A new Toronto Real Estate Board investigation has concluded that foreign buyers play a minimal role in Toronto house prices and availability. 3 key findings counter the Wynne government’s insistence that Foreign buyers and house flippers are ruining the housing market.
April TREB market report: a growth of 33.6% in home listings in the TREB’s MLS® System in April 2017, at 21,630. Prices rose too.
This new finding shows the Foreign Buyers Tax in Toronto (an old school knuckle dragging approach) was a knee jerk reaction by desperate politicians. The sad part is that it could cripple the development of new homes and condos in 2018 and 2019 which would have eased the housing crisis.
It remains to be seen how Toronto condominium developers will react to the Ontario government buyers tax. Currently, the Toronto condo market is alive and healthy. But the housing crisis is unfortunately a sad reality for many Ontarians.
What happened in April 2017?
The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark Price was up by 31.7 per cent year-over-year in April 2017. Similarly, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 24.5 per cent to $920,791. — from report from TREBhome.com
Homeowners are Finally Selling!
On a positive note, and further to the real point of the study, TREB reported that home sellers appear to be loosening their grip on their homes and are putting them up for sale. The long awaited “Great Home Release” is happening now this spring 2017 in a Toronto neighbourhood near you. tTREB’s Jason Mercer added in the published statement that it will take a long time for the pent up demand to be fulfilled in the GTA area. from the new May report from TREB.
“It was encouraging to see a very strong year-over-year increase in new listings. If new listings growth continues to outpace sales growth moving forward, we will start to see more balanced market conditions. It will likely take a number of months to unwind the substantial pent-up demand that has built over the past two years. Expect annual rates of price growth to remain well-above the rate of inflation as we move through the spring and summer months,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
“TREB strongly believes that public policy decisions with regard to the housing market should be evidence-based and supported by empirical data.”
3 Key Findings that Debunk the Foreign Influence Myth
TREB’s Report summarized these 3 key findings, that debunk the Ontario government’s insistence that foreign buyers and quick investment flips are driving the Toronto housing crisis:
The number of buyers with a mailing address outside of Canada is well-below 1%
Between 2008 and April 2017, the average share of foreign buyers in the Golden Horseshoe area was 2.3%
The majority of foreign buyers – 87% to 90%– purchased their home as a place to live, not as a tax evasion or speculative venture (homes that were bought/sold within a short period of time – within one year of the original transaction by domestic or foreign buyers accounted for a very small share — less than 5% in 2016 and 7% between January and April 2017) of total transactions).
With the above information in hand, what is your opinion of the Ontario government and Mayor John Tory’s stated preference for the Toronto Foreign Buyers Tax? What do you believe is the real purpose of the tax? Will the incoming Ontario government simply get rid of it? Do you consider the Toronto land transfer tax a fair tax? Do you feel the government is creating the problem with one hand and justifying its role with the other?
Should you sell your house fast or for a high price? In the past 3 months Americans have been selling their home for an average $336,000 more than they paid for it. It’s one more reminder that real estate is where the real money is. And if you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll see that government red tape and land restriction is the real driver of high real estate prices. So if you’re renting, gaining no equity, while your life passes, and can’t come up with hundreds of thousands for a down payment, now you know why. It’s time to speak with your local government representatives about opening up land for development. The alternative is pay the future home prices which could rise another 30% in 2018 (depending on the economy and how well J Trudeau gets along with you know who).
Latest year over year Toronto region home prices (April 2016 to 2017):
After closing their sale, the homeowners will have a moment to reflect on it.
And they do think: “I wish we had gotten more for our home. It would have made a difference for us. Selling quick didn’t leave us with a satisfying taste.”
The reason for that is, when the emotional attachment to the home was broken, they suddenly realize it was just a house and that quite likely someone else valued it even more than they did.
There are buyers out there who would be in ecstasy if they found your home. You need to take your time and reach those people.
When you do, you won’t care about agent commissions, paperwork, and showings. You’ll get a life-changing price for your home and so you should after the blood, sweat and tears you shed to pay it off. The best hours, days and years of your life went into paying that house. Get what you deserve!!
I know, you need to sell fast to cover your new home purchase or to get rid of your ex asap. Perhaps there are other solutions that will give you time to sell now and buy later. That takes the pressure off so you can make good selling and relocation decisions instead of reacting under pressure. I’ve seen divorced couples keep calm and sell their house professionally and avoid selling for way less.
There are vultures in the market waiting for these opportunities to buy cheap. Instead, it’s wise not to get overwhelmed with emotion. Just like the cash in your retirement savings account, emotions will disappear.
Selling your home intelligently is the smart way to go. So many benefits await. As with the happy old couple in the photo above, you’ll be satisfied with your decision. Good for your self-esteem and good for your bank account. And retirees can’t possibly have enough money. You’re going to last 25 to 30 years more with no pay check!!
More Homeowners Selling Means More Competition
Yet with this sudden increase in house listings, buyers will have better selection. You’ll need to do more to win that big price. You can, if you do it right.
From how your MLS listing is worded to the multimedia presentation of your home, to how your home is improved and presented in person, there’s much you can do to boost your selling price. SELL THAT HOUSE!! for more.
90% of Buyers Go Online to Search For Homes and Information — this is where you intercept them
A Realtor Who is Doing their Own Marketing is Leaving Money on the Table
Remember that real estate is a complex business and Realtors hate doing their own marketing. If they are doing their own digital marketing, they’re probably not engaging their pool of prospects and expanding it. Your Realtor needs to be the selling mastermind with total focus on interacting with as many potential buyers as possible.
Hire an agent that respects marketing and isn’t a “transaction specialist.” A real estate lawyer and mortgage agent do the transactions. Your agent needs to impress you with the power of their reach and persuasion. They must be a selling strategist or you should find another agent.
More Leads and Prospects Please!
Consider what creates a good offer and a record breaking offer: more prospects. That’s right, the more people know your home is for sale, the more bidding pressure there will be, and the more likely the home will be sold for its true value.
Get True Market Value for Your Home
When you sell fast, or have fewer buyers, it means the market doesn’t know about your house for sale. You won’t be getting true market value. True market value isn’t comps or your home market evaluation. That’s the price that other unwise buyers had to settle for. That’s not you. If you don’t get impulsive or desperate you can get a big price.
And don’t be too impressed with over asking. With homes selling $1 million overasking price, all cash, the asking price is meaningless.
Tell your Agent you won’t hire them, unless they hire me!
Let’s Get Educated so You Will Guarantee a Higher Selling Price
The overall strategy is to: 1) improve your house, 2) use a digital marketing Realtor, 3) and let as many buyers across the country know you’re selling. Because it may be income property investors who will pay more for your old property, you want to hire a professional to help sell it. The additional cash from doing it this way could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. One realtor recently got $1 million over asking for an old house in Toronto.
But hold on, not all Realtors have the top selling power. I hope you don’t assume that going with the most well known Realtor in town is the only way to go. Because Realtors are having an easy time selling right now since there’s so many buyers.
It may look like they’re doing a knockout job, when in fact, they often rely on the MLS and their small list of potential buyers. “Comps” or market evaluation might be code words for “sell fast.” Keep in mind, that competent Realtors know about the Internet, Google, Facebook and top notch content.
Even top Realtors rely on the small pools of contacts of their team. But that won’t get you a big over asking price. For that, you need strategic digital real estate marketing and pull in big crowds of qualified buyers.
Maximize Reach > Create a Great Message > Filter Unqualified Visitors > Engage with Real Buyers > Close
Here’s the Best Ways to Sell Your House Quick and for More
Check out their real estate marketing provider for their effort and performance
Ask them how they will improve your house for selling
Ask them how they will achieve ‘over market value’ and if they’re not out to maximize your selling price don’t hire them
Offer the chosen Realtor a higher selling commission if they get way over market value – they’ll be worth every penny
Ask them to provide a complete breakdown of their marketing and sales process and the marketability of your home
Ask them what makes the most difference to selling at a higher price and how they will focus on that key tactic
While you might thinking that selling fast involves a quick paint job and covering up stains on the carpet, the real strategy is good marketing. And if you’re holding off paying a Realtor a commission because you resent all the selling costs and their 5 to 6% commission, relax. If you choose a digital real estate agent, they will give you a fantastic return on your investment.
Those who shop the MLS listings are often bargain hunting. Are they going to have the resources to step up the price? Not likely, which is why you need to expand your reach and make your home look like a million dollar listing. A digital Realtor offers much better reach to buyers all over the planet and throughout your city and can elevate the value for the buyer.
Hire a modern professional and you’ll be rewarded many times over with a no hassle transaction from a qualified, eager and willing buyer. No haggling and your old house will sell fast enough. Don’t sell your place in 3 days. You can reach tens of thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands by being patient and selling it professionally.
This blog enjoys a rate of 1 Million visitors per year and you are one of them! I reached you and I can reach anyone who goes online. Get smart about digital marketing and you’ll get more than you could hope for.
Toronto Real Estate Boards latest facts: Condo availability down 18.8% and condo prices were up 24.3% compared to last year. Demand for condos is expected to stay strong or strengthen while sustained lower availability should keep prices strong 2017 through to 2020.
Questions: Which way will prices and condo supply go in Toronto? Will reduced condo construction offset any rent controls now in effect? Can investors and condo developers still make a good ROI despite the rogue foreign buyers tax? Will the Ontario’s measures push the province into recession? 3 housing experts weigh in with their views below.
Should I Sell my Condo Now?
Urbanation’s Shaun Hildebrand
Urbanation senior vice-president Shaun Hildebrand suggested that rent increases had leveled off recently due to a new supply of condos hitting the Toronto market. His beliefs correspond with many experts belief that a lack of supply is the problem and that new supply tames the price increases.
In the Urbanation post: “While the market remains undersupplied, the report says the 11,315 newly completed condos that reach closing in the past six months helped to alleviate recent pressure on rents.”
The new foreign buyer tax is expected to kill demand from foreign investors. Kathleen Wynne has characterized these foreign investors as speculators as “undesirable” parking their money. She didn’t comment on whether immigrant investors are coming here to launch their business to give their kids a great education. She failed to specify why foreign investors parking money here is wrong or illegal. And she provided absolutely no data regarding how much foreign investment actually takes place in the Toronto Housing Market.
A number of Realtors and experts say foreign investment is only a small portion of the Toronto housing market.
If that’s the case, Toronto condo prices similar to Toronto detached home prices will likely not fall much and will recover probably by late summer. Some say this will be a brief market letdown and if new condo projects dwindle in number, it will only drive up condo prices in 2018 and 2019.
As you can see in these stats from TREB below, condo prices in Markham, Vaughan, Toronto West, Richmond Hill and even the hot zone of Toronto central, are reachable for many buyers. Adding 20% should still make them affordable.
Emporis, a research firm that specializes in Condo development reporting says there are 154 condo projects currently in construction in Toronto with another whopping 364 planned and 382 unbuilt. Ontario’s depressing tax could put prevent many new projects from moving forward which will constrain development and lower condo availability. That will move Toronto condo prices higher in the long term, assuming Ontarios economy can continue improving.
Barry Fenton, CEO of Lanterra Developments
Lanterra Development is a major condo developer in Toronto forecasts that condo prices will rise another 40%. Here’s the video interview with Catherine Murray of BNN.
Brad Lamb of Brad J Lamb Realty
In an early interview with Brad Lamb, a well known Realtor specializing in downtown Toronto Condos, Lamb suggested the Foreign Buyers Tax could conceivably lead to recession in Toronto and across. Lamb was then quickly rebuffed by Doug Porter, Capital Markets Chief Economist of BMO Capital Markets. Porter blurted, “And I have eaten, drank and slept the Canadian economy for more than 30 years,” which look a little like a smackdown of Lamb’s credibility and capacity to speak with authority on the matter of housing economics. However, Bank representives to tend to align with current government positions on these types of decisions so we have to question Porter’s credibility as well.
In that same BNN interview, David Madani, of Capital Economics said that Toronto new housing construction accounts for 1% of Canada’s GDP: “Accordingly, a moderate slowdown in Toronto housing construction wouldn’t put the entire economy into recession… It would take a much broader negative shock to national housing investment and personal consumption to put the whole economy into recession.”
But as we know now, the US is beginning to apply border taxes and we have to wonder when Trump will tax Ontario’s lucrative auto industry. The 1% that foreign investment in real estate provides, suddenly looks large. Now that the tax has been announced, foreign investors and our own condo development companies won’t trust the government.
As Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the new Foreign Buyers Tax in Toronto recently, she ignored recent stats that showed Vancouver’s use of the money grabbing tax was wearing off.
And she ignored discussion of housing supply and support of builders, and how housing investment creates jobs and helps pay off our massive provincial debt.
With Wynne’s 14% approval rate, not many of you believe in her and the liberals any longer. They are involved for only one more year yet they can do some damage during that time. The foreign buyer tax, rent controls, and the 14 other housing hacks to suppress Toronto home and condo prices which she’s announced, could have grave long term effects for us all — suppressing investment, drying up rental availability, and raising GTA home prices to ridiculous levels. It’s actually an alarming situation that makes people more concerned about a housing bubble.
The real problem: Toronto doesn’t have enough housing, people are going homeless or must pay exorbitant rental rates and they can never hope to own a home. Those who want to sell, have nowhere to go. I think it’s obvious, Wynne is the culprit and the reason why home prices are so high. Wynne takes voters for granted, and takes the tenuous Ontario economy for granted, and she could ruin that too. There’s no time for professional administrators with weird agendas in government anymore. Rent controls have been studied before and pronounced as failures. We need creative entrepreneurs, smart small business people with lots of ideas.
The Solution: we need investment money to build new homes and we need Ontario scrubland freed up for new home development. There’s lots of it – miles of empty vacant land that’s not even good enough for farming. And as I explain in this post, moving investment outside of Toronto is good for everyone.
The so called speculator-fueled housing price fire she blames, is actually fueled by a lack of housing supply in Toronto, which she created and big multidimensional demand from buyers. Speculators know Toronto is desperate for housing and will be for some time. Still investors believe Toronto is a great place to invest. Not so says Wynne, who pushed her regressive 16 point housing hack. Not freeing up land for housing is a dangerous ploy that could contribute to a recession and make finding a rental unit impossible for millions of house and condo renters.
I like how one writer called Wynne’s housing plan a Potpouri of Politics seemingly to lower rents and ward off a housing crash – destined to failure. And the growing homeless will see no relief.
The problem will never go away, because Toronto is hot. It’s an International mega city and nothing can stop that. Her government’s perversely named Places to Grow legislation — artificially limits housing supply which raises prices. And the new Toronto foreign buyers tax also increases Toronto housing prices since sellers will just add the tax cost to their selling price.
The question really needs to be asked: “Who pushed Wynne to support this ideology of stopping urban growth around Toronto?” Why aren’t the media questioning her ideology and who is behind it?
Currently, real estate is the only sector bringing investment money into Canada and Ontario. Shooting the Golden Goose just seems like a bad idea. If homelessness and lack of hope are a problem now, it’s going to be worse in 2 years.
We don’t need data to know that Foreign investors contribute to our economy.
Toronto is Where the Jobs Are
And Toronto is where Millennials aged home buyers (and new immigrant buyers) are and work. Whether they choose to live in Toronto condos or detached homes in the GTA, they want to live within commuting distance. Wynne doesn’t represent this generation’s quest for the life they want. She’s got an “alternate lifestyle” for all of us featuring poverty, big mortgages, and higher taxes.
Let’s face it, if Kathleen Wynne was your doctor, her special medicine that would shoot your blood pressure to 1000 / 860. After your head explodes she’d prescribe ice packs. The Liberal’s housing hacks are going to stifle investment and lead to higher prices by 2019. But then, she and her government won’t be around to experience the consequences. They’re the most unpopular government ever and will be heading out in the coming election next year.
Som Seif Speaks with Catherine Murray of BNN about Toronto’s future:
Lack of Housing Supply Will Keep Prices High
People have to live somewhere. Hundreds of thousands of new immigrants arrive in Toronto every year looking for homes. They’re not speculators. They want to live here and have their kids educated here. Think about how valuable a North American education is to these new foreign migrants. It’s life changing and gives their kids a big life advantage — perhaps bigger than native Torontonian kids (the forgotten).
Who Will Pay Ontario’s Whopping Debt of $318 Billion?
One way to help pay the whopping Ontario debt would be to graciously approve of foreign investment. Foreign real estate investors are already being taxed and are helping grow our economy by buying in the Ontario housing market.
Wynne also announced a new Mincome program to test out a minimum level guaranteed income for a few select Ontarians. This is probably due to her sponsor’s belief that the future looks grim for Ontarians. Her Apocalypse plan is to contain the Zombie’s within the GTA. Why not build a fence like Donald Trump is?
Unfortunately with poor Free Trade deals, the picture for our youth is troubling, low waged, insecure, and poverty is growing visibly here in Ontario. With the exception of marijuana and tattoo shops, we have little to brag about. And with tight credit and NAFTA issues looming, you’d have to wonder how Ontario will create jobs.
Wynne’s support of the controversial Places to Grow program is at the bottom of rocketing Toronto home prices. Without land to build on, our thirst for “Places to Live” will never be quenched and prices will keep pushing upward. So her list 16 anti-investment tactics is wrapped within a failing overall strategy that will actually cost Ontario future growth and lead to higher prices.
The Toronto Housing Market Solution is Simple
Freeing up land around Toronto is the solution. There’s tens thousands of hectares of scrubland available for new housing developments (and it’s happening in Bradford, Vaughan, East Gwillimbury, and south of Barrie).
Wynne could create a new program to decentralize the economy away from Toronto and send jobs and good fortune to areas that need it.
The one good thing about the Toronto housing market boom is that money is being pushed outward to places such as Oshawa, Guelph and Barrie infusing those communities with new money. Prices in Barrie have risen 44% in the last year and this migration of investment money is giving Barrie something it rarely gets — investment and hope.
Solving the Housing Crisis
In a previous post I covered 10 ways the Toronto housing crash could be avoided and that Wynne’s government is forcing this housing crisis. The gist of the solution is to use this housing crisis as a reason to encourage investment in smaller communities outside the GTA. Instead of the current housing price spillover effect, why not actively move investment money and jobs outward to places like Barrie, Orillia, Orangeville, North Bay, Sudbury, Belleville, Gelph, Waterloo, London, Sarnia and Windsor?
The Liberal’s “Places to Stop Growth“ plunges these communities into poverty and unwisely pushes intensification in places that don’t need it. These places are intensifying are their own.
Toronto Canada is in demand and the Investment money is already parked here. Toronto and new incoming millennials intend to get married and start families, and new immigrants will keep adding price pressure. The 16 measures she took won’t work and in fact could stunt Ontario’s economic growth. Soon we will be battling higher rents, higher taxes, higher utilities (if we can find a place to live).
How would you rate the Wynne government’s support of small business? What are the key features of her small business growth support plan?
The foreign buyers tax was used in Vancouver which is much more Asian buyer influenced, and prices are already starting to rise again. They know how it’s all a matter of supply and demand.
Condos in Toronto on the other hand are home buyer’s soup du jour for 2018, 2019, and 2020 because of new mortagage rules and limited availability. Constructions starts are down due to rent controls and buyer worries over government behanviour.
Both provincial governments took credit for the sales and price drops, but the truth is, is that buyer psychology caused the market to moderate in sales only. Whether buying or renting, prices are high and it’s still a seller’s market.
The Toronto real estate market hasn’t lost much in the way of price even though sales have dropped. The worrisome aspect of this sudden roller coaster ride of prices is the effect on the Canadian economy which is highly rated, but somewhat insecure.
In Toronto and Vancouver, the downpayment for a home/condo alone, is enough to buy a property outright in most other places across Canada. Rising private debt, stagnant wages, and low interest rates could be enough to form a bubble and lead to a crash. But most experts feel the Vancouver and Toronto real estate markets will be just fine.
Why these politicians are so adamant in their opposition to housing growth isn’t known. As the NDP government comes into power in BC, prices in Vancouver have begun to advance. As long as housing is in short supply, the price pressure will always be upward. That’s a good cue for all real estate investors.
According to TREB, the MLS® Home Price Index Composite benchmark price rose 9.7% YoY, in October. The average selling price for all home types was $780,104 – up by 2.3% compared to the average of $762,691 in October 2016.
Graphic courtesy of TREBhome.com
House Prices in Toronto’s MLS Districts in 2017
Average Prices and Price Growth – Detached Homes TREB
Price Change Last 17 months
Price Change Last 6 Months
Stats above courtesy of TREB Market Watch Report
Toronto House Prices — MLS City Districts Home Price Comparison
TREB District City of Toronto
Avg Price October
Avg Price Sept
Avg Price August
Average Price April 2016
Avg Price April 2017
Avg Price Mar 2017
Avg Price Feb 2017
Price Change Since Feb 2017
If you examine the latest house price trends in the GTA, you’ll see moderation, yet not all TREB districts saw reductions. In some areas, they’re still climbing almost in defiance of any market meddling.
For sellers, the agonizing questions of whether they should sell now, is being solved. They held on to get the highest price and are eager now to unload their property. Some got too greedy and are accepting up to $300k less than last spring’s offers. Timing is everything in real estate.
A lack of housing supply will keep prices up for many years ahead. The Ontario governmet is more concerned with rising rents than it is in encouraging new construction. Rent contorls are already drying up up the availability of rental properties.
Currently, the condo market is thriving, however once the new construction condos have been sold and occupied, prices overall will climb.
Home Price Index for Toronto vs rest of Canada courtesy of Terranet National Bank housing index.
That Old House means so much more to buyers. They have the vision, the dream and they’re willing part with $1.5 million to live the dream. If you’ve got a home to sell right now, you need to hire a Realtor and capitalize on this glorious market opportunity.
The Mindset of Homeowners Who Need to Move on
Realtors need to be more psychologically aware and effective by adopting the mindset and vocabulary of the very people who move on. What words, phrases, images and activities do optimistic home sellers use? Retirees and 45+ people have priorities. Find them and speak their dreams.
And if you’re thinking of selling your Toronto home you need to use that vocabulary too. There is an incredible array of lifestyle opportunities for you. The world has never offered so much for the International home buyer. No homes in Ontario? No problem, beautiful places such as Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Dominican Republic await.
Why do people settle for a lesser life than they can have?
When Will Toronto’s Market Crash?
There may not be a crash, but no one is saying that for sure.
The Toronto Housing crisis is one partly of homeowners never dreaming that they get this kind of ROI out of the old house they bought. None of us were trained or educated for this opportunity. The result is too many older people hanging onto their homes, more out of being confused and unprepared to progress with their lives.
If you have a good Toronto Realtor, you really can sell your home at above expectations. Above asking is easy. Don’t even mention above asking, since everyone is using the lowball strategy to create bidding wars. Houses are selling for outrageous prices because Realtors are smart about building big demand from the right people.
Best Return Ever in Toronto
Even with foreign buyers out of the picture, demand for housing is huge in Toronto. From Mississauga, to Newmarket to Vaughan and Oshawa, people crave homes. And single detached homes with yards are the holy grail. So rare, so pleasant and rewarding some will sell their soul to the devil to be a homeowner. You don’t have to sell the joy of ownership theme to them.
So what are you doing right now to move forward and capitalize on the “Best Investment Return ever?” It’s not too late. I hope you’re contacting a good Realtor right now and beginning the selling preparation process.
Don’t sell your house in 3 days. Take your time and sell it for $75,000 more. It’s your hard earned investment and you deserve the best. Always think highly of yourself. Your Realtor will have lots of ideas about how to make the buyers very happy and contented. The improvements on your home for instance will add value and carry them forward.
I’ve written a variety of posts on selling your house, how now is the time to sell your house, and about retiring pleasantly in Central America. Time to travel, time to really enjoy life away from the city, and your time to celebrate your life. Sell that home!
Local Search Optimization is Serious Business for some Industries
What if I told you I doubled the traffic of a major hotel? Well, it happened. From 1.2 Million visits per year to 2.5 Million per year. A lot of people travel and search for hotels online and they often book with the first few they see. Being ranked at the top of Google search results is very important.
Fast forward a few years, and consumers are becoming very dependent on their smartphones, often using them in the retail stores, while walking, driving and dining. Whether driving around a neighborhood looking for homes or while in transit and looking for a restaurant in town. Local search is a big deal. And Google maps is seeing a lot more use and it is tying in local businesses to map users.
Google serves up local business results as you can see the 2 screenshots below. These results are separate from the regular search results and are a key FREE source of the very best traffic and leads online.
This post on Mobile search growth shows smartphone use is trending higher. Visibility in local search results and being mobile friendly is vital. It all ties into the local and smartphone connection.
Local Search is Worth Winning
If you run a Hotel, Restaurant, Clothing Store, plumbing or auto repair shop, or real estate agency, you’ll want to show up in these local search results. Not only does your website come up right at the top left of the page, but Google gives them driving directions right to your store. How nice is that! Gotta love Google.
I wanted to bring this local search visibility opportunity to light for you. I’ll spare you the deep stuff. The point here is to see the opportunity for a local business to grab really good quality local, easy to convert sales prospects. Getting into the top of Google’s search results is very rewarding. These are the best leads possible — prospects who are eagerly searching. That’s a hot lead. So when you believe it, stop reading and get into action.
Millions of Searches for Hotel Rooms
My client, the major hotel chain in Canada for many years, Delta Hotels, had 35 locations across Canada. You may have booked a room via my hotel SEO work and didn’t know it! Delta Hotels rooms and services are top notch and they charge a higher price for bookings. In my stays throughout Vancouver, Banff, Toronto, Mississauga, and other cities, I found Delta’s hotels to be very high quality. Unfortunately, Marriott Hotels bought Delta Hotels and the past is gone.
It was a challenge to get visitors to choose Delta Hotels over Motel 6, Super 8, and even Best Western. Hotel bookings are competitive and price sensitive. In hotel SEO, you’re up against tough competition including hotels.com and expedia.
I have to mention that I created new top rankings in the local search results for Toronto hotels, Vancouver hotels, Montreal hotel, hotels in Mississauga, and Calgary airport hotels and tens of thousands of other keyword rankings. I ensured we dominated the 10 Pack with several hotel locations in each city. That actually helped double their amazing website traffic and leads. Doubling a hotel’s traffic has a big impact on the bottom line. I can’t divulge numbers, however I can say what I accomplished in terms of SEO.
Of course, a hotel’s unique selling proposition, its branding, lead conversion strategy, content strategy, website mobile friendliness, and other supporting elements contribute to a converted lead. SEO brings them in and the content generates the booking and converts the lead.
You don’t just sign up with Google local business listings and see the traffic roll in. No, you must prove to Google’s algorithm that your site content and service is relevant to that location. Yes, there’s a number of factors that Google processes to determine rankings. Leave that stuff to me including the Google+ misery. Your job is your business, mine is getting you that great local traffic.
Here’s a couple of local search infographics though to tell you why you don’t want to think about it:
Toronto’s real estate market overheated in 2017 due to housing availability problems. The possibility of an economy damaging housing market crash is very real in Toronto now because NAFTA is in jeopardy.
Why is an impending Toronto housing crash a disaster for us? The economy may crash creating unemployment and mortgage defaults, scare off investors, and ruin the home building trend that’s finally taking off.
Here’s 11 solutions below that don’t require housing development on the most ecologically sensitive areas near Milton, Mississauga, or Oak Ridges Moraine near Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Newmarket.
The Bubble is Spreading Outside the GTA
The heat from the Toronto market is spreading outward into Niagara region, Cambridge and Waterloo/Guelph and up into Barrie. The problem with all of these pressure valves is that the Ontario government’s Evil places to grow legislation is preventing growth in those areas too.
The core problem in the market isn’t out of control demand for housing, because demand for homes by Ontarians has always been present. The government’s arrogance toward people’s need for housing is seen in rising rents, home prices, hopelessness, and homelessness. The Liberal government in particular, is politically opposed to developed. The dreaded conservatives who will form the next Ontario government, may have a different outlook, at least enough to get them voted in.
The crux of the housing bubble in Toronto is lack of housing stock. Building and housing development have been suppressed and unsupported in the GTA region such that any increase in demand, foreign or domestic, would create a home price crisis. It’s our government who have funneled all demand at a limited amount of homes and this creates inflation in the economy (which makes for more short term tax revenue).
Anyway you cut the pie, the government wants to own, control it, and take the biggest piece.
The current attitude of government as you can see in this 2nd video below is irresponsible. Tax manipulation isn’t a solution nor is mortgage manipulation. Only a positive support of new home building will work. Millennials will not forego their family building years and will buy single detached homes or townhouses to live in.
Foreigners will continue moving here and how can the government prevent them from buying homes or condos. Demand is booming and many are saying that a housing crash can’t occur because of that unending demand. But these people have forgotten completely about how much harm government can do as the begin making new policies to solve their previous mistakes.
Demand and Prices Highest in 8 Years: CBC Video
And here’s John Tory from 5 years ago warming how government is driving a problem in the Toronto market, but he goes on to blame foreign investment for high home prices and high condo prices. Tory still believes in rent controls which would discourage new housing.
It’s a big picture problem driven by government’s desperation for tax revenues which they then squander on pet projects that only make the problem worse. Now that we’re more sure of the origin of the problem, we can begin brainstorming some last minute solutions to ward off a Toronto housing crash.
11 Good Ways to Avert the Toronto Real Estate Bubble and Crash
I don’t have to tell you the Real Estate sales profession is ultracompetitive and demanding, or that it’s getting worse. You experience that headache every day and night. Below, you’ll find 3 Keys to Carving out Your Monopoly.
And if you’ve grown your website and sales success already, congratulations. You’re very Good! (Let me know your secret). However, most successful business people think success will last. But up against giant corporations who pay little tax and can compete freely across borders, you may be looking at a minimum wage future yourself. There are no protections for small business.
Realtor Competition: With home owner selling alternatives eating away at your sales and commissions, with brokers signing up more new agents, and with the digital, Uber-realty crowd aiming to get rid of you via digital channels, your income and survival are in question. What if you had a new plan to help you get to the next level of sales without eternal head to head battle with the hordes?
Excessive Competition is No Good – Get Away from it!
I’m certain Internet marketing is just one more reminder of that insane competition out there that kills you slowly. I’d like you to you to check out the steps below that could keep you focused on a course to dominate your market and be rid of competitors. This post has some intriguing ideas about why striving for a niche type monopoly could be the way to go. There’s some insight here on how you can do it.
I don’t want to scare you but consider this. If you don’t pursue monopoly, technological changes could bring your career to a dead end.
And listen to what Paypal’s Peter Thiel has to say below about striving to become a monopoly just like Google, Apple, PayPal, MLS, NFL, NHL, PGA, Amazon, Facebook, Disney, Neflix, Uber, and Sutton Group West Coast Realty. There’s a principle here that can drive your business through the roof. He suggests that being less competitive and less concerned about the competition and instead focus on building differentiation, exclusivity and client preference.
Let’s Hear What you Think About the Future of Real Estate Agents
I’d really enjoy hearing your comments about how you differentiate yourself and what strategies you’re employing to protect your business.
Sharing is Good for Your Social Health!
Please Share this post with anyone who needs to boost their business and stay relevant to the market.
In this video below, here’s Peter Thiel speaking about Monopoly at Stanford – where Google started. He makes some funny analogies about useless positioning for startup entrepreneurs. It’d be a treat to attend classes at Stanford!
Beating the Competition Means Getting out of the Race
In my sector of Internet marketing, competition is sickening and counterproductive. Desperate low cost automated marketers from around the world pump out low quality “messaging” in a quest to live another day. Well, after a few years of robot driven global competition, you realize this era of marketing is coming to a close.
Competition has its downfall. So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the 3 key areas you could focus on, which few Realtors, realty investment advisers, home builders, and real estate publishers do. 3 Steps for excellent differentiation and winning results that all of a sudden make Internet marketing make sense again.
Gain Wide Visibility with Correct Prospects – lots of high quality prospect traffic and making a big impact when they arrive. Stats suggest that clients hire one of the first agents they find. Please be at the top of the serps!
Build Authority & Trust – demonstrating expertise, thought leadership, local knowledge, and skills in action in a helpful way – clients are impressed with knowledgeable agents who have the angles covered to help them avoid a serious buying mistake or to get way over asking price.
Be Persuasive and Convincing – delivering your unique value proposition with a personalized, relevant impact, in a way they can relate to — which clearly makes you their one and only choice. Is your UVP perfectly clear?
In this post on real estate lead conversion, I spoke of the importance of working on your unique value proposition to build preference for you. This preference is vital in all relationship building. Your Realtor UVP or your brand, needs to be spot on, specific, and to set you apart from other agents. It creates/increases a compelling desire in them to call you right away. Capturing the moment, building intent and getting the desired action is our goal.
The goal for any business is monopoly, and some top agents do a pretty good job of building a near monopoly. Merrily Hackett of Sutton Group West in Vancouver, who has $12 Billion in yearly property sales comes to mind. Your local MLS has a monopoly too, unless we don’t consider FSBO and Zillow. With monopoly (or loyal customers), you can generate greater value for your clients and time/energy for yourself.
“I’ve become, I think, much more self-aware over the years about the problematic nature of a lot of competition,” — Peter Thiel from CNBC article.
Striving For Market Monopoly or Loyalty
A post Inc.com featuring billionaire Peter Thiel who co-founded PayPal, talks of his ideas on building a monopoly. He says monopoly is the proper goal and that competition is for losers. Thiel advises to focus on specific niches and then scaling over time.
By pursuing monopoly, you gain more expertise in key niches, create more productive working time, produce more valuable output, and create better loyalty with your best clients. Monopoly and differentiation are connected.
You also stave off copycat competitors in your market. Unique differentiation is the only way to stop competitors from copying you and it’s the only way you’ll stand out. Differentiation is generated online through interesting, entertaining, thought-provoking, epic content, timely social media posts, deep insight into specific buying and selling issues, unique selling strategies, creative storytelling, amazing videos and graphics, a website they love to visit, contests, giveaways, and unique insightful market reports.
The key as Theil says is to one to do one thing exceptionally well for a specific type of prospect. Nail that first and move onto the next.
You may have already specialized in condos, first time buyers, divorce, retirement planning, financing, and other areas. You may have to specialize much more deeply to get recognized meaningfully.
“Monopoly is owning a market through which the business can set its own prices. Monopoly companies stand to create (and maintain) lasting value for themselves”, Thiel says, citing Google as a good example – from post on Inc.com
Thiel’s explanation of monopoly is to own a market so you can set your own prices. In your situation as a Realtor, you’re setting yourself up as their trusted authority and the one who understands their dream and can make it happen.
My Real Estate Marketing Value Proposition: I help top flight Realtors get to the next level in sales and customer loyalty by helping them differentiate, become an authority, and create big visibility which leads to sustained, high quality leads online. I do all that automators can’t do.
Making a Commitment to Your Success
As a fairly successful Realtor™, you have the resources to make it happen, but may lack the strategic digital marketing partner who can convey your impressive value proposition to create your monopoly.
If homebuyers and sellers choose with the first agents they find, why aren’t you at the top of Google’s search results pages? 90% of them go online.
If they respect an agent’s authority and promise of value, is your website content demonstrating your excellent marketing and sales knowledge? Do you show empathy for their dream and the things they care about? For instance, luxury homeowners selling their home like to be able to have a story to tell about their home. Can you help them with that?
If they want the best value from their transaction, are you demonstrating and expressing that right away so they understand it in 3 seconds?
Make an Impact Fast
Our goal is to help you make a big and fast impact on them emotionally and ultimately psychologically. They will delve into your content, testimonials, and listings with fervor. The more they engage with your content the more they will only work with you — and that’s Thiel’s monopoly idea.
Thiel also talks about the end game which you can read here. Endgame means you need to have a goal and a path to it. That path is impossible to see unless you find a success model and do some reverse engineering. Get curious about the top Realtors and how they built their empire. Those secrets they don’t divulge are the keys.
However, if you follow this model of real estate marketing strategy I outline here on my blog, you’re going to get there. I will help you do it. If you do this right and persist at it, it will come true. It all comes back to faith in yourself.
How to Increase Your Real Estate Lead Conversion Rates
If you were to double or triple your online real estate lead conversion rate, how would that factor into your commissions? You’ve asked “how do I convert more of my Website leads” so here’s a number of things you need to do. One is to Wow them with a fantastic unique value proposition right off the bat. Then you build trust and relevance right away.
What Realtors never talk about is their value proposition. If you don’t have one, they won’t call and they likely won’t convert later via your CRM. With people: first impressions count but it’s more than web design they’ll looking at.
Research shows that 35-50% of home buyers go with the first agent they find. (Source: InsideSales.com). How can you wow them and make them an offer they can’t refuse?
When They Land on Your Website
Websites, good content and SEO have never been given proper credit for their help in generating real estate leads. Social media too isn’t getting credit. In reality, prospects do visit your website and you need to convert them quick.
CRM and Nurturing Means You Missed Them
CRM Solutions aren’t lead conversion. I’ll tell you why you need to ignore CRM solutions shortly. Right now, I know you’re thinking “if I could triple conversions on my website, that would be magnificent.” You’d be right. In the realm of real estate sales, it could mean millions of dollars and sustained future sales. It’s time you started getting into this conversion thing in-depth. And that’s the thrust of this post.
The words lead conversion today have been unfortunately branded and tied to marketing automation. And that’s sad.
That’s “after the fact marketing.” We must convert those leads right away on your site. This is your top mission. If you’re not, something is definitely wrong — they gave you the thumbs down, and now you have to chase and nurture them. That’s doing things the hard way. So lets fix it, so you don’t have to get into all that obnoxious marketing automation silliness. You’ll find out what the key is and then apply it to your website like a pro.
If prospects begin to associate you with the value they want, those leads will begin to convert. With no value presented, they’re onto another agent online, or in their community or, they just don’t bother selling their house. So if Realtors have failed online, it’s because of a lack of communicating value to visitors. Without that, there can be no trust, relevance, or magnifying of their buying intent.
And I have to say that the keywords searchers type in tells you a lot about whether you’re going to convert them too. Crappy keywords generate crappy leads and so do low search engine rankings. The leads that convert are at the top. Just do some Adwords ads, and you’ll find out. So a good part of your lead conversion is due to the fact you’ve got the wrong people coming in, or they’re just tire kickers and time wasters. Even if you have all they want, they’ll still waste your time and not convert.
Buyers and Sellers are online. You know the stats. 90% go online. So the question is, why aren’t you getting in front of them and delivering the value they want?
You Convert Leads with Your Value Proposition
What plagues most realtors is a missing value proposition. It’s not unique, differentiated from all the hordes of mediocre realtors out there. It’s not personalized nor significant to them. And it makes no impact and doesn’t engage them for very long. Yikes, why would they want to work with you? Building a clear preference for you is what it’s all about.
And your Realtor UVP is actually fairly complex and has to be presented well. Realtors blame design, poor CRM tools, and ineffective digital marketing techniques. But most visitors can see through shiny buttons and ragged clothing and know instinctively whether you deliver the goods. You need a way to infuse your value proposition into your content, your webdesign, and your ongoing client nurturing campaign — so it’s laser clear.
If you haven’t explored and built your best Realtor unique value proposition, read my in-depth post on the topic. It could be career changing for you. Then after you’ve developed your personalized, significant unique value proposition and refined your approach with the techniques in this post on lead conversion, who do you think will be the most preferred Realtor?
If you have to nurture hard via email campaigns, then something is wrong with your value proposition as they first encountered it on your website. Now that they know you don’t offer much, they’re reluctant to listen to you. If you try too hard, your email subscriptions and engagement will fall. Sound familiar?
The quest of most marketers today is conversion rate optimization. It’s wise to take their lead. But here’s the thing. Lead conversion is a personal thing and it’s all about building trust. In a previous post I mentioned the top factors of building relevance and trust. It’s a very important read and takes you into the mind of customers.
Most Realtors fail to convert leads because they apparently have little to offer — they’ve never even looked at their value proposition and don’t present it well
The old days of offering a photograph and sales awards seems silly now, but how far have you come in delivering an excellent promise of value to your prospects? You’ve tried lead generation companies and discovered that converting real estate leads requires sincerity and time and not something for nothing attitudes. Visitors need a reason to trust you and like you.
Think about your losses over a lifetime because real estate is a long term business. Repeat sales happen over decades, but those sales are serious business.
Let’s Take a Good Look at Your Value Proposition right now:
do you communicate your experience?
have you shown/communicated your past and current success?
do you demonstrate your knowledge of your local city and micromarkets?
do you mention events with your past clients?
do you have testimonials and what is the real message in those testimonials?
have you expressed how you are dependable and honest?
have you shown empathy and willingness to listen?
do you mention your performance of getting over asking price?
did you mention your record of putting in winning bids?
do you have authoritative content easily found on your website?
does your website content/blogs/FB posts show you are knowledgeable and have good judgement?
does your website suck or is broken or slow with irrelevant content?
do you communicate a friendly, professional image who is easy to work with and not a hard nosed troublemaker who won’t bend?
do you offer free home staging and cleaning services?
is there a link to your Linkedin profile?
can customers visit your Facebook page?
are you using the latest technology on your website?
The Calgary Home Boys have an amazing website (with a superb CRM system). It gives visitors what they want most, a great home search experience.
What are the Top 8 Conversion Rate Factors?
the quality of incoming lead/visitor
the source of incoming lead/visitors
the generosity and transparency of your value proposition
relevance of your personal services, experience and knowledge
a clear presentation of your personal/professional brand image
a clear call to action
incentives and feel good content given free
immediacy and fast response – they must contact you right now and you’re ready for them
If you optimize these 8 conversion rate factors above, prospects will be good quality therefore easier to convert and you’ll have given every reason to work with you.
Remember that prospective home buyers or home sellers want to feel trust, comfort, happiness, confidence, and even euphoria about their decision to buy or sell. They want to feel that you’re going to be a positive part of their dream and that you’re a good fit.
They’re going take your brand image and try to include it as part of their beautiful puzzle picture. You have to be a relevant part of the dream.
It all comes down to their moment of decision. If you exalt and maximize their moment of decision with you in it, you might get the call and be their preferred Realtor. And this applies equally to any other profession including mortgages, home loans, home renovation, replacement windows, plumbing, landscape design, and interior design.
They see your trustworthiness in your web site design and the value proposition expressed in your copywriting. You may have thought pretty copywriting was all you needed. Do you have standard copy blurbs that appear on many other Realtor websites? Oh man, you’ll killing your conversions and making yourself look run of the mill.
Get Into Their Dream or Be Forgotten
To get the quality, relevance, impact and trustworthiness message across, you need epic level, information-rich, and affirmative copywriting. Pretend you’re creating a business case for their purchase and you get the idea. They’re looking to you for emotional support, data, direction, and help in presenting this to their significant others.
Remember that they need to justify the purchase (and to hire you) to their spouse, children, friends and banker. If they can’t do it, the discussion is short lived, never to be mentioned again. If you can align with their dream, they’ll choose you to sell their home. All you need to to do is express it on your website.
If you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about a CRM solution. There are some good ones sure and you need to manage your leads of course. The point is, that if you convert them right away with a phone call, you may not need to spend so much time chasing them, nurturing and paying for expensive, time consuming marketing automation (which could be harmful).
CRM software solutions are passive tools for converting weak leads — create value and convert now!
How about pretending you don’t have any follow up and lead nurturing solution? Now you must convert them right away. If you think it’s time for you to look into redeveloping a new real estate website and your content then give me a call at 416 998 6246!
Zillow is making quite a stir in the real estate sales sector in 2017. Pundits are awarding its success to things like Big Data or company culture, but the real reason may be technology and Realtor’s frustration with NAR and the MLS. I’ve written a post on Zillow and its leads generation program. Have a look if you’re an agent.
Zillow Group (NASDAQ) is actually made up of 7 brands serving conumers including internet-based real estate and rental marketplaces. Zillow is growing fast, grabbing a good share of mobile phone searches. With almost 2000 employees today, and the 48th most visited website in the US, Zillow Group has come a long way in a short time becoming a force in the US housing market.
But it hasn’t been without controversy. They’ve drawn criticism from MLS associations and by others for selling home buyers personal information, for not protecting consumers from dishonest sellers/advertisers, and for their advertising practices in general. As a home seller, you may like that you have Zillow to help you reach more buyers. As a Realtor wanting to leverage the Zillow search and advertising system, you may like the potential visibility but not like the home buyer interaction results.
In 2017, Zillow is now to Real Estate what Uber is to a taxi driver
Take their home search for a test drive, using a search for Los Angeles Homes. The video walkthroughs are a unique feature you might like. Have you used Zillow to search for homes for sale before? How did you like it? Was the Zillow Zestimate tool helpful to you? Do a Zillow homes for sale in Los Angeles now.
The upstart company’s zealous enthusiasm for growing marketshare and online services delivery, and making home and mortgage searches more enjoyable for home buyers might be factors that aren’t discussed enough. The company has invested big time in marketing and advertising and in doing things NAR and realtor.com won’t.
If you’re a Realtor, have you used Zillow Leads generation program called Zillow Premier? Does it compare well to other lead generation services? Is Zillow’s success suggest that Real Estate sales is being Uberized?
You can read all about Zillow’s update to its Premier Agent platform at Inman.
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