Typical Shopping Centre Perception

Ever notice that your perception of the perfect property depends on who you are and your motives at the time?


Changes to the HST on New Homes - A Lobbying Success

TheStar.com | News & Features | Lobbying nets 'major' changes to HST on new home purchases

A little good news on the HST front. The Provincial Government has agreed to some changes to how the new HST will be applied to houses.

But after vigorous lobbying from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the Ontario Home Builders' Association, the province has agreed to charge the HST only on the amount of the purchase price over $400,000 and not the entire purchase price.

"This is a much-needed win for builders and homebuyers," said BILD president and CEO Stephen Dupuis. "This is a major amendment."

"It was the right move for the government to make," said Ontario Home Builders' Association president Frank Giannone. "And the lower middle class, who we were worried about, will be protected."

There's still a long way to go, but this is welcome news.


What's the Best Business Advice You've Ever Recieved?

“The Best Business Advice I Ever Got” | Real Estate Opinion MAG - AgentGenius

Found this great piece on agentgenius.com today and just had to share it with you. Personally, I've had a few really good pieces of advice through the years. Some of the best were:
  1. Underpromise and overdeliver. (On the linked list too.)
  2. Be yourself; don't compromise who you are for the sake of a deal.
  3. This one's a little more greed oriented but it's still always stuck with me: Everyone you see walking down the street has $50 in their pocket that belongs to you. Your job is to try to get them to give it to you.
There have been many more, but I'd like to hear yours. What's the best business advice you've ever received?


Is Your Mortgage a Death Pledge?

You didn't just sign that did you?!

Just a quick post today about the history of the word mortgage. I remember when I learned the origin of the word 'mortgage' back in real estate class in the mid '90s, and I couldn't help laughing out loud at it. Literally, the instructor told us, it was a 'death (mort) pledge (gage)'. Pay up or 'Vinny' will come and take your money or your hide!

mort·gage n.
1. A temporary, conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for performance of an obligation or repayment of a debt.
2. A contract or deed specifying the terms of a mortgage.
3. The claim of a mortgagee upon mortgaged property.

tr.v. mort·gaged, mort·gag·ing, mort·gag·es
1. To pledge or convey (property) by means of a mortgage.
2. To make subject to a claim or risk; pledge against a doubtful outcome: mortgaged their political careers by taking an unpopular stand.

[Middle English morgage, from Old French : mort, dead (from Vulgar Latin *mortus, from Latin mortuus, past participle of mor, to die; see mer- in Indo-European roots) + gage, pledge (of Germanic origin).]

Word History: The great jurist Sir Edward Coke, who lived from 1552 to 1634, has explained why the term mortgage comes from the Old French words mort, "dead," and gage, "pledge." It seemed to him that it had to do with the doubtfulness of whether or not the mortgagor will pay the debt. If the mortgagor does not, then the land pledged to the mortgagee as security for the debt "is taken from him for ever, and so dead to him upon condition, &c. And if he doth pay the money, then the pledge is dead as to the [mortgagee]." This etymology, as understood by 17th-century attorneys, of the Old French term morgage, which we adopted, may well be correct. The term has been in English much longer than the 17th century, being first recorded in Middle English with the form morgage and the figurative sense "pledge" in a work written before 1393. Source
The modern usage of the word has become muddied, most people talk of paying off their mortgage rather than the loan secured by it, and very few people give any thought to the origin of 'mortgage'. In a time when it's become more difficult to obtain real estate loans secured by mortgages, I thought it was fitting to take a look at how easy we really have it today. It often feels like the bank owns your property, even though title is no longer held by the lender as it was in the past, but no one asks you to actually give a death pledge today...well not often ;)


The State of Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate industry is "in the intensive care unit," according to real estate mogul Richard LeFrak, president of The LeFrak Organization.
This video was brought to my attention by my associate, Harry Huffman. Harry runs his own blog - take a look here.

Great talk about the state of the American commercial real estate industry and the necessary changes that are coming in terms of the mindset of property owners, buyers and sellers. I'm not convinced however, that the same drastic changes will come to the Canadian market - other than perception in the minds of buyers. Granted, prices need to come down somewhat here, and it is definitely more difficult to finance deals today than it was 8 or 9 months ago, but the real problem is buyer perception. Interest rates have not increased that dramatically yet and the spreads are still healthy on a lot of investments here.

As I asked in an earlier post, did someone change investment fundamentals when I wasn't looking?

If I can still invest my money in a stable property with a stable tenant with a good covenant and achieve my hurdle rate, isn't it still prudent to make that investment? Do I really need to wait two years for everyone else to start buying again (increased competition) before I get back into the game? Shouldn't I be buying when everyone else is selling or worse yet, doing nothing? That's how Warren Buffet became so fabulously wealthy - by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It's also how Donald Trump's empire grew - he looked for good deals regardless of what the market was doing. A good deal is a good deal no matter when you look at it. What is the opportunity cost of waiting for the 'right time'?

I don't have all of the answers. Do you?


Before you give Dad that tie, make sure he knows how to tie it!

Found this the other day and couldn't resist posting it for Father's Day (tomorrow). It's also a great reminder for those of us who may have become a little less than fashionable at the office. Let's stay classy gentlemen, real estate is a profession, not a vacation! Make that knot crisp and clean, and I'll see you at the office :)

Happy Father's Day guys!


How I Do Less, With Less Stress and Make More Money

Do you often feel that you:

  • have too much to do?
  • have too many calls to return?
  • have too many people nibbling away at your time and energy?
  • have too many 'clients' sucking up your time and never closing a deal?
  • spend too much time away from family?
  • can't remember your last vacation?
  • are still struggling to make ends meet?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're doing too much of the wrong kind of business!

Ever heard of Pareto? He was an Italian economist at the turn of the 20th century who observed that 80% of results come from 20% of the inputs.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes...It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., "80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients."
Smart guy, Vilfredo Pareto. Are you taking advantage of this principle in your business? It's a tough thing to wrap your brain around - I know it was for me. For about 9 years in this business, I did what most agents do, what we're told to do - I tried to please everyone all of the time. Not smart. I was able to grow my business, sure, but not at the pace I knew I should be acheiving. You simply can't be all things to all people.

There had to be more to the way this business is done. My partner and I decided - without having considered Pareto's Principle - that we needed more time off before we just burned out. We also came to realize that life is just too short to deal with jerks.

So we stopped.

The year we decided to make a radical change in our business (around 2004), we each took about 5 or 6 weeks vacation. We reduced the number of people we dealt with to a small number of clients who were serious about making things happen and who we realized would produce the bulk of our income anyway. In other words, we fired about 80% of our clients and spent more time working with the other 20%.

It was magic! We were home for dinner and for kids and grandkids functions! We almost completely quit working on weekends and turned off the cell phone after 5 or 6 pm. Our smaller group of clients were happy to see that we were taking time off. Imagine that - your clients are happy that you're not available - this was incredible!

Because we were focusing on meaningful business relationships, we closed more deals, made more money, and became much less stressed out. The business was fun again!

The 80-20 rule doesn't just apply from our side of the desk though. If you're an investor or property owner, consider using this principle in your business too. Take a good hard look at what you're doing every day and decide to focus your efforts only the 20% that actually gets results and let the other 80% go by the wayside. Stop calling every agent in town to 'get the scoop' and interview several until you can narrow your contacts down to one or two really good agents that you can work with. With just one contact that you feel you can work with, you'll have less to keep track of, and fewer headaches. And since you'll have a better, more constructive and trusting relationship with that person, you'll find that you actually do more productive business and your income will go up while your down time also increases.

I just love a win-win solution, don' you? How else can you apply the 80-20 rule to your daily life?


Reality Check on Car Dealer Site Redevelopment Anyone?

On Monday, June 15th, an article appeared on thestar.com titled, "Un-pave car dealer's lots to put up paradise" On the surface of it, this sounds like a glorious idea. Who isn't sick of all the pavement? Who wouldn't love to see more green space in our cities? Why shouldn't these sites, many of which are likely contaminated, be turned into something friendlier and nicer and greener than a vast flat parking lot with old ugly service shops on them?

While no one has any clear idea – most dealers aren't talking – some, including local architects and urban planners, are drooling over the possibilities of turning parking lots back into paradise.

"For planners, car dealerships are always opportunity sites," says Jennifer Keesmaat, of the Office for Urbanism, an urban planning and design firm, working on large-scale planning projects across Canada.

Community markets. Community gardens. A place for local festivals and celebrations.
Well, let's take a look at the reality of these sites. I can think of a few hundred people who might be very upset about turning property that has been generating very large rates of income over the last few decades into sites with little or no economic value; the property owners themselves! Put yourself in their shoes - these aren't big bad corporations - they're hard working business owners who have employed thousands of Canadians for decades! Unless they really have a desire to give these sites away, or municipalities would like to buy these sites for market value (your money at work by the way), then these sites will have to be redeveloped under other car brands, as used car lots, or some other economic model that returns money on that money already invested in them.

I just heard of one GM dealer near Ottawa that put $11M into the showroom and service facility just last year and is now being shut down. (Can't seem to find the reference anywhere - so if anyone finds it, please post it in the comments.) That's a pretty hard reality pill to have to swallow. Now to be asked to redevelop the property into a craft markets or artisan shops is like a slap upside the head when the dealer just doesn't need it or can likely afford it.

For those property owners who'd get a warm fuzzy out of these ideas or, better yet, come up with a business model that makes sense under one of these schemes I say go for it! If such a clean, friendly use doesn't cut it in terms of their expected investment returns though, we'll all have to get used to the idea that these sites will likely continue to be commercial in nature.

In fact, if the Province of Ontario has their say under new intensification legislation, these sites will be required to be redeveloped into even more dense uses than they are currently being used for.


Warning: If you're not working with a Commercial REALTOR®, you're putting your investment dollars at risk!

Why should you work with a commercial REALTOR® for your real estate transaction? In effect you’re a business partner with training and expertise to help make sure you get the best possible deal. That’s basically everyone’s goal, whether buying or selling, leasing or looking for tenants.

Of all the time-saving elements that REALTORS® provide for their clients, managing, understanding and deciphering all the necessary paperwork involved in a real estate transaction is usually at the top of the list. In a commercial transaction that includes the implications of municipal zoning – making sure you can do what you want to do in the location you’ve selected.

In a 2007 national survey of business professionals involved in real estate, 92 per cent of all respondents said they would describe the services of a commercial REALTOR® for a transaction as highly useful, or useful.

  • 80% of all respondents said using the services of a commercial REALTOR® would save them time;
  • 80% of respondents said using a commercial REALTOR® would help avoid hassles and complications;
  • 86% of all respondents said using a commercial REALTOR® means market knowledge;
That market knowledge includes access to various property listing sources. The Canadian Commercial Council of REALTORS® operates the public ICX.CA website as one resource for investors, sellers, and tenants. REALTORS® are in the real estate business to advise, recommend, caution, and counsel their clients with a level of expertise that brings value to the transaction. Have a REALTOR® work on your behalf to bring your real estate transaction to a successful and timely conclusion.

A REALTOR® can be similar to a business partner during the real estate transaction. Your property or commercial obligation is important and a qualified real estate professional should be one of your most valuable resources and team members. A purchase, lease or sub-lease is a major commitment, for both parties, and requires the services of persons knowledgeable concerning market conditions and industry terms

Selling or buying property is one of the biggest business transactions most of us will ever make. Leasing the right space will be a critical factor in the successful growth of your company or business. REALTORS® have the qualifications and experience to help make a successful purchase, sale or lease. You should interview potential REALTORS®, and ask for a proposal. To select a REALTOR® who’s right for you or your company, begin by identifying several and interviewing at least two or three before making the final decision. If you were pleased with the services provided by the REALTOR® who helped you successfully complete a previous transaction, they may be your best choice again.

Also, pay attention to the primary business of the REALTOR®. Some REALTORS® specialize in selling commercial property, while others focus on residential real estate. Finally, do a little digging to see how other people feel about the REALTOR® you’re considering. REALTORS® who have a strong reputation for excellent service and professionalism are usually highly recommended.

Other key values a REALTOR® brings to the transaction involve education and licensing. Private individuals and institutions selling their own real estate or lending their own money as mortgage funding do not require a licence. For instance, a company selling their own building or a bank lending mortgage money may do so without a licence. However, when a person acts on behalf of another person in a real estate, property management or mortgage transaction, the appropriate licence issued by the province is required. When unlicensed people carry out activities requiring a licence, the client is put at risk. A REALTOR® has gone through the licensing and continuing education program in your province.

When you deal with a commercial council member you should expect to receive:
  • Access to a high degree of specialized knowledge and experience of commercial, industrial and investment business transactions;
  • A commitment to the real estate brokerage profession;
  • Access to a resource base of commercial buyers, sellers and leasing opportunities;
  • An opportunity to have your listing placed on the Multiple Listing Service® operated by the local real estate Board or Association, and placed on ICX.CA, the commercial information exchange website operated by The Canadian Real Estate Association
- taken from howcommercialrealtorshelp.ca


Who Else Wants a Creative Way to Finance Business Growth?

If you have equity in your property, you can still finance your business in this recession. You just need to get a little more creative. Sale/leaseback arrangements can provide companies and business owners that own real estate assets (with significant equity), with capital needed for expansion or debt reduction.

Under a sale/leaseback, the real estate is sold to an outside interest, which leases it back to the business. The greatest advantage of sale/leaseback arrangements is that you free up capital from non-business (non-earning) assets, and thereby improve the organization's financial situation. A sale/leaseback can dramatically improve the organization's debt-to-equity ratio and reduce interest costs.

The business is also freed from the burden of managing the property - which is usually not your core business.

If you are thinking of entering into a sale/leaseback contract, you need to focus on two major variables: the real estate's sale price, and the terms and rate of the lease. With interest rates at all-time lows, and investor appetite starting to return, sellers can still recognize gains in asset values. This means that it is a good time to consider this kind of transaction as you may realize a very nice return on your real estate right now.

Why not consider this as a way that you can free up a large amount of cash to invest in your business?

The terms and rate of your new lease will have a direct impact on the proceeds of the sale as the investor will use that information to formulate an offer. The rate should reflect both good value to you as the new tenant, and also be reflective of the market in general as an over-inflated rent can make the property less liquid to potential buyers when they are considering their ultimate exit from the property.


THINK Positive Campaign

Once again, I'd like to thank the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce for featuring one of our developments in their THINK Positive Campaign. We were involved in a land assembly on Chemong Road to develop a new Shopper's Drug Mart to replace an older store just down the street. When the Chamber decided to run their new campaign espousing the benefits of doing business in Peterborough, they thought of this development as a good example of new development in our area during a relative downturn. My partner and I were asked if we would provide our take on the current economic situation as it relates to development in the area and the Chamber put our happy faces on one of their posters which has been featured in the Peterborough Examiner and Peterborough This Week and is now a TV commercial on CHEX TV.

My quote from the poster/advertisement:

With thirty five years of real estate experience between them, Mr. Pyle and Mr. Lytle manage investment deals throughout the central and eastern Ontario region, the hub of which remains Peterborough. Mr. Lytle says, “Peterborough still holds great investment potential. We see real opportunities for continued growth through expansion of existing business and by bringi
ng new developments to town. We’re proud to be a part of continued investment here.”

Link to the actual pdf of this poster.

Thanks a million guys!

EDIT: Some of you may have seen a television ad proclaiming that we actually OWN the Shopper's Drug Mart on Chemong Road - so let me set the record straight: We don't.

We participated in a really good campaign by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce to get some publicity for ourselves and the city. Somewhere along the way the fact that we brokered the deal got lost in translation. We acted for the developer of the site only - we have no ownership, nor did we take any ownership at any time, of this property.


What Everybody Ought to Know About Buying Income Properties

When you buy income property always remember that you are buying an 'income' property. Don't fall in love with it, and be sure to keep these ideas in mind.

When you buy an income property are you buying the bricks and mortar, or the income stream? Take your time and think about this one... Are you sure? How does it get financed - an evaluation of the income stream and leases or strictly a direct comparison to other properties? From my perspective, you're buying the income stream that the property generates i.e. you agree to pay a price today to secure future income. The bricks and mortar are simply a vehicle to provide that income. Within reason, you should ignore the final sale price of comparable properties unless they have similar leases with similar tenants with similar covenants in similar neighbourhoods, etc., etc. ad nauseum. Rather, when looking at comparable properties, you'll be looking at the income stream and the capitalization rate applied and how it compares to the property you're considering.

Buy for cash flow today, not tomorrow. The price you pay for income property today should provide positive cash flow today - not at some point in the future. If an investment can't carry itself from Day 1, it's not an investment, it's a liability. If there is more month left at the end of the money, guess who gets to pick up the shortfall? Hint: It won't be me, because I would have advised you NOT to buy that particular property!

Ignore capital appreciation - don't wish for some future gain. Wishes won't get you to your desired rate of return. Telling yourself, or worse relying on bad advice, that you shouldn't worry about any shortfall in cash flow because the market is just going "up, up, up!" is sheer folly. Surely you haven't forgotten 1990 or late 2008 already? As I said above, the property should return a postive cash flow that meets your target rate of return today. Any increase in value over time is your upside and should be looked at as just that, upside.

If I missed anything, or if you just think I'm off my rocker, I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments.


Peterborough Festival of Lights

This year is the 23rd year of the Peterborough Festival of Lights. This is a FREE (yes you read that correctly!) concert series in picturesque Del Crary Park on the waterfront in downtown Peterborough. Come to Peterborough to support this fabulous series and have a great time. You can't beat a free show! Check out their website for further details. See you there!

Who's coming and when...
David Cassidy
Classic Pop

Buffy Sainte Marie

Elyse Saunders with After Tuesday and special guest Derek James Tilley

Canada Day Show (Midlife Crisis)

Jim Witter
Tribute to Simon and Garfunkel


U2 Elevation
Tribute to U2

Aaron Lines

Classic Rock

Town Pants
Celtic Pop

Serena Ryder

Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band
Tribute to Neil Diamond

Canadian Tenors

Beau Dixon

Peterborough Concert Band
Big Band

Hotel California
Tribute to Eagles

The Stampeders


The Lovin' Spoonful
Rock & Roll


8 Secrets to Increase Cash Flow

One of the most common questions I'm asked is how to increase cash flow. Often property owners have decent gross income, but just can't figure out why their bottom line isn't healthier. Here are 8 ways to increase your real estate cash flow:

1. Get rid of gross leases. Gross leases are your worst enemy. A lot of property owners use these because there’s very little administration involved; collect rent, pay expenses, keep the difference. The problem is that you can’t tell from one year to the next what the expenses are going to be and this leaves you open to a drastic reduction in cash flow every year.

2. No more month to month tenants. Similar to gross leases, month to month tenants can wreak havoc on your cash flow because nothing is holding them to the property. What if half of your tenants decide to leave all at once?

3. Refinance. Not as simple as it once was, but if you have substantial equity in the property, you should still be able to refinance today and reduce your overall debt payments substantially. Interest rates are at an all time low right now.

4. Make a Request for Reconsideration of your property assessment. In Ontario, MPAC provides a system for you to ‘appeal’ your assessment if you feel that your assessment has been unfairly increased. Provide some proof and go through the process and you might be able to get some relief.

5. Include a management fee in addition to your net rent. This secret is one that the larger, more sophisticated, landlords latched onto long ago. Did you even know that you could charge your tenants a ‘management fee’ for administering the property? Of course, this is a negotiated item like everything else, but wouldn’t it be great to get paid for all of the administrative tasks you have to perform all year long?

6. Make sure maintenance is a top priority. Not so much a cash flow secret as a way to ensure that your building is consistently occupied. If you have the best run, best maintained, building on the street, doesn’t it stand to reason that the tenants looking for space would rather be in your building instead of your competitor? Make sure your building is the ‘Taj Mahal’ on your block and you’ll have a lower vacancy rate and better cash flow in the long run.

7. Update the energy efficiency of the property. This will do two things for you: a) it’ll lower the overall operating costs for the property making it more attractive to tenants, and b) modern energy efficient equipment and appliances last longer which lowers your long term capital costs. Both of these will increase your cash flow over time.

8. Treat your real estate as a service vehicle for your tenants. Think of your real estate as a way to provide a menu of services to your tenants to realize higher cash flows. The service you provide is a well run, up to date facility. This doesn’t have to mean doing more and more for less and less – you can charge for additional services – just making extras available will make your property more desirable to tenants and therefore will only help your bottom line.


Adventures in Commenting. D'oh!

I owe anyone who has tried to post a comment to this blog an apology. Seems I tested just about everything but the commenting function. It never occured to me because I never thought about the need to comment on my own blog. But after 40-odd posts over the last little while and growing traffic, I was wondering why I wasn't getting any feedback at all from you. So I checked it out and it turns out it was an error on my part.

Sorry about that.

But it's all fixed up now, and I look forward to reading what you have to say in the very near future. For example, what kind of articles would you enjoy reading about on the topic of commercial real estate? If it's something that I know a little about, I'd be happy to give my take on any subjects you might suggest. Thanks!


McGuinty's Harmonized Sales Tax - Another Ill Timed Adventure

Gary Zalepa Jr., Broker/Owner of Century 21 City Realty Inc. and tireless volunteer at the Ontario Real Estate Association, has posted another great piece on the McGuinty government's latest tax grab, the HST. Read it here.

When will this government wake up and realize that Ontarians don't want this new tax? When will they realize that they work for US?

A Star-Nanos Research poll published May 16 found 67 per cent of people polled have a negative view of the melded tax...May 28, 2009 thestar.com

Thanks for the heads up on this Gary!


It only takes one person to get the party started...

Found this video posted on Square Feet today and just had to re-post it here! Take a minute to watch as the crowd gathers, it's just like the financial markets and the commercial real estate markets - you might look like an idiot because you're the only one egaged in making investment plays right now, but in a few years you'll be seen as the genius who got in while the gettin' was good!



How to Calculate Return on Investment (ROI)

Today, I thought I'd share how I calculate return on investment or ROI. This is sometimes also called the cash on cash return because it is a measure of the rate of return on the money you actually invest in a property, business or any other revenue generating asset for that matter.

First, why is it important to know the ROI of an investment? In earlier posts, I talked about the most basic form of comparison between properties, the CAP rate. This is a snap shot of the rate of return based on the purchase price of a property. The ROI is a snap shot of the rate of return on your cash invested. Two properties with similar CAP rates can produce very different ROIs based on a number of factors like: amount of financing available, interest rates, soft costs like legal, survey and accounting costs, etc. Calculating the ROI gives you a picture of how hard your money is working for you.

So let's look at an very simple example for illustration. Let's say you are considering a building valued at $1,000,000. There is a tenant in place paying $100,000 per year in net rent - meaning that all of the expenses of operation for the property are borne by the tenant in this example - a 10% CAP rate. For illustration, let's say that the downpayment, in this scenario, is 35% of the purchase price or $350,000. That leaves a mortgage of $650,000 to be paid for out of the net rent recieved from the tenant.

A mortgage of $650,000 at 6% would cost about $55,550 annually. Next take the net rent recieved annually and deduct the mortgage costs to arrive at a net cash flow. $100,000-55,550=$44,450. The final step is to calculate the rate of return on the initial investment by dividing the cash flow by the initial investment. $44,550/$350,000=12.73%

This is an extreme example, and I wouldn't expect most investments to kick out 12.73% on an annual basis. In fact this one probably wouldn't either - we didn't consider other costs like lending expenses, land transfer tax, etc. that would affect the actual initial investment.

What's the power of this measurement? You can fairly quickly get an idea of the return on your cash investment over several properties and even across asset classes without relying solely on a comparison of purchase prices related to initial income. Powerful stuff indeed.


What makes a Commercial Real Estate Guru a Guru?

What Makes a CRE Guru? What Doesn't? | Sibdu - Commercial Real Estate Professional & Social Networking

This is a really good article on what it takes to be seen as an expert in your field. And what you should avoid doing if you don't want to be dismissed as just one of the crowd.

Common sense ideas like not calling yourself the expert or guru. Sounds too self serving to be genuine. Don't be obnoxious; should go without saying, but sadly there are those who need to be reminded.

If you want to be seen as the expert, you need to create conversations by building relationships. Commercial real estate is still a people business based on long term relationships where both parties bring value to the association. Be a life-long learner. Never, and I mean never, assume that you know all there is to know on a subject. Constantly look for new avenues to educate your self.

For myself, I'd add volunteering to the list. Volunteering on your local association is a great way to give back, but it's also a very good way to project an air of expertise. Your peers will give you a little more respect for stepping up to the plate and volunteering for the betterment of your industry and your clients will see you as the guru because you are actively involved in your trade association. You'll make a lot of great connections as a volunteer; I speak from experience. The more you volunteer, the busier your business will get.


Twitter anyone?

I've resisted going to Twitter for a long time now, but yesterday I caved in and signed up. Haven't started 'tweeting' much yet, and I want to make sure I go about this correctly. I read a very good primer on using twitter to promote your blog at problogger.net, and if you're interested I highly recommend it.

There aren't a lot of commercial real estate people using twitter yet, and I'm hoping to garner a few followers. Please consider following me as I start on this adventure!


New Listing

Edit: This listing has been removed from our roster.

Our first listing taken as a result of the economy. We just listed this marina between Buckhorn and Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Oak Shores Marina is being sold under power of sale through a court appointed receiver, and we've been chosen as the listing brokerage.

The property has a 3 bedroom house, restaurant, quonset structure, 32 slips, and gasoline sales. Located on Little Bald Lake, this marina has access to the Trent System and some of Ontario's best waterfront playgrounds. Visit this page to see more of the property.

Edit: June 30, 2009 - New price as of today, the price has dropped from $479,000 to just $429,000!


Profiting from Foreclosures

Entrepreneurs in High-Foreclosure Areas Turn Homeowners Into Tenants

Came across this article today and thought it was worthwhile sharing. The thrust of it is this: in certain US markets, where foreclosure is far more common than here in Canada, investors are buying houses that are coming up on foreclosure and keeping the former owners as tenants. My first impression was one of disbelief. It's so simple! So elegant!

And kinda repugnant too....though I'm not sure why I feel this way other than the pure 'opportunism' of it all.

I mean, really, if you think about it, it is a creative way for all parties to get something from the arrangement. The former owner isn't kicked out of the house, the bank clears the bad debt from their books, and the investor gets a property that kicks out cashflow from day one with almost no extra investment beyond the initial purchase.

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Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft: However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your children.
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