With my triumphant return from England today, I feel like I should wax poetic about all things Canadiana.
I should clarify that by triumphant return, I mean when we ran out of British pounds and my credit cards stopped being accepted, we left.
One of the best things about travel is how it broadens your knowledge about the world and makes you appreciate your home more. Here are some things that I love about Canada.
- I can order coffee without confusion.
Even in countries where English is the mother language, terminology is a bit different around the world for many things. This was very apparent when I tried to order a black coffee from an Italian barista in a French coffee chain in London. I ended up with something resembling a cappuccino and I think it is fair to say that neither she nor I enjoyed the interaction. At least it was only $7 dollars.
- I can tip for good service.
Of course you can tip in England if you like the service, but it is again prone to confusion. I was called back to the bar on a couple of occasions for forgetting money there. In some cases I explained it was a tip, in other cases I meekly took it back. As importantly, when I didn’t tip at the advice of friends who live in England, I felt bad. Even when the servers apparently didn’t care in the slightest, I still snuck away, feeling like I would be called a tosser or some other random British insult as soon as I was out of earshot.
- I can do my job.
While I was visiting London, I took the time to go to a local Keller Williams brokerage in a very posh part of London called Mayfair. I met with a friendly Realtor for an hour and peppered him with all sorts of questions about real estate in England. At that end of that hour, I came to the conclusion I was very glad that I am a Realtor in Canada as I don’t think I would enjoy their method of real estate nearly as much. Here’s a few reasons why.
- Buyer representations is quite rare. By that I mean, almost all real estate deals in England involve only one agent, the one who is selling the property in question. Buyers have to do most of the work that I do for my buyer clients, including finding properties that fit their criteria, assessing comparables, providing neighbourhood information and negotiating for the best price and closing details. In most cases in England, the buyer is on their own and while the listing agent wants to help get a deal done, he or she is absolutely working for the seller.
- There is no public multiple listing service (MLS) for buyers. To make the work of finding a place harder for buyers, if you want to find a place in England, you will need to visit multiple real estate company websites, call up brokerages and generally search one by one to try to find the property you like. There is no realtor.ca or even city wide search portals that I could find. In Canada, my buyers can gain some understanding of the market and what is available by spending times (in some cases, lots of time!) on realtor.ca looking at options. In England, I would have to educate buyers from scratch and most listings wouldn’t want to pay me to help find them buyers.
- It’s not a profession. I mean that in the literal sense, as unlike Canada, there is no qualifications, education or registration required to be a real estate agent. No continuing education to stay up to date, no code of ethics and conduct, no regulatory body to oversee Realtor behaviour. No such thing as a Realtor. I know that we hear some stories about Canadian Realtors playing fast and loose with the rules, but at least there are rules. I think I would be very frustrated if I was an estate agent in England as the level of competence and knowledge must vary widely.
So as much as I enjoyed spending time in England with friends, it is lovely to be home. I think I shall go get a coffee, leave a tip and then start asking people in line if they are interested in buying a home.
If you or someone you like are looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate in Canada, please get in touch. I’d love to be responsible for what comes next.
The strength of the boundary is essential to a neighbourhood. If the boundary is too weak the neighbourhood will not be able to maintain its own identifiable character.
Without question, buyers look for good neighbourhoods when they consider a property, and sellers stay longer in neighbourhoods with which they feel a connection. Whether is a major street boundary, parks or other public spaces or occasionally stone archways like at Baby Point, boundaries for neighbourhoods are crucial.