Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Royal LePage Celebrates 95th Anniversary


This year marks the 95th anniversary of Royal LePage. Albert E. LePage became the first full-time Canadian real estate sales representative when he founded the company in 1913. He revolutionized the practice of selling real estate by using his car for property showings, offering detailed property listings in newspapers and he made films which he used to market upper-end homes. Today, the Internet has become the medium of choice for MLS® property listings and films have been replaced by Vitural Tours and Podcasts.

Albert LePage's first sale was a single family home on Thorold Avenue in Toronto which sold for $6,500, a lot of money back then. A subsequent venture in real estate involved him selling lots in the west end of Toronto at the south end of Keele Street next to High Park. When encountering difficulties in trying to find buyers for the lots he decided to rename that portion of Keele Street to Parkside Drive.

In the 1970's, LePage introduced the Carriage Trade Luxury Properties program and the quarterly Survey of Canadian House Prices, two initiatives that are still in place today. In 1984, LePage merged with the real estate arm of Royal Trust forming Royal LePage, the largest real estate brokerage in the country at that time. Today, there are several major real estate franchise companies in Canada most of which are transplants from the United States, making Royal LePage uniquely Canadian.

Today there are over 13,000 Royal LePage agents with offices all across Canada. Royal LePage has over 65% of corporate Canada under contract for their employee relocation services and the company continues to expand its services in keeping with the slogan "Helping YOU Is What We Do.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spectacular Sunsets and Star Studded Skies

Unique, elite and romantic are but a few of the adjectives that apply to this meticulously maintained two owner waterfront home! Nestled amongst the trees on the rugged limestone shores of Lake Huron just north of Wiarton, this executive retreat or full time lakefront residence offers unparalled views of Lake Huron and sunsets to die for. Totalling over 3,500 square feet with six bedrooms, 2 full and 2 half baths, this property offers unlimited potential to entertain family, friends or business associates in a one-of-a-kind location that will leave a lasting impression and an unforgetable experience for everyone that visits. Enjoy the warmth and rustic elegnace of the BC redwood lined interior with soaring cathedral ceilings and a massive floor to ceiling natural stone fireplace. Natural stone walkways meander through a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees which are comlimented by lush perennial gardens. Sweeping panoramic views of the emerald green and blue waters of Lake Huron and adjacent conservation lands can be enjoyed inside and out. This 1.95 acre island property is accessible year-round via a private causeway with gated entrance ensuring a private setting yet is less than 20 minutes from shopping and a federal airport with customs clearance. For additional information and photos on this truly unique waterfront property that can not be duplicated at ANY price click on the link below or contact the writer. Offered to discerning buyers at $1,099,000.

http://www.mls.ca/PropertyDetails.aspx?PropertyID=6514562

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Royal LePage Awards







This coming week marks the Annual Royal LePage Awards night in Toronto. Based on another strong year for real estate sales throuought our area and the hard work of my REALTOR® peers at Royal LePage All Real Estate Services in Collingwood, a number of us will be heading to Toronto later this week to accept our awards. While many may view these awards as somewhat self serving to the REALTORS®, their attainment acknowledges the knowledge, work ethic and dedication it takes to be successful in what is a very difficult and ever-changing business.

I wish to thank all of my clients and supporters for helping me attain the Royal LePage "President's Gold" award for 2007. Without the patronage and confidence of my past clients, their ongoing referrals and the added service and value I strive to provide to my clients both old and new, recognition such as this would not be possible. I extend to all of you my heartfelt thanks and I remained committed to providing all of my buyer and seller clients with nothing less than a gold standard of real estate service and expertise in the future.

Security When Selling Your Home

With home security and the safety of their families increasingly on consumer’s minds, the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board (GTREB) is pleased to announce a new initiative that addresses these issues during the marketing and sale process for area homes, condominiums and other properties.
GTREB and its REALTOR® members have recently adopted the mandatory usage of “electronic” lockboxes on all property listings (where appropriate) posted to GTREB’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS®). The use of lockboxes has always been encouraged to our members as they facilitate a secure and convenient manner in which to control access to seller’s homes while at the same time providing for the ease of buyer showings. Unlike their mechanical counterparts electronic lockboxes offer a number of distinct advantages to sellers, buyers and REALTORS® alike.
First, the electronic lockboxes maintain a log of who has entered the property and when. GTREB members access these lockboxes via the use of a “Smart Card.” GTREB is the first real estate Board in Ontario to integrate a computer chip into their Ontario Real Estate Association photo identification cards. When inserted into the lockbox, the card and accompanying PIN number not only provides access to the key compartment, it also records onto the card’s computer chip, the access information to that property. Members must re-activate their card every 48 hours in order for it to function. During the re-activation process, information from the card’s computer chip is uploaded to a central server thus providing an electronic log of showing information pertaining to every active MLS® listing with a lockbox within the Board’s jurisdiction. GTREB members can now provide their seller clients with a printed list of all showings that have taken place indicating the date, time and REALTOR® that showed the property.
Secondly, mechanical lockboxes required that in order to maintain the security integrity of the lockbox and home, the lockbox combination needed to be changed regularly. With the electronic boxes, the Smart Card’s access code is essentially being changed every 48 hours via the re-activation of the card itself thus eliminating the need to change any combination code to a lockbox itself.
Non-GTREB members such as out-of-town REALTORS®, property appraisers, home inspectors, contractors and other parties who may be authorized to enter a property can do so via the issuance of a 1-Day code in order to access the lockbox. Again, each of these entries is logged onto the central server providing detailed reporting of who has entered the premises.
The purchase of 1,400 electronic lockboxes combined with other associated costs represents a significant capital expenditure for the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board and its members. We view this technology as offering our seller clients, the best available form of security protecting their homes and valuables during the marketing and sale process. An increasing number of homes now contain expensive finishes, computer, home entertainment and other equipment all of which creates added exposure to theft and or vandalism which must be protected. In addition, buyers are not unduly inconvenienced with additional time spent, when the GTREB REALTOR® they are working with requires additional time picking up and returning keys to the respective listing broker’s office(s) for those properties they are showing to the client.
Lastly, GTREB members enjoy the benefits of going directly to the property listings they have made appointments to show without having to pick up and return keys to the listing broker’s office. Not only does this represent a savings in time, it offers an environmentally friendly or “green” approach to showing properties stemming from reduced vehicular travel and the associated costs. While sellers have the option of waiving the use an electronic lockbox on their property, many are hard pressed not to acknowledge the advantages this technology offers.
The use of electronic lockboxes is clearly an example where all parties to the real estate transaction benefit including the environment and is just one more way where working with a “local” GTREB REALTOR® is to a consumer’s advantage when selling or buying Georgian Triangle real estate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Area Real Estate Sales Off to Great Start in 2008

Amidst all of the real estate turmoil south of the border and the recent dramatic swings in the stock market here in Canada, real estate sales throughout the Georgian Triangle have gotten off to a great start for 2008 helping to offset some of the apprehension that exists with buyers and sellers alike.
January sales totaled $28.6 million an increase of 2% over the same month last year. The total number of unit sales for the month were actually up 16% with 110 properties changing hands as compared to 95 sales in January 2007. The Town of the Blue Mountains and the Municipality of Meaford posted the largest gains with unit sales in January up 40% and 44% respectively. As these numbers indicate we are continuing to see a strong demand for area properties throughout the Georgian Triangle. With a robust economy and stable interest rates the outlook for the balance of 2008 looks good. Area sales are expected to increase albeit at a more moderate pace and we anticipate prices should remain stable with the Canadian Real Estate Association forecasting an average 3.8% increase for residential housing prices this year.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is A "Green" Home In Your Future?

Whether it's global warming or recycling initiatives at the local level, the environment continues to make the news on an ever-increasing basis. Environmental issues have been impacting the real estate market and those of us engaged in this profession see this on a daily basis. Issues such as mould, furnace oil tanks and other issues have necessitated special clauses in purchase agreements. In addition, buyers looking at area properties are increasingly focused on heating, cooling and electrical systems with many shunning homes with features that are "perceived" as higher cost energy users such as electric baseboard heating.
A study recently completed by Royal LePage found that 72% of Canadians intend to look towards "green-improved" properties when selecting their next residence. Further, 63% of these would-be buyers suggested they would pay more for an environmentally friendly home. Of those surveyed, 62% confirmed they would pay between $5,000 to $20,000 more for green features in a home while 8% of respondents claimed they would pay in excess of $20,000 for a home deemed to have desirable environmentally friendly features. Many of these features such as geothermal heating can actually save homeowners money in the long run. Not surprising coming from Canada's wealthiest province, was that the Royal LePage poll found Ontario residents (60%) were the least likely to pay more for an eco-friendly home.
Green homes are not just those that cost less to operate. They also include features and finishes that represent to the buyer, a healthy environment inwhich to live. For example, hardwood floors have replaced wall-to-wall carpeting both for their looks as well as their cleanliness. Organic building materials have started to gain wider recognition and not just amongst the traditional tree hugger set suggesting that an evironmenally mindset is not just a passing trend. It is becoming widely embraced across all levels of society and is here to stay.
From a gender standpoint, 31% of women are going green for their health versus just 18% of the men surveyed. From the economic standpoint, men (41%) cite the potential cost savings as their motivation to consider making a change as compared to 23% of women.
If you wish to read the full Royal LePage report click on the link below:

http://www.royallepage.ca/CMSTemplates/AboutUs/Company/CompanyTemplate.aspx?id=1656

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4



Email:
rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com



Direct: 705-443-1037



Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230




Website:
www.rickcrouch.realtor















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.