Last month we printed and distributed the first issue of REM since April.

Like so many small businesses in Canada, over the summer we had to quickly adapt to rapidly changing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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We decided to put our monthly magazine on “hiatus” while we waited, optimistically, for things to return to normal. After all, it would not make much sense to print and distribute a magazine if all the real estate offices we deliver our magazine to across the country were closed.

Instead, we decided to use this time away as an opportunity to redesign and relaunch the magazine. This was a project I have wanted REM to embark on for years – though, I never could have imagined the circumstances which would finally make it possible.

I am immensely proud of the result, and REM’s new, glossy cover format. Much of the credit belongs to our art director Eilidh Harding, who joined our team over the summer, as well Eddie Parkes and the team at Metroland here in Toronto, who have been with us since our second issue. Of course, without the hard work of our founding and long-time editor Jim Adair, there would not be anything to fill the pages of REM with in the first place, no matter how nice the presentation.

While our new and improved October issue turned out better than I could have dreamed it would, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an utter nightmare.

We hoped – perhaps a little too optimistically – that, by now, the worst of the pandemic would have passed, businesses would be reopening and life would be returning to normal. Due to the nature of publishing, these things need to be decided well in advance – a daunting prospect when dealing with something so unpredictable.

Sadly, the second wave has arrived, and just as we thought the coast might be clear. Despite new confirmed cases in Toronto at one point dipping below an average of 10 per day, they have since skyrocketed back up into the hundreds. It is much the same across the country.

Amid the ongoing economic uncertainty, our advertising revenue – which we depend on to produce REM – has dropped significantly. And many of the offices we would normally deliver to remain closed.

As such, we find ourselves with no other choice but to suspend production of our publication once again, this time indefinitely. There will be no more print issues of REM in 2020 and, most likely, well into 2021.

I believe our October issue is a wonderful example of what could be for a new, modern REM in the future. I do hope that in the new year we will once again be able to relaunch REM as a print publication.

We can take some small comfort in knowing we are not alone. From what I have heard, it is the same story for small businesses everywhere – many of whom are your clients or are signed to a lease with your clients.

For many publications like ours, times were tough even before the pandemic. Magazines and newspapers were already on the ropes. REM is no exception, and we are certainly not the only publication to have felt the crunch.

So, is it all doom and gloom from here on out?

I choose to believe it is not. There is hope on the horizon.

2020 has been an awakening for so many people to so many extremely important issues: the structural and institutional racism that endures and continues to hold so many non-white Canadians from achieving their dreams; soaring income inequality that has evaporated the middle class; and the fact that so many of our neighbours live on the knife’s edge of poverty, one missed paycheque from losing everything.

There is no going back. For everything it has taken away, 2020 gave us a fresh perspective on the status quo, which has the potential to drive us towards real, beneficial change in the years to come.

In our own humble way, that is the spirit that will drive us at REM: Change, renewal and progress.

To complement our October issue’s new design and format, we will be rolling out a fresh new design for our website, which we’ve been hard at work on over these past few months. This newly redesigned website will also have a new domain: realestatemagazine.ca. REMonline.com will still direct you to this website, and links to old articles should continue to work normally.

Even if the relaunch of REM didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, just as 2020 didn’t for all of us, I continue to believe that we will all come out of this crisis stronger for having gone through it.

We will emerge from 2020 into a world of renewed possibility. Do not let that potential go to waste.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is a sad day for organized real estate across Canada as REM has been the only source of industry info not produced to convince us the very members of organized real estate to do something often not in our own personal or business interests.

    Brookfields purchase of Genworth and rebranding under Sagan is a case in point as only REM offered an opportunity to expose the risk to non-Royal Lepage brand users such a move creates.

    REM has offered opinions and thought provoking insights that even the USA lacks because REM has a longer history in the industry of organized real estate than 97% of the members themselves have been been around for.

    The archives of REM show the history of the industry in real time. It exposes those who professed to offer a new koolaid only to be found out they were selling water with food colouring and no sugar.

    REM was there when a nation moved from seller exclusive agency to the ability to represent buyers for the first time in the early 2000s.
    REM was there when the Great Housing Correction of the 1990s wiped out and destroyed the lives of so many of its readers.
    REM was there when mls.ca was launched when it moved to realtor.ca and even during the conflicts of the DDF and the demise of ownership of the copyrighted works of its members.

    The stories of the good done by sales reps across Canada as volunteered in their communities, raised money for causes and even those who moved into politics.

    Let’s be honest REM was around when we first fooled Tim Hudak as a Minister with allowing dual agency to be included in REBBA 2002 in Ontario and the full circle when we hired him to fool the current government with TRESA.

    Real Estate Sales is about to undergo a transformation discussed and often warned about here on the pages of REM for over 30 years.

    I hope REM considers moving to a subscription model to navigate the path ahead until once again advertising dollars could put copies free in my real true paper mailbox once again.

    Do not leave the industry and consider allowing us to purchase a simple 12 month subscription where you could deliver the timely industry news we as your readers really need.

    This is your opportunity to rebrand REM and move it into the post-covid real estate world keeping staff employed with the priceless and only source of real estate sales rep news in North America.

    I say this as a Real Estate Professional subscriber since the 80s and an open naysayer to the Inman’s of the industry.

    The Molls name has a tradition in this industry that should continue for years to come.

  2. GREAT PICTURE CHOICE about says it all!
    Every agent drives a car. Every brokerage works with a bank (no choice; captive market). It’s time some of that advertising money got spent at REM.

    Message to agents: Print out a msg and snail mail to your auto dealership and to your bank suggesting they buy ads at REM. They have plenty of advertising dollars and often work through an agency or head office. Say how to contact REM. Send an email to your dealership and to your bank asking to forward the msg to their head office. That since you support the dealership and the bank you are requesting they support REM by placing an ad.

    Use your call to action skills to help REM solicit ads. The paper version went coast to coast but the online version goes worldwide. Advertisers get huge coverage.

    How about including a msg to your local Home Depot and such.

    And speak to your mortgage broker contacts that they can remind their head office about the direct connection opportunity they are missing out on by not advertising at REM.

    And then of course there are lawyers, many of whom don’t believe in advertising seeing it as begging for business. But some do advertise to be found on Google.

    High power agents spend millions annually congregated, promoting their personal expertise in generic newspapers. How about buying some ad space (prepaid) at REM, a great networking opportunity to be the go-to referral agent in your area. Plus: the public reads REM. A better possibility of agents getting their name out there than bus shelters and postal fliers.

    Carolyne L

  3. This publication will be missed! Always enjoy reading the articles, agreeing or disagreeing with the opinion and learning something new. All the best in the re-launch – stay safe everyone.

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