Ethical Behaviour

November 2nd, 2006

Real Estate Council of Ontario
RULE #1 for all Members:

Ethical Behaviour

A Member shall:

1. endeavour to protect and promote the best interests of the Member’s Client,

2. endeaveour to protect the public from fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practice in connection with real estate Transactions,

3. maintain and enhance the Member’s degree of skill and competence,

4. render services, including giving advice and opinions, based on the Member’s knowledge, training, qualifications and expertise,

5. deal fairly, honestly and with integrity with the public, other Members and third parties,

6. cooperate with the Council in fulfilling its duty to serve and protect the public interest,

7. comply with the Real Estate and Business Broker Act and the regulations under and the by-laws of the Council.

I was thinking about what it must have been like, before Real Estate professionals and my mind wandered to the Louisiana Purchase- as you know, that is when the United States purchased a whole whack of property in it’s own neighbourhood (far more than simply the state of Louisiana) at 3 cents per acre (7¢ per hectare), from France.

Although they had some help with the negotiations, President Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte are credited with making the "deal". It was probably one of the largest FSBO (for sale by owner) transactions, ever. The land included in the purchase comprises 22.3% of the territory of the modern United States.

I wonder if anyone will ever sell the whole of the Bancroft, Combermere, Haliburton, Barry’s Bay, Renfrew Area. If it sold at the same rate and if you visit http://eh.net/hmit/- a site that neatly helps you to sift through approximate inflation- it would be about $2000 a hectare (2.471 acres). Close.

Laws and Rules and Regulations

November 1st, 2006

I started writing my blog, this morning… it was full of explanations about “Common Law” and precedents… escheat, eminent domain… all kinds of serious important stuff… because I’m in a serious mood…

I’ve been experiencing a personal dilemma… it has to do with passion, I think. Some might think it borders on excessive compulsive disorder… I’m always blaming my brain injury… (All stuff for later blogs….)

I’m in a serious mood because it’s election time in Real Estate Land, Ontario…

And I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors in this area for many years… I served as Immediate Past President, this year… and the year before…. and I was President for more than a term… not because I’m popular… it’s just that….

We, like most organizations, find it’s difficult to get serious, committed volunteers… and it seems like it’s always the same people who offer their service… while an endless number of others feel little (if any) responsibility for membership in the club… and

As someone who has spent her life someplace between aspiring to leap tall buildings… and having a nap… I’ve usually landed comfortably somewhere around “accountable”… and I can live with that… without lowering my bar….

So… the thing is… when I’m being the Real Estate Lady… and even writing these blogs… I feel an obligation and responsibility to the Codes of Ethics, the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, the Competition Act, The Privacy Act, Standards of Business Practice…Rules & Regulations and laws and by-laws and …. I could go on… but you get the drift.

With everything I do in life… not just real estate… I try to do things “right”… “ethically”… “fairly”… “responsibly”…. And I like to think of myself as “professional”, as well as being a real and caring person… I try to balance nature & intellect… and I’m big on being socially polite … and all of that… PLUS, I expect to remain personally accountable infinitesimally…

My mother warned me that “no one ever said life would be fair”… I know that life evolves… and there has to be flexibility… new knowledge surfaces and valuable, fresh, ideas do come along and if the country operates in an environment where the bulk of governance is by virtue of “Common Law”… (In which decisions are made by ethical, reasonable, learned, experienced, men and women called judges)… and based on precedents…

(which kinda means the prosecution of people who have pushed the boundaries… entered the “grey area”… the part that is open to interpretation… and if they have a valid, respectable, acceptable, reasonable explanation… they just might not be found guilty… and they create another guiding principle for the interpretation of boundaries…)

Wow… so many of life’s lessons are about boundaries.

I also know that, since the dirty 30s, organized real estate has worked to raise the standards of the Real Estate biz… and while there’s always room for improvement… there are a whole lot of good things that a number of ethical, reasonable, learned, experienced men and women have put together… and they based their decisions on the backs of the decisions of other ethical, reasonable, learned, experienced men and women… and those things need to be protected and nurtured…

You see... Obviously, I DON'T take things to extreme… I’m just a small, but proud, part of three-quarters of a century of passion… and that’s because I’m grateful and respectful AND, because I believe it is my duty.

Happy Samhain

October 31st, 2006

Samhain (also spelled samain, samuin or samhuinn) is a Gaelic word signifying the end of summer. (Pronounced saw-in or sow-in),
Halloween means All Hallows Eve, (the night before 'All Hallows day' or 'All Souls Day' or 'All Saints Day').

There are many stories about how we have come to celebrate Halloween, today. Many of them point back to the ancient Druids who apparently had a sun/fire festival called Samhain, closely associated with faeries and spirits.

Druids held the belief that wicked people were reincarnated into cats or became ghosts, spirits, witches or elves as punishment for evil deeds. Pagans exorcised these ghosts by setting out food and providing shelter for them. It was the Celts, supposedly, who chose the date October 31st as their celebration of the New Year by honouring everything wicked, dead or evil.

When the Romans came along and conquered the Celts (about 43 AD) they added a ceremony honouring their goddess of fruit and trees-, which is supposedly why we now bob for apples.

The lighted pumpkin face (Jack-O-Lantern) is said to be an ancient symbol of a damned soul named Jack. The poor fellow was doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern, unable to enter either Heaven or Hell.

In my family, Halloween is right up there in the list of festivities. It is a time when my brother, Matthew and his partner (Sue Darroch) celebrate their celebrity (see www.psican.org or www.torontoghosts.org among their many sites) and my sister (Jennifer) decorates her home with more fervour than she does at Christmas!

The Heebie-Jeebies

By Chik J Duncan

When it's night time, when it's dark,
When you take that short-cut through the park
Where tall trees sway and branches creak
And shadows play at hide-and-seek
While an ill wind howls like something scary
And you think you've just seen something hairy
And you want to run but your legs won't let you...
That's when the Heebie-Jeebies get you.

Or maybe late on Hallowe'en -
That haunted night when ghosts are seen
And witches, aye and goblins who
Would love a taste of roasted you -
You lie pretending that you're sleeping
With one eye closed but one eye peeping
Making sure no big bad beasties
Mince you up to make their feasties.
The curtains start to blow and billow
And you leave teeth marks on your pillow.
There could be hubble-bubble brewing.
Is that the duvet that you're chewing?
It isn't that you're frightened but
You hope you've locked the window shut.
There comes a rattling window sound.
You can't hide now, you'll soon be found
And you hear the hour of midnight chime...
That's right, it's Heebie-Jeebies time.

It's Hard To Believe

October 25th, 2006

Way back when...many moons ago, as they say... in my youth and into high school... and, I suppose, for a while beyond... I was quite a Jock-ette.

I loved sports. I swam competetively, took karate lessons, skiing lessons, figure skating lessons, ballet lessons and, in high school... I enjoyed basketball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, field hockey, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics and numerous other team sports.

Summers were spent sailing (yes, I took lessons), archery, swimming, horseback riding, throwing horseshoes, rowing, card-playing, dirt-biking, climbing, kayaking, snorkelling, bicycling, badminton,canoeing, fishing, croquet and water-skiing.

When I wasn't playing, I was involved in sports in other ways. I studied rules and regulations and became a referee for things like basketball, wrestling and many of the track and field events.

Okay, this wasn't entirely out of love of the sport, it was also a clever strategy: it was kind of about boys! You see, as an "official", I could attend games and meets all over the place- plus, I often got to travel with the teams on their bus! I got time off from school to go hang out with physically fit boys!

I read sports illustrated- not chatelaine. I wore Adidas and while other girls wore those horrible blue bloomers in gym class, I wore a track suit and somehow got away with it... One summer, I worked for the Board of Education, supervising sports for children at a local school.

You might think I was a tomboy, but I really wasn't... in junior high, I did take a basic modelling course to learn how to walk like a "lady" and sit like a "lady" and properly apply cosmetics. Yup, I was in good shape back then... in fact, my hairdresser offered to sponsor me in the Miss Canada Pagent. It didn't appeal to me.

Most of my early boyfriends were Jocks. For many of my high school years, I dated the quarterback... he also played Jr. Hockey. His father had played both professional hockey and professional football. I learned a lot about those sports, too! My own father had been a pretty good baseball player and had tried out for the pros, he organized and coached baseball tournaments for the gals in his offices- baseball was a big part of my life.

At 15, I got a finger in my eye, playing water polo and had to wear an eye-patch for a few weeks and at 17, I fractured verterbrae in my back, tobogganing... those were my only real sports injuries.

In later years, I learned to appreciate other sports, like boxing, table tennis, billiards, aerobic training, curling, bowling, ice-fishing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, jet-skiing, weight training, squash, tennis, cycling and golf. I even took fencing lessons. I've re-discovered poker, taken a course on officiating luge and learned a bit more about moto-cross and car racing. For a while, I got into dog shows.

You see, what I learned- way back then- and it stuck with me...is, that sports are social... and it's easier to particpate and enjoy sports when you know what the rules are... when you understand what is happening; you can appreciate the strategy and scoring.

GRINS

Top Producers

October 15th, 2006

We’ve all heard the term Top Producer… Real Estate Sales Reps love running around, broadcasting that they are #1… what does that really mean?

In spite of the fact that there are stringent rules and guidelines, many Real Estate Registrants either ignore or are ignorant of them. This is no defense… and these people can and should be taken to task over violations.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has a website. On that website is a list of Registrants who have been found in violation of regulations. www.reco.on.ca

Frankly, the real estate market has been very active in the last few years and it seems like every Tom, Dick and Harriet is getting licensed. Many, very new Real Estate Reps have been doing a land-office business… (Pardon the play on words)… with very limited skill.

More experienced sales people have been heard grumbling about how these “newbies” are jumping in and skimming the “cream off the top” of the business. Let’s face it; it has been a little like shooting fish in a barrel!

Recent trends indicate a downturn in the real estate industry. This isn’t the best news for the skimmers… but for those of us with a little more experience under their belts, it’s not a bad thing. Even in poor markets, real estate sells. It just takes a little more finesse!
When the market is tough, simply having a license to sell doesn’t mean that you can and will sell.

Sellers may expect to pay a little more for service; when the market is slower… but bear in mind that a good sales rep will earn their fees. Top Producers are well educated, up to date and tend to have made a living in the industry, even in the worst market. There really is a difference between fishing in a stocked pond and going out into the wild.