Lessons Learned by a REALTOR® During the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 5, 2021

As we move into what we hope is the back end of this pandemic, we all share a new reality where what is “normal” has changed.

Throughout the past 18 months, we experienced transformation in our daily activities, from grocery shopping to working dynamics, to the way we do business.

Our basic way of living was impacted, and it forced us to question whether our current surroundings and home settings could now meet our needs for living and working. While some had been thinking about a change for a while, others needed more time to do research on their ideal home. The COVID-19 pandemic offered us that time and perspective.

As REALTORS®, change came in the shape of virtual counselling. Virtual tours and electronic signatures became some of the words we used the most in our new day-to-day and became a positive addition to our “toolbox”. These tools became more important than ever before and propelled our business into what is now the new “normal” way to support buyers/sellers and help them trust in our counsel moving forward.

When consumers decide to move, they’re still going to engage the services of a professional real estate agent to guide them through the process of buying or selling a property. Now the service will include a combination of virtual and physical tools.

Resiliency and communication

REALTORS® are resilient by nature. During the pandemic, our roster of real estate professionals had to quickly learn how to use different methods and vehicles to promote themselves and their listings.

We quickly learned how to use virtual tools for showings, open houses and paperwork. The pandemic accelerated changes already happening in the industry.

Beyond the pandemic, most of these tools will remain as the preferred option for consumers, as they save time and facilitate the way to do business. For example, signing paperwork in person was both not safe (from a public health perspective during the pandemic) and not environmentally friendly, so this was a win on both fronts.

It’s a competitive advantage to stay up-to-date on technology and continue growing our portfolio of solutions to better meet the needs of our clients. Our teams became creative out of necessity, following the proverb that the best ideas are created on the edge of chaos, which is what the pandemic prompted us to do.

The biggest discovery from the pandemic is how resilient REALTORS® are when change is imposed. If you don’t change, you don’t grow, and you don’t get to evolve to survive in the new after-COVID-19 sense of ‘normal’.

In-person advice became ‘the cherry on top’

Despite these new virtual solutions, real estate will always be a person-to-person business. In-person engagement with our clients is paramount in building trust and rapport, but we have an untapped resource now to offer alternatives to our clients who wish to engage with us differently.

Expanding our scope of how we interact with our clients in ways that suit their wants and needs, is vital to our business and our future.

The pandemic enabled us to be more strategic in the way we set our agendas and more efficient in multi-tasking from our electronic devices, but the ‘cherry on top’ will always be that moment when you shake hands (or bump elbows) and deliver the keys to a new home—COVID-19 can’t take that away from us or our clients!

SOURCE: CREA Café (Canadian Real Estate Association)

By: Scott MacPherson, VP Professional Development – Right at Home Realty

Scott MacPherson is the Vice President of Professional Development at Right at Home Realty. Scott’s career has been focused on training, and for the past 20 years, he’s specialized in adult learning and soft skills training. Before entering into real estate, Scott was the manager of training, communications and change management for a major department store retailer with more than 200 stores across Canada. Scott attained his real estate license more than six years ago and worked as the director of training for three affiliated real estate companies in both Canada and the United States. Scott now leads the Right at Home Academy, which provides relevant, high-impact, in-house training to its members.

Pandemic-driven Exodus from Ontario’s Urban Centres Overstated: Right at Home Realty Survey

  • Only 18 per cent of Ontarians considering selling their homes would move to a smaller community.
  • Nearly half of Ontarians working from home have considered moving during the last year, but far fewer are expected to do so in practice.
  • Post-pandemic employer requirements expected to meaningfully impact housing decisions; strong majority of Ontarians currently working from home are less willing to move further away if their employer required working from an office a portion of the week.
  • Fifty-one per cent of Ontarians feeling left behind, believing they may never be able to afford a home in their current city or town.
  • Nearly one in four (23 per cent) Ontarians say the pandemic has negatively impacted their ability to purchase a home.

TORONTO, May 26, 2021 – According to Right at Home Realty Inc. (“Right at Home”), Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage, the pandemic-influenced exodus of Ontarians living in the region’s most dense urban areas to smaller cities may be overstated. A survey of Ontarians conducted for Right at Home by Maru/Blue, found that while working from home has increased the desire for larger homes, only 18 per cent of those surveyed would sell to move out of a city to a smaller community. Meanwhile, a strong majority (69 per cent) of Ontarians stated that the pandemic has had no impact on plans to move, while only three per cent stated that they are now planning to move as a direct result of the pandemic.

“While the work from home outcome of the pandemic is undoubtedly impacting the housing market, we believe calls for a significant exodus from larger city centres and drastic shifts in the urban housing dynamic during and post pandemic are overstated,” said John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty. “The vast majority of Ontarians have no plans to move or change city locations as a result of these new dynamics.”

One in four (25 per cent) homeowners looking to sell in the next 12 months, would consider moving to a different neighbourhood in the same city. In terms of moving further distances, a big factor appears to be concern about opportunities for career advancement, as 42 per cent of respondents worry that moving away from a larger center could hurt their opportunities for career growth.

“Career growth remains a priority for many professionals living in the city, as they fear not being able to find the same work opportunities in smaller urban areas in the province,” said Lusink. “New dynamics brought on by the COVID pandemic have homeowners juggling and reconsidering their priorities to find a better balance between work and life. On the flip side, more flexibility in work settings, schedules and openness to remote work have offered Ontarians a unique opportunity to take some time to decide where they want to settle and take a closer look at what their professional future may look like in their new hometown.”

Post-pandemic employer expectations to impact housing choices

As homebuyers look to the end of the pandemic and begin to consider what the future of work looks like, employer requirements will have an impact on housing and location choices. While nearly half (44 per cent) of respondents across Ontario (45 per cent in the GTA) who are currently working from home admit that in the last year they have considered moving out of the city to a smaller municipality/town, their ultimate courses of action will be closely tied to the post-pandemic future of work. When asked if post pandemic their employer required them to work from the office a portion of the week (1-3 days per week), in practice 63 per cent of respondents across Ontario said they would be less willing to move further away. This proportion remains the same for the GTA specifically. However, if offered the option to work from home permanently, 55 per cent would consider moving out of their current city or location.

Renewed desire for more living space and proximity to nature

According to the survey, many Ontarians are seeking more space. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents who identified plans to sell in the next 2-3 years said it will be to buy a bigger house, compared to 33 per cent who stated intentions to downsize. When asked to identify new home purchase priorities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their lives, 26 per cent said they want more interior space, with the same percentage stating a desire for more exterior space on their property. Meanwhile, additional priorities resulting from the pandemic included proximity to nature (38 per cent), more privacy (33 per cent) and proximity to family and friends (30 per cent). “The pandemic has awoken a renewed desire among many homeowners to focus on quality of life and experiences at home and what this means to them,” added Lusink. “Restrictions to so many everyday activities created by the pandemic have in particular highlighted the appeal of convenient access to green space.”

The pandemic has also brought changes to the perceived value of proximity to public transit as only 13 per cent of those surveyed cited access to public transportation as a priority. In the 416 region of the GTA, only one in four (25 per cent) of respondents considered access to public transit a priority in selecting a location of residence.

Homeowners plan to use existing home equity to purchase next property, while majority of Ontarians believe they may never be able to afford a home

The majority (51 per cent) of Ontarian homeowners who are planning to buy in the next two to three years will use equity from their current home to purchase their next home. Meanwhile, looking for a mortgage to finance their next purchase was preferred by 47 per cent of Ontarians, and tweaks to interest rates are not a part of their list of concerns, as 70 per cent of respondents confirmed a move of 150 basis points (1.5 per cent) or less, would have no impact on their purchase decision.

“Homeowners continue to see the value in home investment. Current low rates are making it easier for many homebuyers to consider getting on the property ladder,” added Lusink. “Our survey found that for two-thirds of Ontarians, the pandemic period has had no impact on their ability to save for a new home. However, for nearly a quarter of respondents, it has had a negative impact on their ability to save for a down payment, slowing the prospect of a new home for a large contingent of the population.”

Despite the incentives offered by financial institutions, the survey found that economic uncertainty and housing affordability are primary concerns for those who believe home ownership is out of reach. Fifty-one per cent of Ontarians believe they may never be able to afford a home in their current city or town, with the number jumping to 55 per cent and 59 per cent for the overall GTA and 416 regions, respectively. More specifically, 74 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 to 34 believe they may never be able to afford a home where they currently live, compared to 47 per cent and 37 per cent for those aged 35-54 and over the age of 55, respectively.

Real estate market outlook and housing type preferences

Looking ahead, housing demand across Ontario is expected to remain robust, including from non-homeowners and first-time buyers. While the vast majority (70 per cent) of non-homeowner respondents have no immediate plans to purchase a home, a substantial portion does. According to the survey, nearly one in four (23 per cent) respondents who currently rent or live with family plan to purchase a home in the next two to three years. However, on the supply side of the equation, only 13 per cent of current homeowners in Ontario plans to sell in the next two to three years.

In looking at specific dwelling types, demand for detached homes and condominiums is expected to remain the strongest across Ontario markets. When asked what housing type they are considering for their next home, 55 per cent of Ontario respondents who are planning to buy or sell in the next two to three years indicated a detached home as their top preference, followed by a condominium (35 per cent), a townhouse (25 per cent) and semi-detached home (14 per cent). Within the GTA region, the number of respondents considering a condominium jumps to 45 per cent, with 52 per cent considering a detached home.

About Right at Home Realty

Right at Home Realty is Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage. Founded in 2004, Right at Home is a premium full-service brokerage supporting Realtors® and their clients through industry-leading practices, experience, technology, and market intelligence. Right at Home offers consumers a full suite of best-in-class real estate services to guide them to successful outcomes in today’s marketplace. The company is a dominant force in the province, with 12 branch offices across Ontario and a network of over 5,500 highly trained and experienced Realtors®. Under the company’s proven and superior model, Right at Home Realtors® keep 100 per cent of their commissions, offering the industry a highly favourable alternative to outdated business models. Visit www.rightathomerealty.com

Methodology

From April 23rd to April 25th 2021 an online survey of 817 randomly selected adult Ontarians who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

For further information, please contact

Angela Pinzon

Kaiser & Partners

647-295-0517

angela.pinzon@kaiserpartners.com

Right at Home Realty Secures Growth Equity Investment to Accelerate Expansion in Ontario’s Real Estate Market

TORONTO, ON, May 5, 2021—Right at Home Realty Inc. (“Right at Home”), Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage, today announced that it has secured a growth equity investment from Round13 Capital and Torinit Technologies. The equity funding will be dedicated to augmenting Right at Home’s industry-leading technology platform and further accelerating the company’s leadership position in Ontario’s real estate sector.

With over 5,500 members serving Canadian consumers across 20,000 transactions annually, Right at Home has been recognized as the number one independent brokerage in Canada’s largest market for eight consecutive years. Round13 Capital is one of Canada’s largest venture capital firms that invests in exceptional growth stage businesses.  Torinit is a Toronto based innovative digital transformation company specializing in large technology implementations and custom digital solutions development. 

“Right at Home is the market leading brokerage with an established track record of growth and innovation. We will be working closely with the team at Right at Home to build on their best-in-class platform and accelerate the adoption of digital solutions in the brokerage industry,” said Brahm Klar, Partner, Round13 Capital. “Right at Home’s disruption in the brokerage industry began with offering a favourable alternative to the outdated commission split model and is continuing with the deployment of technology.”

“We are incredibly excited about this unprecedented partnership with Round13 Capital and Torinit Technologies that will propel Right at Home’s portfolio of innovative solutions to levels previously unseen in the industry,” said John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty. “The Canadian real estate market landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Against this backdrop, we are continuing to build on our legacy of industry disruption by making continuous investments that ensure our vast network of Realtors have access to global-calibre technology platforms and solutions that support their success, and that of their clients.”

About Right at Home Realty

Right at Home Realty is Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage. Founded in 2004, Right at Home is a premium full-service brokerage supporting Realtors and their clients through industry-leading practices, experience, technology, and market intelligence. Right at Home offers consumers a full suite of best-in-class real estate services to guide them to successful outcomes in today’s marketplace. The company is a dominant force in the province, with presence in 12 regions across Ontario and a network of over 5,500 highly trained and experienced Realtors. Under the company’s proven and superior model, Right at Home Realtors keep 100 per cent of their commissions, offering the industry a highly favourable alternative to outdated business models. Visit www.rightathomerealty.com

Media contact for Right at Home Realty:

Angela Pinzon

Kaiser & Partners Inc.

angela.pinzon@kaiserpartners.com

647-725-2520 Ext. 203

About Round13 Capital

Round13 Capital is a Toronto-based venture capital firm that invests in growth-stage technology businesses. The firm is managed by experienced investors and operators. It uses a disciplined investment approach to identify exceptional entrepreneurs running companies with market leadership potential. Round13 works ‘hands-on’ with its portfolio companies to use technology to unlock strategic and financial value. For additional information, visit www.round13.com

Media contact for Round13 Capital:

Vaneh@round13.com

About Torinit Technologies

Torinit is a digital solutions company aimed at transforming large business operations via development and implementation of digital platforms and technologies. It uses a disciplined user centric approach to designing and developing state of the art digital solutions that produce exceptional business impact. For additional information, visit torinit.com

Media contact for Torinit Technologies:

media@torinit.com

2021: The Year of Adaptability

April 26th, 2021 – I never thought we would be using terms such as pandemic, social distancing and flattening the curve on a regular basis in our business. While we may have developed the ability to adapt to the everchanging conditions caused by COVID-19 in a relatively short period of time, the need to develop this skill further has only increased. This is especially true as our new realities continue to change the entire real estate industry.

The skills that Realtors today are required to hone are far greater than ever before. Sales representatives are expected to stay up to date on new tools, technology advancements, industry regulations, and to add to the equation, now more than ever on politics and health regulations, both consistently and actively. Those who choose to be stagnant in their professional development can expect only one outcome: struggle to remain relevant in today’s market and to meet customer expectations.

Real estate professionals are their own boss. This means they must be the driving force for change and actively look for options to develop and improve, and with that, be their own advocate in most cases. It is critical that they are self-starters and all-times enthusiasts who prioritize learning and growth. Knowledge on personal branding, learning how to sell themselves and their expertise, and knowing how to position themselves as transaction advisors and real estate experts within the field requires consistent effort.

One of the ways they can ensure success is by aligning with an organization that offers a solid foundation and a team that supports and teaches them what it takes to build a business. This includes offering training in business planning, marketing, change adaptability and how to create value for clients. This is especially relevant to newly licensed professionals who are wondering what to do next to build upon their careers.

With change happening rapidly, having up-to-date information to access 24/7 is no longer a nice to have, but a crucial entry point to success.

Some of the key skills that all agents, both new and more experienced, need to integrate and constantly develop include effective organization and time management, strengthening confidence in themselves and their brand, having the foresight to be proactive in their education and business plan and communicating effectively and consistently with clients, among others. Partnering with an organization that keeps itself at the forefront of technology and has the willingness to adapt to ever changing circumstances is also pivotal in helping real estate professionals leap forward and differentiate themselves from others in the market.

Development is not only a game for novices. In the current market, seasoned real estate professionals also have an opportunity to take their business to the next level, enhancing their leadership and communications skills to form teams, or to mentor other colleagues who are new to the business or are faced with challenges to get their business off the ground.

Learning has never been a static activity. It is a process that continues throughout our careers that involves educating ourselves and our clients about what we do as Realtors and the value we bring to them as consumers. It is not only holistic and on-going, but critical in ensuring that we remain competitive and informed. Experience within the field is no longer an excuse to sit on the sidelines when opportunities for growth present themselves.

Responsibilities to clients will only continue to grow in the post-COVID world. Clients are rightfully demanding greater value for service, and gaining their trust is the most critical part of our interactions with them. Their expectations have grown beyond hiring someone to post on an MLS system and put a sign on their lawn. The age of “salespeople” is far behind us; clients are now looking to us as thought leaders and true advisors.

One of our most important roles as experts within our field is to provide relevant information and advice to assist our clients in making the right decisions, and we need to do a better job in communicating and educating our clients about our roles.

It is core for success that agents choose a brokerage partner that supports their business and does not simply measure them by the number of transactions they are able to close.

If you are committed to working hard for your own business, this is an excellent time to get into real estate. If you are a new or seasoned professional, take this opportunity to evaluate where you are in your skills and knowledge, how you can improve and whether your organization supports the growth you are looking for.


SOURCE: REM (Real Estate Magazine)

By: Scott MacPherson, Vice President of Professional Development, Right at Home Realty

Right at Home Realty Inc. launches new deal submission and tracking portal

TORONTO, July 31st, 2020 – The innovative tool optimizes real estate professionals’ time, allowing real-time tracking of deals.

Right at Home Realty Inc. (“Right at Home”), Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage, launched its Agent Portal in July of 2020, a web-based deal submission platform tailored to Right at Home’s unique portfolio of services that streamlines deal processing and tracking for Realtors. Right at Home’s more than 5,300 Realtors can now save time and streamline their transaction management tasks with an easy-to-use, reliable and secure tool that is customized to their unique needs. This leading-edge platform is the latest addition to Right at Home’s suite of premium solutions designed to help its Realtors achieve their highest potential.

“Our team is proud of the launch the Agent Portal this year in July, it has brought to life the latest technology for deal processing designed specifically for Right at Home. As we progress into 2021, we will continue to heavily invest in technology and innovative solutions to support the real estate professionals in our network and our agent-centric strategy,” said John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty.

“We are continuously focused on supporting our members to ensure they have access to industry-leading systems and resources that allow them to process transactions efficiently and seamlessly, and ultimately provide best-in-class service to their clients.” 2021 will be the year of technology for Right at Home as we continue to develop further proprietary systems for our members.

Right at Home’s continued investment in technology and innovation, positions the agent portal as a one log-in that support’s Realtors’ communications, deal tracking and operate as the epicenter of services for their daily tasks. Powered by Laserfiche, a well-known leader in the software development business for process automation, the Agent Portal is a user-friendly, intuitive and robust tool that features:

  • Integrated agent task management system
  • Co-op Broker Commission follow up notifications
  • New deals submission system (drag and drop), eliminating the need for printing, scanning and emailing deals
  • Ticket tracking and status reviewing from anywhere, at any time
  • Current deal updating with additional documents or information
  • Deal drafting to submit later
  • Safe access to up to seven years of transaction history on all deals
  • Interoperability with Deal Processing, Right at Home’s platform for task management
  • Notifications for closed deal/commission, cheques, electronic funds and transfers when deals are paid out

With the addition of the Agent Portal and further development of additional software, Right at Home will position itself once again at the forefront of new technologies and solutions for Realtors, and one that will continue to differentiate RAHR from other real estate firms. While most brokerages offer static, non-upgradable platforms for deals submission and tracking, Right at Home’s Agent Portal will continue

to evolve and improve to meet its Realtors’ real-time needs, allowing its team to offer the best real estate services to all communities across Ontario.

About Right at Home Realty
Right at Home Realty is Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage. Founded in 2004, Right at Home is a premium full-service brokerage supporting Realtors and their clients through industry-leading practices, experience, technology, and market intelligence. Right at Home offers consumers a full suite of best-in-class real estate services to guide them to successful outcomes in today’s marketplace. The company is a dominant force in the province, with presence in 12 regions across Ontario and a network of over 5,300 highly trained and experienced Realtors. Under the company’s proven and superior model, Right at Home Realtors keep 100% of their commissions, offering the industry a highly favourable alternative to outdated business models. Visit www.rightathomerealty.com



For further information, please contact

Angela Pinzon

Kaiser & Partners

647-295-0517

angela.pinzon@kaiserpartners.com

Right at Home marks its 15th Anniversary with Acquisition

TORONTO, April 10, 2019 /CNW/ – Right at Home Realty Inc. (“RAH”), Canada’s largest independently owned and operated real estate brokerage announced today their acquisition of the assets of Your Choice Realty (“YCR”). Founded in 2010 YCR maintains a roster of over 450 Realtors with branch offices throughout Greater Toronto Area and Barrie, Burlington, Hamilton and Ottawa. The acquisition marks RAH’s expansion outside of the GTA into the Barrie and Ottawa markets and supports RAH’s strategy to increase its presence throughout Ontario while maintaining its momentum as Canada’s fastest growing independent real estate brokerage.

Jan Wrobel, President of Your Choice Realty said, “We couldn’t be more pleased to be joining the Right at Home Realty team. We saw this opportunity as a great fit, given the similarities in our business models. Right at Home offers many additional benefits, like proprietary Realtor training programs and a team of dedicated non-selling managers committed to supporting our Realtors and aiding in their success going forward.”

Right at Home Realty’s team of 4,500 Realtors are excited to welcome YCR’s Salespeople, along with members of the Your Choice management team. The senior management of both companies is confident that the synergy created by this acquisition will serve to cement Right at Home’s position as one of the most prominent brands in Canadian Real Estate for another 15 years and beyond. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome the members of YCR to our team. “We’re very excited with our expansion outside of the GTA and into other markets in Ontario. “In fact, our expansion strategy is just getting started, as we are actively engaged in exploring opportunities in Milton, London and Kitchener.” said John Lusink, President and Broker of Record for Right at Home Realty.

Right at Home Realty is Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage. Founded in 2004, RAH has grown to become the GTA’s #1 real estate firm, by transaction value and volume, for 6 consecutive years. With over 4,500+ REALTORS® working out of 10 offices in Ontario, Right at Home Realty is best known for being the leading agent-centric brokerage.

SOURCE Right At Home Realty Inc.

For further information: Adam Price, Director of Marketing, Right at Home Realty, 416 847 8456, adamp@rightathomerealty.com.