Real Estate Development, Canadian Property Laws and the Role of Social Media

Understanding property laws in Canada | BCBusiness
Ease the stress of real estate development by learning about Canadian property law.

Real estate development, the Internet and social media: Why going it alone is a perilous property-investment strategy.

Property development and investment is changing rapidly. Most real estate transactions in Canada now begin online, on real estate websites, Craigslist, or Canada’s Multiple Listings Services (MLS).

Real estate agents are adapting quickly, making themselves visible with websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The fish they’re trying to catch in that social net? Investors and property developers looking to the web to better understand where, when, how, and with whom to buy real estate.

Two important questions: Is the explosion in social networking impacting the property development market? Is it changing people’s approach to Canadian real estate laws?[edin]

The answer to both is yes, and it’s because investors can do their homework. In addition to gathering intelligence about neighbourhoods, buyers and sellers use new media to share opinions about their investment decisions.

But for all its benefits, the abundance of information can lull investors into a false security. Property laws in Canada are complex. And while using digital tools wisely is a great boon, experts warn that they can’t replace the value of solid legal advice.

Tweeting, blogging, buying, selling: Property investment in Canada goes social

In a people-centric business like real estate, social media are vital. They are, as Laurie Finnigan says “extremely important for advertising, getting message out there, and educating the public.”

Finnigan, a manager with Vision Investment Properties, cites the example of several Vancouver women who wanted to share intelligence about property investment, and so set up an online group – Real Estate Investing from a Woman’s Perspective, on – as a way to connect.

Social-networking groups like these, started by property developers, investors or real estate entrepreneurs, are popping up all over. You’ll find them on Facebook and LinkedIn alongside, say, blog posts containing growth projections for Vancouver‘s rental demand, strategies for flipping properties, or ways to ensure rental properties maintain positive cash flow.

The upshot: new media allow like-minded people to assist each other in making sense of the real estate development market.

Social media and Canadian real estate law: A perfect match – just as long as you don’t believe every thing you read

No matter the information you have gathered online, it pays to be aware of the fine details and requirements of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act.

Legal professionals can double-check your letter of intent, working to ensure any hidden clauses are uncovered. There are red flags – like debts owed on properties – that few laypeople recognize easily.

A sound contract is essential, particularly in complex deals like joint ventures or family investments. When everything must be put down on paper, it helps to have a lawyer on board early.

There’s no stopping the juggernaut of new media. But it pays to remember not to believe everything you read. A glut of information can make you as blind as a dearth. Do your homework online, by all means, but make sure to have your work checked by the professor. In real estate transactions, that’s a trained lawyer.