Working in real estate means handling many forms. The volume and complexity of the paper trail for listing and selling can sometimes make REALTORS® feel overwhelmed.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has launched an initiative to provide an update on forms and offer discussions to clarify the use and purpose of standard forms. The Forms Update Outreach project began as a pilot two years ago, with presenters visiting REALTORS® in different communities and bringing updates, expertise, news and insights to help members understand annual revisions to forms and clauses and foster interactive discussions.
These presentations involved travel from Thunder Bay in the north to Windsor in the south and to Ottawa in the east. Thousands of REALTORS® across the province took the opportunity to attend a Forms Outreach session somewhere in Ontario. Last year, more than 60 different presentations were organized across the province to bring the forms experts out to you – OREA members.
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The initiative was so successful that another 50 presentations have taken place so far in 2016, and the feedback from REALTORS® has been outstanding. The venues have been everything from real estate board offices and brokerages to community centres, hotel meeting rooms and public libraries.
“The OREA forms update sessions are great, and I highly recommend them to all real estate salespeople,” says Sheena Smith Curran, a real estate broker in Oakville. “Everyone who holds themselves out as a professional in this business needs to make sure their knowledge is as complete and up-to-date as possible. The forms information sessions are providing a key resource.”
“Forms are a very important part of our profession, and the outreach event I attended provided up-to-date information on how OREA forms affect our ability to perform our jobs,” says Stan Adams, a Cambridge REALTOR®. “The in-person nature of the local meeting allowed for interaction and a question-and-answer session that provided a better understanding of current forms and their usage.”
“There are never-ending changes to our business through legislation, market forces and new business models,” says Adams. “The face-to-face format of these events gives us an interactive opportunity to discuss these changes, and that personal touch at local meetings is a great help.”
"Everyone who considers themselves a professional in this business needs to make sure their knowledge is as complete as possible."
Annual revisions are a key feature of all sessions, when the latest changes to various forms and clauses are highlighted by presenters.
“Our goal is to provide OREA members with the opportunity to learn much more about forms so they become adept in dealing with them, which results in greater awareness among members, clients and customers,” says Cassandra Agnew Walker, senior manager, standard forms, and the primary presenter at the forms update outreach events. “At these local meetings, we talk about many items related to forms, new forms and clauses, and revisions to existing forms and clauses. We then extend the conversation to provide a review and refresher on revisions from previous years and on most forms in general.”
“Knowledge of forms content and forms updates is absolutely vital for our members actively working in real estate,” adds Agnew Walker. “Although our forms fulfill many REALTOR® needs and are legally intact, they will only have the most value if our members are aware of them and thoroughly understand and use them to ensure that their consumers understand what they may be involved in, and eventually what they are signing. We want to help members make educated choices when they use standard forms.”
Several of the sessions have been delivered jointly by OREA and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the industry regulator, combining the OREA Forms Update with a RECO Issues Update. The dual presentations generated superb discussions among members, she said. “These joint sessions have enabled us to convey shared information and strengthen our combined messaging in a way that benefits all REALTORS®,” she adds. “We want REALTORS® to be comfortable with the forms that they use on a daily basis, to hear what’s new this year and to remind them of recent changes as well.”
Presenters were Cassandra Agnew Walker and lawyer Lou Radomsky, the outside legal counsel to OREA standard forms. The numerous joint OREA-RECO presentations, included John Burnet, manager of complaints, compliance and discipline at RECO. Together this trio of presenters has criss-crossed the province -- at the invitation of various boards and brokerages -- to provide up-to-the-minute info on forms and form revisions.
“Knowledge of forms and clauses is always going to enhance the business success of REALTORS®,” says Agnew Walker. “The OREA forms and clauses are templates, and members must make them work within their own trading activity as well as seeking assistance from their brokerage management or broker of record. We also ensure that members are provided with information on other resources that we provide to help our members do business better and comply with various legislative requirements or rules and regulations.”
To book a Forms Outreach session in your part of the province, contact Cassandra Agnew Walker, senior manager, standard forms, via email at email@example.com.
Other form-related resources available to OREA members are:
- Forms Explained – A summary of OREA real estate forms with straightforward summary explanations.
- Web seminars (webinars) – Educational sessions offered on an regular basis to address issues and questions about various forms. To date, eight webinars have been organized this year. If you couldn’t take part on the day the webinar took place, you can listen to a recording of the topic now posted to the OREA website. One more webinar is scheduled this year. On Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 1:00 p.m., you can take part in the webinar called “Residential leasing: Don’t go outside of the Act. Register now.
- Web tutorials – Short video explanations with narrated recordings that describe the details of various real estate standard forms. Screen shots and voiceover explanations assist members in understanding various parts of each form.
For more information on all of these resources, visit Standard Forms.
Story by Mary Ann Gratton.
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