Friday, October 20, 2017

Manifesting Your Dreams!

March 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Posts

Would you like some helpful tips on ‘Manifesting Your Dreams’?

Would you like to be crystal clear about where you are going?

This interview will provide you with some beginning steps to getting organized  and getting focused to reach the life you truly desire!






How I turned my Finances Around…

March 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Buying Real Estate, Featured Posts

My story starts off typical – single female, living in a city where the cost of living is high, my debt load was at an uncomfortable $15K and I wasn’t a homeowner yet. At this point I was 31, I had a university degree and a good job but I still found it hard to save enough money to pay off my debt and save for a house. Blah, blah, blah…this is probably many people’s story if they moved out on their own right away and into an expensive city. But what makes my story extraordinary is the ending, mainly because I chose a plan to get out of debt, create time and financial freedom, and I stuck to it and no, I didn’t marry rich! The mere fact that I stuck to the plan is what made it work, not the plan itself. Why? Today most people quit on their plans very early, some even before 60 days whereas my plan took 60 months. The average person will try something for a bit, if it doesn’t work immediately, they jump to another strategy only to get the same results. My plan took me exactly 5 years where I went from living from pay cheque to pay cheque to being a homeowner, debt free and boss free.
My plan was super simple – I did two things: 1) I chose a profit making vehicle that I could do outside of my full time job to generate extra income. It was a home based business in the network marketing industry and I describe it as a mini-franchise; 2) I partnered with a family member to buy a rental property instead of my original plan, a downtown condo. We pulled together our pennies and purchased a triplex. I moved into one of the units and managed the other two apartments.
With the rental property, we put most of the profit that we made each year back into the house so we could gradually bump up the rental income on the units as they turned over. Most people ask me if I have nightmare land-lord stories but I honestly don’t. I think if you have above average quality rental units, with reasonable rental fees you will attract respectful people. Fast forward 5 years, when the mortgage came up for renewal we shopped around and secured an amazing interest rate. This reduced our monthly costs and bumped up our profits. We were also able to pull out equity on the home which we used for any remaining debt like car payments and down payments for future properties. So instead of buying a condo I created an income generating vehicle from my first home purchase.
During this 5 year period, I simply worked my network marketing business for about 4 to 5 hours a week. It wasn’t a lot of time but I was very consistent about my efforts. Of course, I didn’t know if this strategy would work before I started but I was determined to keep trying which was my true key to success. The product I represented was a consumable in the preventative health industry. It was high quality and sold itself. After about 3 years, the profits from my business covered my living expenses so I decided to take the plunge to do the business full time. I had been tracking my efforts and results so I knew if I had more time I would be able to increase my income. I have been doing my business full time for 2 years now and my take home income far exceeds what I would have made in my full time job. The best part is that I own my time so I can do other projects like real estate or businesses ventures whereas when I was working full time for 1 company I was putting all of my eggs in one basket.
This past 5 years is what Seth Godin, North America’s #1 business marketer, calls “The Dip”. The dip is the long haul that it takes to get from beginner’s luck to mastery. It’s the daily consistent action to build a system that works. It’s getting through the dark times when you are alone and all you want to do is give up but something deep inside tells you to keep slugging away. It’s ignoring the naysayers and your “procrastinating side”. Then eventually, you come out of this long valley to see sunlight and you can touch and feel your ultimate goal. You are there! You are at the place where everyone else wants to be! But only the people who go through the valley will make it. Are you willing to go through the valley or would you prefer to be average?

Toronto’s Impending Real Estate Bubble ?…. Sorry Hate to Burst your Bubble….

Pundits and so called experts have been predicting a crash in the Toronto Real estate market for well over a decade now. These claims appear to be more based on selling newspapers and advertising then based on fact. If one were to look at the facts , the facts paint a much different picture than all the recent doom and gloom portrayed in the media.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 4,337 transaction’s for the month of January 2011. The result was 13 percent lower than January 2010. When one reads this immediately it appears to be the sign that we are finally at the end of the road. The report however goes on to state that despite the drop in transactions the average sale price for a home in the GTA was $427, 037, which represents an increase of over four percent compared to the prior January. In essence prices are going up because there is not enough supply. It’s basic economics 101 , supply and demand.

There has also been talk over the impending crash of the condo market due to over supply. Lets take a look. Completions of new condos in Q4 have lead to an increase in new units entering into the market place. The Toronto Real Estate Board reports that there was a 25% percent increase in the number of condominium apartments listed for rent on a year over year basis . However the report goes on to state that the number of rental transactions for condominium apartments increased at an even great rate of 29 percent. Demand is outstripping supply. Furthermore rental prices for popular one bedrooms have increased by 2.1 percent and 2.6 percent respectively compared to the last four months in 2009. Much like the resale housing market the condo rental market is also tightening, not contracting .

According to Realnet data a shrinking supply coupled with an increasing demand points to a shortage of new homes in the GTA’s future. Realnet projects the strain is expected to emerge in 2011 and full be manifested by 2014. It is projected that based on the current levels of immigration into Toronto between 130,000 -140,000 annually, the GTA will need to create 40,000 new homes per year just to keep up with current immigration levels ….. something to think about for sure.

The next time you read or hear the next person claiming the market is about to crash ……. think again !

Or for that matter simply just start thinking !!

Self Control…does it Exist Anymore?

October 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Budgeting, Featured Posts

I consider myself a pretty disciplined person. I’m focused, fairly organized, I chose how I want to live each day and what I want to achieve. I have a profitable business, I give back to my community, I’m reasonably healthy compared to the ‘average Joe’ but yet I still get myself into debt! How does this happen?!
Personally I’m obsessed with paying off my credit card every month. Granted, some months are easier to pay off than others, but it got me thinking…where is the self control? Does it exist anymore? What has happened to the day of old when people saved in advance for things that they wanted? Clearly, I’m the type that wants something and figures out a way to pay it back afterwards. Are we all like this now? Credit card statistics would say “YES”. A study conducted by the Vanier Institute of Canada found that household debt has doubled from $46K in 1990 to $86K in 2009, 85% of that increase attributed to credit card debt.
Where has the debt come from? It seems to be a combination of rising living costs, lack of budgeting, and excessive spending. Then when a blip happens in our life like unemployment, car repairs, or health issues, we’re not prepared and we use our credit cards to solve the problem…momentarily. Alright, so it’s obvious that better budgeting, living within our means, and planning for a rainy day is mandatory for staying out of debt but what about “will power”?! How do we get more of that characteristic that our grandparents seemed to have?
I did a little digging and according to Joseph Ferrari, acclaimed psychology professor at DePaul University in Chicago, you can have the skills to reach our goals but if you’re ignoring them you have to examine why. Apparently, just being aware of the temptations that you are going to face is the first step. Then simply making a choice in advance not to ‘give in’ to temptation and knowing what you are going to say to yourself is a second step. This technique creates a calming effect and will lesson our urgency to make a choice, which is usually a bad choice.
For me, vision boards work. Yes, many of you out there will think this is silly but they work! When I can see my goals in colour, feel how excited I am going to be to reach my goals, and what life is going to be like when I get there, it’s easier for me to turn down a new cozy sweater or expensive dinner with friends. I also try to keep my vision board semi-realistic and have some images of things that I can attain in 6 months or a year, instead of 5 years from now. My brain doesn’t work well when I am thinking years down the road.

HST and its Impact on the Ontario Real Estate Market

One of the most common questions I get asked is about the New HST tax and its impact on the real estate market in Ontario. This law is very new and many people are still unsure of its ramifications on the industry. A lot of industry experts are unclear, on what the legislation actually entails. If lawyers and accountants have only a vague understanding of the new Tax, imagine how confused the average Ontario resident must be.

According to a recent survey by Royal Lepage, most home buyers believe that HST applies to the sale price of resale properties. The survey goes on to show that this misconception is impacting buyer behavior, which has been a driving force in the recent slowdown on the market place.

So Exactly how does the new HST impact the Ontario Real estate Market?
There is no HST on resale properties. HST is only levied on preconstruction homes. HST will not be applicable to new homes costing under 400,000. For New homes costing between 400,000 to 500,000 home buyers in Ontario will receive rebates up to $24,000 to lessen the impact of the HST. For homebuyers purchasing homes over $500,000, they will have to bare the full brunt of the HST Tax . It is estimated that this will increase the purchase price of homes over 500,000 by as much as $30,000- $50,000.

The ramifications for purchasers of preconstruction homes who are investors and not end users is a little more complicated. If you claim that you are an investor who will not reside on the premises, HST will be applicable, but credits may be offered for up to 75%. If you are considering buying a pre construction property as an investment it is best to consult with an expert as to how the tax can effect your purchase.
While resale purchases are HST exempt it is estimated that the new tax will will add an additional $2,000 in closing costs to consumers on resale properties .

While maintenance fees, energy cost and closing costs will inevitably rise, the increased costs are significant but not dramatic. It is estimated by the Minister of Finance for Ontario that only 7% of preconstruction homes bought in Ontario are over 500,000.

The jury is still out on HST and the damage that it may or may not have done to the Toronto Real Estate Market. I think the damage has been more psychological, as the tax has left many consumers confused and scared. In my opinion the impact will be short term, and things should flatten out this fall and begin to rise again by next spring. Canada and Toronto have still way too much going for it for the politicians to mess it up.

7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Multi Unit Home

Buying a multifamily investment property can be a complex process. In order to maximize the return on your investment, when considering making a purchase, it is important to understand some of the basic pitfalls that can come back to bite you in the long run.

1. Not all income properties of the same size and even location are equal. For example take two properties located on the same street each with 6 units. Property A has 6 one bedroom , one bathroom units and Property B, has 6 2 bedroom 2 bathroom units. Which property is more desirable? When evaluating properties it is essential to analyze and understand the local rental market. When evaluating properties it is essential to take the mix of rental units into consideration as all things are not equal.

2. Square footage, are they accurate and are the rental units the right size? I have always held the mantra “trust but verify” In most listings the selling agent and vendor will provide square footages. However in the actual listing the listing agent will almost always have a disclaimer depicting that these are just estimates and they nor the vendor can be held liable for any errors. In situations where price per square foot is relevant in making an investment decision – pull out the tape measure and measure the unit yourself.

When evaluating a residential property it is also important to look at the size of the units themselves. Are the units desirable and efficiently laid out? A poorly laid out unit, or one that seems either over sized or undersized will have a higher turn over rate.

3. Beware of quoted vacancy rates. Most agents and experts will quote the vacancy rate when talking about the desirability of investing in a property. Vancay and tenant turnover rates are across the board averages, Properties on the same street can differ from one another as much as different neighborhoods can within a specific geographic area. Talk to local agents and residents, and do your due diligence. Spend some time researching classified rental ads on sites like Craig list.

4. Chattels and Fixtures included. When purchasing a multi family property you are not just purchasing the land and property you are also purchasing the fixtures as well. If you are looking at purchasing a 10 unit property, makes sure that in the agreement of purchase sale, the refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, are all listed, and included in the agreement, and that such agreement stipulates that all appliances are in working order. To have to go out and replace appliances can become a costly proposition. Logically speaking if one or more of the units do not have appliances the price should be discounted accordingly.

5. Zoning. Your right to use, live in, build on, renovate, add on to, conduct business,
and lease out , will all be set out in the zoning. Know your rights and limitations before offering to purchase a property. Applying for zoning variances can be done but it can be a timely and expensive proposition. Be aware of any and all potential issues from the outset. Height and restriction and setbacks will not only govern new construction but will also limit renovations conversions and building additions.

Owning a property that is not compliant to the current zoning could potentially open up all sorts of cans of worms, from insurance and mortgage issues to issues with the city or local fire departments. The bottom line is to do your research and make sure that you are asking all the right questions.

6. Rental Income. The most important aspect when evaluating an Income producing property is to ensure that the rents and income provided by the vendor are accurate and in line with current market realities. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Ask to review the lease agreements to ensure that ensure that the units are in fact rented. Cross reference these numbers with the income statements provided. Then go research the local rental market. Are the rents being charged over, below or at the market value? Answering this question will give you greater in your ultimate decision to move forward or to sit this one out.

7. Environmental. This issue is becoming more and more of a hot topic as of late. Most people assume that environmental issues surround commercial properties, but they can also affect residential and multi residential purchasers. Once you purchase a property you as the owner may be liable partially or entirely liable should an environmental issue come up at any time. If you are purchasing an older property in an older area, there is a good chance that there could be a buried oil tank or asbestos around some old pipes. You will be responsible for all of the clean up. In older properties it can be wise to have an ‘environmental phase one report’ included as a condition in your agreement of purchase and sale.

Buying and investing in real estate and investment properties can be financially rewarding, the key whether you are a first time investor or seasoned pro is to make sure that you have an experienced team working you to make sure that you are not missing anything that could cost you in the long run. – RF

Planning for your “Plan B” before you need it

Its seems now more than ever that people are looking for a “Plan B”, a catch net, a self created security plan. This probably isn’t a bad idea considering that employer’s loyalty to its shareholders far out weights it’s loyalty to staff and now a days, being a corporate executive requires the relationship skills of a leader of a political party.

As you scan your list of aptitudes that you could capitalize on, whether its interior design, handy work, home delivered healthy meals, cake making, photography, or art, you’ll want to create a detailed plan for your business. Your business plan will help guide your efforts towards reaching your target market, generating profits, creating a sales funnel, and a general day-to-day road map.

According to Brian Tracey, “you can’t hit a goal that you can’t see”; having a rock solid business plan, even if it’s a part time business, will give you focus and help you narrow in on the efforts that are most important. But probably more important than a business plan is old fashioned hard work and action. At the end of the day you need to secure some jobs, go through the sales cycle, ask your customers for feedback, and make improvements. By going through this process many times you will have created the illusive “sales cycle”, be able to better predict your profit margins, determine how many sales you need to reach your financial targets, determine which types of jobs are the ‘sweet spot’, and assess your niche in a competitive market.

You may ask yourself – is it worth it? Well, that’s a personal question but in my opinion yes, it’s worth the effort. If having a side business allows you to make a few extra mortgage payments a year, assist with your child’s education, buy an income property, or invest in the stock market. In many ways, we’ve gotten lazy. Our grandparents worked from sun up to sun down, 6 days a week. These days our expectations are high but our effort and focus is low. It doesn’t take much to turn this ratio around and generate more money for investments. Further, a side business will create an income tax shelter and if you’re looking to get out of the rat race in the future, having an established business is the lowest risk way to build an exit strategy.

Yes, planning is essential but good, old fashioned elbow grease will get your results and answers and mould your business plan for the future.

Do I really need a stager?

Things have changed; the majority of buyers out there are looking for a home that is move-in ready. People these days are so busy they don’t want to spend their weekends fixing up a home. Plus, all of the decorating shows on TV are changing the market and Buyers expectations. You may not agree with it but there’s no point fighting it either.

Potential buyers appreciate an uncluttered home that allows them to visualize their possessions in place.

The goal of staging is to neutralize and showcase your home’s best features by adding and arranging key “props”, both furniture and accessories, so it appeals to more people…a larger market demographic ensures you will get the best price. Some things that you “never got around to” can often be fixed at a minimal cost. For example, a damaged base board or a dangling ceiling fan in the bathroom that you always meant to fix.

The second goal of staging is to create the image of a lifestyle that potential buyers wish they were living. You want an emotional connection between the buyer and your home.
Lastly, the beauty of staging is that you can achieve a dramatic result at a reasonable cost…an outlay of $3,000+ can make a significant difference in the sale price. As more homes come to market, buyers have more choice and it becomes increasingly important  to feature your home in the best possible light.
- Adrienne Farquhar