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Posts tagged ‘realtors’

Victoria’s Largest Garage Sale: Royal LePage Garage Sale For Shelter [Video]

On May 15, 2010, in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, Royal LePage REALTORS® across Canada will be holding massive garage sales in their communities. Building on the success of last year’s event, Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty will be holding what we believe is the largest garage sale in Victoria history!

With the generous support of our clients, friends, and AMJ Campbell Van Lines, we’ve been able to amass more than 8 storage containers of household items, furniture, knick-knacks and more garage sale treasures. The response from the community has been overwhelming and you’re definitely not going to want to miss this sale. There will be deals galore, and all for a great cause.

The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is our national charity, which supports local women’s and children’s shelters and national violence prevention programs. The best thing about the Shelter Foundation is that because its administration costs are covered by Royal Lepage, 100% of every dollar donated goes towards women and children in need.

The sale will run from 9:00 to 3:00 and is being held at AMJ Campbell’s warehouse in Langford at the corner of Jacklin and West Shore Parkway [map]. Enter off West Shore Parkway and look for our REALTOR® volunteers and signs.

Check out this short video (click through if you can’t see it on your email or feed reader) showing the sheer volume of stuff we have to sell. Last year, lots of great stuff went for a quarter, so you’re sure to get some great deals!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Just Saying Hi On My Way To Westshore MLS Tour [VIDEO]

It’s been a while since I was on video! I went to the West Shore MLS tour in Colwood and Langford today and just thought I’d say hi to you through the video. I had one of my listings on the tour this week and got to see 10 other really nice places in Langford and Colwood. I hope you’ll enjoy the video!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Think Realtor.ca Sucks? It Will Get Better Soon

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Since the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) replaced the much-loved MLS.ca with the (so far) much-maligned REALTOR.ca last month, they’ve had nothing but complaints from everyone who uses it (consumers) and everyone who benefits from it (REALTORS® in Canada).

I can understand the domain name switch. Since its inception, MLS.ca has never been all that clear that it is a service provided by REALTORS® in Canada, and the switch to REALTOR.ca takes care of that. And I do believe it was time for a technology update – MLS.ca was pretty old-school.

But it worked, and it was simple. CREA threw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

Yesterday, I noticed an update on our REALTOR® intranet, which outlined a few changes that will take place later this month, which should help to improve the overall user experience.

Users may have noticed that there is a limit on how far you can zoom into the interactive map. You can zoom only so far, and then it sort of bounces back to the limited zoom level. Effective November 20th, this restriction will be removed. This should help alleviate the “500 property” warning because you will be able to zoom down to reduce the number of properties displayed on the map. The map will also stop “yo-yo-ing”  as users reach the zoom limit and it snaps back to a wider view.

A big complaint has been the clunky way that neighbourhoods are handled. CREA assumed everyone would enjoy zooming down into the specific neighbourhood that they were interested in. This is in contrast to the old static MLS.ca maps where you could drill down to the specific MLS zones set up by the various real estate boards. For example, you could click BC–> Vancouver Island/Smaller Islands –> Victoria–> Sooke–> Broom Hill to see all the listings in that MLS zone. The Realtor.ca experience so far has been limited. The site was launched before many of these neighbourhoods could be defined in the database. So when somebody searched for Broom Hill, they might get the actual geographical feature rather than the MLS zone of the same name – clearly a problem. CREA has identified and added some 3500 of these areas since October 2nd, and will continue to add more as the local real estate boards provide the data. The Victoria Real Estate Board has been on this since day one and many of our MLS sub-areas are already in the CREA database. This is probably the largest issue with the site, and it will get better.

The issue of limited/no compatibility with non-Internet Explorer web browsers (Firefox, Safari, etc) is also being worked on. Thank-you, CREA, for no longer excluding some 47% of browser market share 😉

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome FireFox Moz Safari O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

There have also been complaints that photos are too small (I agree!), thumbnail information that pops up when you mouse over a property on the map is insufficient (probably), and that the listings are just too hard to find. There are changes that are being tested to address these issues as well.

Specifically in our marketplace, one of the problems has been that too many listings have appeared in the “not mapped” column which makes them extremely hard to find. This was caused by our previous MLS back-end software, which had an antiquated procedure for placing properties on a map. Also, the default data setting was to not supply an address to MLS.ca. With our new MLS system, the default is reversed, and all of the old listings were automatically mapped by address and postal code as they were imported into the new database, so that should solve most of the problem.

We want REALTOR.ca to work. Believe me. CREA spends millions of our (the REALTORS®) dollars to create and operate that site for the benefit of consumers. Canada is lucky to have it. There is no equivalent in the U.S., where MLS data is sometimes split across different websites for one city, let alone the entire country like we have here. I believe that once the bugs are worked out, REALTOR.ca will be far superior to MLS.ca

Questions? Comments? Post them below (or click through to the post if you’re reading this in a reader).

If you’re still having trouble with REALTOR.ca or would like more detailed information than it provides,  I can set up a private client portal for you to view the Sooke or Victoria MLS listings. Give me a call any time at 250-885-0512, fill in my buyer’s form, or shoot me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca. My services are available to buyers at no cost.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Blogging W-5 Wednesday Part 3 – When?

As one of our real estate board’s most prolific bloggers, and certainly one of the most active bloggers in the region, many people ask me questions about it. In this weekly section, I’m going to answer the W-5 (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) of blogging. I hope you’ll enjoy my commentary.

Q: When do you find time to blog?

lol, nostalgia!

I thought this would be a timely place to discuss WHEN I blog, since there are only 40 minutes left in Wednesday. Technically, this post is on time as promised!

A common complaint among REALTORS® who want to get into blogging is that “I don’t have time.” Baloney. You do have time, and you need to look at your blog as you do any other part of your business. Find the time. Schedule it. Keep a notepad beside you at all times to jot down those ideas for posts.

Blog about something daily to keep you interested. My Horrible MLS Photo Of The Day was born out of the same need. It gives me something to do and I make sure I do it every day. I think I only missed one or two days in the last 215 or so. If daily is too much, then weekly is a minimum.

Regular updates keep you readers interested and coming back for more, and keeps the content on your blog fresh, which Google and the other search engines love.

Your posts don’t need to be long; in fact, they say shorter is better. Consider splitting a long topic into several parts. Not a writer? Get a camera, some online video training, and do a video blog. Ian Watt does his from his car as he drives around downtown Vancouver (see, you have time!)

Me, I blog usually in the early part of the morning. I just find I’m more creative at that time of the day, and I’m able to sit and write for awhile without being distracted by the phone, co-workers, or e-mail (or Digg, Twitter, Facebook, etc… 😉 )

Or, sometimes, after a long and busy day, I write at night, just 34 minutes before W-5 Wednesday becomes Tardy Thursday.

Do you have any questions about blogging? Post them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Politicians Aren’t Professional Enough To Be REALTORS® [Video]

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Microsoft Surface: Imagine the Possibilities

Microsoft Surface I’ve been meaning to blog about Microsoft’s Surface technology for a while now, but a video from TechCrunch this morning (below) has reminded me how utterly cool this is. The concept was conceived in 2001 and the first prototype was in 2003, so it’s nothing new, but we have yet to see any sort of large-scale rollout.

The implications for real estate technology are huge. Imagine one of these units in your office. Your clients and prospects would no doubt be wowed by the seamless integration of all the aspects of your business, and the novel way it was presented to them. Watch the videos below. The first is a YouTube video from a year or so ago which shows some of the neat features, and the second is the TechCrunch video [it’s kind of loud!] from this week’s CES show, going on in Las Vegas, which helps explain how it works and clarify some of the differences between this technology and other multi-touch interfaces. More commentary after the videos.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cog8b8ojji0">http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cog8b8ojji0</a>

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.451119&w=425&h=350&fv=] from www.techcrunch.com posted with vodpod

One of the most exciting features of this technology is how it differs from other touch-screen interfaces. There are no embedded capacitors in the surface which means that unlike most touch-screen displays, you don’t have to baby it. The surface is hard plastic, so things can be dropped on it, spilled on it, and generally moved about without fear of damaging the sensitivity of the interface. This is important in our real estate world. We all know how office equipment can get used and abused. One would assume that a badly scratched surface would inhibit touch sensitivity, but some special polish or tabletop replacement would be a relatively inexpensive repair, since it is just a plastic surface.

Imagine meeting some buyers at your office. You fire up the Surface, drag about the pictures of the listings they’re interested in, and then let the system plan out a driving route, text-message the listing agents to make the appointments, and then transfer all the information to your mobile phone or PDA to guide you there along the way! While you drive, the text message confirmations come to your phone/PDA, turning the listing map points from yellow to green or red, indicating that the showings are confirmed or denied.

The clients are ready to offer. Back at the office, the purchase contracts are laid out on the Surface computer. All information is pulled from WebForms, as you are already familiar with. The clients read over the contract, sign using any object (a pen, pencil, their finger, etc), and you drag the contract across the table to the e-mail or fax icon. Away it goes to the other agent. Now you can flick it across to the printer icon to get the clients a hard copy.

These are but two exciting possibilities for this technology in the real estate world. I’m sure you could think of many more. As we move away from the traditional mouse/keyboard interfaces and into the ever-increasing world of multi-touch computing, expect more and more innovation and technology to make your life and work easier, and admittedly, more fun.

Tim Ayres


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On Perks Of The Job

Every job has its perks, here’s one in real estate.

One of the true joys in my working life is when I get to work with people I know. As  REALTORS®, we are constantly promoting ourselves and our services, and are honoured to get the business of strangers who like what our marketing materials say. I am much more honoured when a close friend or relative seeks my professional advice and service in such a major, life-changing decision.

A friend that retains your services places in you a great deal of trust, as any client would. I would argue that the level of trust is even higher – that person is more vulnerable than an arms-length client since he or she knows you already and doesn’t want to jeopardize the relationship you have by – oh, I don’t know – firing/suing your ass if you screw up. They also trust you more than any other client and will always take what you say as the absolute truth – unless you’re in the habit of lying to your friends.

Recently, Jay and Seana, a couple I met shortly after relocating to the Island in 2005 decided to sell their Langford townhouse and move into a single family dwelling. Shameless plug: Jay, a photographer and graphic designer, and Seana, a professional writer, operate a graphic and web design firm, EdgeFlow Media. EdgeFlow has done web and print design packages for several real estate agents and developers, including Tuscany Village. Seana also works at Carmanah Technologies.

After guiding them through the quick sale of their townhouse, we set out to find them and their two Jack Russell Terriers a new home. After searching in Langford, Colwood, and View Royal, they fell in love with a beautiful, nearly new two-level home in Sooke! Despite not having read my blog post about 10 reasons to move to Sooke, they just couldn’t turn down the value in the housing out here. So now my friends are my neighbours, too!

Just one of the many reasons I love my job!

Tim Ayres