Flaherty's worries and said that while there are signs the housing market is cooling, there's still some cause for concern.
"There's a general feeling that more than just the condo market, the Canadian housing market, is starting to get a little bit overdone in terms of price momentum," Shenfeld said.
He noted the Canadian economy in 2012 is likely to expand a few decimal points more than the 2.1% growth in real gross domestic product that was predicted in November's fall economic update.
The federal government bases its budget and economic projections on the average forecast of private-sector economists it regularly consults. The economists said the most recent GDP figures have just come in so they're waiting a few more days before updating the forecasts that will be used in the budget. Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist with TD Bank Financial Group, said he also is worried about the Canadian housing market and would like the government to consider reducing the maximum amortization period down to the traditional 25 years from the current 30 years.
This may not apply to all but for folks that are renters and want to take advantage check out the program offered by Peel Region
The Home in Peel Affordable Ownership Program is designed to provide low-to-moderate income residents who are currently renting a unit the opportunity to qualify for down-payment loan assistance to buy a home in Peel Region.
This program will assist eligible applicants who have a total gross (pre-tax) household income of $80,000 or less to purchase a resale home in the Region of Peel (Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga) that does not exceed a purchase price of $280,000.
The Down Payment Loan The down payment assistance will be up to $15,000.
Repaying the Loan The down payment loan is for a 20-year period and no interest is charged if:
The home remains the sole and principal residence of the owner. The home is not to be rented, leased or sold in the 20-year period. On the 20th anniversary date of the agreement, the loan is automatically forgiven provided there has been no default. Repayment of the loan is required when:
The home ceases to become the sole and principal residence of the owner. The home is sold before the 20-year affordability period. If during the 20 year affordability period, the property is resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed, and an appreciation in value is incurred, the purchaser will be required to pay back to the Region of Peel the loan and 5% of the appreciation.
If the home is sold for less than the original purchase price, the owner does not pay appreciation and the principal is forgiven (the sale must be at fair market value and must be an armís length transaction).
Please follow the link below for details of the program,
If you've been thinking to sell for a while, these areas have been "blowing up" and at this time of the month, buyers are coming out of the woodwork with many properties being sold in a few days (if priced right)
On the flipside though, if you're selling and going to buy, or buying in general - you're going to end up paying a premium vs last year for properties.
Also note that according to Canadian Mortgage News - The qualifying rate for insured variable and 1-4yr terms rises from 5.14% to 5.24% on Monday February 20th - what does this mean? Many buyers who have pre-approvals may try to scurry and purchase prior to their preapproval expiring in order to avoid that increase (although quite minor)
With "prime" listing time coming up very soon, wanted to bump this thread up for more suggestions and feedback regarding things you would like to see from Realtors in the GTA.
With the Bank of Canada keeping interest rates extremely low, it won't be surprising if the market trend of constantly appreciating prices will continue - although with the overall economy and household debt at alarming levels, it's a bit scary considering that economists are also now saying that the US economy may never recover back to pre-bust levels.
For property sellers, this is a good time to capitalize on the market - especially if you're in a "hot" area such as Agincourt, Markham, Vaughan and certain parts of Scarborough - where properties are ending up in bidding wars, fetching up to 50K above asking price - even though the asking price was not underpriced.
For buyers, this is not the best news, as you are definitely paying a significant premium for properties vs. a few months ago (in certain areas) - you should definitely do your thorough due diligence regarding your finances and budget, using worst case scenarios as a baseline, ie. if you're planning to rent out a portion of the property - would you be able to carry the costs for an entire year of vacancy? If you or your spouse/partner loses employment, can you still afford the mortgage payments and operating expenses - and for how long? What type of appreciation/overall market trend is in the area of the property in case you need to re-sell sooner than expected? etc.
Sadly too many people purchase "income/investment" properties in areas with little to no appreciation at all, and when they are looking to sell - market evaluations often shock them as there is hardly any appreciation of the property. Unfortunately when they were purchasing, they may not have been steered in the right direction which may have enabled them to make a better financial decision.
Anyways, back to the feedback - looking forward, so post away!