Episode 8: Kelley Keehn – Making Sense of Money and Real Estate in Today’s Economic Climate

Erin: Welcome to episode eight of REAL TIME, a podcast for REALTORS® brought to you by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association. We’re all about ideas surrounding Canadian real estate and topics that impact you as a REALTOR® and really, all of us. There’s some great family advice here today too. 

I’m your host, Erin Davis and we’re sitting down today with Kelley Keehn, best-selling author, 10 books, personal finance educator, guest from CTVs Marilyn Denis Show, BNN and on FP Canada to name a few platforms where she shares her wisdom. She’s an advisor who confesses to having a buy bias, which is definitely good news for you. Here we go.

Oh, Kelley, what a pleasure it is to have you with us here today, as we make our way through a year that has been so full of surprises. What’s the first thing I’m going to ask you to do? Make a prediction.

Something nobody wanted to do as this year has gone on, but jeez, if we start with some context, in 2016, about two-thirds of Canadian families owned their own homes and that was up from 60% in 1999. Do you expect these numbers to continue to increase or to decrease? What do you foresee for the future, if anybody could dare have any predictions this year?

Kelley: Erin, it’s so great to be with you and that is the burning question, isn’t it? What is going to happen with housing? Now, I’m not an economist, so I’m just making some very humble guesstimates here. It’s so tough because this isn’t just a recession, or a typical crisis like we went through with the financial crisis. This is so different. We’re all done with the unprecedented term that we hear every single day, every single hour, but it really is. When we were listening to all the news reports in March, in April, there was all these forecasts for housing to drop, different economists talking about different percentages, but it was in the low double digits and we’ve seen anything but.

We’ve seen July housing sales soar, Toronto housing soar. What is going to happen in the next quarter? What is going to happen next year is anyone’s guess. Some of the big question marks are once the government assistance dries up, when will it dry up, it keeps getting extended? We don’t know, but when that does dry up, how will Canadians handle their housing payments? Will we see delinquencies rise and people actually having to sell their house? With borders still shut, we’re not seeing the immigration that’s needed for increased sales. I don’t know, it’s certainly going to be the thing to watch.

Then also with the other question mark of how many renters actually want to become homeowners. A new survey revealed that 14% say that because of COVID, they want to purchase a home in the next year. That’s double the 7% reported last year. A lot of unknowns and we’ll all be watching very closely.

Erin: Kelley, with the August numbers just out of the GTA, for example, the only segment that wasn’t on fire, so to speak, was in condos. Now, do you think that what you just spoke to and that is the 14% of renters who say, “Yes, it’s time to stop renting, I want to start buying.” Do you think that that could be the catalyst in the condo market, that that might be the next big thing?

Kelley: It could be. That could go both ways, Erin, is a lot of homeowners, a lot of people wanting to ensure that they have the safety of having a home. I hear from so many young folks that, now, this was pre-COVID, that were being ousted from– They would sign a six-month lease, then their property was wanting to be converted to an Airbnb, they were kicked out. Then they kept facing increased rents every time they moved and of course, all the expenses with it. Now, some of the other younger folks that I’m talking to and just those in condos period in Toronto, are now during COVID have been isolated in this small box in the sky, their offices are closed, they don’t have that yard to get out there.

They have elevators that they’re navigating being in the same small space with other humans. They’re considering moving out of town or getting a home that’s out of the GTA, which they never would have had that conversation pre-COVID. Certainly, I think almost all of us are reexamining our housing issues and what makes sense moving forward probably in a way that we never have ever before.

Erin: Yes, you’re so right. Sarah Richardson told us in our most recent podcast that our homes have had to multitask as everything, our gym, our restaurant, our office, of course, our asylum, our classroom for so many and we are all reexamining our living space. Now you are, I would say, an expert in this. Kelley Keehn has written the best-selling book, Talk Money to Me and Save Well, Spend Some, and Feel Good About Your Money, Simon & Schuster. You must have a lot of millennials asking you the question, is real estate still a wise financial investment as it was for their parents and their grandparents?

Kelley: That is such a question on so many people’s minds. Let’s unpack that a little bit, especially when we use the word investment because an investment is something that you are purchasing with the hope that it’s going to appreciate that you are going to liquidate for your retirement. I know it sounds a little pedantic that I would go into that because an asset is something very different, an asset is something that you hope will appreciate. Erin, it’s a very important question. Let’s unpack it this way, if you are looking at real estate as your primary residence and then let’s unpack it as an investment, it’s something that you’re looking at something to appreciate as opposed to going into the stock market or ETFs or something like that.

Let’s first look at it as your principal residence. There are so many benefits to homeownership that I think a lot of millennials just said, “Hey, I’m never going to be able to afford it. It’s too expensive. It’s not for me.” Now we’re saying, “Whoa, if this is perhaps the new trend, the work at home trend and even when things get back to normal–” A lot of companies are saying they’re not going to require their employees to be in full-time in the office. It might just be two days a week. Now that’s a whole different conversation of, is it a good idea? Let’s just strip the investment question off because you need somewhere to live.

If you can get in and it’s a reasonable parallel to what your rent would be, it’s forced savings. Now, the theory my friend, Rob Carrick at The Globe and Mail, he has often presented the case that renting can actually be better than buying. I get where he’s coming from. I do have a buy bias. I do, I’ve always been interested in real estate. If it appreciates, that’s great, but even if it just stays at status quo when you– Because if you sell, you still have to buy at the higher price and theoretically you’re going to retire in a home. I think if you strip away the investment side of it, real estate can really make sense if you look at all those pros and cons.

Now, if we’re talking investment-wise, I think you have to do a lot more research. You need to do your due diligence because now you’ve got leverage that isn’t your principal residence. That means that you’re borrowing money for an investment. Are you able to be a property manager? Are you able to be a landlord? Now, if we’re even just talking about a cottage, you want to crunch the numbers, make sure that you’re using it enough, all that type of stuff. Then again, if I can just quickly go back to the principal residents, if and when you do sell, if let’s say, then you decide to, I don’t know, go into a retirement community or rent or something of that sort, it is tax-free of what your increase was.

I think there are a lot of compelling cases for homeownership, regardless of COVID, but I certainly think that COVID is going to– The pendulum is going to swing for a lot of people to figure out how can they get in the market even if it still is expensive for a lot of young folks.

Erin: Back with financial expert, Kelley Keehn, in just a second and the best advice she’s got for newbies just entering the market as a buyer. This is so worth sharing with prospective buyers, so please do. Oh, and we mentioned Sarah Richardson there in our chat. If you missed podcast episode seven with the HGTV design goddess, it’s easy to find. I promise you’ll be glad you did. Just make sure you subscribed to our REAL TIME podcast series. Don’t miss an episode, click to subscribe. Back to author, speaker and our REAL TIME guest, Kelley Keehn. Guess what? She’s got her own amazing website, kelleykeehn.com. That’s Kelley, K-E-L-L-E-Y, Keehn, K-E-E-H-N.com.

She’s the author of 10 books, but she’s just found one of our favourite apps plus more great tips. Let’s talk about the people who are deciding to come out of self-isolation and dip their toes into purchasing then. Kelley, what advice would you give to somebody who’s just starting to look at maybe stepping on that first rung of the property ladder? How do they do so responsibly?

Kelley: That’s such an important question, Erin, because a lot of people feel that, first of all, if they’re renting, I just hear these myths, it’s just so expensive, millennials can’t get into a home. Those things are not necessarily true. Maybe you have to tweak where your ideal home is. Maybe it’s getting a roommate to get started with, maybe you need an income suite to help get approved. The most important thing is to get started. If you really do have this inkling and this goal of homeownership, unpack it, start to do the simplest thing, go to the neighbourhood that you would love, reach out to a REALTOR® to help you narrow down to say, “Okay, this is my ideal, what is it going to cost?”

I can’t tell you how many people are like, they’ve already dismissed the idea of homeownership, they don’t even know really how much it costs, they haven’t really looked at their budget. Figure out where you want to be, what are your non-negotiables for a home? A great starting point. Then what you want to do is you want to do some financial legwork. I got to tell you, I flipped over on the CREA site crea.ca, REALTOR.ca, I can’t believe that I haven’t seen these resources before. They’re incredible. Seriously, I was playing around and their calculators are so intuitive. They really answer the questions that a lot of people wouldn’t even think to ask.

For example, there’s some great, decent preapproval calculators on a lot of websites. Another resource I really like is the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. I know that’s a mouthful, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada if you just Google them and then add the word calculator, they have a lot of great calculators, like how to pay down your credit card debt, all that type of stuff that you may need to do before you’re even thinking about buying a home. Let’s say you’re close, you’re close to getting a home, these calculators were so fantastic. You can figure out exactly what you need for a down payment, you punch in your income, you punch in what you think your property taxes are going to be, some of those details, it spits out what you can afford.

Erin, what I love the most is it also shows you the impact of your down payment. If you’re coming in with less than 20%, it’s going to show you approximately how much those insurance fees are going to be if it’s CMHC, or it’s other insurers like Genworth that you’re going to have to pay and you can be like, “Wow, maybe I need to wait a few more years, maybe I need to save up a little bit more.” Or you might say, “No, it’s worth it to get right in.” That definitely is your best first step. I’d say, find out where you want to live, reach out to a REALTOR® to get some help, get online, get your calculator, maybe sit down with someone like a certified financial planner, or a nonprofit credit counselor to help you get out of any high-interest rate debt.

Then very lastly is working with your banker or your mortgage broker, once you’re ready to actually give you a rate guarantee. You don’t want to miss out on that in case interest rates go up. Definitely, I know there’s a lot of steps there to unpack, but if you just start with the first one or two, it’s real easy to get that momentum going.

Erin: How important is credit score in Canada? I know when you’re online, the credit score app comes up and check your credit score, check your credit score. That’s a US thing. Where does credit score come in when you’re looking at figuring out, okay, I want to make the biggest down payment that I can, looking at those interest rates. How big is that in terms of a Canadian who is planning to make a big purchase? Is that something that a bank or lender would be looking at pretty closely before they put a stamp on our mortgage application?

Kelley: Yes, Erin, and I’m so happy you brought that up because that is also something you really want to be on top of well in advance of your home buying goal setting. If you have a spouse, this may be tough Erin, a lot of people have not revealed their credit scores to each other. I don’t have a Canadian stat, but just anecdotally, 43% of Americans don’t even know what their spouse earns. They don’t know exactly what their– I know, I’m hoping that is not the same in Canada. When you hear a number like that, it wouldn’t be uncommon that a couple could be together for years or decades and they’ve never checked their credit score together or shared that.

You definitely want to look at this well in advance. Now, it is obviously not the only criteria, but it’s a big component to the lending process. Your credit report, you can get for free right now during COVID as often as you want online because, of course, the Equifax and TransUnion, they don’t have their doors open. You can get it online, but it doesn’t tell you your magic score. Your score should be the same with TransUnion and Equifax. Those are the two Canadian reporting agencies. You, unfortunately, have to pay for your score if you want it from them, but you’re right, Erin, you can get it for free. Your bank often will have that option for you to check your score, maybe your credit card company.

There’s some third-party companies out there that will give you your score for free. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions because maybe you’re giving away some privacy to get it for free. Anyhow, your score is anywhere from 300 to 900, 720 is probably a decent score for lending. It can be as low as 680 to get approved for a mortgage. That’s just one criteria. That’s just a little snapshot saying, how have you managed paying your debt? Now your credit could really be hurt because of COVID. Maybe you missed a few payments, things of that sort and you’re going to need 6 months to 12 months to get that back up.

I have to tell you that when I was in the financial industry, I dealt with a lot of high-net-worth clients. Especially maybe one spouse when their partner passed away and they had no income, they could have had a high net worth, but they had no credit and the bank was not very willing to lend to them because they had no credit history. You can be in this situation. I’ve actually talked to young folks that they thought they were doing everything right, paying their cars for cash, never using a credit card, not going into any student loan debt and then came time to get approved, they’ve got a down payment, all of this, they’ve got great income, they have no credit score or they don’t have a good one because they weren’t building credit.

It’s a great opportunity for REALTORS® to talk with prospective buyers or maybe buyers like parents that their adult children want to get into the market to be like, “Hey, maybe one of your first steps is checking that credit score, making sure it’s accurate, making sure something isn’t on there that’s pulling your score down that shouldn’t be and making sure that you’ve got the time to repair it because it doesn’t get repaired overnight that’s for sure.”

Erin: Once you found that house of your dreams and then you find out that your spouse has student loans or anything that went sideways that they either forgot about or just chose to put aside, that’s not the time to have the fight in the driveway.

Kelley: 100%.

Erin: Speaking of 100% and giving credit where credit is due, here’s to you if you’re an inspiration to others, why not share the good news? All you do is go to REALTORSCARE.ca. REALTORS® Care is the national brand that celebrates great charitable work by the REALTOR® community in Canada. Help raise awareness for the charities and causes closest to you by sharing your story at REALTORSCARE.ca. Back to Kelley Keehn on REAL TIME with more advice for first-time buyers. It never hurts to get into a potential client’s head just a little more. So, let’s do that. Plus, Kelley’s anti-budget idea for all of us.

Is there a time, Kelley, that’s too early to talk to a REALTOR® about your hopes and dreams? We’ve been discussing the nuts and bolts of financial institutions and online roadmaps. What about just sitting down over a coffee or Zoom, I guess today, to talk with a REALTOR® about where it is you want to go?

Kelley: Oh, absolutely. Here’s the thing. If you don’t touch the dream, Erin, it’s not going to happen. If you never go to the neighbourhood, if you never call up a REALTOR® to understand maybe some blind spots about home buying, neighbourhoods that are up and coming. I’m usually in Toronto, but I’m back home in Edmonton and there’s a major LRT being built four blocks away. What does that mean? Does that mean that that will increase my property value, decrease it? If I would’ve known this a number of years ago and I probably did, I should have picked up the phone to a REALTOR® and said, “Hey, should I stay? Should I sell? What does this mean?” I have no idea.

These are professionals that have a pulse of what neighbourhoods are up and coming, which ones maybe you can get a really great deal in and in 10 years you can actually see that appreciation. Maybe some that are overvalued. They definitely have that inside information that it would be pretty difficult to find on your own. They’re going to offer that for you for free. Why not take them up on it?

Erin: Sure. It may not be an investment that pays off for the REALTOR® at that moment, but down the road, you remember who helped you and, hopefully, you’re able to get in touch and say, “Hey, I’m back and I’m ready.” Here we go.

Kelley: Do you know what, Erin, every time, and I’ve been in my house, this one house that I’ve had, I’ve had it for like 25 years and I’ve called REALTORS® a couple of times to be like, “Should I renovate? Should I sell? What should I do?” I was a terrible client. I didn’t buy once, but you know what I did? Every single time, I was like, “Oh, you know what, I bet my neighbor over there, they’re thinking about selling.” Every time the REALTOR® came and invested time with me, even though they didn’t make any money with me and they didn’t get the sale, they got a sale from someone that I referred them to because it was top of mind.

It’s just that, like you said, it’s that human element, it’s that reciprocity. You did something for me, I can’t pay you, I’m not going to be your client, but I’m going to work my best to help find someone because you provided me such incredible value that was worth a lot.

Erin: Yes. It’s like when we were talking with the folks who founded RankMyAgent, there’s nothing more powerful than word of mouth and someone you trust endorsing something or someone.

Kelley: Absolutely. If I call you, if you’re my mom, my sister, my friend and say, “This REALTOR® went above and beyond.” How easy is that? I think a lot of people will go above and beyond when someone really came to help solve a problem that they just couldn’t figure out on their own. Erin, everyone, our housing needs have changed so rapidly that we’re all looking at our homes going, “Oh my goodness.” We’ve never examined them so closely and if they fit our needs and I don’t think there’s ever a time that is more ripe for opportunities than REALTORS® to just get out there, if it’s a webinar, if it’s conversations, if it’s, like you said, Zoom, just like, “Hey, let’s just have a chat about your home needs. What’s going on for you?”

Maybe you need a place with a rental suite, maybe the kids moved back home. I can’t tell you how many people had their kids move back home that their housing needs rapidly are not working for them anymore. University is happening for a lot of people virtually and the kids aren’t leaving this fall.

Erin: Yes. Soundproofing is the first step and then you go from there.

Kelley: Indeed.

Erin: Yes. Well, this year, 2020, we’ve seen, what is it, 4 in 10 Canadians now, 40% of us are saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our financial stress levels.” Half of us are losing sleep over financial worries. Do you have any tips? I know, 10 books. How many tips do you have that you could share to help us alleviate financial stress due to COVID-19, Kelley?

Kelley: Erin, it’s so essential. There’s three things that I think Canadians really need to take away from that. There’s such a cognitive load right now that’s just causing so much financial friction. Actually, studies have shown that when you have financial stress, your IQ is temporarily reduced. You can’t even see that there’s opportunities. The most important thing is just to get real back to basics, know what income you have and see if you can increase it, know what expenses you have and see if you can cut them. I’ll get into that in a second. Then number three is building that buffer, building that emergency savings account.

That survey that you were quoting, that was from FP Canada, those are the people that certify financial planners in Canada. The Canadian Payroll Association also came out with a very interesting survey this spring right when COVID was happening. Their survey revealed that it wasn’t what you make, even people making $150,000 a year, there’s been lots of studies saying your level of happiness increases to a certain amount of income and then you’re no more happy. What their survey revealed was, the sleep at night factor was having that buffer, having that emergency savings account. A lot of people didn’t have it. 

Before COVID, 50% of Canadians were $200 away from not being able to pay their bills. The reality is, we went into this crisis without the buffer. I know a lot of people are coming out of it going, “Never again.” Going to make sure that you’ve got that emergency savings no matter what. What do you do? One of the things in my book and I talk about a lot is something I call my 30-day anti-budget. I don’t like the B-word, it doesn’t work for me, it’s like the D-word, diet. Anyone can go on a diet, lose weight, it’s can you stick to it? Most people can’t.

The anti-budget, it’s something I do with my husband every single– We do it twice a year and all you have to do for 30 days is track your spending. Sounds super simple, lots of apps out there, you can use your own bank apps, but you need to dig in a little bit more. Pennies and cents make a difference when you’re trying to get that buffer. It’s calling up your cell phone provider seeing if you can get a better deal. If you’ve got high interest rate credit card debt, that’s costing you an astronomical amount of money every month. I just looked at even just some stuff that people might be spending their money on like weed and booze and gambling and unused subscriptions, we actually spend a lot of those.

If you add that up, that actually comes for the average Canadian to over $4,800 a year. If you could just slash that in half, just in half, that could very quickly find a decent emergency savings account. It’s not all about sacrifice, it’s about choice and awareness. Maybe you can even bump it up more if saving for that down payment is really important. If you do nothing more than just dig into your own finances, track your spending for 30 days, see where your money is going and then see where you can trim the fat, I think it’s a lot more sustainable than trying to stick to a budget.

Erin: $4,800 a year. Did you hear that? Maybe one of the kids called you. Go back and listen. Wow. 

Coming up on REAL TIME, Kelley talks about forced savings and her idea for an app and warnings for us about others. Have you checked out REALTOR.ca Living Room yet? Come on in. It’s the source for all things home. From articles on market trends and developments in real estate, to DIYs and all things design, we’ve got just the inspiration you need in one place on Living Room. 

Kelley Keehn is bestselling author and personal finance educator, consumer advocate. No wonder her latest book is called Talk Money to Me, which is exactly what we are doing here today.

You talked about the extraneous expenses, the weed, the booze, the gambling, the trips for fast food or coffee or whatever that just add up exponentially. Movie theater tickets, not so much these days, but the things we subscribe to and they just sit there. Is there, in your experience, an app or a program, besides your anti-budget idea which sounds great, that would– Let’s just use for an example the forced savings that our paychecks would give us, when they took off a chunk and you never saw it, you never missed it and then at the end, you either get a pension or you get some stock in your company or whatever. Is there something, Kelley, that can offer that forced saving of money that you never saw?

Kelley: I wish there were. There are some workarounds, but is there an actual app? Now, there are some fantastic apps out there. There’s some apps that will round up your spending so you can set the parameters. Here’s the fact, unfortunately, right now in Canada, we do not have something called open banking, or what Canada is calling consumer-driven finance.

What that means is, there isn’t an app or a way that you can look at all of your financial information and, let’s say, automatically do forced savings from all your financial information or track your spending or what have you, so much so that I’m actually working on a FinTech solution for that right now. 

Here’s the thing to note, is because there’s so many fantastic apps out there and Canadians are divulging their information, you need to be very careful because if you’re using a financial app that is linking into your credit card or your investments or your bank accounts and it’s not your bank app, you actually can nullify the fraud protection that you have when using your debit or your credit card. You want to be super, super careful that you’re very aware of that, but what can you do? 

If you were an employee, go to your employer. They probably have a savings program, a pay-yourself-first program that you may or may not be aware of. There’s probably matching programs with RSPs and other incentives, maybe stock purchase plans and matching plans. If you are not an employee, you’re on your own, you’re part of the gig economy, small business owner, you can do it yourself. You can just set up a forced savings plan that, unfortunately, doesn’t come from your paycheck because you’re paying yourself, but it comes out every month like a bill.

Canadians are fantastic with paying their bills. We just aren’t very good with savings. We used to be and fair enough, in the 1980s when interest rates were in the double-digits, there was a lot more incentive to save than there is now, but doing it every single month, having that habit, even if you just start with $25 or $50 a month and just keep increasing it, those dollars add up super, super fast.

Erin: Let’s talk about parents, the buffer zone between their offspring and possible financial ruin with the uncertainty, the debt, the low interest rates, everything that we talked about, how many parents are you finding are now the bank of mommy and daddy, as we used to call ourselves, how much are you seeing that change now in the whole financial puzzle?

Kelley: There’s a lot. Now, FP Canada had a survey a year ago and we followed it up from a couple of years ago as well. It was called Failure to Launch, it was how many adult children are actually, as you said, relying on the bank of mom and dad to either help them out with schooling, with housing, with all of that type of stuff. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it was a large number of parents could not retire when they wanted to or pay off their own debt because they were actually helping their adult kids. Now, that survey hasn’t been updated through COVID, but I dare say, anecdotally from the Canadians I’ve been talking to throughout this crisis, so many of them are helping out their children.

Then the sandwich generation, Erin, maybe even helping out their parents with delivery services and things of that sort just to help them get through COVID. They’re in the sandwich generation squish. It’s really important to make sure that if you are helping your children out financially, that there’s clear communication, that there’s documentation. If you’re giving a child a large amount of money for schooling, for helping with a down payment, if you’re co-signing for something, please consult a professional like a lawyer or a charter professional accountant or certified financial planner because there’s bigger questions to be had such as, is this a gift or is it a loan?

If you have more than one child and you’re only helping one child out, how does that affect the other children? Is that going to come off of their inheritance? Are you going to be open about that with the family? This is where a lot of very uncomfortable things start to manifest with families, it comes out at Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving dinner and things of that sort, a lot of resentment, one child keeps getting help. If you can’t have the conversations on your own, again, get that professional to help. Sometimes it’s like it needs to be a heavy hand, maybe you need to send your adult child to a nonprofit credit counselor and get them to really look at their finances because they keep coming back to the bank of mom and dad. Again, not easy conversations, but you want to make sure you really dig into all those details.

Erin: Absolutely. Making a child feel awkward because you’re getting them to sign a note that says you gave them this money is going to probably save a whole lot of heartache and not to mention the legal problems down the road. It’s a little bit of temporary pain for a whole lot of peace in the future, I would guess.

Kelley: Absolutely, Erin. What if, especially as we see more and more people going into the gig economy, especially younger folks opening their own little companies or being an entrepreneur, what if you give this large gift for a down payment or even help them pay their home more than a down payment or co-sign and they now maybe marry someone that goes bankrupt, maybe they go bankrupt because that industry was lost because of COVID or what have you. When you have these conversations like, “Hey, look adult child, it’s not just about my belief in you, it’s about what may happen to you through marriage, through uncertainty, through lawsuits, through what have you. We want to make sure that we protect this pot of money that mom and dad may be work decades or a half a century to earn, that it’s done properly.”

Then the other question too is, how are you going to help the kids? Are you cashing in investments? When is the best time to cash those in? Are you taking a line of credit? What is the best way for you to fund it? You can see how it becomes complex very quickly. What seems like a very simple decision, we’re going to help Johnny or Jenny out, can have a lot of layers that need to be explored.

Erin: Have you heard the saying, never waste a crisis? Well, you’re about to when Kelley returns, plus what surprised her most about 2020? Here’s a hint, it’s about slowing it down. Before we do, here’s an espresso reminder about CREA Café, it’s created for REALTORS® and includes insightful new content created hot and fresh weekly. Join the conversation at CREACafe.ca. You might just say thanks a latte or not, that’s okay. Just check it out. 

I hope you’re enjoying our conversation with Kelley Keehn, just the latest guest in the REAL TIME podcast series if you subscribed. Now, back to very special guest Kelley Keehn on REAL TIME.

Let’s turn it back to REALTORS® as we get set to wrap up here, Kelley and we could talk forever. I can see why you’ve got 10 books and I look forward to watching you on season 11 of The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV as well this year. Lots more of Kelley everywhere fortunately for us. I love your saying that you borrowed, ‘never waste a crisis’. This applies so perfectly to REALTORS® for 2020 and beyond. Do you want to extrapolate on that a little bit?

Kelley: Yes, and thank you for your kind words, Erin. I do appreciate it. It’s so great to be with you. People are suffering. They’re at home with their spouse and their cats and their kids and like you said, something as simple as soundproofing, maybe recommending that somebody get an interior wood door, doing an in-home assessment for someone, of course, with masks and social distancing and all of that sort. There’s so many opportunities for REALTORS®. I’ll just give you this anecdote. I met with my social media girl; she now has a team. This was few years ago and I remember there was a class of hers I couldn’t attend and I said, “Can I hire you individually just to walk me through how to do Instagram and Twitter and all that type of stuff?” She said, “Sure.”

She sat down and went through all of this with me, Erin. All sounded great. Six months later, I did none of that. I came to her and said, “Can I please hire you?” She’s been my social media team for three years now. You might not get the sale as we talked about earlier. You might not get the sale. You might put this extra effort out. It might not seem like it was worth it, but when you position yourself as a REALTOR® to be their real estate authority regardless, you have no idea what you could spark in the next week or next month to be like, “Wow, you came and gave us all these ideas and we realize it’s going to cost way too much. We would rather buy a new house with you or something of that sort.”

On the flip side, there are a lot of people that have saved money over COVID. They may be saved childcare cost, or not going out as much, they’re not traveling. Maybe they’re interested in buying a rental property, maybe they’re interested in a real estate as an investment. So many conversations to be heard and it’s not just about that transaction. It’s about that relationship and now more than ever people are looking at their homes with fresh eyes. I just think that a REALTOR® can provide such reassurance, help them make complex decisions and, as you said, be part of that coveted referral process that guarantees to sell a lot more, I think, than any other form of marketing or effort does.

Erin: Kelley, we usually wrap up the show with something fast or an open house or something, but I’m going to slow it down based on something you told me surprised you most about 2020. Want to share that with us?

Kelley: Love it, Erin, yes. COVID I renamed the slowVID. What do I mean by that? I was part of a local slow food movement decades ago where it was all about, let’s get back to sitting at the dining room table and farm-to-table and going to farmers’ market knowing about your food. I’ve been wanting a slow-money movement for a long time. I think that COVID, if we look at it as this slowVID, we’ve been forced to slow down. It’s been awful, awful for so many people absolutely, but I think the silver lining is in that slowness, we’ve been able to hopefully appreciate what money doesn’t buy, that if you go to the store and there’s toilet paper and food on the shelf, that that is a very exciting thing.

A hug from your parent, just being able to have a coffee out in public with someone, even if you have to wear a mask. Things that as a 45-year-old, my mom told me about the depression I didn’t get, but just that real appreciation of what’s important today. As I sit in my home talking to you, my home has never been more appreciated than ever before. I just think that it’s been such an honour to be on this podcast with you. I have great admiration for CREA and what REALTORS® do to provide this literal and metaphorical roof over your head is, I think, a very noble profession and industry.

Erin: I couldn’t end it any better than that. We’ll wrap it up for this time. Thank you, thank you, Kelley. We look forward, as I say, to seeing you on season 11 with Marilyn Denis. Okay, 10 books, is there an 11 coming for you or you’re just kicking back with all this going on?

Kelley: There’s 11 and 12. By the way, Erin, it’s such a pleasure to be with you. You are such an inspiration. I hope everyone listening googles you and gets your book, which I will be doing the second I get off of this conversation with you, but yes, Talk Money to Me is actually being updated and re-released with the COVID edition in January, which I’m really excited about. We’re rushing that book as quickly as possible because Canadians really need help with their deferrals and everything else. Yes, and stay tuned in 2021. There’s another one coming as well with Simon & Schuster.

Erin: Great. Well, can I suggest a re-up for your title Talk Money to Me but Do It From Over There?

Kelley: Love that.

Oh, you’re so brilliant.

Erin: Thank you, Kelley.

Kelley: Thank you, Erin.

Erin: Thanks to Kelley Keehn for her time and her insight and for sharing both with us here today. Don’t forget you can learn so much more about her books, upcoming appearances and more at kelleykeehn, K-E-L-L-E-Y K-E-E-H-N.com. 

Before we wrap up, I’ve got a question for you. What is the best piece of real estate advice you’ve received during your career? Has someone shared bulletproof marketing insights or profound thoughts on managing client relationships? We want to hear about advice you’ve received that had a positive impact on your career. Just call 1-888-768-6793. That’s 1-888-768-6793 and leave us a message. Hopefully, it’ll be shared in our next episode, maybe like this call.

Toni: Hi Erin, my name is Toni Sing. I am a REALTOR® at Bel-Air Realty Group in Vancouver. I just finished listening to your last podcast. It was very, very informative. I wanted to call in. To be honest, the best piece of advice that I found has worked for me is, listen to your client. The reason why it’s been such amazing advice is because it relates directly to knowing your client, knowing what’s important to them and client care. These are all essential in finding them either the right property and screening out the ones that would not be a fit based on what the client said and if you listened to the client and also really making their dream or plan happen and coming up with the proper way to support them. I look forward to your next episode. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work.

Erin: Thank you for that call. We love to hear from you. If you have some advice you want to share with everybody, don’t be shy. Just call this number and leave a message. 1-888-768-6793. Again, 1-888-768-6793. Thanks. Just before we go, here’s another reason you’re going to want to subscribe to this podcast. Up next time an in-depth discussion about the importance of home with award-winning Canadian author of From the Ashes, Jesse Thistle. You won’t want to miss it. 

REAL TIME is produced by Real Family Productions and Alphabet® Creative. I’m Erin Davis. Talk to you again soon and don’t forget to subscribe.