How’s the US Weather Forecast for 2016/2017 Shaping Up?
As we head into the fall/winter season of 2016/2017, many realtors are wondering what the weather outlook is in our region. Business entrepreneurs and consumers should take heed of weather patterns as they can affect consumer expenditure and business revenue and intentions.
The dry conditions across much of the US could spell big gains for the solar power industry. Terms such as solar shingles and power converters could become common words in homeowners vocabularies in 2017. If you own a business in this and other alternative energy sectors, I’d like to hear from you.
I’ve got a cross reference of the nation’s weather forecast from different weather reporting agencies. Let’s take a look at future precipitation, temperatures, possible storm events, and regional weather trends will denote the 2016/2017 winter cold weather season.
Selling in the Fall Season for Realtors
While there’s always been seasonality about home sales, given that most buyers wait for the spring you might already be in hibernation mode waiting for spring 2017. However, inquires about buying North American property are coming from around the world. In their locations they may be experiencing much different weather and they may see the off-season as a time to get a lower price.
Don’t close your mind to selling in the fall or winter season. There is no season for good buyers. Opportunities are rare today, and they’re ready when you make those opportunities happen for them.
The offseason is the perfect time to plan your strategy and prepare to grow your sales — don’t wait until you’re busy again.
Farmer’s Almanac Fall and Winter Forecast
Farmer’s Almanac’s Winter 2016/, 2017 Forecast is calling for cool weather in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, Minnesota and most of Canada. The southern US looks to be in for great weather this weather. With the southern prediction so balmy, where will you be spending your winter vacation in the next 6 months? I don’t think you will ever beat California for it’s constant 70 degree temps and comfort. The snow country near Denver, Salt Lake City, Tahoe, Whistler, and Boise might be the perfect year for a ski vacation.
Farmer’s Almanac’s Winter forecast is for cooler weather in the Northern US, but still above the yearly normals. That could predict a lot of snow for areas such as in Chicago, Minneapolis, Green Bay, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New Jersey and the New England region. Tampa, Orando, and Miami should brace for a wet, humid and mild winter season. It appears California’s drought conditions will continue.
You can check out specific regional and local forecasts via Farmer’s Almanac’s Website however be forewarned that they expect you to subscribe. But go ahead and do it because they’ve got handy tips on gardening, calendars and their interesting skywatch pages.
If you live in Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, Albuquerque, Houston, or San Francisco, the weather forecast is decidedly similar every day which we all sure appreciate when we get tired of the cold and take a vacation to your city. Yet, in other areas such as Boston, Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, New York, Portland, Denver, the changes in temperature, precipitation, and winds are a serious matter we must prepare for. The snowy condition throughout the Northern US and Canada, certainly mean we’ll need snow tires on our vehicles. I hope someone is putting them on the driverless cars too!
Next, Let’s take a look at the National Weather Service’s predictions October to end of March 2017.
This is the temperature forecast for October for the US.
Temperature forecast for the last 3 months of 2016 for the US
Temperature forecast for the first 3 months of 2017 for the US
Weather.gov Long Range Forecast 2016
The drought conditions are expected to continue in California for the remainder of 2016 which may support dangerous wildfire conditions in some regions and cities.
Find the best Auto insurance rates in the Denver area by searching online. The lowest quote from an Denver-based insurance company won’t just happen right away. There are a good number of insurance companies offering auto insurance coverage in Colorado. Check them out and save thousands.
Don’t bother shopping local and watch thousands of your hard earned dollars disappear. It’s vital to get plenty of competitive quotes from as many car insurance companies as you can. Denver or Colorado insurance brokerages offer a large array of insurers, but online insurance companies can tap into a huge volume of insurances. Whether you live in New York, Los Angeles, or Toronto, you’re bound to find the lowest rates for your truck, car, or motorcycle by conducting an extensive search online.
Don’t be tricked by quick, easy to fill out ecommerce forms on online insurance websites. There’s hunrdreds of them but they sell the same charge-added quotes for everyone. Do a Google search and get quotes from companies actively looking for your business – Save Your Cash!
$10,000 Looks So Nice
And when you think of what you can buy with $10k, it really begins to sink in about how valuable finding a better rate quote is. If your kids or parents are paying exorbitant amounts for auto insurance, you need to tell them to read this post on Car insurance savings hacks.
If you’ve been loyal to the same Colorado auto insurance company or one of the national insurers for years, there’s nothing wrong with that unless they’re not giving you the insurance rates and coverage you deserve. There’s only one way to enforce the lowest rates, and that’s by searching and getting a lot of quotes. Choose the lowest rate and you’ve exercised your power of the consumer.
Tips on Saving on Auto Insurance
I’ve outlined how you can save on car insurance and Denver drivers can find auto insurance companies, insurance brokerages, and insurance agencies offering lower quotes to new customers. So come on, think positive and give these companies a chance to show what kind of super low rate auto insurance policy they can write on your vehicle and how you can drop or lower the premiums.
What to Look for When Getting Auto Insurance Quotes
Get inquisitive with insurance providers and ask about great policy coverage and benefits including accident forgiveness, rental vehicle coverage, rental replacement coverage, combining your home/contents insurance, usage-based coverage, higher deductible for collision damage, and discounts for using snow tires.
Should you outright cancel your collision coverage? Tough decision, because you’re facing Colorado weather. Get quotes and see what the difference is. If the difference with no collision coverage on your auto policy is minimal then don’t do it.
It’s better to get your old beater repaired if you smack into someone on the congested, steep snowy roads anywhere in Colorado. If you need your vehicle to get to work, then by all means, keep your collision coverage deductible.
Accidents do happen, especially in New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Houston or Denver. Too many trucks, cars, and motorcycles are on the roads and highways in Denver and it won’t be getting less congested anytime soon.
Being a properly insured Denver driver is an important matter. Costs of being under insured are scary. Check out this car insurace infographic about liability coverage:
Denver Auto Insurance Agents
A City Wide Auto Insurance Agency
935 Federal Blvd,
Denver, CO 80204, USA
Farmers Insurance Agent – Mike Schmisek
3110 S Wadsworth Blvd #203,
Denver, CO 80227, USA
Square State Insurance Agency
Address: 1312 17th St. #188,
Denver, CO 80202, USA
Look for better car insurance rates in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita, Redmond, Kansas City, St Louis, Stockton, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, and Honolulu.
Whether it’s a pool patio, rooftop deck, indoor courtyard, or living area with a spectacular view of the city, the top designers likely enjoy their jobs best when they can design a living area where parties or get togethers are going to happen.
Do these rooms and spaces make it more likely you’ll invite everyone over for a football, hockey or baseball playoff game, or just because it’s a beautiful evening and there’s an amazing view?
Let’s take a quick visual tour of some the best party Rooms and Spaces, courtesy of Houzz.com in Malibu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Truckee, La Jolla, Banff and other locations you secretly want to visit. When I think of California, I think of imagination and Banff, well, that’s fresh air and nature. Enjoy the tour!
I welcome all inquiries from businesses in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Aurora, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita, Escondido, and Honolulu.
Things You Can do to Build Your Own Site’s Traffic
Awkward beginnings: Quite a few professionals in ecommerce, medical, real estate, travel, hotel, mortgage, and professional services businesses feel they can’t write blog posts, articles for other websites, or even interesting Facebook posts for that matter.
So you’re not aContent Marketing wizard, yet you do know your business and you have many stories and insights to share with clients. It’s time you juiced up your boring website, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
The rewards will surprise you. As an example, I wrote blogs for a realtor and before long other agents were taking our blog posts and publishing on their sites. It created leads for him even though he never gave permission. And, if you have a sterling reputation like Merrilly Hackett does, people will pick up these posts and share them. It’s worth the effort.
Sometimes need only to find interesting topics that inspire you, or more importantly, ones that your customers and prospects find fascinating. Start with your customers. What are they interested in and what might help ease their business or life pains? What’s the buzz lately and how does that actually affect your customers?
For hotel managers, I’ve talked about the joy of travel, and shared some hotel success stories. Tell your clients about these and add your comments. That’s called curating content. It’s fast easy and helpful.
It’s time you let go of your inferiority complex and discovered how much you have to share with your prospects and others. Create a website, blog, and Facebook page people will love to visit again and again.
Disengaged Employees – Still a Plague Costing Billions?
We all lose interest in our work at times, and perhaps the most successful employees have a strategy for getting their focus and enthusiasm back. But do companies have any means of identifying disengaged employees and helping them regain their interest?
As the title graphic above from Gallop suggests, the cost of employee disengagement to the US economy alone is between $300 to $400 Billion annually. That’s a sizable sizable problem that businesses don’t seem to be managing very well. As this chart below reveals, it is a persistent problem in today’s workplace with an estimated 70% disengagement rate.
Recent surveys by pollster Gallop polls, suggests employee disengagement is a persistent problem and that when employees become engaged, customer service, productivity and business profitability increase and time and product loss decrease. These polls unfortunately didn’t measure worker happiness or offer reasons as to the “why.”
It makes sense though that if employees are engaged in their 8 hour a day work schedules, that it may improve their happiness. Other factors that can affect worker happiness and engagement are job design, work environment, salary, benefits, vacation time, and recognition. This is an area HR consultants could deliver insight into.
For businesses trying to stay competitive in local, national or international markets, keeping employees engaged means having a means to measure worker performance and generating feedback from employees themselves.
The problem of worker disengagement might be different for small businesses versus large businesses. Large organizations have more specialized roles and more bureaucracy in employee management. Management in small businesses is likely more responsive to change. Disruptive HR is easier in smaller organizations than in larger ones.
Either way, companies need to pay attention to worker disengagement if it becomes an ongoing status for any staff members.
What are the top 8 signs of Staff Disengagement?
poor communication and disinterest in how they relate to others
lack of initiative or not offering help to other employees
complaining instead of looking for good solutions
lack of purpose and enthusiasm about the work they’re doing and what the company is achieving
demanding, know it all, and inflexible means they’re ignoring other staff’s situation and feelings
no interest in professional growth and improvement
watching the clock because they’re more interested in being somewhere else
productivity is lower and they have no interest in being more productive
Disengaged employees may be a poor fit for the company or their jobs have been poorly designed. A review of the worker’s job description, role, salary, and re-orientation to the company’s needs should be done before the worker is psychologically lost to the company or quits to find a better job.
Why Are Some Employees Engaged in Their Jobs
Engaged employees may simply be employees who are a great fit for the company and their work role. They enjoy their jobs and are enabled in contributing to the company and staff. The job itself may be rewarding. The same person placed in another position might well become a disengaged worker.
Engaged employees may be trained well, well compensated, given attention to ensure they feel wanted, were onboarded and oriented well so they align with the company, and are encouraged to provide feedback about how they’re performing and enjoying working at the company. They are likely to feel more enabled to contribute and manage how they contribute.
It isn’t always easy to spot a disengaged employee as they could hide behaviours and still be relatively productive. Sometimes employees become disengaged when bored with repetitive, emotionally and intellectually unrewarding work, or through social isolation, or when there’s been change in the company structure and direction itself. Sometimes ambitious, productive employees disengage with a company that has stagnated. Eventually, they will tune out completely leading to conflict at work and then be fired or leave the company. That’s the timeless process we’ve all seen through the decades.
Sometimes performance is the issue. If the worker feels they can’t perform well and produce needed results, they may continue working in the role, yet tune out as a psychological defense mechanism. Until they find another job elsewhere, they continue to show up for work.
A Better Solution for Disengagement
While your HR consultant may have tools and techniques to test for disengagement, HR software might be sufficient to help you discover and manage it. HR software has modules for setting performance goals that employees can own and manage themselves. That’s proactive and improves their sense of accomplishment and responsibility. HR software also allows workers to enter worktimes, schedule events, and let their bosses know more about what they’re doing. That eases issues between workers and bosses who can communicate via email.
International Business: Showing Up on the US Radar
Should 2017 to 2020 be the years you decide to grow your business into cities such as New York, Boston, Charlotte, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix? There’s never been such a grand opportunity to export goods or services to the US. It should be one of your key goals.
For the minimal amount of cost, the upside potential is huge.
Stellar Canadian tech startups that have boomed recently in US or global markets include Hootsuite, Shopify, Real Estate Webmasters, Unbounce, Uberflip, and 500px. With new free trade deals being signed each year, we’ve got access to Europe, China, US, and Japanese markets that were once inaccessible. Launching into the US could be just the beginning of big things ahead. Time to modernize.
The US recovery could be stalled if the USD stays so high. US companies must leverage cheaper, more agile service and technology partners to compete with Chinese, European and Japanese competition.
The Sad Truth – We Desperately Need to Export Services
The numbers don’t lie: this graphic below from StatsCan reveals how dire the situation is here in Canada. Since we have the talent, our marketing efforts should pay off — with the right strategy and results.
Big Advantages for Canadian Companies:
no need to charge HST tax and clients won’t have to pay their state taxes
exchange rate 30% bonus
a portion of your business costs are 30% less
it’s exciting, invigorating and challenging and you’ll learn more
gives you scale to let you explore new product/service opportunities
reduces business risk due to more market access
makes your business more attractive to investors
Positioning for Explosive Growth
As I pointed out in my post on doing Business in the US, there are plenty of serious reasons for looking beyond Ontario and BC. Revenue, growth, product potential, and connections multiply ridiculously. With digital marketing, it’s easier now to orchestrate an effective surge into the US. Positioning in this sense means creating content, publishing it correctly, engaging influencers, and doing a knock out job with direct marketing.
And it doesn’t have to be all at once. However it does need to be launched with enough oomph to create the critical mass necessary to generate awareness and action. Slow growth is not an option nor is it cost efficient. Strategic omnichannel marketing done right will help ensure you’ve got enough gravity to make it work.
As an service entrepreneur who has provided traffic-building SEO and content development services for US companies and agencies, I feel it’s a smart choice for any Canadian company. It may take courage and a focus on being the best you can be, along with optimism, confidence and a commitment to adjusting to what US companies want. The rewards are worth it. It could be you know much more than I do and you haven’t created the strategy. Here’s a few ideas to help:
9 Ways to Create Customers in the US
repurpose your service/product selection to fit the US marketplace and build new custom websites/social pages to deliver your content to your US audience (they may not like Canadian sites)
have your own brand /client relationship manager who will be responsible for persistently promoting the value of your company and shaping your product/service experience
study your target cities and travel to them so you have a better empathy for their culture
understand how they see Canadians and how you can leverage those beliefs rather than fighting them
strategize, plan and create your Wow/Impact campaign and the engagement experience with your content
do omnichannel digital marketing – Content marketing, email, SEO, PPC, and social media are your 5 pillars
impress them with your knowledge of their markets and specifically how that will benefit them
build relationships with influencers, personalities, celebrities, noted business people, politicians, and journalists in those cities — convey your unbeatable, significant, personality, unique value proposition in every communication and transaction (subtly, via your content)
hire a great salesperson in the US to give you instant access to events, news, and opportunities down there
Make the decision to put an emphasis on the US. Growing into Europe, China and Japan will flow out of that. If your goal is to build a company and sell it to investors with the financial power to take it big, there’s little to be concerned with. Hire someone to get the ball rolling. It will be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
Creative Renovators, Cleaners, Landscapers and More!
We’ve all had to innovate when fixing or upgrading at home or the office. Well, you may want to hire these unsung landscapers, movers, HVAC tech guys, dry wallers, painters, electricians, and renovation crews to get it done fast and cheap.
Guys will always chip in, lend a hand, rise to the task, hang in there, for the team. We’re professionals. Let’s applaud these guys work ethic and then attend their funerals. Amen.
Don’t forget to share this testament to professionalism with your friends and coworkers!
Real estate marketing services in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, or Sacramento, CA.
Much a Do about Nothing – Why Your Inhouse Team Will Always Underperform
William Shakespeare was a brilliant man. So adept with insight, wit and words. He could see patterns of behavior amid the clamor and folly of people being busy and going nowhere. He knew, as many business leaders know today, that “busy-ness” alone offers little of value and can actually foretell a slide into unprofitability.
In the last 7 years, there’s been a push to bring various types of marketers inhouse instead of using expert consultants. The obscure fuzzy belief is, that anyone can do what various consultants do, the cost is too high, and the value proposition isn’t there. They conducted a quick assessment (or none) to justify their position on it, and then turned a blind eye to expert Business Coaches, HR consultants, Branding Experts, SEO Consultants and Social Media Consultants. You may have already struggled with this inhouse vs outsource problem. Which did you choose?
I hear it all the time: “My people just don’t perform at the level I expect“; “I’m not getting the creativity and innovation from them that I need“; “Why am I the one who always has to come up with all the bright ideas around here?” from 3 Reasons Your Team Is Underperforming by Les McKeown @PredSuccessin Forbes Magazine.
It’s not easy to find competent providers and experts to outsurce to, but on the question of inhouse vs outsource to experts, high growth companies will go to experts first. Excellence and leading edge ideas along with experience trumps all.
I’ve received a number of inquiries from managers who are reconsidering their earlier stance, but they’re still of the mind that they should keep their inhouse people and ask the consultant to work on the cheap. Unfortunately, the whole business model of inhouse sourcing is flawed. Plans, delegating, and accountability won’t inspire them to perform even if they’re talented. And let’s not forget that this is the gig economy where businesses look for good specialists for key tasks. Specialist consultants are more skilled, knowledgeable, and motivated.
If they are consultants, it means they thrive on excellence, professionalism, results, and striving for tough goals.
I wonder if you’ve probably witnessed your inhouse team flounder and underperform enough that you’re worried of the long term implications. When the market peaks or crashes, every professional and business person begins to look further down the road, because it dawns on them that they could go out of business.
Let’s Evaluate Your In-house Team Objectively
they’re not greatly knowledgeable – they aren’t motivated and why should they be?
they keep you company all day long so you don’t feel lonely
they may leave at any time for a better paying position
they are stressed from low income living and high expectations they feel they can’t fulfill
future career growth is unlikely unless your business really excels and how can it?
they don’t have the skills or experience with many businesses to apply to your projects
they rely on marketing automation and mediocre customer engagement practices
they don’t have time or your confidence to test and try something bold and new
they may not really like what they’re doing or what you require
they’re young and don’t have the big picture wisdom to draw upon — they need to experience and learn over many years
their work ethic isn’t what you’d consider ideal
you spend a lot of time and effort compensating somehow for their weaknesses – micromanagement
they are a low cost solution for a high value opportunity
they make mistakes with your clients/customers
they lower your brand image
None of the above you don’t know already, however you do need a reminder.
Let’s Evaluate an Effective Consultant
they can handle a big project and add significant value
the words premium, success, profit and consultants are connected
their work is highly profitable and often creates long term value
they may have other things going on that distract them
their skill and productivity mean you can go for a bigger share of the market
you can hire them and pay them as you need them
they are highly motivated but will cost more on a project basis
they improve your brand and value proposition significantly
they can manage SEO, Content Development, and Social Media at a deeper more personal level
their expertise can generate valuable dialogue and persuasion with top level clients
they may be able to wear several hats for better integration and performance
they prefer to work with others including competitors
they can be almost brought in-house if you have a good value proposition for them
The differences between in-house and expert consultant are in 3 dimensions:
potential value in new business
expertise and high quality productivity
branding, reputation, referrals, and social media sharing
Branding Experts and Consultants
Let’s look at branding. If you’re a successful realtor with high quality clients, would they be more impressed with a team of inhouse employees, often young, or a team of select highly capable professional experts? Do you build your marketing and Realtor® brand on your team of financial experts, housing forecast experts, SEO and social media experts, home staging experts, and real estate lawyers, or, a no-name group of background people?
Richard Branson says he always brings experts in and he says hire for their passion. Who has more passion and joy for what they do than expert consultants? They love what they do. And almost every millionaire you care to speak to will tell you that expert consultants fortify key points of their unique value proposition. In fact, their presence within the value offer often makes it personalized and significant for their elite clients. It intensifies the value proposition and lifts the brand to a high plateau where it gets noticed by the right target audience.
The moral is that if you hire the top experts or those are incredibly productive, you stand a much better chance of becoming a millionaire yourself. A team of inhouse people is much ado about nothing. You hire mediocre talent and you get exactly what they are capable of producing. This is readily apparent to your clients and customers.
Go to your local retail store and ask the service reps something very specific about a product and you’ll get a blank stare and “I don’t know” response. That’s why I never go to the retail store. It’s more productive to go online and search for an expert in that brand or product — such as type of smartphone or automobile. The experts give you what you actually need and want. The service rep gives you vague answers you don’t feel confident with.
With high involvement purchases such as branding, SEO, Content Development, Social Media and conversion optimization, you need experts. Your business success is at stake. Please choose the wiser option.
The choice to choose in-house is an insecure one where you bounce back and forth between low-cost/vanity all day and time consuming micro-management. Lose the micro-management and low expectation mindset and get yourself optimized to be a market leader. That’s where the real fun and profit are.
identify your key high profit generating tasks
outsource to the best consultants your budget will allow
look for topic and industry skills
look for consultants with a passion for your industry
don’t outsource just because you hate that task and want to get rid of it
leverage the consultant further by refining the specific goals and strategies that are most vital because this is where you need to get involved — these are top priorities
don’t get cheap or you’ll undermine achievement of key results
work with the consultant – don’t just hand things over and say good luck!!
meet with your consultant frequently and have questions that help you drill down to the most important activities and strategies
improve your market visibility and conversion rates by setting up and pouring over analytics reports
advertise only to pull in needed conversion data
use SEO consultants and social media consultants – because of their long term value and the fact they are free — save your money
hire consultants as needed
hire one key consultant to almost become a partner with — this person is vital and you want to keep them away from competitors
pick their brain and grow your expertise
I wish you all the best luck, whether you have an inhouse team, consultant, or some hybrid version of them. Your situation is unique and your solution will be as well. My final point is that long term – the expert consultant is the one who will take your business to the top. So whether it’s human resources, marketing and branding, IT management, financial planning, or SEO and content, experts will not only generate it, but also ensure it helps you exist at a higher level for long term sustainability and profit.
Gord Collins — Real Estate SEO Consultant — I welcome all inquiries from realtors in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, Newmarket Aurora, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Sunnyvale, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita, Henderson, Mesa, Temecula, Kirkland, Redmond, Kansas City, St Louis, Stockton, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santa Monica, Miami Beach, and Honolulu. Find a Los Angeles Real Estate Agent who will actually work for you.
MLS is the term you often see used on realtor’s websites casually or formally. It’s also referred to frequently in housing forecasts and Realtor sales reports. The multiple listing service or MLS is essentially a database of homes for sale. In the US, the National Real Estate Association owns the rights to the term and in Canada, including Toronto, the MLS® is a registered trademark of the Canadian real estate association.
NAR and CREA consider both the acronym MLS® and the information collected in the MLS database as their sole proprietary asset as are the terms Realtor®, Realtors® and Multiple Listing Service® as well as the Realtor.com and Realtor.ca websites.
The governments in the US and Canada have a different view of that information and who is the legal owner. CREA in Canada and NAR is the US are the respective organizations who own the trademarks and MLS databases. They are associations of trained and accredited professional realtors. CREA and NAR member associations designed and built their respective MLS databases as a private collection of information for their members and for national members. There is quite a bit of cooperation between US and Canadian associations because of national real estate brokers such as Remax, Century 21, Royal Lepage, Coldwell Banker, and others.
NAR – The National Association of Realtors in the US
NAR or the National Association of Realtors is owned by a private company headquartered in Chicago. It is a self regulatory organization of 1.1 million members who are either Brokers or Realtor associates. NAR governs the hundreds of local Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) which are the information exchanges used across the nation by real estate brokers.
After being charged by the US department of Justice for antitrust activities, NAR responded by proposing a single Internet Listing Display system that allows its members to exclude individual brokers (whether of a bricks-and-mortar type or solely internet-based) and opt out of display on all other brokers‘ sites. In Canada, there is a similar agreement.
Recently, Canada’s competition bureau ruled against TREB several times with respect to anti-competitive activities. It seems TREB and CREA want to favour their members and retain their monopoly on the MLS data. As you may know, a monopoly is one of the most cherished goals of any free enterprise business. When you have monopoly, you can set the rules and charge whatever you want for your product and services. Microsoft and Google are two other organizations that have possessed almost monopolistic power and it worked very well for them. No anti-competitive charges have been laid against Google.
Most of us would uphold the right of a company to own their products including a database and charge whatever the market will bear. Sort of like how Miami, Boston, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Dallas and Toronto realty markets are going right now.
Others believe that this type of monopoly is unfair to consumers who may be forced to buy services they don’t really want or need. The Internet has imposed itself on the real estate industry and consumers are doing more of the real estate buying process themselves. Realtors are sought for their added value as expert consultants.
CREA has not accepted or updated their view of the situation, yet CREA does want to claim to be a governing, ruling body of authority with respect to who practices real estate and to enforce that through local town bylaws and licensing regulations. All of a sudden, free market ideology isn’t quite being realized here. Without the formation of a competitive alternative, the government can claim an unfair monopoly for CREA and seek to rectify it or punish CREA for its behaviour, and it is doing so.
There are a number of MLS’s across Canada, BC, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. The Toronto Real Estate Board controls the Toronto MLS district which is known as the TREB MLS system which includes properties in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Scarborough, Vaughan, Markham, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Oshawa, and Etobicoke.
Each licensed and qualified realtor in the TREB district can obtain a datafeed of the Toronto MLS for a monthly database usage feel. That list of properties and its details are then presented on the realtor or agent’s website and you can search their listings for homes and condos for sale.
Competitors of the MLS’s include Zillow, Zoocasa, and Trulia. These organizations are generally not liked because they threaten the MLS and the status of realtors across North America. Realtors® often talk disparagingly about these services including complaints about their method of estimating the value of a home.
The truth of this might be that we’re in between a rock and a hard place. CREA’s power to own home sales data across Canada is coming to an end. They can only delay the inevitable, and the more they resist, the stronger new competitors will be in building their business to compete with CREA. The battle continues.
MLS Property Details and Homes for Sale
When you do a search for a home using the MLS system you won’t see all the information a realtor sees. They have access to extra information such as old listing prices and previous selling prices. If the sale happens on the free market, then knowledge of old selling prices isn’t all that meaningful anyway. What a property was evaluated, listed at, or sold at 5 years ago, has little relevance in today’s fast rising market.
As you can see in this map of TREB areas below, TREB MLS coverage is large and actually encompasses other mls associations. Other Ontario real estate boards having their own MLS’s include the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington, London St. Thomas Association of Realtors, Niagara Association of REALTORS and many others.
Toronto MLS Districts
TREB MLS coverage includes Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Scarborough and Oshawa. The graphic below delineates the TREB mls districts (small blue rectangular areas) in its purview.
You can learn more about home selling prices in each MLS district on the Toronto Real Estate board website were you’ll find their monthly reports. Some like these give you a breakdown of homesale in each area, and home much they are typically sold above asking price.
What can we say in final comments about the Toronto MLS? That it’s a handy listing of homes and condos for sale, and a valuable repository of information about a specific property’s details and history which buyers will be interested in knowing should they be willing to buy that home or condo. Homes hold many dark secrets and sometimes buyers are left with a bad financial surprise revealed later. If you’ve bought such a home, you can seek redress in the courts if it looks like the seller should have revealed it.
After you’ve done your initial perusing of the Toronto MLS home listings, find a trustworthy realtor who has the ability to market your home to as many home hunters as possible. Your goal as a home seller is to get the best price for your huge investment. That’s what your home is — an investment and one day you will sell it.
The collective agreement called the EU turned out poorly for Britain, and the UK is leaving the union. The British pound dropped with some panicky talk of recession, but we know everything will bounce back. However, without the UK, the EU may itself dissolve. Regardless, I’m excited about working with more UK businesses and look forward to new trade with the UK.
Germany and France will now be inundated with migration issues and be unable to sell to the UK. All this will settle in soon, and perhaps with this enlightenment, the EU will change it’s conditions quickly to hang onto the UK. But if the UK does leave for good, it has waiting friends in North America and Hong Kong, and really, these markets are much more receptive to UK companies.
The UK is a key thread in the fabric of International business, yet the EU’s migration rules are strange. In North America, we have free trade deals, but there’s no way you can just up and move to the US. Even if you have a shovel and dig under the big fence, they’ll put you in jail, and then send you back.
The UK was running a £24B trade deficit with EU countries. How long could that continue?
The UK was way too lenient with immigration and the numbers are staggering. How many countries can handle that level of immigration without bursting at the seams? They all wanted into Britain, not France, Spain, Germany, or the Netherlands.
But is the gloom overdone? Jason Hollands, a spokesman for the investment adviser Tilney Bestinvest, believes so. He said: “The UK stock market is dominated by large international companies, whose performance is not closely linked to domestic UK issues. Markets don’t like uncertainty and there are real risks around. But the Chinese economy, US interest rates and oil-price movements are more significant risk factors.”
No Need for UK Firms to Panic
In North America, we need to do more business with the UK. British firms would find our own market of 360 million consumers a good one to be more involved in. Although Obama has warned the UK it would take 10 years to do anything, incoming president Trump would not stand for delays of that time. It highlights the US’s own coming Brexit-style vote in the fall that will bring dramatic change and a breath of fresh air to business in the US.
Our governments here do need to modernize our agreement with Britain right now, it’s a window of opportunity to build a powerful connection with the UK. If the UK needs a helping hand, we should provide it because the UK is important, and they like us, have good connections with Hong Kong. That 3 way interaction can be very powerful in the realm of international finance and give the UK access to the Pacific Rim.
In 2016, an Ocean isn’t a Barrier to Trade
The UK was open minded about the EU’s rules, but in the end, they were burdened by it all. Regardless of how Brits voted on Brexit, the business and economic challenge is exactly the same as it was one week ago. The UK needed something new. And North America is that something new. The Atlantic isn’t a barrier. It’s the same distance from Boston to San Diego as it is to London.
Surprise, surprise, the US has a 1 billion dollar trade surplus with the UK.
A Stellar Opportunity to Grow Trade with a Non Hostile Country
So Brexit is behind us. We should make more contact with our friends in the UK and begin setting the stage for increased trade and commerce. I’m looking forward to helping my UK client who offer an SaaS online hr software product, eventually build a strong presence in North America and in the UK. And I hope the UK startup community begins looking to the US, China, and Canada for trade and business.
Did you know the Chinese set up a Yuan 2 trillion fund to help startups? Isn’t this what we should be doing? Ask your government to begin assisting small business and facilitating connections to small businesses in the UK. Collectively, we can be a huge force in our economic recovery, and helping the UK finally recover from the 2008 recession.
Incoming President Donald Trump will hopefully speed up trade talks with the UK, whereas outgoing President Obama has been anything but optimistic. Here’s what Trump says he will do for small business:
This lower tax rate cannot be for big business alone; it needs to help the small businesses that are the true engine of our economy. Right now, freelancers, sole proprietors, unincorporated small businesses and pass-through entities are taxed at the high personal income tax rates. This treatment stifles small businesses. It also stifles tax reform because efforts to reduce loopholes and deductions available to the very rich and special interests end up hitting small businesses and job creators as well. The Trump plan addresses this challenge head on with a new business income tax rate within the personal income tax code that matches the 15% corporate tax rate to help these businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers grow and prosper.
However, small businesses and tech startups need capital, and we know that on a whole, these companies create more jobs. This is money well spent.
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