Blog › January 2014

"5 things to know about interest rates right now"

 Global News 

Bank of Canada Governor likely wants to curb consumer borrowing via higher rates but a lacklustre economic picture is forcing him to maintain rock-bottom interest rates. Higher rates would pinch everything from consumer spending to the real estate market.


With banks cutting mortgage rates again and the Bank of Canada walking a fine line between curbing household borrowing while fighting low inflation, much is being made of borrowing rates and where they may be headed. Below are five questions that try to make sense of the noise:

Why are interest rates in focus at the moment?

Borrowing rates are garnering a lot of attention right now because there’s much uncertainty about everything from the housing market to what direction the Canadian economy is headed in. Big banks have begun lower mortgage rates again as sales activity has slowed and competition for fewer borrowers has picked up.

The Bank of Canada meanwhile ismaintaining its trend-setting benchmark interest rate at 1.0 per cent. That rate is what influences lending rates among the banks and there has been speculationthat the BoC could actually cut rates in a bid to juice a sluggish economy. But with Canadian households already highly indebted, officials are hesitant to create more borrowing room.

How does the Bank of Canada rate affect borrowing rates from the bank?

Lenders set their prime rates, or the minimum interest they charge their customers, based off the BoC’s key rate. “The big banks peg their prime rate against that rate, and that prime rate is the best rate a bank will lend their best customers,” says Kelvin Mangaroo of, a site that tracks consumer borrowing rates.

With the BoC rate at 1.0 per cent, the private lenders’ prime rate is sitting at 3.0 per cent. These rates are extraordinarily low by historical standards, after central banks slashed benchmark interest rates to near zero during the global downturn to help get credit flowing again.

One unintended consequence of the present ultra-low interest rate environment for economies like Canada’s, which is thought to have a sturdier financial system compared to others, has been a household borrowing boom that’s found an outlet in a now very pricey real estate market financed generously with debt.

If excessive borrowing is a concern, why doesn’t the BoC raise its rate?

With current rates so low, a hike of even a modest amount – say half a percentage point, or 0.5 per cent – would jack mortgage and other loan payments by a significant degree, experts say.

A rise of 0.7 per cent on a loan carrying an interest rate of 3.5 per cent, for example, would mean a hike of 20 percent on your monthly interest payment. Could you afford that? Without scaling back other spending? The one-third of Canadian mortgage holders who have variable rate mortgages would immediately feel the pinch.

Why are banks cutting their mortgage rates?

You may have noticed that the big banks, led first by Royal Bank of Canada but quickly matched by Scotia, BMO and today, TD, are once again cutting their fixed five-year rates on home loans. Mangaroo says that because their own funding rates have fallen in recent weeks they can afford to pass those lower rates onto Joe Homebuyer. The banks are also fighting with themselves and cut-rate broker lenders over a shrinking pool of borrowers as consumers hit their limit on how much they can borrow, experts say.

While the Bank of Canada overnight rate doesn’t directly influence mortgage rates, a cut today would have put even more indirect downward pressure on home lending rates. Policy-makers have expressed ongoing concern about the effect higher rates will have on homebuyers who have taken on huge mortgages at extraordinarily low lending rates.

Will interest rates rise or fall this year?

It’s looking increasingly like interest rates won’t be heading higher anytime soon, according to experts. “From a consumer perspective, it looks like low interest rates are going to be here to stay for the next little while,” Mangaroo said.

“We remain comfortable with our forecast for interest rate hikes to be a long way off on the horizon, likely in the second half of 2015,” economists at TD Bank said Wednesday.

Whether they fall further will depend on the performance of the economy. A weakening economic picture could prompt the Bank of Canada to actually cut its rate to below 1 per cent again, but it also risks continuing a borrowing spree households can likely ill afford, experts say.

The Refined Agent

All results are drawn from hard work, determination, and a drive to succeed. In one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, it is no wonder we have a great number of real estate agents.

With such a saturated field of competition, we must strive even harder to distinguish ourselves and carve out our own space for a lasting business.

Past Client Referrals

The above is a very simple but often overlooked staple ingredient in an agent. As a seller, find out from the agent's previous clients how close they got to the asking price. 

A prior client will be more than willing to share information if the agent did a good job, and likewise if they were sub-par. This business runs on word of mouth, and the more comfortable you are broaching relative topics, the more prepared you will be. 


Can't stand it when people don't pick up your calls or don't answer e-mails for days? An agent cannot hope to succeed if they are not able to communicate constantly. A good agent will not give you reason to call them. They will know how to deal with the situation and will contact you to keep you aprised. 

Don't constantly bombard your agent with questions you should already know the answer to. Do your research and you will discuss the situation as equals. This will make the agent eager to spend time working with you to get you a better deal.

More than just a Realtor®

Get to know your agent. Keep to know your client. If you have something in common outside of real estate, such as a hobby or passion, you may have found your niche market. If you can practice doing something you really enjoy while generating new business simultaneously, it more than doubles the efficiency of your business. 

Try to be open with people. Go and take a class in something you've always wanted to do. You have the time, you just haven't made it available. 

No Shortcuts

It's true, some agents put a home on MLS and wait for someone else to do the selling for them. This may work short term for the agent, but such a strategy is costly in the long run and affects consumers negatively. The seller won't receive the amount they deserve for their property. A good agent counsels the seller about the marketing of their home and exactly what efforts they will go to in order to sell it. After that, lines of communication must remain open, the best agents focus on making their clients happy about the situation of selling their home. 

If an agent works their hardest, it will show and the client respects that. This will make them more eager to grant a referral in the future, even if the asking price fell short. 

Stay Positive!

This is cliché, but it's true, especially in Real Estate. Our business is stressful, and it's important not get too caught up. Be thorough in your work, but take moments and step back from what you are doing to understand it better. 

Good luck out there!

Staging Tips for Sellers and Agents

A very clean and appropriate staging for an open house.


Sellers, your job is to make sure the home you're putting on the market is aesthetically perfect. This means no clutter, dust, a fresh coat of paint, minor repairs and depersonalization are all key to presenting your property. Clean everything thrice over. This goes without saying. Once you've cleaned it three times, do it again.


Anything excess will catch the eye in a negative way. Old gadgets, family pictures, knicknacks, loose papers, books that don't match, magazines and children's toys. After enough decluttering of your open house, you will notice clutter where you thought there was none before. Do constant sweeps with your eyes for anything out of place and purge it Nothing is worse for an open house than having things that don't have a place, leading us into our next point.

There is a reason for every room.

In order for them to see their potential life here, you must allow their mind to fill the space with the objects and decor they deem fit. An empty suite is ideal for this, but since that is often impossible, try to keep everything minimal. More space is a better space when it comes to staging an open house, but how do you fit what you have? What's the purpose of this room? If it's a bedroom and you have more than a bed, a dresser, a night table and maybe a little desk, you're going to far. Use only what is essential! 

What about all those random corners you place stuff you don't know where to put? Get rid of it! Call a junk removal company and they will help you free your mind from the worries off attachment to useless objects. Turn that small den you've used for storage into another office space or a guest room. Consider what the potential buyer thinks when they see each part of your house. Make it the most livable place it can be. 


Why is a new coat important? It's imperative. Walls attract scratches, grime and small holes simply from weathering your tenancy. A new coat of paint will breathe new life into your place that you didn't imagine before; at least that's what people who have recently painted their house have said.


Change the light bulbs and match the light bulbs. Fix the kitchen cabinets and oil the door hinges. Make sure the garage door works, as that is often a selling point especially for people with cars. A few minor fix ups of the taps and below-sink pipes wouldn't hurt either. 


No family photos. No crayon drawings of horses done by your 4-year-old on the fridge, in fact, fridge magents should be removed at all costs. Imagine that your place is becoming a set for a magazine shoot or movie scene. It is no longer your home, it is now a piece of property on the market. Replace all the personal touches you've added with photos from trips and graduations with modern decor and stock photos. Anything personal will be seen by a potential buyer as being "out of place." They are looking at it from a "How will my things look and feel here" perspective. 

When you're selling anything, try to put yourself in the buyer's shoes. If you think the product isn't up to snuff yet, then you're right, and you should reschedule meeting potential clients until you fixed the problem. Good luck!

3 Apps for Realtors and Why You Should Keep Up With Tech

By Damir Khamzin

There are many apps related to Real Estate. We here at Team 3000 decided to talk about three really good ones. Mobile App:

The app is amazing because it keeps up us locally. The My Agent function allows you to connect with a listing agent and ask about a property, or contact your fellow agents. Property Search finds properties anywhere in Canada, just like the website. The Open Houses function locates nearby, you guessed it, open houses. The app sports a calendar to schedule things as well. Finally, I’ll let Driving Directions speak for itself.:

“This allows you to get driving directions to a listed property either by entering an address, or from your current location by using the device's GPS functionality.” ( Mobile App)

Magic Plan:

This is simply a cool app, if not one of the most useful for a realtor. Sensopia Inc’s Magic Plan lets you create a floor plan of your listing on the spot. This is their example, and in my opinion it’s easier and faster than hiring someone or doing it yourself from scratch. Their website tells you how it works; the user takes photos of the room, centering the corners. Then it creates a top-down adjustable blueprint. The final printout comes in 4 different file types. Jpeg, PDF, DXF and HTML. I’m sure the realtors who use this app don’t stop talking about it at company parties and open houses.


There are some people who can’t stand having too much paper. Real Estate is one such industry where legality forces hundreds of pages upon us, all asking for the signatures of clients and agents before being lost to the world. Imagine the guilt-free environmental consciousness if everyone used apps like DocuSign. Basically, you upload your forms and have the client just sign their name with the tablet. It’s easy and makes doing paperwork actually kind of stylish.

Why Keep Up With Technology?


This is a quote from Google Chrome’s blog:

“In past year, the way we use computers continued to evolve. Around the world, more than 2.4 billion laptops, tablets and smartphones were purchased — that’s over 4,500 devices per minute — and over one-third of people worldwide now have consistent access to the web, helping us work, play, learn and connect with each other.” Google Chrome Blog

Those figures are from Google’s own blog based on their Chrome Operating System. The sheer scale of these statistics is staggering. 4,500 devices per minute every single day of 2013.

You may think: How is this relevant to the Real Estate Industry?

We all know that Real Estate is all about connections. It’s the business of meeting people. No matter what walk of life a person travels, they will contemplate purchasing property when they want to settle down. For all of its cost, Vancouver is an amazing place to raise children and attracts many high net-worth individuals, allowing for an ever expanding client base and development that struggles to keep up.

Here are statistics from the City of Vancouver regarding building permits issued in 2013.

Construction permits for 2,734 residential units were issued in 2013 (That’s 5,294 dwelling units). Add this estimate to the properties currently on the market, and you have your playing field. With this much up and coming development, it’s even more important to keep ahead of the curve and have access to agents, listings, buyers and sellers.

This leads us to the point of this article: Why focus on keeping up with technology as a real estate agent?

The answer is simple: It opens up opportunities. So get your iPads, phones and social network profiles up and running. Your business will thank you.