Friday, June 19, 2015

Electronic Signatures For Real Estate

As I have stated in prior posts, most of us are keenly aware that technology continues to have an impact on our daily lives and nowhere has this perhaps been more evident than with real estate.  MLS® catalogs ceased to exist several years ago replaced by Internet based MLS® systems allowing for the display of more information, multiple photos of a property, virtual tours and so on.

  On the transaction front, real estate forms in Ontario and elsewhere have been converted from legal sized documents to an 8-1/2" X 11" format thus allowing for easier transmission between parties first by fax and now more commonly via email.  The sale of desk top computers have fallen prey to notebooks or laptops and they too are loosing ground to tablets such as iPads and in some cases smartphones get the job done. To further the use of technology in daily business, some time ago the Province of Ontario created the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 (ECA).  The ECA was created to facilitate the exchange of electronic information  and sets out the rules for conducting business electronically. 

  In the Southern Georgian Bay region, we interact with a significant number of Buyers and Sellers that do not reside here.  Real estate transactions and the flow of paperwork is largely via email.  The one aspect of electronic commerce that has held back the practice of buying and selling real estate has been the use of electronic signatures.  Due to concerns as to whether electronically executed agreement are enforceable, the Provincial Government has been slow in reacting to and passing legislation that would fully allow electronic signatures to be used in real estate.  As of this posting, Listing Agreements can be signed executed with electronic signatures but not Agreements of Purchase and Sale but that is about to change.

  News has just been released that effective July 1st, electronic signatures will now be permissible for the execution of all real estate related documents including Agreements of Purchase and Sale. This is welcome news for many of us that use technology to effectively and efficiently serve our clients.  The change will now facilitate greater use of tablets and other mobile computing devices such as iPads etc.  It also dovetails very nicely with digital document storage both for ourselves and our clients. 

 At Royal LePAGE Locations North we have implemented a "paperless" system for document transmission and storage.  For years we have heard how computers would reduce the use of paper, that day may now finally be here.

 July 1st is bring forth another noteworthy legislative change affecting real estate from both a REALTOR® and consumer perspective.  I will cover that in detail in my next post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New MLS Sales Record Set in May

  Area real estate sales in May continued to outpace the prior year by a wide margin and reflected an increase of 10% over the prior year.  Further, MLS® sales of $78.8 million in May as reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® set a new record for monthly MLS® sales in the area, eclipsing the prior record set last June of $78.1 million.

  Unit MLS® sales in May of 240 properties marked a 7% increase over May 2014 when 225 sales were reported. Demand clearly appears to be out-stripping the supply as is evidenced by many area properties selling both quickly and in some cases with multiple offers.  Single family home sales which total 485 properties year-to-date are up 21%, Condominium sales appear to have slowed with year-to-date sales of 171 properties reflecting a modest 6% gain over the same period last year.

  We continue to see a considerable amount of strength in the upper price ranges of our market.  Year-to-date there have been 121 MLS® sales reported over $500,000 an increase of 31% during the same period last year.

 Year-to-date MLS® sales of $295.4 million reflects a 28% increase is dollar sales over the first five months of 2014 while year-to-date MLS® unit sales which total 870 properties reflects a 20% increase from one year ago.

  New MLS® listing activity this year is the polar opposite of what we are seeing from the sales perspective.  The number of new MLS® listings that came to market in May which totalled 553 properties represented a 16% decrease in the number of properties that were listed for sale in May 2014.  New MLS® listings year-to-date which total 2,082 properties reflects a 14% decrease from one year ago.

  The lack of available inventory overall coupled with a strong demand has had a profound impact on shifting conditions to more of a seller's market, a situation that we have not seen since prior to the last recession.  At the end of May last year, less than 30% of the properties listed for sale on MLS® were selling.  At the end of May this year, almost 42% of MLS® listed properties have changing hands.

  Perhaps the greatest threat to the ongoing strength of the current market may well be not the economy, an increase in mortgage rates or an erosion in consumer confidence rather insufficient supply to meet the seemingly insatiable demand for Georgian Triangle properties.

  Should you desire more information specific to your own real estate selling or buying needs, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kitec Plumbing - A Threat to Sellers & Buyers

Real estate is something that is ever-changing due to a variety of variable.  As REALTORS ®
we are expected and in fact have a fiduciary duty to protect the interests of our clients whether they be sellers or buyers.  New issues arise every day and while we are not expected to be experts on them all, we do have a duty to advise our clients to seek expert advice when we suspect something might be up with not just a property but also with the transaction itself.

  One of the latest issues that has reared an ugly head is a construction related matter involving plumbing and the use of plastic piping. Commencing in the mid 1990's, many builders began using plastic, instead of copy piping in home.  Plastic piping is easier to run as it requires fewer tees and elbows. It was also perceived as being quieter.  Copper piping had long been used which replaced galvanized pluming in older homes.  Galvanized piping would rust inside and corrode causing a reduction in water pressure over time.  Copper pipe did not have this issue however, the solder used in copper pluming contained lead and we all know that lead isn't good.

  Not all of the flexible plastic piping on the market is of questionable performance.  The brand/type that presents the largest threat is known as "Kitec."  The following is a quote regarding what Kitec is and how to identify it

"Kitec plumbing consists of flexible aluminum pipe between an inner and outer layer of plastic pipe (PEX pipe) with brass fittings. Marketed as a cheaper and easy-to-install alternative to copper piping, Kitec was sold between 1995 and 2007 for potable water, in-floor, and hot-water baseboard heating systems. The sizing of the pipe require fittings from its own manufacturer, IPEX, and these fittings were made with a high zinc content that caused dezinctifying in situations with aggressive water conditions. This in turn could either restrict water pressure or cause the fittings to fail completely, causing flooding and water damage to homes."

"Most Kitec plumbing can be identified by its bright orange (hot water) and bright blue (cold water), which were the most common colours; however, it was also sold in red, blue, gray and black. The pipe is typically marked with one of the following brand names; Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls or Plomberie Améliorée."

  We have seen Kitec pluming used in this area.  Some insurers will not insure a home with Kitec.  Other may with the stipulation that you replace it within a certain time frame. As you can imagine, re-pluming an existing home can be a costly affair, which is yet one more reason why most of us selling real estate recommend buyers obtain a home inspection from a qualified inspector before finalizing a purchase.

 For more information on this subject you see and CBC news also has a good story on this.  Have any of you had experience with Kitec plumbing?  I would love to hear from you.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


My Profile

Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.