Friday, March 27, 2015

Area Real Estate Associations Merge MLS Databases

The following press release was sent out yesterday by our real estate Association announcing the integration of three regional MLS® systems that was recently launched between our local Association here in Collingwood, the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® along with two Associations that geographically abut our trading area, the REALTOR® Association of Grey-Bruce Owen Sound and the REALTOR® Association of Muskoka-Haliburton-Orillia.

  I was pleased to have participated on the task force that spearheaded this project.  This was a monumental undertaking that took several months and numerous meetings, rationalizing three MLS® databases into one integrated system that offers benefits to REALTORS® and consumers alike.

  This integration does not impact the consumer website  Consumers continue to confuse with the MLS® system, that is topic for my next post wherein I will explain the difference between the two.  

Three Ontario REALTOR® Associations Integrate MLS® Systems

The REALTORS® Associations of Grey-Bruce Owen Sound, Muskoka-Haliburton-Orillia (The Lakelands) and Southern Georgian Bay recently completed the database integration of their respective MLS® Systems providing a combined membership of over 1,500 with the ability to seamlessly search property listings across all three Boards.  The integrated systems are hosted by Millennium Real Estate Solutions, a subsidiary of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies.

This project represents a huge benefit for buyers.  It removes the technology-imposed borders that previously restricted property search capabilities of Buyer Representatives to a single Board jurisdiction.  Property Sellers will also benefit, as their listings will now have greater exposure to potential buyers, without the added cost of placing listings on multiple MLS® Systems.

The data integration represents a substantial undertaking for the three participating Associations and Millennium Real Estate Solutions, who performed the integration. Unrestricted access for the REALTOR® members of these Associations now covers a vast area of central Ontario.  The searchable area includes properties in Bruce and Grey Counties, parts of Simcoe County, the District Municipality of Muskoka, Haliburton County and portions of Parry Sound District.  The boundaries include Lake Huron in the west from Point Clark in the South and Tobermory in the North; along the shorelines of Georgian Bay from Tobermory down to Collingwood and back up to Go Home Bay, Sundridge to the north; Wilberforce in Haliburton Highlands to the east, Gamebridge to the south-east of Orillia, with Clearview, Grey Highlands and upper Wellington County to the south.

The Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® represents close to 500 REALTORS® registered with its member offices.  The geographical area served by the Association includes the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene, the surrounding communities of Elmvale, Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour, Coldwater, Port Severn, Honey Harbour and Tiny, Tay, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Severn and Georgian Bay Townships, Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Clearview Township,

The Blue Mountains, Municipality of Meaford and Grey Highlands.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Despite The Cold Weather, Area Real Estate Sales Are Hot!

  Real estate sales activity across our market continues to reflect an amazingly strong demand for this time of year with multiple offers seemingly becoming more frequent on some properties.  Personally I have sold three properties this year for which there was more than one willing buyer.

  MLS® dollar sales for the first two months of the year are up 33% from this time last year while unit sales are showing a 20% increase.  Notwithstanding the fact that sales in the first quarter of 2014 were very weak due to the harsh winter conditions of 2013/2014, this winter hasn't been an easy one either yet it has not had a negative impact on sales.

  In addition to the strong MLS® sales activity, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of new MLS® listings coming onto the market.  To the end of February, MLS® listings are down 24% with 615 properties listed year-to-date compared to 812 in the first two months of 2014.  In some price ranges and or property types there is actually a shortage of available inventory which favours sellers and that too helps to substantiate why we are seeing multiple offers on some properties. 

 With the spring market just around the corner, we can expect to see sales activity ramp up even further along with an influx of new MLS® listings coming onto the market.  Seemingly the market has shifted more in favour of sellers so if it has been your intention to potentially sell your property in the near future, market conditions may now allow you to secure a buyer at the best price possible.  

 If you have any questions or would like a no obligation assessment as to the value of your property, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Picture Means Nothing

  Throughout my real estate career, I have for the most part been opposed to using my personal photo for promotional purposes.  You will never see my picture on my For Sale signs, business cards, on a bus shelter, garbage can or elsewhere in the community advertising my services.  Essentially, I do not regard my photo as being my "brand."  More importantly, my photo being plastered all over is of no value to my current or potential clients.

  For over 25 years I carried various business cards, many of them for executive and senior management positions that I held in both Canada and the U.S.  Never once was my photo on one of those cards.  Seldom do you see personal photos on any business cards other than for real estate Sales Representative and or Brokers.  Why? What makes real estate different than any other profession?  As REALTORS® we like to think of ourselves as being professionals, on the same level as lawyers, accountants and other trained or licensed service providers that are also involved with the real estate transaction process.  Does your lawyer have his or her picture on their cards?  What about your dentist or your accountant? 

  Last week I attended a one day session sponsored by the Ontario Real Estate Association in Toronto.  Part of this session included a panel of consumers, most of them younger that had recently purchased a home.  I asked them whether a REALTOR'S® photo on signs, a billboard or elsewhere influenced them in any way?  The answer..... absolutely not.  When asked how they wanted to be marketed to the answer was, not at all.  We'll find you was their answer.  I asked my 27 year old daughter what she thought about REALTOR'S® photos on their business cards, or on the back windows of their cars  etc. her's "tacky." 

  I believe through my own research and as confirmed by last week's panel of home buyers, today's consumers do not want to be "sold to."  They want to be helped. They want you to engage them with meaningful and helpful information that will assist them in whatever it is they are looking to buy be it a product or a service.  This blog is part of my brand as is my website, my newsletter, my Facebook business page etc. I follow the statistical results of our market very closely and publish those results online.  That too is part of my "brand." Through all these various media, my goal is to provide meaningful information illustrating my experience and my expertise in real estate and community related matters.  Hopefully this information will resonate with buyers and sellers so that when the day comes they are looking for a REALTOR® my name will be front and centre. 

  Do REALTOR'S® photos mean anything or influence you in any way?  Should I remove my photo from this blog?  I would appreciate your comments.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Coming To A World Biosphere Near You

One of the greatest assets we have in the southern Georgian Bay area is the Niagara Escarpment. Traversing one of the most densely populated and heavily developed regions of Canada, the Escarpment is a unique geological formation providing a vital corridor of natural green space through south-central Ontario.  In our region, the Niagara Escarpment is the source of immense recreational pleasure for hiking, skiing, mountain biking and more.

In 1990, the Niagara Escarpment was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and was recognized as being "a landscape of rich biodiversity, home to hundreds of Ontario's Species at risk, vital watersheds, agricultural areas and 450-million year old geological history, the Niagara Escarpment is a treasure to protect for future generations of Ontarians."

  The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) is an agency of the provincial government's Ministry of Natural Resources and is charged with the task of preserving the Niagara Escarpment on behalf of the people of Ontario.

  Having recently sold three properties that fall under the jurisdiction of the NEC, I am very familiar with the developmental restrictions that exist for owners of such properties relative to building, severing and or otherwise altering properties that fall with NEC governed areas.  As such, it is hard to fathom how a massive quarry expansion was allowed to proceed on top of the Escarpment west of Duntroon.  A lengthy Ontario Municipal Board appeal which ran for months and one where I testified on behalf of local property owners, resulted in a decision to allow the expansion by Walker Aggregates to proceed.  The approval was subsequently appealed by the NEC and that appeal was denied.

  It's hard to imagine how on one hand, a private land owner of property that resides within the NEC cannot build a home in the woods, cannot sever their property and may not be allowed to even cut down some trees yet a large for profit corporation is granted approval to essentially strip mine was is designated as being a significantly important natural area.

  Work has already begun clearly the site of this new quarry at the top of County Road 91.  A hardwood bush will soon be gone and the rustling of wind through the trees will be replaced by the sound of heavy equipment, scouring the landscape in the name of corporate profit.  It's a sad commentary on where our priorities lay and doesn't bode well for the generations that follow us.  


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