For many years I trained real estate agents and other sales professionals how to use CRMs such as ACT, Maximiser and Goldmine, to manage their contacts. One day a brokerage manage complained that I had turned some of his best agents into poor techies and their sales were suffering as a result. He was right, some sales people were spending more time in front of their computers sending scripted letters on birthdays and anniversaries and less time actually maintaining their relationships with their clients.

I have never forgotten that conversation and the importance of real touch relationship management. I am now a Realtor myself and I use Twitter regularly, have a business Facebook page, a personal Facebook page, an active profile on LinkedIn and Google+, I post to Instagram and Pinterest and write a Blog. With all of this going on it would be very easy to become lost in the maze.

I use Nimble CRM ( to manage my leads, activities and deals and keep in touch with the interactions of my contacts in their own social streams. I use Hootsuite ( to track and post to my social media apps. These tools are critical but they are not the answer by themselves. I make sure I stay in touch with my clients by telephone, personal emails, and face to face meetings where and whenever possible.

Building and maintaining relationships on social media requires a conscious effort. Writing or finding good content is an art,  reading through the streams of information posted by your contacts can be daunting. Social media is not an easy way to build and maintain a network but it can be a very successful strategy when done in concert with a strong personal touch.

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There has been a strong trend recently for people considering buying a home to get a pre-approval for a mortgage. This is an excellent idea and can be a great help when looking for a home. But what exactly is a pre-approval? It depends a lot upon who you are talking to. Often when a buyer comes to me with a pre-approval in place they feel pretty confident that they no longer need to include a “subject to financing” clause when they make an offer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some banks consider a pre-approval to be nothing more than a rate-hold, that is, an assurance that if a buyer comes back to them within 60, 90 or sometimes 120 days they are guaranteed a specified interest rate as long as they qualify for a mortgage. Note the “if they qualify for a mortgage” part.

A mortgage broker may go further and take the time to check out a potential buyer’s finances. They may take statements about current debt, assets, income and savings. Using this information the broker will give the potential buyer a good indication of the amount of money they can spend on a house, how much they need for a down payment and explain what monthly payments could be.

A dedicated mortgage specialist for a large bank may do all the same work and even provide a written statement explaining the terms and conditions for a mortgage, how much they are able to spend and what the rate will be for a specified period of time.

In all of these cases the potential buyer has some valuable information to work with, but in none of these cases is the buyer assured of a mortgage. Anyone who would consider writing a subject free offer is taking a huge risk and if their Realtor goes along with it he or she may well be breaching their fiduciary duty to the client.

Most pre-approvals are guides that allow a buyer and their Realtor to have an idea of what price range to look in. They can fall apart at the last moment because someone changed a job, maxed a credit card or the property they are interested does not appraise well.

Getting a proper pre-approval done is worthwhile however. It will educate the buyer to the financial process and the costs involved in buying a house. It will alert the buyers to possible credit issues that may easily be addressed, and of course it will allow the buyer to target the right price range for their new home.

If you are willing to write a subject free offer then make sure you have enough cash in the bank to pay for the whole thing and all the attendant costs. But give me a call first, I’d like to take you shopping for property.

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Nanaimo has the lowest unemployment in the province, high tech industries are attracting talent from other cities because of the low cost of living, the spectacular scenery and some of the most affordable housing in Canada. Nanaimo is a good bet for investment and growth now that Vancouver and Victoria are so expensive.
I recently listed a one acre development property on Departure Bay, Nanaimo. It is semi-waterfront, bordered by 2 roads and parks back and front. There are great views of Departure Bay and Newcastle Island. There is a nice home with an unfinished suite in the lower level all, on nicely landscaped grounds.
In 2007 there were big plans for a 9 unit luxury townhouse/condo development on the property. Transportation, archaeological and community studies and consultations were completed and a development permit was approved in early 2008. The economic situation later that year ended that. 
Now Nanaimo is beginning to take off, cruise ships stop here and a new 18 story hotel funded by Chinese investors is about to get started. The airport has been expanded and Westjet just started direct flights to Calgary. Vancouver Island University has its main campus in Nanaimo and is attracting many international students. 
This property is unique. There are no other properties of this size with this zoning and these views left in Departure Bay. 
Come over and look for yourself, I will pick you up at the ferry or airport. Show you around, buy you lunch and send you back in time for afternoon coffee.
Take a look at and make sure to click on the flipbook brochure.
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